Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Family Goldmine

Most families have legends and mine is no different. The legend in my family is that there is a family-owned goldmine somewhere in Australia. 

The story goes that my great-grandfather loaned his cousin some money before he emigrated to Australia. The condition was that the cousin would send the money back once he had settled. When his cousin had made Australia his home, my great-grandfather James Harbertson was sent the papers to a goldmine, which for some reason he never signed - a bit of a step-up from the money he lent out! Other rumours say James was cheated out of his rightful property.

It's a good story, right? But is there any truth to the tale? 

James had three cousins who emigrated to Australia; Andrew, Robert and Lancelot Harbertson. They settled in the Corrimal area of New South Wales.

While I can find nothing to suggest the three brothers part-owned or had shares in a goldmine, there are some quite intriguing articles about the kind of lifestyles they had.

Lancelot Harbertson, or Lance as he was commonly known, married a woman named Frances Wilkinson on 4 October 1913. Below is a newspaper article published in the Illawarra Mercury reporting on the rather fashionable wedding:


A very pretty wedding was celebrated on October 4th, at "Glenavon," the residence of Mr. and Mrs. A. Harbertson, Corrimal, the contracting parties being Miss F. Wilkinson, of Horden, Durham, England, and Mr. Lance Harbertson, of Seaton Delaval, England. The Rev. Mr. Beynon (Presbyterian) officiated. 
The bride was given away by Mr. T. Dixon, and she was attended by Miss Grace Dixon as bridesmaid, whilst Mr. R. Harbertson acted as groomsman. The bride was very handsomely gowned, and she wore a pretty gold brooch, set with pearls and rubies, the gift of the bridegroom, whose gift to the bridesmaid was a handsome gold pendant. 
After the ceremony the wedding party adjourned to "Milton Cottage," Mount Pleasant, the residence of Mr. and Mrs. T Dixon, where the wedding breakfast was served in such a manner as to win praise from all present. 
After justice had been done to the good things provided, Mr. Bert Makin proposed the toast of "The Bride and the Bridegroom," to which the bridegroom responded. The "Parents of the Bride," was proposed by Mr. R. Harbertson. Mr. Bourke proposed "Our Host and Hostess," and Mr. Dixon responded. 
The guests, to the number of about forty, were next entertained at an enjoyable musical evening, including songs, games, etc. The happy couple were the recipients of numerous presents including some costly articles, amongst the presents being a three-decker wedding cake made and presented to Mr. and Mrs. L. Harbertson, by Mrs. Dixon.

Gold pendants, gold brooches set with pearls and rubies? How grand! 

But did the family goldmine fund the pretty wedding? Who knows. Whatever the truth, it makes for a good story. 

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