Monday, 18 May 2009

Victoria Government Gazette

For those of us interested in local and family history there is a fantastic new on-line resource available. The Victoria Government Gazette and its predecessors have been digitised for the years 1836 to 1997. The Gazette covers all official notifications of Government and Legal activities and was the main way that the Government communicated with the Public.

Family Historians will immediately go to an index or type in a family name in any database, so I naturally typed in one of my family names Weatherhead. I came up with a patent application by my great grandfather Horatio William Weatherhead, a saw miller, for an improved mechanism for operating the throttle or cut off valves of engines from their governors. The notice goes on to say that the Commissioner of Patents, Thomas Prout Webb, accepted the ‘complete specification’ of the patent application, on the 13th day of August, 1890. We knew that Horatio was quite inventive and that this trait has been passed down to his descendents, but I was surprised to discover that he had been granted a patent.

Victorian Government Gazette August 15th, 1890 issue 66, page 3253.

Horatio Weatherhead (1853-1925). Horatio and his six sons arrived in North Tynong in 1909, having previously operated saw mills in Lyonville. He was living in Lyonville when he applied for his patent.

Your ancestor may not have applied for a patent, but there could be a record of their appointment or dismissal from a Government position, they may have been granted a miners right, become insolvent, been granted land, applied to register a trade mark, became a Cemetery Trustee or many other activities.

For local historians you can find out information about your area. I found seven references to Cora Lynn and discovered the town was officially proclaimed on May 31st 1910. I also found a set of rules and regulations governing the use of the Recreation Reserve at Cora Lynn.
Victoria Government Gazette, February 8th 1933, issue 22, p. 632.

Aerial of the Cora Lynn Recreation Reserve, taken August 1960. The football was on and you will see lots of water lying in the surrounding paddocks. The Main Drain is at the front of the picture.

For larger towns, such as Cranbourne, there are over 1500 references in total referring to both the township and the Shire. Much information can be gained from the Gazette concerning the day to day working of a Shire, including land use, staff appointments, by-laws and loan applications.

Victoria Government Gazette, January 3rd 1890, issue 1, p.54.

The Cranbourne Market operated from the 1870s to the 1930s, it was covered by the by-laws published in the Victoria Government Gazette.

The Shire of Cranbourne was formed in 1868 and the Municipal Buildings at Cranbourne were built in 1875. The building housed a Post Office, Court House and Shire Offices.

The Victoria Government Gazette can be found at You can download or save each Gazette as a PDF and print off relevant pages.


Anonymous said...

Looks like Cora Lynn will be celebrating a big milestone this time next year!

Anonymous said...
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