History Lives: Book traces Mia Mia history

Mia Mia - The Place and its People, written by the community of Mia Mia, is a book of more than 300 pages that traces the history of the locality from the Indigenous people through to the present day.

Congratulations must go to the whole community for the publication of this superb work.

As stated in the Preface, first hand accounts from early residents, newspapers, books, letters and official documents have been used and where nothing official exists, stories that have been passed down through the generations, sometimes with different endings, have been relied on.

Some of the outstanding stories include that of the young convict who made a good life, young immigrants who became major landowners and a young boy whose father became a soldier settler after World War I.

It is extremely fortunate that the local newspaper, The McIvor Times, first published in 1863, is available online in the National Library of Australia’s digitised newspapers in "Trove".

Chapters include the Geology of the district, which is particularly interesting owing to the fact that a former ice sheet covered much of the area and produced glaciated pavements such as Kellam’s Rock on the shore of Lake Eppalock.

Other chapters include those on early Europeans, Gold, the Land Question, Water, Education, Conservation Programs, Sport, plus Family Stories.

One recent story in the latter chapter concerns two members of the Bendigo Historical Society, Howard Nathan and Ned Upton, who arrived in Mia Mia in 2000. They were keen to establish a garden, but when nothing grew, they discovered some tiny flowers with a rich purple colour to help with a floral arrangement for the Flower Show. They carried their entry to the hall, only to find the purple flowers were Patterson’s Curse! Howard is now especially known for his extremely generous donations to Bendigo Art Gallery and the Ulumbarra Theatre.

Such events as the arrival of Major Mitchell, the Gold Coach Robbery, the Burke and Wills Expedition, the Duigan Flight and the building of Lake Eppalock are covered in detail and there is a plethora of photographs and drawings on every aspect of the Mia Mia story.

The map of the district is very clear and shows the Major Mitchell Trail and the Burke and Wills Track. There is a splendid Index. This book will appeal not only to the people of Mia Mia, but to those keen on history throughout the City of Greater Bendigo and in Victoria generally.

Notices

The Bendigo Historical Society's March meeting will be on Friday, March 6. There will be short talks by members Anne Caldwell (Lydia Chancellor), Terry Davidson (Lost Legacy of George Lansell), Carol Holsworth (Use of bluestone in Bendigo Buildings) and David Cotton (Mystery of Statuette). All welcome, gold coin donation.

Shamrock tours are conducted every Sunday at 2pm. Cost $10 includes cake and coffee. Book at the Shamrock on 5443 0333.