Reproduced from "Walkabout - A Short History of Waubra, Addington & Glen Brae" printed 1989.


Like many rural districts Addington covers an area with but faintly defined boundaries. On the north the granite ridge terminating with Mount Bolton provides a definite enough boundary, but on all other sides there is little to indicate where Addington ends and the neighbouring townships of Waubra and Learmonth or the district of Weatherboard begin. Thus many Addington folk belong to Waubra and others to Learmonth, so that our history is essentially that of our neighbours.


Major Mitchell was the first white man to see this country but long before the Burrumbeet Nation, which embraces many tribes – the Corringum-bullues, the Berejin and the Carninje-cullues – had lived there. The last named tribal territory included Lake Learmonth.


In 1837 a party of white men travelled northwards towards Mount Buninyong. These were Thomas Livingston Learmonth, Mr D'Arcy (a surveyor) Mr David Fish, Dr Thompson, Captain Hutton (of The East India Company) and Mr Henry Anderson. From Mt Buninyong they sighted the distant Lake Burrumbeet.


In January 1838, a second expedition consisting of Mr Thomas Livingston Learmonth, S H Learmonth, W Yuille, J Ailkin and H Anderson. Following a slightly different route they crossed the wealth of the gold fields, still to be discovered and came at length to a small peak to which they gave the name "Ercildoune" in memory of the Scottish border keep where dwelt an ancester of the Learmonths.


Burrumbeet was shallow and salty in 1838 so that conditions were very dry. In the summer of 1838-39 the lake dried up, and remained dry for some years. However, the excellent pastures were enough to induce the Learmonth brothers to stay, and they burned off the rank, dry vegetation to encourage new growth. Others followed, and soon the land as far west as the Hopkins River was occupied by squatters.


The Ercildoune station covered a great area of country, including Learmonth and at least part of the Addington Parish and meeting Mount Mitchell Station to our north. All of this area was the property of Mr Learmonth.


In 1856, subdivision of a portion of the Ercildoune Station took place and here began the Addington of today. The people now owning farms around Addington (part of the old station) are in many cases descendants of the original purchasers. We find the familiar names of Blair, Gilchrist, Edmonston, Kerr and Beseler. These were among the pioneers. Many trials and adventures occurred before these pioneers were to reach Addington. The Blair family was twice shipwrecked on the way from England and came overland from Sydney in a tilted wagon. Nor did their worries end when Addington was reached. While Mr Blair was away in Melbourne buying Addington's first plough and seed, inquisitive natives arrived at the Blair tent and Mrs Blair and her son Donald spent anxious moments before they went away. The Beseler family trekked from Adelaide behind their bullocks.


Messrs Edmonston and Kerr arrived and took up land in partnership which continued until each owned his own property. Their grandsons, Mr Keith Edmonston and Mr Jack Kerr, who passed away in the 1970's still carried on the original properties which surround the Addington School.


Within a few years of subdivision a small flourishing settlement sprang up. Mt Bolton, as the district was then known had many tradesmen who contributed to the growth of the settlement. Mr Bruce (storekeeper), Mr Houre (blacksmith), Mr Masson (butcher), while Dr Blundell attended to the health of the pioneers. Hotels of various kinds abounded here as elsewhere in the country. Mr Coutts kept the "Bird in Hand," Mr McKenzie named his store and hotel "The Royal Standard", Mr Stuckley handled "The Talbot Inn", Mr Goody ran the "Belfast Hotel", while Mr Griffiths was also a hotel keeper. His wife and daughter lie in a lonely grave between the railway station and Mt Bolton. A monument was erected in 1939 to mark their grave. Mr Orr, whose descendants still live in Addington was a butcher and Mr Sanderson was in charge of the Post Office. The mail was carried by the famous Cobb & Co coaches and this probably accounts for the numermous hotels in the area.


Some of the early settlers included Messrs Hickey, Stitts, Kerby, Wright, Logan, Garnett, McCubbin, Stowe, Kennedy, Fraser, Vallance, Burke, Hall, Bookham, Ingram, Hanlon, Smith, West, Whelan, Fay, Miller, O'Farrell, Scott, King, McArthur, Hodgate, Rankin, Foreman, Anderson, Fry, Goldsmith, Findlay. and Hossack.


Transport difficulties were overcome by the teams which traded between Ballarat and the outlying settlements. Messrs J P and M Rye, Howard and Kelly whose bullock teams travelled from the Golden City to Lexton and Talbot. Horse teams were also in operation under Messrs Rankin and Clarke.


1888 marked the coming of the rail and with it came corresponding changes in the country side. Produce was now hauled by rail. It was about this time that the name Addington began to challenge Mt Bolton as the name of the District. Addington Parish was named after an English statesman and this was the name given to the Railway Station (1888). Later the Post Office was also known as Addington.

 

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