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It has been a busy month. What we think was a first for Newstead – a book auction went off well but in case anyone thinks it all fell into our laps like manna from heaven, we might explain. The recent process involved taking all the 3,000 books to Mornington before Christmas for the auctioneer, Peter La Ponder, to sort into lots and to be individually tagged. After transporting them all back in the week or so before the auction, they were unloaded at the Community Centre at 7 am on Tuesday February 27th. Book shelved were collected, assembled and cleaned and the books were put out in their correct order. That took 2 days. A final check took place before viewing started on Friday. Security was needed when people came to view the books and this continued on Saturday and Sunday until the auction started at 11 am. We provided food on Sunday so preparation and cooking took place to sell sandwiches, cakes, tea, coffee and cold drinks.

When the sale started the auctioneer required to have 6 lots on the table in front of him at any one time, the lots held up and then returned to their correct sequence on the shelves. At the conclusion of the auction at 2.30, the buyers paid for their books and came through a rear entrance with their invoices for the lots to be retrieved from the shelves, boxed and collected.

May we pass on a big thank-you to all the members and the wider community supporters who made it all possible? At this stage a final figure is not yet available but the money will be invested. One thing we do intend doing is to purchase a suitable piece of furniture to house the collection of Miss Mackie’s books that we are keeping.



We had barely recovered from the auction than the March Market rolled around. It turned out to be one of our best ever March markets – 42 stalls, and lovely friendly atmosphere. Again thanks to those who helped. “Ron from Chewton’, one of our regulars won the fruit cake for the lucky stall holder and Elsie Barkla was very surprised to find that we had invested some of her donation in the raffle and she was the lucky recipient of the fruit cake and Easter goodies.



In the middle of last year, John Neall and Janet Trudgeon put in an application to the Small Equipment for Volunteers from the Federal Government for a grant to buy a ride-on mower. The courthouse is leased from Mount Alexander Shire and we are responsible for its maintenance inside and out. That includes cutting the grass which is always a problem. We were delighted to get news that in the second round,

our application was approved! Now all we need is for the toilet/storage facility that we have been in negotiation with the council for some considerable time, to be built so that we have somewhere to house it!



Our annual meeting is on April 16th at the courthouse at 8 pm. As usual there will be the election of office bearers and a guest speaker. This year one of our members and a relation of Miss Mackie, Rosalie Jacobs will talk about the person who so kindly bequeathed the book collection to us.



At last year’s Family History Expo at Ballarat at which the theme was sport, a talk was given by one of the Tinetti family who run Cricket Willow at Hepburn. It is a fascinating story and we have arranged an excursion to be told about it and to see the process of making cricket bats. In recent times the bat-maker that made the bats for Adam Gilchrist in the last World Cup has joined forces with the family. There will be a charge of $6 but it should be a very popular occasion. We will leave promptly at 1.30 pm so that we can arrive there at 2 pm. Everyone is welcome and we able to take our own provisions for a cuppa afterwards.



At the end of last year we realised that the society had been in existence for 20 years so we decided to celebrate the fact with a 21st anniversary this year. After discussion at this month’s meeting we have made some decisions. We are going to have an afternoon tea at the Mechanics’ Institute on Saturday 13th October. This will give us a chance to look at records and to make contact with as many former members as possible.



Here is part of the email that we sent to Roy Brown who was seeking information on the war grave of John Ritchie Wattie near Glasgow.

“When your email was passed on to us we consulted our information and soon found that it was indeed Newstead, Victoria that he came from. As you had already found out, he was the eldest of a large family. We think there were 11 children  - John Ritchie being the eldest and Thomas George the youngest - 20 years his junior. Thomas George also went to the war but in 1919, he arrived safely back in Newstead.

There is mention of 5 of the sibling's marriages in the local paper and indeed I have just had a phone call from a relative to say that Mabel Alice married Ern Barkla. There are still members of the Barkla family here.

We were also able to access information about his War record. We have details of the events that led to his receiving the Military Medal. We can pass it on to you or you can access it yourself from . His parents had predeceased him and his next of kin was a brother.

 An interesting article in the local paper in 1908 is an obituary for his father. "....Mr James Wattie passed away aged 63 years. He was a Scotsman, and arrived in the colony when quite a young man. Very large framed, he was of splendid physique and strong in proportion. He first came to Newstead 40 years ago and in the days when Kyd and Mackie were flourishing merchants and flour millers, he was their waggoner. It is said of that he could easily carry a bag of flour under each arm....."

 So we have the son of a Scot dying in Scotland. And now we have a Scot interested enough to enquire about a lonely grave. Thanks to your efforts, John Ritchie Wattie has been in our thoughts 87 years later.”


We have been told that we will soon have a photo of John Ritchie Wattie given to us.


Dawn Angliss Secretary 54762006    Derek Reid President 54762274

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