Nov 3

A fabulous Tree

We love to get stories from residents and beyond, about fabulous Ballarat East. here is a beauty from Pam Strange. Pam originally contacted us at BE Net with this request:

An oak tree, planted by my Great Grandfather, Edmund Strange and his wife Lucy in approximately 1857, in Ballarat East, is still there and looking beautiful in full leaf. It is on a vacant block of land. How do I find out if it is on private land? Who would I contact to ask if I wanted to take a family photo under the oak tree?

We encouraged Pam to contact the council for the info and to ensure the tree’s history was protected and the tree itself by getting it registered on the City’s Exceptional Tree Register. She did. Then Pam took her story further and arranged her families reunion. Here is the full story:

Isn’t it wonderful that my Dad, Norm Strange, kept all these precious photos and documents, so we can learn about our heritage!


Edmund Strange was born in 1830 in Oxfordshire, England. He arrived in Geelong on the ‘Berkshire’ in 1848, with his parents and six siblings. He was aged eighteen. Edmund and his brother Jesse were engaged to work as shepherds for Thomas Chirnside of the Grampians.

Edmund StrangeEdmund Strange. Image courtesy the Strange Family.

When news broke of gold discoveries in Buninyong, men seized the opportunity to make their fortunes. Edmund is believed to have been on Ballarat gold diggings by September 1851, very early in the gold rush.

Withers ‘History of Ballarat’ mentions that Edmund Strange was a member of a party working a claim, fossicking and shepherding at Ballarat East in 1854.

Lucy StrangeLucy Strange. Image courtesy the Strange Family.

According to Bert Strange (Edmund’s nephew) Edmund and his mates were watching from the top of Pennyweight Hill during the Eureka uprising on December 3 1854.

After the rebellion, Edmund and two others went to Geelong where they stayed for a few days. When they returned to their tent they found Frederick Vern, one of the Eureka leaders, occupying one of the beds.

The group sheltered Vern in their tent through the heat of December 1854 and January 1855. Edmund married Lucy Martin in 1857 at Christchurch Ballarat. Lucy was born in 1836 in London and arrived in Geelong on the ‘Northumberland’ in 1855, aged just seventeen.

About 1857, Edmund built a small weatherboard cottage of five rooms on a plot of land near the gold workings at Dalton’s Flat. He and Lucy planted an oak tree on their block, and it stands strong and healthy today, 157 years later.

Lucy, who was of small build and not much taller than 150 centimetres, bore eleven children. All except one survived to adulthood. George died of measles in 1875, aged just three and a half. Edmund gave up mining about 1879, then supported his large family by working as a storeman then a carpenter.

The Strange Cottage, Lucy & her son CharlesThe Strange Family Cottage. Lucy Strange and her son Charles. Image courtesy the Strange Family.

The little cottage was home to Edmund and Lucy until they died. Edmund passed away in 1900 from pneumonia. Lucy died in 1920 at the age of eighty-four. The Ballarat Courier stated ‘She was the oldest resident of the locality…(and) the deceased and her family were held in great esteem and respect’

Lucy StrangeLucy Strange. Image courtesy the Strange Family.


Thirty-three Strange family members met in Ballarat East this weekend. They are the descendants of  Frederick Jason and Seraphina Rose Strange (known as Rose). Frederick was the ninth child of  Edmund and Lucy Strange.

Frederick Strange owned a grocery store in Main Road, Ballarat East. This building is now ‘The Granary’ restaurant, and the family members dined there as part of their reunion.

Other activities on the weekend included lunch at GPlace (the former Golden Point Primary School) which Frederick Strange’s children attended. There was a guided walk to visit graves of Edmund and Lucy Strange, William Strange (Edmund’s father) and Frederick and Rose Strange.

Frederick and Rose’s family used to camp at Lake Burrumbeet, and those attending the reunion visited the old campsite and reflected on the happy times which were had there in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

Thanks to Pam Strange for sharing her wonderful story of Ballarat East with us. Share your family’s Ballarat East story with us at

One comment

  1. Graham Loutit says:

    I am also a descendant of Edmund Strange his eldest son William is myG Grand father . Met Bert Strange shortly before he died and told me about Vern and how they hid him under a bed in Edmunds tent when a trooper entered , He said Edmund had little time for Vern calling him a “”Blatherskite”” amongst other things Apparently Edmund was a strong man and “”not someone to be trifled with””he said . I did hear mention of a tree on my last visit to Ballarat so I hope to see it on my return

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