October 04, 2015

WW1 Veterans

The history of many of our forebears who served in WW1 has never been fully recorded or acknowledged. The Victorian Aboriginal Remembrance Committee would love to hear about these brave men and to tell their stories. If you have anyone in your family who served in WW1 please contact who is currently putting together information on behalf of all Victorians to acknowledge their supreme contribution during that terrible time.

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May 15, 2015

2015 Victorian Aboriginal Rememberance Service

Sunday 31st May at the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne, has been set aside as a day to honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service men and women who served in the armed forces of Australia. Over 800 Indigenous service personnel volunteered to serve during WW1 and more than 3000 in WW11. Those service men and women volunteered their service despite not being recognised as Australian citizens. This recognition did not occur until the 1967 referendum.

It was through the tireless effort of Aunty Dot Peters to honour her father's service and memory that the first service was initiated over 10 years ago. Since then other states have established similar commemorative services to honour their Indigenous personnel. The Indigenous Remembrance Services have now become an annual event.

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March 13, 2013

The Australian Mob


Many of John Franklin and Harriet Tull's descendants who attended the Franklin Reunion on the Saturday afternoon.

SettingUp1.JPG Family trees were put up for the children of John Franklin and Harriet Tull. John Charles Franklin's line was the largest, taking up the length of a whole wall and displaying five generations of family members.

John Franklin - The Facts So Far

Meg.jpg Dr Meg Dillon, (Social Historian) has assembled the efforts of a number of researchers including that collected by a small group of Franklin descendants into a comprehensive document detailing the known and confirmed knowledge of John Franklin. The efforts of this research were presented at the Franklin Reunion over the Labour Day weekend. While this research was extensive it was unable to definitively answer the question of 'Who was John Franklin?" Research will continue in the hope that one day an important document will be uncovered at the Public Records Office or some other repository that will shed important new light on his origins and his connection with the Yea district in the 1840s.

As a member of the research team I would particularly like congratulate the other members of the research team and the quality of their investigations and materials in spite of not receiving any support or assistance from the TCAC. Research such as this provides a priceless asset to all Taungurung people and not just to the Franklin family.

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Dedication to Aunty Irene Lawrey


Sandra Smith Aunty Irene's close friend and colleague standing next to Irene's memorial plaque at the Frog Pond, Yea Wetlands

Family, friends and associates gathered near the frog pond at the Yea Wetlands on Sunday to pay their respects to Aunty Irene Lawrey who passed away almost two years ago. A permanent bronze plaque was put in place near the frog pond (Irene's favourite spot) to honour Aunty Irene and serve as a remininder of the esteem in which Irene was held for her work and dedication to the Franklin family.

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Update - Stone Secrets

The opportunity for Dr David Chalmers to present his findings was well received at the recent Franklin family reunion with many people hearing about his research and findings for the first time. His research and hypothesis sparked much interest by many of the older ‘Franklins’ who expressed a desire to visit the sites and gain first had experience of the landfall and environment.


Two years ago Bernadette Franklin and Loraine Padgham (as representatives of the Taungurung) were invited to attend the launch of the culmination of six years of research undertaken by Prof. Chalmers at his Strathbogie Ranges property.


Prof. Chalmers had been researching the unusual arrangement of stones on his property and concluded that they could have been established by the Nira Balug people (a clan of the Taungurung) to herd kangaroos up the hill, into a race, where they were trapped and separated for slaughter or breeding. He compared the 'Euroa men' rock drawings found in the Strathbogie Ranges and theorised that the rock drawings could actually depict the local Aboriginal people herding and corralling kangaroos.



Other interesting stone arrangements were shown to the group and speculation was made that one stone arrangement was in fact a calendar made in the shape of a giant bird - possibly Bunjil - with it's beak pointing eastward towards the rising sun. Through cavities in the adjacent caves, sunlight could penetrate and shine on the back wall of the cave accurately depicting the time of the year.



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March 16, 2012

The NZ Mob

Over 60 descendants of John Franklin and Harriet Tull gathered recently for a family reunion at Glinks Gully on the west coast of the northern island of New Zealand.

Why NZ?
The NZ arm of the Franklin family was established with the settling of William Henry Franklin at Dargaville around 1920, although further research needs to be undertaken to confrm the date.

William Henry Franklin was John's second son born in 1880 in the Yea district of Victoria. As an experienced shearer, William worked the stations and properties in both NZ and Australia travelling to NZ on numerous occasions prior to permanently settling in Dargaville with his wife Eliza and young children. The descendants of these children were well represented at the reunion and eager to know more of their extended family in Australia.

The reunion was conducted over three days and included a traditional Maori Hungi and sadly the scattering of the ashes of William's youngest son Albert. Glinks Gully is situated on the west coast of the north island, approximately three hours drive north of Auckland - a secluded spot of approximately 100 'batches' (holiday houses) only seconds from the beach. Numberous activities including an egg thowing game and the collection of Tuatua were organised. The family had secured a special license before the family swarmed the beach to collect this sought after delicacy. The license permitted the collection of 200 of these prized shell fish which were later cooked and shared amongst the tribe.


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Our NZ relatives are a fun loving and friendly bunch of people who willing shared their special place with us and warmly welcomed us to this special event.

With the organization of an Australian reunion well on the way, we hope and expect quite a few of our NZ cousins will be able to travel the Tasman and meet many of their other Franklin relatives unable to attend the NZ reunion.

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March 29, 2011

VALE Aunty Irene Lawrey - The passing of a valued Elder

Irene Lawrey.JPG

It was with deep regret that Franklin descendants were informed of the recent sudden passing of Aunty Irene Lawrey. For many years Aunty Irene was an integral part of the family’s search for the history behind the Franklin’s relationship with the Kilmore - Yea region. There was no stone unturned or article unread as Aunty Irene pursued her knowledge about her Aboriginal heritage. Her move to the nursing home at Kilmore in 2010 provided a wonderful location to continue her story. She confided that she was glad to be living in Kilmore as she felt she was ‘home’ as she was on Taungurung country.

Aunty Irene’s quest for her history started as a young girl and was willingly shared amongst many Franklin descendants. Documents, in the form of letters and official correspondence as well as photographs and anecdotes were readily exchanged with other family members to help compile and assemble a true history of the Nira Balug clan of the Taungurung. Sadly, just as family members were in a position to help Aunty Irene document her findings she advised she needed time to regain her health and consequently this project was temporarily placed on hold.

Fortunately many of her files, photographs and notes have been archived but it is her interesting yarns and stories she retained in her memory that will be lost to the rest of the family.

She will be sadly missed by her family and by all those who worked closely with her. It is hoped that her work will be continued by other members of the Franklin family.

January 22, 2011

It's in the Genes


Going through the family album can be fun. Those old photographs can pose many questions and speculations. This was the case when I recently closely examined the photograph of my grandmother - Dolly Rubina Franklin (on the right) as a young teenager. The photograph closely resembled another photograph I had in my collection. That photograph was a picture of my great grand aunt - Hannah Franklin - also as a teenager. The two photographs looked so similar - the resemblance was uncanny. They could have been the same person.

September 10, 2008

Ruth and Grant

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August 18, 2007


Elsie Murphy.jpg

This is a photo of my grandparents Elise and Joe Murphy and myself. I uploaded this photo as after the recent passing of Joe Murphy, he will be missed by all that new him.

June 23, 2007

ACES Choir

I sang with ACES Choir at Parliament House and met with some interesting people.

Jean Williamson meets Gavin Jennings the Victorian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
(L-R) Minister Gavin Jennings, Jean, Noel Williamson, Pru Stewart and partner

Jean Williamson with Choir Master Deborah Cheetham
Jean with Aboriginal soprano, actor, composer and playwright Deborah Cheetham

Jean Williamson with Melbourne Lord Mayor John So
Melbourne Lord Mayor John So and Jean Williamson

May 20, 2007

Flowdale Football Club Photo 1908


1. Herbert (front row) Herberts football career spanned 27 years from 1908 - 1935. He had a medal for "long service" and one for "best and fairest".

2. Jack Franklin 31 years 1877 - 1908 (kneeling )
3. Bill Franklin 28 years 1880 - 1908 (back row)
4. Walter Franklin 18 years 1890 - 1908 (back row)
5. Charlie Franklin 24 years 1884 - 1908 (back row)

click here for an enlargement