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- Ballarat Branch -

2015 Dates

7th February
Lorice Jenking and Wendy Benoit with share something of their recent trips to Cornwall

4th March
Renaming of ACU Aquinas Campus, "Manifold Hall" to "Carnbrea"

7th March
St Piran's Day - Details at February Meeting

11th April
Please note change of date due to Easter

13th June
AGM - Note change of date due to "Queen's Birthday"

Annual Bus Trip

See photos from the 2014 Annual Bus Trip

To view images from the 2013 Bus Trip follow this link.

To view images from the 2012 Bus Trip follow this link.

St Piran's Day 2013

See the Gallery of Images

To read about and view the photos of the 2011 St Piran's Day events, click the link below

Click here for Report

Previous Reports and Speakers



Ballarat Links

Pioneers of Ballarat

The Welcome Nugget

Random Image

More images of Maureen Fuller's visit to Ballarat in May 2013

Images from the 25th Anniversary

The Cake

Nita Receiving her Award

Robert and Award Recipients

Nita and Joy Cutting the Cake

Maureen Fuller - Grand Bard

Images from the April Meeting

Miniature Steam Parade
Trevithick Day 2012

Interior at Lound Church

Helen Helston presenting her Family History segment

John and Sandra Hosking with John Skewes

December Cornish Christmas

Forty eight Cornish minded people met in the Skipton Street Uniting Church hall for our traditional Christmas meeting which commenced with a spirited rendition of Trelawney.
President John Mildren welcomed Ballarat members and friends from Melbourne, Geelong and Bendigo.
Special mention was made of the president of CAV, Robert Gribben, Secretary June Whiffen, Patron Bill Phillips and his wife Gwen, Treasurer Rod Phillips, President of Geelong Branch Neil Thomas and his wife Marilyn, George Ellis and Leanne and Rob Lloyd from Bendigo.
President John paid tribute to the dedicated members of the Ballarat Branch during the twenty five years it has existed with special mention of Joy and Jeff Menhennet Ian Jennings, Wendy Benoit and Lenice Stuchbery.
Vice president Joy Menhennet provided piano accompaniment for singing traditional Christmas carols interspersed with Librarian Wendy Benoit reading about Cornish Christmas customs and activities experienced by our ancestors in their homeland.

President of the CAV, Reverend Professor Robert Gribben, brought greetings to Ballarat, which he is always pleased to visit. He expressed thanks for our hospitality and shared some thoughts on the late Nelson Mandela.
Patron of the CAV, Bill Phillips, said Grace in the Cornish language and everyone enjoyed a delicious Festive Feast.

Photos from Ian Jennings and Beryl and Ted Curnow.

October Happenings

Annual Bus Trip - Saturday 26th October
On a very overcast Saturday 26th October, 42 travellers from Ballarat, Geelong and Melbourne boarded the bus at Skipton Street for a very informative day with an extremely knowledgeable and expert guide in Joan Hunt.
She showed us the towns or districts of Smythesdale, New Town, Scarsdale, Happy Valley, Piggoreet and Linton plus Nimmons Bridge and the Devils Kitchen at Piggoreet
We stopped for lunch at the former Happy Valley School, now a very well equipped community hall.
Ian Getsom welcomed us with a warm fire and had organised a display of the history of the area.
John Mildren made a small presentation of thanks to Ian.
After lunch we travelled to Linton where Joan had arranged for two members from Linton to join her in showing us some features of the town.
To see the photos of the day click here

CHHA Family History Expo
On Friday and Saturday 18th and 19th October, the group was involved in the Central Highlands Historical Association Family History Expo.
On the Friday about 100 children were involved from four schools - Bungaree, Trentham, Newlyn and Dana Street in Ballarat. Some children gave reports of work they had been undertaking and then the children were divided into groups and did three activities provided by the various exhibitors. It was a fun day enjoyed by children, teachers and activity providers. Saturday was open to the public and we were able to assist numerous people with their family research.

Joy with John Harrison

Joy with Students

The Volunteers

October Meeting


Moira Drew and John Mildren

At the October Meeting:
John Mildren shared photos and stories of his and John Morrish's recent trip to Cornwall where they visited many towns and villages.  As a keen ornithologist, John was fortunate to see and gain a photograph of a Cornish Chough.
Moira Drew introduced the Ballarat branch to the 'Overland Gold' project on which she has been working for some years.
To learn more, follow this link.  Overland Gold
Moira recently led a car convoy along the route taken by those who crossed from South Australia and she would like to arrange a re-enactment of the trip with a bullock wagon in the near future.

August Meeting 2013

In the Cornish segment of the evening, Bev Pratt spoke about  Rev. John Cope, great great grandfather of Susan Gribben???one of five clerics in Susan's family.  (Susan is the wife of the President of the CAV, Rev. Prof. Robert Gribben)
John Cope, born 7th December 1825 in Cheadle, Staffordshire, was a schoolmaster in Mevagissey in 1851, where he lodged with the Lelean family.
In 1854 he married Mary Ann Lelean at St Austell.
After several years as a Probationer Minister he was ordained by the Wesleyan church in 1855 and emigrated to Hobart serving there, in Launceston , Campbelltown, Adelaide, Melbourne, Geelong, St. Kilda, Richmond, Hobart again and finally in Lydiard Street , Ballarat , for two years, retiring in 1883 because of ill health.
The Cope family claim that a pair of silver buckles, given in thanks by John Wesley, to Mary Ann???s parents, are now displayed in the Museum at Wesley???s Chapel in London.
The 1880 Quarterly Meeting, at Lydiard Street Methodist Church, invited John Cope to be the Superintendent Minister in the circuit, comprising fourteen congregations???Lydiard Street, Macarthur Street, Pleasant Street, Wendouree, Sebastopol, Magpie, Rubicon, Black Lead, Scotchman's, Buninyong, Garibaldi, Alfredton, Hiscocks and Corduroy.
In 1881 John commenced this three years??? appointment with a stipend of 250 pounds per annum.
In his first year memberships in the fourteen congregations totalled 1273.
The Quarterly Meeting 24th 1881 decided to hold a ??? Love Feast??? at Lydiard Street on the Wednesday night immediately before the next full moon. Communion would have been celebrated and moonlight would have ensured safe walking.
That meeting also resolved to urge the Trustees to build a larger church to accommodate 1,300 .This was the second church , built south of the current church, and now used by the School of Mines. 
It is thought that Mary Ann???s family were the forebears of the Lelean family known to Ballarat members. Rev Drew Lelean in Melbourne has  chalice once used by John Wesley.

Bev Pratt
The presentation was followed by some community singing of Cornish Favourites, accompanied by Joy Menhennet on the piano.
It was a fun night and enjoyed by all. A scrumptious high tea followed.

June Meeting 2013

This was the 25th Anniversary of the Ballarat Branch and it was wonderful that some former members and the President of the CAV, Robert Gribben, were able to join us for this event.

To mark this auspicious occasion, Vice President Joy Menhennet made and decorated a cake, in the shape of our country Australia and decorated it with Cornish emblems.

 Joy and Nita Bartle lit a candle and cut the cake. President Robert congratulated Ballarat Branch members on this achievement and all present sang ???Happy Anniversary???.

Robert presented a Life Membership certificate to Nita Bartle and framed congratulatory certificates to Foundation Members Ian and Marilyn Jennings, Joy Menhennet and Lenice Stuchbery and in absentia Eleanor Chisholm, Val D???Angri, John Mildren and Brian and Stancie Mullins.

Special thanks were offered to both Marjory Foo and Bill Whitford for their contribution over many years.

Robert shared with us a fascinating story of his wife???s (Susan) ancestors - Walter and Mary Croggon (nee Mullis) - Susan???s great great great grandparents.

He was born in Grampound, and Mary in St Germans. Walter's family were Baptists but he was influenced by the ministry of two well-known Wesleyan Methodist preachers and offered himself for the Methodist Ministry.

He began as a Local Preacher in the Truro circuit and when he was accepted as a candidate, was stationed in Penzance, St Austell and Liskeard. He was then posted to Paris as part of the church's foreign missions from 1822-26,  and then to the Greek Island of Zante (or Zakynthos) in the Ionian Sea.

Walter, was a Wesleyan Methodist missionary to the islands which were then under British control and as well as undertaking church responsibilities, they both did amazing work in teaching Greek boys and girls in small schools they organised. Mary died in 1830 at the age of 31 and was survived by a six year old daughter Marianne (Susan???s ancestor) and her husband.

He returned to England, after his wife's death and was Superintendent of Irish Schools and Missions, based in Dublin, until his retirement.

His wife Mary lies buried in the English cemetery on Zante, but the grave took some finding. When Robert and Susan discovered the grave and cleaned it, the inscription told them that two other of their babies had already been buried there, and that Mary had died after the birth of a third.


On an extremely cold Wednesday 15th May, 12 members and nine visitors joined together for a very enjoyable lunch with the Grand Bard, Maureen Fuller, Steren Mor.
It was Maureen???s first visit to Australia and she was fortunate that she had been able to make contact with a family member whilst in Sydney.
Maureen shared some of her family???s story with us and those lucky enough to attend Kernewek Lowender heard some more.
It was a wonderful opportunity to meet Maureen and those who attended felt her warmth and friendship.

April Meeting 2013

At the April Meeting, Joy Menhennet told us about Henry Richards Caselli JP baptised 23rd June 1861 at Falmouth. Henry Richards Caselli served an apprenticeship with a large ship building yard studying naval architecture. He invented an improved gun carriage and platform, visiting Germany and attracting the attention of the British Military authorities.
The Caselli family arrived in Victoria in December 1853 on the Gazelle. Henry was the Lloyd???s Shipping Company Surveyor for Corio Bay Harbour, Geelong, before being attracted by the discovery of gold, to Ballarat, where he witnessed the Eureka riots. Henry Caselli was the architect for many Ballarat buildings.

Arthur and Robyn Coates shared photos and stories of their trip to the UK during 2012.
Cornish segments included The ???Obby ???Oss Festival, Trevithick Day and a trip to Morwenstow with the tales of Robert Stephen Hawker.
A visit to St John the Baptist Church, Lound (in Suffolk) where an ancestor of Robyn???s (Booth Hodgetts Lynes) had personally financed the refurbishment of the small church back to its medieval grandeur, ended the talk.

February Meeting 2013

After a short business meeting Helen Helston shared information about her Rickard family.  Two brothers, Mark and Thomas Rickard migrated to the USA and from there to Australia.
Mark became the manager of the Grand Duke mine at Timor near Maryborough but after a mine accident shifted to Ballarat. Mark married Annie Kent whose father was Nicholas Kent from Sebastopol after whom Kent Street was named.

John Hosking was born in Camborne Conrwall and emigrated to Australia.  He worked as a miner and in the china clay industry both in Cornwall and Australia and is an active member of the Ballarat Mechanics Institute.
He has researched the reasons that lead to the migration of huge numbers of young people from Cornwall to Australia in the 1850s.
Cornwall had been very prosperous from the production of tin and copper particularly in the 1800s for the navy, fishing and the large scale imports of otherwise highly taxed luxury goods (known to us as smuggling).
Within a 5 year period each of these industries was decimated, tranforming the community from prosperity to poverty. Copper had been discovered in Canada and tin in Malaysia hence the prices had plummetted, The large trawlers from the east had destroyed the huge herring shoals and the war with France had ceased so personnel and ships could be deployed in disrupting the smuggling trade.
At the same time, the South Australian Government offered free passages to Australia for people with farming skills, blacksmiths and stone masons.
No wonder they came.

Images chosen by Junkyard Link