Heading North-The Adventure Continues

Lake Bolac

I stopped at Lake Bolac on my way north. I had been through here many of times when I was younger. But I think this was the first time I stopped to look at the lake. Before Europeans arrived Lake Bolac was a meeting place for many of the Indigenous clans of the region. They met to celebrate and share the work and feast on the eels which inhabited Lake Bolac. Thousands of Indigenous people were observed at Lake Bolac in the early days of European colonisation.

Apparently, there were permanent shelters around the lake, so it is likely that people had lived here for many, many thousands of years.

Lake Bolac was recently in the news because a careless farmer removed rocks from a large eel shaped formation on land just outside the town. The stone arrangement known as Kooyang (short finned eel) had about 60 metres of its tail removed in April 2021.


There is not much to see at Rossbridge but it is important to me personally. In February 1863, there was a tragedy which is marked by a memorial. Four children died in a fire in a shepherds hut. John Keith MacDougall, poet, writer and founding member of the Australian Labor Party in Victoria, fenced off the site and in 1981 The Ararat Historical Society along with the family, my family erected a memorial.

Stone at Rossbridge

The four Murphy children who died, John 9, William 6, Elizabeth 4, and Michael 2 years old were the children of my 2nd Great Grand Parents Michael and Catherine Murphy. My Great Grand Father John William was born in 1865. It is likely that Catherine was pregnant with Mary Ann who was born in 1863. It must have been deeply traumatic for Catherine and Michael. In her later years Catherine was supposed to have stated that she have suffered her purgatory on earth and surely would go straight to heaven. Of the 11 children that Catherine and Michael had only 3, including my great grandfather survived to adulthood.

leafed trees
Photo by Button Pusher on Pexels.com

John Keith MacDougall was a poet and farmer and politician who went on to become the Labor Member for Wannon. He was painfully shy and a romantic and he let his writing do his talking for him.

3 thoughts on “Heading North-The Adventure Continues

  1. Such an interesting piece of family history, what a tragedy to have to live though. I’m glad the plaque is there.
    Thanks for the follow, I appreciate it.

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