Historical information

Clemence Orton was born in Beechworth in 1922 and lived his life in Murmungee on his parent’s property that he took over and ran working the land. He was schooled in Murmungee and interested in vet science. He served in WWII and was 24 years old when he returned. After World War II he took work experience with the local vet and attended his own farm stock, horses in particular.

His knowledge of the area during his parent’s time and his families time saw him familiar with mining in the local area and Chinese miners through to farming techniques and practices.

He was known as a ‘local resident with an encyclopaedic knowledge of local history'.

Clemence married Dorothy and raised his family in Murmungee. He passed away on January 17th 2007.

This oral history recording was part of a project conducted by Jennifer Williams in the year 2000 to capture the everyday life and struggles in Beechworth during the twentieth century. This project involved recording seventy oral histories on cassette tapes of local Beechworth residents which were then published in a book titled: Listen to what they say: voices of twentieth century Beechworth.

These cassette tapes were digitised in July 2021 with funds made available by the Friends of the Burke.


Clemence Orton’s family has lived in the Beechworth and Murmungee region for over a century. Through his experience living on the land he is able to shine a light on farming and life on the land, farming techniques and mining history in the region.

Clemence Orton was know for his knowledge of local history and lived in the region making his involvement in this oral history project important.

This oral history account is socially and historically significant as it is a part of a broader collection of interviews conducted by Jennifer Williams which were published in the book 'Listen to what they say: voices of twentieth-century Beechworth.' While the township of Beechworth is known for its history as a gold rush town, these accounts provide a unique insight into the day-to-day life of the town's residents during the 20th century, many of which will have now been lost if they had not been preserved.

Physical description

This is a digital copy of a recording that was originally captured on a cassette tape. The cassette tape is black with a horizontal white strip and is currently stored in a cleat flat plastic rectangular container. It holds up to 40 minutes of recordings on each side.

Inscriptions & markings

Mr Clemence Orton /