Family Pioneer Gathering

DESCENDANTS of one of Loddon Shire’s foremost farming pioneers will gather in Tarnagulla later this year for a second major family reunion.

The Silke family has been traced back to 1607 in Somerset, England.

John Gill Silke, who was born in 1805, wed Ann Date in 1832 and the couple began married life as tenant farmers.

In 1850, the Silkes sailed to Australia with their 10 children and John opened a store in Collingwood, but after Anne died in 1854, the family moved to Bendigo.

There, John took over as publican at the Union Hotel in Inglewood road, Specimen Hill, but by 1863 he was farming at Bullock Creek.

Two years later, John and his sons, Edward, William and Henry, and son-in-law Samuel Rae selected land at Murphy’s Creek/Flat and descendants of those families still farm the same ground today.

Dorothy Silke, one of the event’s organisers, said the first such reunion was held in 1975, attracting about 200 people.

“The day will be based at the Tarnagulla hall and is not just for family members – people from the district are also invited,” Mrs Silke said.

“We plan to have displays of photographs and sketches, the old school register, minutes from the original Wesleyan church, John’s cash book from his Collingwood days and copies of a book of poetry written by Edward.

“We also expect to be offering copies of a book currently being compiled by John Howe and myself which details the stories of the Silke family from 1607 to 1950 and includes accounts of the life and times of other early settlers of this area.

“Great assistance has been received from local people in this project, not to mention the invaluable research carried out by the late Ian Silke into his family’s history.”

The reunion is planned for the Victoria Theatre in Tarnagulla on 25 September.

See more photos of Silke Family history here.

For more details, please phone Dorothy Silke on (03) 5438 7254 or John Howe on (03) 5482 1047.

Alternatively please contact here via the mail form.

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