Charles Henry Raven

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Charles Henry Raven came to New Bendigo in 1855 and in the next few years took up some good claims, notably one on the silver reefs and another called the Ballarat, later part of the Lord Nelson. In 1860 he sold all his mining interests so that he could be appointed government mining surveyor. At the end of 1861, the Municipal Council offered him the position of Town Surveyor which he accepted with certain provisions. This same spirit of independence was characteristic of all his dealings with the Council. The position was no sinecure. Every road and street had to be surveyed for the levels and estimates and specifications had to be drawn up before the formation of any street could be undertaken. Every bridge, drain and culvert was constructed under his supervision. By 1863 he had also been appointed Clerk of the St. Arnaud Road District and on the formation of the Shire became its Secretary and Treasurer.[1]

G. D. Edwards and party who were working the Ballarat reef erected the first house in St. Arnaud. It was a large slab building at the foot of the Chrysolite hill and was named "Ballarat Villa". Its three occupants were lively, intelligent men and the house gained a reputation for the convivial social gatherings held there in the evenings. C. H. Raven, one of the occupants was well to the fore in the mining township. Although successful as a miner, he turned to surveying, and acted as assistant surveyor when the town was laid out. His accomplishments were both scientific and social. He studied the scientific theories of the day and lectured on these subjects; he acted as Master of Ceremonies at the balls that were fast becoming a feature of the community and ensured the success of these functions by curling the gentlemen's hair for the occasion. He combined his social and scientific interests by constructing an electro-galvanic instrument with which he enlivened social functions by subjecting the ladies present to mild electric shocks. C. H. Raven was a popular figure in the early town, but his promising career was to come to a tragic and sudden end in 1869. Prior to that, however, he was fully occupied in his survey work and the cataloguing of his specimens of rocks and minerals. In 1861 he built a brick cottage in front of the slab house and took up residence there after a short tenancy at the Gold Warden's Office. The brick cottage is still standing though incorporated in the doctor's residence in Dundas Street. For many years the slab building served as the detached kitchen of the brick house. The partnership between Edwards, Raven and Maddocks dissolved in 1858. Alf Maddocks returned to England, but forty years later he sent to George Denny Edwards a collection of his water-colour paintings. These were mainly of his native Chelmsford, but among them was a painting of Ballarat Villa, the first house in St. Arnaud. This painting, presented to the St. Arnaud Council by G. D. Edwards' family, now hangs in the Town Hall.[1]


See also

William Beauclerc Otway

Dr Otway's time at St Arnaud



  1. 1.0 1.1 Palmer, Yvonne S (1980). Track of the years : the story of St. Arnaud (3rd ed). St. Arnaud Mercury Print, St. Arnaud, Vic

Further Reading

External links

--Neil Huybregts 09:13, 10 October 2015 (AEDT)

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