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Thank you so much for the wonderful response to our Christmas Hamper raffle. We are humbled by the generous donations and prompt return of the ticket monies. The Hamper is coming along well and the lucky winner should be pleased with the goodies he or she has to share among family and friends at Christmas.

Behind the scenes arrangements are well in hand and thanks go to Giselle and John Neall who won’t be here to help us this year but have been compiling lists and assembling all the ingredients so that things will run smoothly on the day. It will be a particularly busy day as we will play hosts to the Fitzroy Historical Society who hope to arrive mid-morning and after sampling the delights at Rotunda Park will meet with us in the courthouse at 1.30 pm to see how our society is organised and to view our collection. If anyone is available to join us at the courthouse, you will be most welcome. This visit has been the organised by one of our members, Rose Chong, who also is a member of the Fitzroy Historical Society.



Before the Market though we have a most auspicious occasion! On Sunday 12th of November at the Newstead Mechanics’ Institute, there will be the long awaited launch of the book “The Newstead Mechanics’ Institute – Its Role in the Life of a Central Victorian Community”. Pam Baragwanath, who wrote the book “If The Walls Could Speak” about Mechanics’ Institutes in Victoria, will be here to launch the book. Adrian Haas has done a wonderful job as author and then kindly passed the manuscript to our society to do as we wished. It has been a learning experience for the society but a great effort by one of our members, Cherie Lawton. Cherie is doing a writing course and this project has worked in well with her syllabus. We are indebted to the publishers, Graffiti Press in Castlemaine who eased our concerns and nursed us successfully through the process. The result is a book of which we are very proud. To do it justice a fine launch is arranged. As well as hearing our guest speaker and author, those who come can enjoy a wine tasting of local wines and we will be providing afternoon tea. Visitors can then can buy a book for $20 and get it signed by the author!



This is the theme for the Ballarat Family History Expo run by Central Highlands Historical Association this year. It has been a challenge to come up with a display to take with us on the weekend of October 28th and 29th. Each year, Public Records Office provides prizes for the best display and much thought and effort is concentrated by the Societies who attend. This year we have decided to list the diverse number of sports that have been participated in, in this our area that encompasses the old Shire of Newstead. Some of those that we have discovered are coursing, quoits (iron and rope), sparrow shooting, tilting, angling, badminton, cycling, croquet, foot racing, golf, lawn bowls, marching girls, netball, pigeon shooting, polo, horse racing, rifle club, swimming, and skating. The rules of coursing have been most enlightening to read. It was not just a matter of two dogs off after a hare and the first to catch it wins! Points were awarded for a dog that passed another and led by a length and to the way that the dogs turned a corner etc. If the prizes reflected the esteem in which it was held, coursing was a very elite sport indeed. The same could be said for quoits. This was one of the earliest sports mentioned in the local papers; prizes of twenty five pounds were given and contestants came from many miles away to compete. Tilting was a game that was played on horseback. The contestant apparently had a lance and would attempt to collect a number of rings that hung from a support. A winner of the Stawell gift has lived in Newstead (Bert Evans who won in 1919) and also a winner of the Queen’s medal for shooting (Peter Tainsh). The site of the rifle range has now been overgrown by the bush but it is still possible to see signs of the butts and distinguish the trenches from where the targets were held aloft. 

All in all the society learns a lot about our own area when we come to mount these displays. Some other snippets that have come to light are that carpet bowls was mentioned in the paper in 1927 and skating was being engaged in at Guildford in 1905. Cycling began in 1898 and there was a strange incident of the lost cricket ball at Yandoit. According to the Echo on the 5th of July 1949, “about 35 years ago a cricket ball was lost in a tree at Yandoit. Recently when the tree was felled and a limb split open, the ball, one of the old composition type, was found in a good state of preservation in a hollow limb. The ball was lost when a cricket match was being played in 1914 near the site of Loddon Bridge Hotel which stood near the present bridge over the Jim Crow Creek. A player hit the ball into a gum tree and it was never found. Mr G Satori recently felled the tree and the ball rolled out of the hollow limb which he split”.




Saturday & Sunday 28th and 29th October at Aquinas College Ballarat – Family History Expo “This Sporting Life”


Sunday November 12th at the Newstead Mechanics’ Institute at 2 pm – launch of “Newstead Mechanics’ Institute – Its Role in the life of a Central Victorian Community”


Saturday at Rotunda Park 8.30 – noon Newstead Market


Saturday at courthouse at 1.30 pm - -visit by Fitzroy Historical Society


Monday 20th November – meeting at the courthouse at 1.30 pm.


Derek Reid  - President 54762274

Dawn Angliss – Secretary 54762006

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