Donald History & Natural History Group Publications

Each of these local history publications can be purchased from the Donald History and Natural History Group.

Click here for contact details.

Original Selectors Series, by R.P.  Falla

Brilliant series of small  books detailing the original 1870s selectors in separate parishes of East and  West Wimmera,  which show when and where  the persons selected, with a map and often, a snippet from a file, such as  details of the house that was built.   Only $6 each

Shire of Donald 1897-1995, a  Municipal History, by Ian Maroske, O.A.M.   and Lilian Kirk

The Shire of Donald from  its inception as a separate unit to its amalgamation into the Shire of Buloke.  Councillors good and bad; roads and rabbits, halls, hospital, water supply  and more, with short, succinct biographies of  important people.  Hard cover.

An Introduction to Donald

A brief summary of  features and history for casual visitors.

Railway to Donald 1882-2004

The railway was the lifeline of rural towns, and the  men who worked with it helped the economy during difficult times.  Donald’s first train carried water to relieve  a desperate situation, then the line carried everything from honeymoon couples  to coffins..  But now only freight trains  stop at the town. Relics of the railway’s halcyon days can be seen in the  excellent Lions Club Train Park, with playgrounds for children and facilities  for visitors.

Fauna and Flora: Extracts from Local  Newspapers, compiled by R.P. Falla.

Fascinating snippets of  information about the birds, animals, and insects, native and introduced, from  dingoes to rabbits, emus to starlings; tree planting and clearing, and the  beautiful native flowers on Donald’s Mt. Jeffcott Park.

Great Snakes and other Tales of  Wildlife

Much humour in this, with  snake stories and the weird antidotes to snakebite that were followed over the  years! There are also sections on introduced species, duck-shooting days at  Lake Buloke, the “big cat legends” and the wildlife that abounded before humans  intervened.

The G.W. Letts Sketch Book

Sketches of local personalities  over the years by G.W. Letts, who was editor of the “Donald Times” for 66  years, and was also a brilliant caricaturist, combined with brief  biographies.  Semi-hard cover.

William Lockhart Morton, Inventor and  Explorer

William Lockhart is  connected with the district because his invention of the swing gate for sheep  drafting was thought up at Corack.  But  there is also his capture of the bushranger Frank Gardiner, and his own account  of an excursion into the Mallee in 1861.   A great book to read, even for those not interested in history.

Country Life in the 19th Century

A brief glimpse of life in the nineteenth century which gives snippets of social  history of the mid 19th century, from drunk and disorderly and  “domestics” to murder. Large print.

The Golden Trail: Donald to Alaska

An adventure story of six  district men who took the incredibly hard and dangerous journey to the gold  discoveries in the frozen lands of Alaska, and what happened to them.

On the Roads With Sheep, by J.C. Jennison.

The Rev. Jennison, as a  boy of 12 during the drought of 1882, was sent with two drovers to take sheep  on the “long paddock”, which was an interesting learning experience for  him.  He told the story himself in 1947,  and it is reprinted here.  18 fascinating  pages, with map.  $5.

Georgie Ah Ling, Donald’s Friend

Reminiscences of a gentle Chinese nurseryman who won  the hearts of all for nearly 70 years.   It was said he was the only person who was welcome in any house in the  town.  This book was Highly Commended in  the Victorian Community History Awards 2009.   $15.

Racing Round the Richardson

Horse-racing is the district’s oldest sport, and races  were held around William Donald’s Banyenong Estate, before Donald was founded;  then up the main street of the town. This is the story of horses and  personalities in the district clubs, most of them now gone, though Donald  survives as part of Wimmera Racing.

Ninety-Nine, Knock! St. Mary’s School, Donald, 1886-1985.

This school is still flourishing, although the Convent  of St. Joan of Arc is now a private home, so it is good to record the early  days of Catholic education in the town.

Knocking About the East Wimmera and Lower Avoca 1874-1876

with “The Travelling  Correspondent”  Employed by the “St..  Arnaud Mercury” he rode his horse around the district, recording interesting  stories of the progress of settlement.

Moving Pictures: the Cinema in Donald.

Only 8 years after Edison  thought of cinematography, a “Cinematographe” entertainment  was advertised in Donald, and it entertained  people until the TV and the video at home brought about its end.

Townships: Extracts from Local Newspapers

Snippets about the development  of districts which were once actual towns, separate from each other.  Some have disappeared with the coming of the  motor car; others, like Birchip, Donald, Charlton, Marnoo, and Warracknabeal,  have survived.

Districts Histories

There are histories of  individual districts: The Cream of Corack, The View from the Mount; Country for Heroes (the Rich Avon Soldiers’ Settlement and the Rich Avon Cricket Club), Litchfield-Carron, a history of settlement, and A History of Cope Cope,