Documentary performance reveals family history

The remarkable life and legacy of Alexander Nicholson was celebrated in Clunes at the weekend.

Actor and singer David Adamson portrayed Nicholson at the weekend through readings of excerpts from Nicholson’s diary in a documentary performance. 

He said it was a very interesting project to collaborate on as it is “unusual to have such a dense history and historical artifacts to work with”. 

HISTORY: Nicholson's great-grand daughter, Christine Rowe and actor David Adamson, pictured with Nicholson's diaries. He made money for the 2000-acre family property, Scoribreac, by mining gold in Ballarat. Photo: Dylan Burns

HISTORY: Nicholson's great-grand daughter, Christine Rowe and actor David Adamson, pictured with Nicholson's diaries. He made money for the 2000-acre family property, Scoribreac, by mining gold in Ballarat. Photo: Dylan Burns

April 9 marks 150 years since Alexander Nicholson’s death after falling from a horse in 1868 at 40 years of age.

Nicholson was a schoolteacher in Scotland’s Isle of Skye, before he decided to immigrate to Australia.

He departed for Australia aboard the Hercules, upon which he taught English, in 1852.

He arrived in Melbourne before re-locating to Ballarat in January of 1857 to look for gold; he had studied geology so was very successful at the task. 

While living in the disctrict, Nicholson mined at Eureka, farmed at Ascot as well as organised the Free Presbyterian Church at Specimen Hill and a school at Ascot. 

Later on, Nicholson became a councillor and president of the newly formed Ballarat Shire. 

As such, he laid the Shire Hall foundation stone at Learmonth in 1866. 

Christine Rowe, Nicholson’s great-grand daughter, lives at the property which Nicholson bought with the money he made at the mines. He named it Scoribreac.

Scoribreac has been passed down through female descendants of the family, from Ms Rowe’s great-grand mother, to her grandmother, her mother and now herself.