Yesterday Greg and I drove to Charlton to look at the Wimmera land selected in 1875 by his great great uncles Thomas Edwards (1826 – 1908), James Edwards (1835 – 1916), and John Gilbart Edwards (1829 – 1912).

Last week I had found the properties on the parish plans, through the website of the Public Record Office Victoria. Thomas and James were in Narrewillock Parish north-east of Charlton. Comparing the plan to Google maps I discovered the road adjacent to the property was named—conveniently for us—‘Edwards Road’.

The land selected by Thomas and James Edwards from the Narrewillock Parish plan

John Gilbart Edwards settled at Yeungroon southwest of Charlton.

The land settled by John Gilbart Edwards from the Yeungroon parish plan.
Map of places visited near Charlton

We first found the property at Yeungroon, on Five Mile Road. The countryside nearby was in splendid condition after the rain. We stopped to look at a mob of sheep. They had a lot to say, much of it ‘maa’ rather than ‘baa’. Perhaps they were maa lambs, not baa lambs, a different breed.

Afterwards we looked through the Charlton Golden Grains Museum. The volunteers there had sent me a comprehensive list of newspaper articles about the Edwards, including obituaries for Thomas and James. At the museum we saw photos of the Charlton H.E.S. (Higher Elementary School) Basketball team of 1925. A couple of the photographs had the granddaughters of James Edwards Gwen (1910 – 2006) and Freda (1913 – 2008) Edwards in them .

Thomas died in 1908 at Charlton and was buried in Charlton cemetery. James, who died in 1916, was buried in Terrappee cemetery. We found their graves.

Charlton Cemetery is a mile west of the town.  From the obituary published in the East Charlton Tribune, which had been shared with us by the Charlton Golden Grains Museum, we knew that Thomas was buried there. At the cemetery is a directory of the site, erected by the Rotary Club, which lists all the graves and their location. The grave of Thomas Edwards has no headstone, but we were able to determine which plot was his by confirming the location of the neighbouring headstone. It is rare to find such a useful finding-aid at a cemetery.

On our way to Terrappee we drove past Mount Buckrabanyule which is covered with Wheel Cactus (Opuntia robusta), an invasive noxious weed, now listed as a Weed of National Significance.

The view west from Mount Buckrabanyule

Afterwards we visited the grave of James Edwards at Terrappee Cemetery, about 10 km northeast of Charlton. We knew in advance from FindAGrave that James’s grave there has a headstone.

James’s son Frederick James Edwards is buried next to James. Strangely, his gravestone has the wrong date of death. Frederick James died on 15 December 1974, the date confirmed by his death notice in The Age of 16 December.

Terrappee cemetery is a small bush graveyard, peaceful and calm, surrounded by enormous cultivated paddocks. It has a large peppercorn tree.

Then we found their property, formerly known as “Lamorna”, which had been selected by James and Thomas Edwards. A new crop of wheat had sprouted. James Edwards’s diary recorded that he sowed his first patch of wheat in 1876, a year after his arrival.

The land settled by Thomas and James Edwards in 1875 with a new crop of wheat.

From Terrapee we came back to Charlton and after a pleasant roast lunch sitting in the sun on the verandah of the Cricket Club Hotel drove home to Ballarat.

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