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The cheque for $5,000 has been received for our successful application from the local History Grants - Department of Communities to purchase microfilm copies of the Mount Alexander Mail 1904 – 1960. The order has been placed with the State Library and the films will be arriving shortly. This will mean that we will have microfilm copies of the Mount Alexander Mail from its commencement in 1854, through its name change to the Castlemaine Mail, up until 1960. They will be used to continue the indexing already done by Margaret Di Fiore. As well the actual articles referred to in the index already on computer, can now be read at the courthouse instead of going to the State Library.



It has been 21 years since the Newstead & District Historical Society commenced. This followed an advertisement placed in the Castlemaine Mail by Dorothy Clark, sounding out the interest for such a venture. We are grateful for the groundwork laid down by the members in the first 21 years and would like to celebrate in some way. It has been decided to have both daytime and evening events to cater for all intending visitors. A lunch is proposed in May as well as our annual part in September. We will be seeking addresses of former members in the next few months but take this as an invitation to all past and present members to join on these occasions.



Sales are continuing and the original run of 100 books has almost sold out which is a credit to both the author and to Cherie Lawton who has undertaken the organization of publicising their sale.



Much work has been going along behind the scenes but the Society is pleased to announce that we will be holding what we think is a first for Newstead – a book auction.


The story is this – a few years ago, our president was contacted by ANZ trustees to see if our Society would accept a bequest of a valuable collection of books belonging to Miss Adelaide Mackie. We were pleased to do so. The books arrived and it was an exciting time for the members to unpack boxes and make a list of titles, authors etc. The range of titles was extensive and reflected the interests of their owner – her Scottish ancestry, British history, the monarchy, literature, cricket, Red Cross, local history, World War 2, etc.

Upon the death of Miss Mackie, a decision had to be made and it was decided to keep a selection of books that would be of use to us and also some that reflected the various interests of Miss Mackie, whom most of us had never met. After some research it has been decided to sell the rest by auction. This will be in the hands of Peter La Ponder, Auctioneer, Valuer and Assessor of Melbourne and will take place at the Newstead Community Centre on Sunday March 4th. Viewing will be on Friday March 2nd 12 noon – 4.00 pm, Saturday 3rd March 10.00 am – 4.00 pm and Sunday 4th March 9.00 am until the auction at 11.00 am.

Why did Miss Mackie choose our Society to receive her beloved books? Well, among her books were her travel diaries and they reveal that Miss Mackie came to our area researching her family background. (Of course, the Mackie name has been connected with Newstead since its very early days of settlement). While she was in Castlemaine she met local historian and author, Ray Bradfield and was given an address in Newstead. She describes a wonderful time at the Mill House, then the home of Ross and Pauline Suter, President and Secretary of the newly formed Newstead & District Historical Society. There, she shared photos and information and I believe it was this connection that decided the fate of her library collection.

As well as being a collector of books herself, Miss Mackie inherited those of her uncle Andrew Robertson Davidson. The books all bear Miss Mackie’s book-plate  -‘AIM and Scottish terriers’ - and some have both hers and that of her uncle.


Among the collection there are some that spring to mind. The most beautiful book had illustrations enhanced with gold about the life of Mohammad.  I can visualise wonderful leather-bound sets of famous literature by such authors as Alexander Dumas, some limited editions, others signed by the authors. Perhaps the ones that stick in my memory are the 400 cricket books - authors such as John Arlott, Neville Cardus, Jack Fingleton, Sir Pelham ‘Plum’ Warner, and of course the man of the bodyline controversy, D R Jardine. Inside his book, “Ashes and Dust - the 1934 Test Matches” there is a loose photograph from the “Argus” and Douglas Jardine’s business card!


One of members, Rosalie Jacobs, is a relation of Miss Mackie. On the occasion of Miss Mackie’s death, Rosalie put together a fine obituary. It has been decided that we ask Rosalie to be our guest speaker at our annual meeting in April and to tell us more of Miss Mackie, the Mackie family and its connections with Newstead.




Monday           February 19th   meeting at 7.30 pm at the courthouse


Sunday             March 4th         auction of books at the Newstead Community centre


Dawn Angliss    Secretary         54762006

Derek Reid         President        54762274

Janet Trudgeon Treasurer         54762437

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