Secrets of Fortuna revealed

A talk to be delivered by La Trobe University’s Dr Charles Fahey this Thursday, will unveil the personal stories of Fortuna’s inhabitants as never before heard. 

LIBRARY! With the recent sale of Fortuna Villa fresh on the community’s mind a La Trobe University Bendigo historian will share his knowledge of the secrets held within the stately walls of this iconic building.

‘Fortuna is an important part of Bendigo’s history,' says Dr Fahey. 'There has been a lot of public interest in the building and its secrets, especially since its recent sale by the State Government.

‘I’m very excited to say that this will be the first time that the public will be able to learn about these secrets.’

With documents sourced from the voluminous collections of diaries, love letters and official papers Dr Fahey will be providing his audience an informed and entertaining telling of Fortuna’s sometimes-tumultuous history.

From a young Clarence Dyason writing messages of unrequited love to a daughter of George Lansell, through to his progression as an unimaginably wealthy playboy who was to later take charge of the Lansell holdings, the stories engage and entertain while providing invaluable insights to a time past.

Dr Fahey believes that the Fortuna home and its collection of writings are the finest and most comprehensive collection of historical examples in Victoria.

‘There are literally volumes of writings produced out of Fortuna. Personal diaries, letters and official documents paint a vivid image of what life was like in 1800s Bendigo.

‘The documents reveal a great deal about the relationship between the Lansell and Dyason families.  The Dyason’s have largely been overlooked in an historical context but their importance to the City of Bendigo is equal to that of the Lansells.’

Dr Fahey has unearthed many unique and endearing documents including a 45-page love letter and a journal entry in which Clarence Dyason refers to himself as ‘a pirate overtaking the mines of Bendigo’ during his astronomical rise to prominence.

He originally began delving into the collection after he happened upon the diary of Isaac Dyason, Lansell’s business manager, while completing his doctoral thesis in 1981. Since then Dr Fahey has amassed an impressive record on life at Fortuna.

Dr Fahey began teaching at La Trobe University Bendigo in 1990. As a historian he has written widely on labour and regional history. He has also published a number of books the most recent of which is Gold Tailings, Family and Community on the Central Victorian Goldfields.

The free talk is to be held at the La Trobe Visual Arts Centre, 121 View St, Bendigo, commencing at 6.00 pm. Light refreshments will be provided.

To RSVP to this event contact Jessica White by phone on 03 5444 7766 or via email.


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