Category Archives: News


Tristate – Newsletters

Here are our Newsletters about Tri-state events they are published in PDF.



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A report by guest Alan Pickering of the SA 4WD & Touring Club:
Traditionally, the Jackaroo 4wd Club of Victoria run a trip over the first weekend in October every year, to visit the Little Desert National Park and surrounding area. The wildflowers at this time are usually at their best. Members of the NSW Jackaroo 4wd Club and the SA 4WD & Touring Club are always invited to come along too. With Covid-19 travel restrictions removed at last, the 2022 trip was the first return to the Little Desert since 2019. Thirty two people in seventeen vehicles took part in the weekend’s activities.
The Serviceton Recreation Reserve, located one and half kilometres south of Serviceton, was where we camped. There are eight powered sites in the main area, with another two general power outlets accessible from the amenities block and water pump.
As it was a base camp, people could arrive and leave on the days that suited them. Some early birds arrived on the Thursday and a few late leavers stayed until Tuesday.
Four trips were on offer, namely:

  • Nhill Historic tour
  • Bordertown Highlights
  • Kaniva Silo Art
  • Mt Moffat area

There was also a tour of the Serviceton railway station on the Sunday.
Given the number of vehicles involved, people were rotated through the trips, allowing six vehicles in any one convoy. It was all very free and easy, with individuals able to choose what they wanted to do and when. This made a nice change from normal tours, where you are on the road most days travelling on an itinerary.
Happy Hours were held around a campfire on all nights, except Saturday when we had a group dinner at the Woolshed Inn in Bordertown. The sunsets were stunning, keeping some of us at the campfire well into the gloaming. Weatherwise, there was no rain and the days just got better and better. The early days of overcast cloud improved to blue skies and plenty of sunshine.

We were treated to a display of low flying by a crop duster in the fields around the campsite

The drives were pretty, with bright yellow canola crops interspersed with green wheat and darker green broad beans. We were told, this area of Victoria grows the bulk of the broad beans grown in Australia. It’s been such a wet year, the wheat crop had to be crop dusted for rust. On Saturday, we were treated to a display of low flying by a crop duster in the fields around the campsite. Roger Hall explained, GPS guidance enables crop dusting to be perfectly applied these days.
The wet, cold year also meant the wildflowers, especially the orchids, were not yet in abundance. Our Victorian friends, who have been regular attendees on these weekends for thirty years, were able to point out:

  • Purple waxlip orchids
  • Fire orchids (or were they Running Postman)
  • Greenhood orchids
  • Spider orchids
  • Donkey orchids
  • Fringe Myrtle was in abundance in most areas,
  • while south of Mt Moffat, there was Pink Heath.

In terms of four-wheel driving, the sand was generally firm, with some sections of the tracks holding water in mud holes. Once we determined the ground was firm at the bottom of these holes, we started to drive straight through, albeit with a little caution. (Note: I am speaking for myself here)
Mt Moffat was a highlight. Its summit was a good lunch spot. It provided 360° views over the never-ending mallee scrub and in the sun, was perfect. The steep sand track off the top, down to the floor of the park, provided a bit of a challenge for drivers. At the other end of the scale, height wise, was Broughton’s Waterhole, located just off the McDonald Highway. This was a delightful camp area around a large waterhole, about the size of a football oval. Perfect for a break after we had climbed the nearby Mt Turner. As previously stated, the program was free and easy.

On Sunday afternoon, after a visit to the Serviceton railway station, Alyson and I made our way to Nhill to visit the ex-RAAF base, which is only open on Sundays.
After a guided tour of the hangar and its three planes, many photographs and displays, we left and crossed the highway to find the target bombing range. We completed a round trip with a drive through the park and back roads to camp.
While we did our trip, others ventured back to Mt Moffat to play in the sand and mud holes. The Serviceton Recreation Reserve is no longer used for football, or cricket. However, its facilities are available in the old pavilion for use by campers. Although the showers and toilets are basic, they are well maintained and kept to a high standard by a shrinking band of local helpers.
While we were there, the toilets and showers were refreshed daily. A big thank you to these volunteers.

In summary, the weekend was a great little break. Everyone was in good spirits, with much friendliness within the whole group. The weather was good to superb and the trips interesting and enjoyable.
Full marks to Alan Dash and the Jackaroo 4wd Club of Victoria for making all the arrangements and to everyone who participated so well.


Little Desert Trip – 2017

28th September to 1st October 2017

Ian Blainey reports:

Thursday 28th 2017

We arrived at Serviceton late Wednesday afternoon and set up camp. Thursday morning, we accompanied Alan on some pre-trip planning, which started with a coffee at a little bakery in Bordertown. From there, we headed out to the Olivalle Estate Olive Farm at Telopea Downs to make arrangements for a guided tour.
After lunch, we started to work our way towards the Rocky Lamattina & Sons carrot farm, again to arrange a tour time. Along the way, we checked out a couple of wildflower locations. Following a couple of weeks of rain, we found a good variety of native flowers, particularly native orchids.
These included Donkey, various Spider and a number of coloured Sun orchids.

Also we were lucky enough to see an
echidna at fairly close quarters.

Before returning to Serviceton, we called in to the Frances pub to ensure arrangements for Saturday afternoon were in place.
On arriving back at Serviceton, we found quite a few other people had arrived and set up. Later that evening, one of the other travellers produced a couple of radio controlled models. One was a truck prime mover and the other was a fully operational front end loader.

It was interesting to note that the loader was fully functional, including lights and hydraulics. A demonstration showed it could move earth.

Friday 29th 2017

On Friday morning, we initially headed into Bordertown for a caffeine and cake hit.
On leaving Bordertown, we headed east on the highway, then turned north on to the Serviceton – North Telopea Downs Road.

When we arrived at the Olivalle Estate Olive Farm, we were greeted by the Manager, who gave us an excellent guided tour of the orchards and their
processing plant.
This tour unfortunately dispelled any romantic notions I had of traditional olive farming methods.

The trees are planted in rows at precise distances apart. They are pruned to ensure automatic harvesting equipment can run up and down the rows to maximise the collection of olives.

This machinery is based on grape harvesting equipment and slightly modified by the Manager to suit the olive crop.
Our tour then took us to the mixing area where the underground water supply is treated to remove unwanted materials, especially salt. It is then enhanced with fertilisers and minerals.
Bulk chemicals are placed into mixing vats and then diluted to a usable concentration. It is then dosed into the water supply and fed to the trees as required. After washing, the olives are pressed in bright shiny stainless steel tanks and then filtered.
The extra virgin oil is then stored in 20,000 litre tanks. The bulk of the oil is then on sold to larger companies, such as Cobram Estates. They also bottle their oil for local sales outlets under the Olivalle Estate label.
After lunch on a hill overlooking the estate, we headed south towards Kaniva. We crossed the highway and drove down the Kaniva – Edenhope Road to the Lamattina carrot farm.
This is one of two, 6,000 hectare properties, which supply major supermarkets, such as Woolworths.
The carrot seeds are imported from France and sown at the rate of one million seeds per hectare.
Rows are prepared using GPS and laser equipment and, prior to planting the seeds, grasses are grown in adjacent rows to reduce erosion by wind and to protect the carrot tops as they develop.

The seeds are sown using specialised equipment at a defined distance apart.
Carrots are grown in one out of every three years. In the other years, crops are grown which can be ploughed back to replace nutrients and goodness to the soil.
One of the largest pest problems they encounter are feral deer.
Once the carrots are harvested, they are placed into trucks and transported to the company’s processing plant.
Here they are cleaned then spray chilled before being packed and forwarded to the supermarket distribution centres.
They aim to have the carrots in these distribution centres within twenty four hours of picking.

At completion of the tour, we returned to camp for Happy Hour

Saturday 30th 2017

On the previous days, we had established that, despite the recent cooler weather and rain, there had been enough sun to bring out a large variety of wildflowers and orchids.
In a number of places along some of the tracks, there were just carpets of colour. So today we were to check these out.
Some diehard football fans elected to stay at camp and head to the Frances Hotel later to watch the AFL Grand Final.
The remainder of the group headed to Kaniva for the usual morning dose of caffeine before heading into the Desert.
Suitably refreshed, we headed down Yanipy Road, into Three Chain Road and on to Miram South Road. Along the way, we stopped to look at and photograph wildflowers along the roadside.

During this drive, we also found a couple of little spots where we could have a bit of fun in four wheel drive.
After lunch, a few more footy fans left the convoy and headed off to the Frances Hotel. The rest of us headed down Edenhope Road and on to East West Track.
Here we split into two groups, as some of us wanted to tackle the Mt Moffat Track. The others followed Alan out of the desert on an “easy short cut”.
We knew this area would be a bit damp in places and were not disappointed.

A little damp shortcut

Several interesting bog holes were negotiated satisfactorily.
Greg found a very soft patch and needed to work a little harder to get back on to a sound surface.

A little further on, we appeared to run out of track, as it headed into the fringe of a swamp. Johan was kind enough to get out, take his shoes and socks off and walk the track so we could satisfy ourselves it was okay to negotiate.

Two alarmed ducks managed to startle Johan, who moved faster than the ducks as they took off.

We negotiated a stretch of water around eighty metres long and up to fifty centimetres deep.
From here it was an easy drive into Frances to watch the end of the footy, before sitting down to a nice dinner at the hotel.

Sunday 1st October 2017

Sunday morning we headed down Serviceton South Road and on to Mt Moffat Track looking at wildflowers. After a walk to Mt Moffat, we continued down Elliots Track and found more wildflowers.

looking at wildflowers

While we were here, we were lucky enough to have a pair of Red Tail Black
Cockatoos fly overhead.

While we were here, we were lucky enough to have a pair of Red Tail Black
Cockatoos fly overhead. A short stop at Moree Reserve on the Tallegeira Track followed, after which we drove back to camp.
Some had started to pack up and head home, while others were able to have a quiet afternoon before departure on Monday morning.
Many thanks to Alan for sharing his extensive knowledge of this area and
again making for a very enjoyable Little Desert long weekend.


Redcastle Cemetery Records – Update – Feb 2020

Following additional information being received the listing was updated in Feb 2020. It is now being republished in an improved format.

This information has been extracted from the “Index to Bendigo Region Cemeteries – Series 1, Northern Districts“, as compiled by the Bendigo branch of the Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies, and also from Redcastle Cemetery records held by the Heathcote Office of the City of Greater Bendigo.

Information extracted from the “Index” in May 2003 by Michael Martin, Jackaroo Club of Victoria, using a microfiche copy as held in the State Library of Victoria (Catalogue reference GMF 94 / Box 8). Parents’ names and other supplemental information kindly supplied by Lois Comeadow of Noble Park, extracted information cross-referenced to the Heathcote records in August 2003 and found to be correct.

This listing is not necessarily comprehensive, but should include most persons buried at Redcastle. The comments are mostly my own interpretation, and are not necessarily correct. Note re Parents: in many cases, one or both parents’ names are on the list and are probably also buried at Redcastle, but it is often difficult to establish direct relationships.

At the time, I painstakingly checked the cemetery records for the relevant time period, held in the State Library, and I also visited the City of Greater Bendigo’s office in Heathcote.  In that office they have records of who was buried at Redcastle, and I was allowed to peruse these.  (What they don’t have is a map of the graves.)

The records from Heathcote tallied almost exactly with what I had already obtained from the State Library, but in neither case did I find the names Schmidt or Willard, so some further evidence would be good.  If the death certificate states the place of burial then perhaps Anne Turner could either scan it or photograph it, and send it to us?  Then I would be happy to update the list. 

Michael Martin

Listing – Redcastle Cemetery Records

Name Date Buried Age Marked Grave? Parents’ names (if known) Comments
BABIDGE, Elizabeth Ellen27/08/18751 year 2 monthsWilliam Babidge & Martha Gray
BAKER, Julius27/02/189433Killed in mining accident
BARKER, Edward16/07/187670YesRichard Barker & Elizabeth Lesswall>New headstone, inscribed: “Bert,
BARKER, Eliza27/03/186757YesJames Lesswell(?) and ??>Fred & Jack Barker – February 2000″
BARKER, Frederica Rose Laura03/06/18761 year 11 days?? and Laura Barker
BARKER, Laura Eliza25/12/18735 monthsJames Barker & Amelia Windebank
BARNDEN, James10/10/186433James Barnden and ??
BENNY, Francis24/01/188668
BERTENSHAW, Hannah17/07/187232
BIANCHI, William07/10/18873 weeksAngelo Bianchi & Ellen HustonDate could be 1877
BISCHOFF, Elizabeth Ann26/08/187612 years 6 monthsWilliam Bischoff & Sarah Ann Gray>Probably
BISCHOFF, Regina26/10/18721 yearWilhelm Bischoff & Sarah Ann Gray>sisters
BURGESS, John01/05/18666 weeksJohn Burgess & Mary Doolan
CHAMBER, J or I06/07/194785
CHAMBERLAIN, Charles03/02/190786
CHAMBERLAIN, David17/09/18749 daysCharles Chamberlain & Catherine Carle
CHAMBERLAIN, David George26/07/194787Charles Chamberlain and Emily ??Most recent date
CHAPMAN, Louise Sarah13/01/18623 monthsJames Edward Chapman & Sarah Pert
CLARKE, David12/04/187316 monthsSon of John and ??(?)
CLARKE, Emily19/06/193584Yes“Beloved wife” of Frederick Clarke
CLARKE, Frederick02/04/191062YesJohn Clarke & Mary Ann HollingsworthSee Mary Ann Clarke
CLARKE, John07/11/188165John Clarke and Mary Ann SaltDiscovered first gold in area
CLARKE, Mary Ann24/07/186542YesJ Holingsworth and Ann ??Nee Hol(l)ingsworth
CLARKE, Walter07/06/18612 yearsJohn Clarke & Phoebe Louisa Morgan
COLLINS, Hannah14/01/186615 days?? and Hannah Collins>Hanna/Anna?
COLLINS, James26/06/186415 days?? and Anna Maria Collins>Could be same mother
COLLINS, John28/10/190075Peter Collins and ??
CREELY, Matthew28/11/189371Henry Creely & Mary Neal
DAVIES, Flora Theodore23/05/18688 monthsWilliam Davies and Margaret Grey
DRAPER, Catherine16/12/189517 monthsAlexander Draper and Louisa Gleeson
DUNCKLEY, Charles04/01/187968Surname could be DUNKLEY
ELLIS, Anne12/12/186124James Hennessey and Bridget ??
FOLVIG, Charles Olsen09/12/18827 monthsMagnus Folvig & Mary Jane Massey
FOLVIG, Emily Louisa02/10/18805 yearsMagnus Folvig & Mary Jane Massey
FOWLER, Eliza12/09/188138Martin Fowler and Abigail ??
FOY, James25/09/192793YesDavid Foy and Mary ??
GAFFNEY, Margaret19/10/18701 dayThomas Gaffney & Margaret Morgan
GERONOVITCH, Antonio16/05/188053Luke Geronevich & Maria Seegovitch
GERONOVITCH, Christina08/03/186510 weeksAntonio Gerovinitch(sic) & Mary Bottrill See Mary Geronovitch
GERONOVITCH, Mary17/03/191581?? Bottrill and ??(Note multiple spellings of Gero…)
GIBSON, Edward14/09/187038
GILL, Robert30/04/187551
GLEESON, Irene27/06/19068 monthsPatrick Gleeson and Emma Harris>These have to be
GLEESON, Mary Ann01/02/189632Patrick Gleeson and Mary Egan>different Patrick Gleesons.
GLEESON, Mary Ann19/02/189653O’hagan Francis Egan & Anne MurritaAka Mary Egan?
GLEESON, Patrick24/10/189164Daniel Gleeson and Cath O’Shea
GREEN, James23/06/187750
HAMILTON, Jane Manson26/01/18691 yearYesWalter Scott Hamilton & Mary Catherine Hickey>”Infant twin daughters”
HAMILTON, Mary Catherine26/01/18691 yearYesWalter Scott Hamilton & Mary Catherine Hickey>on headstone.
HAMILTON, Mary01/07/191173Yes?? Hickey and ??>>Parents of
HAMILTON, Walter Scott25/07/191781YesPeter Hamilton and Mary Ann Manson>>above twins.
HAWKING, William16/04/187457
HAWKING, William James16/03/18735 weeksEdward Hawking and Elizabeth Jones
HEATHER, Eda08/08/187515 daysCharles Frederick Heath & Kate StarSurname should be HEATH
HIRD, Annie04/10/191343YesWilliam Tice and Chris Crawford
HIRD, Edward12/04/189659Yes?? and Mary Barter
HIRD, Edward James13/07/192759Edward Hird and Mary Theresa Braters
HURST, Nicholas06/04/188057
KELLY, James25/08/18733 yearsJohn Kelly and Catherine Creely
KNIGHT, Phillip09/03/186944John Knight and Susan Wagland
LONSDALE, Eliza Margaret25/08/18706 daysCharles Lonsdale and Sarah Allen
LONSDALE, Emma Leah21/12/189737YesPhillip Knight and Ellen Pippin
LONSDALE, Hannah11/01/18777 monthsWilliam Joseph Lonsdale & Jessie Marie KnightSister to Leah Emma Knight
LONSDALE, Jessie Maria16/05/187624YesPhillip Knight and Ellen Pippin
LONSDALE, Leah Emma02/10/186716 daysWilliam Joseph Lonsdale & Jessie Maria KnightSister to Hannah Knight
LONSDALE, William J.?? 192886YesWilliam Joseph Lonsdale and Eliza Atkinson
LOWE, Elizabeth Ann25/05/186812 monthsWilliam Lowe amd Mary ??
MERRYFULL, James17/05/18801 yearWilliam Henry Merryfull and Eliza Robinson
MITCHELL, ????/??/1892infant
MITCHELL, Alice03/05/190543William Davey Mitchell & Sarah Arnold
MITCHELL, Bertha Veronica24/05/18918 monthsStephen Henry Mitchell and Mary HowardSee Mary Mitchell
MITCHELL, Ella Florence??/??/18841 month
MITCHELL, Frederick Henry28/01/18971 year 7 monthsFred Mitchell and Hart Thompson
MITCHELL, Mabel??/??/1890??Uncertain – probably buried at Redcastle
MITCHELL, Mary24/07/189242Ch Howard and Christina Graham
MITCHELL, Sarah Jane??/??/1880child
MITCHELL, Sarah Jane14/09/18732 years 6 monthsStephen Mitchell and Mary Ann HowardSee Mary Mitchell
MITCHELL, Stephen Henry06/09/190062Joseph Mitchell and Jane Gribble
MITCHELL, Stephen Henry30/01/190232Stephen Mitchell and Mary HowardSee Mary Mitchell
MITCHELL, William24/04/19059 daysWilliam Moses Mitchell and Alice DaveySee Alice Mitchell
MITCHELL, William Moses06/08/191565John Mitchell and ??
MORAN, Bertie01/10/187510 daysGeorge Moran and Isabella SutherlandSee Isabella Moran
MORAN, Bessie Rachel12/04/189724YesGeorge Moran and Isabella Sutherland
MORAN, Charles James03/06/189226YesGeorge Moran and Isabella Sutherland
MORAN, George21/04/191184Yes
MORAN, Isabella03/09/189565YesJames Sutherland and Helen Grieve
MORAN, William13/08/191152YesGeorge Moran and Isabella Sutherland
MORRIS, ??04/12/18806 hours?? and Sarah Morriss
MORRIS, Charlotte30/01/18631 yearHenry Morris and Selina Griffiths
MORRIS, Sarah18/12/188022William ?? and Ann ??
MUNSTER, Louis Daniel29/04/186138Paul Munster and Magna ??
McKEE, Eleanor07/02/189152YesJohn Bates and Eleanor ??>Headstone also includes Clara E.
McKEE, James17/08/190267YesJames McKee and Mary Orr>McKee, died 14/12/1894, aged 22.
McKEE, Clara E14/12/189422YesAndrew Pook and Elizabeth O’GradyDied following childbirth
McKEE, Eva Isabella??/??/18912 daysJames and Eleanor McKeeInterred with parents
NEAL, Ivy Eveline24/01/18986 weeksWilliam Neal and Sarah Neal
NEILSON, Alexander22/10/189357Daniel Neilson and Mary Alexander
NEILSON, Isabel Bessie23/06/189910 weeksWilliam Neilson and Susannah Cath Morgan
NEILSON, Marion Elizabeth04/01/191452Antonio Geronovich and Mary Bottrill
NEILSON, Mary28/12/186610 monthsAlexander Neilson and Elizabeth Graham
NEILSON, William Charles27/11/191323William Neilson and Susan Moran
O’TOOLE, James30/09/187750John O’Toole and Catherine O’BrienDied after falling down a mine shaft
PEARMAN, James10/04/186988James Pearman and Ann ??
POLKINGHORNE, William Northey 21/09/186818 monthsWilliam Henry Polkinghorne & Nancy Ann Allen
POOK, Andrew17/03/18761 year 13 daysAndrew Pook and Elizabeth O’GradySee Elizabeth Pook
POOK, Elizabeth Jane22/05/190253William O’Grady and Mary ??Andrew’s mother
PROCTOR, Charles27/05/190778Thomas Proctor and Mary ??
PUSTON, John11/04/187552C/be John Preston, parents unknown.
QUIRK, Andrew14/09/18987 weeksPatrick Quirk and Mary Jane Pook
RALPH, Harrison23/03/18612 yearsHarrison Ralph and Ann Cox
REED, Emily29/01/187211 monthsJohn Reed and Catherine Profser
REID, John Milne19/12/187544James Reid and Ann Walker
RICHARDSON, Sarah Frances31/07/18612 yrs I monthHenry Richardson and Jane ??
ROBERTS, John01/10/189167William Roberts and Ellen Griffiths
ROBERTSON, James Daniel06/09/186428James Robertson and Mary McDonaldCut own throat – suicide
ROFSER, William07/11/188657Morgan Rosser and Abigail TamplinSurname should be ROSSER
RUFSEL, Jane06/04/18638 monthsWilliam Russell and Bridget RogersSurname should be RUSSELL
SCHMIDT (WILLARD), Emma Clara10/07/187921William and Rosina WillardDied from Rheumatic Fever
SMITH, George16/09/186235Blown up in a mine explosion
SULLIVAN, Agnes01/01/186139James Ashcroft and Margaret ??Died of DTs. Oldest date
TAYLOR, Robert William18/09/188232Noah Taylor and Hannah Marten
THOMSON, Annie19/05/190136William Thomson and Elizabeth BarkerAnnie died of “severe dropsy”, and took her child with her.
THOMSON, ??19/05/1901Stillborn
THOMSON, David William18/03/18778 monthsWilliam Thomson and Elizabeth Barker
THOMSON, Eliza19/08/18632 monthsWilliam Thomson and Elizabeth Barker
THOMSON, Elizabeth04/07/187637Edward and Eliza Lesswall
THOMSON, Hugh30/08/18639 daysHugh Morton Thomson & Julia Payne Mann
THOMSON, Percy Mann15/10/18675 yearsHugh Morton Thomson & Julia Payne Mann
TICE, Alexander Crockett25/02/187013 monthsWilliam Tice and Christina Crockett
TICE, Christina06/11/189142Alexander Crockett and Annie Robb
TICE, William09/07/189550
TYLER, Ada Charlotte03/10/18736 monthsJohn Tyler and Frances Mills
WALSH, William30/08/187347Kenneth Walsh and Mary Cluney
WHITFIELD, Edna May15/03/19153 yearsCharles Whitfield and Martha Hart Kemp
WINTER, Alfred01/03/187323
YE GEEN, ??21/02/187949(From China)Killed when thrown from a cart
YOUNG, Margaret Ann24/03/18616 monthsRobert Young and Hannah Brough

Come and join us!

Club Meetings are held every third Wednesday of the month, except December.

Meetings start at 7:30 pm
Fairfield Bowling Club
125 Gillies St, Fairfield VIC 3078

Melway Ref: map 30, K9   Google Map link 

We have occasional meetings at special locations – see posts and calendar below for details.

[calendar id=”4484″]

More About Us

The Jackaroo Club is a friendly group of people with a common interest in Four Wheel Driving Touring.

Originally formed in 1984 and incorporated in 1987 by owners of Holden/Isuzu 4WDs, the Club now comprises owners of not only Jackaroo and Rodeos but their descendants the Colorado 7, Mu-X, Trailblazer and D-Max, as well as Nissans, Toyotas, Fords and Land Rovers.

So no matter what 4WD you have, you are cordially invited to experience the warm friendly atmosphere of this medium sized 4WD club. Why not drop into one of our meetings?
You will always be welcome. Or contact us via our web form.

The Benefits of being a member include:

  • Variety of Club Trips with well sized groups (commonly 5-7 vehicles)
  • An informative Club Newsletter
  • Use of Club Equipment such as Satellite Phone, Air Compressor, CB Radios, Winches, Recovery Gear etc.
  • Monthly meetings, normally with an expert Guest Speaker.
  • Travel with Experienced Trip Leaders.
  • Education in all aspects of 4WDing.
  • Opportunities to explore new places.
  • Club Discounts at many outlets.
  • Free Library with large collection of books, videos and DVDs.
  • A fun, warm and welcoming environment.
  • Access to affordable accredited driver training

Like to Know more?

Make a start, download the Jackaroo 4WD Club Brochure.

BCF Taylors Lakes

February 2019 meeting of the Jackaroo 4WD Club

The February 2019 meeting of the Jackaroo 4WD Club of Victoria will be on this coming Wednesday, February 20th.

The meeting is a special and WILL NOT be held at our Fairfield clubrooms but rather at the BCF Store in Watergardens, which is located here.

Our meeting will start at 7.30 pm, as usual, but feel free to arrive early to browse the store.

It should be a great night with guest speakers.

About the Jackaroo’s Descendants – and members new 4x4s!

About the Jackaroo’s Descendants – and members new 4x4s!

The Holden/Isuzu 4wds – Colorado, Colorado 7, D-MAX, M-UX & Trailblazer

Useful links for Club members running Holden and Isuzu vehicles that are direct descendants of the trusty Jackaroo from which the Club originally took its name:

Isuzu D-Max

Isuzu D-Max history & chronology

Isuzu D-Max review and road test

Isuzu D-Max technical specifications

Isuzu D-max comparison

Isuzu D-Max issues

Isuzu D-Max recalls

Isuzu D-Max ANCAP rating

Isuzu MU-X

Isuzu MU-X history & chronology

Isuzu MU-X overview

Isuzu MU-X specification & comparison

Isuzu MU-X problems complaints

Isuzu MU-X Recalls – Seatbelts

Isuzu MU-X ANCAP rating

Holden Colorado

Holden Colorado history & chronology

Holden Colorado review

Holden Colorado owner reviews & issues

Holden Colorado recalls & faults

Holden Colorado 2017 Specs Revealed

Holden Colorado ANCAP rating 2012-16

Holden Colorado ANCAP rating July 2016 on

Holden Colorado 7

Holden Colorado 7 History and Chronology

Holden Colorado 7 Outback Travel Aus Review – inc Trailblazer

Holden Colorado 7 Video review

Holden Colorado 7 Drive Review

Holden Colorado 7 owners reviews and issues

Holden Colorado 7 Specification Colorado 7

Holden Colorado 7 Recalls

Holden Colorado 7 ANCAP rating

Holden Trailblazer

Holden Trailblazer 4×4 Australia 1st Drive

Holden Trailblazer Audio visual review

Holden Trailblazer Fortuner Comparison

Holden Trailblazer ANCAP rating

Please note: The links below are provided to assist you in researching aspects of the various marques and are not intended to be a comprehensive guide. Opinions expressed in the articles are not necessarily those of the Jackaroo 4wd Club of Australia (Vic Branch).

Redcastle State School Circa 1900

A little about Redcastle

The township of Red Castle was predominantly a gold rush town in the 1850’s, and many Croatians who resided in this town worked in mine claims, hotels, and shops. One particular gold discovery which was controversial, was discovered by Andrea Franatovich in1859. This particular gold discovery has subsequently been recorded as the first payable gold in the region. This discovery was made at the Balmoral diggings in Red Castle. However, Franatovich was not the only Croatian who had claims in Red Castle. Another Croatian Mate Lussich, had a mining company called Lussic and Co, which was listed on mining company register. He originally came from the island of Brac. Subsequently Lussich went on to name one of his claims as “New Dalmatian Reef Mine”. Another prominent resident of Red Castle formerly from Croatia, was Antonio Geronovich who owned a hotel called “All Nations Hotel”. He remained in Red Castle until his death, and was buried in the Redcastle cemetery, After his wife’s death she also was buried at the same cemetery. Geronovich’s children were all girls who were educated at the Redcastle primary school. One of his daughters married and continued to reside in Red Castle, and sent some of her children to the same primary school.

Redcastle State School Circa 1900

1859. John Clarke, who owned a hotel at Seymour, appears to have been the first to prospect in the vicinity of Redcastle. He had been quartz mining at Compton’s Creek Station, between Redcastle and Seymour, in
1857 … [He was first seen] at Redcastle in about March 1859, with a Burdan crushing machine.
The Commission decided that John Clarke’s find at Redcastle did not constitute a payable goldfield, as it had been soon abandoned. Andrew Franktovich told the Commission that he had found the first payable gold at Redcastle and supported his claim by producing a letter signed by Mr R.H. Horne and dated 31 January
1860 which granted to him and his three mates an increased claim of 200 yards on Jones’ Reef. The Commission decided in his favour and gave him the reward.

May 1859. It seems … that John Clarke … did in fact find the first gold at Redcastle, at Staffordshire Flat, three miles east of the later town, early in 1859. Many others came, but the whole field was unpayable until [Andrea] Franktovich discovered the first rich gold [in December].

1859-1898. The reefs in this district were opened in the year 1859, and were in full work till 1864 when the majority were abandoned … As a rule when a fault or break was met with in the reefs it was abandoned, also when water was met with in the shafts, the only style of machinery in use being the ordinary windlass, which could not cope with it. Two batteries were erected, one of 8 heads, half-a-mile north of the township, at the Redcastle Creek by Mr Collins, in 1859.

c.1860. Lands Dept Map. Village of Redcastle, surveyed by P Chauncy: J. Clarkes steam crushing machine (Section X11)

c. 1860-1893. In the early days there were three crushing plants in Redcastle, namely Clarke’s, Collin’s, and Russell, Neilson and party’s, Harrisons and Co.’s being afterwards on the site of the plant of the last named. At Staffordshire Flat there was only one crushing plant, Mr S. H. Mitchell’s, which is still there (1893), and was recently rented by Bradley & Co., and where they crushed stone from the Why Not mine.

June 1867. Table of quartz crushed for the quarter includes: Clarke’s machine, Redcastle.

September 1893. A lease of tailings for crushing of the early days has been taken up by Messrs H. R. Palling and S. H. Mitchell on the site of Harrison’s and Co’s. old battery at Redcastle, where there are many thousands of tons of tailings, a quantity of which sent to Bendigo recently for treatment yielded over 1/2 an ounce to the ton.

March 1901. Redcastle Company. Erecting machinery for extraction of gold from tailings.

July 1901. Redcastle. Ore extraction works complete. These are erected on Clarke’s old battery.

April 1902. Cyanide works at Redcastle being erected by Mr G. Hyndman are rapidly approaching completion.

April 1902. What was formerly known as Redcastle Gold Recovery Co., which is entirely in the hands of Mr
Hyndman, has the erection of a windmill on the Niagara claim completed. Vats are being erected.

September 1902. Cyanide works at Redcastle now completed.

August 1903. Work resumed at Redcastle cyaniding works.

The Ghosts of Redcastle Cemetery

By Michael Martin

If you go on one of the Club working bees to Redcastle Cemetery, or even just visit the place in isolation, you can’t avoid the feeling that you are not alone. Redcastle is near Heathcote, and in the last half of the 19th century was, from all accounts, a rip-roaring gold mining town which once had 17,000 people – but the cemetery has just 12 graves with headstones or markers. Some of these are multiple graves, of course, but where are the rest?

Many were probably marked with wooden crosses or headboards, which have disappeared over time, and others had nothing at all. There are well over 200 people actually buried there – many of whom, it would seem, are still hanging around keeping an eye on things. The place is full of ghosts.

The main legacy nowadays is several patches of agave cactus, which someone once must have thought would look nice on a grave, but it has spread and we are trying to eradicate it. (Agave must be the most horrible, disgusting, awful plant in existence, and the prickles make you feel intolerably itchy.)

My interest in the cemetery started last Easter, when we were having “Fun in the Flinders”, thanks to the generous hospitality of the South Australian club. We were on the “Ghosts of the Flinders” trip, and were on our way to look at an old cemetery when Margaret Ritchie came on the radio to tell the group about how the Victorian club is maintaining this little cemetery, out in the bush at a place called Redcastle.

“But we don’t know much about it”, Margaret said. “We can pull the weeds out, but apart from a few headstones, we don’t know who is buried there. There don’t seem to be any records.” At that point I had not been to the cemetery, and could not visualise it, but I started to think that there must be records somewhere. So I decided to start digging around on the Internet once we were home.

After many false hits (apparently there is a Redcastle in Scotland) I did actually find a few useful sites, including one put up by the Croatian community in Victoria. (There were many Croatians at Redcastle in the early days. One of them, Andrea Franatovich, discovered the first payable gold in the area.) Another site, put up by the Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies, mentioned something called the “Index to Bendigo Region Cemeteries”, produced in 1998 by their Bendigo branch, and said to contain entries for all rural cemeteries in the Bendigo area. It was divided into two documents, one for “Northern Districts” and one for “Southern Districts”, and there were entries for Redcastle in the Northern section. This seemed a bit strange, because if you look at a map, Redcastle is actually south of Bendigo, but in any case it looked promising. The next step was to track down a copy – preferably in or around Melbourne.

After yet more internet searching, I found they had a copy on microfiche in the State Library of Victoria – that’s the one with the big dome, in Swanston Street. As I had to go into town every Tuesday afternoon anyway, I decided to go in early, visit the library, and have a look.

A very helpful attendant in the genealogy section showed me where to find the microfiche and then how to operate a microfiche reader. I discovered that the Northern Section listing runs to three sheets of microfiche, and includes 36 cemeteries in the area, including places like Bridgewater, Dunolly, Graytown, Heathcote, Rochester, Wedderburn and Whroo. Many of these are quite large compared to Redcastle.

A preamble on the first sheet stated that the index contains something over 30,000 individual names, but much to my dismay, they were listed in alphabetical order of surname, with adjacent columns for date of burial, age, and name of cemetery where buried. This was understandable I suppose, as most researchers would be looking for a name rather than a cemetery, but how I wished I could enter a command to say “sort on name of cemetery”. Alas, not possible with microfiche, so I resigned myself to scanning down the “cemetery” column, looking for the magic word “Redcastle”. There weren’t many. Sometimes I would go for hundreds of entries without finding any, and then there might be multiple Redcastles on the same page, for example where there were several people with the same surname. But these would be mixed up with others of that surname who were buried in other places, so I had to be sure to scan the correct line. Talk about going cross-eyed, not to mention just plain cross. After four Tuesday afternoons, I had a list of about 140 names, which I typed up into an Excel spreadsheet.

In my forays around the Internet, I had also come across the name and contact details for a very helpful lady named Lois Comeadow. Lois, who lives in Noble Park, has a keen interest in all things genealogical, and has ready access to the indexes of births, deaths and marriages. I forwarded a copy of the spreadsheet to her, and she was good enough to send it back with all sorts of additional information – mainly in regard to parents and offspring of the people on the list. I was able to include much of this. Thanks again Lois, and I’m sure she wouldn’t mind me saying that if anyone wants help with some genealogical research of their own, I can pass on her email address.

Now comes the bad part. (Bad for me, that is.) Lois had also given me contact details for Greg Speirs, who works in the Heathcote office of the City of Greater Bendigo. She suggested he might be able to help me with further information about the Redcastle cemetery. So I emailed him, and he replied saying: “Michael, a number of years ago a Mrs Cochrane completed a full list of the Redcastle Cemetery Burial Index giving all details relating to each burial. A copy of the Index is available at the Heathcote office for viewing.”

Ouch!! You could have knocked me down with a feather!! All those Tuesday afternoons going cross-eyed, and someone had done it already?? So I eventually went to Heathcote to view their list, and was gratified to find that it was almost identical to mine. They had nine extra names which were not on my list, but I could easily have missed nine names out of 30,000 while going cross-eyed in the library, so I just added them to my list.

But the really interesting part was that for every name on their list, there was a separate page of additional information, under the following headings:

Date of death; Surname and Christian names; Age at death; Occupation; Place of death; Usual residence; Cause of death; Duration of last illness; Name of informant; Parents’ names; Occupation of father; Date of burial; Names of witnesses; Place of birth; Date of inquest (if any); Registration number; and Sundry information (a line or two saying something about the person, often with names of children, where married and to whom, etc.)

And, almost as an afterthought, the main list had this comment at the end: “Approximately 50 Chinese burials in unmarked graves, interred along fence near dirt road.”

The one thing they didn’t have (I asked) was a plan of the cemetery, showing who is buried where. Apparently one did exist, but it was lost with the transfer of records many years ago.

I also went out to the cemetery to have another look around and take a few photos. I took a wrong turn somewhere, and finished up in Costerfield on the Heathcote – Nagambie road. Never mind, because there was another sign pointing back to Redcastle, and the drive through the forest was enjoyable. It’s a box-ironbark forest, mysterious trees with gnarled and blackened trunks, and in August there was an understorey of small wattles and other plants just coming into flower. The roads through the forest are well formed dirt roads – you don’t need 4WD, but you do need to drive cautiously so as to avoid the odd pothole and the odd kangaroo.

Eventually you come to a “Redcastle” sign, and you try to work out where the pubs, shops, churches and other buildings had been. The place virtually ceased to exist when mining ended around 1910. Apart from a few farm houses, an occasional mullock heap, and sometimes a hint of what may have been a building site or a foundation, there’s not much. A little further on, and there’s a road signposted “Redcastle Cemetery Road”, and off that, down a short side track, is the cemetery itself.

It’s a forlorn sort of place. Despite the club’s efforts, the agave and other weeds are still much in evidence, and not helped by piles of dead agaves which have been pulled out and left to wither. Of the handful of graves, although some are in good condition, others are crumbling away, or with inscriptions which are now difficult or impossible to read. There are several large eucalypts scattered through the cemetery, and when the wind blows and the sun goes behind a cloud, it sounds mournful and feels very chilly. Once the agave problem is solved, I hope we can do a bit of landscaping, perhaps even plant a few wattles and grevilleas, and cheer the place up a bit.

One of the fascinating things to emerge from the research was family patterns and relationships, and events which must have occurred behind the scenes. Lois had suggested looking in the local press around relevant dates, searching for news items or obituaries, so a few more Tuesday afternoons were spent in the newspapers section of the State library, perusing microfilmed copies of the “McIvor Times” (the local Heathcote paper, still functioning) from the 1860s and 1870s. Here are just a few examples of things which emerged – I’m sure there would be more if you went looking:

One of the first things to catch my attention was an unnamed Thomson child who was stillborn on 19th May 1901, and an Annie Thomson, aged 36, who died on the same day. Annie’s father was William Thomson, so “Thomson” was evidently her maiden name. Was there a story here?

Sure enough, I found the following extract in the edition for May 23rd 1901 of the McIvor Times: “DEATH OF MISS THOMPSON – We are sorry to have to record the death, which occurred at her father’s residence, Toolleen, on Sunday last, of Miss Annie Thompson, eldest daughter of Mr. William Thompson, blacksmith. Miss Thompson, who was 36 years of age, had been ailing for about six months, suffering from a severe form of dropsy, for which she had been under treatment in Melbourne, and returned home recently. The funeral took place on Tuesday and was numerously attended, the remains being interred in the Redcastle Cemetery. Mr. Crowle was the undertaker.” They consistently spell the name with a P, but it has to be the same person. There’s no mention of a baby (shock, horror), but a stillborn baby with the same surname was buried on the same day, and the “fact sheet” for the infant, as held in the Heathcote office, just says under sundry info: “presumed interred with mother”. It seems that Annie had an incurable illness, was also unmarried and pregnant, and took the stillborn child out with her. The poor child was never named, and we don’t even know its gender.

I also noticed that there were two baby Hamilton girls who died on the same day and were of the same age. Twin sisters? This was confirmed by the quite imposing and well preserved family headstone, which includes the words “…also their infant twin daughters”. Infant mortality was rife in those days, of course, but for both to die on the same day suggested something unusual, perhaps an accident of some kind. So I went off to the McIvor Times around the date of burial, and found…. nothing at all. Whatever had happened, it wasn’t newsworthy, and there was no obituary. The records at Heathcote subsequently told me that the girls died of dysentery. It must have been really hard for the parents to see their girls die like that, both on the same day, and only one year old.

There is a headstone for some of the Lonsdales, which starts out saying: “In memory of our dear parents”, and then lists three names: William J. Lonsdale, Jessie M. Lonsdale, and Emma L. Lonsdale. Evidently placed by the children, but how could they have three parents? It seems to indicate a tragic family history. My list shows that William and Jessie had two daughters (Hannah and Leah Emma) who both died as infants, and Jessie herself died at the age of 24 – evidently at or soon after giving birth to Hannah, who in turn died a few months later. It seems that William J. then went on to marry Emma L., and they subsequently had more offspring. The surviving children who placed this stone had a common father and two different mothers.

A few of the people buried at Redcastle have names well-known in the history of retail stores in Australia – Moran, and Foy. During the last Redcastle working bee, we were approached by local residents Dawn and Paul Bruce. They told us they believed that the Morans and the Foys in the cemetery were actually related to the wealthy retailing families. It is possible they got their financial start in life with the gold they recovered from the Redcastle diggings – or maybe they started out as storekeepers to the miners?

Finally, I would like to pass on some words of wisdom as provided by James McKee, who took up residence in Redcastle cemetery on August 17th 1902. James was a local publican during the 1860s and 1870s, and while I was searching the McIvor Times of 1869 for any news of the Hamilton twins, I couldn’t help noticing the following advertisement, which appears regularly over several editions:

“ALBION HOTEL REDCASTLE – JAMES McKEE – Having purchased the premises lately known as Clarke’s Hotel, Redcastle, begs to inform his friends, and the Public, that he has opened the house as the Albion Hotel, where he will be always prepared to supply the best wines, spirits and malt liquors. Good accommodation for man and horse. Families accommodated with apartments. James McKee will also keep on hand a supply of General Merchandise and Colonial Produce.”

This advertisement also provides an insight into John Clarke (another of our residents), who was also a publican, and evidently had this hotel before James McKee took it over. John originally had a pub at Seymour, and arrived at Redcastle in 1859. He is reputed to have made the first discovery of gold in the area, although this was disputed by one Andrea Franatovich – there is quite a diatribe about it on the Croatian web site.

It’s good to know that two of our residents, in turn, had one local pub, and there was at least one other: “Another prominent resident of Red Castle, formerly from Croatia, was Antonio Geronovich who owned a hotel called “All Nations Hotel”. He remained in Red Castle until his death, and was buried in the Redcastle cemetery. After his wife’s death she also was buried at the same cemetery. Geronovich’s children were all girls who were educated at the Redcastle primary school. One of his daughters married and continued to reside in Red Castle, and sent some of her children to the same primary school.” (From the Croatian web site.)

So next time you are at the cemetery, pulling out agave cactuses and feeling like a cold beer, just see if you can catch one of their ghosts passing by.

If you’ve read this far, you might be interested in my Excel spreadsheet of Redcastle burials. It runs to five pages, in landscape format, and is too big to include in the magazine. I can provide printed or email copies, or if you have web access, there is a link to it from the club’s web site.

Some interesting web sites:

Redcastle Cemetery Cleanup

Annual Redcastle Cemetery Clean-up

As one of the Club’s community service activities we maintain the cemetery of the once thriving mining settlement of Redcastle in the Heathcote district.

Graeme Mitchell reports: The trip plan was to camp overnight at a camp ground near the cemetery and then meet up with the day trippers at the Heathcote Bakery on Sunday morning. But things don’t always go to plan!

My back was playing up, so we decided to only go up for the day on Sunday. I rang around all the members on the trip form and let them know of the change of plans. The Marr’s and Jenny and Cleve had already decided to travel up and spend a few days looking around the area. All was well. Saturday morning I received a call from Les Warburton. “Where the bloody hell are you?” he asked. Les had decided on Friday night to go up on the Saturday morning and was waiting at the bakery.

I explained what had happened and directed him to the camp ground where he met up with the other campers. Sunday morning dawned as a lovely spring day. Sun shining, no wind and not a cloud in the sky. Gayle and I set of from home hoping the weather would be the same at Heathcote. Everyone had beaten us to the bakery, so I was give n the honour of writing the trip report.

After a coffee and a chat, it was out to the cemetery. We had a quick look around and decided on the work to be done. This involved a bit of whipper snipping, weeding, pruning and cleaning up the fallen foliage.
A fire was lit to get rid of the debris, although we were very mindful of the dry conditions and the need to ensure before we left that the fire was totally extinguished. Only the weeds and small branches were burnt.

With the rest of the crew off to work, Greg, Cleve and I were left to practice our winching skills. Last year, a dead tree was cut down and it was time to remove the stump. Out with the recovery gear and hand winch and we were ready to go. The winch was attached to a nearby tree using a tree protector and a tow strap was used to connect the winch to the stump.

Greg volunteered to use his muscle on the hand winch and the stump was soon out and the hole filled in.

It was then time for me to prepare lunch. The BBQ fire was lit and the snags were soon sizzling away. By the time lunch was ready, the workers had most of the jobs finished, so we sat down and enjoyed a long, relaxing lunch.

Eventually, it was time to pack up, make sure the fire was safe and have a last look around to ensure all was well. We headed off back to town.
On the way, we stopped at the camp ground to show everyone the site and have a short toilet stop. Before long, we were all on our way home.

Well, almost.

Les decided to throw his swag out and stay another night.

Thanks to all who helped out. The area looks in good shape and will be easier to maintain in the future.

Whose buried at the Redcastle cemetery?