Friday, May 22, 2015

My sport hero - Peter FitzSimons' tribute to Les Darcy

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A very special commemoration will take place in Maitland this Tuesday evening to honour one of Maitland’s most famous sons.
At the Maitland Regional Art Gallery, noted author and historian Peter FitzSimons will pay tribute to boxer Les Darcy who died in the United States 98 years ago after an illustrious career that was dogged by some controversy.
Mr FitzSimons, who wrote an autobiography about Darcy five years ago, has promised to reveal some new information about the famous fighter.
 Mr FitzSimons’ appearance at Maitland Regional Art Gallery has been arranged with Maitland Library as part of the “Look Who’s Talking?” program.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 21, 2015.

Heritage group explores Maitland's subterranean history

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Much is known and reported about the history of Maitland and its well trodden streets but what of the vaults that lie beneath?
The Maitland City Heritage Group will explore the concept of underground basements in a new publication, but first the group needs help to identify a series of black and white photographs that feature the late ­historian Harry Boyle in an underground basement.
“The photographs came to the library as part of the Harry Boyle Collection with an intriguing note saying ‘Subterranean Maitland’ but we don’t have anymore details about them and we’d love to find out more,” Maitland City Council heritage officer Clare James said.

If you know more about the basements of Maitland
contact Ms James on 4934 9832 or email

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 17, 2015.

Inside History magazine - Maitland City Library

In issue 28, our May-June 2015 edition of Australia’s favourite history and genealogy magazine, you’ll discover:
  • Our expert guide to finding and using parish maps and land records
  • Our chat with Sir Tony Robinson on his Tour of Duty discovering Australia’s hidden wartime stories
  • 95 new online genealogy resources to help grow your family tree
  • The world of the English workhouse, beyond Dickensian stereotypes
  • The iconic Tea and Sugar train of yesteryear and its cross-country rides across the Nullarbor
  • How to use asylum records and access even those closed to the public
  • Our pick of the top 5 historical walks around Australia
  • The mammoth project to document our surviving World War II veterans
  • Where to find the newly digitised collections of 14 leading museums from around Australia
  • How you can help map the past with geo-referencing projects underway
  • Why Victoria’s education system is historically significant
Electronic edition available at Maitland City Library
select eresources, then emagazines for full, free access.

The Grossmann & Brough Haunted Houses Tour

The Grossmann & Brough Haunted Houses Tour is now into its fifth year.

 Previously, as well as exploring the 1870 Houses and laundry building by candlelight, gaslight and oil lamps, participants heard about the findings of the Melbourne Psychic who was searching for “Maitland’s Most Haunted House”
The tragic story of James Mudie’s convicts was told (James Mudie was the first white owner of the “town block” where Grossmann & Brough now stand)

Come on the Haunted House Tour 2015 and help us Spot the Spirits
Limited spaces available. Phone 49 337758 to secure your place.
Tickets $30 with wine on arrival and supper at the tours conclusion.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cairn recognises Marthaville Homestead’s heritage award

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The oldest sawn timber home in Cessnock was awarded the Hunter Valley Heritage Award in 2014.
The award and cairn will be presented to the Marthaville Management Committee.
Marthaville Homestead, circa 1885, was recognised by the Hunter Valley Wine Living Legends Group.
Brian and Fay McGuigan sponsored the award.
“Marthaville is on land where some of the earliest Cessnock district vineyards were and, as such, it represents a tangible link between today’s Pokolbin vineyards, the town of Cessnock and the viticultural heritage of the area,” Mr McGuigan said.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 14, 2015.

Maitland Gaol house ills – prison’s medical history revealed

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The hospital used to treat some of Australia’s most hardened and notorious criminals will open its doors to the public for the first time since the late 1990s. 
Slightly more bearable than a small concrete cell, the single ward of the Maitland Gaol ­hospital accommodated ­criminals suffering from a range of illnesses.
The hospital closed in 1998 along with the gaol, but will open on Sunday after 17 years in the form of an interpretive display.
“The gaol wasn’t a particularly nice place to spend your time, and if you were unwell you can only imagine how uncomfortable it would be,” Maitland Gaol co-ordinator Gordon Sauber said.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 14, 2015.

Historic Morpeth pub River Royal Inn - future in doubt after flood

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Engineers have declared Morpeth’s historic River Royal Inn built in 1856 unsafe as they use large fans to dry out the soggy rooms and assess extensive flood damage.
Until their examination is finished, the future of the hotel is undecided, licensee Tom Greene said.
He said it was heartbreaking when a surge of floodwater burst through the rooms at the height of the recent deluge.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 13, 2015.