This blog provides information, stories, links and events relating to and promoting the history of the Wimmera district.
Any additional information, via Comments, is welcomed.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017


Dimboola Police had an interesting find recently, during a clean-up of an old storage area at the police station. They found the station’s original Charge Book, dating back to 1880, and a Forage Book dating back to 1939.
Entries from 1886, Dimboola Banner
The Charge Book provides an excellent snapshot of early law enforcement in the Dimboola area and, considering its age, is in remarkably good condition.

The Forage Book contains receipts for horse food provided to the police horses that were housed in stables which used to be in what is now the rear yard of the residence next door to the station. 

Dimboola Police Station in Lloyd St, Google Maps
Dimboola Station Commander, Acting Senior Sergeant Darren Sadler, said that they realised very quickly that they’d stumbled upon a “gem”.

“When we started looking through the old Charge Book, we instantly realised we had found something of historical significance. A phone call to the Victoria Police Museum confirmed we had a located a bit of a gem.”

On Monday the 15th of May, Acting Senior Sergeant Sadler, Leading Senior Constable Neil Zippel and Leading Senior Constable Cal Myers officially handed over the items to the Curator of the Victoria Police Museum in Melbourne, where they will eventually go on public display.

Pictured above: Leading Senior Constable Zippel, Acting Senior Sergeant Sadler, and Leading Senior Constable Myers, Dimboola Banner.
 The Charge Book is now of an age where it can be publicly shared. Each page has been photographed, and plans are now in progress to share the contents with the local community.
Copied from the 'Dimboola Banner' 22nd May 2017

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Great celebrations

Great Western are set to celebrate a grand date, as the school celebrates its 150th anniversary.
Great Western Primary School opened as a Common School in February 1867 in a new single-room brick building with a shingle roof on Lot 4, Section 7 of the town. 
80 pupils were crammed on long benches in the Common School
In 1872, the Education Act (1872) was introduced and Common Schools were re-titled State Schools, and Great Western became Great Western State School No. 860. The Act provided for free, compulsory and secular education for all Victorian children to 15 years. 
 A new single-room wooden school building fronting Stephenson Street was built, and opened in May 1881. 
The Church of England purchased the Common School building in 1883, and used it as a church, library, Sunday school and church hall. 
 An Infant room was added in 1923. At the centenary celebrations in August 1967 a pond, wall feature & obelisk were constructed on the south corner. In 1977 a 2 classroom unit was transported onto the site.
The celebrations commence on the 13th October, with a Dinner on 14th, and a parade of vehicles through the ages - from horse-drawn carts to vintage cars.
The School 150th Committee are looking to attract former students and teachers to the weekend and have started a Facebook page 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Trove tips

Australian’s are spoilt by having Australian historical newspapers available their fingertips and online through Trove. Not also forgetting that it’s all totally free as well.
 Can you believe that there are over 200 million articles already on the National Library of Australia’s Trove Newspapers site, and that figure grows every month, with new papers being added.
It is a vast resource which is used not only by tens of thousands of Australian genealogists, historians, students and academics on a daily basis, but also by many overseas who are researching something about Australia, or someone who was in Australia.
But how do you search? Type in a name and see what comes up? Well, there’s more to it than that.
When searching newspapers you have to think of how things would be written in the newspaper at the time, which can be quite different to general search websites. So here are some tips for you.
  1. When searching for a birth, don’t just look for the person’s name, as they often aren’t mentioned. (ie. On the 23rd June, at Hobart, Mr and Mrs E. Smith of a daughter)
  2. When searching use initials, not just their full name – or an abbreviation (ie. Wm instead of William)
  3. When looking for a wife, look for “Mrs W. Baker” (as in wife of Mr William Baker) rather than her own name of Elizabeth
  4. Use place name together with a surname to help narrow down your search
  5. Or as an alternative to using a place name, use an occupation and surname
  6. Remember to use different spellings of names, as every name has variants
  7. Remember some places changed name, so look for a previous place name (ie. Friezland in Brisbane was renamed to Kuridala in 1916; or Tweedvale in South Australia became Lobethal etc)
  8. If you are looking for immigration details and can’t find a shipping list, look for an obituary. Many say when they arrived, and often what ship they came in on
  9. When looking at newspapers don’t dismiss newspapers from other states, because the news may well have been reported elsewhere (and sometimes has better information) than the ones you’re looking at
  10. When looking for a death, don’t dismiss papers that occur years after the death as they may be mentioned in a “In Memoriam” entry
  11. You’ve done a search, and it’s come up with 1000s of entries, too many to go through every one, use the “Refine Your Results” options on the left hand side of the page. So you can choose a state, choose a paper, choose an entry type, narrow down by decade
  12. When looking at the paper and date range, it doesn’t mean that ‘every’ issue between that range has been scanned yet. So check what’s actually covered by browsing
  13. Also one more point is that the text of the newspapers has been scanned and OCRd (Optical Character Recognition). So how well it reads (and can be found by searching), depends on the quality of the original. Sometimes it’s best to browse, rather than simply rely on searching as you will pick things up that the search didn’t.
  14. Check out their Advanced Search options 

Copied from Genealogy & History News

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Lines on the map

The question was asked - how well do you know your Australian history?
Obviously there were bits that I wasn't aware of -
The proclamation of 'North Australia' in 1846 led to a slice of New South Wales being sandwiched between Western and South Australia (the state of South Australia was proclaimed in December 1836). The South Australian border did not move and become a common border till 1860, when the line moved from 129 degrees to 132 degrees.
The 1846 'North Australia' colony was established by Queen Victoria and an Act of the British Parliament in February, on advice from then Colonial Secretary Gladstone. It was destined to be settled by pardoned and reformed British and Australian convicts. The proposal was opposed by the NSW government who saw it as re-introducing transportation. The proclamation was revoked in November by the Queen when Earl Grey became Colonial Secretary.
The history is showcased in this GIF from the FindMyPast people, fascinating!
Places like Darwin have changed allegiances about 6-7 times.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Finding Families

The State Library of Victoria is conducting another of their “Finding Families” workshops. 
The State Library offers a wealth of expertise and information for experienced family historians and those just starting out on the journey, including newspapers, databases, letters, diaries and manuscripts, maps, passenger lists and electoral rolls. You'll find all the inspiration and resources you need to research your family's past.
Start to build your family tree in this helpful workshop – learn the principles of family history, access research resources and tour the Family History collection, and it is recommended for beginners.
The workshop will be held at the State Library, 328 Swanston Street in Melbourne, (on the corner with La Trobe Street) on 23rd May 2017, 10:30am–12:30pm (meet in the Library’s front foyer)
The event is free, but bookings are required, and can be made online at Finding families
Phone: 03 8664 7099

Thursday, 23 March 2017

War Heritage Roadshow

Australia's experience of war, especially in the First and Second World Wars, helped shape our sense of ourselves as a nation and as a community with a distinctive ethos and way of life. To provide opportunities for future generations to understand, investigate and value these experiences, we must ensure that significant material relating to Australia's war heritage is preserved, not just in official national and state institutions, but also in personal, family and community collections.
Department of Premier and Cabinet - Veterans Branch and the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation will deliver a series of free workshops for the public across Victoria. The workshops will bring Australia's leading experts in preservation for a two-day line-up of free workshops and information sessions.
Details are available at the website. 
Bookings are essential.
Further event days may be scheduled, but currently the dates and locations are:
  • PROV/Victorian Archives Centre, 99 Shiel St, North Melbourne on Friday 31st March and Saturday 1st April
  • Art Gallery of Ballarat, 40 Lydiard St North, Ballarat on Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th April
  • St Paul's Anglican Cathedral, 8 Myers St, Bendigo on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th April

The first day is dedicated to Consultations from 10am to 4pm, with bookings for free 20 minute individual sessions with one of the experts.
The memorabilia (no weapons or munitions, for advice on these bring a photo only) brought in to these sessions will be photographed, as a documentary record of the workshops. Observer tickets are also available.
The war heritage roadshow team will also deliver information sessions on how to research your family's military history and a series of conservation demonstrations:Metals cleaning, Disaster preparedness and recovery for the home, Archival framing, Dry cleaning of paper memorabilia, Packing & transport of framed works, and Padded supports for textiles.

The second day is Activity Day
Talk: Caring for wartime memorabilia
Demonstration & information sessions: Brush vacuuming & insect checking of textiles/uniforms, Cleaning & care of framed works, Removing photographs from magnetic albums, Archival storage of paper memorabilia, Mould cleaning of paper memorabilia, Cleaning & care of framed works, Packing & transport of framed works, Removing photographs from magnetic albums, Cleaning of metals, and Researching family military history.

All sessions will run for approximately 15 minutes.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

What happened...

Longerenong Homestead, when it was owned by Donna in 2010
"What happened to the camels of the Burke & Wills Expedition?" is the title of an article by Donna Bourke published in the Public Record Office Victoria's 'Provenance' magazine Issue 9.
From the homestead verandah overlooking the gardens, 2010
While she owned Longerenong Homestead, Donna Bourke became intrigued by the story of the camels that survived the expeditions of Burke and Wills, after discovering there was a link to Longerenong and Samuel Wilson.
Copy of Eugene von Guerard sketches of Longerenong c1868
The full article story is available online at the PROV's site and it includes a number of William Strutt's images.

There is more information on the camels during the Expedition at the Burke & Wills research archive

For information on the expedition, check out the State Library of Victoria's Dig page

Cameler Dost Mahomet's grave near Menindee in N.S.W. >>

 Dost was a member of the Expedition's Depot Party, and afterwards stayed at Menindee to care for the sick camels

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

The 'School Bus' Tour

As part of the National Trust’s Heritage Festival, a hosted bus tour of some of the rural and town school sites surrounding Horsham will be conducted. The tour will visit a number of marked and unmarked school sites, and some abandoned school buildings. Narrative on the tour will include the history of various schools and stories of the districts. 

The 'School Bus' Tour will be conducted on Sunday 30th April 2017, from 1pm to 5pm.
The cost is $25:00 per person. Numbers are limited to the bus capacity, so bookings are essential. To book either visit the Horsham Library, or phone 5382 5707 or for library members registered with Proscribe – go to
The meeting place is at the bus in the Mibus Centre Carpark, 26-28 McLachlan Street, Horsham. Free parking available at the Mibus Centre Carpark.
Attendees will encounter some steps and uneven surfaces. Refreshments will be available enroute. More details at the National Trust site.
Other National Trust Heritage Festival events include ‘Sir Samuel Speaks’ a Mother’s Day high-tea at Longerenong Homestead.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

ABC Dooen

This video is from the ABC Western Victoria's Facebook page:
"In honour of our 80th Birthday today we thought we'd share this video that was created for the #Dooen transmitter's 75th birthday"
To add a little more history to the story 
The original transmitting station building for 3WV at Dooen, was erected in 1936. It began broadcasting in February 1937. During World War II a 24-hour V.D.C. guard were posted at the site. 
The original building was demolished and replaced by the current building in 1988-89.
Some little known facts:
  • the soil conductivity in different directions from the transmitter showed widely different values (this influenced the selection of the station site)
  • the 201metre high radiator (a guyed structure surmounted by a horizontal armature, the base of the mast stood on a group of tubular insulators) was installed in 1937. Dooen was the first station in Victoria to operate with an armature radiator
  • the transmitter upgraded in February 1937, the Standard Telephones & Cables 10 kW transmitter consisted of 2 separate units (the oscillator-modulator, and the linear power amplifier) constructed of a metal framework faced with polished slate panels. 
  • In the 50s a 50 kW transmitter was installed unusually the station generated its own power on site for the 10kW transmitter. In the 30s it had a large low speed heavy engine set plant.
The Art Deco style building with portecochere (an entrance or gateway to a building large enough to permit a coach/vehicle to be driven through) was built on a 20 hectare site, it housed the transmitters, an office, lunch and change rooms, store room and workshop. Modern technology has enabled transmitters to be housed in small metal frame buildings with unattended facilities.
All this techo data comes from John Ross' "Radio broadcasting technology" book.
Caretaker George Koschmann & technician Ray Leskie outside the building in 1988
(Photo from "Road Board to restructure")