Growing up in a small country town need not dim the ability to be a shining light in any chosen field, as Graham Begg’s career demonstrates.

Dr. Graham Begg, Geologist and youngest son of Cam and Marianne Begg of Murchison is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Gibb Maitland Medal.

Many people would have heard of Gibb River and Maitland Range in the Kimberley but may not be aware that they were named after Andrew Gibb Maitland, an eminent Geologist. The Gibb Maitland Medal commemorates the enormous contribution made by Maitland to the study of Western Australia geology and is awarded by the WA Branch of the Geological Society of Australia for significant geoscience contributions in Western Australia.

The award recognises Graham’s scientific work in four dimensional mapping of the structure of the earth’s subcontinent, identifying major ore systems leading to efficient locating of mineral deposits. This system has already contributed to significant mineral discoveries.

Following his early education at Murchison Primary School and Shepparton High School, Graham went on to Melbourne University to complete a degree in Geology in 1984. His education and learning continued while employed by Western Mining Corporation and then with BHP Billiton Ltd, in Victoria, Western Australia and overseas in a variety of mine and exploration roles mostly focused on gold, copper, nickel, and diamonds. His work in Fiji led to a four year study break completing his Ph.D. on epithermal gold systems at Monash University in 1996. He then worked on an Asia-Pacific Project and with others developed what is now called a mineral systems approach, mapping the sub-continent. This complex work of creating a global map is nearing completion.

In his acceptance speech, Graham acknowledged the positive support and encouragement of his parents, and the many skills gained living on a dairy farm such as teamwork, resilience, problem solving and appreciation of nature. Graham mentioned that the Goulburn Valley environment lit the flame that fuelled his desire to study Geology. Family picnics to Waranga Basin examining the rock sediment and quartz veins containing crystals along the shore line, and exploring the Balaclava Mine in the Whroo Forest fired his imagination. As a 6 year old, Graham’s interest in science was stimulated by the arrival of the Murchison Meteorite scattering fragments over the family farm. With other locals he hunted for fragments later donating the samples to Universities. As the understanding that this ancient rock contained organic compounds and the body of knowledge about the significance of this rare carbonaceous chondrite grew, so did Graham’s interest in science and the wider Universe.

When presenting the Medal, Dr. Jon Hronsky had this to say: “Dr. Begg is recognized internationally for his work through his publications in leading journals and as an invited speaker at many prestigious national and international conferences. He has been effective at promoting his work to industry and also has a strong and admirable commitment to the mentoring of students and young researchers. In summary, Dr. Graham Begg is a deserving recipient of the 2015 Gibb Maitland Medal, and the Geological Society is pleased to award him with it.”

Graham is now based in Perth and has formed his own consulting company, Minerals Targeting International.

And so, from a small boy playing on the family farm in Murchison, Dr. Graham Begg is now a man making a difference, a shining star in his field and a significant player on the world stage.

Kay Ball, President, Murchison & District Historical Society Inc.

                                                                                                   Graham Begg with Maitland Medal     Cam, Graham & Marianne Begg                                                                    Photo of Graham with Gibb Maitland Medal

Graham Begg with Cam and Marianne

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Now that spring has “sprung” and our Volunteers have returned from their travels, the Heritage Centre will be open every Saturday morning from 10am to 12.30pm starting from Saturday 19th September.

Whether you want to research your family history, ask a specific question or know more about the local area in general, you can find out lots of information from our records. The Historical Society has a library of books on local history in the Heritage Centre, a collection of local newspapers going back to 1877, a large number of photographs and documents catalogued on computer and hard copy files on organisations and events that are available for research. Displays in the Gallery area are extensive and showcase history, events and progress of the district.

You can also purchase local history books at the Heritage Centre, browse the displays at your leisure or meet a local on duty Saturday morning to find out about the unique and varied history of Murchison. You can see an overview of the development of the township or a snapshot of the internationally famous Murchison Meteorite by watching a DVD on our arrival.

Entry is only a gold coin donation for a great experience expanding your knowledge about Murchison and the local area.

Kay Ball, President, Murchison & District Historical Society Inc.


Local Landmark, Gregory’s Hotel and London Plain Tree

Notes from Victorian  Heritage Register about Gregory’s Hotel and London Plane Tree in front of the building:

  Gregory’s Hotel and  stables noted for  …. architectural, aesthetic and historical significance.

  London Plane Tree is significant  for …. aesthetic (landscape) significance, outstanding form, size and branch structure, one of the finest and largest London Plane Trees in Victora.

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Australian avionics systems engineer, Warwick Holmes, recently visited Murchison Heritage Centre to view our Meteorite display.

Warwick, from Sydney, has worked in Europe on spacecraft projects and missions for the past 29 years for European Space Agency (ESA).  He also assisted other engineers to build, test and launch the Rosetta spacecraft over 4½ years which went on to successfully land a probe on a comet (Comet-67P) in May 2014.  It is believed the Rosetta Space Mission is the most significant space mission since the 1969 Moon landings.

During his visit at the Heritage Centre, Warwick emphasised how there is an immense and growing interest – particularly amongst United States space scientists – in the Murchison meteorite which landed and scattered over the Murchison district on 28 September 1969,  just two months following the first Moon landings.

Warwick explained that Rosetta Mission’s most important goal was to confirm the existence of scientists finding 91 extra-terrestrial amino acids measured from the Murchison meteorite, believed to be the core of an evaporated comet.  However, this is only a tiny part of the whole which will continue to challenge scientists for decades to come.

Warwick confirmed that “the Mission’s aim is to answer two very big scientific questions.  Firstly, Where did all the seawater come from, and secondly, Why did life start so quickly after that seawater arrived?  Only 200 million years later – a very short period in biological evolution – life was formed in the oceans.” However, the meteorite which landed near Murchison indicates it isn’t just water that comes from comets.

Later this year, we hope Warwick will be available to give a talk at Murchison Heritage Centre on the Murchison meteorite and its unique qualities, as well as his key role in the aims and achievements of the Rosetta Space Mission.  We will keep you posted.

Margaret Lock, Secretary

Murchison & District Historical Society Inc.

Warwick Holmes

Lyndon & Maureen Gregory with Warwick Holmes

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Now that the cold weather has arrived in full force, visitors to the town slow down and many of our members head north for some warmer weather.

The Heritage Centre will be open on Saturday 13th June 10 am – 12.30 pm but after that day the regular Saturday morning opening times will go into recess until Spring.

Access to the Heritage Centre is still available by arrangement and groups are always very welcome. If you would like to book a group visit, ring Janet on 5826 2363. Other contacts are Kay 5826 2518 or Lyndon 0438 528 542. Information and a list of publications for sale is available from this website.

View of the Gallery

View of the Gallery

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During a moving ANZAC Day Dawn Service in the riverside Gardens a new Memorial was unveiled.

A chilly, damp start to the day did not deter an estimated crowd of between 350 – 400 people attending, including families with young children to elderly residents and visitors from overseas, many who represented descendants of those whose names appear on the Memorial. The Memorial records those who enlisted during the First World War from the local area and features striking red poppies on the black marble supports. It has been installed between the existing war memorials in the gardens and was a centenary project was undertaken by the Murchison RSL.


New memorial unveiled ANZAC Day


Site of new memorial

In the evening of ANZAC Day the RSL arranged a celebratory Ball in the Murchison Community Centre. The Hall was cleverly decorated with First World War memorabilia and by all reports, a very good time was had by all; everything had a rave review, food, music, dancing and atmosphere. Well done to the hard working RSL committee for putting on such a good event.


Hall ready for the Ball


Entrance to Hall

Murchison Primary School held an impressive ANZAC service on Monday 27th April at the Murchison Cemetery where the whole school attended. Grade 5/6 students took an active part including remembering those men and women who enlisted in the First World War during a roll call, reciting of the Ode of Remembrance, playing of the Last Post, laying wreathes and singing the national Anthem. A commemorative plaque was by unveiled by Cemetery Trust Secretary Sue Brown with Ethan and Brodie Knight assisting (descendants of Ernest Gregory who did not return). A highlight was the planting of a Lone Pine tree, a seedling from an original pine cone from Lone Pine Ridge Gallipoli with RSL President Doug Messer assisting Lucy and Gus Ewart (descendants of Matthew Ewart who also lost his life during the War). The whole event was very well organised and the children were attentive and appeared to take in the importance of the occasion.


Primary School ceremony at Cemetery

    Planting the Pine

As part of setting up the refurbished Murchison Heritage Centre an area has been set aside for temporary display providing space where topics of current interest can be featured. An ANZAC display is now on show in this area and visitors are finding lots to absorb them with transcripts of diaries and other memorabilia relating to locals who had ANZAC connections. The heritage centre is open each Saturday morning 10 am – 12.30 pm or other times by arrangement. Groups are very welcome and can be organised by contacting Janet Clarke 5826 2363.


Examples of Trench Art


ANZAC display

Murchison community has respectfully remembered those who left our shores to fight in World War 1. Sadly, many of these men and women made the supreme sacrifice and are remembered with honour as part of the ANZAC story.

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Bert Serves Up a Great Story.

Bert Kearney was Guest Speaker at the Annual General Meeting of the Historical Society last month and related the amazing adventures he had when touring the International Tennis Circuit. Born in Murchison he played tennis from an early age and rose to compete in Victorian and Queensland Championships, playing at Wimbledon by 1958 and touring extensively that season including playing in the US Open. In 1961 Bert competed in the Australian Open where he was defeated by Roy Emerson. Bert also played in the 1965 and 1968 Australian Open tournaments. Bert still has contact with many of the big names in Australian tennis but relates these connections very humbly.

Although Bert is now in his eighty’s he continues to run the family Stock and Station Agency in Murchison, a business that has been going for over 100 years.

Bert Kearney is a thoroughly enjoyable and humorous speaker.

The Executive Committee elected for the coming year are Kay Ball – President, Margaret Lock – Secretary, Lyndon Gregory – Treasurer, Committee – John Ball, Janet Clarke, Warwick Finlay, and Gloria Polkinghorne.

Kay Ball delivered the Presidents Report that highlighted a very busy time setting up the Heritage Centre again after renovations with a willing team putting in many many hours of time to create a most impressive display in the Gallery and arranging the rest of the building in a way that makes it all most functional. The Society is now able to offer visitors a more meaningful experience. Tribute was also paid to the support from local businesses, community members and from the Lions Club.

The Historical Society is looking towards a rewarding year ahead with visitor numbers already increased since the opening of the re-vamped building.

Regular opening time is Saturday mornings 10am to 12.30pm and visits at other times by arrangement, groups very welcome. For enquiries contact Kay Ball 5826 2518 or Lyndon Gregory 0438 528 542 and for group bookings Janet Clarke 5826 2363.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABert Kearney as he is often seen – watching the passing parade outside his office in Stevenson Street. 



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The Murchison Heritage Centre at 4 Stevenson Street re-opened to the public each day over the Labour Day long weekend. A steady flow of visitors came to see the improved building and really enjoyed the new lay-out with fresh displays according to the enthusiastic remarks and comments written in the Visitors Book.

View of Gallery

Historical Society Members are finding they can offer a much better experience to visitors. The new extension blends well with the existing building and is very easy to work in.

Regular opening on Saturday mornings are again in place with a slightly changed time of 10am – 12.30pm. Entry is a gold coin donation, school children are free.


Pioneer display

Groups are also welcome to the Heritage Centre which can include a town tour, just call Kay on 0477 674 747 to arrange a time.

Kay Ball, President

Murchison and District Historical Society Inc.

Day’s Mill display


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