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NEWSLETTER No 6


President: Darlene Wright
Secretary: Lois Hayes
Treasurer: Jim Haas 63 722673
Committee: David & Toni Brewster
Or PO Box 148 St Mary’s 7215

Membership
Single
$10-00
Family
$15-00

PRESIDENTS REPORT

President’s report for 2nd year of St Patrick’s Head & Esk Valley Historical Society Inc Year. Ending July 2009.I would like to thank all our members for helping make the past year a very successful one. When I look back over the past years minutes it is amazing the amount of things that we have achieved, We tried to sell Savs & Bread at the Wood guild opening in Sept, It wasn’t very successful but we didn’t go hungry, We had with the help of Darlene a display of football in the Valley at the opening as well. Last AGM we had our website under way and I am pleased to say that it is up and running and is very visual friendly mostly thanks to Jim.
In Sept 09 we ventured to Falmouth for our meeting/ cemetery field day, visiting the Convict graves near Doug Barnes place on the way, we photographed the graves at Falmouth town cemetery while we were there, then after the meeting and lunch some of the group went on down to Seymour to collate and photograph the graves there, From this visit to the convict graves it was decided that we should try and get the names of those buried there, and also the names of all the Convicts who had worked on the St Mary’s Pass/Vale with the intentions being to erect a memorial at an appropriate place in their honor. In the mean time The Railway premises have been sold, and we have discovered that the new owners are not very receptive to keeping the history, so we had to find another place, thanks to the Crank & tinkerer’s Museum we were able to put some things on display there, and move our research room to the On-line centre.
We put in a submission for the old pavilion at the recreation ground at St Mary’s, but after we found that it might be a sharing situation we withdrew that offer. It was decided for the best interests of the Society we would trial having meetings one month and field trips the other month, Our first field trip was to Mangana on the 15th March 09 and this proved to be a great way to involve more of the public in the history of the place, Next field day was to Fingal this wasn’t as good as the previous one, but it did clash with other events. While on field trips, we had a very very successful one to the Old haunted houses at Garth and Melrose it was amazing to see so many younger ones turning up, which greatly heartens me to see them there, because in years to come they will be able to say, That’s where that old Mr Haas took us and told us the story of those places, He might not know the diffence between a mile and a kilometer but he sure knows about the ghosts of the Valley. We did a couple of interviews with people of interest during the year, Noel Bradbury was one that Darlene, Jim & Myself visited, it was an interesting 45 minutes, Darlene & Jim

 

Field Trip to Garth & Melrose.
On the 19th July we had our field day trip to the Haunted houses at Garth & Melrose,
Only disappointing part of the day was that we didn’t see any ghosts, and I don’t think anyone offered to stay over-night to test their nerves.
But it turned out to be a very informative trip with some thirty-six persons younger and more matured “just to put it nicely”. I was particularly interested to see the young ones attending as they will be able to tell others about those buildings and the true history of them, Not like when we were growing up, our parents used to tell us about the house at “Garth” as the haunted house where a young fellow cut his throat at the “well”.
But thanks to Darlene & Jim and Mr & Mrs Scotty Marshall of “Rostrevor” we now know the truth of the situation, Where by the young fellow came out from England leaving his girl friend behind and he was to build a house and go back home and marry her and then they would come to the house at “Garth” to live, well after some three years the house was ready, so as one could imagine he would have been very pleased to get to that stage, so he sailed back to England to marry the love of his life, after three months at sea he would have arrived back home, But, to his disappointment he found that his love had married some-one else, Well, think about it, in those days with little or no communication she probably thought he had found someone else or had met with a fate unknown. But what ever the excuse was it would have been a rude shock, so as history goes he got on the next boat to Van-Diemens Land, would have put in another three months at sea and came back to the house that he had dreamt of living in and Cut his throat in the court yard.
The sad part of this story is that no one seems to be able to find the name of the young fellow who created this piece of history.
A couple of other families lived there afterwards, and looking at the ruins, they have over the times added to the original building, One of those families was the “Peters” family and our Secretary, Lois Hayes, nee Peters, is a direct descendant of that family, Some distance away is the grave of Anne Peters who died at the house as an infant. It is heartening to see that the grave has been kept maintained and marked with a fence and plaque.

The group who went to Garth and Melrose also called into the Old probation Station at Fingal on the way home and had a look at the remaining old buildings that are still standing.
But since that visit, we have discovered that some of the buildings are not what we thought they were as some-one has been reading the old plans a bit back to front, so some time in the future we will have to call in there again and sort out which building is really what they were, It would be nice if we could have a notice board placed at each of the buildings, as it is Heritage as well as the history of the Valley, where a lot of things got started from in the 1800’s, Even some of the old farm buildings would not have existed, (and are still standing to-day) without the help of the convicts, and no doubt some of those would have come from the Fingal probation Station.
As was the case with a lot of the convicts who worked on the St Mary’s Pass or St Mary’s vale as it is often referred to, while researching the info regarding the names of the convicts, who helped build the access to the coast from the Break O’ Day Plains.



Above: Old photo of the "Garth" homestead, which is now only ruins

 

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