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A successful weekend was spent at the Aquinas Campus at Ballarat at the beginning of October. There was no success in bringing home the prize for the best display this year but our site attracted steady interest. This year we felt a little isolated in an outer room but it is always encouraging to meet other people with the same interests and to see what they have to offer. It was encouraging to those who man the site to have some of our own members make the journey and they reported having an enjoyable day.



November 15th is the day for our Market. This is our major fundraiser for the year and we enclose a set of 10 tickets for our Christmas Hamper. In the past our members are very supportive in buying these and the prize for the lucky winner is a packed Christmas Hamper with home made Christmas cake and pudding with all the things to make the festive occasion go off with a bang. (We are also asking for donations of suitable things to fill the hamper and you can drop off these at the courthouse or to Giselle Neall). Our local members put in a lot of effort cooking the barbeque food, manning the stall, cooking cakes and supplying produce. By lunch time we go home for a “Bex and a good lie down” but it usually brings about a $1000. This has bought our equipment and enables us to do the work we do at the courthouse. Last year was one of our best ever markets and so we don’t want to drop our standards this year!



What a great day! It is so encouraging when we are greeted at the courthouse with people who have read about our trips in the Echo and turn up to join us on the day. So it was on October 13th. The people who joined us contribute so much to the day with information, photos and enthusiasm. As well we have to thank those who go out of their way to allow us to see sites on their land as Moira Petersen did on this occasion. We first went to the site in cemetery road were the Slee family had a farm and where the old dairy still stands with its name ‘Roseneath” carved in the rock. Maureen Heagney (Slee) and her sister Eileen Lacey had photos and memories to share and could explain where the Loddon originally went. From there we drove further and walked up the old slum dam or North’s dam and many of us were surprised to see not a drop of water! Then we drove to the new course of the Loddon near where it joins with the Jim Crow. There was the old flying fox and we could look across the flats that had been worked by the dredge.

From here we drove along the Guildford road and saw the extent of the Loddon dredge and then looked south up the Jim Crow to see where the second dredge had been. After that we took up the kind invitation from Irene and Bob Cocking to have our ‘cuppa’ on the front veranda of their house, originally the old Strangways Post Office and itself a dredge house. Here we were able to view the maps and charts that we found in the map cupboard in a fragile state and have been encasing in Mylar sheeting to make them sturdy enough to be handled. It was here too that one of our guests produced some fabulous photos of the dredges, particularly the Jim Crow dredge which we did not have. We are fortunate to be allowed to get copies of these and our file on the dredge is growing. Not many towns have a history of dredges and our collection is a valuable one.



On November 10th we will leave from the courthouse at 1.30 to drive to Guildford. Max Kay has organised for Mr Wally Maple to meet us on the flats there and tell us his memories of the area. These will include his foot running exploits as it was here that he trained Goldie Heath who won the 1933 Stawell Gift. Wally himself was a foot runner. He also sluiced this area. As well this area was the site of a Chinese camp and Carol Holsworth from the Golden Dragon Museum will be on hand to tell about this side of its history. Frank Passalaqua will also be attending and we know from or trip to Guildford last year the knowledge that Frank has. If we have time we could see the site of the Strathloddon Hotel and Dolphin’s store and the infamous El Dorado mine.



Brian Dieckmann reports that the website is still getting a regular number of about 15 hits a week. The Society has received requests for research, 2 new members and orders for copies of our booklets. Brian suggests that we set up a page where members can cite the family history that they are interested in with the thought that there might be people out there who will have similar interests and can make contact. E-mail Brian if this is for you.



We have been advised that the theme for next year’s Heritage Festival will be Cobb and Co and transport in general. Our Society has indicated that we will also be involved so if any members have creative ideas and information we would be very glad to receive them.



November            10             Excursion to Guildford, leaving from courthouse at 1.30 or meet at the Guildford Post Office at 1.45.

November            15            Market at Rotunda Park 8.30 to Noon

November             17             Meeting at courthouse 1.30.


Meanwhile we are -always on a Monday morning at the courthouse 9.30 till12.30. At present there is a vacancy for a person to enter data onto computer. No experience is necessary…training on the job…good conditions…’cuppa’ at 11!

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