Saturday, May 24, 2014

Return to Melbourne, circa 1863-1865

Beechworth, c 1922, showing the Bank of Victoria centre right. From the family collection.
The above photo postcard of Beechworth is annotated on the back with "Taken 66 years after other card 1922".  The two storey stone building to the centre right was built in 1867 for the Bank of Victoria, at 29 Camp St, corner of Ford St.  The Bank of Victoria amalgamated with the CBC in 1927.  Someone made a sentimental return to Beechworth - perhaps Mary Jane, born there in 1857.

The building in the right foreground is interesting.  It has the look of an old hotel, but from Camp Street, when looking via Google Maps, the building has a narrow shop front and the verandah only along the front and Ford Street side. Does anyone know what this building was?

We are almost done with the Ovens goldfields - I am waiting on one more reference.  By 1865 the Griffiths had returned to Melbourne.  They'd spent about ten years in the chaotic life of the goldfields, but now the easy surface gold was gone and deep lead mining was replacing the panning and winnowing of the old days.  Economic times were hard.  The population on the goldfields began to drift back to Melbourne, or buy landholdings and turn their efforts to farming.

George and Susan returned to Melbourne with their three little girls - Mary Jane, Ann Catherine and Louisa -  leaving two little boys in the Beechworth Cemetery, it seems in unmarked graves.   Mary Jane, who turned five in August 1862 had probably started school in 1863.

Did they return to Melbourne with a nice sum in a Bank of Victoria account, or had their fortunes declined with the goldfields?  That is a question that would warrant some investigation.

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