Aspects of Early Blackwood


The Goldfields, The Landmarks, The Pioneers.


Alan J Buckingham & Margot F Hitchcock

82 pages – 19 Photographs

125 years of History.

The Goldfields, The Landmarks, The Pioneers.

COST – $15.00


82 pages – 19 Photographs  –  125 years of History.

aspectsofearlyblackwoodcover To order copies of Margot’s book and read about the Gold-mining history of Blackwood, Victoria Contact Margot by email – click here

If posted add $2 extra for postage in Victoria..

STOP PRESS –   Buy your copies at the Blackwood Historical Society Museum, or Blackwood Post Office or the Garden of St. Erth, Blackwood  or by contacting  the author – Margot by email – click here

 Historical Exhibition Open DayBlackwood Historical Society Museum, Greendale to Trentham Road, Blackwood, corner of Warner Street..  

Museum open to the public from 12 noon – 2.00pm. 1st Staurday of each month.

General Historical meeting 10.30 – 12 – new members welcome.

**** AS FROM SATURDAY 30TH JUNE 2018 THE HISTORICAL MUSEUM WILL BE OPEN ON MOST SATURDAY MORNINGS FROM 11am – 1pm – unless members cannot be there.  (if planning to go check with the Secretary Elizabeth Hall on 53 686 537 to make sure the Museum will be open).

*****As in keeping with other Historical societies, we welcome enquiries about family or local history, which should be made by contacting the Historian at . The cost of this service is appreciated with a small monetary donation for the time and information required.


• • • • •












Margot F Hitchcock

Historian for the Blackwood & District Historical Society.



The Blackwood Historical Society Museum Greendale to Trentham Road, Blackwood.  Museum open to the public from 11.00am – 4.00pm Sunday 8th March 2015.

Please note – to the overseas people who try to post rubbish/trash  comments on my page, they will be put in the Spam box and not posted – so don’t waste my time.

72 thoughts on “Aspects of Early Blackwood

  1. Does your book have any information on the Anderson family, they lived in Blackwood for many years and also had a Saw Mill which i understand was lost in the bush fires in the 1930s.

    • Hi Janet, yes I do have info on the Anderson family in my records and will be in my next book and photos.. email me and I can give you more info..Margot..

          • Hi Pauline,
            If you can give me the names I will see what I can find for you ..
            I do have some info on a CHARLES JOHN FENN and his wife JANE CHANDLER, are they yours..?????
            I have some Fenn names in my Digger Birth death and marriage records – do you have these records..
            if I can help you now please get back to me

            Margot Hitchcock
            Blackwood & District Historical Society

    • Alexander Anderson was my great grandfather, he married Elizabeth Prynn who was born in Blackwood in 1858. Her parents arrived from Cornwall to Port Phillip on Reliance, on the 19th March 1850 with an infant son John. Look forward to seeing the new book, i use the 1st “Aspects of early Blackwood” for some research i do into the area.

      • thanks Tony for your comment. My new book release is as follows –
        Margot Hitchcock, Historian for the Blackwood and District Historical Society, launched her self-published 3rd book on the history of Blackwood on Easter Sunday 2014 at the Blackwood Historical Society’s Museum.
        The book ‘The Tragedy of Billy Pincombe’ is a true story of Murder, Mania and Madness that happened with the tragic shootings of a minister and Billy Pincombe at Blackwood, Victoria. Historical true crime. The events that lead to the institutionalization of one person for Religious Mania after she chopped off her right hand, and the shooting of two people in Blackwood, over one hundred years ago in 1908. The A5 book has 178 pages with index and 55 photos, and sells at $17 plus $2 postage.
        My next book – ‘The History and Pioneers of Blackwood’ will hopefully be published when I get a Grant to pay for the printing. thanks, Margot Hitchcock.

      • Hi Tony,
        I am a descendant of the Prynn’s/Graham’s and can forward you further information on their lineage including your Great Grandfather from Cornwall/Bodmin to Blackwood, Victoria, Australia.

  2. I am researching Susannah Edlington and Alexander Raitt. Susannah was born in Blackwood approx 1865 and married at the Red Hill Church on 6th Oct, 1885. I have not been able to find anything else about her or Alexander, who was born in Scotland. Do you have any ideas of where i can look. I live in WA, so it has to be online. Thanks

  3. Do you have any info on family O”Rafferty who had child Alice Georgiana O Rafferty in 1865 in Blackwood. Her parents Alice Georgina or Georgiana nee Price and her husband Thomas ORafferty, gold miner etc.

    • Hi Heather – Digger records I have are that Alice Georgina O’Raffaety (sp in record) was born in Blackwood in 1862 not 1865, father Thomas and mother Alice Price.. Reg no. 12912. if you want a copy of the birth cert. go to the B D & M records on-line and put in reg no. I also found the birth of her brother Thomas James O’Rafferty in 1865 at Blue Mount which is just north of Blackwood. reg no. 13611. Also death of the mother – Alice Georgina O’Rafferty in 1883 age 37 yrs at East Ballarat with father as James Price and mother Ann Goff. Reg no. 4006. Have you tried searching their names in Trove on-line.????
      I have not found any other records in my current books on Blackwood but if I do will let you know.. Hope this helps..
      thanks, Margot Hitchcock. Historian. BDHS.

  4. Hello I am researching a woman named Bessie Harrison Lee, later named Bessie Cowie. She was born in Daylesford in 1860 and was involved in leading the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. I have been reseraching her life as part of a PhD and was wondering if a WCTU existed in Blackwood and whether anyone would have heard of her visiting this region. She toured many country towns. Thank-you

    • Hi Jenny, have you seen this while searching on the Internet –
      Lee, Betsy (Bessie) (1860–1950)
      by Ann M. Mitchell
      This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (MUP), 1986
      Betsy (Bessie) Lee (1860-1950), temperance evangelist, was born on 10 June 1860 at Daylesford, Victoria, daughter of Henry Vickery, butcher and miner, and his wife Emma Susan, née Dungey. Her mother died of consumption in 1868 and her father was unable to keep his five children together. Bessie was sent to Melbourne relations who mistreated her during their bouts of drunkenness. In 1869 she went to Enoch’s Point and the care of another uncle and his wife of stern principles and no sympathy for the young.
      The lonely child had little formal schooling, but she read voraciously, began to write verse and also experienced religious conversion before her teens. A miner, Robert Lee, introduced her at 17 to his younger brother Harrison (Harry), whom she married on 14 March 1880 at St Peter’s Church of England, Melbourne. The Lees lived mainly in a depressed area of Richmond. For most of his life Harrison Lee was a shift worker with the railways, which left the young and childless Bessie with time on her hands and a propensity to dwell on her constant ill health.
      The marriage was not a success. Lee did not approve of his wife’s ecstatic social conscience. She began Sunday school classes and sick visiting. She toured slums, refuges and gaols with Dr John Singleton. She went to hear the evangelist, Mrs Hampson, about 1883 and soon afterwards launched on her own career of public speaking. In 1884 the American temperance lecturers, Booth and Glover of the Blue Ribbon Gospel Temperance Army, won her into the active prohibition camp. She helped to pioneer the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in Victoria in 1887 but fell into disfavour because of her uncomfortable belief in the sinfulness of all sexual intercourse that had no procreative intention. Leaving the executive of the W.C.T.U. she accepted the sponsorship of the powerful Victorian Alliance for the Suppression of the Liquor Traffic in 1890-96, and fought district local option battles over whether numbers of hotels should be reduced, maintained or increased. Besides incessant travelling, speech-making and pledge-taking, she wrote copiously for daily newspapers and the temperance press. She acknowledged heavenly direction as a speaker and was admired for her fluency and sincerity; she reacted well under pressure and attracted a following, mainly of women, who slaved for her. With no income of her own, she was dependent on the generosity of temperance supporters.
      1896 saw the first of her countless trips abroad, principally to Britain, New Zealand and the United States of America. Harrison Lee died on 17 January 1908. When this news reached Andrew Cowie, a well-to-do farmer of Winton, New Zealand, he wrote offering marriage. A widower with a large grown-up family, Cowie had been attracted by Mrs Lee’s effective campaigning. He agreed to her terms and, after a brief resistance, Bessie gave in and they were married at Winton on 17 November 1908. Auckland became Mrs Lee Cowie’s headquarters between globe-trotting expeditions. Andrew Cowie died on 10 December 1928 aged 82, and Bessie entered the final phase of her career. In New Zealand, where she was a foundation member of the United Labour Party, she had resumed office in the W.C.T.U. and was appointed a world missionary. She spent some years in Hawaii before settling at Pasadena, California. In 1947 her last campaign brought her national headlines in America. She died at Pasadena on 18 April 1950. Her written works include Marriage and Heredity (Melbourne, 1893), One of Australia’s Daughters: an Autobiography (London, 1906) and One of God’s Lamplighters: Incidents in my Life Work (London, 1909).
      Select Bibliography
       J. Cocker and J. M. Murray (eds), Temperance and Prohibition in New Zealand (Lond, 1930)
       Alliance Record, 1 Feb 1902
       Pasadena Star News, 19, 20 Apr 1950
       New Zealand Herald, 24 Apr 1950
       A. M. Mitchell, Temperance and the Liquor Question in Later Nineteenth Century Victoria (M.A. thesis, University of Melbourne, 1966).
      Citation details
      Ann M. Mitchell, ‘Lee, Betsy (Bessie) (1860–1950)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 September 2013.
      This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (MUP), 1986.
      Also found another article which you may want to look at.
      Story: Cowie, Bessie Lee
      Page 1 – Biography

      Bessie Lee (later Cowie), 1906
      Cowie, Bessie Lee
      Temperance campaigner, social reformer, lecturer, writer…
      The only reference I have in my Blackwood records to date is the Royal Mail Hotel in Golden Point, Blackwood which became a Temperance House after it was relicensed in 1914 where they took in guests only.
      hope some of this helps, Margot Hitchcock. Historian. B.D.H.S.

  5. Dear Margot, I am trying to get some details of my descendants that lived in the Blackwood area. Emma Barnard. I have a book with Sarah Barnard, August 29 1899 and Emma Barnard August 27 1899, Back creek, Blackwood written inside the cover. The book is The Royal School Series, No. V. THE ROYAL READERS, from London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, Edinburgh and New York 1879. I presume this was a school book. Do you have any information about the Barnard family in your books ? I just spent the Melbourne Cup weekend in Blackwood at the caravan park but I could not get your book at the Post Office. Thanks, Wayne Clarke

    • Thanks Wayne for your enquiry,
      Back Creek is in Simmons Reef, Blackwood, and there was a school in Simmons Reef No.568. The school was opened in 1855. In the Digger records I found Sarah Barnard born in Blackwood in 1869 reg no. 940.. father John Barnard and mother Elizabeth Bell – you can get her birth cert. on-line if you want it. Also Emma born Blackwood 1872 to John Barnard and Elizabeth Noble no. 842. Also a Lydia born Blackwood 1868 no. 1067 to John & Elizabeth Bell.. so that places them in Blackwood as early as 1868. The school closed in 1893, due to lack of mining in the area. In my “Aspects of Early Blackwood” book I have the name of Barnard as children attending the school.
      Sorry they must have sold out of my books in the Blackwood post office… I will have to get more to them. If you want to purchase my book I can post one to you.
      hope this helps.. let me know if you want more info.
      Margot Hitchcock
      Blackwood & District Historical Society

  6. Hello Margot,
    I would be interested to know the locations and see any photographs of any chinese market gardens found in Blackwood. Was wondering if you knew of any.


    • Hi Luise, yes there was a Chinese Market Garden in Blackwood. It is now the Blackwood Sports Ground. You can read about it on page 18 on my “Aspects of Early Blackwood” book. The Chinese sold the land in 1889 to the Blackwood United Cricket Club and it became a Recreation Reserve. If you want to know any more email me.. thanks,
      Margot Hitchcock, Historian, Blackwood & District Historical Society

  7. Hi margot,
    Just equireing about a couple by the name of norrie and bon tanner who lived there during those times. I have vague memories of what my nan norma brown or condon would say about them and visiting the cottege which was powered by logs couldvyou please confirm some or any of this

  8. Hello margot, I am researching my family history for my grandfather (edward maloney). His mother was a ‘Kate birrane’ from the woodend area. I have managed to trace back this family line to the original birrane family based in fryers creek in the 1850’s. have you come across any informantion in regards to a ‘Darby birrane’ who I know had a minors right in Blackwood in 1856. His wife was Mary birrane (nee Ryan). I have birth and death certificates which I am more than happy to share with you if you are interested.
    Thank you
    Kate mace (nee Maloney)

    • Hi Kate, yes I am happy for you to share your info on the certs with me for our Blackwood Historical Society.. do you have access to the Digger records.. I found Jeremiah married to Mary Ryan and 6 children born to them – some in the Woodend area. but no Darby – could these be yours..? also a Catherine Birrane married a Thomas O’Donnell in 1877. I will email you if I find any more info.
      thank you
      Margot Hitchcock
      Blackwood & District Historical Society

  9. Hi Margot,
    I was Wondering if you knew anything about the Shaw family that used to live in blackwood.

    If Its any help the Shaws lake in blackwood was named after my ancestor Joseph Shaw or any one of his sons/daughters.

    Much appreciated if you could help and if it is all in your book could you tell me how much you have wrote about it in your book.


    • Hi Damien, yes I do know about the Shaw family – I have a section in my “Aspects of Early Blackwood” book about the Shaw family and have a photo of their son Richard Shaw in my book. The log cabins the brothers built as still there in Blackwood. if I can help further let me know, thanks Margot

      • Thanks a heap Margot,

        This helps a lot and i think im going to buy your book soon.

        Also Do you have any information On the son of Joseph Shaw, Named William Shaw, do you know where he is buried?


        • Hi Damien, yes I do have info on William Shaw son of Joseph Shaw and Ann Lamb died at Blackwood 18 July 1927 age 68 yrs and was buried in the Blackwood cemetery in same grave as Elizabeth Shaw who died 15 Aug 1939 age 69- C of E section 0 allot 9. her parents were Matthew Barbour and Isabella Ross.. are these your relatives.? hope this helps, Margot

          • Thanks Margot,
            Yes they are my relatives, Thanks.
            One more question do you have any pictures of William Shaw or Joseph Shaw.
            Also i thought the family plot with Joseph and Ann Shaw was in Romsey along with a few of the kids.

            Did not know about William though.

            Thanks Again,

          • Thanks Margot,

            Yes they are my family.
            i was just wondering if you also happened to know if there are any surviving photos of William Shaw or Joseph Shaw.

            Also do you know if there are still any Shaw’s living in the area still (just wanting to know what happened to the rest of the family).

            One last question why is the grave for Joseph Shaw in Romsey yet the grave for William is in Blackwood??

            Thanks Again,

          • Hi Damien, no I don’t have any photos of William Shaw or Joseph Shaw. But a lady called Gwen Davie was writing a book on the Shaw family and she contacted me back in 1980.. but I don’t know the name of the book or it she ever had one printed.

            Also see Blackwood cemetery records – it only shows the graves with headstones tho.. also see a photo of Shaws Lake on the front page of the Blackwood magazine..
            I guess if Joseph Shaw died in Romsey that’s why he was buried there and William died in blackwood I guess..
            I don’t know of any of the family still in the Blackwood area.
            To read more info on them I guess you would have to buy my Áspects of Early Blackwood “book..! hope this helps,
            thanks, Margot

  10. Hello Margot, I am researching my Skinner family history, would your book have information of Edwin Skinner-Death 25 May 1876 in Barry’s Reef, Blackwood, or family ? My thanks, Julie

    • I have info on the Skinner family and their mine – the Easter Monday mine in Blackwood in my Simmons Reef Book and also “Aspects of Early Blackwood” and from my next unpublished book “Some History and Pioneers of Blackwood” I have some info on Edwin Skinner.. Edwin Skinner Snr. died in 1876 age 47 yrs and his parents were Edwin Skinner and Elizabeth Wicks.. born in Devonshire. there were 9 children born to Edwin Skinner and Elizabeth Wicks – have you got this info..?
      hope this helps, Margot

  11. Hello,
    I am doing some research for friends on the Rowett family – had various hotels in the area – one being British Hotel at Barrys reef . Wondered if you covered this area and if you have any information on the Rowett family or photos of the Hotel.
    Any assistance would be appreciated

    • Hi Meredith, I have records of a James Rowett married to a Catherine Thomas in 1860 and a number of children born in Barrys Reef Blackwood according to the Digger records. Do you have these records..?? There is a report on James Rowett in the book ‘Hotel & Hotelkeepers of Blackwood’. have you read this book..?? I do have some early photos of Barrys Reef, but not sure if the British Hotel is shown – it was opposite the Sultana mine shaft.. If you need any more info let me know. hope this helps, Margot

  12. Hi Margot,
    My name is Anthony Burrows. I am the great great grandson of JW Burrows. I came across altter addressed to you from my grandfather Charlie Burrows and would be interested in finding out about the early Burrows history. Hope I have the right person.

  13. Hi my name is paul and I’m the owner of 980 green dale trent ham rd in black wood and I’m just wondering if you have any history on this property been told that sections of the house are over 100 years old. The property name was invermay and I’ve found several old brick foundations all over the property as well as blue stone footings any help would be appreciate d

    • Hi Paul, no I’m sorry I don’t know which property that is nor do I have info on it but if you go to the Historical society Museum when it is open on the 1st Sat of the month and ask the president he may know something. thanks Margot BDHS.

  14. Hi Margot, my name is Melissa and I am looking for information about the Melrose Sawmill which I understand was on the corner of MtBlackwood Rd and Greendale-Trentham Rd. I recently purchased a property that I have heard is the site of this old mill. Are you aware of any information relating to this site? Thanks.

    • Hi Melissa, I have heard of Melrose Sawmill but sorry I have no info on it but if you go to the Historical Society Museum on the 1st Sat on the month between 11-12 and ask for the president Allan he may know info on it. I’ve looked in my book Timber and Gold by Norm Houghton on Sawmills in the Blackwood area but there is no reference to it.
      thanks, Margot BDHS

  15. Dear Margot, I am researching George Rice and Margaret Rice nee O’Halloran who lived in Blackwood. George died in Blackwood in June 1864. He was a carrier. Lawrence , (their son aged 14, a miner) died on 9th May 1857at Mt. Blackwood (crushed by the occillating of a drag). George was a butcher. Would they be mentioned in your book? Kind regards LIz

  16. Hello Admin,
    I’ve just enjoyed reading all the Q&A’s in this blog. What wonderful information has transpired between you and your readers and enquiriers.
    I used to spend all my summer holidays in the 60s at my grandmothers house on Golden Point Rd. Her name was Beatrice Wall (nee Stewart). We’d pan for gold & rubies and swim in the creek at the pool past the forde.
    I believe that Wall Road that runs behind the property was named after the Walls that lived in that house.
    I am a direct line descendant of John b.1820 & William Wall b.1844 as well as John Stewart, b.1843, Tas, and Joseph Shaw b.1826. Do any of these people or their descendants appear in yr books.
    Also I believe that John Wall & his wife Sarah (nee Darrall) are buried in the Blackwood Cemetery but I’ve looked and if so, they are in an unmarked grave. Do you have any knowledge of how I would find out the location of their graves.
    Kind regards, Bill Wall

    • Hi Bill, I have the names of 8 Wall people buried in the Blackwood cemetery but no John or Sarah. What year did they die..?? I also have a photo of Mrs Wall and her children outside her house in Wall street with their pet kangaroo. I have info on the Wall and Shaw family in my Aspects of Early Blackwood, and my new book The History & Pioneers of blackwood as yet unpublished.
      thanks, Margot Hitchcock

    • I was interested to read that Bill Wall was a direct descendant of a John Stewart. I have been trying to find out as much as I can about an Alexander Stewart, born c1819 and who married a Catherine Murphy in Geelong 1852, Alexander died near Heywood in 1866 aged 47. Alexander is my g/g/grandfather. Wondering if maybe there is a connection somewhere along the line.
      Thank you
      Gail Williamson

      • HI Gail
        thanks for your query on my web page. I have a lot of info on the Wall family but not on the Stewart family – I have Digger record of 3 children born to Alexander Stewart and Catherine Murphy –
        Catherine Ann born Bine… 1860, Jane born Tera… 1863 and another Catherine died age 1 yr in 1858. Alexander married Catherine Murphy in 1852 in Geelong, C of E church – Reg no 23712….
        if a previous post on my web page shows a connection I think the best thing is for you to contact each other .. I have emailed him too to see if he can help you
        hope this helps, Margot BDHS

  17. Hi Pauline,
    I’ve just been reading your blog and came across this thread. I’m sure I sent a separate email to you but for the sake good order on this topic I emailed Gail Williamson and advised her that I cannot see any connection between John Stewart and the person she is searching.
    Rgds, Bill Wall

  18. Hello Margot, hope this finds you well. Looking forward to your new work on pioneers….have been a bit ill, but am back at uni now….last year…I hope…..have found your info and photos invaluable – all are referenced to you and BDHS in my drafts throughout the text, bibliography and in acknowledgements….so again, a huge thankyou. I’d like to come and visit you one day when it suits you – just for quick cuppa, so give me a hoy when you are next free.
    xxx Max

  19. Hi I came across you site while tracing out my own history. I am a descendent of Andrew and Marie Harper who came to Australia in 1841 with 3 sons Paul, Samuel and Henry. John Phillip Harper’s daughter Margret Ellen married Arthur George Cann and had a son Ralph. They built the Hotel at (Mount) Blackwood.
    Henry Anderson Harper married Elizabeth Palmer (Eliza) and had 11 children the youngest James Henry Anderson was known as Jim and they all appear to have resided in or around this area. My GGF Samuel moved to Riddells Creek and raised a family of 14 children there. If you have anything on any of them I would be delighted to hear from you or fill in some of your blanks.
    Kind regards Maurie Harper

    • Hi Maurie, I have info on the Cann family an the Backwood Hotel in my Aspects of Blackwood book. I found 11 Digger birth records of children to Henry Harper and Elizabeth Palmer and seven deaths of young babies in Bungaree, Ballarat – they married in 1864 – have you got these digger records..? also found some of the children in the Simmons Reef school, and other references to Harper in my next book.. hope this helps, Margot

  20. I am so pleased to find your blog.

    In 2013 my wife and I returned to Victoria after 30 years of living interstate, and recently we found ourselves back in Blackwood.

    Way back in the late 1960s, I spent many enjoyable weekends around Simmons Reef, staying at the holiday shack of my then girlfriends’ father, Herbert (Bert) Oliver. Bert, his wife Winifred (Winnie) and their family lived in Richardson St, Carlton, but they spent just about every weekend at Blackwood. Bert once mentioned that the cottage had originally been built by his father, who had carted his large kitchen table to a patch of cleared scrub, then built the house around it.

    Bert was a gentle, quiet man who had been deeply affected by his experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese on the Burma Railway during World War II. But he rarely spoke about it, except occasionally in the solitude of the bush with a panning dish in his hand.

    During our visit I tried to identify Bert’s place from memory, and a couple of the residences on Simmons Reef Road near Povey’s Road seemed familiar, but I was by no means certain. So, could I ask you to satisfy my curiosity, and tell me whether you have any information about Herbert James Oliver and/or his wife Winnie – particularly the address they lived at, and whether any descendants are still around?

    Anything you can provide will be most appreciated.

    • Hi Warren I knew of Bertie Oliver and remember him well but will have to find out for you which was his house and let you know.
      thanx, Margot

  21. Hi Margot, I am currently researching my family history and wondered if you have any Knowledge of Edwin and Elizabeth Skinner-(Nee Wicks/Weeks?) I know Elizabeth was born in 1834 in England and died in 1884 and Edwin was born abt 1831 in England and died in 1876. They were my 3rd generation grandparents. I have photos of the house they lived in at the top of the hill into Barry’s Reef. It’s now known as Andersons. I would be greatful for any insight into confirming their residency in blackwood/barrys reef. regards, Jodie.

  22. Hello again Margot, I am enquiring if you received your grant to publish your latest book about the Blackwood Area Pioneers, as I think it was about this time of the year that you were hoping to publish your new book.
    I would like to purchase your book when it is available. Enjoyed reading your other book Aspects of Early blackwood.
    Hope you are well Margot, please advise via email when your book is available to purchase, Kind regards, Elizabeth O’Sullivan. (Mathew Sweet Ancestor.

    • Hello Elizabeth, no I missed out on the P.R.O. grant – sorry to say – now to look for somewhere else I can get one to get my 600 + page book printed. I also have two other books published – “Some History of Simmons Reef”, Blackwood and “The Billy Pincombe Tragedy”. I will let you know when my next book is published. thanks for inquiring, Margot Hitchcock B.D.H.S.

  23. Hello Margot. I admire your unselfish spirit and readiness to answer enquiries. I am researching the history of William Noble who arrived in Sydney from Scotland with his brother John in 1854. William was then aged 18 and John 20. I’m almost certain that they are the John and William Noble with miner’s rights for Simmons’ Reef on the list printed in The Argus on 22 May 1856. Do you have any information that might confirm this, and, if so, do you know anything else about them? Regards, Allan

    • Hi Allan
      Good to get your query re Noble Family of Blackwood. Yes I have some info for you. Was your ancestor William or John?
      Was the wife of William, Ellen Beatty..? I have a daughter Eliza Jane born to them at Blackwood in 1858, and Ann in 1861, as well as Ellen born and died in Blackwood in 1863.
      Oh just found the marriage of William to Ellen Beatty in 1850 in Melbourne – have you got these records..??? Could this be right if you have them arriving in Sydney in 1854.
      I found the name Noble as a parent at the Simmons Reef school.

      I did not find any children born to John Noble in Blackwood.
      Do you know the name of John’s wife..??

      I have a John Noble born in Blackwood married Isabella Maguire in 1888. Could this be a son of William or John..??

      Also found on Trove in the Bacchus Marsh Express in Saturday 3 August 1872 – The Annie Laurie Company, Barry’s Reef, have about 140 tons of stone raised, which they expect will give 8 dwts, to the ton. The reef averages two feet in width, Messrs. Noble and Hudson, tributors in the Annie Laurie, are raising stone from No. 2 shaft of similar quality to the above.
      I’ve been looking for a letter sent to me in 2008 re the Noble/MGuire/ Bell family but can’t find it yet – could you be related to any of these other families..??
      More after I hear from you
      Thanks, Margot Hitchcock, Historian
      Blackwood & District Historical Society,
      P.S. …Have you seen the PRO shipping records for Melbourne.

      • I am butting in again here – My Nobles were Irish, not Scottish and I have told you about the William who married Ellen Beatie, but there were also the siblings of my James who arrived in 1848 aboard ‘ Sir Edward Parry’ – siblings William, John and Mary Jane Noble (yes those 2 names again and they were all related – cousins) and most definitely Irish. They had all come out as Bounty Immigrants, another brother George arrived in 1849 aboard ‘ Royal George’. Their father William and youngest brother arrived in 1856 aboard the Clipper ship ‘ Lightning’ not Bounty immigrants – these passages were paid for, probably by the sons in Victoria.


  24. Hi, I am doing some research on my great, great, grandparents. Their names are Caunty and kildare Beasley. I have been told that they have migrated from Ireland and came to live in Australia in Blackwood. I have been told that they came in 1887. He worked as a black smith.
    It would be an amazing help if you had any further information about them!!!

    Please email me back ASAP!
    Thank you so much!

    • Hi Bella,
      Thanks for your enquiry,
      I’m confused with the names !! Caunty and kildare Beasley. Is Caunty a female..and Kildare male..??
      I have Beasley names at Blackwood but not those names. Was it Blackwood in Victoria or South Australia.

      I’ve searched digger BD&M records and Trove but found none of your names.
      Sorry I can’t help further,
      Margot Hitchcock
      Blackwood & District Historical Society

  25. Hi – My great grandfather was a policeman at Blackwood in 1864, when my grandfather was born there.
    James Wood wife Priscilla nee Fleming about 9 children at various postings. I have his police record and he was in the IRC before migrating.

    Is there any info on him at the museum, please? Does the Anglican church hold their baptismal records locally?

    • hi Darelle, I have two mentions in my next book of a Constable Wood in Blackwood and 10 children born to him and his wife Priscilla and 2 children’s deaths. they were married in 1857. I will email you and if you want more info contact me. thanks Margot Hitchcock BDHS

  26. hi margot
    my name is peter whalebone and I am trying to find out more about my family and their history with Blackwood
    Ibeleive the original whalebones came from Bendigo vic and they built the log huts
    in whalebone rd Blackwood My father owned the hut Mountain view in Richards rd
    his name was Stanley Arthur Whalebone and at the time of his death he owned both that property witch was originaly the Assayers Office from Simmons Reef and he also Owned his uncle Harrys hut Green Gables in Whalebone rd Ono of the log huts Built by my Great Grandfather and His brothers
    Their names were William Whalebone
    Harrold whalebone
    Ben Whalebone

    • Hi Peter
      Thanks for your query, I have some references to Whalebone in my Aspects of Early Blackwood and in my next unpublished book, ‘The History and Pioneers of Blackwood’.
      I have found Digger birth records of Harold William Whalebone son of William Whalebone and Edith Wain born 1890 and Ernest Aubrey Whalebone born 1892, and Edith Elsie Whalebone also born 1894, Winifred Kate Whalebone in 1900, all same parents.
      Also Benny Whalebone died age 86 in Ararat in 1891, parents names unknown. (born 1805)
      I found a lot of Whalebones in Ararat and in Hawthorn. I found one in Bendigo – Mary Ann Whalebone died 1901 age 68 yrs in Bendigo father John Henry and mother Dorothy Evans.
      On looking at the years 1902 – 1913 I found more Whalebones you mentioned or related-
      Stanley Arthur Whalebone, born 1903 at Hawthorn to William Whalebone and Edith Wain.
      Alfred Charles Whalebone, son of William Whalebone and Edith Wain, born Bendigo 1905.
      Albert Benjamin Whalebone died 1908 Bendigo, son of William Whalebone and Edith Wain.
      Lillian Jean Whalebone born Bendigo 1909 daughter of William Whalebone and Edith Wain.
      Lorna Mavis Whalebone daughter of William Whalebone and Edith Wain born 1912 Armadale.
      The ERNIE OR EUGINE WHOEVER WAS MARRIED TO ANNE you refer to I found his marriage –
      Ernest Aubrey Whalebone married Annie Mitchell in 1915. They had Alice born 1917, but she died that year. Then Dory Annie to born 1918.
      Alfred Charles Whalebone married Emma Ann Stagg and had a daughter, Lillias in 1915. Then appears he remarried to Annie Phillips in 1927. Oh and another marriage for Alfred Charles to Verna Margot Pitt in 1938.
      I see Annie Whalebone (2nd wife) died in 1936 age 28. But found the death of 1st wife Emma Ann Whalebone nee Stagg not until 1958.. they must have been divorced then for Alfred Ernest to re-marry twice or I got the wrong Alfred Ernest..!!
      Have just found more marriages and your father Stanley Arthur Whalebone married Mary Wadstrom in 1929 Reg. No. 78. You can buy any certificates on line with the now – I have them for all the above records if you want them. I also found the death of your father Stanley Arthur Whalebone in 1977 age 73 yrs at Parkdale reg. No. 14303. I have other family deaths if you want them from 1921-1985.
      Yes Shaw’s Lake was originally called Shaw’s Dam or Dick’s Dam (after Richard Shaw) and yes there were miles of trenches or officially called Water-races from Shaw’s dam and around Blackwood, and yes Jim Shaw names James in some records, and Joseph and William Shaw as mentioned in my Aspects of Early Blackwood, pages 57-59.
      Thank you for the interesting information about your Whalebone family – I will add them to my records and my next book and if you can think of anything else please let me know.
      I have attached a copy of a Miners right I have in my records for an Alfred Whalebone in 1927 in Blackwood signed by H.H.Cann. I have others too if you are interested.
      Our Blackwood Historical Museum is open to the public the 1st Saturday in the month from 12-2pm.
      Ok hope this helps your family research – if you want any more info let me know – I’ve spent over 2 hours on this.
      Margot Hitchcock, Historian, Blackwood & District Historical Society,

  27. Hi Margot,

    Thanks for all your research on Blackwood and surrounds. Do you have any information on the Saville family. A couple of generations lived in and around Blackwood/Golden Point from the late 1850s until the turn of the century. Id love to know anything about them including exactly where they might have lived??

    Nick Freeman

    • Hi Nick, thanks for contacting me again..
      You contacted me in 2010 wanting info… and I gave you what I had at the time – here is one of my replies to you then. If you want all the Saville digger records let me know or if I can help you further.
      Hi Nick,
      do not know of any records which show where the Saville family lived – probably early on in a tent somewhere near the mining then maybe a cabin,
      Some school records are kept at the P.R.O. in North Melbourne. Some Blackwood mining records and Blackwood Court records are held at the P.R.O. in Ballarat.
      I have some lists of children at Barrys Reef and Blackwood state Schools. Post Office directories are held at some libraries and I’m sure Bendigo would have some – Blackwood was listed under Mt. Blackwood & Barrys Reef. I’ve looked at copies I have and they only seem to list Hotelkeepers, storekeepers, doctors, butchers etc – no miners. on checking my records I found no Saville in my P.O. or school lists.

      But found a Saville buried in the Blackwood cemetery – did you know that..?? Alexander Saville buried 3.9.1879 C of E Section Allot 14. but sadly no headstone – see is he one of yours..????

      NO rate books that I have records of – don’t know what Ballan shire have – now Moorolbool shire.. address at Blackwood was no such thing – my place at Blackwood was held by my grandfather on a Miner’s Right – just listed as the block number on Martin street. It was only after he died that my mother bought the land from the Crown Dept. I have some maps which show a name of ownership after the land was bought from the Land Dept. A miners Right could be had for 5/- if you build some sort of house on it… that’s what a lot did.
      There is a photo in my book of what Barrys Reef looked like when the sultan mine was working.
      hope this answers your questions…
      Margot Hitchcock, Historian
      Blackwood & District Historical Society,

    I BELEIVE the JOHN HENRY you referred to was the original whalebone who came
    to AUSTRALIA with his sister from KENT in the UNITED KINGDOM
    they came out as fully paid passengers
    LORNA MAVIS was dads sister
    auntie LORNA married FRANK WALKER
    auntie JEAN married DON GEORGE
    He used to play the TROMBONE at the MECHANICS HALL DANCES
    when he came up to BLACKWOOD
    WINIFRED KATE was my auntie WINNIE
    there were two WINNIES BIG WINNIE and little WINNIE
    I havent sorted that out yet

    I learnt a lot but its opened a can of worms
    i have 3 more emails to send to you but i will try find out more
    before i send them to you
    ALFRED CHARLES from MARYBOROUGH had 3 daughters
    I KNOW MYRTLE lived at MOE VIC with her daughter LORAINNE
    Ineed to contact JOSIE and see if she has LORAINNES address
    so i can clear up some other matters
    I have sent you 2 other emails since that first one
    but they never went through
    the PASSWORD at the end keeps tripping me up
    talk to you again soon
    WW O

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