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About us..


This website’s main intention is to inform, guide, even educate, anyone who may be interested in the small rural town of Smeaton, Victoria, Australia, past and present.

We focus mainly on Smeaton’s history, however stories on modern-day Smeaton will be added as they come to hand.

All historical information has been gleaned from books, reputable websites, and reliable local sources, but as we know all research can have it’s flaws, so any corrections or more detailed information, will be gratefully accepted.

Comments disagreeing with the Editor of the Smeaton Independent News are more than welcome but have a greater chance of being taken seriously if they’re cordial and/or constructive. Of course, this does not guarantee good manners in return.

The Editor will exercise complete control over all comments, dismissing any that are incorrect, insulting, or just plain stupid.
We will however, make every effort to reply to each one. 

Hopefully you’ll find these pages as interesting to read as it was compiling them.


Si Lilburne



13 Comments leave one →
  1. Jenny permalink
    February 18, 2019 11:52 am

    I’m wondering if you know of any local information regarding the private township of Jerusalem? I have dredged Trove – where I found the “sale” notice of the town in 1907 – and I have some information about the Jerusalem primary school, including a 1913 District Inspector’s report which reads, in part; “…both schools, Clementston and Jerusalem, are in decadent mining centres and should be worked on the part-time basis.”

    I haven’t been able to pinpoint the location of the township, other than one line which states that, in 1932, the Jerusalem primary school building (by then renamed to Lawrence) was about 5 minutes walk from the Lawrence post office.

    Many thanks for your time.

    • February 19, 2019 10:13 am

      Hi Jenny,
      I always groan when I’m asked about Jerusalem-Clementston because there really is so very little info available on these places, and they’ve completely disappeared ‘physically’ as well..
      When I first came to Smeaton a thousand yrs ago, the old-timers at the Smeaton pub would occasionally mention “Jerusalem” and when I asked about this unknown place and where it once stood, one old man pointed west from the pub and said “just down this road, just down there” and he was pointing down Daylesford-Clunes Rd Smeaton.. I stupidly never asked any more about it.. which is why I still groan today.
      (Btw, in a lot of historical docs Daylesford-Clunes Rd Smeaton is often referred to as ‘Cumberland Rd Smeaton’, or ‘Government Rd Smeaton, just to add to the confusion.)
      If you’re looking for a particular surname/family who once lived in that area you might have better luck chasing their name rather than the town’s.. or try town-names like Ullina, or just Smeaton, or Creswick, even Clunes or Ballarat.
      Jerusalem was a town originally created by and for the miners who worked at the Jerusalem Lead gold mine so maybe a search of the old Central Victoria/Smeaton/Creswick gold mines…?
      Good luck.

  2. Lois Krake permalink
    January 24, 2018 5:33 pm

    Hi,My great, great grandfather was Joseph Isherwood born 1822 Salford, Manchester, England, died 1/10/1889 in Kingston and buried in Smeaton according to his death certificate. I am looking to find a burial record. His first wife Jane Pearce died in Manchester in 1866 whilst he was touring Australia with the Lancashire Bellringers from 1863. There is evidence he toured to the USA between 1844 – 1847 with Barnum. His daughter Georgina Pearce Isherwood came to Kingston in 1869 and married Samuel Brinsden who was in partnership with John Eales in the Kingston store. After touring with the Lancashire Bellringers and performing in the Ballarat area Joseph left that troupe and came to Smeaton about the same time as his daughter and he successfully applied for a publicans license at The Sportsmans Arms Hotel in Smeaton in 1871. He married Elizabeth Ann Healey of Clunes in Feb 1871. She was a catholic so the family disapproved. Rate notices show that he continued as a publican in Smeaton until the 188o,s. They lived at Moorookyle. He and Elizabeth had four children two of whom died in infancy, ( Joseph Rawson d 1874, Mary Ellen d 1875). Elizabeth Ann died in her 20’s in Heidelberg, Melbourne and Sydney Stewart 1877 to 1927 stayed in the area mining I think. Elizabeth Healey died in 1880. Joseph lived in one of the Brinsden cottages in Kingston in his last years and was the postman. If anyone has any information on this family it would be much appreciated.

  3. April 26, 2017 10:05 am

    Hello you wouldn’t happen to know anything to do with the McCormack family? I am tracing my family back and I have found a decent amount of info on Alice Borden, but nothing on her husband. I would be greatfull if you had any info on John McCormack.

    • May 17, 2017 4:39 pm

      Hi Jess, (Sorry for the late reply!) I’ve had a look thru’ the list of names of early Smeaton families but haven’t found any McCormacks (OR Bordens). Are you sure John McCormack lived in Smeaton Victoria?

  4. Keir Reeves permalink
    January 30, 2015 9:11 pm

    Hi Si
    Can you please tell me where to find information about the times that various Presbyterian ministers were in Smeaton. I’m interested in finding out more about Reverend Harrison who was a relative of mine. My grandmother says she remembers holidaying in Smeaton as a young girl with her sister Trixie so my guess that it was the around the 1930s.

    • January 31, 2015 8:08 am

      Hi Keir,
      The only reference I can find to Reverend Harrison is: “The present minister Reverend G. E. Harrison was inducted on the 2nd February 1933”. This is on Page 11 of the 1938 Smeaton Centenary Booklet. (Click “Centenary Booklet” in the menu on the right and go to page 11, then zoom your screen-size to 200%.)
      If your grandmother and great aunt holidayed in Smeaton while Reverend Harrison was “the present minister”, there’s the possibility they might’ve been here during the April 1938 centenary celebrations, while Reverend Harrison held special church services for the many visitors, including the PM at the time, Joseph Lyons! What proud reverend wouldn’t want his relatives there that day?!
      (Btw, the day after tomorrow will be the 82nd anniversary of Reverend Harrisons induction.)

  5. Cheryl Kearney permalink
    September 23, 2014 1:34 pm

    I loved looking at this site as I am tracing the family hisotry of the Malone family (james and Ellen) who resided in the area around 1864 and onwards for an uncertain amount of time. it seems james may have worked at a brick works ? and possibly mined for gold. One of the children Jim Malone was reported to have stayed on and worked as a butcher at Smeaton. The family also had 2 children at Smeaton William 1864 and Esther in 1866 . Esther is reported to have died also in 1866and is buried at Smeaton. The family were Catholic and we are trying to trace Esther’s burial records as there is no head stone in the cemetery. Jim went onto to bu yhis own farm near Barham and named it Moorookyle after the region he lived in. Any help or information would be grateful.Regards Cheryl

    • October 3, 2014 1:45 am

      Hi Cheryl,

      re: Malones –
      If you click on [or copy&paste] (and increase your zoom size) you’ll see the Malone mentions in the Smeaton 1838-1938 Centenary booklet:
      · Page 15 – “Malone” is first mentioned.
      · Page 19 – “James Malone [farmer & grazier] took up farming at Durham Ox”
      · Page 23 – “Mr Malone, butcher” is mentioned as a new business owner when gold mining started.
      re: Esther’s burial at Smeaton –
      · My quick check of cemetery listings [ and ] hasn’t found an Esther Malone buried at Smeaton cemetery, nor at any of the other surrounding town’s cemeteries. Is your info reliable?
      · The Catholic church in Creswick apparently held Smeaton Catholics’ pre-1882 records, so maybe getting in touch with them might help.. altho’ I haven’t found Esther’s name in the Creswick cemetery’s Catholic section, or in the Eganstown Catholic cemetery either.

  6. Karin Speed permalink
    April 22, 2014 3:46 pm

    Hi Si, thank you so much for your information and the web sites, It actually sounds good, the Beechworth information, that timeline seems to fit. Appreciate your help, I too will continue looking. Is there an email I can send mail to?
    cheers Karin Speed

  7. Karin Speed permalink
    April 21, 2014 7:02 pm

    I would love to know about the Speed Family that lived in Smeaton, end of 1800 or beginning of 1900. There were 3 sons, they moved to Speed, small township on other side of Victoria. Any help would be very grateful
    cheers Karin Speed

  8. Emma Elsworth (McGann) permalink
    July 11, 2013 9:10 pm

    Terrific website Si! Did you know that a copy of the centenary song is also available at Trove called, “The Dreaming Hills of Smeaton”? If you google it, and print it off the Trove website, it downloads in pdf document.


    • Smeaton Independent News permalink
      July 12, 2013 7:53 am

      Thanks Emma.. I’ve already got my own original Dreaming Hills song & music booklet. I found it (with the Centenary booklet) under a rubbish pile in my stables back in 1982, and I’ve still got it. I’m not even slightly musical so I can’t imagine what the ‘tune’ might sound like.. which is a terrible admission, now that I think about it. (Wonder why the primary school never sang it at an end-of-yr concert..) And ahh, browsing Trove… my version of porn! I drool at the very thought…..

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