Ballarat and nearby

This is about Ballarat and family who live around the region. I have more photos in the photo gallery - look under the Ballarat album. You can see full-sized versions there too. I intend to take further pictures and attach more little stories to them over time.

You might like to check this Smith-Guy-Burrell Genealogy link  too. My cousin Jenny has done an amazing job of putting together the research and documenting the family history in Australia and beyond. I am deeply indebted.

Ballarat and family

Eureka Tile and BrickI was born in Ballarat and a surprising number of relatives live there or close by. The photo here is of the cottage where My father worked until the late 1950's when we moved to Melbourne. His father was the Manager during the Depression years and the family lived around the corner in a house next to the orphanage. My father was full of stories about living in a Dickensian orphanage and I realise why now. He was 17 when his father died in 1934, the Depression was not yet over.  My grandfather was a well known cricketer in the region and played against a touring England side. My father played a lot of different sports and was very good at all of them.

Eureka Tile in the 1930sPhoto courtesy of Jenny Burrell and Auntie Betty who has the original photographAn early 1930s photograph of the Eureka Tile Company. Note the cottage behind the tree to the right - it is in the previous photograph. William Edwin Guy is under the arrow. My father was built exactly the same shape and stood the same way. Both of tem were uncomfortable in suits. The house in Stawell St is not there anymore with an office for the factory in its place. The Orphanage is still there across the road. My Aunt tells me about playing in the pond that is near the Eureka display and monument. How she and her sisters jumped in from the reed beds and small island. You can still see the pond and the swimming pool that was built there in the 1980s seems appropriate.

Skipton St Shop which my grandparents WE and Phoebe Guy ownedSkipton St Shop. This is the shop where my grandparents ran a kind of general store after moving from Smythesdale to Ballarat when the gold started to run out. (dates needed). My father and aunt have both told me that the reason they left the shop is because they gave out too much credit when the Depression started.

The Doveton St house where my grandparents livedThe house in Doveton St where my father, grandparents and my five aunts lived (one sister died aged 15 months at Italian Gully in 1912). To the left is a church hall. Not much has changed in this house for a long time. In this house and the one in Stawell St, there were always plenty of children. My grandparents were concerned for the less well off and that approach to life was so evident in my father. I am told that there was always a place at the dinner table for friends who needed a good meal and that the garden out the back was a source of all the herbs and vegetables needed, in season. A table that seated 12 or more was the centre of the house and bunk beds were the way all the children slept. My father being the only boy managed his own room but shared it with my aunt for a while when she was very young. They were very close and Bill (my father) looked after his little sister as a father when their father William Edwin died in 1934 (My father was 17 and my aunt was 7). Stories abound about how the various sisters came and went as they grew up and started to make their own independent lives.

Warrenheip from Mt BunningyongMy Aunt, who is the last of her generation, lives in Buninyong and is still very active in her eighties; her grand daughters can only just keep up with her when they go walking in the bush. This photograph is from Mt Buninyong and across to Mt Warrenheip. Both are recently active volcanos that made the area's fertile soils and characteristic deep gorges where the rivers cut through the lava plains. This is a 3 Km walk from my Aunt's place.  A clear day gives spectacular views. This was not a clear day so I could not get the photos I wanted. I will need to go back again to get a panorama.

Peel St Ballarat North at the foot of Black HillThis is the house NEXT to where my mother's parents lived. My grandparents lived "way out" near Black hill in Ballarat North. Most of my early Christmas days were spent at the house that is not demolished and replaced by a new one. There was a bull in the paddock behind here and I was chased by it. I developed a talent for high jumping after I jumped a 5 foot high fence clear when I was about eight. The market garden next to the side of the house grew all sorts of vegetables and every vision in my mind of the Beatrix Potter stories was set in that garden. I forget his name but the farmer might have been Farmer Brown!

My uncles stayed in the bungalow out the back of the house where they had space. There was a chopping block for wood ... and chickens. I still clearly remember saving for what seemed like weeks to buy a toy from the corner store. 20 minutes visiting brings back a childhood of memories.

Black Hill where I explored mine shafts as a child To the left is a photograph of the mineshafts around the top of Black Hill where I used to play. I used to sneak up to the mine shafts with my Uncle Noel, usually getting a ride on his bike. There was a friend of his who lived in a shack within the pine trees and his wife made small pasties in a wood oven. I do not remember anything tasting so good. Three houses away, the people who lived there had a television set and sometimes there were twenty people in that house watching it. Television was new then.

I need to get some photographs of some of the other places in Ballarat that I remember from the past and see what I can dig up from my mother and uncles. Here is my hit list:

  • Some of the cricket grounds in Ballarat. Honour boards etc
  • The house where I lived for my first 2 years
  • The hospital where I was born
  • The Eureka Stockade area and my grandparent's house in Stawell St
  • The houses in Victoria St. My Parents', Grandmother's, Auntie Jean's
  • Buninyong township
  • Sovereign Hill and Larter st
  • Historic locations in Ballarat
  • Dry lake Wendouree

Down at Staffordshire reef there is this road ...Went driving with my Aunt to see the place her grand parents lived (my great grand parents) before moving to Smythesdale and when we saw this sign we knew we were close. The time we spent together was very precious and made me realise how little we appreciate things until they are not there. The Ballarat page is my attempt to record a few things related to my family. As far as I can tell, there might be 200 close relatives still living in this area.

Mullock heap A mullock heap is a pile of discarded diggings from a mine and they are everywhere in this area. The Staffordshire Reef/Berringa area was dug over several times as technology allowed more and more gold to be recovered. Ballarat was a centre of advanced technology un the 19th century and this carried through to the mid 20th century. Metal work was the area of specialty and it was the mining that developed it.

Cricket Pavilion - BerringaThis cricket pavilion is part of the Berringa Cricket club. My Grandfather and great grandfather played on this ground. The old pavilion burned down in a fire and was replaced with this one. The ground itself is suffering from the drought.

Great Grandfather William SamuelGreat Great GrandparentsGreat uncles and aunts in Staffordshire Reef cemetry

WE Guy and PhoebePhoto courtesy of Jenny Burrell. Some photos of the family graves at Staffordshire Reef Cemetery(above). My grandfather and grandmother are buried in Ballarat. My father is buried in Burwood, Melbourne. Eventually, I think I should be buried in the Staffordshire Reef cemetery. Full sized photos can bee seen in the Photo gallery.


Some stories to chase down:

  • My father. He lived through the most turbulent times ...
  • Auntie Jean ... some of the stories I have heard are very moving. I need to know if they can be told.
  • Auntie Betty. One amazing woman who seems to have so much love for others to share around.
  • Links to Doris, Edna, and Daphne. I only remember them as old people. About the age I am now.

All Photographs are my own except the ones specifically acknowledged.