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Showing posts from December, 2023

Martin Deveny Part 1 – Martin Senior

Martin Deveny came to Pentland Hills as a 41-year-old after a full and adventurous life in England. After serving in the military for over 17 years as a Private in the 88th Infantry he married Mary Cannon in 1854. Their first son, Patrick, arrived in mid-1856. Early the following year, the family headed to Australia for the 3-month journey, boarding the “Anne Roydon”. They landed in Melbourne in April 1857 and shortly after arrived in Pentland Hills. Martin quickly made connections with the locals, renting land from Robert Lawson before acquiring pastures of his own. He purchased many hundreds of fenced acres in Blackwood and Pentland Hills, as well as acres for the family homes. The family home was eventually settled at “Churchbank” which is still present today, located at what was referred to as “Deveny’s Corner”. Once settled in Pentland Hills, Martin and Mary added another eight children, including one set of twins – their last child being born when Martin was 62 years of age. This

Bluestone blocks reveal

Last week we explored the controversy and "blame games" when the Ballan Shire Hall was in such disrepair that it required a re-build.  Plans were drawn up and tenders were submitted. Rigorous debate surrounded the most suitable location for the new hall. Once the dust had settled and the new building opened, the materials for the original building we dumped and forgotten about until a most unfortunate incident brought the bluestone back to life! Lunchtime, Saturday 26 January 1901. A devastating fire destroyed John Foley’s Plough Inn Hotel at Myrniong, along with the out-houses and 12-stall stables, which is where the fire was alleged to have started. Reports indicate that an “unhinged tramp” was seen loitering about the stables and possibly knocked over an oil lamp which quickly ignited, resulting in the enormous blaze. Two valuable horses belonging to Mr Tracey, and the pigs in the sty, were all roasted. The weatherboard hotel was connected to these outbuildings. Strong win

Ballan Shire Halls – controversy & compromise all around

This week, we explore the fascinating and controversial processes of construction, deconstruction, and design associated with the various Ballan Shire Halls. Back in October 1867, the Ballan Shire Council were working on modified plans for the Shire Hall. These improvements included the arrangement of the front elevation window to create a more “ornamental” appearance. It was suggested that the plans be on display at the Courthouse, coinciding with the Secretary being present, so ratepayers “may gratify their natural curiosity to know what sort of building their money is to be expended upon”. The enthusiasm for the Hall’s plans waned. A Funeral Notice was entered into the local newspaper on 12 March 1870 summing up the sentiment of the Hall contract as “Anti-Jobbery,” however as the entry was not authenticated, it was omitted from being published. In March 1870, the Hall’s proposed site was reserved, and the Shire Engineer proudly opened it the following year. At the Ploughing Match ho