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December 2017 - Christmas Luncheon
About seventy people gathered for our end of year luncheon on Saturday 9th December.
An enthusiastic work force assembled to set up the tables, decorate them and to prepare food beforehand.
There was plenty of chatter whilst people were waiting and all was ready for Robert Gribben to share Grace with us in Cornish by 12.30 pm.
During courses, people enjoyed some Carol Singing including the Carol taught to us by Graeme Bartle.
A photographic quiz of Cornish towns tested our knowledge. and Robert Gribben shared some poetry, including a poem written by an ex-student.
A special effort, with goodies donated by members, was well received.
At the end, so many willing helpers worked in the kitchen, cleared tables, packed tables and chairs away, vacuumed and re-set the church furniture for worship the next day.
It was a wonderful day.
Thanks to everyone who helped out.

November 2017 - Cornish Language Group Presentation
Text and photos to come

October 2017 - Graham
Bartle - Cornish Carols
Graham is a well known and distinguished Melbourne musician, teacher and conductor.  His great grandparents were from Crowan and Redruth.  He was born in Ballarat and lived the first 21 years of his life in Mt Pleasant, a suburb of Ballarat close to where Sovereign Hill is located.
Along with his parents, Reg and Lexie, and sisters, Nita and Verna, he attended the Mt Pleasant Methodist church where he shared the playing of the church organ with his sister Verna, while his sister and dad sang in the church choir.
Carols are songs with a religious impulse that are simple, hilarious, popular and modern and generally do not express deep theological doctrines as do hymns. The words are easily understood. Many relate to the church seasons but also to the seasons of the year. 
At Mt Pleasant, Christmas Carol singing was always a highlight of the year with Cornish Carols being very popular.s had closed and the railway enabled the exodus of the unemployed.
Christmas Eve activities involved the 30 member church choir boarding a flat-backed truck, on which two pews were placed in the middle facing outwards to allow the women to sit.
Male choristers sat with their feet hanging over the truck’s sides and the harmonium was placed behind the truck’s cabin.

Ruth, Graham and Robert
It was a slow journey as the convoy stopped every hundred metres or so to sing both the Cornish carol repertoire as well as the more traditional carols.  Runners knocked on the doors and asked for donations.
The streets were not well-lit and the choristers sang without music.
When the Mount Pleasant church closed, Graham provided a set of the Cornish carols and a copy of the tune ‘Ephesus’ to the archives of the Uniting Church in Australia.
Graham introduced a challenge to his audience. He generously provided a booklet of words and music to Cornish Carols and whilst playing the piano urged his audience to sing along. It was a fun time even if our sight reading was not quite up to scratch.

September 2017 - Brian Brewer - Walhalla
Brian, a retired agronomist, is the Vice-President of the Walhalla Heritage and Development League.
His Trembath ancestor, Michael Trembath,  a coal miner was born in Cornwall in 1835 and arrived in Walhalla in late 1869 or early 1870, following the discovery of gold at Stringer’s Creek - the locality’s original name, named after Edward Stringer, who first discovered gold in 1862.
In time, gold extracted from the mines at Walhalla totalled in excess of 80 tons, more than that produced in other more well-known mining areas.
Many of the miners were former Cornish tin miners, while the immigrant Italian and Swiss were largely employed as timber cutters - the timber being essential to shore up the mine workings.

Walhalla was once the second largest town in Gippsland. The first train connection, of narrow gauge design, was from Moe to the town in 1910.
By 1914 the town’s mines had closed and the railway enabled the exodus of the unemployed.

Trembath's Store Walhalla

Brian with CAV Member
In 1884, Walhalla was the first Australian town to have street lighting provided from the generator at the local mine but it was one of the last to get electricity in 1998.
There are many photographs of early Walhalla and more recently a 1960s Cinesound movie – all valuable inclusions in the Walhalla Heritage and Development League’s archives.

Brian is Michael’s sixth generation descendant. Michael maintaining a grocery business following his mining endeavours.
There was more money to be made in selling goods to the miners than through mining itself.
The last Trembath descendant to live in Walhalla was Brian’s grandfather.
The family has owned land there for 120 years.

Further Brian told us that there are about 3 000 names on the Trembath family tree and every five years (those ending in a zero or five), there is a Trembath re-union in Walhalla.  In 2015, the gathering numbered about 100 relatives.

August 2017 - Dianne Le Quiniat
Dianne was born in Bacchus Marsh, where her grandfather played Irish and Scottish airs on the bagpipes. He is memorable for playing in the Bacchus Marsh ANZAC Day Parade.
Dianne’s maiden name, Walton (English) and Cornish connections (Roberts - Isles of Scilly, Crowan and Helston) as well as Welsh and Irish have determined her Celtic origins.
Our speaker was a ’wearer of many hats’ having been involved in the Kilmore Community for many years and was president of the Kilmore Historical Society for five years. Currently she is the President of the Kilmore Courthouse Reserve Committee of Management and also the co-ordinator and Secretary of the Kilmore Celtic Festival. She is also involved in the Kilmore Miniature Railway.
John Le Quiniat, Dianne’s husband, had a grandfather who jumped ship in Melbourne in 1882, having sailed from Le Havre.
The school attended by their son held an annual dance display which led to Dianne not only coaching pupils in Breton dancing but also making all their costumes.
In 1997 further travel to France resulted in the finding of 14 Le Quiniart family connections - even one in Reunion Island.
One of Dianne’s enduring memories is attending a Fest Noz festival in Brittany, principally the display of Celtic dancing.
A midnight dance with a grandson is a special recollection.

July 2017 Saturday 15th July - Annual General Meeting with a Pasty Lunch
After and enjoyable lunch, Derek presented a comprehensive report of the year’s activities and reports from both Geelong and Ballarat were given.
Honorary Life memberships were presented to Jean Staunton and Beryl Curnow.

Jean with Derek

Beryl  with Derek

Ken Peak enjoying a pastie
Our Patron, Richard Snedden, confirmed the 2017-2018 Committee and thanked people for their valued contribution to the CAV.
The newly appointed committee for 2017-8 consists of:
President: Robert Gribben; Immediate Past President: Derek Trewarne; Secretary: June Whiffin; Treasurer: Rod Phillips
Committee Members: Jill Beard; Robyn Coates; Beryl Curnow; Val Goldsworthy; Evelyn Jones and Ken Peak

June 2017 - Terry Polkinghorne -  Thompson’s Foundry Castlemaine

Derek and Terry
Terry’s great-grandfather, Thomas, and his wife, Mary, lived in Cornwall with Thomas possibly working in engineering.
His Grandfather, James, had been an apprentice engineer in Hayle during World War 1 when ‘heavy forging’ was in great demand and later moved to British Arsenal in London. Thompsons of Castlemaine recruited him for employment and he arrived in Australia in 1920.
James’ son Eric was Terry’s father.

The main thrust of Terry’s speech concerned Thompsons Foundry of Castlemaine which was established in 1878 by Cornish Engineers.
During World War 1 and World War 2, the foundry forged parts for battleships and by 1942, 800 staff were employed.
Thompsons has a reputation for the manufacture of steam engines, large valves, steam-driven tractors, ships’ crankshafts and ships’ propellers. Engineering and Science continues within the Polkinghorne family with descendants involved in town planning, software development, civil and mechanical engineering and a range of sciences.

May 2017 - Kernewek Lowender, South Australia
There was no meeting in Melbourne but to see images of the festival, see our recent photo gallery

21st April 2017 - The Michele Family and "Crying the Neck"
After a welcome and announcements from Derek Trewarne, Neil Thomas and Jill Beard shared information about the South Australian

Neil recalled visiting the ruin of Marble Hill, in the Adelaide Hills which was once the  summer residence of the Governor of South Australia and is now being lovingly restored by Ed Michell and his wife Dr Patricia Bishop.
Marble Hill was destroyed by bushfires in 1955 when the then Governor Sir Robert George and his family were in residence.
Ed Michell is a descendant of George Henry Michell, founder of the Michell wool empire.

Jill told us some of the story of George Henry Michell.
He was born in Phillack in 1832 and married his wife Catherine Donnithorne at Redruth in 1865. George, Catherine and Catherine’s mother arrived in Adelaide in 1866.
The family moved again in 1870 to Undalya, a small town on the
Wakefield River in South Australia's mid-north.   Michell started a business scouring wool, buying the sheepskins from farmers in the surrounding areas.
Eventually Michell moved his business to Hindmarsh in Adelaide so that it could expand. In the late 1960s, the company moved to their current site in Salisbury South.

Neil Thomas then shared some information regarding the Cornish, Crying the Neck Ceremony held at the end of the harvest in farms across Cornwall.   Most people proceeded outside to the grassed area for a re-enactment of the Ceremony with Janet Woolhouse reading the Cornish Words and Derek the translation. There were plenty of enthusiastic, “Hurrahs”

To see a slide show of all the images click Slide Show

18th March 2017 - A Cornish Songline
Prior to welcoming our speaker, Robert Gribben, and at the urging of our President, Derek, we all sang Happy Birthday to the Birthday Boy who had celebrated his birthday a few days before the meeting.

After his introduction, Robert thanked us and told us that his age didn’t end in a 0 or a 5.
Having recently published his second family history, a Cornish Songline, he explained that the title of his talk was about the composition of this book.

There were a number of factors that convinced Robert to publish this new book 25 years after the publication of his first Gribben family history, A Slight Incline. Amongst these was the feedback from family, the advantage of 25 years’ experience of the Gribben Family and an interesting DNA result.

With this second book, Robert also looked at the question, ‘What would make my family look at the book?’ and his answer, he hopes is the setting out of the information he has collected in an easy readable form.

The first family history celebrated what would have been the 125th Wedding Anniversary of Paul and Rosina Gribben, his great, great grandparents who were married at Heathcote Wesleyan Church on 6th December 1866.

The title of the new book is a reference to our ancestors including the original inhabitants of Australia and the use of songs - it was easier to record and remember family history in song form.

Edwin Gribben, aged 24, on the voyage from England aboard the vessel Norfolk in 1869, kept a diary which Robert has annotated and transcribed into the final chapter of his book.

The question of, ‘What’s in a name?’ arose and the surname Gribben/Gribbin appears to originate in St Agnes and is still found in the area today.

Summary by Betty Myers

18th February 2017
Robyn Coates shared information concerning the early history of education in Victoria and more particularly about a Cornish born teacher named William Henry Nicholls.
He was educated in Ballarat, trained as a pupil teacher, and went on to become the headmaster of Mt Pleasant State School in 1864. In 1872, the Victorian Government introduced The Education Act that was to make education in Victoria free, compulsory and secular from 1st January 1873.
A new Department was established - The Education Department – and it consisted of the Secretary who was the Chief Executive Officer, an Inspector General, Inspectors, teachers, and other officials. This Act stated that all teachers were to be paid a fixed salary and remuneration by way of results. All parents were ordered to send their children aged between six and fifteen years to school and that their attendance had to be not less than sixty days per half year. Failure to do so would result in the parents being fined.
William Nicholls was elected the first teacher representative on the Board of Classifiers and held this position for nine years.
The images below show the plan for the original Mt Pleasant Sunday School, the current Mt Pleasant School and William Nichols