New book tells all

Published on 20 June 2014

A new book telling the complete history of Wedderburn will soon be launched in Loddon Shire – the first time such a mammoth task has ever been attempted.

The 342-page hardcover work, entitled “The Golden Harvest – A History of Wedderburn”, is currently in production, with the official unveiling planned for Sunday 10 August.

Written by Korong (Wedderburn) Historical Society stalwart Keith Ring and freelance writer and consultant Geoff Arnott, the book has taken nearly two years of effort to compile and has cost $80,000 to produce.

Funding for the project has been sourced from the Australian and Victorian governments, Loddon Shire Council and the Inglewood and Districts Community Bank.

The book starts by examining the centuries before white settlement, when the clans of the Dja Dja Wurrung people freely roamed the area.

It moves on to tell the stories of the early explorers, first pastoral runs, the gold diggings, the war years and the growth of the town and concludes with portraits in words and pictures of Wedderburn and its people today.

Historical society member Ray Tonkin, who has acted as co-ordinator of the project in Wedderburn, said others had written short histories of the town before, but these had focused on particular aspects, such as gold.

“This is the first time anything on this scale has been done,” Mr Tonkin said.

“We’d been talking for a long time about how it would be good to put out something like this, but I thought we just needed to get on with it.”

Mr Ring worked as a teacher at various locations around Victoria before taking up his final posting before retirement as principal of the former Wedderburn Primary School.

He has already written several booklets on local history and was involved with the historical society for 20 years producing the publication, “Nuggets to Nothing”.

Mr Arnott has previously written 15 books, covering such areas as economics, politics, community services and local histories.

A former secondary and TAFE educator, he has links to Wedderburn through his mother’s ancestors, he owns a house in the town and visits regularly.

“I got involved in September 2012, when the Korong Historical Society invited me to do a talk,” Mr Arnott said.

“From there, I started working with Ray and Keith and undertook a lot of research both in Wedderburn and Melbourne.

“The historical society had some terrific resources and fantastic photos.

“I’ve really enjoyed the project, I’ve learned a great deal and there’s a strong sense of satisfaction in seeing it through to this point.

“People are going to get quite a surprise when they see the book – Wedderburn is a wonderful place and this is going to be a good thing both for the residents themselves and their visitors.

“It’s great for a town to have a history like this.”

The public launch on 10 August at the historical society’s headquarters will be preceded by an invitation-only lunch, supported by displays from community and sporting groups.