Presidents Report – October


Spring is with us and we hope that the farmers who are trying to work through the drought get some relief in the form of good rains for their crops and stock.  The Bathurst region has experienced a number of severe droughts over its more than 200 years.  In the early years of the 1840s the Bathurst area was brought to its knees by drought with an economic depression resulting from it.  A number of landowners were bankrupted and it took some years to get the community back on their feet. The saviour to the economy was the discovery of gold.  This region experienced more droughts over the years but not as severe until the 1890s when the region was again hit by an even more crippling drought that again sent the districts into a depression.  Let us hope that we can come out of this drought soon and get our farms and businesses back in to production.

When people approach us looking for information about their families, they now want us to help them build the story of that person’s life; how did they fit into their environment, what was going on around them that influenced their lives.    Telling the story of an ancestor’s life can be very difficult; especially putting the words together.  The committee is running Writers’ Workshops to help us learn how to tell about our ancestors in a story format.  If you are interested in learning more about writing the stories of your families please let us know. We are running the first Writers’ Workshop with an introductory presentation on 17th November at the Library meeting room between 2pm to 4pm. All welcome.


We have booked our Christmas Party for 12pm on 8th December at the RSL Club in Rankin Street. It will be traditional Christmas faire. We have enjoyed our Christmas Parties at the RSL for the last few years and hope you may consider joining us again this year. We are just finalising the menu now.


Our next Saturday research afternoon will be on 15th December and or last one for the year. If you cannot make the weekly Tuesday research afternoons then we are here to help on that afternoon. Research is carried out in the Local History section of the Bathurst Library between 1pm until 3pm. You are all most welcome to come. We have 3 additional laptops for members to use and access to the library computers as well as the e-readers for microfilm research.


In a few weeks’ time, on 11th November we will be reminded that it is 100 years since the end of World War I. We remember this with 2 minutes’ silence. But this year to mark this special occasion the Bathurst RSL sub Branch in conjunction with other organisations is having a Remembrance Weekend. On the Saturday there will be Bands playing and displays and on the Sunday an extended Remembrance service will happen at the Carillon. Our Group has been invited to lay a wreath which will happen on the Sunday morning.  In the afternoon on the Sunday we will be presenting a cemetery wander called “Hidden Heroes in Our Cemetery.” We will be starting at the grave of Fred Jennings, the originator of Memory Drive which the group has repaired and then on through the different denominations in the monumental cemetery recognising the men who went to WWI and their lives. This is a free tour starting at 3pm and finishing by 4.30pm but bookings are essential – this can be done through the Information Centre or by letting me know. If you would like more information please contact me. We are taking donations for the Carillon Fund if you wish to contribute.


Our life member and Member Secretary, Graeme Hill attended the conference in September to represent our Group.  At the Conference our group was awarded the Dorothy Fellowes Website Award. I would like to congratulate Graeme on all his hard work on the website which resulted in our winning this award.



The Autumn Colours Program will run for 8 weeks next year from March until mid-May. We will be carrying out talks and tours on the interesting heritage around the Bathurst region.  Please check for information about what is on in the emails we send out or in the media.


We have established a sub committee to look at options to revamp our quarterly magazine, the Carillon Chimes. We hope to have a new format by the February 2019 edition. Please let us know what you think of it.


The sub-committee is planning a tour of the Black Springs cemeteries in the New Year. More information will be available after Christmas.


We continue to be involved in putting headstones on unmarked graves. We are working on our next project and are negotiating with Bathurst Regional Council to see if it is viable to have a memorial wall built in the monumental section of Bathurst Cemetery where families can place a plaque in memory of someone buried in the cemetery but their grave cannot be located. We will know more about the possibility of this coming to fruition in the New Year.   We will keep all our members informed about this worthwhile project. We are also continuing the “Marking Unmarked Graves” project. If you would like more information please make contact with one of our committee.


As this is our last Chimes before Christmas on behalf of myself and the committee members I would like to wish all our members and their families a safe, healthy and memorable Christmas and a happy New Year. We have our break during January and will be returning to our regular meetings and research sessions in early February.

Dianne Barnes