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The dozen or so members and others who scrambled about on this delightful and little-known area, enjoyed our trip to the Precipice. It was remarked that there seemed to be more lichen growing on the litany of names scratched into the rock face. The participants were interested in the area in varied ways. Some were imagining the groups of local lads and lasses that had gathered here in the past while others were interested in the geology of the place and curious if the strange pools of water were natural or had been the work of aboriginals. Others were interested in the flora of the site - rock fern, sundews and an indogofera – but we all agreed that it was a naturally beautiful site. As the day was cold we adjourned to the courthouse for our get-together afterwards.


Because of the wintry conditions it was decided to seek an indoor destination next month and we have accepted the invitation of the Pioneers and Old Residents to visit their premises in Castlemaine. If you are interested, either meet at the courthouse as usual at 1.30 and we will car-pool, or meet us at the Faulder-Watson Hall at 2 pm when Cliff Sheehan will show us their collection and tell us about their organization.


One of the things that has been a result of ‘Newstead Remembers’ is that our eyes were opened to the new technology that was used to scan images, burn them to CD’s etc. Our computers are ‘dinosaurs’. They have cost us virtually nothing and do a fantastic job of indexing the Di Fiore and Trudgeon files. But if we had a powerful computer with scanner, CD burner and good printer it would be possible to digitise our photographic collection. Copies could be produced on site instead of going to Castlemaine and copies of the collection could be stored off- site for safety’s sake. The entire cost would be in the region of $3,000 so we are in the process of doing a detailed cost-analysis and looking for grants that we could apply for. At this time we are lucky enough to have talented, interested people willing to do this work and it would be a shame if it stalls for lack of funds.

30,000 ENTRIES

Brian Dieckmann has done the latest merge of entries indexed in the Di Fiore and Trudgeon files. Because we have a range of computers with varying capacities, every so often Brian has to do the complicated job of assembling them onto our main computer. The total now is 30,000 and thanks go to Brian, Margaret Di Fiore who provides us with indexing of the Mount Alexander Mail etc, Janet Trudgeon and Di Reid who are indexing the Newstead Echo and the team who are ‘beavering’ away each Monday putting it onto computer. Thanks also to Liz Coady who had the vision to start us off on this project.


In recent days we have been given

·       Several old accounts from E A Rowe for shoe repairs that had been hanging in Boots café. These had been donated to Bev and John Foreman by Wally Butler and have now been passed on to us for safekeeping.

·       A copy of the booklet produced by the Pioneers and Old Residents of Castlemaine.

·       A copy of the Vaughan Cemetery records from David Avery.

·       An article on John Andrews, a local aboriginal in the early days of Sandon by Claude Culvenor and given to us by Joan and Alex Culvenor.


We have had a request from a person interested in the old Newstead Echo office and its removal to Swan Hill Pioneer Museum. Does anyone remember its removal and if so how they felt about it?


Newstead now has its own website – This was the result of funding from the Streetlife funding and a lot of hard work by Rose Walter, Jan Duncan and Julia Elkins. We get a mention and are investigating having our own website. At this stage we are checking out other historical societies’ websites and working out how we would like our site to look. Any opinions and help would be appreciated.


For those able to help, next Monday, June 23rd, a working bee will be held to plant a row of shrubs along our eastern fence line. The old fence would be better if it was screened by continuing the line of greenery formed by the acacias along our Canrobert Street frontage. There are several suckers of Acacia boormanii that we hope to relocate and augment with small hardy plantings from Frances Cincotta’s Newstead Natives. Any helpers will be welcome on Monday morning.


Our next meeting will be on July 21st at the courthouse at 1.30 pm.


A suggestion has been made that we incorporate into our monthly newsletter as well as the routine information for the month’s activities, an historical item. Our subject for this month is the photo of the dinner to the old Pioneers. It shows a gathering of elderly men ranged around a long table and in the background another table on the stage with what could be the dignitaries of the evening. A sign above the stage area reads ”WELCOME TO THE OLD PIONEERS”.

  An article in the Echo on September 20’” 1911 could well be the description to this particular event. Headed ”THE OLD PIONEERS – Complimentary Dinner” it gives the following information.

  “Never has there been, in the history of Newstead, a function of such magnitude as the dinner given in the local Mechanics Hall on Saturday night by Mr W. S. Keast, MLA, to the remaining pioneers of the district and some of the leading residents of the town and district. The pioneers were but poorly represented in the flesh. Those who first selected the land here were probably in the prime of life when they did so, but that was so far back that the majority have passed to that bourne where they have been freed from the toil and hard ships they

experienced in hewing a home and living out of the primeval forest whilst on earth. Certainly, there are some still alive; a few were present at the dinner, and others are scattered over the face of the globe. The dead were well represented by their stalwart sons and other relatives, and all told, about 120 persons were present Mr Keast had invited many of his parliamentary colleagues, who were represented by the Hon D McLeod and Mr H Lawson, M’s LA. All arrangements had been left in the hands of Mr F. Nomens, and his stewardship was most satisfactory. Mr. P. Harte, of the Newstead hotel, had charge of the catering, and the cuisine was of the best. He had a large staff of waitresses at his command, and their work was carried out so expeditiously as to leave nothing to be desired. Cr. Kyd, president of the shire, occupied the chair, and several of his colleagues in the council were also present. On the cards there were nine toasts, embodying no less than twenty-two speeches, which we did not feel equal to stand, therefore we refrained from attending. There was also a musical programme of ten numbers, yet, although a start was not made until seven o’clock the whole affair concluded by midnight. The dinner and the evening’s entertainment were much appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed. The following was the order of the evening:- The King, proposed by the Chairman, Cr J Kyd, JP, President of the Shire, and which was musically honoured.

Selection, Caliph of Bagdad, Mrs. Nomens (piano), Mrs. Parks, Messrs F Mackie and F Leathbridge (violins).

The Old Pioneers, proposed by W S Keast, Esq, MLA, supported by Dr Kilpatrick. Responded to by Mr Geo Turvey and others.

Song, The Skipper, Mr J Lorraine.

Our Host, proposed by Mr C Atkin, supported by Cr E A Rowe and responded to by W S Keast Esq MLA.

Recitation, Dr Kilpatrick.

The State Parliament, proposed by Mr H W James. Responded to by the Hon D McLeod, MLA, Mr W S Keast, MLA and Mr H S Lawson MLA.

Duet, Albion on thy Fertile Plains, Messrs James and Skate.

Municipal, proposed by Cr R Beddoe (Melbourne suburb) and Cr E A Rowe.

Selection, Mrs Nomens (piano), Mrs Parks and Mr F Mackie and F Leathbridge (violins).

The Mining Industry, proposed by the Hon D McLeod. Responded to by Mr G McKay.

Song, Mr Lorraine.

Agriculture proposed by Cr C J Smith. Responded to by Cr C Coutts.

Recitation, Dr Kilpatrick.

The Press, proposed by Mr P Hanley. Responded to by those present.

Song, The Death of Nelson. Mr James.

The Chairman, proposed by Mr Alex McPhee. Responded to by Cr J Kyd.”



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