Trove Detective: Samuel Young: A Journey Back in Time.

Day 1: Beaufort to Melbourne by Train.

Many thanks to Samuel Young’s family who have kindly given permission to use Samuel Young’s Diary here on Explorers Tree blog. We hope you enjoy this delightful tale of the perilous journey undertaken by the two brothers, Samuel and William Young, who met many interesting characters as they explored the countryside between Beaufort and Bombala. It is 1902 when the story begins at Beaufort in Victoria. Samuel Young writes:




Tuesday March 25th, 1902.

Rail (Beaufort to Melbourne).


Horse drawn vehicles at Beaufort Station, 1890. Museum of Victoria No.795797

Rain falls steadily whilst the older child (Samuel) is carried per rail to the metropolis from Beaufort. This part of the journey is well known to him so he passes five hours in reading Argus, Ballarat Echo & Melbourne Herald together with a few of Gordon’s poems. He travelled in a smoking carriage in order to escape the rowdy company of younger children and it occurs to him that his fellow travellers do so for the same reason since on that 100 mile trip no one smokes. There is an example of British reserve as not a word is spoken throughout the distance and presumably all hold tongues. At Bacchus Marsh the child feeds for want of something else to do but feels no inclination to worship at the shrine. It is a pleasant surprise to find Dr Jim awaiting him at Spencer Street and after putting up at Australian Hotel thence onward till 1.30 a.m. There is no want of exercise for the tongue.


Spencer St Station 1928, State Library of Victoria No.b21154


Stepping back in time, a search of  Trove’s digitised newspapers reveals the Melbourne Argus dated 25th March, 1902 reported on the recent Cardigan Mine Disaster at Ballarat and the negotiations by Lord Kitchener to end the Boer War. The Ballarat Echo & Melbourne Herald are not available on Trove. A photo search on Trove shows the PROV has a 1910 photo of Beaufort Railway Station which is not available online. Meanwhile the Museum of Victoria has this wonderful panorama of Beaufort from around 1890 showing the railway station as well as the photo of the horse drawn vehicles at Beaufort station. The State Library of Victoria has the photo above of Spencer St station and plans for the Australian Hotel which is also located in Spencer St. Adam Lindsay Gordon  was an Australian poet, jockey and politician who wrote these lines in his poem Ye Weary Wayfarer which appear on his monument in Melbourne. They seems apt now.

Life is mainly froth and bubble
Two things stand like stone
Kindness in another’s trouble.
Courage in your own.

Another long day awaits the brothers tomorrow as they catch an early train to Sale and a lake steamer to Reeves River at Lakes Entrance, Gippsland.

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