31 January, 2016

A very busy Barwon

This week-end saw a number of sporting events take place on or by the Barwon, so I thought I'd take a short break from what has been a very long trek from the banks of the Barwon in Geelong to the upper reaches of the Yarrowee River and the goldfields of the 1850s.
I already knew it was going to be hectic and I planned to be there. As always on Saturday morning come rain, hail or shine, the Balyang Sanctuary Parkrunners were out and about early. Also on the move were a host of rowers all in attendance for the Barwon Regatta, held across the week-end.
The Barwon Regatta, 2016
After negotiating my way through the throng, I headed upriver on the bike, past King Lloyd Reserve where Murgheboluc Cricket Club were taking on Grovedale.
Cricket at King Lloyd Reserve
My intended destination on this occasion was the Queen's Park Bridge where I picked my spot amongst the spectators and waited for the cyclists riding the elite women's section of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. I made it with time to spare and chatted to one of the locals as we waited for the riders to come charging down Scenic Rd and over the Queen's Park Bridge. As usual with cycling races, as fast as they arrived, the riders were gone.
Elite women's road race
Job done, I retraced my steps, snapping a few more shots along the way.
In addition to the formal, competitive sports on offer, there was also an array of people undertaking a variety of leisure activities which also came under the heading of sport. As the cyclists headed over the Queen's Park Bridge, a pair of kayakers headed under it:
Kayaking on the Barwon
A little further downriver, a dragon boat crew were practising...
The Geelong Juggernauts on the river
...as a family jogged along the bank.
Nice afternoon for a run
Meanwhile back at Landy Field, Geelong Athletics were also doing their thing:

Athletics meet at Landy Field
It often occurs to me to be impressed by the number of sporting activities which take place in, on or beside the Barwon and today, in addition to the sports I was able to photograph, there were of course, recreational cyclists and walkers and golf was being played both up and downstream of where I was.
With the river closed for the rowing, the water skiers were absent as were the winter sports of football, netball and hockey whilst fishing and swimming are more likely to happen on other parts of the river - and those are just the sports which come to mind.
And that was just Saturday! Sunday, I once again spent along the banks of the river, this time, riding from point to point, watching the men's version of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race:
Simon Gerrans and co headed for Barwon Heads via the Breakwater Bridge
Onto Barrabool Road for the last time

All in all, the Barwon can be a very busy river.

28 January, 2016

Making tracks: Mother Jamieson's legacy

Of course, nothing lasts forever and people were quick to realise the commercial opportunities of the gold rush. As a result, it was only a matter of months before competition for the Jamieson's arrived in the form of Sellick's Crown Hotel which opened in 1852. Situated almost opposite Jamieson's, on the corner of the newly-surveyed Learmonth and Warrenheip Streets, the Crown was in prime position to catch the passing trade from all directions.
Jamieson's however, which had been situated at the old intersection (see map below), was now stranded around a hundred metres from the corner and still operating from the timber building erected by John Veitch ten years earlier. It was also obstructing the new road and at some point would have to go.
Crown Hotel, Cnr Learmonth and Warrenheip Streets, Buninyong today
A traveller to the region in March, 1853 compared the two premises, deeming the Crown to be the "least worst" of the two. It was noted however, that the landlady at the Buninyong Hotel had a cottage nearby where the “quality [were] allowed to take their meals as in a private house”.
It was perhaps the age and location of the original building along with the seemingly endless flow of gold diggers which encouraged the Jamiesons in 1853 to begin constructing a new, three storey building behind the old. The new hotel was a stone structure comprising two parlours, a dining room and four sitting rooms on the ground floor, ten bedrooms, a dining room and drawing room opening onto a balcony on the first floor, with a further eight bedrooms on the second floor. The building was also surrounded on three sides by a verandah. Several outhouses including stabling for 14 horses were also situated on the property.
Contrary perhaps to what others may think, I am inclined to believe that, the new building was erected on allotment 6 or 7 of section 16 and would have been situated behind the original structure built by Veitch. That the two structures were located close together is suggested by an order of the Central Road Board in 1855 which required Jamieson to  “remove a certain wooden building attached to the premises of the Buninyong Hotel, and which encroaches upon and obstructs the main public road through the township of Buninyong". This may have been the original hotel or perhaps an outbuilding. It is worth noting that the survey map of 1850 indicates three buildings encroaching onto Learmonth St, the most southerly contained almost entirely within Margaret's allotment 6. Any may have been the building referred to.
Section of the 1850 survey map of Buninyong overlaid on Google EArth. Red
areas indicate land purchased by Margaret Jamieson. Yellow areas denote the
blocks purchased by RS Dumsford. Green lines show tracks pre-dating the survey.
Image held by the State Library of Victoria. Click to enlarge
Other details which lead me to believe the second inn was built on allotment 6, include the position of the stone fence said to have belonged to the inn. The fence forms the front of allotments 4 and 5, neither of which was purchased by Margaret at the initial land sale. Instead, allotment 5 was purchased by Robert Stevenson Dunsford, who at the time owned a store in Buninyong. He also purchased allotment 3 whilst allotment 4 was reserved from sale. The 1850 map indicates a store situated on the reserved allotment. It seems reasonable to me that Dunsford would have purchased the two blocks adjoining his business. Why the third block was reserved from sale is unclear, however in 1856 it was purchased by John Adams who I believe to have owned the store from September, 1851 until around April, 1854 when it was purchased by Messrs Bohn and Johnson (possibly without the land).
Sketch of Buninyong, c1853 by Henry Winkles, which I suspect shows the
three-storey Buninyong Hotel built by Neil Jamieson and neighbouring store.
Image held by the National Library of Australia

Confusingly then, it is this block on which the store stood plus the block immediately to its east adjoining Jamieson's original land purchase, which is fronted by the stone wall. So unless the Jamiesons purchased allotment 5 from Dunsford, his creditors or a subsequent purchaser, then the hotel cannot have been built on that block. Nor presumably should the stone fence have been built across land which was owned by the government until 1856 - after the completion of the hotel.
Looking east along part of the stone wall towards Margaret Jamieson's land
Regardless, in September, 1853 with the new hotel building underway, Margaret purchased a further five blocks of land, totalling 1.25 acres behind her original blocks and on the south side of Scott St. The following year however, things took a turn for the worse. With the new hotel still unfinished, Margaret's health began to fail. Knowing presumably that she was unlikely to live much longer, she had her will drawn up. It began:
I Margaret Jamieson of Buninyong in the Colony of Victoria being of sound mind but weak body...
What followed was a conscious attempt by a determined woman to provide for her family. Neil was left the partially-built hotel (which he alone had been financing) along with the half acre of land on which it was built, as well as his mother's cottage and the acre of land on which that stood. The remainder of her estate was to be liquidated and divided between her eldest son James (who had actually pre-deceased his mother on 2nd June, 1854) and her three youngest daughters. The money was to be held in trust until they came of age except for that portion left to her disabled daughter "Annie". Upon Margaret's death, Neil would become Annie's guardian, administering her portion of the will for her continued financial support.
Margaret's affairs were in order and she had made what arrangements she could to support her family. Finally, on 26th August, 1854 Margaret "Mother" Jamieson died at her home in Buninyong. She was 45 years old. Her death was announced via a small notice in The Argus on 31st August. On the same day a second notice invited...
...the friends of the late Mrs. Margaret Jamieson, of Buninyong...to follow her remains from the Parkside Hotel, Flemington-road, to the Old Cemetery, this day, Thursday, at eleven o'clock.
History tells us that the new stone hotel was a white elephant and a local plaque refers to the building as "Mother Jamieson's folly" - a rather harsh assessment of Margaret given that - as her will states - it was Neil who was funding the new building. Margaret would perhaps be better remembered as a strong-willed businesswoman and mother who in a few short years took significant steps to see to the financial well-being of her family and to provide on-going support for her disabled daughter.
If there was any folly involved it was more likely that of her son Neil who, within a year of his mother's death had been declared insolvent. The cost of the new building was estimated at between £8,000 and£9,000, but thanks in part to plummeting land prices in Buninyong, its value by 1855 was deemed to be a mere £2,500. The property by this time was mortgaged to the tune of £4,500. It appears that Neil had seriously overcapitalised.
However, even this may have been to some extent a matter of circumstance. With his mother's death, funds which may otherwise have been directed to the hotel presumably became unavailable to Neil under the terms of her will. To some extent, the strength of his mother's personality and reputation may also have brought in business which now went elsewhere.
Regardless of the extenuating circumstances, the decision to build the new hotel away from the re-aligned intersection is difficult to explain. At the time of construction, the new alignment was known and the competing Crown Hotel had opened for business. Perhaps the Jamiesons anticipated that the flow of diggers to the goldfields would continue unabated or perhaps they thought that the quality of their venue would attract enough custom to pay its way despite its slightly removed position. They probably didn't take into account Margaret's untimely death.
Regardless of the reasons for the hotel's failure and Neil's subsequent insolvency (which he applied to have rescinded later the same year), he took the decision to build a third Buninyong Hotel. This time, he chose a prominent position: the south west corner of Learmonth and Warrenheip Streets, directly opposite the Crown. How he acquired the land and the finances to do so, I cannot so far establish.
This image shows the Buninyong Hotel (left) in 1862 with the
original Crown Hotel on the opposite side of Learmonth St. This building
burnt down in 1884 and was replaced by the current building. Image held
by the Federation University Historical Collection (Cat. No. 18400)
On this occasion, Neil did not go to the same expense in building the hotel as he did with the stone building. The final Buninyong Hotel which stood at the corner of the new intersection until 1933 was a more modest, two-storey, weatherboard structure, surrounded by varandahs. I am unsure when the move to the final location occurred as Jamieson appears to have continued trading throughout however, by April, 1860, the stone building was being advertised to let, described by The Star as "one of the best finished houses in the colony; and which is admirably adapted for a gentleman's residence, a large school, or boarding house". All inquiries were to be directed to Wildey & Co., wine and spirit Merchants of Ballarat.
Jamieson's Hotel (far right), cnr Learmonth and Warrenheip Streets, probably
late 19th century. Image held by the State Library of Victoria
In spite its supposed grandeur, the stone hotel built by the Jamiesons did not stand for long. Local historical sources indicate that it was demolished c1873 by Dr Sparling who built the brick house which now stands on allotment 6.
Brick house built by Dr Sparling
Despite the move to a more convenient location, business may still have been slow for Neil. In 1863, he put the hotel on the market. Finally, in October that year, the property sold for £505, which was said to be many times less than its cost of construction. In a final twist however, by July, 1866 the hotel which Neil built was once more in the hands of the family. In an echo of the past, Neil's younger sister and their mother's namesake Margaret - now married to Thomas Young - was the licensee. "Mother Jamieson's" was now "Mrs Young's" Buninyong Hotel - a business she ran until 1881.
Meanwhile, after selling the hotel, Neil appears to have set up again in the same business, this time at Hardie's Hill, south of Buninyong, however the end result was the same. In 1865 he was once again before the insolvency court.
From this point, the record is relatively silent until 14th May, 1910 when The Star announced that the funeral of one of Buninyong's oldest residents - Mr Neil Jamieson - had occurred the previous day. He was described as one of the town's oldest residents and a long-standing member of the Buninyong Masonic Lodge. Four of his nephews - Margaret's sons - carried his coffin with members of the Lodge acting as pall bearers. Neil was interred at Buninyong Cemetery. He was 86 years of age.
His sister Margaret outlived bother her husband and her brother, dying in 1929 at the age of 92. Finally, in 1933 came the end of an era. The gold had been dug up, the diggers themselves were long gone and finally, the hotel built by her brother to quench the thirst of those thronging to the goldfields and which Margaret herself ran for fifteen years was demolished. Another link with the past may have gone, but over the years, "Mother" Jamieson's celebrity seems to have grown to become one of the enduring legends of those heady first days and weeks of the gold rush.

27 January, 2016

Making tracks - to Mother Jamieson's

Over the years, the name of "Mother Jamieson" has become woven into the fabric of the early Victorian goldfields history. In 1851, anyone travelling to the diggings at Ballarat or Buninyong could tell you that the only place to stay in Buninyong was Mother Jamieson's hotel. Her name is mentioned in the newspapers of the day and recalled years later by old timers recounting the glory days of the gold rush. But who was Mother Jamieson and how did she come to be keeping a hotel in one of the most isolated towns in Victoria at that time?
"Mother Jamieson" was actually Margaret Jamieson, born in Rothsay, Scotland in about 1809 to parents John and Margaret Stewart. In 1839 she and her husband James, along with at least four children, migrated to the newly-established Port Phillip District as assisted immigrants aboard the Palmyra.
Within a short time of arriving in Australia her husband James had taken up a publican's license and was running the Eagle Inn in Bourke St, Melbourne, so by the time she reached Buninyong, Margaret was most likely already an experienced publican. In the Vigilante of 1st August, 1918, the Eagle Inn was described as little more than a drinking den, however the article also notes, that James, along with his barman Thomas Hodge contrived in 1841 to build Melbourne's first theatre.
Looking up Bourke St, Melbourne in the 1940s. Image held by the State
Library of Victoria
Known as "The Pavilion", it was a wooden structure which leaked when it rained and threatened to blow down in strong wind. The quality of its entertainment was of a similar standard to the structure itself with the first performance requiring police intervention after a brawl was started by disaffected patrons. An article from 5th June, 1846 indicates that the building was only ever intended to be temporary, built on Jamieson's land with Hodge's money. It operated as a concert venue for a short time before Hodge attempted to introduce theatrical performances only to be shut down for want of a license and with Hodge sent to gaol as a result. It reopened a short time later as the Victoria Theatre, however at this point, things became complicated with the former business partners embroiled in litigation which was still unresolved by the end of 1846. There were allegations of underhand business dealings, reports of "uproar and disorder" amongst the crowd each night and accusations of magisterial partiality with Jamieson described as "old and feeble" and unable or unwilling to keep control.
As with all good stories, this one evolved over the years. A retrospective in the Advocate of 5th March, 1942 (one of several) places the impetus for the establishment of "The Pavilion" upon "one 'Mother Jamieson,' famed far and wide as hostess of the 'Eagle Inn,'" and claims that the theatre became the "Theatre Royal", none of which really tallies with contemporary reports which don't mention Margaret at all.
Meanwhile, in addition to their business ventures, the Jamiesons continued to increase the size of their family. A further two - possibly three - daughters were born to the couple during their time in Melbourne: Margaret Hope (born 1842), Harriet Australia (born 1845) and possibly also Isabella (born 1840).
For reasons which remain unclear to me, by 1848 James and Margaret had given up the license of the "Eagle Inn". In April of that year, their second son Neil, had applied for a publican's license for the Buninyong Hotel. Why Buninyong, I don't know, however there was a strong Scottish element to the settlers in the locality which may have been the attraction.
By 1848 the Buninyong Hotel had been serving the tiny town and surrounding districts for several years. The first to open an "eating and accommodation house for travellers" was George Gabb in 1841. His small hut was located near the intersection of several of the old tracks from across the region, including the Geelong to Buninyong Track (see previous post).
Looking north west towards the old post office, the site at which the pre-survey
tracks leading into Buninyong converged. 
Not long after Mr Gabb set up shop, he was joined by Messrs Campbell and Woolley who relocated their store from out of town to a position next door. It was not long before they took over Gabb's premises for use as a kitchen whilst he re-established himself some distance away. According to "local lore" the following year, in 1842, the town's first licensed premises were built by John Veitch. The Buninyong Inn as he called it (a simple timber structure), was also said to be situated near Campbell and Woolley's store and the intersection. An early survey map shows the inn positioned in the middle of what is now Learmonth St, midway between Warrenheip and Winter Streets (see below), however I suspect this may not quite have been the exact story.
By April, 1843 the company of Campbell and Woolley was insolvent and in June that year, there was an auction of their assets at their Melbourne store. On 27th May, 1844 a notice appeared in the Geelong Advertiser indicating that Mr Peter Kelsh had purchased the Bunninyong Inn from the creditors of Messrs Campbell and Woolley, however less than a month later, having decided he did not like the "public business" Kelsh was selling the property, advertised as the Bunninyong(sic) Inn, with store - lately known as Campbell and Woolley's - was listed for sale by Peter Kelsh. (Note: three articles from Febrary and May, 1843 indicate that the partnership of "Campbell and Woolley and Welsh & Co of Port Phillip" were in financial difficulty. Could "Welsh instead be Mr Kelsh, having bought out the Buninyong store and inn when the company struck financial difficulty?).
Even more confusingly however, advertisements appear from March to May of 1844 indicating John Veitch as, if not the owner then certainly the proprietor, of the Bunninyong(sic) Inn. He indicates further more that the inn had been in operation for a year at that time. My opinion at this stage is that Veitch was probably running the inn for Campbell and Woolley prior to their bankruptcy and later bought Kelsh/Welsh out, continuing to operate until April, 1847 when he also placed the business on the market. By October, he was announcing that he had opened a general store adjacent to the inn. Whether this may have been Campbell and Woolley's old store or a new structure, I cannot tell.
Meanwhile at about this time the inn came into the hands of the Jamieson family.
Now however, instead of James, it was his second son Neil who in Buninyong in April, 1848 applied for a publican's license. Barely four months earlier, his father had finally won the right to a night license for the Eagle Inn, so perhaps the intention was to set Neil up independently at the Buninyong or Jamieson's Hotel as it became known, with his parents remaining in Melbourne.
The plan however may not have developed as expected. During James' legal troubles with the Victoria Theatre, his opposers described him as "old and weak" and by 1848, the Eagle Inn had a new proprietor. Harsh perhaps, but there may have been an element of truth to these words. Whilst in Buninyong on 5th May, 1849, James (whose residence was still stated as Bourke St, Melbourne) died at the age of 54 and was buried in the Old Melbourne Cemetery.
"Mother Jamieson" was now a widow with two adult sons, an adult (but unmarried daughter) and three younger daughters - one of whom had an intellectual disability - all under the age of 12. It would seem, if she hadn't already done so, she now moved her family to Buninyong to be near her son Neil.
Buninyong, 1859. Image held by the State Library of Victoria
The fact that the hotel in Buninyong became known as "Mother Jamieson's" suggests that she was far from happy to take a backseat role in what now became the family business. Whilst Neil did run the hotel, Margaret (presumably with her daughters) lived in a cottage nearby and she would often work in the pub and conduct business on Neil's behalf.
A contemporary description of Margaret, whilst portraying the typically masculine, 19th century view of competent women, does give an indication of her character:
An extraordinary specimen of a Scotch landlady, whose colonial independence of character (except when she took a liking) always verged upon insolence and very often abuse; woe to be the mistaken individual who tried to oppose her when in these moods as he had little chance of either food or lodging at her hands.
The author of this description was was John D'ewes, infamous for his role in the events which led to the the Eureka uprising. Appointed police magistrate at Ballarat in 1854, he was also one of the executors of Margaret's will and was, according to Clare Wright's The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka (2014), in her good graces.
Margaret was not just an experienced business woman. She was also an investor. On 9th May, 1851, the first sales of land in the newly-surveyed township of Buninyong were held in Melbourne. On that day, in her own name, Margaret purchased four, half-acre blocks of land. The first ran between Learmonth and what was then a continuation of Forest St. Today, her block forms the part of De Soza Park behind the Crown Hotel which at that time was yet to be built.
Today's view of the block of land originally purchased by Margaret Jamieson
on the north side of Learmonth Street, on 9th May, 1851
The remaining blocks of land were located opposite the first and would have included the land immediately behind her son's hotel which, thanks to the new survey, now found itself in the middle of the roadway. In modern terms, Margaret's land included the three blocks which are now immediately west of the the RSL reserve.
Not only did the events of 1851 change the destiny of the newly-formed state of Victoria, it was also a busy year for the Jamieson's. In June, Margaret's eldest daughter Mary, married Mr John Tuckwell of Buninyong. In the same month Margaret and Neil appeared in court to defend themselves against an action of assumpsit - a claim that they owed money to a local storekeeper. In the end, they were required to pay £40 of the £68 claimed by the plaintiff.
But what of the hotel? Even prior to the gold rush, the Jamiesons appeared to make a success of the business, with regular references appearing in the local papers, however in the weeks after the announcement that gold had been discovered, first at Hiscock's Gully, then at Ballarat, people came flooding to "Mother Jamieson's" on an unprecedented scale. A retrospective in the Laverton Mercury of 12th July, 1907 described the scene:
The road, or rather track, in the forest, which lead to Buninyong was soon invaded by a shovel-shouldering stream. But the weather was very bad -  a soaking rain, and a weak(sic) of cold and leaden skies. After plashing in muddy ruts for three or four days together, with muddy clothes and only the soppy earth to sleep on, they were disinclined for camping out in Hiscock's Gully, and this "rush" took a new form. The diggers invaded the house of "Mother Jamieson's," as they familiarly termed her, and the little inn had to accommodate about 40 diggers, who sallied out in the morning to the gully, a mile away, carrying their spades, and "Mother Jamieson's" pie-dishes and basins; they toiled all day, and returned steaming at night to sleep all over the place on tables, floors, verandahs...
It can only be imagined what Margaret thought of her cooking utensils being commandeered for gold-panning purposes! Looking back, Neil later estimated that with the outbreak of the gold rush, he was taking between £60 and £70 per day. In today's terms this equates to a turnover of between $2.7 and $3.1 million dollars per year.
Business was booming, the beer was flowing and things were looking good for the Jamiesons...

04 January, 2016

Making tracks - reaching Buninyong

...and so, after many long, weary miles traipsing over hills, wading across creeks and ploughing through the slough of despond, the weary travellers faced a final uphill trudge, crossing the foothills formed over a million years before by the volcanic eruptions of Mt Buninyong. For many miles they would have seen its profile rising before them as they walked or rode, slowly drawing closer. Even for those lucky enough - or rich enough - to travel by coach, the foothills of the mount could pose a problem as it was not unheard of for the coach driver to ask his passengers to get out and walk up the steeper sections of the track.
Looking towards Mt Buninyong from the approximate location of Scott's Swamp
A look at an 1855 survey map (see composite image below) shows the track at this point splitting in two just before the crest of the final rise. The two tracks were less than 150m apart and converged again after about a kilometre, near where Mt Buninyong Rd joins the Midland Highway today. Whether this reflected a need for different tracks in varying weather conditions or had some other purpose I do not know.
Reaching the top of the final rise, the diggers would no doubt have been very relieved to see the land falling away before them with the track meandering down the slope, roughly along the course of today's Learmonth St, joined along its length by a number of other tracks from outlying areas, all converging on the little collection of buildings which at that time constituted Buninyong township.
Prior to August, 1851 the town was already set to become a thriving hub. For ten years it had supplied the squatting runs of the district, provided a gathering place for sawyers working in the area and of course, was a postal town (the first in inland Victoria) and staging point on the mail route from Portland Bay to Melbourne and Geelong. It boasted a blacksmith (Thomas Hiscock), a doctor, a Presbyterian church with associated school, a couple of stores and of course, a post office.
With the announcement in early July that gold had been discovered at Clunes, followed only a month later by news of a much closer find at  Hiscock's Gully (one of the many creeks and gullies which fed into the Yarrowee River), Buninyong took on a new significance.
For a short time at least, it became the destination of hundreds of diggers. It is possible to imagine the sense of anticipation as they topped the rise and caught their first glimpse of their goal, however things around Buninyong were somewhat different to what they had been only a few months earlier. At this time, the newly-declared state of Victoria was still recovering from the devastating Black Thursday Bushfire of 6th February, 1851 in which about one quarter of the state (around five million hectares) was burnt. Amongst the areas to feel the effects of the fires was the Buninyong Forest which is reported to have burnt for days. Some six months on, the impact of the flames would still have been evident, even as the surrounding vegetation began to spring back to life. The fire is said to have burnt right up to the Geelong-Buninyong track, coming from the north which would presumably also have impacted a number of the other tracks leading to and from the town.
Fire damage in the region of the old "Burnt Bridge" settlement on the Midland
Highway following the recent (December, 2015) bushfire at Scotsburn
As was the way prior to the surveyors mapping out the roads and townships of the colony, there were often many different paths which sprang up as a matter of convenience. Buninyong was no exception. As the main path crossed what became Lal Lal St, a branch diverged to the left, travelling roughly along the line of Scott St, before meeting with a track running north-south a little to the west of Warrenheip St. (The latter track lead from Buninyong to the station of that name held by the Learmonth brothers.) At around the same point as the first branch, the main track branched again. This track ran north west, meeting another heading north towards the Ballarat Run of William Cross Yuille on the shores of "Yuille's Swamp", known today as Lake Wendouree.
Google Earth image overlaid with an 1855 survey map. Red lines show tracks
marked on the map. Blue lines indicate those marked on an 1856 map. Areas of
overlap may indicate the same track. Click to enlarge
The following blog post by local historian Robert Bell from 2006 gives a good description of  some of the tracks and buildings of Buninyong as they existed at the time of the original survey in 1850.
Whilst none of the sources I have located mention it, the direct track down Learmonth St may not have been the only approach to Buninyong from Geelong. The above survey map also shows a second track, branching off the main route to the left near the intersection of the Highway and Yendon Number 2 Rd, well before the branches near Lal Lal St. This alternate track followed a lower line, crossing the southern end of Lal Lal St before swinging north west and travelling roughly along today's Caffrey and then Herriott Streets before joining the track from the south.
Ultimately, which ever track the diggers followed, they reached an important intersection, situated on the site of what would become Buninyong's first permanent post office and telegraph building in 1873.
Old Buninyong post office, closed 2000
This old intersection which must have pre-dated the survey of 1850, was the point at which the track from the south met the main track from Geelong coming from the east. Also joining at this same point was the track from the west which lead to several nearby squatting runs, including Yuille's Ballarat Run and further on to the Pyrenees.
It was at this intersection, strategically located to take in the passing trade, that the town's only hotel was located: the place the diggers had been told lay at the end of their journey, where they could have a hot meal and - if they were lucky - a bed for the night. Here then, was the fabled "Mother Jamieson's".