ONE of the Ulster Star's most popular
columnists has launched a new website with the aim of providing
an insight into the 'rich history of the village and surrounding
district of Glenavy'.
www.glenavyhistory.com is the brainchild of 'The Digger',
who fears ongoing development in the area will 'sweep away
former homesteads, farms, buildings and green pastures'
confining them to memory.
The idea was formulated after he became involved
in research being carried out by an Australian woman into her
Web designer Viki Strickland asked her
husband Tom to visit some local headstones relating to the
Oakmans during a trip to Europe.
"Vicki had got information which
unfortunately included some misleading details about the
location of graves in the area," The Digger explained.
"Tom was, however, spared a fruitless and
disappointing visit. Prior to his departure from Australia I
found Vicki's own website relating to the Oakman family and made
contact with her."
During a two day 'whistle-stop tour' Tom and
The Digger managed to visit six
properties formerly owned by the Oakman family, two graveyards
and a place known as Oakman's Hill.
As a way of thanking our columnist for his
help Tom offered Viki's services to set up a website to provide
a forum for the large amount of historical material he has
accumulated on the area over many years of research.
His Ulster Star articles can also be accessed
through the site.
The Digger explained GlenavyHistory.com aims
to 'capture the days of yesteryear', and 'piece together the
jigsaw of past generations using a variety of sources to include
newspapers, photographs, postcards, local ballads, poems and
memories. Surfers will find tales of ancient times, ring forts,
folklore, folk charmers and water diviners.
"Presently you can read about the 1829 affray
in Glenavy, the violin maker Hugh Gordon who is buried in the
Parish Church, Sergeant Samuel Hill, a native of the area who
was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1858 in relation to acts of
bravery the previous year in India and other long forgotten
events. I can foresee a time when the site will be an invaluable
tool for those wanting to explore their family history," he
If you have any material of a historical nature relating to
the Glenavy area (photographs/postcards/memorabilia/memories)
that you would like to share with others please contact The