It is with regret that we note this month that the society suffered great loss with the deaths of two valued members Adrian Haas and Jon Butler.
Adrian’s sudden death was a shock to us all. We were touched however at the decision of the Haas family to have Adrian buried at Newstead. Carolyn Haas delivered a great eulogy to Adrian and we realised the many sides of Adrian that we didn’t know. The society has much to be thankful for from Adrian’s efforts. He took up the challenge of finding out the history of the Newstead Mechanics’ Institute when a book published by Pam Baragwanath about Mechanics’ Institutes state-wide, had no information on the Newstead institution. He delivered part of his research at a conference but realising he had the makings of a book, passed his work to the society. It was decided to publish it and this was done through Graffiti Press and successfully launched last year. This in turn led to Adrian doing research into three early murders that led to the call for a police station to be established in Newstead. Adrian pursued his trail of research with conviction and thankfully his work on this subject is almost ready to be published – a project that will continue with Adrian’s son Damien.
The second loss was the death of Jon Butler. Jon had been a long time member of the society with his wife Joan and other members of the Butler family. Jon’s memories of the district stretched over a long period of Newstead’s history and he also had vivid recall of the stories passed down to him by the family. So it was to Jon that the society would frequently call upon to provide us with information particularly about the Joyces Creek and Captains Gully areas. Over the years Jon led us on various excursions to these areas and the last one and one of the best, was during the drought last year when it was possible to drive along the old road to Joyces Creek. As well as being generous with his time and memories, Jon and the Butler family were most generous supporters of the society when a market was held or when there was a need to put a hand in the pocket.
We shall miss them both.
Our last excursion was to visit the Thornhill Reef roasting kilns and other mine sites in the Muckleford forest. The threatening weather didn’t lend itself to leisurely exploration around the sites but we were able to inspect two sites and finish up at the Red, White and Blue for a picnic before the rain came. For our next trip Alan Burgess has offered to lead us to the Fryerstown cemetery. Fryerstown is an area that we haven’t had an excursion to so there will be lots to take in. The date is set for Monday 6th August and we carpool from the courthouse at 1.30 pm.
The mower has been delivered – unfortunately the storage facility is not finished although we can report that there has been one day’s work done this month! The mower will be used at the courthouse to keep the surrounds in order as soon as the grass is dry enough to mow.
Each year Carisbrook Historical Society hosts their annual dinner at Caroline’s restaurant and invites guests. As well as a warm inviting atmosphere and good food, the format is for a “show and tell”. The Newstead guests always come away having had a great evening and having learned a lot. This year was no exception. As well there was a bonus! Alex Stoneman, president of Carisbrook Historical Society, has undertaken to research the various post offices in the area - those that still exist and many that are no longer. It was a great surprise when Alex presented the Newstead society with a folder containing a most attractive collection of information about the post offices in our area. They are Clydesdale, Ebery’s, Green Gully, Joyces Creek, Muckleford South, Newstead, Strangways, Strathlea and Welshmans Reef. In most cases the information included lists of post officials, photos and examples of the circular date stamp and the earlier barred numeral cancellation stamp of each post office. Thank you Alex!
The range of subjects that were chosen on the night, was many and varied. We heard of the different implements that had been used to cut and stack grass-hay over the years, items connected to family history and records produced with the aid of digital cameras.
Newstead decided to show some of our recently acquired photos of the Sandon tornado in 1976 and to read from the meteorological record of the event. Of course, several people present had memories of the occasion.
However in our records we discovered as well a much earlier page photocopied from the Argus in November 20th of an unknown year. The similarities were that it had occurred in the same month of November and again there had been fatalities. Headlines “Tornado in the Wimmera” “Churches, Mills and Houses in Ruin” “Persons blown out of Buggies” “End of the World Expected” were evidence of its severity. Because we were in Carisbrook, the paragraph telling of the fatality in Carisbrook was read out.
“Carisbrook was the scene of the second fatal accident, the victim (William Chapman) being an employe at the Chalk’s Junction mine. He was working on the brace, and fearing that he might be forced from his position by the wind, he retired to the puddling engine-house. Instead of proving a refuge, his retreat was a death-trap, for when the storm displaced it, he was precipitated to the ground many feet below. His death took place in a few minutes and a magisterial inquiry has been held. Chapman was a married man, residing in Maryborough and leaves a widow and a family of seven young children entirely unprovided for.”
In a short time Daryl McLeish had consulted his book on Carisbrook and advised us that the incident had taken place in 1897….an instant answer.
Excursion to Fryerstown cemetery Monday August 6th 1.30 from courthouse
Next meeting Monday August 20th at 7.30 pm.
©2004 Newstead & District Historical Society
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