NEWSLETTER JULY 1999
The repeat performances are approaching – 6th and 7th August at 8pm at the Courthouse $6, with refreshments of course. Bookings are coming in well and Giselle Neall has the catering arrangements in hand.
Four people took the 8.07 train to Melbourne on the 6th July. A city circle tram to Spring St saw us at the Treasury Building where the exhibition “Built on Gold” was being held. An official car with a crown insignia took our attention and we were told that it belonged to the Governor who met with Executive Council on Tuesdays, a practice that has been held in this beautiful old building since its construction. John James Clark, who was also the architect who designed our courthouse, was commissioned as an 18 year old draughtsman to design a Treasury building to house the gold and to serve as Victoria’s principal administration centre. 8 of the vaults under the building now house the Built on Gold exhibit. As well 2 other exhibits “Melbourne Then and Now” and “Growing Up in the Old Treasury”. The domesticity of this latter exhibition showing where the caretaker family lived, contrasted sharply with pomp of the formal area. An added bonus was an invitation to see the upstairs room which the Governor had just vacated which contained impressive furniture and photos of past Victorian cabinets. The old Customs House in Flinders St now houses exhibitions on “Immigration” and “Hellenic Antiquities”. Old photos revealed the positioning of this building very close to the sailing ships moored in the Yarra now hidden by the elevated railway lines. The interior has been beautifully restored and realistic displays installed on the customs service and migration and migrants over the years. Some disappointment was expressed over the difficulty accessing the information stored in the Discovery centre.
OUTING TO THE PRECIPICE
What a great time we had...Alan Burgess led us to the beautiful rocky outcrop mentioned in Dorothy Howard’s book Recollections from the Thompson Family – Childhood at Newstead to 1920. Her sister Belle remembers... ”Sometimes on a Sunday afternoon after Sunday school we would go for a walk in the bush. There was a place that was magic to us known as the ”precipice”, water trickled down the rocks making moist areas where maidenhair ferns grew. We would take some home along with the many wild flowers, which we would press in the old family bible. Now when I look at the stained pages, I think of the happy days spent in the bush”. About a dozen people followed Alan bearing with them the photo of the Ragged Thirteen hoping to pinpoint where this elusive photograph was taken. No conclusive decision was made on this but the photographers in the group arranged us in a re-enactment.
BEGINNERS GUIDE TO THE PRO OFFICE
Barb Farrer and Dawn Angliss took advantage of
this opportunity and travelled to Laverton to be shown the extent of the records
as well as the protocol of a visit to the Public Records Office to get
information. Next year this information will be housed in a building at North
Melbourne especially designed for this purpose and on its 75 kms of shelving
will be records including all those old letters written in anger to government
Parks have sent us $1,000 for the ”Courthouse
Fence” project. A third Golden Way sign has been ordered and we’re expecting
to install it around Christmas. The sign will include a photograph of the
Courthouse, taken, we think, in the early 1920s. The photo was a part of the
Ellis collection – and shows the Courthouse surrounded by a picket fence.
Parks have sent us an application form for the
new round of Grants and we are in the process of gathering plans and quotes for
work to be done on the grounds surrounding the Courthouse. We hope to be able to
install drains to carry storm water away from the building and to make the front
approach safe and easy to maintain. We would also like to have some sculpturing
of the rise to the left of the building done to facilitate mowing. The
application is to be submitted by August 31.
During one of our working-bees, Baden McColl
suggested that he take all of the remaining pieces of the former dock home with
a view to putting them back together again. To our delight, Baden has today
reassembled the dock on site and we can now see what the courtroom used to look
like when it was in action. Entry to the dock is from the cell and the exit,
presumably if the prisoner was freed, through a small door leading from the dock
into the courtroom. So that we can use the passageway provided by the cell,
Baden has reconstructed the dock on castors. Thank you Baden!
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
August 6-7 The Writings of Thomas Martin
John Lawton to Welshmans Reef Mines 1.30pm at the Courthouse – bring your own
August 16 Meeting 1.30 at the Courthouse
remain, sir, your most humble and obedient servant” PRO Ballarat - 2-3.30pm,
free Focussing on the records of the Central Highlands District
History Fair – House and Garden
©2004 Newstead & District Historical Society
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