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Pioneers of Sheep Hills immortalised

A WOMAN who spent much of her life around Sheep Hills has published a book, uncovering some of the untold history of the town’s past. 

The book called Pioneers of Sheep Hills, printed by North West Press and released last week, takes a peak at what life was like between 1865 and 1956. 

Anne Heath and husband John Heath have spent a large portion of their lives around the town, where they still retain a farm which has been in the Heath family since 1875. 

She found herself fascinated by the collections of the stories of the early pioneers. 

When trying to find out more of Sheep Hills history she found there were recollections recorded by William Candy and Robert Stainthorpe and various small booklets about the Mechanics institute, the State School and the Church of England. 

Mrs Heath found many stories about William Candy, who was around when squatters were in the region. 

“When his family arrived in Horsham there was hardly anything there it was just the name of a town,” Mrs Heath said. 

The late Joyce Clarke who worked at the Warracknabeal Historical Centre was gathering information about the Sheep Hills area, Mrs Heath carried on her research to complete her book. 

Mrs Heath also collected a lot of the information through obituaries found in the Warracknabeal Herald. 

There are stories of farewells to some people who left the district as well as the reporting of tragedies. 

The writings of William Candy and Mary Stainthorpe describe some of the hardships pioneers endured in Sheep Hills. 

Mrs Heath has had an interest in Australian history for as long as she can remember. 

She said after spending a substantial amount of time in the district, it sparked her desire to write about the past. 

“Since I’ve been coming to the district for the last 50 years, I’ve fallen in love with it,” she said. 

When she was a child, her parents and grandparents were visiting a cemetery, she said one particular epitaph stood out to her. 

“When I was a little girl my parents and grandparents went to Kyneton cemetery,. They were looking at my grandmother’s parents grave. 

“I would look around and look at all the gravestones, and there was an epitaph that said a child was lost in the bush. I was devastated for that child, and from that day on whenever we would go past a cemetery my dad would stop and let me have ten minutes to look around the cemetery.”

“I used to have picnics in the local cemetery in Williamstown. I would wonder around all the graves and talk to all of the people. I’ve always been interested in what’s happened in the past.”

Mrs Heath thoroughly enjoys writing about her own families history. 

“For quite a few years now I’ve been writing stories about the various members in my family and so my brothers and sisters keep asking when I’m going to put it into a book,” she said. 

“I’ve got a lot of photographs and I just write stories about them from my point of view.” 

Anne is also planning on her next book which will be about the people of the Sheep Hills area who lived and worked there or are still living and working.

She has spoken with a number of people already and would like more family stories to be included, she can be contacted on 0419439560 or at [email protected]