Australia is a very young country, we celebrated our 200th Anniversary in 1988. The population until the mid 1850s was very small and only began to grow significantly under government sponsored immigration schemes in the early to mid 1800's. It was during this period that Irish settlers started to flow to Australia in significant numbers. This turned to a flood upon the discovery of gold in 1850. The bold brush strokes of our family that occurred in other countries are perhaps not as evident. The imprint of our family is however visible through the large number of place names carrying the Egan name in the goldmining areas through which we will travel. They were not all goldminers although many turned to goldmining to fund more secure futures in farming, hotels, manufacturing and the professions. The discovery of gold in California and Alaska saw a large amount of travel across the Pacific linking families in the USA and Australia. The genealogical implications of gold-driven migratory travel in this region, as it affects our family, could perhaps be better documented. We hope that the Rally allowed us to discover a number of new links and branches of our families previously undiscovered.
The 2002 Rally was
based in Melbourne Victoria
with tours through the Victorian Goldfields seeing older townships, gold diggings
and the historic city of Bendigo. We also visited the picturesque wine growing
areas of the Dandenong mountain range and Yarra Valley. The aim was to provide
overseas family members in particular with the opportunity to see more of our
countryside, much of the character of which is still as it was in the 1850s.
Thursday July 4th
In the morning we left Melbourne by coach for the central Victorian township of Maldon.
In the afternoon we travelled to Porcupine Village where a guided tour of this historical gold mining village was provided. Late afternoon we travelled through to Bendigo where we stayed at The Shamrock Hotel.
In the evening we had dinner in Central Bendigo with a large number of new family members who travelled from all corners of Victoria to meet the main rally group.
Friday July 5th
Commencing in the morning, and breaking up into smaller groups, we enjoyed the following historic attractions:
Lunch was in Central
Bendigo before travelling out to the Bendigo
returning to Melbourne late in the afternoon.
Friday was a free evening.
On Saturday we travelled
by coach to visit the Dandenong Ranges to the East of Melbourne, a glorious
retreat from the citys bustle. We boarded the quaint little steam train,
Belgrave to Emerald Lake, taking in the rolling hills, fern gullies and lush
We continued by coach through the ranges to the beautiful Yarra Valley. and enjoyed lunch at the Healesville Sanctuary, one of our great attractions with more than 200 species of native birds, mammals and reptiles on display in a natural bush setting.
The day concluded with a wine tasting at a Yarra Valley winery.
We arrived back in Melbourne late in th afternoon for the Rally Banquet at the Victorian Club Rialto Building.