While organising Western District Families new pages, the blog posts have been neglected. So I thought I would give you an update on what’s happening at WDF and let you know of some family and local history events coming up in the Western District.
Hamilton WW1 Memorials
The Hamilton’s WW1 pages have had a boost with the addition of the WW1 Memorials of Hamilton. Currently only outdoor memorials are included but I would like to move on to the various honour rolls around the town. On each page, you can now view photos of the memorials and the names of those remembered. If a soldier’s name is underlined on the any of the memorial pages, you can click on the name to read that soldier’s profile. The memorials are:
Anzac Memorial Planting
Australian Light Horse Memorial
Clarke Street Memorial Avenue
Hamilton Sailors and Soldiers Father’s Association Memorial
Hamilton War Memorial
There are now forty-eight Hamilton soldier profiles available. The most recent additions are Military Medal recipient, Arthur Percy Bell Underwood, along with Edgar Richmond Stevenson who was killed in Belgium on 4 October 1917. His brother Alexander John Stevenson died of wounds eleven days later and I’m working on his profile.
AUSTRALIAN LIGHT HORSE MEMORIAL, HAMILTON
Western District Families’ Facebook page has now passed 1500 ‘likes’ which is well beyond my expectations. It’s been great to connect with people who may not have found the blog otherwise. I have also enjoyed the personal accounts that come when I post photos of Western District historic buildings and homesteads. The interest in history is also great to see.
That interest is evident with the Facebook group I set up, I’ve Lived in Hamilton, Victoria. It is going from strength to strength, now with close to 4,500 members. We have thousands of photos of Hamilton’s past and great stories to go with them. Even if you haven’t lived in Hamilton, but may have family links there, you are most welcome to join and ask questions. There are many people willing to help answer questions about Hamilton’s past.
I updated all the links on the Western District Families Links page recently so, fingers crossed, they are all working now. If you find a link anywhere across the blog that doesn’t work, please feel free to contact me. There are so many over the 300+ posts, it gets hard to keep track of them.
It’s a privilege to have Western District Families now archived at Pandora, Australia’s web archive. The National Library of Australia started Pandora and since its beginnings, the State libraries have joined in preserving websites with Australian content. It was from the State Library of Victoria that I heard the news. It’s reassuring to know that Western District Families will still be available for all to read into the future, even if WordPress disappears.
Mortlake Historical Society – Hatches Matches and Dispatches
Join the Mortlake Historical Society on Sunday 18 October for a tour of Mortlake’s bluestone churches, such as the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian church (below). More information is available on the Mortlake Historical Society’s Facebook Events page. Give the society’s page a “like” while you are there and support one of the most active societies in Western Victoria.
There are two memories I have when I pass the intersection of Hiller Lane and Ballarat Road in Hamilton. The first is a fall from my bolting pony at the intersection in 1975, metres from the Hamilton Pastoral Museum fence on one corner of the intersection. That’s were the other memory comes in.
The Hamilton Pastoral Museum was born in the same year as me, 1968, which is seems right because it’s where I first got the idea I liked history. The museum is under 500 metres from where I grew up, so I used to walk or ride my bike up the road when the museum was open for a rally.
The little church below, was originally the St Luke’s Lutheran Church built in 1861. One of the early pastors was Pastor C.G. Hiller, hence the name of the lane, and his manse still stands just across the road from the museum. I remember when I first stepped inside the church, sometime around 1976, and was taken back to the district’s pioneer past with a collection of household objects and the like, all once common place but new to me. Outside the church, steam engines chugged and men in hats admired old tractors and farming equipment. I loved it.
The Pastoral Museum collection has grown out around the church over the years and is a credit to the volunteers. In 2017, they will host the National Historical Machinery Association annual rally.
The museum holds three rallies each year with the next on Saturday and Sunday 17 and 18 October. The theme of the weekend is Horse Power. You can see heavy horses, a tractor pull, machinery demonstrations, a blacksmith and much more. Further information is available on the Hamilton Pastoral Museum Facebook page.
While you’re there, less than 500 metres on from the museum is the Hamilton South Lutheran cemetery on the Chatsworth Road. It’s also well worth a visit, especially to see the impressive Noske family vault.
Terang Historic Homes
As part of History Week 2015, on 25 October from 1:00pm you can take part in an a self-guided walk/drive of Terang’s historic homes including Keayang, below. More details from the Terang & District Historical Society website. They also have a Facebook page, so drop by and give it a “like” – Terang & District Historical Society Facebook page.
Mt Rouse Historical Society, Penshurst – Open day
The Mt. Rouse Historical Society at Penshurst is another active Western District society. On Saturday 24 October, the society is holding their spring Open Day. There will be memorabilia from the Penshurst Butter Factory, historic maps, photos and histories. Also, you can take part in a guided tour of the historic town and have chance to win a society membership. For more information, go to the Mt Rouse Historical Society, Penshurst Facebook page. Give them a “like” too.
While in Penshurst take a trip to the top of Mt. Rouse and wonder at the beautiful landscape. In one direction you will see the Grampians, in another Mt. Napier one of the district volcanoes. And if you want to know more about the volcanoes, Penshurst is also home to the Volcano Discovery Centre, another great place to visit.
LOOKING OVER PENSHURST FROM MT.ROUSE.
Unlock the Past Horsham Seminar
Exciting news for family history researchers of Western Victoria, especially those researching their German heritage. Unlock the Past are holding a seminar in Horsham on 31 October with a focus on German, English and Australian research.
I’m sure there are many of you with Western District family links who also have some German heritage. Many German immigrants travelled from South Australia to Western Victoria settling at places such as Tabor and Hochkirch (Tarrington). Living in Hamilton, German surnames are common place and its sad to consider what the grand-parents and great-parents of Hamilton’s German descendants endured during of WW1. The WW1 profile of Bernard Herrmann gives evidence of that. His mother Caroline, born in Australia of German parents, sent three sons to fight for the British Empire, with one, Bernard never to return. Yet at home in Hochkirch and surrounding settlements, Caroline and others of German descent were suffering shocking persecution, including a change in the name of Hochkirch to Tarrington in 1918.
The Unlock the Past seminar in Horsham is a great chance to hear two experts, Eric and Rosemary Kopittke, speak on the subject of German research. And what a bargain. A $20 fee includes a two-course lunch, morning and afternoon tea. I’ve been to an Unlock the Past event and had a great time. They are professionally organised and lots of fun, you might even win a prize. For more information and the full seminar program, go to the Unlock The Past website.