My husband Stephen and I joined the Victoria Cornish Association members and their families from the Melbourne and Ballarat branch, along with the local congregation, at the Skipton Street Uniting Church in Ballarat to celebrate St Piran’s day and to commemorate the Cornish in Ballarat.
Gold was discovered near Ballarat sparking the Victorian goldrush. Cornish miners left their homes in Cornwall in the early 1850’s for the long sea voyage to this new unknown land where they hoped to make their fortunes by picking up lumps of gold!
The service at the church started with a rousing “Hail to the Homeland” and included in the order of service were two hymns by John and Charles Wesley. A nod no doubt to the Cornish miners and their families who were passionate followers of John Wesley and Methodism.
The message of the day given by the Reverend Keith Lanyon, chairperson of the Ballarat Cornish Association gave a fascinating insight into St Piran and Cornish heritage in Ballarat.
At the completion of the service a photo was taken of the Cornish attendees with various displays of Cornish tartan and St Pirans flag on show.
This large contingent travelled on to Buninyong, where we had lunch at the Crown Hotel. This was a great opportunity for members to talk and share their stories of visits to Cornwall and their Cornish heritage.
Finally, the Ballarat branch organised a driving tour of Buninyong and a small group of us were led through the town stopping off at a number of historic buildings. We were accompanied by a local historian where we learned more of the heritage of this fascinating town.
My thanks go to the Ballarat branch of the Victoria Cornish Association for organising such a great way to celebrate St Piran's day and remembering the contribution made by the Cornish in this area.