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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

Miniature Steam Parade
Trevithick Day 2012

Interior at Lound Church

Helen Helston presenting her Family History segment

John and Sandra Hosking with John Skewes

Cornish Association of Victoria Inc. - Ballarat Branch

President: Keith Laynon
email: Keith Laynon

Administrative Secretary: Miss Lorice Jenkin
email Lorice Jenkin

Treasurer/Membership Secretary: Mr. Ian Jennings 

email Ian Jennings

Librarian: Mrs Wendy Benoit.
email Wendy Benoit

Click here to view the holdings of the branch's extensive Library

Newsletter Editor: Robyn Coates

MEETINGS The Ballarat Branch meets on the first Saturday of every EVEN month at 2.00 pm. The venue is the Skipton Street Uniting Church Hall, cnr Skipton & Darling Streets, Ballarat South (opposite Skipton and Drummond St crn).


  • To promote and foster goodwill among Cornish people and people in Victoria
  • To stimulate interest in the history, family history, antiquities, traditions and social conditions of Cornwall.
  • To endeavour to arrange contact between relatives and friends of Cornish people in both Victoria and Cornwall and other Cornish Associations.
  • To further awareness in the Victorian community of the importance of the Cornish emigration in the development of Australia.
  • To assist and to encourage , in conjunction with State organisations, Local Government and the National Trust , the restoration and maintenance of buildings and areas of importance to the Cornish heritage in Australia. 
  • To be a non-political, non-sectarian cultural organization.

Upcoming Program

Saturday 3rd March 2018 - St Piran’s Day Celebration - 10.30 am until 2.30 pm

Skipton Street Hall.  A shared Lunch will be served at 12.15 pm.  Please bring a plate of food to share for lunch - please note that no hot food will be served.  Neil Thomas, from Geelong, will be our speaker.

17th - 18th March 2018 - Eaglehawk Dahlia and Arts Festival - Myths and Legends.

Family History research in the MUIOOF Hall in Eaglehawk as part of the Festival from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm
A Bardic Ceremony will be held during the afternoon at 3.00 pm.
We will arrange an informal gathering for an evening meal on Saturday evening at 7.00 pm for those staying overnight.

Saturday 7th April 2018 Robyn Coates

Robyn will speak about Alfred Rowell who was Band Master of the City of Ballarat Band and also the Band Master of the Regimental Band of the 39th Battalion.

February Meeting 2018 - Cornish Pioneers - by Joy Menhennet and Wendy Benoit

Wendy and Joy presented information on a number of Ballarat people of Cornish decent as follows:
1.     Matthew Veal a Coach Builder of Smythesdale.  2 storeyed house still
2.    John Vial Snr. lived Sebastopol.
3.    John Vial Jnr., his wife disappeared so the Sebastopol Fireman organised
       an unsuccessful  search party.  She was later seen at a wharf in Geelong.
4.    Thomas Veal born St Just, Cornwall, lived Lydiard St., had 4 children. 
       Operated a Creswick to Ballarat Coach, died as a result of a fall from the
       coach after a trip from Allendale.
5.    Mary Coward nee Hocking married Methodist Church and lived in Ballarat
6.    Thomas Skewes had 11 children ,
7.    William Trevaskis left Ballarat for Broken Hill but died enroute his body was
       returned to Ballarat and buried in Old Ballarat Cemetery.
8.    Peter Harvey married a Wallace, lived Armstrong Street and attended Neil
       St Methodist Church. 

Joy and Wendy
9.     Richard Harvey saved 2 of his sisters in a house fire opp St John Church Soldiers Hill.
10.   John Clemens Hicks, was a miner and speculator having connections with the Band of Hope Quartz Co.  Lived
        Lyons St
11.   Mary Pizaro nee Beer had 13 children.                             
12.   Mary Dunstan first married William Whykes in Truro then married William Ellis and 3rd husband William
        Dunstan and they lived in Buninyong.
Wendy & Joy were thanked for their presentation and afternoon tea was enjoyed.

December 2017 - Christmas Luncheon

Saturday, the first  of December, found Cornish members from Bendigo, Geelong and Melbourne arriving at the Royal Mail Hotel in Sebastopol to join the Ballarat members for their annual Christmas lunch.
There was lots of chatter as the people arrived, catching up with friends.
Everyone enjoyed the Christmas meal of a roast with a trio of meats and sweets. Before the sweets of Christmas pudding or pavlova were served Keith had a quiz about Cornwall and Wendy tested our knowledge of the Cornish language.

It was a great opportunity to spend time with ‘old’ friends as well as making new friends.
 Photos from Wendy Benoit

October 2017 Meeting - Shared Items of Interest and Memorabilia

Joy Menhennet brought her photo album of photos taken when Joy and Lilian Dell went to Cornwall to become Bards. Wendy Benoit had her Great Grandmother’s birthday book bought in October 1884. which cost two shillings.
Val d’Angri spoke about the Curnow family. Her ancestors came from Prussia Cove, where the film, Ladies in Lavender was filmed.
Les George passed around a handmade brick. Les’s GGGrandfather, Richard Hall, worked on the construction of roads in Melbourne.
Lenice Stuchbery spoke about her search for "Trevega Farrm' . in the parish of Towednack , west Penwith, the home of her 5 x great grandparents Paul and Jane Quick.
Nita Bartle worked in the family Mixed business shop for twenty years on the corner of Cobden and Barkly St.
Lorice Jenkin read a newspaper article about a fire in a Grocer’s shop on the corner of South and Ripon Street which had been owned by her Great Grandfather’s brother.
Each presenter spoke about the history and importance of their contribution.

August 2017 - Mark Harris

Mark Harris has been an emergency department doctor at both St John of God Hospital and Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital.  He was educated at Mt Pleasant State School and Ballarat and Clarendon College before doing medicine at the University of Melbourne.
He is married to a fellow doctor, Linda, and has three adult children, Claire, Paul, and Tom.
Apart from a stint with the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Kalgoorlie, Mark Harris has mainly worked in Ballarat, predominantly in emergency medicine.
One of his passions is his role as the 8/7th Battalion’s medical officer, which has resulted in stints in East Timor and Bougainville with the United Nations and the Australian peacekeepers, as well as pre-Afghanistan training in Germany.
Mark Harris was returned to represent the Central Ward in October 2016, having previously served Ballarat City Council as a Councillor from 2008 to 2012. He was Mayor of the City of Ballarat in 2012 and is currently deputy Mayor.
In his talk, Mark explained how the Harris family had been in the Mt Pleasant area for many years after Charles Harris came from Cornwall to improve the family fortunes settling in Geelong, then Gordon and stayed in Mt Pleasant.

Mark with Keith Lanyon
Mark  then spoke about how a study of genetics is taking place in medicine and of the importance of the study.
One of his passions is his role as the 8/7th Battalion’s medical officer, which has resulted in stints in East Timor and Bougainville with the United Nations and the Australian peacekeepers, as well as pre-Afghanistan training in Germany.
Mark Harris was returned to represent the Central Ward in October 2016, having previously served Ballarat City Council as a Councillor from 2008 to 2012. He was Mayor of the City of Ballarat in 2012 and is currently deputy Mayor.
In his talk, Mark explained how the Harris family had been in the Mt Pleasant area for many years after Charles Harris came from Cornwall to improve the family fortunes settling in Geelong, then Gordon and stayed in Mt Pleasant.
Mark  then spoke about how a study of genetics is taking place in medicine and of the importance of the study.
He continued to tell us about how the Cornish have remained the same, even though the United Kingdom was invaded by the Romans, Saxons and Normans.
Very few cultures post Ice Age time have been as unaffected as the Cornish.
To prove his point Mark shared the result of his DNA test which was 99% Cornish, which is unusual for DNA results for people in the UK.

June 2017 Meeting -  AGM plus Derek Trewarne - "From Copper to Coal"

Derek’s great grandfather, Samuel Vine, aged 24, emigrated from Cornwall to Australia. Samuel found work in the Lord Nelson gold mine in St Arnaud.  In the early 1900’s the Lord Nelson mine was about to close and the miners were encouraged to move to the newly opened Powlett River coal fields in Gippsland later to become the Wonthaggi State coal mine to which Samuel went.
After a miners’ strike at Wonthaggi, the Victorian Government quickly approved the formation of the Powlett River black coal mine.
By the 1930’s, Wonthaggi simply could not compete economically with the richer fields of NSW.
Samuel Vine died in 1926 aged 69 and is buried in the Wonthaggi cemetery.

Jenny and Derek Trewarne with Keith Lanyon

Operations, in Wonthaggi, ceased altogether in 1968 after extracting 17 million tonnes of coal. 

Office Bearers for 2017-2018

Chairperson: Keith Lanyon; Vice Chairperson: Wendy Benoit; Administrative Secretary: Lorice Jenkin; Treasurer: Ian Jennings
Committee members: Robyn Coates; Bev Hocking; Jim Hocking; Joy Menhennet; John Mildren & Lenice Stuchbery

April 2017 Meeting - Keith Lanyon - "What's in a Name"

Keith Lanyon gave a very interesting talk, What’s in a name?
Many surnames are patronymic – derived from the father’s name. Such names were formed by adding a prefix or suffix denoting either son of or a diminutive.   English names terminating in son, s, ing, and kin are of this type, and also the many names prefixed with the Gaelic Mac, the Norman Fitz, the Irish O, or the Welsh ab or ap (being contractions of the Welsh words mab and map meaning son)
Hence the sons of John became Johnsons; the sons of William became Williamsons or Wilsons the sons of Neill, Mac Neill; the sons of Herbert, Fitz Herbert; the sons of Reilly, O’Reilly; and the sons of Thomas, ap Thomases (though ap has been dropped from many names of which it formerly was a part.) 

Another class of surnames are those arising from some personal characteristic of their owner. Peter the strong became Peter Strong, Roger of small stature became Roger Little or Roger Small, and black-haired William or blond Alfred became William Black or Alfred White.
Cornish examples:
Coad – Old
Wynn - white
Angwyn – an gwyn -  the white or fair (man)

A third class of names is that comprising local surnames - names derived from and originally designating the place of residence of the bearer. Such names were used in France at an early date and were introduced into England by the Normans, many of whom were known by the titles of their estates.  
The surnames adopted by the nobility were chiefly of this type, being used with the particles de, de la, or del (meaning of or of the). 

Cornish examples
Trewarne –  tre – (g)wen – homestead by swamp
Trengove – tre – an – go(f)ve – the smith’s homestead
Penhallarick -  pen-hal-lurek – top of cultivated ground on moor

A fourth class of surnames are those derived from occupation.   The earliest of these seem to have been official names such as Bishop, Mayor, Alderman, Sheriff, Chamberlain, Chancellor, Chaplain and Deacon
Trade and craft names, although of the same general type, were a slightly later development.  Currier was a dresser of skins, Webster a weaver, Wainwright a wagon builder, and Baxter a baker - Archer, Smith, Taylor, Barber, Shepherd, Carter, Mason, and Miller are self-explanatory.

Cornish Example
Angove - an gove – the blacksmith

St Piran's Day Celebration 4th March 2017

Thirty Members from across Victoria, one visitor and one baby attended our celebrations at Carn Brea in Mair Street on Saturday 4th March.
After a cuppa and chat, Keith Lanyon welcomed everyone and gave us a short history of St Piran.
The singing of Trelawney was energetic and a piano accompaniment by Joy Menhennet helped.
We had a flag raising ceremony where the Cornish Flag was raised by Keith Lanyon and the former President of the Ballarat Branch, John Mildren, placed a sheath of flowers remembering those Cornish Miners who had settled in Ballarat.
Hail to the Homeland preceded a rousing Kernow bys Vyken.
Much conversation followed over a shared lunch, after which some people looked over Carn Brea, the former residence of Cyrus Bath Retallack; others perused the various displays or continued chatting.
All in all and great day for One and All.

February 2017 Meeting - Down Memory Lane

Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker from Saltash in Cornwall was our speaker in February.
Dorothy was born at Glebe Cottages, Vogus Lane, St Dominick in 1938. 
Prior to coming to Australia to visit her son, Dr Simon Tucker, a virologist, Dorothy and a friend walked through the area where she had lived as a child and young woman, beginning at St Dominick. 

There were only eight or so houses and a farm in St Dominick and Dorothy lived next door to her aunt and uncle. Electricity wasn’t available until 1958 so their home was lit with candles and lamps. There wasn’t a supply of tap water and the family shared a water pump with their neighbours.

Her father was a farm worker at Baber, a small hamlet and Dorothy shared stories of her father’s life as a farm worker and also of raising hens and growing vegetables. The meat was rationed because of the war so they had their own pig which was housed in a big shed at the top of the garden. All parts of the pig were used to supplement their food.

Walking through Piper’s Wood, they passed a small waterfall and came to the house of artist Mary Martin and then to Cotehele House, former home of the Edgecumbe family, and now managed by the National Trust.
Turning into Vogus Lane was Brent’s Woods planted by Dorothy’s father and uncle about 70 years ago, and where her family members and friends used to play as children.
As a child, Dorothy picked primroses and her mother packed them in cardboard boxes and they were collected and sent to a flower market in one of the major cities for sale. Payment was 2d (two pennies) a bunch and the proceeds went towards buying new outfits and shoes for the Sunday School Anniversary in the Methodist Church.
The anniversary was a highlight of the year. A platform was erected at the front of the church for approximately thirty children to sit. Special hymns were sung by the children after many weeks of practice.

During the Second World War the American soldiers used Vogus Lane as a very important part of their training. Phone lines went up and down the Lane attached to the very tall beech trees. The Army Lorries drove up and down the Lane and landing Ducks were around the River Tamar.

Around Saltash there were a lot of military Camps and if you wander you can still find evidence.
St Dominick is still a lovely place in which to live but times change, television takes the place of homemade entertainment, and very few attend church or chapel. For many it is a dormitory village. People go to Plymouth and the surrounding areas to work and for shopping, theatres and cinemas.
Wendy thanked Dorothy for her interesting talk and gave her a copy of Our Heritage, Our Treasure.
Members enjoyed High Tea and a chat after the meeting.

Dorothy 2
Simon, Dorothy and Wendy

December 2016 Meeting

Although our numbers were down on previous Christmas functions, those who attended had a wonderful time, including some members from Melbourne, Bendigo and Geelong who joined us for the afternoon.
The group enjoyed singing Christmas carols and we were grateful to Beryl Curnow for playing the piano.
Wendy presented a Cornish story, Thomasine Bonaventure, which Maureen Fuller had told her while sitting in the square, at Week St Mary as was featured in photos in a Power Point presentation.
Week St Mary is a village in northeast Cornwall. It is situated south of Bude close to the River Tamar and the border between Cornwall and Devon.
 After the meeting, a scrumptious meal was enjoyed. Thanks to Rev. Ted Curnow for saying grace.
 A big thank you to all who helped with the preparation of the meal and to the Girl Guides, under the guidance of Marg Littlehales, who helped with the setting up and clearing away.
Winners of the Special Effort:
Jeff Menhennet voucher – Craig’s Voucher
Ian Jennings - two DVDs
Les George -  Shortbread biscuits

Buninyong Trip

Eighteen members from Ballarat, Geelong and Melbourne enjoyed a relaxing day touring around the Buninyong area in a small bus driven by Jim Hocking with informative guidance supplied by both Bev and Jim Hocking.
Our first stop was Buninyong Town Hall and Court House where Dr Anne Beggs-Sunter greeted us along with the President of the Buninyong Historical Society, Simon Dennis.
Anne showed us through the wonderfully restored building and afterwards answered questions whilst members had the opportunity to look at the various displays in the Court House and check out records on the data base.
Our next stop was the Old Public Library - part of the Buninyong Historical Society’s complex of buildings.
This followed a short tour around Buninyong, with Anne as our guide.
Our President, Wendy, offered thanks on behalf of members and made a small presentation to Anne.
 We were pleased to renew acquaintance with Doug Bradby who was on duty at the Library.
The Library was built in 1861 as a gift to the townspeople from Robert Allan, a prominent local businessman.
Some took advantage of the beautiful sunny day sitting outside the library before we all boarded the bus again for a short trip to Black Lead and the Napoleons Historical Society where the members had prepared a wonderful spread of sandwiches and cakes for our lunch. The former Black Lead Uniting Church and Hall is a pair of Methodist buildings dating from 1862 and 1913.
Les George opened the building so people could wander through with some finding members of their family in the displays.


October 2016 Meeting

Our speaker at the October meeting was John Hosking.
John presented a session entitles, What’s so Funny?
This included a number of poems he had written over the years and also some from well known authors and comedians.
Titles included:
*An Anthem
*The Eucalypts
*Chambers Handel music
*Railway Hotel Linton
*Christmas holidays
*Stories about their Home in which they were living at Buninyong including the adventures of his  chickens and geese
*A poem by G K. Chesterton about Noah.
*Driving down a dirt track in the centre of Australia
*Old age – now you are only a number
*Dentures with a Pam Ayres poem about teeth,
John then shared one he had written about parrots for his grandchildren. John’s humour was evident as the listeners reacted as he read his poems.

August 2016 Meeting

Left: China Clay Statues at Wheal Martyn
Above: High Pressure Hose

Above: Clay Pit at Wheal Martyn

John Hosking spoke on the Cornish Clay Industry at the last meeting, with first hand knowledge of the industry.
China clay is a material known as kaolin which was first used in China many thousands of years ago to make fine white porcelain.
Some of this made its way to Europe where the gentry were still making do with crude earthenware pots and where porcelain was highly sought after.
William Cookworthy, a Plymouth apothecary began to research the porcelain making process and spent several years searching for material that resembled the kaolin that had been used for so long in China. In 1745 he eventually found it at Tregonning Hill , near Germoe, in Cornwall where a rare type of decomposed granite, finer than most talcum powders, occurs naturally.
This material was known locally as Moorstone, Growan and Growan Clay.

Cookworthy found a way to separate the material, using water to remove impurities and then spent another twenty years developing his own recipe for making porcelain, which he successfully patented in 1768.
He immediately established the Plymouth Porcelain Factory and began making fine china to sell to the gentry.
He also began to sell the raw material to other English potteries

By the early nineteenth century the industry was big business.
The St Austell deposits had emerged as the largest in the world and other uses had also been found for the clay, such as in paper, paint and rubber goods.
Throughout the 19th century thousands of men were employed with harsh working conditions, either spraying the walls of open pits with high pressured hoses to remove the clay or processing and transporting the material which was exported to all corners of the globe.

By 1910  Cornwall was producing about fifty per cent of the world’s china clay.
In 1919 the three main producers merged, calling themselves English China Clay which continued to dominate the market until it was bought by a French company in 1999.

Today the St Austell deposits have been largely abandoned with some of the operations being moved to Brazil.
Now there are less than two thousand employees left in Cornwall.

The legacy of China Clay still defines the region, with the Eden Project sitting in a former china clay pit and the Wheal Martyn Heritage Museum set in the grounds of two former working china clay pits.

June 2016 Meeting

At AGM meeting, the 2016-2017 Ballarat Committee was elected:
Chairperson - Wendy Benoit
Vice Chairperson - Keith Lanyon
Administrative Secretary - Lorice Jenkin
Assistant Admin Secretary -  Lenice Stuchbery
Treasurer - Ian Jennings

Committee Members
Robyn Coates   
Bev Hocking.
John Hosking  
Jeff Menhennet
Joy Menhennet    
John Mildren
Lenice Stuchbery

Our speaker was Past President of the CAV, Rev. Prof. Robert Gribben whose chosen topic was ‘The Varieties of Methodism’. With many members in the audience having a Methodist background, this was a most interesting topic.

Different types of Methodism that evolved:
1791 Wesleyan
Groups that broke away were:
1797 The Methodist New Connexion. William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, was a member of the New Connexion.
1806 The Independent Methodist also known as Quaker Methodists

1811 Primitive Methodists – founders were Hugh Bourne and William Clowes
1814 - Tent Methodists
1815 The Bible Christians
1831 Arminian Methodists
1835 Wesleyan Methodists Association
1847 Protestant Methodists – no pipe organs
1849 Wesley Reform Society
1857 United Methodist Free Church

The Wesley brothers published many books which included diaries, sermons letters and medical advice. There were also many potteries made busts of John Wesley.

Val D'Angri and Robrt Gribben

In Australia in 1902 the various groups joined to become The Methodist Church and in the UK the various groups formed the Methodist Church in 1932.

April 2016 Meeting - Max Beck "A Different Earth"

During the April Meeting, Max Beck gave a very interesting talk about his book A Different Earth
To research the material to include in his book Max read the diaries of many people who had similar experiences to Jane Dunstan his great-great Grandmother.
The great Cornish migration to Australia had begun before the gold rush because times were tough in Cornwall.
His book is also about the history of the Cornish emigrant miners who came to Australia to seek a better life.
On the threshold of starvation when the potato blight hit Cornwall Jane Dunstan decided to rescue her family from desperate poverty and her husband, Richard, from the dreadful conditions in the mines.
She successfully applied for a free passage to migrate to South Australia with their seven children aged one to twelve.

After suffering appalling living conditions in the cramped steerage quarters of the ship and the challenges of the sea during the three month journey, the family, on arrival in South Australia in 1849 travelled 100 miles north of Adelaide by bullock wagon and walking to the Burra copper mines.
At Burra they lived in an underground dugout in the banks of the Burra Creek. Richard and his three eldest sons worked in the copper mines. For Jane it was a dramatic time, with floods, a new baby born underground and the tragic loss of her husband and two daughters.
On the discovery of gold in Victoria in 1851, Jane hired a bullock dray and driver to take her and her remaining six children on a courageous six week overland trek to the Victorian goldfields. Max described the difficulties of locating and travelling along the trail as they travelled from South Australia to Victoria
On arriving at the diggings Jane was horrified by what she saw but made do with what was available. Ultimately Jane remarried and had three more babies. In total she had eleven children. She eventually became the Grandmother to fifty-nine.
Jane died in 1886.

February 2016 Meeting

Keith Lanyon was our February speaker and members were very keen to hear of Keith’s experiences as an RAAF Chaplain.
Keith wore his uniform
To begin, Keith briefly tested our knowledge of the RAAF and then told us that the RAAF was formed in 1921 [following on from the Australian Aviation Corps/Australian Flying Corps which was formed in 1912 and was part of the Australian Army and formally disbanded in 1919].

The initial leader was Sir Richard Williams who was born in Moonta and was the son of Richard and Emily Williams. His father, also Richard, was a copper miner who had emigrated from Cornwall.
The first RAAF Squadron to go to war was 10SQN who were in UK in 1939 to collect their new Sunderland Flying Boats. They stayed in UK for the duration of the Second World War flying with Coastal Command.

Chaplains are considered by Air Force Command to belong in the Welfare area of the Air Force responsible among others for the spiritual and personal wellbeing of members.
A typical day in the office on a Base in peacetime includes:-
*Personal and official administration
*Interviews with members about personal or spiritual matters
*Administering the RAAF Small Loans Scheme
*Visiting on base Units
*Giving briefings on matters such as Drug and alcohol Awareness, Suicide awareness and Traumatic Stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
*Contact with Command

Keith had been deployed to the Middle East and here there were additional duties including support for members of various Services especially with regard to injury and death.

Keith had a table of curiosities including a piece of Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan the blue pigment used in pyramids of Egypt. We enjoyed seeing his various hats.

Badges, ball of lapis lazuli and Victoria Cross Memorial Order of Service.
Left: Keith Lanyon with steel gauntlet

Boots, hats and ID discs

A Question Time followed including how one becomes an RAAF Chaplain.
This is a dual process.
1) To meet RAAF recruitment standards (including physical) and undergo Officer training
2) To be endorsed by the appropriate denominational body within the Religious Advisory Council to the Services. In my case that means the endorsement of the Baptist Union of Victoria going through the grouping of Other Protestant Denominations member of RACS

Wendy presented Keith with a Ballarat CAV banner to thank him for his informative and interesting talk.