NOVEMBER NEWSLETTER 2003
Despite the very hot weather a successful Market was held
last Saturday. Last year our takings were just over $1,000 – a record. This
year we hope to make about $900. Thanks go to many people – the members
responded well and returned raffle stubs and money (in a lot of cases with a
donation). A delighted May Thornbury of Castlemaine won our raffle. There were
more stallholders than ever and the winner of the fruitcake was Donna and Val
Tinker. Boxes of ‘White Elephant’ goods were picked over, cakes and biscuits
were popular as were the sausages, hamburgers and drinks. Our cooks toiled away
and they were the same people who were there cleaning the barbeque and putting
up the awnings the previous night. Dave provided the music from the Rotunda (and
braved the ants…. there was an unsubstantiated report of a man seen stripping
and dancing strangely in Friday’s gloom). The onions were sliced and the
coleslaw made, in fact all the behind scene things that go to make our Market a
success. A big thank-you to you all.
EXCURSION TO GUILDFORD:
A small group set out from Newstead to meet at Guildford. We were amazed to see many cars and crowds of people assembled under the shade of 4 large trees on the flat. Max Kay introduced Mr Wally Maple and gave us a history of Wally’s involvement with the area. Wally then proceeded to tell us how he had sluiced this area in the depression years of the 1930’s. We were led to the edge of the river where the remains of the substantial foundations needed to provide the pump for the water. An area had been excavated to hold a supply of water and Frank Passalaqua spoke of the use made of it as a swimming pool. Wally then proceeded to give a display of his divining technique with his rods To which were attached a small nugget.
Carol Holsworth from the Golden Dragon was introduced. Her husband Bill had told us that the impressive trees that we were standing under were cottonwoods that were estimated to be well over a hundred years old. Carol spoke of the lack of information about the Chinese in the area – where they had camped and what had become of them. Our index of the local newspapers had several references and Carol has arranged to visit the courthouse in the New Year. Frank Passalaqua, long-time resident and researcher of the Guildford history, spoke of his memories of the site. Hec Green, whose family had an interest in this site and the nearby El Dorado mine, gave a short talk on that fascinating tale. Several people stayed on for the obligatory “cuppa’ where thanks were expressed to all the speakers and to Max for arranging such an interesting excursion.
A group of us gathered on Saturday October 25th to meet with Rose Chong and family. It is on their property that the lovely rock formation that we refer to as the Precipice is found and on which we have trespassed on two occasions! However we were able to find the owners through a long and tortuous route and negations enabled us to get together. We were able to provide Rose and her family with the story of the Ragged Thirteen as far as we know it with a copy of the intriguing photo arranged on the very same rocks. These rocks are also the site of numerous initials and names that list the young people of the town at a later time. As well the wild flowers were out and some of the assembled guests were able to identify them for the other’s benefit. We all joined in morning tea pleased to have passed on some information and with having met our newfound neighbours.
A photo of the little lost girl Madeleine Hugo has been received via our web site from a relative of hers, as well as information on the Biddlestone-Connell family and records from the Community Centre.
Unfortunately our 2 applications for grants to equip the Society with a decent computer system were unsuccessful. It seems that we will have to provide them ourselves. Two of our members have been set the task to get quotes on the necessary items and they will be bought in the New Year. The considerable work of indexing the newspapers and all the other work that has been done, has been achieved on old, and even older equipment that people have very kindly given to us. However the time has come when we can see what a really modern set up could achieve and we will work towards that goal. The money from our last market will be put to good use.
To celebrate the festive season we intend to gather in the courthouse on Monday afternoon at 1.30 on December 8th and share a lunch. Please come and join us! Bring a plate of food to share, a drink if you wish but most importantly bring yourselves…..as our courthouse is a lovely venue and we are lucky to have such an agreeable group of members, it promises to be a happy occasion.
OUR PLANS OVER THE HOLIDAY SEASON:
There will be no more excursions or newsletters until after our meeting on February 16th. However the Monday work goes on as usual.
©2004 Newstead & District Historical Society
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