Breamlea, Victoria

Breamlea, Victoria

Sunday, 16 August 2015

 Janet Salter and the Ladies' Committee of Chewton

Yesterday I wrote of Mrs. Janet Salter who was a witness to two births in the gold-mining town of Chewton, Victoria, Australia in 1865.  She is my 4x great grandmother.

Today I went onto Trove and stumbled upon some interesting articles about her.

We know that Janet and her husband James moved to Chewton from Adelaide between 1851 and 1854.  In 1860, they bought a small property in the township, just behind the Post Office. valued at 15 pounds.  On it, they built a bark hut.

In 1868, James was admitted to the Castlemaine Benevolent Asylum, and stayed there (with a handful of brief visits home) until he died in May 1887, a period of nearly 20 years.  It was explained to me by the Castlemaine Historical Society that the Asylum meant in those days the traditional meaning of the word, as in shelter or a haven.  People were put in asylums for all sorts of reasons;  for example Alzheimers and Dementia, nervous breakdowns, physical incapacity or just because their loved ones couldn't take care of them for whatever reason.

I always wondered how Janet survived during those years, and today, Trove told me.

I found three articles printed in the Mount Alexander Mail, recording meetings of the Chewton Borough Council.

The first article dated 16 November 1877, notes that Janet applied to the Council to be recommended to the Ladies' Committee for financial relief.  She had been receiving some benefit from them, but it had been stopped.  The Town Clerk was to write to the Ladies' Committee to ask why.

The next article dated 30 November 1877, notes that the Ladies' Committee had answered.  In response to one of James' brief visits home, the ladies had withdrawn the relief. The Town Clerk was told to inform Janet. James was 67 at the time and obviously suffering some incapacity. He had been an inmate of the asylum for nearly ten years.

The next article is dated 26 July 1878, six months later, and again she is asking the Council to recommend her to the Ladies' Committee for weekly support. She was 75 years old.  Cr. O'Donohoe remarks he would like to know why these kinds of requests are being sent to Council instead of direct to the Ladies' Committee.  I bet we can guess why.

Janet herself died ten years later in March 1887, at the age of 85 and James died 8 weeks after her.
Article identifier
Page identifier
APA citation
CHEWTON BOROUGH COUNCIL. (1877, November 30).Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917), p. 2. Retrieved August 17, 2015, from
MLA citation
"CHEWTON BOROUGH COUNCIL." Mount Alexander Mail(Vic. : 1854 - 1917) 30 Nov 1877: 2. Web. 17 Aug 2015 <>.
Harvard/Australian citation
1877 'CHEWTON BOROUGH COUNCIL.', Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917), 30 November, p. 2, viewed 17 August, 2015,
Wikipedia citation
{{cite news |url= |title=CHEWTON BOROUGH COUNCIL. |newspaper=[[Mount Alexander Mail |Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917)]] |location=Vic. |date=30 November 1877 |accessdate=17 August 2015 |page=2 |publisher=National Library of Australia}}


No comments:

Post a Comment