news January 2012

January 26, 2012

Hello Everyone,

The last meeting of the Society (14th Feb 2012) was the AGM and I am happy to report that all positions were filled mainly be returning office bearers but there are a couple of changes in the mix. We welcome new committee member Peter Grenfell and we farewell Angela Syme as editor of our newsletter although Angela will remain on the committee. This year the newsletter will be put together by a small committee consisting of Judith Kershaw, Jan Willey, Lyn Brown and Andrea Lowenthal. The committee will welcome articles, questions or just snippets of information as we try to put together an interesting newsletter for you our members.

The meeting endorsed the committee recommendation that membership fees remain the same as will entry to the museum. There will be an increase from $25 to $30 for basic research. A full report from the AGM will be included in the next newsletter.

We have had a beautiful summer so far in Port Fairy. Lots of visitors enjoying the weather, a few hot days and of course being Port Fairy a couple of cool, windy days as well. No rain though and by the look of the nature strips around the town a good soak wouldn't go astray.

We have had lots of visitors through the History Centre and many comments about our beautiful courthouse and the interesting displays devised by Curator Lynda Tieman and her very able assistant Margaret Collins. The Coramba exhibition is still in place and is creating quite a lot of interest, as is the display of Honours and Testimonials in the Powling Room.

Our guest speaker in January was Geelong based member Neil Thomas. Neil grew up in Yambuk and although he lives in Geelong is still very active in our society (Neil is always the M.C. at our Pioneer Dinner) as well as in many other groups. Neil is currently the President of his Rotary Club and the President of the Cornish Association of Victoria. Neil was honoured recently by the Cornish Association and was invited to Helston in Cornwall where he was made a Bard of the Gorsedh, a wonderful honour for any man or woman with even just a touch of Cornish blood in his or her veins. Neil had to dress in a traditional druids style gown for the ceremony which he said has evolved from a pagan ceremony hundreds of years ago into a Christian ceremony. A bard is one of the chief holders of the history of the Cornish culture, a keeper of the stories and family connections. Congratulations Neil.

Neil, third from the left in his ancient costume.

Many of you will remember fondly the annual "Open Day" of Historic Houses that we always held on the 2nd Sunday in January. The job of finding houses that the owners were happy to open had become almost impossible, we had exhausted the list! This year member Heather Wood suggested we have a guided walk around Port Fairy showing people some of the secret treasures of the town, little known features that the average person would never see or even hear about. We decided this was a great option and the walks took place on the 15th January and two groups with around 18 people in each, one morning and one afternoon, headed off on a glorious summer day. One of the first spots visited was the balcony of the Star of the West Hotel, another was the cellar at Seacombe House, we looked inside the front rooms of Mills Cottage, the attic rooms at the Merrijig Inn and the wine cellar at the Youth Hostel once the home of Port Fairy's most influential man, William Rutledge.

All agreed the two walks were a great idea and a very fitting way for the Society to continue to be involved in the Moyneyana Festival. Thanks Heather for your great suggestion.

Here's Secretary Judy, who led the first group, heading down into the cellars. She looks a little apprehensive!


The date for this years Pioneer Dinner is Saturday April 21 2012. This years dinner will be the 50th Anniversary Dinner, so come along, enjoy a fantastic evening and help make the history of our society. The speaker will be Terry Claven from the Police Museum.

Regards to All

Andrea