Silke Family History

In 1850 John Silke migrated from Somerset England with his wife and 10 children. They settled in Little Bourke Street Melbourne and opened a grocers shop in Collingwood. A copy of his Cash Book at Rostrata, records both his farming days in England & the Collingwood shop.

In 1865 they selected land at Murphy’s Creek (Then called Murphy’s Flat) when the government first opened up land in this area. His Grandson Edward built “Rostrata” in 1904 and it has remained in the family ever since.

Murphy’s Creek History

Murphy’s Flat was named after a miner who found gold 3ks west of Rostrata Country House. As early as 1861 the government was looking for land suitable for settlement.

In the same year Murphy’s Flat (Later Murphy’s Creek) had a moment of glory when a gold rush took place along the lead at the junction of the Moliagul – Tarnagulla Road and the Dunolly – Orville Road. Records say that 300-400 people rushed to the site. Then all the excitement passed away like a ship in the night. Rostrata Country House Accommodation in the Central Victorian Goldfields.

Leisk’s hotel stood at this site. Although the building date is uncertain, it is recorded that an inquest was held there about March 1879. In latter years the hotel was converted into a shearing shed. The building you see today is a completely new structure.

Land was first selected at Murphy’s Flat on Monday 28/8/1865 and was described as heavily timbered, smelling of eucalyptus, with a permanent crystal clear creek running through it. Potatoes and other vegetables and fruit were grown in the area and sent by train to Melbourne. Descendants of the original selector’s still farm here today.

Going North past the school site, at the creek, is the site of the Hargreaves Bros. Saw Mill. A large quantity of timber sawn at this site was used for the buildings in Dunolly. This was also the site of the Wesleyan Church opening 16/12/1866. This building was also used as the first Murphy’s Flat school No 143 opening on the 24/4/1869.

In 1863 the first wedding known to have taken place in Murphy’s Flat, was at the Mill-side cottage of Eliza Bell. Sarah Bell [18yrs] married Martin Hughes [21] a Bullock driver from Moliagul. The Tarnagulla, Irishtown and Murphy’s Flat Butter Factory celebrated their opening with a Gala Ball on the 1/11/1885, with over 200 people attending this event. Less than 3 years later it closed on 17/9/1888.

Opposite the entrance into Rostrata Country House is the site of the second Murphy’s Creek School No 1311 which opened in mid 1876. Joseph Shaw one of the early teachers, who walked out from Tarnagulla, said the building was so cold in winter that he wore his hat.

In the years 1900-1904 Mary Warnock taught here. As often happened, she married Edward Silke a local farmer. They built their home down the track that is opposite the school site, on the side of a hill over looking the Dead Log creek. Today the home is still in the family and is now Rostrata Country House.

Murphy’s Creek Football Club was formed April 1910.

Murphy’s Creek Cricket Club formed September 1910.

Murphy’s Creek tennis Club Formed 1915.

The name Murphy’s Flat was changed to Murphy’s Creek in 1915.

The last member of the local aboriginal tribe to live in this area was “King Billy” He died in the 1890’s.

Silke Family History