Stockyard Hill’s history is sought

A wedding group captured in a photograph on the lawn of St Enoch's in 1912. Anyone with information such as this is invited to attend the reunion.

A wedding group captured in a photograph on the lawn of St Enoch's in 1912. Anyone with information such as this is invited to attend the reunion.

Residents past and present of the Stockyard Hill and Lake Goldsmith districts are being invited to contribute to a history of the region.

John Kirkpatrick is a descendant of the one of the settling families of Stockyard Hill and he hopes to get as much information as he can from anyone who would like to attend an information-gathering day this Sunday.

“We’ve been farming here at Stockyard Hill since 1862,” says Mr Kirkpatrick.

“I’m only about the fourth generation here. My cousin has the original block. The oldest block I’ve got came into the family in 1922. It is a little while ago, isn’t it?”

The Stockyard Hill and Lake Goldsmith areas south of Beaufort in the Western District were first settled by the squatters in the 1850s and it was in 1862 that closer settlement began.

“A few of us members of old families decided if we didn’t get all the history of this district recorded, it could be lost forever,” says Mr Kirkpatrick.

“So we engaged an author, Hugh Carroll, and said ‘what do you think?’ And he said, ‘Let’s have a go’.”

Mr Kirkpatrick says in the original settlement Stockyard Hill had a hotel run by the Kirkpatricks, and that a relation by marriage also built Kirks Reservoir, later owned by the Ballarat Water Commissioners.

“My father wrote quite a lot of the history of this district,” he says, “… back in the 60s, 70s and 80s, before he died.”

“He knew his grandmother, who was reportedly the first white woman south of Beaufort. Whether that’s true or not, I can’t answer.”

Mr Kirkpatrick says he’d like the book to address the reasons for people moving west from the settlements at Port Phillip Bay and Geelong towards the western districts.

He’d also like to delineate the changes in society before and after gold was discovered in 1861, and the shifts wrought on farming culture.

The reunion committee has organised a day to gather further information and photos which will be held at the RSL Hall, Willoby Street, Beaufort on Sunday October 16 between 10am and 3pm.

Photocopies would be preferred or digital images can be taken on the day.

If you are unable to attend or would like more information please contact Mr Kirkpatrick. Phone 5349 8231 or 0427498231. E-mail johnk15@bigpond.com