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This two-day event run by Central Highlands Historical Society at Aquinas College Ballarat is held annually and this year the theme was ‘This Sporting Life’. Each year the quality of displays has risen and the competition for the best display is indeed to be prized. Congratulations to the winners, Bacchus Marsh who were able to display the records and equipment associated with their Rifle Club that had been in existence for 137 years. They were able to have on show the uniforms and even the gun and sword that had been used. The event provides the various participants with a chance to liase with like-minded individuals and to see other societies are working. It is amazing that we all have our own directions and agendas and there is always something to be learned.

This year one of the lectures over the weekend was by the Tinetti family who run Cricket Willow near Daylesford. The story of Cricket Willow is a fascinating one and it interested us enough that we intend to have an excursion there early next year.



The big day was November 12th. The groundwork had all been done so on the day it was just a matter of arranging chairs (not too many in case not a lot turn up and the empty chairs look bad!) and get the kitchen ready to serve the afternoon tea. There was then time to have lunch at Dig Café along with Adrian Haas and his guests. By the time 2 pm came around the empty chairs began to fill and it was a matter of wheeling in the reserves! Visitors from our district and also from out of town who were interested in the story of the mechanics’ movement came out in force and were treated to interesting information by our guest Pam Baragwanath about the mechanics’ movement in general and from author Adrian Haas about the Newstead Mechanics’ Institute history.

At the conclusion there was a chance to buy the book, to have it signed and also to socialise over a ‘cuppa’ or a wine from Chapple’s winery. Special thanks to Pam, to Graffiti Press, to Cherie Lawton for her organization and of course to Adrian Haas. It was a day to enjoy and be proud of.

By the way if anyone would like a copy, contact Cherie on 54751566. The books are $20 and the postage is $5.



The response to our call for the raffle was wonderful - a big thankyou to all! The Christmas hamper looked a treat and was so heavy that it needed a strong person to carry it. The weather on the day was just right after giving us a scare earlier in the week when Peter Skilbeck reported snow on the tower on Mount Tarrengower! Without Giselle and John Neall, everyone took on extra tasks and the day went smoothly. The organisers report that the profit will be between $900 and $1,000. The winner of the fruitcake for the lucky stallholder was Donna Tinkler and the Christmas Hamper was the gentleman who has the adjoining stall to ours and who comes without fail each year. Dave Clark provided the music and had an extra surprise with the bagpipe player who had those with Scottish ancestry giving their approval.



After the market, the venue changed to the courthouse where we had arranged to meet the visitors from Fitzroy. Rose Chong who is a member of both our societies arranged this. We were able to explain the working at Newstead, show some of our collection as well as some of the wonderful books we had bequeathed to us and offer them afternoon tea. Then Rose had arranged to show the visitors the ‘Precipice’ on her property and some of us went as well with our photo of the ‘Ragged Thirteen’ and its connection to that particular spot. It was interesting to hear that Fitzroy Historical Society does not have a headquarters and collection. They kindly donated a book on the Fitzroy Public Library and invited us to visit them in the future.



Wonderful news came in the mail this week when we received a letter from Public Records Office telling us that we were successful in getting a grant for $5,000 to purchase microfilm copies of the Mount Alexander Mail from 1904 to 1960. We had recently purchased copies from the Mail’s beginnings to 1903 and this next lot will make a substantial collection. Thanks to the efforts of one of our members, Margaret Di Fiore, we have an index on computer of articles in the paper that concern the area of the old Newstead Shire. With this we are able to provide visitors and ourselves with the information about events or people. However it was then difficult to access the article itself. Now with the benefit of our microfilm and our reader-printer, it will all be at our fingertips.



The courthouse will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day but on the other Mondays will be open during morning and afternoon. Although our times of opening are advertised from 9.30 till noon, there have been members in attendance for afternoon hours as well. With several people wanting to access the ‘good’ computer and the readers, it has been a juggling act to make the best use of them. If anyone is interested in a project of reading a selection of newspapers and noting information that other members then type onto computer, there is an opportunity to do so. Janet Trudgeon is currently working on the 1907 Echo, and Dawn Angliss has started doing the 1913 Echo. It is a fascinating exercise guaranteed to really give you an insight into another era of Newstead’s past. We have to share the reader so the chance is there to do it at a time to suit you.

The next meeting is at 1.30 pm at the courthouse on January 15th 2007.


Dawn Angliss



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