ST PIRAN’S DAY CELEBRATED IN BALLARAT BY DESCENDANTS OF EARLY CORNISH MINERS,
CORNWALL’S National St Piran’s Day 5th March, was celebrated in Ballarat on the 7th March this year in a unique way. At the invitation of the Dean of the ACU, Aquinas Campus, Dr Joe Flemming, members of the Cornish Association of Victoria, joined with members of the Ballarat Branch at their Campus, 1200 Mair Street Ballarat to celebrate St Piran’s Day.
Welcoming all in attendance, the Ballarat Branch Chairperson Mrs Joy Menhennet read the St Piran’s Day Message which was given in Truro, Cornwall, by the Grand Bard of the Gorsedh of Cornwall, Mrs Maureen Fuller. The Mayor of Ballarat Cr John Phillips was invited to lay a wreath in memory of the early Cornish people who came to Ballarat in the gold rush days.
Ballarat’s newest Bard of Cornwall, Mrs Wendy Benoit together with Ballarat Branch Secretary Mrs Lenice Stuchbery laid a sheath of flowers in memory of the Ballarat Miners in front of the St Piran’s Flag. The unique celebration was held at the original palatial home built in 1881 by Cornishman Cr.Cyrus Bath Retallack J.P. The home was originally named “Carn Brea” after the district in which Cyrus lived in Cornwall and had the Cornish Bezants on the iron gates of his home. Many years later the home was sold and became known as “Manifold House”.
The ACU have gratefully acknowledged the contribution to our City of Ballarat made by Cornishman Cyrus Bath Retallack, renaming the home back to its original name of “Carn Brae”. This name, together with a big plaque, tells the story of Cyrus and will be on the side of the home, which is now used as an Administrative Centre for the University. Cyrus Retallack came to the goldfields as a Miner and did very well. He had a Smith and Engineering business and built quite a number of Ballarat’s early Buildings in the Sturt Street/Grenville Street area. He was responsible for early works at the Ballarat Gas Company, the building of the Bridge connecting the two platforms at the Ballarat Railway Station, and was involved in the building of the tower at St Peter’s Church of England, Sturt Street, Ballarat.
Cyrus was a Justice of the Peace, and was involved in many of the early organisations of Ballarat. He was Mayor elect of the City of Ballarat when he died in 1899. Cyrus married Elfreda Thomas and they had eleven children. The celebrations ended with a traditional lunch of Pasty and Saffron Cake.