Thursday, October 22, 2009

Steamfest timetable on track

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Some of the most influential people in steam have climbed aboard preparations for the 25th anniversary of the city’s most notable event. The 2010 Hunter Valley Steamfest will be the most expensive with an extensive program to celebrate its silver anniversary on April 17 and 18.
Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 22/10/2009.

St. John's Cathedral

From the Maitland Mercury:
Maitland’s devout Catholic parishioners have written to Sydney Archbishop Cardinal George Pell for his intervention to restore their beloved Old St John’s Cathedral, Maitland. Mass came to an end at the heritage-listed cathedral last January when the church was condemned as unsafe, but school students still use classrooms on the second storey of the building... There are fears the cathedral will be forgotten and never again be used for church services, the first of which was held there in 1846.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 22/10/2009.

Heritage tour, University of Sydney

View the heritage of The University of Sydney including the Macleay Museum , University Art Gallery, Nicholson Museum and the historic buildings of the Main Quadrangle this Heritage Tour by Craig Barker.
When: Wednesday 4 November 2009, 4pm.
Where: Sydney University Museums , the University of Sydney.
Bookings Essential by Monday 2 November, to Paul Bentley 02 9387 7307 or
Further information:

Opposition to Bourke Street reopening

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Residents living in one of Maitland’s oldest neighbourhoods will hold a public meeting to discuss their concerns about plans to deliver more traffic and more development to their streets. The people of Bourke Street, Maitland, and surrounding streets have called for reconsideration of a proposal to reopen the historic street between Ken Tubman Drive and Athel D’Ombrain Drive, included in Maitland City Council’s draft Central Maitland Structure Plan.
For more information about the Central Maitland Voice or the meeting, contact Mr Leverence on 4933 1982.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 21/10/2009.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What lies beneath: Maitland Gaol

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The black earth of Maitland Gaol will soon be forced to give up the trinkets of those confined to the sandstone walls and now, with the passing of a century, to history. It may be non descript as a field of grass behind the cell blocks that held some of the State’s most notorious prisoners, dismissed as simply a patch of lush greenery in an expanse of graying sandstone and concrete... ambitious project to scrape away the layers of earth and reveal what secrets had lain buried for decades or more.
Full article by Briony Snedden avaliable at Maitland Mercury, 16/10/2009.

Cranky handle rally

Step back in time when mechanical power drove farm equipment. The rally displays antique petrol and diesel engines at work driving vintage farm machinery. See vintage cars and tractors on display and in the street parade.

Date: 24 & 25 October 2009
Venue: St Johns Centre, Morpeth Rd, Morpeth
Phone: (02) 4990 5091
When: 9.00am - 4.00pm
Cost: FREE

Period gardens: landscape for houses with history

Leading landscape designer Myles Baldwin details his experiences of restoring some of Sydney's finest period gardens; including Bronte House, Rona and Boomerang. Historic Houses Trust curators Robert Griffin and Ann Toy will then tour the Government House Eastern Terrace, discussing future restoration plans. Thursday 22 October.
Location: Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Contact: 02 8239 2211

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Historical Society Walks to put colour into city centre’s rich history

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The sepia tones of the central Maitland of yesteryear will be restored to glorious technicolour in a series of heritage walks to begin next month. Buildings, people and events from centuries ago will feature on the tours, led by the Maitland and District Historical Society on November 7 and December 5, taking in High Street and covering the elegant buildings of Church Street and the charming cottages of Bourke Street.

Full article by Briony Snedden avaliable at Maitland Mercury, 15/10/2009.

Care of Photographs Seminar - 21 October 2009

This Preservation Australia seminar covers identification of common photographic processes, deterioration of photographs, preservation of photographic collections, and storage and display options for photographs.

Collections Council of Australia

The Cultural Ministers Council has advised that it will cease its funding of the Collections Council. Following its meeting on 9 October 2009, the Cultural Ministers Council has verbally advised the Collections Council of Australia (CCA) that it will:  cease funding the CCA; provide funding for a transitional period; establish a working group that would consider future approaches.   Full details from the Collections Council of Australia news page.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Memorial holds key to a family’s history

From the Maitland Mercury report:
It was a moment of remembrance for four ex-servicemen – and of discovery for one of them when they met at the Transvaal Memorial in Maitland Park yesterday... And as Maitland RSL committee member Neill Russ paused to inspect names on the memorial, he discovered the surname of a missing relative, a Corporal B W Bridge from Wollombi.
Full article by Alan Hardie available at Maitland Mercury, 12/10/2009.

Walking history tour brings back memories

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Almost 55 years since the city’s biggest disaster, the history of flooding in Maitland continues to stir memories and capture the imaginations of a younger generation. A capacity audience relived the rushing floodwaters that inundated central Maitland periodically during the past 150 years as part of the second instalment of the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Walk and Talk flood tour on Sunday. Amateur historian and Horseshoe Bend resident Peter Bogan led two tours along the riverbank, down Cathedral Street and into High Street.
Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 13/10/2009.

Archives in Brief (AIB) 119 – How to find probate and deceased estates

State Records have released a new Archives in Brief information sheet with step by step instructions on how to find records relating to Probate and Deceased Estates.  
Ever wondered whether your ancestor had a probate or a deceased estate file? Archives in Brief 119 provides handy guidelines to track down a probate and deceased estate file.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Garden tour of Glendonbrook

National Trust event:
Take a garden tour of Glendonbrook, a property just outside of Branxton, which is famous for its prize roses. You'll need to arrange your own tranpsort, but once there you will enjoy a tour of, and lecture about the garden, along with morning and afternoon tea and lunch. A map and details will be provided upon booking. Organised by the Friends of Miss Porter's House.
Sunday 18 October 2009
Contact Patti Graham  (02) 4953 9034

Hands on convict research - Society of Australian Genealogists

Researching a convict ancestor can be frustrating, challenging and rewarding but is often not straight forward.
This convict research session will involve:
a presentation on the types of documents you might find, what they could reveal and, direction on locating information based on your research of the family in question. Library Assistants with expert knowledge on convict research will be on hand to assist with interpreting documents and demonstrating the use of the many relevant resources available in and through the library.
19 October 2009. 379 Kent St. 10.00am to 1.00pm.
Society of Australian Genealogists.

Look who’s talking : Sam de Brito

Sam de Brito has spent more than two decades writing for newspapers, film and TV including the series Water Rats, White Collar Blue and Stingers. His popular and award winning Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age blog, 'All Men Are Liars', expounds on the business of being a bloke, while his bestselling first book, No Tattoos Before You're Thirty, offers advice to his unborn children. De Brito's first novel The Lost Boys was published in April 2008 followed by his second non-fiction, Building a Better Bloke: Become a Man Women Want in August 2008.
Date: 16 October 2009
Venue: Mansfield, 315 High St, Maitland
Contact Details: Maitland City Library    Phone: (02) 4933 6952
When: 12.30pm - 2.00pm      Cost: $25 per person (Inc lunch)

Friday, October 9, 2009

NSW Premier's History Awards Shortlist

The 2009 NSW Premier’s History Awards Shortlist has been announced and can be accessed at the Arts NSW web site. The winners will be announced at a presentation dinner on Tuesday, October 27 2009 at the Mint.
When: 27 Oct 2009 - 6:00pm for 6:30pm
Where: The Mint, 10 Macquarie Street , Sydney
Contact: Jean Moylan,

National Trust Hunter Regional Committee Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Hunter Regional Committee of the National Trust will be held at Grossmann House, Church Street, Maitland.   Sunday 25 October, 11.00am.
The guest speaker will be John Neish, Executive Director of the National Trust.
Bookings: Margaret Henry. P: (02) 4961 1063.

Coal River (Mulubinba) Cultural Landscape

National Trust news: the National Trust is strongly supporting the nomination by the Coal Working Party, University of Newcastle of ‘The Coal River (Mulubinba) Cultural Landscape for listing on the National Heritage List. This landscape is situated at the southern entrance to the Port of Newcastle and includes landmarks such as Nobbys Head, Macquarie Pier, Colliers Point/Signal Hill and Flagstaff Hill, Fort Scratchley, the convict lumber yard and the adjoining foreshore. The site is the birthplace of Australia’s coal mining industry and the site of the discovery of coal and the first modern coal mining in the Southern Hemisphere.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Flood tours prove a hit

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Peter Bogan is flooded with knowledge. The avid historian who revived old Horseshoe Bend through stories of flooding will venture into High Street a second installment of historic walks this weekend. Developed by the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA) as part of its ongoing flood education program for Maitland, the tours have captured the imaginations of people of all ages.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 7/10/2009.

New Memorial Park envisaged for town

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A set of historic gates engraved with the names of Lochinvar’s fallen World War I diggers will take pride of place in a new memorial park, if RSL sub-branch members have their way. The gates, circa 1919, are close to the New England Highway making access a dangerous task for the growing numbers of residents and school students attending the town’s Anzac Day service, according to Greta RSL sub-branch president Kevin Gordon.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 6/10/2009.

Last-ditch effort to save historic wall

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A last-ditch plea has been made to the State’s heritage body to save a sandstone wall described as a link to the city’s colonisation from burial beneath the third Hunter River crossing. East Maitland resident Kevin Hoy was one of four signatories who wrote to Heritage Council of NSW chairperson Gabrielle Kibble to come to East Maitland to see the remains of a convict-built sandstone wall on Pitnacree Road, believed to be an approach to a bridge built across Pitnacree Creek.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 6/10/2009.

Maitland Uniting Church Sesquicentenary

The Uniting Church building in High Street Maitland is 150 years old. During the week of October 11th to 18th the Church will celebrate this anniversary with a variety of events: an organ recital on Sunday 11th on the Heritage Pipe Organ, static & audio-visual displays during the week. A dinner will be held at Maitland Town Hall on Saturday 17th & an Anniversary Service on Sunday 18th.
Date: 11 - 18 October 2009.  Venue: Maitland Uniting Church, High St, Maitland. Contact Details: David Carratt.  Phone: (02) 4932 4045.  Email:

Historic Houses Trust walk – ‘Over the Hill’

West Paddington and Surry Hills were once the most densely populated areas of Sydney. Janet Morice and Andrew Starr will take you exploring through the maze of tiny streets, down the slopes to Central Railway Station, telling stories of Chinese opium dens, music halls and circuses as they trace the lives of this fascinating area.
10th and 17th October 2009. 10am - 12:30pm. Location: Durty Nelly's, 9-11 Glenmore Rd, Paddington. Contact: 02 8239 2266. Historic Houses Trust.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Historical Atlas of Sydney

The Historical Atlas of Sydney has been produced by the City of Sydney Archives and is a digitised version of maps and related cartographic resources, covering mainly the City of Sydney local government area but also more widely in the County of Cumberland region.

The Atlas went live a few months ago, but is being added to on a regular basis. Recent additions include the City of Sydney 'Civic Survey' (1938-1950), and some radical post-1945 schemes in which Surry Hills and Redfern would be transformed as planned communities. The next additions will include the 1909 Royal Commission for the Improvement of Sydney and its Suburbs, and the 1945-55 County of Cumberland Planning scheme.

Layers in the Historic Landscape - State History Conference

The theme for the 2009 Royal Australian Historical Society State History Conference is Layers in the Historic Landscape. The conference is held on 31 October - 1 November at the Armidale City Bowling Club.  Contact the Royal Australian Historical Society via web site or phone (02) 92478001 for details of the conference. Registrations close 9 October 2009.

Newcastle Family History Society Annual Seminar

The Newcastle Family History Society Annual Seminar: Rememberance 2009 - those who served. Saturday 7 November 2009, at Wallsend Diggers Club.
Registrations close 7 October 2009. 
Refer to the Newcastle Family History Society web site for details.

Sesquicentenary of Local Government in Newcastle

From the State Records Archives Outside blog:
How did local government in the form of the Newcastle City Council come to be? The Local Government Area, of which Newcastle city is its centre, has gone through a number of name changes over the years.... The article concludes: "No full length substantial history exists for the city of Newcastle nor of its Council.
Therefore this modest administrative history is a preliminary first step towards a more comprehensive history." 

Read the full article posted to the Archives Outside blog on September 30, 2009 by Gionni DiGravio : Sesquicentenary of Local Government in Newcastle.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sydney Benevolent Asylum

A new website details the historical records associated with the Sydney Benevolent Asylum between 1857 and 1900. An index was created from records held at the Mitchell Library in Sydney and has been published on this site. The index contains over 78,000 records and is as far as possible, a listing of all inmates between 1857 and 1900. The website also details how you may be able to obtain more information about an inmate of the Asylum by accessing the original records held at the Mitchell Library.

The Irish Vanguard: the Convicts of the Queen, 1791

Barbara Hall has released her latest book, The Irish Vanguard, which traces the lives of the first 155 convicts exiled from Ireland to NSW on the Queen in 1791. Full of gallows confessions and brazen escapes from Sydney , Hall's research brings to life their stories in Ireland and their fate in Sydney .
ISBN: 978-0-9581499-3-8.

More information at

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Society of Australian Genealogists October Seminars

  • Occupations in Local Council Records - Saturday 10 October 2009
  • Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) website - Tuesday 13 October 2009
  • - Catalogue 2, next generation of FamilySearch’s Family History Library Catalogue - Saturday 17 October 2009
  • Could I Have a Convict in my Family Tree? - Monday 19 October 2009
  • Commemoration & Exhumation - Resources for Camperdown Cemetery - Sat 24 October 2009
  • Getting Started on Your Family History - Thursday 29 October 2009
  • Colonial Secretary's Correspondence - Saturday 31 October 2009
Further details available at Society of Australian Genealogists.

Legendary baker dies after long illness

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Jack Latter, of the historic Maitland Latter Brothers Bakery team, has died after a battle with cancer. Mr Latter was a past district governor of Rotary and past president and treasurer of East Maitland Rotary.
He had been a Rotarian for 40 years and was heavily involved with the Uniting Church and later with St Peter’s Anglican Church at East Maitland.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 30/09/2009.

Anniversary celebrates railway volunteers

From the Maitland Mercury report:
It has been three decades since the Cessnock City Council stepped in to stop the demolition of a power station and coal mine at what is now the site of the Richmond Vale Railway Museum. Since then hundreds of volunteers have contributed to the maintenance of locomotives, rolling stock and the site. This Sunday volunteers will be remembered. The museum will hold a 30th anniversary open day with two steam engines operating, the SMR 10-class and the small shunt engine affectionately known as Marjorie.
Full article by Nick Hansen available at Maitland Mercury, 29/09/2009.