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.
Photo 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.
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 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.
My Aunt, who is the last of her generation, lives in
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.
This 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
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
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
- The houses in Victoria St. My Parents', Grandmother's,
- Buninyong township
- Sovereign Hill and Larter st
- Historic locations in Ballarat
- Dry lake Wendouree
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.
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
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.
Photo 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.
All Photographs are my own except the ones specifically acknowledged.