Stratford Historical Society and Museum

News from the Stratford Historical Society and Museum, in Stratford, Gippsland, Victoria. We are open Tuesdays from 10am to 3pm, and the fourth Sunday of the month from 2pm to 4pm. Our postal address is P.O. Box 145, Stratford, 3862.

My Photo
Location: Victoria, Australia

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Baptisms by the Rev John Roberts

The Society has recently received a copy of the baptismal register for the Rev John Roberts, who came to the Maffra Presbyterian Church in late 1865, later moving to Stratford. Overall, he spent fifty years ministering to the people of Gippsland from the two towns, carrying out 1,240 baptisms in the process.

The Rev Roberts often travelled to Lindenow, and obviously had a close relationship with the Scott family at Delvine. In all, he performed 32 baptisms at Delvine. Some other figures are: Briagolong 94, Nuntin 38, Roseneath 14, Stratford 119, Yeerung 30.

Stratford names include Barker, Beecher, Gilmour, Hardy, Hazlett, Johnson, Keddie, Light, Little, Manning, Mitchell, Poole and Weir. Yeerung names include Bartlett, Blake, Carroll, Gray, Martin, Orchard, Sibbald, Tweedie and Walkden. Nuntin names include Stothers and Wrigglesworth.

The different makeup of the Stratford community is also shown – from 1891, itinerant families of line repairers, working for the railways, began to have children baptised. However the majority of children in Stratford were from families of farmers and labourers, with only an occasional storekeeper, shoemaker or other occupation.

The Rev Roberts was born in London in 1829, and arrived in Adelaide in 1849. He worked as a lay preacher in various Adelaide suburban missions, until being appointed to the new charge of Goolwa the following year. He remained there for ten years, but maintained strong links, often returning there for holidays. He was returning from a holiday there in December 1915, to celebrate his fifty years of continuous service to the Presbyterian Church in North Gippsland, when he died suddenly on the train at Camberwell. He had carried out two baptisms in South Australia several days previously.

After Goolwa he relocated to Melbourne, spending time at missions at Footscray and Maidstone, before moving to Stratford and Maffra in 1865. Ill-health forced his retirement from full-time ministry at Stratford in 1897, but he continued to baptise children, often the children of those he had first baptised many years before. In retirement, he lived in Maffra.

The records now held by the Society have been organised by surname, making it easy to check for those interested in their early family history. They are currently on open access in the museum as part of small exhibition on the Rev and Mrs Roberts. The portraits that form the centrepiece are on loan from the Uniting Church at Stratford, and previously hung in the Presbyterian Church at Valencia Creek.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Much Happening

Lots of things are happening. It is hard to work out what is the most exciting, especially for the first two items.

It is a close run between the sills being finished, and the doors in the shed.

You can see what the sills used to look like HERE.

They were fairly awful!

This is what they look like now.

You can check out the whole restoration in our set on Flickr.

The assistance of Heritage Victoria, through its funding for this work, is much appreciated.

Then, there is the door through to the extension in the shed - George at Work again. It beautifully finishes off the far wall - and even succeeds in making the display space look bigger.

It is George's own design - the whole framework will come out if we ever, heaven forbid, need to take the Sunshine Harvester out (or bring anything else like it in)

We are also in the process of mounting a small exhibition to mark the release of the Baptisms by the Rev John Roberts. We have received portraits of the Rev and Mrs Roberts, that previously hung in the Presbyterian church at Valencia Creek.

Further details to be posted soon.

And the large street map of historic Stratford is out on the table again - we are working on our walking tour.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Bulletin is out

Bulletin #20 is out - well done Martin, who has been chugging along with it for all those twenty issues.

This one contains a tribute to our president, Wemyss Struss, on the presentation of her RHSV Award of Merit, a building report (you should see the bricks and foundations!), a report on the baptisms by the Rev John Roberts, a listing of names on the 1855 Map of Stratford, and a continuation of names in the index to Kelly, the grocer of Stratford (P-W). And a photo of a nasty-looking trap.

Full abstracts for articles will appear soon on our newsletter blog.