Early Heathcote

Heathcote is about 25 kilometres from Axedale, and is included in the surrounding area of Axedale for this One Place Study.

The following newspaper article shows just what a thriving town Heathcote was in the 1860’s. The list of businesses shows that many businesses were still surviving after the glory days of the goldrush. Many miners stayed in the area and began to farm the very fertile land surrounding Heathcote.

from: The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser, Thursday 05 November 1908, page 2

 

More on shearers poisoning 1858

Recently I posted about shearers who were poisoned by their cook, when arsenic was mistaken for flour. Following are the names of three of the shearers who died. As yet I haven’t identified the fourth victim.
John FLETCHER, aged about 23 years;
Robert FREELAND, aged about 44 years;
Edward John MORGAN, 29 years.

Below, is a follow up report of the incident.

from: The Bendigo Advertiser, 16 Jun 1858, page 2transcription:

FATAL MISTAKE WITH ARSENIC.

The late melancholy occurrence at the station of Messrs Cox and Bissett, on the Campaspe, concerning, which it will be seen by a paragraph in another column, that a fourth victim has been added to the sad list, has directed public attention to the fatal results from the careless use of arsenic.

It is, indeed, most extraordinary that nothing has been done by the Legislature, to protect the public from such fatal mistakes, as have occurred in the colony, and especially in the interior, from the similarity of arsenic to flour. The neglect is the more inexcusable, seeing that there is a law in England on the subject, which seems to have been copied in New Zealand.

On this subject the Herald remarks

” A correspondent sends us the following excellent suggestions, upon a subject which has caused much discussion without at present any practical results:- Sir, -The number of cases which have occurred in this colony of death from poison, by using arsenic in mistake for flour, has induced me to trouble you with a few remarks.

I perceive that in New Zealand the law requires that this article immediately upon being imported shall be mixed with soot to render it repulsive to the eye and taste, and distinguish it from flour, while it prevents even its wilful administration in all those cases where neither the color nor taste of pure arsenic would give warning of its presence.

You must be acquainted with the circumstances connected with the cases in which it has been used in mistake, and I need not urge them on you as a means of inducing you to exertions to prevent their recurrence; and would simply suggest that it would be most desirable if all the squatters who hold this article for the use of their stations, and the merchants and others who have it in their possession, would mix sufficient soot with it to render it impossible to be mistaken for flour.

At a future day it may be well to consider the necessity of passing a law on the subject. There can be no expense attending the mixture, and the valuable lives it may save should be a sufficient incentive to take the little trouble there would be in the proprietors ordering it at once to be done on their stations, and in the stores in town.

-Your obedient humble servant, X.'”

(Punctuation and paragraphs have been added to the above transcription for ease and speed of reading)

 

 

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Axedale Community Hall

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The Axedale Hall is situated in the centre of Axedale, on a large block of land, that includes a childrens playground. To me, it represents the community hub of Axedale.

The Hall was built in 1945, however it seems there was earlier planning for a community centre, as the first minutes for the Hall Committee were recorded on 31 August 1938. Present at this meeting were Councillors Doak & Mill, Messrs Ryan, McKindley, Atlee, Lynch, O’Donogue, Carney, Lienhop, Drake, O’Dwyer & O’Brien. Any meetings that occurred prior to this date are not recorded in the minutes book.

The minutes on 29 April 1944, record that Blocks 6 and 7 Section 5 Town of Axedale, be the site of the proposed Hall and that the committee accept Mr. Drakes offer of a free gift of the land, subject to Mr. Drake’s condition that the land would be definitely used for the erection of the Hall. The offer was accepted and a hearty note of thanks was sent to Mr. Drake for his generous offer.

On 19 October 1943, the Executive Committee wrote to the Strathfieldsaye Shire Council, requesting that an application be made to the Minister of Public Works for a grant of 600 pounds on a basis of £2 for £1 as a post war construction job.

On 8 August 1945, the minutes moved that the committee issue 5 year debentures minimum to be 1 pound interest on the debentures to be at 21/2%.

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The Axedale Hall was officially opened on 30 June 1945, by the Hon. J.H. Lienhop MLC, Minister of Public Works for Victoria. Many dignitaries attended and members of the Ladies Committee provided afternoon tea. This information is noted in the minutes of the hall committee. This was just a few weeks before the end of World War 2.

A Roll of Honour to both World Wars was installed proudly and hangs today. The names of locals who served and also those who lost their lives is inscribed.

FullSizeRender(1)The above plaque commemorates the opening of the water scheme in Axedale on 9 April 1964.

On reading the minutes, it becomes obvious that the Hall Committee were hard working and very committed to getting the Axedale Hall built for the community.

Today, the Axedale Hall Committee operates as an incorporated body of volunteers along with a Management Agreement with the City of Greater Bendigo. There are nine people on the Committee including a representative from the Pre-school.

The Axedale Pre-School, which opened in 1992, is in the back part of the hall building. Originally that part of the hall was the supper room.

There have been many events held at the hall in the decades since it opened, such as weddings, engagement parties and funerals. I have been told that there are many residents still living in Axedale, who celebrated their weddings in the hall.

There have also been many official community functions held, such as school concerts, fashion parades, casserole luncheons, and children’s fancy dress parties. There have been 5 Debutante Balls held there over the years. The photos of these deb balls still hang proudly in the hall.

As recently as 2004, indoor bowls was played in the hall on a piece of carpet, which would be rolled out for the occasion.

The CFA used the hall for their meetings, while waiting for their new premises to become available.

Today the hall is regularly used for private functions as well as community events such as Yoga Classes.

The Axedale Hall Committee today, appear to me, to be a very active, vibrant, and hard working group of committed volunteers.  They operate the local market and also support other local events.

The above information was kindly given to me by Ann Mason, Axedale Hall Committee member for about 12 years. Anne lives on a property at Knowsley, about 10k from Axedale. Originally from Bendigo, Ann has been living at Knowsley since 1994 and is very actively involved in the Axedale community.  

A little about Axedale

The discovery of gold in Bendigo, in the 1850s brought many travellers through Axedale, as they were on the search for  their fortune. They would have found Axedale to be a pretty spot, on the banks of the Campaspe River. Some of those travellers, rested by the river and continued on. Some settled in Axedale.

Axedale soon became a thriving community, with many hotels, a bakery, store, post office and churches. There were also industries such as a blacksmith, coach service to Bendigo, brick kilns, sawmills, along with mining of gold, sandstone and bluestone.

Today Axedale is a thriving rural hamlet, offering a relaxed and peaceful lifestyle. Being only about 20 kilometers from Bendigo, many have settled in Axedale and commute daily to Bendigo for work.

Axedale Map 1858

Axedale Map.

Victorian Department of Crown Lands and Survey. The Township of Axedale, and suburban allotments, Parish of Axedale, County unnamed 1858. Map RM3359

This map can be found in the Digital Maps Collection, at the National Library of Australia. The map which was surveyed in 1858 is mounted on linen and measures 44.9cm X 28.4cm and shows land holdings and newly subdivided land.

Source: http://nla.gov.au/nla.map-rm3359

(To see detail more clearly, click on the map)

Can you see where you live today. I’d love to hear in the comments below, if you can see your block.