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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Flavours of Seymour's past

A new history book - with a difference - has been published.

CHALPAT SONTI June 12, 2014 3:52am

The Early Days of Seymour and District gives a great, easy-to-read slice-of-life of the town and surrounds in the 19th Century.


Have you heard the one about the Kobyboyn Outrage? The local teacher who was suspended for using coarse language to his students? The bloke building a bridge at Whiteheads Creek who fell and broke his leg, then set it himself rather than travel to Kilmore for a doctor?

No? Well you’re probably not alone. But these incidents, and plenty more, did happen — it’s just that they were in the 19th Century.

And the flavour of our region in those times has been beautifully captured by acclaimed local historian Glenise Heywood-Outch and husband Ken in a new publication The Early Days of Seymour and District covering from 1844 to 1895.

A self-published tome, running to 91 pages, it is the first in a series of volumes that have a simple aim.

‘‘We just want to try and get across the flavour of those days,’’ Mrs Heywood-Outch said.

‘‘How people lived but the importance of the ordinary person rather than the big notable landowners.’’

Mr Outch expanded: ‘‘What was the fabric of the society of those times, what they did and what was important to them.’’

The book draws from a range of newspaper reports of the period and uses stories that you can bet were hot topics of conversation at the time, but would have been forgotten as the years passed. Yet they reveal plenty, not just about Seymour but surrounding towns such as Avenel and Nagambie and settlements such as Tallarook.

It wouldn’t do the book justice to quote much more from it here. It is riveting reading, but of the sort you can start and stop from any page at random.

The couple are selling the book for $18, the cost price of printing it, and the easiest way to obtain a copy is to drop in to Seymour Printers on Station St. The authors are full of praise for the support Carol Harrop has given them to enable the book to be published. Alternatively phone the authors on 57922681.

Every article is cross-referenced should the reader wish to delve further. Some of the gory details, of which publication was common back then, have been omitted.

The good news is the next volume is hoped to be completed by the end of the year. It will begin around the turn of the 20th Century and cover the World War I years. But true to the spirit of the compilations, the book will focus on everyday life rather than the big events.

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