button hill

Button Hill

‘Twould be fair to say…

school and I were a mix 'not made in heaven', rather purgatory - a place of suffering inhabited by those of us expiating our sins before entry to heaven.


For me ~ there was just such an end in sight; I had only to survive those somewhat painful in-between times spanning my mid- to late- primary years (1949 – ’54). 

First at St Robert’s (from whence, after two years, I had to be removed "from bad influences" (not sure that I, in fact, wasn’t the prime bad influence).

Then St Pat’s where sister’s strap and I were regular play-mates I remember trialling the efficacy of varied saps to be found oozing from trees in the school-yard as possible antidotes to the strap’s sting

I remember spending many a week-day being educated in the delights of our neighbourhood (Donaghey’s rope works, saleyards/abattoirs, golf-course - collecting gold-balls (for on-sale to Mr Cowan, my boss during paper-boy days), storm-water drain that came out from under Church street, Baker's oval, Mano cemetery and of course the Moorabool valley. That was until Jane Woods, a name never to be forgotten (another student at the above-mentioned institution) dobbed on me.

St Joey’s was very different ~ their straps were real devices of torture ~ It was only then that I restricted my explorations to weekends – No probs, so long as I was home by the time the street-lights went on - sampling the delights of Fyansford:  the trestle bridge, rail tunnel going undergound, cave in sandstone cliff, cementies, a concealed tunnel that lead into the very bowels of the works, old bridge, paper mill, Buckley’s falls… and, most prized of all - the old tip, where armed with an hessian bag (remember them)  and a screw-driver, my friends and I would retrieve aluminium guttering from the roofs of old car bodies for on-sale to Batty’s. 

I’d heard of, but never found, the pot at the end of the rainbow ~ “button hill’. Whispered of as a source of hidden booty ~ our very own Oak Island treasure pit.

Not  till recently did I become aware of the location of button hill -

A local ‘button-man’ (collector of old buttons, coins and miscellany via the use of a metal detector) by the name of Nathan Cleasby-Jones shared the location which I thought to be a secret, but which, in fact, was well-known to all-n-sundry. I think Nathan trolled my web-page in search of hints as to possible hitherto unrevealed treasure sites; and I say that in the nicest possible way. Hey, Nathan, check "My Ponderings". 


Over several meetings Nathan shared his interest in numismatics with me. Thanks, mate!

Nathan Cleasby-Jones Buttonman3 (2).JPG
Nathan Cleasby-Jones Buttonman3 (3).JPG
Nathan Cleasby-Jones Buttonman3 (1).JPG

Under the threat of death by zapping, I swore to Nathan that I'd never release his somewhat tatty, well-worn treasure map. It is to my mate Google that I give credit for the map below...

Button Hill.jpg
Button Hill 2.jpg

But for all the nitty-n-gritty on Button Hill, may I introduce you to a fellow blogger and Geelong historian, Jo Mitchell and her Barwon Blog

"In 1876, the Barwon Paper Mill commenced construction on the banks of the Barwon River at Buckley Falls. Much has been written about the mill and its history and I looked at it briefly in the post From rags to riches or just milling around. One aspect of the mill and its history however, has always interested me: Button Hill and the women whose labour gave the rising ground to the north east of the mill its name....".

Her 2016 article Button hill: the women of the Barwon Paper Mill is still without a doubt our best reference.