2019 tour travel blog

Braidwood, you can still hitch your horse in the main street (or...

Braidwood Museum

Bendigo Bank

Ned Kelly armour, from the 1969 film starring Mick Jagger

Elrington Hotel, Major's Creek (once family owned)

Family photo

St Stephen's

Major's Creek cemetery

At Ben and Narelle's

An exciting day today as we are going to visit Braidwood and Major’s Creek, areas where the Heazlett family settled. These folks are the brothers of Tony’s Gr-Gr- grandfather, who came to NZ around 1841. Because of family scandal it was some time before we found the true origins of the family, thanks to dna matching. The Heazletts came from Enniskillen, Ireland, came to Australia as convict ship guards with the 96th Foot Regiment. One brother stayed in Australia, and was later joined by another brother and his father and other family. Brother William went to NZ and adopted the spelling of Hazlitt, while the Aussie branch continued to use Heazlett. Confusingly, Heazlett is often pronounced Hazlitt… sigh. And the variations on the way the name is spelt are many. To add further confusion, Tony’s Gr-grandfather, Abraham Hazlitt, was running away from scandal and used an alias (William Black), so it was even harder to trace. But we got there in the end. Sixteen of us meet at the Braidwood, NSW museum, and we get a sense of the history in this old gold mining town. In 1969 Mick Jagger starred in the Ned Kelly movie, and they filmed the outdoor scenes here. It is a heritage town, so the look has not changed a lot – all they had to do was chuck down sawdust in the main street, and… tada!

Valetta and Richard Buker meet us at our motel and drive us to Braidwood. We have coffees at the very busy bakery, and after the museum visit we adjourn to the pub (it is in our dna!). After lunch we head over to Major’s Creek, where David and John settled. The old pub was once owned by the family, so we “have” to visit. There are many family photos on the wall. There is a wake in progress (no, not a rellie), and the place is packed. Milton gives Tony a book on the old town, and we meet the author. Off to the church – the family had a lot to do with the church (stop laughing you lot), and there are many references and plaques to the family. We visit the cemetery, and then have afternoon tea at the rec grounds.

Here’s a laugh for the family to get their head around. In NZ Tony’s Gr-grandfather used an alias when he and Georgina moved to Taranaki. He was Abraham Hazlitt (the Aussie branch spell it Heazlett), and became William Black. Today we met cousin Wendy, who was born Heazlett, and married a Black – probably one of the few to change the name legally!

We pack up to head home, and someone mentions we have been invited to look at an old family home just around the corner, if no one is home just look around anyway. When we arrive Narelle and Ben are home, we are warmly welcomed and the jug is put on, with a grand tour while it boils. It is getting late (and dark, thank you end-of-daylight-savings), so Ben cranks up the fire pit and we all continue with the yarns. A wonderful end to a great day. It is about an hour and a half drive back to Canberra, Valetta has to be extra careful because of the wildlife. Roos and wombats are high on the “hit” list because they tend to freeze, rather than flee. Foxes, of which we see a few, are quick to get out of the way. We ask why there are orange and green crosses on the roadkill (wombats and roos), and it has nothing to do with religion – a cross of any colour means that a ranger has checked the body for young in the pouch that may still be alive. Every now and then rangers come and collect the remaining bodies from the roadside, those that the other wildlife has not yet disposed of…

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