Hello Dear Town’s folk,
Let me introduce myself, I am Cecil Lyndhurst Nugent, and I was born in 1835. My parents were Walter and Georgiana Nugent (Jenkinson) and my mother was Walter’s second wife. I was baptized in Paris and a scholar at Charterhouse Middlesex (a private boarding school which was one of the original great nine founded in 1611). My father, Walter was a Barrister based in Dublin but had worked as a diplomat with my siblings being born in many countries in Europe. Later he received the title Baron of Austria.
So, you may be wondering how, I ended up here in Meredith in 1862. Well, a gentleman does not kiss and tell, and I prefer to keep my past just there in the past! Suffice to say I was tired of living an idle life and with my funds decided to invest in the township of Meredith. I purchased land section 9 the entire block between Read, Lawler and McLeod streets, 1 acre l section 8 lot 1 and 10, and 2 blocks in section 7 lots 1 and 10.
As a householder in November 1862, I was one of 10 inhabitants who petitioned to form the Meredith Road Board. At this time, I was also involved in the Hunt and the Racecourse and I was the secretary of the Meredith Races.
In 1865, I married Martha Gosling in Buninyong and went into business with her brother Joseph Gosling, as landlord of the Royal Hotel. Some may have been looked upon as a somewhat a strange decision for me, but I thrived in my new position and made our hotel the resort of gentlemen from Melbourne, Geelong, and Ballarat. I prided myself on providing a good day’s shooting especially during the snipe and quail seasons.
I continued with council activities and was heavily involved in local issues and committees.
In 1865 I purchased the Meredith Road Board building from Mr. Conley and leased it to the Meredith Road Board and 1866, I was elected to the Cemetery Trust and to the Meredith District Road Board.
From 1867 to 1870, l was the towns Postmaster (wages £ 70 per year) and was thanked for my uniform urbanity and attention to my job, in 1867 I invertedly became involved in a town pub vs post office scandal, by a townsman who held a personal animosity towards me.
In 1868 we purchased the Royal Hotel after leasing it for past 4 year and then in April 1871, I was proud and honoured to be elected the first Shire of Meredith President. I tried to always have a kind word for all, and I became a sort of legal adviser and helper to many Meredith residents.
Although Martha and I unfortunately were not blessed with any children, I still sat on the early school committees.
One of my other great passions was coursing/racing and importing of greyhounds including Wellington, Wallace and other varieties sent out to by Lady Southampton – my sister.
I remained as a Councillor till 1874 when Martha, Joseph and myself decided to sell up in Meredith and head to the seaside climate of Queenscliff to run the Royal Hotel there.
The townsmen held a going away banquet for us and I was touched by the good wishes especially from those who travelled from Ballarat and Geelong.
I certainly look upon my time in Meredith as one of great achievement and hope that my time and services benefits the township of Meredith in the future.
What Cecil did not let on in leaving Meredith was that he was unwell and six months later, during which time he had been slowly ailing, Cecil L Nugent died aged just 40. His death occurred on July 18, 1875 and his funeral was held at Queenscliff and was later buried at East Geelong cemetery. He left an estate of 820 pounds to Martha Nugent as administrator. However, debts exceeded. assets by some 300 pounds. His Death Notice was sent to The London Times.
Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1929), Thursday 17 January 1895, page 2
Inquiries made regarding the destruction of the Meredith shire hall, which was found to be in flames at an early hour on Tuesday morning, have not resulted in anything definite being learned as the origin of the fire. An irreparable loss has been sustained by the municipality through the fire, which consumed the whole of the shire records, as well as those of the old-time borough of Steiglitz, all of which were stored above the ceiling of the lobby within the front entrance.
The fire evidently originated in the front portion of the premises, and swept right through the hall, only the stone walls enclosing a heap of ashes being left standing. The theory advanced by the shire secretary regarding the disaster is that some burning material was blown from a fire which had been left in the yard outside by the woman engaged to clean the hall, found a lodgment beneath the roof, and ignited the nests of the sparrows which built in large numbers.
The fire, he says, after smouldering for some time probably communicated to the mass of papers stored above the ceiling of the lobby. The pine laths of the plas tered ceiling in the hall proved ready fuel for the flames, and the whole building was soon in a blaze from end to end.
The secretary and Senior Constable Arnold, of Steiglitz, left the office at half-past 8 o'clock, everything being then apparently safe. A char woman engaged in cleaning out the premises burnt a large quantity of old papers within a few feet of the walls. When those who first noticed the conflagration arrived upon the scene, the fire lighted by the charwoman was still smouldering, and the wind was blowing in the direction of the front office.
The whole of the secretarial books were lost, but some cheques and the insurance policy over the premises were recovered from the safe after the fire had died out. The furniture of the hall was also saved.
The loss is covered by insurance to the amount of £800 in the Colonial Mutual Office.
The ordinary meeting of the council which was to have been held yesterday, has been adjourned till Wednesday next