From the pages of the McIvor Times

August 26, 2023 BY

Going underground: Costerfield has many relics from past mining booms. This photo from the 1960s shows an old brick cottage and poppet head. Photo: JT COLLINS/ STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA

A BROWSE through the McIvor Times over the past 150 years reveals an eclectic range of stories.

From a search for a gun, to a cheeky thief on their way to prison, with a sideline dig at small town mechanic’s institutes, they’re all windows into different facets of Heathcote’s past.


50 years ago

28 August 1973

Heathcote seconds won their way into the grand final on Saturday by defeating Rushworth seconds in a close and interesting tussle. The result was in doubt right through to the final siren.

Heathcote 13.10 (88) to Rushworth 11.14 (80)


Gunmakers search for old model

The manufacturers of Browning, Fabrique National Herstal of Belgium are trying to locate the oldest Browning Automatic 5 shotgun in Australia.

They are offering a special hand engraved commemorative model valued in excess of $1,000 to the owner of the oldest gun of this model.

The company claims that over 2 million Automatic 5’s have been made since 1903 and many of these are believed to be in Australia.

Age will be gauged by the serial number, the lower the number, the older the gun and the lowest number will be checked by a fluoroscope to ensure authenticity.

Anyone owning an old Browning Auto 5 is invited to send in the serial number of the gun, together with the name and address of the store where normal gun supplies are purchased.

The latest cars were advertised regularly in the 1970s. Photo: FILE

100 years ago

30 August 1923

Current news

Of late many improvements have been made in connection with the town.

First there comes the planting of new trees in the street – 44 in number.

Next there comes the establishment of a bacon factory which to date has had plenty to do; while Mr John Ring is having a magnificent house built on the corner of Playne and Herriot streets.

In High Street Mr J Duggan is having a small goods shop and residence erected, and Mr Bert Bradley has bought a premises in High street for the purpose of starting a motor garage, while Mr C Warren is having a new house built on Kyneton Road, below the railway line.

With the completion of the Heathcote Higher Elementary School and the Costerfield mines in full swing, there is certainly a prosperous time ahead for Heathcote.



The local labor market has been somewhat disturbed by the temporary shutting down of the mine and mill until the roasting furnaces are completed. This will affect a number of men, but work is offered to those capable of assisting in the completion of the furnaces.

Work is now being hurried along on the smelting site. The cyclone plant and fan have arrived from Melbourne and will be on the works at an early date. R Thompson, the contractor, has now finished the chimney stack, and has left for Bendigo.

Advertisements for many different medicines featured prominently in the 1920s. Photo: FILE

150 years ago

28 August 1873

Police Court

The time of the court on Friday and Monday last was principally occupied in hearing three charges of larceny against two young prisoners William Mason and Martha Cavanagh, who we believe, have recently arrived in this locality from Melbourne.

The former, a lad of about 19 or 20 years of age, appeared to have done all the ‘lifting’ and what he lifted he carried, and when arrested he had a swag nearly as big as himself, which contained a rare collection of articles in use in the bush, showing that he had no lost no opportunity of adding to the stock.

During the hearing of the evidence the conduct of the prisoners was marked with a degree of indifference and levity not often shown by prisoners under similar circumstances.

This liberty was carried to such an extent in the short interval the bench were considering the sentence that it proved contagious and the spectators in the court indulged in a suppressed laugh.

When the sentence was passed ordering the prisoners to be sent to the Sandhurst Gaol, Mason walked towards the bench and impudently remarked that he supposed they would get good “tucker” there.


A voice from Mount Ida

If hard fate require you as an absolute stranger to spend half an hour roaming the streets of the Victorian Country Town, and you observe a building not decent enough for a public house, nor sufficiently frequented for a barber’s shop, you may enter with boldness, for there is little doubt what you will discover there in.

You will become cognisant of rows of dusty, fly-marked shelves, bearing a collection of shabby, greasy, and in every way unlovely volumes of light literature, with which you have been familiar ever since you were weaned.

Look further, and on shelves more ancient, and if possible, still frowsier, you perceive some rusty looking volumes of classics, theology, or politics, among them maybe one or two standard works, like melancholy islands in a frozen ocean.

For new works of fiction, or any of the stirring and vital literature of the day you may search in vain. A further glance will show the habitues of the place to be as rusty and unpleasant-looking as the place itself.

You wander away wondering why the greasy books escape the flames, and for what wonderful reason an inscrutable providence permits the lounges to exist.

This place, an inhabitant will tell you, is the Sleepy Hollow Mechanics Institute, and the loungers subscribers to the institution.