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Noelene Allen: The Trials, Tragedies & Triumphs: Kelly Women



Noelene Allen to speak about her first book: The Trials, Tragedies & Triumphs: Kelly Women

at the VASFHO Conference: Under the Southern Cross – A Gold Fields Experience


Whilst much has been written about Ned, his mother Ellen – the one person Ned loved more than life itself – has largely been neglected through the pages of Australian history. Ellen Kelly’s story has been constantly over-shadowed by her son’s legendary exploits.

Ellen: a woman of spirit is the extraordinary true story of a woman whose life journey is told in this long awaited book with sympathy, compassion and above all honesty. The reader will become immersed in the trials, tragedies and triumphs of this woman. The love of Ellen’s life is taken from her at an early age; she is faced with the task of bringing up her children on her own. She will do anything for her children including spending time in jail for protecting her teenage daughter from the unwanted advances of a police officer. No mother should experience the tragedies and losses that this woman endured throughout her long life; she outlived seven of her twelve children. The strength of the women of the Kelly family becomes clear as the reader shares many previously untold anecdotes of the life of the mother of Australia’s most famous bushranger, Ned Kelly.


noelene-at-courthouse sml

Author Noelene Allen leads the reader into a fascinating journey through the harsh landscape of poor nineteenth century Australia through countless trials, tragedies and triumphs of this woman known as Ellen Kelly. By the time Ellen died at aged ninety-one in 1923 she had outlived seven of her twelve children.

Noelene Allen was born in Sydney and moved to Tamworth in Northern NSW. Following a successful career in retail management and teaching at TAFE, a move to Beechworth in 1999, when the Beechworth Historic & Cultural Precinct was in its infancy, saw Noelene join the band of Precinct Volunteer where her interest in Ellen Kelly and the women of the Kelly family began. She was the Coordinator of the Beechworth Historic & Cultural Precinct until her retirement in 2009.

“The Trials, Tragedies & Triumphs: Kelly Women” is her first book and the many people who have enjoyed her talks and tours will no doubt be eager to see in print her intimate knowledge of the previously untold extraordinary story of Ellen.


More on Noelene Allen and the VAFHO Conference:

Under the Southern Cross – a Goldfields Experience:


VAFHO Conference: Under the Southern Cross – A Goldfields Experience

Register now!

The 2013 VAFHO Conference, Sat & Sun May 4-5 in Ballarat, at the historic Australian Catholic University Aquinas Campus showcases:


  • Professional and experienced speakers
  • Trade stalls
  • Displays
  • Goldfields Dinner and VAFHO Frances Brown Award at the former Golden Point State School
  • Friday night Welcome – Ballarat Town Hall

Early bird registration of $190.00 and $50 for the Conference Dinner is great value for the quality of the presenters who include:

Associate Professor David Goodman, University of Melbourne: Goldfields Comparisons – Georgia (USA) 1820s, New Zealand, California and Victorian Goldrushes

Leigh Olver: “Blood and Bone” – Discovering Ned Kelly – Using DNA to trace an ancestor resulting in family reconnections

Professor Robert Pascoe: The Footy Tribes of Ballarat

Noelene Allen: The Trials, Tragedies & Triumphs: Kelly Women

Meredith Blake: Researching Victorian Collections

Nathaniel Buchanan: Insanity on the Goldfields – Victoria’s Lunatic Asylums

Dr Fred Cahir: Black Gold – Aboriginals on the Gold Fields of Victoria

Dianne Campbell MA: Trades & Professions – Lawyers, Licensees & Women

Dr Jan Croggon: “So good, so gentle, trustful, fond and true” – Towards a broader understanding of the position of women on the goldfields

Dr Anne Doggett: Music on the Victorian Goldfields

Marc Eiden: ABC Open

Dr Charles Fahey: The Cornish on the Victorian Goldfields

Charlie Farrugia: Victoria’s Inquest Records

Susan Fayad: Heritage at Your Fingertips

Greg Gerrand: SLV Digitisation of Family History Records

Clare Gervasoni: A Confusion of Tongues: The Multicultural Goldfields

Lisa Gervasoni: Hidden Perspectives through Maps – New and Traditional Sources to Locate your Ancestors & their Homes

Jenny Higgins: More than Gold – Treasure from TROVE

Monika McIntyre: SLV Digitsation of Family History Records

Dr Michele Matthews: Bendigo’s “Petitions of the People” – a unique primary source for Family Historians

Veronica Moriarty: A Look at Five Women’s Lives through their Needlework Samplers

Claire Muir: Victorian Women and Divorce

Dr Val Noone: The Irish on the Victorian Goldfields

Sarah Rood & Katherine Sheedy: Tips on Recording an Oral History

Anne Beggs Sunter: Ballarat School of Mines & Industries (SMB) – The First in Australia
Michael Taffe: Citizens and Civic Image – Horticultural Developments on the Goldfields through the lens of the Ballarat Horticultural Society

Dr Joseph Toscano: Eureka Rebellion

Dr Dorothy Wickham: An Ocean of Tears – Immigration to Australia

Adam Wynne-Jenkins: Insanity on the Goldfields – Victoria’s Lunatic Asylums

Susie Zada: Regional Victoria: A Goldfields Experience

Please come and join us at VAFHO’s State Conference 2013!!


Women on the Goldfields

Having trouble finding your female ancestors on the goldfields?

Jan Croggon, Di Campbell and Claire Muir will be speaking at the forthcoming VAFHO State Conference: Under the Southern Cross – A Goldfields Experience, to be held 3-5 May in BALLARAT.



Claire Muir, Assistant Curator at Sovereign Hill Museums Association will talk about Victorian women and divorce.

Dianne Campbell MA is a legal historian, freelance writer/editor and author – her interests include the history of lawyers and legal practice on the goldfields of Australasia  & the Anglo-Irish in Australia. Di’s topic:  occupations and professions, lawyers, licensees and women.

Dr Jan Croggon is Senior Historian at The Sovereign Hill Museum Association Ballarat. She is a graduate of the University of Melbourne and Ballarat, a Senior Visiting Fellow of the University of Ballarat and is a member of the Ballarat Australian History Network.  Jan’s topic is “So good, so gentle, trustful, fond and true”: Women of the goldfields.






Check out Dorothy Wickham’s list of women from the Ballarat goldfields 1865-1866 with surnames, occupations and addresses!

Coffee tent 6m from Bush Inn, diggers' breakfast


Eureka Flag moved to where it all began.

Eureka Flag moved to where it all began.

In the Age the story of the Eureka Flag, moving into the new Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka: M.A.D.E. There have been disputes for many years where the flag should be kept. According to the Age the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery has decided to allow the flag to be displayed in the new Museum, close to the site of the Eureka Rebellion.

Read more:


At the upcoming Conference: Under the Southern Cross – A Goldfields Experience, the Eureka history will also be highlighted, from all different angles:

Dr Joe Toscano has become widely known as an anarchist spokesperson for the Anarchist Media Institute through his broadcasting on community radio, his frequent letters to newspapers such as The Age and the Herald Sun and his initiation of community campaigns.  Joe is the Convenor of the “Reclaim the Radical Spirit of Eureka Rebellion Celebrations”. He is also on the Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner Commemoration Committee, the Direct Democracy Not Parliamentary Rule and the Wednesday Action Group. Opinions about what occurred at Ballarat on the 3rd December 1854 are as diverse and wide ranging in 2012/2013 as they were in 1854. Some people claim the Eureka Rebellion was little more than a riot carried out by small business people who did not want to pay taxes while others claim it was a full blown rebellion that continues to have major reverberations today. The Eureka story has survived the attempts of many elements in Australian society to claim the events that occurred on the 3rd December as their own.

Dr Val Noone, an Australian historian who has written extensively on social history and has a particular interest in the history of the Irish Language in Victoria, Australia, in its social, cultural and linguistic aspects. He is an Honorary Fellow of the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. He will take a closer look at the Irish on the goldfields – remembering Peter Lalor was an Irishman.

Clare Gervasoni, Art & Historical Collections at University of Ballarat, director Ballarat Heritage Services,genealogist & consulting historian with an interest in pre-1900 non-English speakers in Australia, will look at the multicultural aspect of the goldfields.

Charlie Farrugia Senior Collections Advisor at Public Record Office Victoria.  Will present his paper on: Victoria’s Inquest Records.

Dr Jan Croggon, Senior Historian at The Sovereign Hill Museum Association Ballarat, will explore the paradox of the Victorian woman as she emerged on the goldfields: believed to be weak, yet in reality strong, ‘foolish’, yet amazingly capable and adaptable.  In the challenging world of the gold rush, the role of women was being reviewed and re-assessed: women were becoming aware that here was an environment in which they might exercise rights and privileges which normally belonged exclusively to men.

Dianne Campbell MA: Trades & Professions – Lawyers, Licensees & Women.

Dianne is a legal historian, freelance writer/editor and author – her interests include the history of lawyers and legal practice on the goldfields of Australasia & the Anglo-Irish in Australia.


More on the speakers at the Conference:


Conference Dinner & VAFHO Awards at Golden Point

GP State School

Conference Dinner & VAFHO Awards at Golden Point

Golden Point is the oldest settlement in Greater Ballarat. Gold was discovered at Poverty Point on 21 August 1851 by James Dunlop and James Reagan sparking the Ballarat Gold rush (A historical marker for the location of the discovery is located in a reserve just off Clayton Street). Golden Point was the site of what was known as the Ballarat diggings and for at least a decade the focal point of the original Ballarat township was Main Street.

Golden Point is also where Sovereign Hill the historic park, can be found, which features many of the early timber buildings, along with many aspects of the daily life in that era.

The conference dinner will be held on Saturday, 4 May 2013 at Golden Point.  The evening will include a themed dinner showcasing excellent regional produce and local entertainers, and the VAFHO Awards.

To book for the Conference Dinner & VAFHO Awards (Limited seating):



The venue of the dinner has it’s own special history:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Golden Point State School was opened on the former Old Post Office Hill in 1875 at a cost of £3,188. It was designed for 500 pupils but on opening day 920 were enrolled. The School established a fine reputation in the age before secondary schooling, providing night classes for young men seeking qualifications. The School closed in 1993 when it merged with Eureka St and Richards St to form Canadian Lead State School. In 2009 it re-opened as Golden Point Learning and Cultural Environment.

The former Golden Point State School is the home for three users: University of the 3rd Age; the multicultural group; and Mount Clear College. It is now known as G PLACE and was formally opened on 15 October 2010.

More on the history of the GoldenPointSchool from Anne Beggs-Sunter, one of our conference speakers:



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe food at the conference dinner will be prepared by: Spade to Blade Catering.

Spade to Blade catering is based in Daylesford. They concentrate on preparing the very best and freshest organically grown foods from the many great farms which surround the district. They also forage our district for wild foods and are highly skilled at wild mushroom collection and feature these whenever in season. Gary Thomas, executive chef of Spade to Blade, was selected as one of 8 delegates from Australia to the World Meeting of Food Communities conference in Turin, November, 2006. He also writes the recipe column for Earth Garden magazine.

More on Spade to Blade: