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Our society had a momentous couple of days at Aquinas Campus for the annual Family History expo. There is a different theme each year – the theme for this year was Education and Trades. We decided to make use of our folding display for Education focusing on the career of F W Ellis, head teacher at Newstead from 1915 to 1933. Thanks to John Neall covering the board with cork tiles and the Ellis family for never throwing anything away (!) a comprehensive overview of a teacher’s career was on display. Trades were another matter! There were differing opinions about the definition of Trades and it was finally decided to concentrate on the fact that Newstead is known as the place of ’the butcher, the Baker and the candlestick maker’. We displayed photos and information of the premises of our current trades people and compared them to their predecessors. The judges looked long and earnestly at all the displays and engaged us in conversation before the announcements were made. To our great delight we were named as the winners and receive an assortment of archival material from the Public Records Office. We shall go and choose our selection and then a presentation will be made here at our courthouse. The display will be at the courthouse for the next few weeks. Come on a Monday morning or ring and make a time that is convenient.


Thanks so much for the returns of raffle tickets and money for our Christmas Hamper. We also are calling for donations to fill the hamper and already we have a Christmas cake, pudding, bottles of wine, coffee and a jigsaw. If you are unsure of what to give, ring Giselle Neall 54762207 and she can suggest some ideas. Because of the stringent health regulations we find we are working to now, there is a need for lots of helpers on the day and of course we need items to sell too. That is a lot to ask for but this market is our major funding event for the year and it means that we can buy the paper, inks, electricity, postage etc that keep a society like ours running and also ’squirrel’ some funds away for major purchases such as a reader printer that we bought a couple of years ago. We look at it and think ’three year’s market days’!


On Monday 7th October our group plus Alleyne and Ian Hockley from Castlemaine Historical Society, ventured out into the bush to the Thornhill Reef roasting kilns.

This was the site were a Parks Victoria Grant had restored the old roasting kilns and the task for the day was to inspect the work and to erect the sign recognizing their help. Information on the process of roasting the quartz was read out and then Ian Hockley was able to tell us about Mr Thornhill from whom the mine got its name. Mining continued with various companies on the general site for a long period but it was this gentleman who started mining here and who was unfortunate to be killed when the windlass broke and fell on him. There always seems to be coincidences in research and Ian just happened to be researching Mr Thornhill for a descendant of Mr Thornhill when he received our newsletter and our proposed excursion to the mine!


Max Kay has arranged for David Avery and other people with information about Vaughan to meet with us there on Monday November 25th. As the end of the year is fast approaching, we have decided to make this our end of the year get-together leaving from the courthouse at 12.40 or meeting at the Vaughan Springs reserve at 1pm. Bring some lunch and enjoy a day out! You can walk as little or as much as you wish as we will cater for all groups.


Through the National Council of Women of Victoria we received news that a man in Queensland had approached them to see if anyone was interested in a minute book of the years 1913 – 1934. It was presented to us at the Council’s meeting in Bendigo this weekend when they were celebrating their centenary. The book is of great interest. It appears that the branch was promoting ’the Throne and Empire, Ante Socialism, Ante Nationalisation of Industries, the education of women in politics and the sanctity of the home’. Another coincidence! At the same time we are cataloguing a photo recently donated to us by Elsie Barkla and names of the group of women in the photo are the same as the names that appear in the minutes. So it has greater interest when we can read the minutes and see the faces of the women involved.


Thanks to Brian Dieckmann for the very generous donation of 3 more Mac computers to the society. When Liz Coady left Newstead, it was Brian who took over the role of computer guru for the society. On our recent trip to Ballarat we were able to take a computer loaded with the Newstead data that is being indexed and entered onto our computer files. Several enquirers were delighted to receive information of family members who had been mentioned in the Mount Alexander Mail or the Newstead Echo and were impressed with the 25,000 entries that we have to date. Thanks to Brian, Liz Coady who set up our system, Margaret Di Fiore who sends us the data she researches in the State Library, Janet Trudgeon and Di Reid who are indexing the Echo and Beverley Gray, Lynn Wallace and Cherie Lawton who are entering it on our computers of a Monday morning. The system works!


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