This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Avoca, a town in the Pyrenees Shire in Victoria, Australia.
The Pyrenees Shire is located in the Central West of Victoria, about 130 kms north west of Melbourne. Major towns in the shire are Avoca and Beaufort
- 1 Historical background
- 2 Repositories and their holdings
- 3 Records
- 4 Newspapers
- 5 Published sources
- 6 Maps
Historical backgroundThe Aboriginal people of the area were the Dja Dja Wurrung.
Major Mitchell explored the area in 1836 and named the mountains nearby as they reminded him of the Pyrenees in Europe. He named the river Avoca in memory of the “Vale of Avoca” he had previously known in Ireland.
Pastoralists settled the area from 1838. The area became more closely settled in the 1850s after a succession of gold rushes; the first rush was in 1852.
Today the economy of the shire is mostly primary industry. Thirty percent of those employed work in agriculture. Local production includes wool, cereal, hay crops and meat. Grapes are grown and there is a local wine industry. There is still some mining of gold.
Repositories and their holdings
- Avoca and District Historical Society
- documents, photographs, maps, microfilm of local newspapers & rate books, artifacts, etc., pertaining to the local area including comprehensive name indexes
- the society's headquarters are at the former Avoca Court House on High Street, Avoca. Aa at 2010, the Court House is open on the fourth Sunday of each month, between 10.30am and 4pm., or by appointment (see website).
- Lamplough name index
- the name index was collated by Denis Strangman in the course of researching the gold rush to Lamplough, near Avoca, in Victoria, Australia, which took place during late 1859 and early 1860
Births, marriages and deaths
Indexes to Anglican and Methodist baptisms in Avoca and district about 1850-1905 FHL 1364181
- Cemetery records 1858-1982 FHL 993892
- List of headstones updated in December 2009 and prepared by Judkins and Steel Family History
The Avoca cemetery is two kilometers north of the town on the Sunraysia Highway.
Wills and probate records are held by the Public record office of Victoria. Wills and probate records created between 1841 and 1925 have been indexed and are being digitised and made available online free of charge. Indexes are available for 1926-1992 on microfiches. From 1993-2001 the index is on line.
- Avoca & District Men and Women Who Served in the Great War
- an index of those from Avoca who served in World War 1 compiled by Anne Young
The Australian War Memorial is a shrine , museum and archive remembering Australians who have served in the military. You can search for information held by the Memorial about individuals.
The National Archives of Australia holds records of military service for individuals. World War I dossiers have been digitised by the National Archives of Australia.
Shire rate books 1862-1925
- 1862-1863, 1865 (missing volumes: 1866-1874, 1879-1883) FHL 1494019
- 1885-1894 FHL 1494005
- 1894-1904FHL 1494006
- 1904-1913 FHL 1494007
- 1913-1922 FHL 1494008
- 1922-1925 FHL 1494009
Avoca is covered by the Counties of Kara-Kara & Gladstone. Digitised township and parish plans are available from the Public Record Office of Victoria (PROV). File numbers for land selection and occupation files are found on parish and township plans. Once you have obtained a file number from a plan you can search PROV's online catalogue for the correspondence file.
- Stevens and Bartholomews Sandhurst,Castlemaine ... Directory 1867 FHL 918073
Electoral rolls were compiled by each state during election years to determine the number and names of individuals eligible to vote. Information listed in electoral rolls usually includes:
- Name of voter
Local hospitals were at Amherst and Maryborough. The Genealogical Society of Victoria has produced a CD of indexes to Goldfields hospitals' admissions. The index comprises ten fields of information: surname; given names(s); admission date; age of patient; patients's place of birth; whether single, married or widowed; occupation; residence; and source. Hospitals covered: Amherst Hospital 1869-1888, Ballarat Hospital 1856-1913, Castlemaine Hospital 1855-1920, Castlemaine Benevolent Asylum 1860-1922, Creswick Hospital 1863-1894, Creswick Hospital outpatients 1873-1877, Dunolly Hospital 1860-1900, Kyneton Hospital Admissions Register 1862-1885, Kyneton Hospital Family Record 1869-1884, Maldon Hospital 1864-1905, Maryborough Hospital 1855-1907
Photographs of Avoca can be found at the National Library's Picture Australia website which includes the collection of the State Library of Victoria.
Detailed census records do not survive for Avoca.
Two major local newspapers are relevant for the Avoca area:
- The Avoca Mail: 1876-1981 microfilm available for 1885 -1976
- The Avoca free press and farmers' and miners' journal began in 1873, microform available for 1882 -1920
Also containing local news:
- The Maryborough & Dunolly advertiser microform 1854 - 1929
The Avoca and District Historical Society has partially indexed local newspapers.
Major Victorian newspapers are The Age and The Argus. The National Library is digitising major Australian newspapers including The Argus and The Age and content can be searched on-line. There is also an on-line search of The Argus from 1870-1879.
- Avoca and District Historical Society. Postcards from Avoca / compiled and edited by Margaret Wills in association with the Avoca and District Historical Society Avoca and District Historical Society, [Avoca, Vic.] : 2004
- Beavis, Margery. and Beavis, Betty. Avoca, the early years / Margery and Betty Beavis M. & B. Beavis, Warrnambool, Vic. : 1986
- Beavis, Margery. and Beavis, Betty. and Doherty, Monica. Pioneers of the Pyrenees / Margery and Betty Beavis ; illustrated by Monica Doherty M. & B. Beavis, [Warrnambool] : 1984
- Bell, Arthur, and St. John's Church (Avoca, Vic.) A history of St. John's Church, Avoca : souvenir of the diamond jubilee, 1871-1931 / Arthur Bell St. John's Church, Avoca (Vic.) : 1931
- Mitchell, Annie. Back to Avoca 1921 : a brief history / by Annie Mitchell A. Mitchell, [Avoca, Vic.] : 1921
- Western, Diane. and Dunn, Pamela. and Western, Tim. and Landsborough and District Historical Group. Lost schools of the Pyrenees / researched, compiled and written by Diane Western, Pamela Dunn and Tim Western The Landsborough and District Historical Group, Landsborough, Vic. : 2009
- Victoria. Parliament. Collection of Victorian Parliamentary papers consisting of orders in council, local court regulations, returns to addresses, proclamations and petitions concerning Avoca and district. John Ferres, Govt. Printer, Melbourne : 1855
All sources held by [www.nla.gov.au the National Library of Australia]
- Digitised town and parish maps are available from the Public records office of Victoria. These are used for accessing land records.
- Map of the localities within Pyrenees Shire published by the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria (pdf)
- 1855 Victoria. Surveyor General's Office. Diagram map shewing the worked portions of the Victorian gold fields &; the boundaries of the Gold Commissioners' districts