Discover Bendigo

Gradual demise of Edward
James Lerk
The story of Edward Jeffrey’s family in the late 19th century in California Gully and the loss of three of their children and then his wife is not some isolated aberration. Deaths were common at all age levels during that time. Today we certainly would not expect people to succumb to ..
08-Apr-2016
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Assurance and kindness
James Lerk
Last week I mentioned how, after the birth of baby Arnold Jeffrey, his mother Mary Jane Jeffrey, never recovered and died only eight days later. The large family was truly shattered by the wife and mother’s death, amazing support came from many quarters especially the Californian Gully..
01-Apr-2016
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Passing of Mary Jane
James Lerk
Mary Jane Jeffrey, nee Toy, had a true and caring husband in Edward Jeffrey, they residing in a weatherboard cottage in Butler Street, California Gully. Butler Street is quite elevated and good views to the south could be had of Long Gully, and to the east was California Gully. As pointed out, b..
24-Mar-2016
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Cornish connections
James Lerk
Some ethnic groups were a significant percentage of the population of the Bendigo area in the late 1850s, for instance that of the Chinese. The Chinese by and large were transitory, preferring to move on to other goldfields where their skills in the retrieval of alluvial gold would best rew..
18-Mar-2016
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Fragility of life
James Lerk
During the past weeks there has been a focus on a tragic occurrence in California Gully concerning the life of miner Lewis Crowle having perished while being wound up in a cage travelling in the mine shaft. This tragedy of a death at work was quite common during the 19th century. How fo..
11-Mar-2016
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Engine driving challenge
James Lerk
Edward Jeffrey was at the controls of the winding engine on that fateful day in July 1882 at the Johnson’s No 3 mine, formerly known as the Nelson Mine. While hoisting miner Lewis Crowl up to the surface, Mr Jeffery could feel, through the control lever, the tension on the cage’..
04-Mar-2016
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That Cornish touch
James Lerk
As featured last week, Lewis Crowle met his unfortunate end at the Johnson’s No3 Mine or the Nelson shaft in 1886. Born at St Stephen in Brannel, Cornwall on September 5, 1840, Crowle was the son of John and Mary Crowle nee Searle. The family migrated to South Australia and on Oct..
26-Feb-2016
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Tragedy at California Gully
James Lerk
It was through reading about a tragic and fatal mining accident that my curiosity was aroused about some of the personalities that were in some way involved. Many Bendigonians are unaware there were almost 1000 deaths that occurred as a direct result of gold mining on the Bendigo goldfield...
19-Feb-2016
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Working in wax
James Lerk
Last week I introduced Maximilian Ludwig Kreitmayer, an extraordinary talent in making anatomical wax models which he exhibited at the Temperance Hall, View Street back in 1861. As his name suggests M L Kreitmayer was born in Germany. Specificially Munich on December 31, 1830. His father bor..
12-Feb-2016
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Anatomy in wax
James Lerk
Bendigo was just 10 years old in 1861 when a unique and most interesting display reached this goldfield, one that was to prove educational, entertaining to some and for others it evoked a sense of revulsion. This display was promoted as an anatomical wax museum and had been brought here by t..
05-Feb-2016
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The final curtain
James Lerk
One of the Sandhurst Ethiopian Serenaders (SES) members was George Bain, who was among the first to become involved in this amateur performance group that devoted their efforts to raise money for charitable causes. George Bain, as pointed out in the past weeks, was an extraordinarily talente..
29-Jan-2016
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The versatile ventriloquist
James Lerk
In last week’s issue of the Bendigo Weekly I introduced the extremely competent, amateur ventriloquist, a certain George Bain. Bain, as pointed out, was employed from the age of 14 at Albert Bush’s Produce and Grocery Store. George rose quickly to become the sub-manager for ..
15-Jan-2016
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From clerk to ventriloquist
James Lerk
One of the foundation members of the Sandhurst Ethiopian Serenaders was a man who had talents in singing as well as being an expert exponent of ventriloquism. This man was none other than George Bain. George was born in Edinburgh, his father practiced as an architect. His parents decided to ..
08-Jan-2016
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Throw the voice
James Lerk
In past times if there was a performer on stage they certainly had to be able to throw or project their voice. With the aid of personal microphones today the actors could be whispering and the audience should still be able to catch what is being whispered. A small number of individuals have..
31-Dec-2015
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Sporting enthusiast
Bendigo Weekly
Last week I introduced you to Michael Conolan who was born in Bendigo in 1856 and at a much later date became the licensee of the Court House Hotel in Pall Mall. I had pointed out that Michael was a great supporter of Catholic causes and the comment made that he was, “An ardent worker ..
11-Dec-2015
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When Irish eyes are smiling
James Lerk
My next subject is a man who, on behalf of the Sandhurst Ethiopian Serenaders (SES), acted on stage as the conversationalist between the audience and the minstrels. Frequently our character was referred to as an interlocutor, his name was Michael Conolan. One of the positions which Michael C..
04-Dec-2015
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Clog dancing on
James Lerk
One of the numerous members of the Sandhurst Ethiopian Serenaders (SES) was a clog dancer named E McGuinness. Mr McGuinness had been with the SES since the start of this group of amateur artists, and had built his reputation dancing wearing wooden heeled clogs which for all appearances seeme..
27-Nov-2015
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Identical names
James Lerk
The Sandhurst Ethiopian Serenaders (SES) has led me to allow a great variety of personalities and their associations to be revealed. At times it has been challenging to find either personal or any other information about a particular member of the SES. It would have been noticed not all of t..
20-Nov-2015
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By means of the Lodge
James Lerk
Most know that a lodge or friendly society exists not only to support those who are members but can also be involved in charitable work. The charitable aspect has certainly been part of the ethos of the lodge into which my next subject was initiated, he was EP Hourigan. Mr Hourigan beca..
13-Nov-2015
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Father has, a son takes
James Lerk
In beginning, to understand the person who will be the focus of my attention, I first need you, the reader, to know a little of the generation that came before him. At the close of 1851, only a few months after the discovery of gold, an energetic 20-year-old named Gottlieb Germann, arrived a..
06-Nov-2015
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