Ascot is a small farming settlement north west of Ballarat.
A small settlement not on the rail line and 21kms north west of Ballarat, Ascot's rich chocolate soil allowed for a range of agricultural activities, as well as limited alluvial mining, but without access to efficient transport Ascot failed to develop. It once had a blacksmith shop and the Ascot Woolshed was a landmark building as was Fry's magnificent flour mill which was not really in Ascot itself. Only ever home to one hotel, the remains of the stables are still recognisable.
Geography and climate
Henry McGrath, blacksmith (<1949>)
- ↑ City of Ballarat Heritage Study (Stage 2) April 2003: Thematic History
- SPECIAL COUNTRY EDITION
ASCOT. DISTRICT SOLDIERS WELCOMED.
The residents of Ascot and district assembled in large numbers in the M.I.A Hail on Thursday evening last to do honor to the men who had gone from their midst at the aall of Empire to light or die for their native land. Visitors from Ballarat, Creswick, Clunes, Miners’ Rest Waebra, Beckwith, Ullina, and King ston joined with the district in their effort to worthily welcome the returned boys. A large number of visiting sol diers were also present. Amongst the audience were Lady Peacock, Dr and Mrs Wilson (Creswick), cr Baird (Bal larat Shire). The weather was frosty but clear and cold without, which seem ed to enhance the warmth and har mony within. Sir Alexander Peacock was in the chair, and was supported by the Hon. M. Baird Chief Secre tary. the Hon. F. Brawn, M.L.C and Mr D. C. M'Grath, M.H.R. Apolo gies were received from Senator Bolton, the Hon. A. Bell, M.L.C.. and the Rev. F.H. Ingamells (Creswick). The hall was tastefully decorated, as was also a large marquee, which had been kindly lent by the Ballarat Y.M.C.A., and erected outside the building. The proceedings were opened by the sing ing of the National Anthem, the or chestra, then played Handel’s ‘‘See the conquering hero comes,” and under the leadership of Miss Rusin about 20 children from the local schools march ed in, and took their places as a guard of honor, standing at salute, and each holding a flag as the boys marched through to take.up their positions on the stage. The march, “The Light Horse, was then rendered by the or chestra, which included two violins, cello, and piano, played bv the Misses Mann, Humphries and Holmes (2). The chairman, in his opening address, said it was with feelings of pleasure that he had responded to the invitation to preside over this gathering. He spoke of the small domestic and minor troubles that engaged the attention of the Commonwealth at the outbreak ot war, but by the bravery of her sons she had emerged from the war a great nation. Marshal Foch had paid a great tribute to Australia’s sons. The boys whom they were honoring that nirild had gone and endured and help ed towards this great result. He quoted interesting statistics showing the sacrifice made by the Empire in men and money, and in concluding a fine imperialistic address was frequent-Iy •applauded. A Her a song by Miss Die!;, a song was rendered hy Driver W. S. Dougall, who received a fine ovation, and had to respond to an en core. The Hon. F Brawn, M.L.C., in a happy speech, congratulated the dis trift on the occasion, and on the pros perous look of the audience. A song was contributed by Miss Lazarus (en cored), and an orchestral selection (in terim zoi. Mr M'Grath, M.H.R., spokiens a returned soldier of the hard ships the troops had endured. This war was very different from other wars, where there had been no aeroplanes or long distance guns, which continually shelled the back lines, but he remarked that he would always take off his hat to the infantry. He had been accused of giving too much of his time to the soldiers, but he could assure them they were worthy of the best we had to give. After songs by Miss Buchanan (encored) and Mr Walker, the Hon. Major Baird pre sented the medals. He said he felt it an honor to do this, as he counted some of the boys there that night as amongst his closest friends. He gave a fine oration, and contrasted the morale of the British and German armies mid navies. He quoted inci dents showing the superiority of the British. By their resource, endur ance and initiative they had won the war, but at great, sacrifice. He paid a tribute to the honored dead. He spoke as a politician of the responsi bilities of the Government to the soldiers, but he also spoke as a return ed soldier of their responsibilities to the nation, and to their fellow-soldiers who had been less lortunate than them selves. The following is a list of the soldiers who were welcomed and honored: — Returned —Cpl. J. F. Campbell, Pte T. R. Cantwell, Pte. T. V. Dooley, Dvr. W. S. Dougall, Cnr. W. E. Davis, Lce.-Cpl. H. S. Holmes, Sgt. C. Lons dale, Pte R. J. Moore, Spr. H. Matthews (Anzac), Gnr. A N. M’.Rae, Pte. A. Roberts, Pte. J. Singleton, Pte. H. Sharp, Dvr. S. G. Spittle, M.M. Dvr F. A. Thomas. Pte. A. H. Treweek, Dvr. L. J. Walter, Pte. J. H. Walker. Deceased —Lce.-Cpl. J. Dooley, Pte. R. Grenfell, Pte. J. H. Grenfell, Pte. J. P. A Keating, Pte. H. R. Lonsdale, Pte. N. J. Lenaghan (Anzac), Pte J. H. Moore, Pte. J. P. Purcell, Pte- P. J. Shelton, Pte. C. F. Silileltou, Cpl A. E. V Thomas (Anzac). Thee deceased soldiers’ medals were presented to their relatives, the audi ence standing. Driver W. S. Dougall responded on behalf of the returned men. He thanked them all for such a splendid welcome. Often, when in France, they had thought of the old district, and pictured the welcome home, but the reality was far beyond their expectations. They had amongst them men from all units, from the in fantry right back. Speaking person ally, he agreed with Mr M'Grath in his remarks as to the value of the in fantry, and also with Major Baird with regard to their own responsibilities. In conclusion, he again thanked them for so fine a welcome. It was one they were not likely to forget. The audi ence then rose and cheered the re turned men. The Ascot District Red Cross So ciety’s memorial tablet to the memory of the district fallen soldiers, which is to be placed in the hall, was then un veiled by Sir Alex. Peacock, who asked the audience to stand while all joined in singing Kipling’s fine words— ‘‘God of our fathers, known of old. Lord of our far flung battle line. Beneath Whose awful hand we hold Dominion over palm and pine; Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Le.-T we forget, lest we forget.” Thu tablet is of blackwood, and of beautiful design. Above the names, which are in gold outlined with black', over which on a golden scroll are- in scribed the words “Pro Patria..’’ It was executed by Messrs R. Tunbridge and Sons, Ballarat. A vote of thanks to the performers was moved by Cr John Baird, and seconded by Cr John Troup. Supper was served by the local ladies in the marquee, and dancing followed. The secretarial duties were in the capable hands of Miss V.O. Holmes, and Mr D. M‘Rae and were well carried out.
- ↑ Ballarat Star, 23 July 1919.