Bill, his wife
and niece Helen
Our President with John Harrison
47 people gathered at our Christmas meeting on
Saturday 3rd December 2011, including the CAV
President Neil Thomas and his wife Marilyn,
Secretary of the CAV June Whiffin and the Patron
of the CAV, Bill Phillips with his wife Gwen.
It was good to have visitors from Melbourne,
Geelong and Bendigo join with us, at our last
meeting at St Cuthbert’s.
The Hall looked splendid with beautifully
decorated tables prepared by the Committee
As has become the norm for Ballarat, through the
generosity of members in the provision of food, a
sumptuous feast was enjoyed by all.
There was rousing singing of “Trelawney” and
members enjoyed the community carol singing,
accompanied by Joy Menhennet on the piano.
It was a wonderful evening of fun, fine food and
To view the gallery of images Click Here
October’s meeting included two very interesting
The first by Robyn Coates detailed the finding of
a grave of a Cornishman in outback SA at Beltana.
Named Edward Commins he had been born in Bodmin in
1844 and died in 1881. Robyn showed and explained
how she had used the internet to discover more of
Edward’s life including when and where he was
born, where he went to school, his marriage, his
appointment as Clerk of Courts at Beltana and his
The second speaker was the Patron of the Cornish
Association of Victoria, Bill Phillips.
Bill’s topic was, ‘The Almost Forgotten Town of
Timor’ which was located about 11 kilometres from
Maryborough, on the Dunolly Road.
Timor (Tie-more) had several names – Chinaman’s
Flat, Cox Town, and Bowenvale, (named after the
Governor who once visited Maryborough).
In the late 1800s, Timor had a population of 27
000 and was a thriving town with churches, hotels,
schools and shops as well as the mines in the
Bill shared information about the various mines
that had operated and included photos of trips
undertaken with the Ballarat Branch of the CAV.
Timor is no more but the local school and cemetery
still bear the name.
A wonderful high tea and fellowship followed.
Following a rousing rendition of ‘Trelawney’,
members heard of the recent travels of member
Barbara McDonald to Cornwall (and other parts of
the UK), in our Cornish Spot.
Growing up in the UK, Barbara was evacuated to St
Issey in Cornwall during WW2 and settled in
Australia in 1950. She was able to locate her
father’s and grandfather’s graves and visited her
former Primary School at St Issey. Barbara shared
with us some of the stories associated with both
her and her late husband’s family including one
who was hanged, drawn and quartered and one who
was transported to Norfolk Island as a convict.
Clare Gervasoni, the curator of Art and Historical
Collections at Ballarat University, was our
speaker and she gave us an interesting and
informative talk about the Ballarat School of
Mines. As the first School of Mines in Australia,
it had a world wide reputation for excellence.
We heard of former scholars with a Cornish
Heritage – Robert Malachy Sergeant, Henry Richard
Caselli, Samson and William Keast, Thomas Bath,
John Rowe, Edith Curnow and her daughter Val Lawn
(Val D’Angri - a current member).
Claire presented the group with a book on the
history of the School of Mines.
June 2011 Speaker
Neil Thomas, President of the CAV, was the speaker
at the June meeting following the AGM where all
office bearers were re-elected.
Neil spoke about the proud independent Cornish
village, Newlyn, noted for the voyages of the
“Mystery” in 1854 and “The Spirit of Mystery” in
A lesser known voyage was that of the lugger,
“Rosebud” in October 1937, which sailed from
Newlyn to Westminster pier, London, to protest
against the Penzance council’s plan to demolish
old houses in Newlyn and replace them with council
flats, at the top of a hill away from the harbour.
The petition was partially successful.
The Star Inn, noted for the meeting place of the
“Mystery” sailors survived as well as a number of
houses used to accommodate returned servicemen
after W.W. II.
The Newlyn school of artists also supported the
retention of the heritage buildings, many of
which, together with fishing boats, feature in
paintings held in art galleries, including Geelong
Dr Bill Pryor was the guest speaker.
Training as a Vet and with a variety of employment
in both Australia and overseas, Bill returned to
Scotsburn and was elected to the Buninyong Council
This followed a family tradition in local
government as his grandfather had been Mayor of
Ballarat on three occasions.
From there began a journey resulting in the
establishment of the University of Ballarat,
officially opening in 1994 with Geoffrey Blainey
as the Chancellor and Bill as the Vice
Chancellor. It was the sharing of highlights
of this journey that made the subject of his
Val D'Angri preceeded Bill's address with a short
Cornish segment on some of the history of her Lawn
Mr John Harrison,
apothecary at Sovereign Hill, was the
entertaining speaker at the February meeting.
On the Goldfields, an apothecary was called upon
to treat a variety of medical conditions and
disorders using concoctions made from plants and
herbs and also ready made remedies.
These included coughs and colds, dropsy,
rheumatics, women’s problems, treatment of
wounds and injuries as well as repelling
An apothecary trained for 6 to 7 years and was
also able to make insect repellent, snuff, dyes,
soaps, tonics and purgatives.
Members were able to remember some of the
Dr Hollaway’s Pills (which cured from A to W –
ague to weakness); Dr Morse’s Indian Root Pills
(made from Indian sarsaparilla); Syrup of Figs
and Beechams Pills.
Other less well known preparations were
Mariani’s Coca Wine (made from wine and
cocaine); Seven Sutherland Sisters Hair Grower
(one of the ingredients being hydrochloric
acid); Cocaine Tooth drops, and Opium
preparations with alcohol to soothe coughs,
teething and sleeplessness in babies!!
John produced a variety of herbs and plants from
his basket of bags and had everyone guessing as
to what the plant was and what it could be used
It was a most enjoyable session and ended all
In the second half of our meeting, Joy Menhennet
shared with us some information about Rev.
William James Palamountain, who was born at
Little Bendigo, near Ballarat in 1864. William
Palamountain entered the ministry of the
Methodist Church in 1886, and served in various
circuits He was a noted evangelistic preacher
and the establishment of Epworth Hospital in
1921 was the result of his vision.
Joy read to us an article, ‘Memories of Little
Bendigo – Some Cornish Personalities’, written
by William Palamountain and printed in the Argus
on 20th May 1933.