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Margot Hitchcock, is Author and Historian for the Blackwood & District Historial Society.

Blackwood Avenue of Honour and the Honour Boards

The History of the Blackwood Avenue of Honour and the Honour Boards.  

Compiled by Margot Hitchcock, Historian for the Blackwood & District Historical Society.  November, 2018.   

In 1919, the Avenue of Honour from the main road to the Mineral Springs area was graded and formed and 80 pine trees were planted, which were provided by Bill and Ken Matheson and Tom Vigor.  The lower parking area was then levelled through a working bee.    The Avenue of Honour was erected to honour all the men from the Blackwood area who enlisted in the 1914-1919 1st World War.  Some were lucky enough to return to resume their lives in Blackwood.  Others made the supreme sacrifice by losing their lives in some far distant country from their beloved Blackwood.

The Avenue of Honour had a significant entrance marked with two solid column constructions with a timber sign above attached to the top of the columns with the words “Avenue of Honour”. Inside this entrance on either side were two monuments with a small cannon mounted on each monument.  Leading down to the mineral springs were the Pine trees planted to honour the men who died for their country, each tree had a name tag to honour one of those men who died.

The Honour Roll Boards – Have you ever looked at the two boards hanging in the Blackwood Hall and wondered about the men behind the names..???   The 2nd board hanging in the Blackwood Hall is the Barrys Reef board.

The 48 names of these men who enlisted for active service on the 1914-1919 “Roll of Honour” board, mounted in the Blackwood Hall which states “Past Scholars of the Mount Blackwood State School No. 1074, who enlisted for Active Service Abroad – in a small list in the middle is written -In Memoriam – Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” this is for the eleven  men who died during active service whose names are in the first list.

Men whose names appeared on the Blackwood Honour Board

Armstrong A.M.*, Armstrong T.M., Armstrong W.E., Byrne J., Broad W.J., Byres W., Carruthers G.R.*,

Carruthers H., Cherry H.,  Cocciardi A., Davey R., Davey L., Downing A., Downing G.T., Downing R.,

Hall R.W.M., Lawrence W.*, Morrish H.C., Marshall A.S., Murphy T.*, McCracken J.N.*, Nelson S.,

Nelson H., Perry G., Gribble.V.V., Derrick.E.H., Pattinson A.O., Pattinson J.H., Pattinson W.B., Pearce R.L.,

Pearce L., Pincombe J.R., Rae F., Speary N.J.W.,Skinner W.F.*, Saunders G.*, Shebler G, Smith M.H.,

Smith T., Smith E., Seymour E., Seymour J.*, Suffern G.E., Sweet H., Stephens I.*, Stephens C.R., Vigor A.J.,

Whatmough R.H.*, Whatmough W.J., Webster T., Whitford.L., Langford. B.D.*.. * = died on active Service.

Men whose names appeared on the Barrys Reef Honour Board –

  1. Allen, J. Knight, G. Allen,  F. Parke, J. Allen, E. Peart, H. Anderson, F. Rae, W. Broad,, G. Rickards, H. Carruthers, L. Sullivan, J. Cole, L. Walters, R. Drummond, H. Wells, J. Higgins, J. Williams, M. Keilan, C. Williams. DIED ON SERVICE – R. Kidd, T. Murphy, N. Kidd, R. Power, N. McCracken, F. Rattray, V. Moore, J. White, H. Vroland.

Some names can be found on the Internet at the ‘Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour’ of men who are recorded on the Barrys Reef Honour Roll and died on duty during the war, one was –Frederick Norman Rattray –  Roll of Honour Service Number – 1508 : Next of Kin – (Father) RATTRAY James. Service: Australian Army, – 1914 – 1920 – 10th Batt infantry. Age 32, joined 9.12.14. Killed in action 19/6/17 – in field, buried Villiers Brentonneux memorial France.  Son of James & Margaret Rattray died age 34 yrs.   James Rattray was Head Teacher at Barrys Reef School from 1886 – 1887.

James Emil Huntly Vroland  –  Roll of Honour Service number: 855, Rank: Corporal, Unit: 23rd Battalion (Infantry),

Service: Australian Army, Conflict: 1914-1918, Date of death: 29 November 1915. Cause of death: Killed in action, Cemetery or memorial details: Lone Pine Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey. War Grave Register notes: VROLAND, Cpl. James Emil Huntly, 855. 23rd Bn. Australian Inf. Killed in action 29th Nov., 1915. Age 24. Son of Janet Huntly Vroland, of Carlton North, Victoria, Australia, and the late Carl H. F. Vroland. Native of Barry’s Reef, Victoria, Source: AWM145 Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War, Army.

Carl H. F. Vroland was Head Teacher at Barrys Reef School from 1891 – 1899.

James Emil Huntly Vroland was born in Blackwood in 1891. His mother was Janet Scott and his father was Carl Hakam Ferdinand Vroland. (Digger records).

Neil Kidd – Roll of Honour – Service number: 1740, Rank: Private, Unit: 23rd Battalion (Infantry), Service: Australian Army, Conflict: 1914-1918, Date of death: 7 September 1915. Cause of death: Died of wounds, Cemetery or memorial details: Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey. War Grave Register notes: KIDD, Pte. Neil, 1740. 23rd Bn. Died of wounds at sea 7th Sept., 1915.  Place of Enlistment – Melbourne VIC : Next of Kin – (Father) KIDD Arthur of Yea. Died at sea 7/9/15 – shrapnel wounds to jaw and throat – wounds received in action at Gallipoli died on board the  S.S ‘Maheno’.  Buried at sea off Lemmos. Chaplain D.Dutton.  Mabel Johnston was the mother of May Johnston, the child of Neil Kidd (ex-nuptial) born 29/6/1911 at Yea. Source: AWM145 Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War, Army.

Neil Kidd was born at Blackwood in 1891 to Arthur Kidd and Euphemia McSwan, making him 24 yrs old when he died in 1915.  Neil had a brother Alexander Kidd born in Blackwood in 1889, and Arthur born in Barrys Reef in 1883, Jane born 1884, and Euphemia born 1886.  (Digger records)

Robert Kidd – brother of Neil Kidd – Age 20 yrs & 9 months – Sergeant – Blackwood Sawmiler. Fourth Light Horse regiment.  2nd Anzac mounted regt. Later 2nd Lieutenant, 58th battalion. Joined 20-8-14. Killed in action in the field – 25/10/17.  ‘Lieut R.Kidd was killed in action whilst moving up the trenches at Passchendaele Ridge east of Ypres.  He was badly hit by a shell.  Location of grave is not known, it may be the Military Cemetery near Anzac Ridge, Passchendaele.’

 Researched by Margot Hitchcock from her forthcoming book ‘The History and Pioneers of Blackwood’, hopefully to be published soon.  Other books published by Margot Hitchcock – “Aspects of Early Blackwood”, Some History of Simmons Reef, Blackwood”and “The Billy Pincombe Tragedy”. See – www.blackwoodpublishing.com

For help with information on Blackwood ancestors contact Margot Hitchcock – email – margothitchcock@bigpond.com
















Log Cabins in Blackwood

Blackwood had many log cabins in the early gold mining days and some still remain to show how the people lived in these small dwellings.


My own uncle built one using logs which he filled in the gaps in between with cement and mud.






Baldwins log cabin in Simmons Reef.  See some history of this cabin in my book “Some History of Simmons Reef, Blackwood.”

1870 Accident at Blackwood – LOUIS SCHINKLE and ANTONIE OLSEN.

Fatal accident at Blackwood. Inquest on the bodies of two men who died at the True Blue Mine, Barrys Reef 1870.   – LOUIS SCHINKLE and ANTONIE OLSEN. 

 By Margot Hitchcock, Historian for the Blackwood & District Historical Society.

An interesting record was found in the Ballarat Courier newspaper on TROVE. Two young miners were found dead in the True Blue Mine in Barrys Reef, Blackwood.  As in those days an inquest was held at a Hotel where the bodies were held below the hotel in the cellar, often in hurriedly constructed coffins, which in this case was the Williams’ Exchange Hotel, Barrys Reef.

  Ballarat CourierSaturday 8 January 1870 –

In consequence of the non-arrival of the coroner, E. Baber, Esq., .J.P., held a magisterial enquiry at Williams’ Exchange Hotel, Barrys Reef, touching the death of Louis Schinkle and Antonie Olson: the Equiry was not commenced until a late hour on Wednesday night, and only terminated on Thursday morning at two o’clock. Before giving the evidence I may mention that the shaft at which the unfortunate men lost their lives is an underlay one, about 140 feet deep.  For the first 60 feet the shaft is almost perpendicular, and at the side of the shaft spreaders are fixed about three feet apart; the spreaders serve as a kind of ladder way; from 60 feet, and a farther depth of 80 feet, the shaft underlays. Two wind lasses are used, one on the surface, and the other at the 60 feet level, one exactly over the other. The contract party consisted of six men, and they worked two in each shift.

It is evident, judging from the position of the bodies when discovered, that the poor follows were endeavouring to ascend ; one man (Antonie Olson) must have fallen – it is impossible to say from what height. Brave men are always at hand in cases of this kind, ready and willing to risk their lives in endeavouring to save the lives of others. There was no lack of volunteers willing to encounter foul air and the fumes of charcoal in the hopes of rescuing men, who, by industry and good conduct, had gained for themselves the good will of many, and the respect of all who were acquainted with them.

Messrs Smith, Allen, and McRea, particularly the latter, are deserving of special praise.

At the magisterial inquiry, Alexander Lambert was the first witness examined. He stated : I am a miner, and went to work at the True Blue claim about 8 o’clock on the morning of Tuesday last. I lowered my mate down the shaft. Five minutes after he called to me, and said his light would not burn. I at once pulled him up. At 1 o’clock in the afternoon – of the same day I went below, and was obliged to come up at once, as my candle would not burn. Myself and mate then procured a nail-can, in which we placed chips and bark, set fire to them, and lowered the fire down the shaft from the 60 feet level. The smoke became so oppressive that we were obliged to go to the surface, where we remained until the deceased came to relieve us. I helped to lower deceased down the shaft. Called out, and asked if it was all right down below, and received for answer, yes. I then made the rope fast in the usual way. Never saw the man alive after. Remained at the shaft fifteen minutes, and then left. Am seventeen years a miner.   Have often worked in bad air, and frequently tried the plan of burning chips with good effect. Lowered the deceased to the 60ft. level.

Peter Rasmusan : The evidence of this witness was a mere corroboration of the evidence given by Lambert. S. Smith, mining manager of the True Blue Company, said : About half- past seven o’clock in the evening of the 4th instant a man named Goldsworthy came to me, and asked if the men were working at the air shaft. I told him they had started to work, but thought on account of bad air they had knocked off.

Goldsworthy said he had called down the shaft, and could get no answer. I then proceeded to the shaft, and was lowered down about 40ft.

The smoke was very strong. I saw the body of Lewis Schinkle close by my side. I could not remain longer, the smoke was so strong. The position of the body was – hanging by one foot, head downwards. I then called to be pulled up.

  1. Allen,said: I was lowered down the shaft  and saw the body of a man hanging down the shaft. His foot was caught in a piece of timber near the side of the shaft. I then procured a lashing, which I made fast round the man’s leg. In that way he was drawn up. I assisted to land him on the surface.

I have since seen the body; it is that of Louis Schinkle.

Dr. E. W. Plews stated that he was called upon on the 4th instant to view the body of Louis Schinkle, and that   death was caused by suffocation.

harles Gray Macken, examined: I was lowered down the True Blue shaft on Tuesday evening, 4th instant. Got down to the 60 foot level, and was obliged to be pulled up again. I could not stand the bad air.

Water was then thrown down the shaft, and I was again lowered down. As I could not discover Antonio Olson, I called for assistance, that I might be lowered down to the other level. Two men came to my assistance. I was then lowered down about 25 feet, when I discovered the body of Antonio Olson. It was in a lying position, on the left side, and was jammed between the skids and the sides of the shaft. I then lashed the body to the rope, and was drawn up with it.

Dr. Plews evidence was the same in this as in the other case. Mr Baber gave an order for internment. The remains of both men were removed this morning at six o’clock for burial at Stieglitz.

Digger records have Antonio Olson death in 1870 age 23 years, parents names unknown.  Birth place – Copenhagen.

Digger records have Louis Shnkel (sp) death in 1870 age 20 years, father Richard Shnkel and mother Anna Bentina Birth place – Copenhagen.

The Stieglitz Cemetery  have records  courtesy of –


OLSON, Antonio 06/01/1870, age 23, parents unknown, not married, Killed in a mining accident at Barrys Reef, Blackwood.

SCHINKEL, Louis 08/01/1870 age 20, parents – Richard & Anna Katerina (Bentina) not married, killed in a mining accident at Barrys Reef, Blackwood.

Another find in a local newspaper gives a bit more personal history into the deaths of the two men.

Bacchus Marsh Express – Saturday 15 January 1870

The Geelong Advertiser reports that on Wednesday last the remains of two youths, Louis Shinkle and Antonio Olson, who suddenly met with their death by suffocation from foul air in the True Blue claim, Blackwood, on Tuesday previous, were followed to the Steiglitz Cemetery by the members of the M.U.I.O.O.F. and I.O.R., societies, and a large number of other friends. The deceased young men, aged 20 and 23 years respectively, were for a long time at Steiglitz, and only shortly removed to Blackwood. They were much respected amongst their many acquaintances.

Researched by Margot Hitchcock from her forthcoming book ‘The History and Pioneers of Blackwood’, hopefully to be published soon.  Other books published by Margot Hitchcock – “Aspects of Early Blackwood”, Some History of Simmons Reef, Blackwood” and “The Billy Pincombe Tragedy”. See – www.blackwoodpublishing.com

For help with information on Blackwood ancestors contact Margot Hitchcock – email – margothitchcock@bigpond.com

Captain Moonlight (Moonlite) linked to Blackwood.

The History of Blackwood –  Captain Moonlight.  (1842 – 1880),

 By Margot Hitchcock, Historian for the Blackwood & District Historical Society.


Local legend by some old-timers of Blackwood told the folk-lore story of how Captain Moonlight was a Lay Preacher in the Blackwood to Bacchus Marsh circuit and preached at All Saints Church of England in Blackwood and that he was said to have robbed the rich to help pay for the building of the half-church in Greendale, but no proof of this story was found in research.  Moonlight Gully on a walk near shows Lake Blackwood was said to be named after Captain Moonlight.

‘Captain Moonlight – George Andrew Scott never preached at Greendale as he had left the parish and had robbed the Egerton bank in 1869 before tenders were called for in 1874 and by the time the church opened in 1877 Moonlight was in H.M. Prison Pentridge serving a sentence on a charge of stealing gold from the bank in Egerton.’

A lady told the author her late husband had been a minister at the Anglican church in Bacchus Marsh and that Andrew George Scott had signed a book there as a Lay Preacher.

 (Found on the Internet from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopaedia) – Andrew George Scott (1842 – 1880), known as Captain Moonlight or Captain Moonlite, was an Australian bushranger.  Scott was born in Ireland, son of an Anglican clergyman. His father’s intention was that he join the priesthood, but Scott instead trained to be an Engineer, completing his studies in London.

The family moved to New Zealand in 1861, with Scott intending to try his luck in the Otago goldfields. However, the Maori Wars intervened and Scott signed up again, this time as an officer, and fought at the battle of Oraku where he was wounded in both legs.  After a long convalescence Scott was accused of malingering and court-martialled. Scott gave his disquiet at the slaughter of women and children during the siege as the source of his objection to returning to service.

Scott then travelled to California, once more with the intention of trying his luck in the goldfields, but was again diverted from this plan when he decided to join the Union Army and fight in the already raging American Civil War. Fighting under General Sherman Scott served until the end of hostilities in 1865.  Returning to civilian life he worked as a consultant civil engineer in San Francisco before moving to Australia in early 1868.

In Melbourne in1868 Scott met Bishop Charles Perry and became lay reader at Bacchus Marsh, Victoria with the intention of entering the Anglican priesthood on the completion of his service. He was then sent to the gold mining town of Edgerton.

On 8 May 1869 Scott was accused of disguising himself and forcing bank agent, Ludwig Julius Wilhelm Bruun, a young man whom he had befriended, to open the safe. Bruun described being robbed by a fantastic masked figure who signed a note absolving him of any role in the crime. The note was signed ‘Moonlite’.

Bruun claimed the man sounded like Scott but no gold was found in Scott’s possession. Scott in turn accused Bruun and local school teacher James Simpson of the crime who then became the principal suspects in the minds of police.  Scott left for Sydney soon afterwards.

It was alleged that for several months, Scott lived off the money stolen from the bank. Near the end of 1870, he began to pass worthless cheques and was arrested while trying to leave for Fiji aboard a fraudulently obtained yacht. He was sentenced to 12 months in Maitland jail. In 1872 he was charged with stealing the gold at Egerton; he escaped whilst on remand for a short time before his recapture. He appeared before judge Sir Redmond Barry on 24 July 1872 and received a sentence of eleven years jail. Despite some evidence against him Scott claimed innocence in this matter until his dying day.

Scott was released from HM Prison Pentridge in March 1879. On regaining freedom, Scott met up with James Nesbitt, a young man whom he had met in prison – considered by many to be Scott’s lover, and trading on his tabloid celebrity as “Captain Moonlight” began a career as a public speaker on prison reform.

However this reputation came back to bite him and throughout this period Scott was harried by the authorities and by the tabloid press who attempted to link him to numerous crimes in the colony and printed fantastic rumours about supposed plots he had underway.

At some time during this period Scott seems to have decided to live up to this legend and assembled a gang of young men, with Nesbitt as his second in command and the others being Thomas Rogan (21), Thomas Williams (19), Gus Wreneckie (19) and Graham Bennet (18). Scott met these young men through his lecture tours or through brothels.

Scott and his gang left Melbourne in the later part of 1879, and travelling north crossed into New South Wales. While travelling through the Kelly’s area of operation, the gang were frequently mistaken for the Kelly’s and took advantage of this to receive food and to seize guns and ammunition from homesteads.

Scott’s gang bailed up the Wantabadgery Station near Wagga in November of 1879 after being refused work, terrorising staff and the family of Claude McDonald- a wealthy squatter. Scott also robbed the Australian Arms Hotel of a large quantity of alcohol and took prisoner, the residents of some other neighbouring properties- bringing the number of prisoners to 36 in total.  One man, Ruskin, escaped in an attempt to warn others, but was caught and subject to a mock trial-by jury of his fellow prisoners finding him ‘Not Guilty’. Another station-hand attempted to rush Scott but was overpowered.

A small party of four troopers eventually arrived, but Scott’s well armed gang held them down with gunfire for several hours until they retreated to gather reinforcements- at which point the gang slipped out.

The gang then holed up in the farmhouse of Edmund McGlede until surrounded by a much more substantial police force.  During the following shootout, Senior Constable Webb-Bowen was shot and killed, as was Wreneckie. Nesbitt also died, attempting to lead police away from the house so that Scott could escape. When Scott saw Nesbitt shot down and was distracted, McGlede took the opportunity to disarm the gang leader and with the other members wounded or captured on attempting to flee, the fight came to a close.

During the trial Scott allowed his young confederates to put all the blame on him, with them claiming to have been deceived as to the nature of their expedition, but both Scott and Rogan were given death sentences.

Scott was hanged in Sydney on 20 January 1880. Scott went to the gallows wearing a ring woven from a lock of Nesbitt’s hair on his finger and his final request was to be buried in the same grave as his constant companion, “My dying wish is to be buried beside my beloved James Nesbitt, the man with whom I was united by every tie which could bind human friendship, we were one in hopes, in heart and soul and this unity lasted until he died in my arms.” His request was not granted by the authorities of the time, but his remains were exhumed from Rookwood Cemetery and reinterred at Gundagai next to Nesbitt’s grave in January 1995.

References – other information found at – Gundagai. Walkabout: Australian Travel Guide. Fairfax Digital. Scott, Andrew George (Captain Moonlite) (1842 – 1880). Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6 pp 94 –95. Australian National University and Melbourne University Press (1976). Andrew George Scott (alias “Captain Moonlite”). Australian Bushrangers. Ned Kelly’s World (1999).

Researched by Margot Hitchcock from her forthcoming book ‘The History and Pioneers of Blackwood’, hopefully to be published soon.  Other books published by Margot Hitchcock – “Aspects of Early Blackwood”, Some History of Simmons Reef, Blackwood” and “The Billy Pincombe Tragedy”. See – www.blackwoodpublishing.com

For help with information on Blackwood ancestors contact Margot Hitchcock – email – margothitchcock@bigpond.com


Sarah and William Edlington, and daughter Harriet and Susannah Edlington.

Pioneers of Blackwood – Sarah and William Edlington, and daughter Harriet and granddaughter  Susannah Edlington. 

By Margot Hitchcock, Historian for the Blackwood & District Historical Society. 

 Research has a strange way of adding more information to a story –  such is the case after the great grandaughter  of Sarah Edlington contacted the author.

The Ballan Shire Rate book in 1876 noted William Edlington as a publican of a hotel on the tenement at Red Hill, the hotel being valued at £25 ($50).  This hotel was the Prince of Wales and Edlington was to be its hotelkeeper for about the next thirty years.  (This hotel was where the kiosk used to be on the road above the Mineral Springs)

Sarah and William Edlington had a daughter, Harriett Edlington born in Sheffield, England in 1851, and the family came out to Australia early to mid 1850’s. 

Harriett Edlington had a daughter who was born in 1866 as an Unnamed Female in Blackwood and listed as an illegitimate child to Harriet Edlington.  Father’s name was not recorded. This child was later named Susannah Edlington.  She was born at Amelia Reef (Garlicks Lead) which is north of Blackwood.  Harriett was said by the granddaughter of Harriet  to be 15 or 16 at the time of the birth. 

Susannah Edlington married Alexander Raitt (born abt 1863 in Eassie, Scotland). They were married at All Saints Church of England, Red Hill Blackwood, on 6th Oct 1885.

In 1868 Susannah’s mother, Harriet Edlington, married Oto/Otto Wilson.  On Otto’s marriage records he was listed as being born in America. Some records show Otto and was named as Oto James or Otto Thomas.  Harriet married Otto Wilson at the Methodist Church in Blackwood, now the Uniting Church.  Otto worked as a miner at Blackwood.    

Harriet and Otto Wilson had 9 children listed as being born in Blackwood 

Fanny Wilson born in Blackwood in 1869.

Elsie Batrisa ((Beatrice) Wilson born in Blackwood in 1871.

Elsie Batrisa Wilson died in 1957 at Heidelberg age 85 – father listed as James Wilson not Otto.

Sarah Ann Wilson born in Blackwood in 1874. – died age 16 months in 1875.

Hannah Bella Wilson born in Barrys Reef in 1876. 

Alice Wilson born in Barrys Reef in 1878. 

William James Wilson born in Barrys Reef in 1880.

Frederick Henry Wilson, born in Barrys Reef in 1883.

George Oliver Wilson born in Barrys Reef in 1885. (father listed as James Wilson.

George Oliver Wilson died in 1960 at Camberwell age 75 yrs – father listed as James Henry Wilson not Otto.

James Arthur Wilson born in Blackwood in 1890. Died in Blackwood in 1892 age 1 year.

A record of what looks like S.A. (or James Arthur) Wilson is buried in the Blackwood cemetery on 11.11.1892 in the Church of England section F54.  There is no headstone.

 Otto Wilson was Swedish, and so had anglicised his name, and his family suspect he was trying to pass as American, as he listed Boston as his birthplace on his marriage certificate, but they don’t think this is true.

Harriett and Otto Wilson lived in Barrys Reef where their children were born, and it is presumed   Harriett’s illegitimate child, Susannah was brought up as one of the children.

Otto managed a gold mine for an American company, and it may have been in Barry’s Reef, or possibly the Yankee mine north of Blackwood.  There is an American mine in Blackwood situated on Yankee Reef called the Yankee Mine, this was more likely the mine that Otto Wilson  managed.  It is on a Yankee road on the left , between Blackwood and Trentham and before  Amelia Track. 

Otto’s eldest daughters had a drawer full of photos, taken at the height of Blackwood’s gold rush days, with many more Hotels and photos of miners etc. plus letters to their father from Sweden. Unfortunately, after they died, a younger sister of theirs destroyed everything, she referred to it all as rubbish, and so the family lost all that valuable early history.

Fanny Wilson, the eldest daughter,  was obviously intelligent, and was said by the relative  to have been the Post Mistress at the Barrys Reef Post Office.

Harriet Wilson (nee Edlington) died in 1926 at South Melbourne, age 76 yrs. (born 1851) – father listed as Edlington William and mother as Sarah  Fillingham.  

Harriet and Otto Wilson lived in Blackwood, in the Barry’s reef, area, and moved I guess between 1905/6, between Sarah and William’s burials, because Sarah was buried in Blackwood, William was buried in Springvale.

Sarah Edlington died 13.2.1905, and was buried in the C of E section, P 49. in the Blackwood cemetery.  Records reveals her  father was James Holmes and mother was Ann Fellingham.  Sarah died age 84 yrs in Kyneton.

Harriet Wilson, after Otto’s death, lived with her unmarried daughters in Blackwood/Barry’s Reef until they sold in 1905/6, and she died in Albert Park in 1926, aged 75. .

Susannah Edlington and Alexander Davidson RAITT married at All Saints Church of England, Red Hill Blackwood, on 6th Oct 1885.

Children born in Blackwood who were recorded as –

Charles Raitt born in 1890.

Allan Raitt born in 1894.

Elsie May Raitt born in 1896.

Ernest William Raitt born in 1898.   ©

Some information courtesy of the granddaughter of Harriet Edlington – Elaine Mancell, Rosebud.      






Little Doatys Grave


Little Doaty’s Grave, Blackwood – died 23 October 1878.

Photo courtesy of Margot Hitchcock Jan 2012. (grave fence maintained by members of the Blackwood & District Historical Society.

The grave inside the gate of ‘Little Doaty’ was a little girl aged four years old named Josephine Margaret Rowan who died in Blackwood 23 October 1878, from diphtheria. Her parents called her Josie, but ‘Doaty’ was the way she could say her name, so that is what she was called.

Folk-lore of the local story of her death recalls how ‘Doaty’ was left in the charge of some neighbours for the day while her parents were away. Sometime towards evening she and another girl went for a walk. On the way they chased a mob of goats which were plentiful about Blackwood at the time. She became separated from the other girl and was later found drowned.

But on obtaining her death certificate it says she died of diphtheria. Her father was Joseph Rowan who was the Clerk of Courts in Blackwood, and her mother was Margaret Keiran, and ‘Doaty’ was named after both her parents, Josephine Margaret.

A report in the Bacchus Marsh Express paper states “Mr Rowan, Clerk of Petty Sessions, has, I regret to say, lost his oldest child, a fine little girl who died on Wednesday night at 10 o’clock from Diphtheria”.

After checking the Bacchus Marsh Express papers on the death of ‘Doaty’ there also appeared a report some six weeks previously which reported the death of a child, Selina Bass 21 months old who drowned in a waterhole on the 13th September 1878 at her grandmother’s (Margaret Lindsay) home. Maybe this last bit of evidence goes to show how the confusion about drowning and diphtheria could have arisen with the two little girls deaths being within a short time of each other. Evidence to show how folklore can be passed through the generations and the true story forgotten or mixed up with time.

Doaty’s father, Joseph Rowan went to live at Beechworth around 1886 where he remarried and became the Police Magistrate and Warden of the North Eastern Goldfields.

This is just one story of a grave in the Blackwood cemetery.

Written by Margot Hitchcock, Historian for the Blackwood & District Historical Society

Rogers Vault in the Blackwood Cemetery

rogers-on-hill-1 Matthew Rogers grave


A grave worth mentioning in the Blackwood cemetery is a big vault which is the largest monument erected in the cemetery. The coffins inside are on shelves in lead lined coffins. The monument is said to be made from grey Scotch granite, and the angels carved from white Italian Carrarra marble, with the base made from polished Harcourt granite with an area of 30 square feet. The angels on the four corners of the monument are beautifully carved and give back to Blackwood something to admire from the gold it gave to pay for it. Matthew Rogers had the monument built before any of his family had died, at a reputed cost of £1,000 ($2,000 in 1896).

In an article written by John Drayton in ‘Smith’s Weekly’ July 26th 1924, he stated “A tribute to bygone greatness of the field, is the tomb of the Rogers family, the marble for which was imported from Italy to make it one of the most costly memorials of a pioneer and his family that has been erected on any goldfield in the Commonwealth.”

The first interment in the vault was that of Mary Rogers, the wife of Matthew Rogers. George Trewhella remembered Mary Rogers, as a little bent woman, dressed in black, who died on the 27th of August 1896, aged 68 years shortly after the monument had just been completed. It was the first funeral that George Trewhella had attended and he remembered the black horses and waiving plumes of the hearse, as it was like nothing he had ever seen before.

Matthew Rogers was born at St. Erth, Cornwall, on 11th June 1824, he came out to Victoria in 1854, and came to Blackwood about 1855.

Matthew and his wife Mary Rogers were well known in Simmons Reef, Blackwood, as being one of the early pioneers.

Matthew Rogers was a stone-mason by trade and built his house in Simmons Reef from stone quarried from around Bacchus Marsh. The house called ‘St. Erth’, is now the ‘Garden of St. Erth’, a popular garden open to the public with a big variety of plants on display and for sale. The original title was dated 1867, but it is believed the house was built before then. Matthew and Mary Rogers were the wealthiest people in Simmons Reef. Rogers did well in his mine called ‘Mount Rogers Big Hill Mine’. He is stated to have made a fortune out of ore that yielded one and a half pennyweights to the ton. In the 1906 Mines Department Bulletin, it said Rogers had got a record amount of 3,175 oz. of gold to a depth of 200 ft.

Mary Ann Rogers was born in Hayle in Cornwall 24th June 1828. She looked after the store and the Post Office attached to the house. The Rogers had no children, and adopted a girl born in 1872, called Elizabeth.

Matthew Rogers died on the 6th January 1902. The Bacchus Marsh Express said “By the death of Mr. Matthew Rogers, on the 6th January 1902 at the age of 77 years, Blackwood loses one of its most notable pioneers and worthy citizens.

With the death of Mary and then Matthew Rogers, a mining era ended and so with it, the name of the Rogers family in Blackwood, but kept alive with his monument of the Rogers family vault in the Blackwood cemetery.

Other burials in the vault are descendants of the daughter Elizabeth Rogers and her husband James Terrill.

Written by Margot Hitchcock, Historian for the Blackwood & District Historical Society.

More history can be read from books written by Margot Hitchcock – ‘Aspects of Early Blackwood’ and ‘Some History of Simmons Reef, Blackwood’ purchased in Blackwood or from the author C/- Blackwood Publishing, P.O. Box 43, Blackwood 3458. or email .


Grave of Matthew and Mary Rogers and family in the Blackwood cemetery.  

Courtesy of Margot Hitchcock, Historian for the Blackwood & District Historical Society.

Aspects of Early Blackwood


The Goldfields, The Landmarks, The Pioneers.


Alan J Buckingham & Margot F Hitchcock

82 pages – 19 Photographs

125 years of History.

COST – $14.00

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