McLachlan of Avondale in Australia Barbara McLachlan
sixth born child & fifth daughter
Miner's Hut - Trunkey Crk NSW - remains of
Barbara McLachlan was born on the14th day of December in
the year 1860 to the couple, Daniel McLachlan & Jane McPherson. Possibly
there were signs of difficulties before this child's birth & Jane might
have gone urgently to the home of the midwife, Mrs Turner of
Kirkconnell, between "Sorn Bank" closer to Bathurst NSW & Mitchell's
Creek closer to Lithgow NSW.
Baby Barbara McLachlan does not appear to have been born at
the same location as the previous four children & yet the family was still
residing at "Sorn Bank" at that time. Once more, it is significant that
the first name was not prepared for the new arrival. Again, it seems that
the couple, Daniel McLachlan & Jane McPherson, probably had their hearts
set on the arrival of a second son. After all, it was eight years since
the birth of the one & only son in the family that to that date numbered
When the little girl was registered at Bathurst on the 31st
day of December, 1860, she was mentioned as ... "unnamed". The little
daughter, however, received her Christian name on the occasion of her
baptism. On the 19th February 1861, at the old St Stephen's Presbyterian
Church in Bathurst, the baby girl was baptized with the name of
"Barbara", by the Reverend James B. Laughton. (A photograph of the old
St Stephen's Presbyterian Church is included with Barbara McLachlan's
The name of "Barbara" was of ancestral honour on both sides
of the family, "McLachlan" & "McPherson". At that same period in
family history, there was Barbara McLachlan, the second sister of the new
baby's father. This particular Barbara had been baptized in 1829, at
"Hareshaw Hill", Parish of Avondale, Lanarkshire SCT.
There was, however, also Barbara McPherson, a niece or
cousin of Jane nee McPherson McLachlan who was the wife of Alexander
McLachlan, Dan's brother. Alexander McLachlan was born at "Hareshaw
Hill in 1832 & was to remain in SCT to continue working on the farm at
"Hareshaw Hill". Angus McLachlan, Alexander's son, was to continue on
that farm until post World War Two. The descendants of Alexander
McLachlan still live in SCT to this day (2004).
The little baby girl born on 14 December 1860 in NSW &
given this beautiful name of "Barbara", most probably received the name
in honour of the McLachlan ancestry. Barbara McLachlan, Dan's sister,
born in 1829 in SCT had been sponsored in 1858, by her brother, Daniel
McLachlan, baby Barbara's father, to come to the then colony of New
South Wales, along with her brothers, William & John McLachlan. Dan
McLachlan was probably relying on her to come out & assist his
toil-overwhelmed wife, the mother of their children.
At the last moment, however, Barbara McLachlan, the sister,
reneged. When her brothers arrived in the colony in 1859, Barbara was
not with them. It is easily able to be estimated that Daniel McLachlan,
Barbara's father, was bitterly disappointed with the non-arrival of his
sister, Barbara McLachlan.
Possibly immediately or otherwise very early in little
Barbara's life, it was recognized that she was not an able-bodied, fit &
healthy baby. Soon Barbara became the special responsibility of the
eldest daughter, Jane McLachlan, while her mother prepared for the birth
of the next child in 1862. Little Barbara was to continue in the caring &
capable hands of her "big sister", Jane, through the rest of her short
Barbara McLachlan was to accompany Jane McLachlan when she
married Andrew McDonald on the 6th January 1875 in Bathurst. It was to
Andrew's great credit that he accepted responsibility with Jane for the
care & keeping of the fifteen years old, invalid sister, Barbara.
The little group set off to "seek their fortune" at the
goldfields of Trunkey Creek, near Blayney NSW, located fifty six
kilometres west from Bathurst on the Goulburn Road. One of our kith &
kin, Grace nee Buckley Platt, lives at Blayney NSW during this era. When
the writer was on her way to visit Trunkey Creek in 1995, to search for
evidence of the McLachlan- McDonald extended family's time at Trunkey
Creek, she called in to meet & begin to get to know her McLachlan cousin,
Grace. Hence included with Barbara's story there is a photograph of Grace
& the researcher-writer.
Dot nee McDonald in 1913- her father- Robert
McDonald born 1875 Trunkey
Early in 1875, the little McLachlan-McDonald family group
journeyed with Andrew's brother, Alexander McDonald, his wife & family.
There they established a claim where they hoped to find gold. They lived
in miner's huts of the type of dwelling of the days gone by. Although
the village was a bustling place with many pubs in that time, the location
claimed was most likely to have been away from the village of Trunkey,
out in the "back blocks" so-to-speak. A description of Trunkey Creek
as it is today but reminiscent of the days of the booming gold mining
era, is as follows:
"The hills around Trunkey Creek are honey-combed with
abandoned mine shafts & mullock heaps & together with the crumbling
mudhuts & brick chimneys are the only remains of the gold rush age".
Lesley nee Blackwell McKenzie on research
trail in 2003- her gr mother Jean nee McDonald born 1878 Trunkey
In the years of the late twentieth & the early twenty first
centuries, there is a new type of interest & development occurring at
Trunkey Creek. This seems to be especially in connection to the tourist
industry. Several attractive locations may be seen & visited there -
including the resurrection & the restoration of some of the historic
buildings that had been allowed to become "tumbledown".
There is also an inviting & comfortable restaurant called
"The Billabong Tea House" where delicious meals & treats are able to be
had. The hostess attends to each patron's needs in a courteous & capable
manner. On the walls of this establishment are many framed pictures of
the places of yesteryear. There are both some restored old photographs as
well as photographs of the freshly renovated buildings of the past.
Professional artistic sketches are available of these locations as well.
While the Billabong's hostess makes sure food, beverages,
furnishings & decor, & most especially efficiency of service is on offer;
the photographer- artist of the framed pictures on the walls, is also
able to discuss the objects of his art. The name of the
photographer-artist is Gordon Holland. Several copies of some of his fine
work is included as part of this story.
The buildings featured in Gordon Holland's work were able
to be seen in reality in the years when Barbara McLachlan with family
members was living in Trunkey Creek so long ago. Possibly the McDonald
family & Barbara McLachlan were living in a "Miner's Hut", similar to
the one featured in the "Gordon Holland" photograph. There is also the
very slim possibility that this group of relatives was living in that very
same "Miner's Hut".
Because of the present interest & industry associated with
Trunkey Creek, there is no indication of this locality sliding into the
category of the "gold-mining ghost towns". Other places that once
reigned as rip-roaring booming places in the olden golden days, such as -
Mitchell's Creek, Hillgrove, Stewart's Creek, Dalmonton, Oberon &
Gallymont etc., of the "McLachlan of Avondale in Australia" family
history past, could be described as vapourizing or being like the
tantalizing "Brigadoon" of the fantasical past, or close to such a type
of "existence". Nevertheless, it could be, however, that Trunkey
Creek is endeavouring to live again albeit in another guise.
Allan & Colin Carr-gr sons Agnes nee McLachlan
- FH explored Trunkey Crk in 2003
The times of course, were very hard, but there were bright
spots along the way. Later in the year 1875, Barbara McLachlan was to
become "Auntie Barbara", to the baby boy, the first born son of Jane
McLachlan & Andrew McDonald, who was given the paternal ancestral name
of Robert. That name was in honour of the males of the Buchanan &
McKinnon families, ancestry of Andrew's mother, Elizabeth McKinnon.
The following year, 1876, however, was to be a very tragic
year for the newly married couple, Jane & Andrew McDonald. There was the
death of the second child of Jane McLachlan-McDonald & her husband, who
was "born dead" & registered as ... "unnamed". One is able to be assured
that in their optimistic minds the couple had envisaged the name ready for
the son or daughter.
At about the same time, Jane's sister, Barbara McLachlan
... "lost her battle with life" ... also. She died on the 6th May, 1876,
at Trunkey, NSW. Barbara McLachlan,was last visited by a medical
attendant on the same day. The medical attendant was Dr Smith & he had
diagnosed the illness as "Dropsy" which had been happening over a period
of four months.
Probably the use of the sickness name of "Dropsy" was an
effort to describe the condition of "epilepsy". (Because of the
distance in time & the lack of further data, it is impossible to verify
that assumption). It is known that the condition of "epilepsy" has done
& does affect descendants of "our original McLachlan family"; either
the "petit mal" or the "grand mal" forms. Thus it is considered highly
likely that the doctor of the time was endeavouring to describe the
illness of "epilepsy". In any case, Dr Smith caused to be written on
Barbara McLachlan's death certificate at registration, the description,
On the 12th day of May in the year 1876, the sixteen year
old, Barbara McLachlan was "laid to rest" in the cemetery at Trunkey
Creek. The undertaker was ... Charles Thomas March & the witnesses to the
burial were ... her brother-in-law, Andrew McDonald & his brother,
Although several of the descendants of Barbara's siblings
have searched the Trunkey Creek cemetery for her last resting place,
nobody as yet has discovered it. Among these seekers have been Colin &
Allan Carr, the twin grandsons of Agnes nee McLachlan George.
Photographs of Colin & Allan Carr are included with this story.
Actually Allan & Colin Carr, in their retirement, have
taken up almost full time the pursuit of gold mining & fossicking. They
enjoy this hobby immensely; & are partially at least, addicted to it in
the same way in which, during his lifetime, their maternal grandfather,
Andrew George, Agnes McLachlan's husband, was before them. Thus, when
they were exploring in the Trunkey Creek area, Allan & Colin Carr
searched for the final resting place of young Barbara McLachlan. Thus
far, they too, have been unable to locate any sign of where she might be
There may or may not be a headstone with an inscription for
Barbara McLachlan. The kith & kin of the teenager, Barbara McLachlan,
did not stay in the Trunkey Creek district for long following the two
deaths, Barbara McLachlan & her niece or nephew, the little "unnamed
McDonald". Thus the headstones for the two deceased family members might
never have been erected.
On the 25th day of May, 1876, the death of fifteen year
old Barbara McLachlan was registered at Carcoar. The registrar there was
... Edward J.S. North. The informant was ... Andrew McDonald,
brother-in-law of Trunkey Creek.
The teenager, Barbara McLachlan, must have been a
"treasured" sibling as her lovely ancestral name of "Barbara" was
bestowed in loving memory on the baby girls of ... Martha
McLachlan-Buckley, Agnes McLachlan-George, & Barbara's younger
brother, John Angus McLachlan.
N.B. Special acknowledgement of the artistic photography
work of Gordon Holland
- "The Billabong Tea House ", Trunkey Creek NSW Australia
researched compiled & written by -
Alison Elizabeth McLachlan-Crowe
for the "McLachlan of Avondale" Descendants' Reunion
held @ Bathurst NSW AUSTRALIA
on Saturday 17 May 2003
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