AUSTRALIA: Notes from a 1991 DENNER / PETHYBRIDGE family reunion :: Genealogy
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AUSTRALIA: Notes from a 1991 DENNER / PETHYBRIDGE family reunion

Journal by allycat

Following the successful McCarron family reunion in January, one branch, the Denners, decided to hold a full reunion of its members on the weekend of October 19-20, 1991.

Once again, the Shepparton Paceway, which adjoins an early DENNER selection, was the excellent venue for the celebrations.

The beginnings of the DENNER family are not yet clear, but it is certain that James DENNER, of Devonshire, arrived in Adelaide in 1846 with his Cornish wife, Mary Anne, and one child, Lavina.

After a time working at the copper mines of Burra, South Australia, James DENNER brought his family to Victoria and eventually took up his promised land selection at Glenlyon.

The eldest daughter, Lavina, took bread and cakes in her saddle panniers to sell to the miners at Friar's Creek, and there met her future husband, Richard PETHYBRIDGE.

The PETHYBRIDGEs built a homestead "Willow Bank" at Arcadia, which is still standing after 120 years, and it was a focal point for family gatherings at Christmas.

Mrs Rae ROUTLEY, who represented the PETHYBRIDGE connection at the reunion, remembered dinners at "Willow Bank", watched by the stern eyes of the portraits of Richard and Lavina.

She could remember her Uncle Harry DENNER talking of the days when he had to bring his horses into his tent at night to save them from being stolen by Ned Kelly's gang.

Mrs ROUTLEY said that William DENNER 65 years ago founded the Rugby Car Club -- still a family club. She recalled an early outing to Mt. Gambier in 1927, camping in old-fashioned tents which were carried on the running boards of the cars.

It was a happy time as the members gathered round campfires to sing and recite, and the same "specialties" were performed year after year.

At the reunion, the DENNERs who had travelled the farthest to attend were undoubtedly Peter and Meg DENNER from Berkshire, England, while others had come from Queensland and New South Wales.

Peter also recalled childhood holidays spent at Arcadia, and was delighted to find that a favourite swimming hole in the Goulburn River, formed by a fallen tree, is still there.

A welcome guest at luncheon on the Saturday was Mr. Will DENNER, of Melbourne, grandson of James, and 86 years old, who had made a remarkable recovery from serious illness to be, not only present but able to enjoy meeting old and new family acquaintances and passing on valuable information.

In contrast, the youngest visitor was only 3 months old, a great granddaughter of Will DENNER's brother, Charles.

It was a happy weekend of reminiscence and studying photographs in which the family resemblance -- the DENNER nose! -- showed clearly.

On Saturday night the gathering, young and old alike, were delighted by the superb dancing of the Solar City Rockers.

On the serious side, the members visited the graves of James and Mary Anne DENNER and Richard and Lavina PETHYBRIDGE, at Kialla West Cemetery; and on Sunday, Canon PAGE of Tatura conducted a short but evocative service to remember those who founded the family under tough pioneering conditions, and encouraged those present to continue those traditions.

Tributes were given to those who had given much time and thought to the organisation of the reunion, which forged new bonds of family loyalty and renewed the old.

{NB: Information kindly provided above by a mutual MCCARRON/DENNER connection, L.KIRK. James DENNER and his wife Mary Ann PINE were my 3g grandparents}.

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by allycat Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2006-11-13 23:32:25

allycat , from sunny Queensland, Australia, has been a Family Tree Circles member since Mar 2006. is researching the following names: VOSS, DENNER, DINNER and 610 other(s).

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by denner on 2007-03-08 22:10:07

Lavina taking cakes to Richard Pethybridge in Fryers creek (Fryers Town maybe-that`s what it`s known as today near Chewton .Chewton the town before Castlemaine if you were to drive from Melbourne direction)down between Taradale and Castlemaine in Central Victoria

by allycat on 2007-03-08 22:18:23

Glenda, Hi there. I don't know Victoria at all sorry, but you could be right.

I was delighted to read The eldest daughter, Lavina, took bread and cakes in her saddle panniers to sell to the miners at Friar's Creek, and there met her future husband, Richard PETHYBRIDGE..

It's nice to have a snippet of information on the sibling of one's ancestor as you can sometimes glean an idea of what life was like for all. My gg grandmother Eliza DENNER {born 3 Dec 1856 on the Back Creek, Bourke, Taradale, Victoria, Australia} and married John PARKER of Camden, was a younger sister of Lavinia. I have a photograph of yet another sister, Elizabeth DENNER born 1850 Adelaide Sth Aust., with her husband William MCCARRON which I'm getting scanned at present.

I still think it's dreadful that my ggg grandparents James & Mary DENNER named two of their daughters Elizabeth and Eliza. That definitely took a lot of figuring out by me.


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