What started out as a search for ancestors has turned into a book recording the lost burials and the history of the gold rush years in Copeland.
The Newcastle Family History Society, with the assistance of the Gloucester District Historical Society, has launch a publication called “Copeland Goldfield NSW History and Heritage Cemetery”.
Around 50 people attended an event held in the archive centre at the Gloucester Museum on June 16 to celebrate the completion of the book.
Gloucester Historical Society president Gerald McCalden welcomed everyone to the book launch, MidCoast Council deputy mayor Katheryn Smith officially launched the book and Newcastle Family History Society president, Mel Woodford introduced co-author Heather Ling, who spoke about her journey.
The book by Heather Ling, Margaret Robson, Wendy Swan and Gloria Higginbottom tracks down the lost records of the those who lived in Copeland during the gold mining years beginning in 1876.
It all began when Wendy approached Heather about Wendy’s ancestors buried in Copeland. It appeared that the 17 headstones remaining in the cemetery weren’t an accurate record and the detailed research project began.
The research took many twists and turns over many years, but in the end the book sets out to answer the question “Where is Copeland?” and show its significance to the Hunter Valley.
“We put together the life of the gold rush, the hardships, the social life, how businesses appeared in the newspapers,” Ms Ling said.
“Copeland was the wild, wild west - murder, suicides, fights, tragedies, droughts and the flooding rain, tracks through the bush and most people walked; the summer heat, lack of water, the cold winter.”
Colleen Harris and her great grandson Will Maslen attended the event. Their relative, Albert Edward Harris was noted in the book as an early resident in Copeland.
On Sunday, a group of Gloucester members and long time Copeland residents joined the Newcastle Family History Society on an excursion to Copeland, where they visited the former locations of some of the burial sites and important buildings from the goldfield days.
There are a limited number of book available for sale at the Gloucester Museum at 12 Church Street for $35.
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