Sunday, December 12, 2010

Maitland Mercury archives recall December flood

The following is an extract from the 1887 Maitland Mercury article headed “Flood in the Hunter River: Serious loss of crops”.
We record with regret the occurrence of another flood in the Hunter, which has involved serious loss of property in the shape of growing crops. Though the flood has not been attended with such disastrous consequences as those with which we were so familiar in years past, there is a considerable area of land under water, and many farmers, notably those resident in the neighbourhood of Morpeth, have suffered great losses.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 10 Dec, 2010.

Village history revived at Morpeth

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Morpeth House is gradually being revealed to Morpeth Road, restoring the historic building’s original vista to the Hunter River and beyond.
And the grand new entry road – following the alignment of the original driveway trodden by Edward Close – could also be delivering residents to retirement villas on the site of the former St John’s College at Morpeth by April next year.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 09 Dec, 2010.

State Records New South Wales: 50 years

In 2011, State Records will be marking its 50th anniversary. As part of the celebrations, 50 items from the State archives collection will be displayed. This exhibition will showcase the extraordinary richness and diversity of  holdings, from our ‘founding documents’ recording the convicts on the First Fleet to items from the time of the establishment of the Archives Authority in 1961.
Items 1-9 are now available, 1788-1820
Some of the key themes of this founding era of the Colony’s history are vividly illustrated through extracts taken from the earliest convict and baptismal records, a chart and journal compiled by a little-known convict explorer, a brief but heartfelt poem written by the Surveyor General, and a request for land from an ex-convict with a most unusual occupation.

Hunter Lifestyle Magazine, October-November 2010

Hunter Lifestyle Magazine, October-November 2010 edition includes:
Locksland, Lorn, circa 1907. A Pender design, built after the dawn of the last century, this lovingly restored Lorn home provides a rare glimpse into the past.
Marlborough House, Newcastle. Built about 1872, a stately family home of historic significance with ocean and harbour views taking in Nobbys headland.
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Newcastle. This year the Church building celebrates its 120-year anniversary and forms the fabric and tapestry of history for the City.
Newcastle Mater Misericordiae. A unique bond of comradeship unites a strong band of women who devoted their nursing careers to caring for patients at the Newcastle Mater Misericordiae at Waratah. A collection of old photos has revived sentimental memories and prompted a way to retain them for decades to come.
Hunter River reflections, tracing the Hunter River back to its source.
Royal River Inn, Morpeth. Located at the quiet end of Swan Street, the Inn (circa 1828) has a long and colourful history.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rail heritage update

The upgrade of the Rail Heritage Centre at Thirlmere is part of the NSW Government's commitment to conserving the state's rail heritage. The Rail Heritage Centre upgrade is a two-stage construction process that began in November 2008 and is expected to be completed in 2011.
2010 newsletter has further details.

Tribute for service: Greta cenotaph

From the Maitland Mercury report:
There will be a new memorial next to the Greta cenotaph, where the names of soldiers, sailors and air personnel who fought in the world wars are etched in history. The Greta RSL sub-branch president Kevin Gordon said they want to see everyone who has fought for their country in all conflicts recognised and their names preserved.

Full article by Kate Morris available at Maitland Mercury, 08 Dec, 2010.

Governor to officially open 150th show

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Australian governor-general Quentin Bryce will officially open next year’s Maitland Mercury Hunter River Super Show as it celebrates its 150th anniversary. Maitland Show is one of the oldest shows in Australia with only Sydney and Launceston laying claim to a longer history, making it an event with enormous historical significance, Mr Ward said.

Full article by Kate Morris available at Maitland Mercury, 08 Dec, 2010.

Victoria Cross: Australia's finest and the battles they fought

The Australian War Memorial’s upgraded Hall of Valour, re-opening soon, contains the national collection of Victoria Crosses. To mark the occasion the latest 2010 edition of Anthony Staunton's popular book, Victoria Cross: Australia's finest and the battles they fought, is now available and exclusive to the Memorial.

This latest edition features over 100 rarely seen photographs and includes Victoria Cross for Australia recipient Trooper Mark Donaldson VC.

China’s entombed warriors – Art Gallery of NSW

The First Emperor: China’s entombed warriors brings to Australia over 120 rare objects, featuring ten complete terracotta warrior figures including foot soldiers, generals, kneeling bowmen and horses. The First Emperor: China’s entombed warriors reveals the fascinating story of a key figure in world history, who unified China, leaving a legacy that has lasted over 2000 years.
When: 2 Dec 2010 – 13 Mar 2011
Where: Art Gallery of NSW,1 Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney
More Information

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Miss Porter's house, Newcastle - Christmas at the Porters

A National Trust special exhibition of Christmas memorabilia owned by the Porter family. Enjoy decorations, postcards from various times in the lives of the Porters and an historic Christmas dinner table setting.
Sunday 12th December, 1-4 pm, Miss Porter's house, 434 King Street, Newcastle. Enquiries: Roland Bannister, 49270202.

Wall locked away: Maitland Gaol

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A Hunter-only heritage grant could help open a section of Maitland Gaol that is currently off-limits to visitors.

The second storey of the workshops building houses a series of murals drawn by inmates of the former maximum security prison.
But guidelines dictate a second staircase is required to allow visitors in. Maitland Gaol administration coordinator Gordon Sauber said a $400,000 program of works identified for the dollar-for-dollar grant also included other facilities.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 30 Nov, 2010.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Annual Report 2009-2010

Annual Report 2009-2010
2009-2010 witnessed a number of very significant events for the Commission. The latest annual report, published on 11 November, highlights the great variety of projects over the past year, including the successful opening of the Commission’s first new cemetery in 50 years, at Fromelles in northern France.
The annual report is available at the Commission's web site.

St Paul’s Anglican Church celebrates 165 years

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A total of 165 years of worship for St Paul’s Anglican Church at Paterson was commemorated at a special ceremony in the town on the weekend.
The Anglican parish of Gresford/Paterson was consecrated there on November 27, 1845, by the first and only Bishop of Australia, the Right Reverend William Broughton.

Full article by Alan Hardie available at Maitland Mercury, 29 Nov, 2010.

Signs to tell story of Walka

From the Maitland Mercury report:
New interpretative signs are proposed to be in place at Walka Water Works in time for next year’s Hunter Valley Steamfest.
Maitland City Council committed $20,000 to the first stage of a signs and interpretative strategy to heighten the experience for visitors to the historic site.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 26 Nov, 2010.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Maitland Gaol will be film set for new movie

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A new Australian film will come to life at Maitland’s historic jail.

Australian Enemy – by actor and writer Joshua Finch – will be filmed at Maitland Gaol early next month.
The film chronicles the rise and fall of Angelo Morello, an Italian-born criminal who comes to Sydney from a dairy farm in central NSW.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 25 Nov, 2010.

City honours two citizens with medals

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Two of Maitland’s most recognisable community stalwarts joined a prestigious list of Maitland Medal recipients last night.
The spotlight shone on Fred Goode and Selby Green in front of about 70 people when they were presented with the medals at Maitland City Council’s annual Volunteers Christmas Party at the Maitland Senior Citizens Hall.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 25 Nov, 2010,

Art gallery shining example of heritage, modern blend

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland Regional Art Gallery has become an example to other councils of how to successfully marry art with heritage.

Representatives from Mosman Council, including the mayor, Cr Anne Connon, took a guided tour of the building yesterday with a view to find inspiration for their own venue.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 23 Nov, 2010.

Paterson Historical Society

From the Maitland Mercury report:
An intricate painting by renowned botanist and former Paterson rector Herman Montagne Rucker Rupp is about to become part of the Royal Botanic Gardens’ prized collection. Paterson Historical Society will donate the 1928 painting to the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens early next year.
“This painting is an original by Rupp so it’s pretty important and we didn’t want it buried here where no one could find it, because it’s quite precious,” Paterson Historical Society president Dr Cameron Archer said.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 22 Nov, 2010.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

2010 Community Heritage Grants Announced

National Library of Australia announcement:
Seventy groups around the country have received a total of $418 563 through the 2010 Community Heritage Grants.

The grants help community groups and organisations preserve community-owned but nationally significant collections. Some of the recipients this year include the Adaminaby Snowy Scheme Collection, Royal Far West Scheme, the Australian Country Hospital Heritage Association and the Marysville and District Historical Society.

Foundation buys historic East Maitland building for charity

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A piece of East Maitland’s history that has served the community for almost a century will enter a new era as the focal point for those living with cerebral palsy.

The historic East Maitland Post Office will on Friday be reborn as the new home for The Spastic Centre.
The Spastic Centre bought the Day Street premises – which first opened its doors as a post office in 1876 – with a donation from Sargents Pies Charitable Foundation.

Full articleby Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 18 Nov, 2010.

Historic photographic treasures to be catalogued

From the Maitland Mercury report:
An evocative collection of black and white photographs capturing the lives of those living in the Gresford district during the 1920s and early 1930s will be catalogued for posterity. The Gresford Historical Society has been awarded a $1500 grant from the Royal Australian Historical Society to catalogue a collection of images photographed by Robert Joseph Edgar Marceau.

Full articleby Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 18 Nov, 2010.

National Trust Annual General Meeting

The AGM for the National Trust will be held 27 November 2010 and all financial members of the National Trust of Australia (NSW) are invited and encouraged to attend the meeting.

Saturday 27 November
S.H. Ervin Gallery, Watson Road, Observatory Hill, The Rocks, Sydney.

Looking back: Maitland in 1965

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Picture that in Maitland: 1965 is the title of an exhibition that will be on display at Maitland Regional Art Gallery from November 19.

The exhibition will feature a collection of photos from the Maitland Mercury newspaper with more than 50 photos telling a story about what life was like in the mid 1960s.
Mercury photographer and exhibition curator Cath Bowen said there was no particular reason she chose 1965, other than the opportunity to look back 45 years.
Full article by Kate Morris available at Maitland Mercury, 12 Nov, 2010.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gaol story told for first time

From the Maitland Mercury report:
It is sometimes difficult to portray the realities of life behind the sandstone walls of Maitland Gaol.
But the historical site’s successful transformation from a maximum security prison to a tourist attraction will be told for the first time at a national symposium hosted by Interpretation Australia, a network of people who interpret Australia’s natural and cultural heritage.

Full article available by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 09 Nov, 2010.

Britain’s Child Migrants – Australian National Maritime Museum

From the 1860s onwards more than 100,000 British children were sent to Australia, Canada and other Commonwealth countries through child migration schemes. Few were orphans – the majority came from families who were unable to care for them – and most embarked on the long sea voyage alone. The lives of these children changed dramatically and fortunes varied. Some forged new futures, others suffered lonely, brutal childhoods. All experienced disruption and separation from family and homeland.
Where: Australian National Maritime Museum, 2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour
When: 10 November 2010 - 15 May 2011
Cost: Free Museum Entry
More information: Australian National Maritime Museum

Praise floods in for museum’s collection

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland’s clothing and textiles museum houses a 1920s Catholic priest’s garment, called a chasuble, which was recovered from the debris of Maitland’s 1955 flood.
The severely damaged and fragile garment is an important symbol in Maitland’s history and is one of the most significant artefacts in the Australian Museum of Clothing and Textiles (AMCAT) collection housed at Maitland Gaol.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 05 Nov, 2010.

Morpeth water tower next to historic Closebourne House

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Morpeth resident and businessman Trevor Richards describes a disused water tower next to historic Closebourne House as a blight on the landscape of Morpeth. The 20-metre high “bloody monstrosity” spoils an otherwise perfect view across the grounds of the former St John’s College and its romantic avenue of trees planted 140 years ago.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 04 Nov, 2010.

Fundraising for historic St Peter’s Anglican Church

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A mammoth garage sale planned for next week could kick-start a fund-raising campaign to remove layers of salt that have encrusted much of the historic St Peter’s Anglican Church in East Maitland. The 127-year-old building is already undergoing extensive drainage operations to remove water from under its foundations, Father Michael Davies told the Mercury.
Full article by Alan Hardie available at Maitland Mercury, 03 Nov, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Punters loved Cup winner Posinatus: Morpeth

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Morpeth man Jim Chambers lived in an old cottage on the site of today’s Morpeth Pharmacy. Chambers trained racehorses, which were stabled in a large shed in the backyard. His best horse Posinatus won the Melbourne Cup in 1913. When Posinatus retired from racing he was given to Father Corcoran to ride around his parish at Morpeth.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 29 Oct, 2010.

A piece of Maitland Gaol’s long history has been restored.

From the Maitland Mercury article:
The demolished female wing and cookhouse will again cast a shadow against the razor wire-topped wall facing Lindsay Street, when an interpretative project illustrating the outline of the buildings is unveiled at the Bitter and Twisted International Beer Festival on November 6 and 7. Maitland Gaol administration co-ordinator Gordon Sauber said a sandstone outline of the buildings was incorporated into landscaping the site, to indicate the scale of the buildings and where they were located.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 29 Oct, 2010.

New 2011-13 NSW Heritage Grants program

NSW Heritage Grants aims to improve the physical condition of NSW heritage items, assist communities to care for their heritage and supports local government in its role as manager of the majority of heritage items in NSW.
2011-2013 Hunter Region Heritage Grants program - Hunter Region Heritage Grants aims to improve the physical condition of Hunter Region heritage items and to assist communities to care for their heritage.

Applications are now invited for:
Hunter Region Works projects for conservation, maintenance and adaptive reuse of State Heritage Register and state significant heritage items.
Hunter Region Works projects for local government heritage assets for conservation, maintenance and adaptive reuse of State Heritage Register, state significant and locally significant heritage items.
More information at NSW Heritage.

Historic home safe, claim developers: Aberglasslyn

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Property developer Stockland has dismissed fears that a new housing development will impact Aberglasslyn House, vowing that all heritage conditions will be met. The National Trust-listed Aberglasslyn House that borders the new residential development has come under scrutiny as Maitland councillors voted to rezone the buffer area around the historic landmark last week.

Full article by Kate Morris available at Maitland Mercury, 25 Oct, 2010.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Steam locomotive 3801 back on track

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland and steam locomotive 3801 have forged a historic bond.
The coal and water tender from the famous locomotive, which is a popular sight at Maitland’s Steamfest, left Telarah yesterday after its first overhaul in 20 years.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 21 Oct, 2010.

Michael Rolfe appointed Chief Executive Officer, Museums & Galleries NSW

After an international search process, the Board of Museums & Galleries NSW (M&G NSW) are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Michael Rolfe as Chief Executive Officer.
Mr Rolfe joins M&G NSW after a highly successful period as Director of the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre in Gymea, Sydney.

Concerns over zone changes: Aberglasslyn House

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The National Trust-listed Aberglasslyn House will lose its surrounding buffer zone if the council’s local environment plan is given the go-ahead tonight.
Maitland City Council city strategy manager Monica Gibson recommended in a report that the buffer zone, which the report described as a “development restriction around Aberglasslyn House”, be changed to a rural/residential zoning.
National Trust advocacy officer Tony Brassil said he was concerned about losing the buffer zone to a property of such overwhelming heritage significance.

Full article by Kate Morris avaliable at Maitland Mercury, 19 Oct, 2010.

Museum reopens after restoration work

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The old Morpeth Court House is ready to be opened following months of restoration work.
The courthouse, now a museum, has been closed for some time while contractors carried out the work,
The Morpeth Court House was built in 1862 on land donated by Lieutenant EC Close and was designed by architect Mortimer Lewis Jnr, the government’s Clerk of Works in the Hunter region at that time.

Full article by Anna Yeo available at Maitland Mercury, 19 Oct, 2010.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Forgotten heroes: Korean veterans

From the Maitland Mercury report:
For two veterans in Maitland the Korean war still seems very much an unknown war – as far as the government is concerned too. On October 23, a national ceremony will be held at the Australian National Korean War Memorial in Canberra to mark the 60th anniversary of that war. But former Royal Australian Navy sailor Dave Cunningham and infantryman Basil Stemp, who both served in Korea, told the Mercury they knew nothing about the upcoming Canberra ceremony and had received no information about it.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 15 Oct, 2010.

Standing the test of time: Tocal College

From the Maitland Mercury report:
It has been 45 years since Sir Robert Menzies opened the doors of Tocal Agricultural College paving the way for thousands of Australians to learn the ropes about life on the land.

Since then the Tocal property, homestead and college have touched the lives of many.
Staff, students (past and present) and various politicians gathered at the college on Thursday for Foundation Day to pay homage to an education facility that has stood the test of time.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 15 Oct. 2010.

U.K. National Archives: search one million wills online

The U.K. National Archives has the largest collection of digitised wills on the internet. You can search over one million wills, made between 1384 and 1858 with the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. 
The site also features a selection of famous wills, including that of Jane Austen, 1817.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Commission's records commemorate over 1.7 million service men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars.
As we have so many records, we are regularly asked why:
  • we provide only initials and not Christian names
  • we don't have any information about next of kin in our records
To help explain this further, our Archives Supervisor has written a short report on
How our records were compiled following the First World War.

Society of Australian Genealogists - October Events

Society of Australian Genealogists
Getting Started on Your Family History
Thursday 28 October (10.30am - 12.30pm) - members only - Are you wondering how to get started, or what questions to ask? This opportunity is especially for new members with no family history research experience. Learn the fundamentals to start you on the road, and where to find and ask for help. Members Only. Special Price of $10.00. Bookings Essential.

Lost in the Internet 2010
Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 October (10.00am-4.00pm) -
Held at the State Library of NSW. Come along to the SAG's annual weekend seminar to learn about the latest on free-to-view and pay-to-view sites, review social networking, consider privace and etiquette concerns, look to maximising your Google-ing experience and much more. See full programme here. Bookings Essential. $95 ($115 non-members).

National Trust Hunter Regional Committee AGM

The Hunter Regional Committee is currently welcoming nominations to all positions on the committee. This includes chair, deputy chair, secretary, treasurer and committee members.
Executive director of the National Trust, Will Holmes a Court, will be a guest speaker at the meeting.
The meeting will be followed by lunch including Devonshire tea, coffee, sandwiches.
Cost $8. All proceeds go to Tomago House.
Sunday 21 November, 11am
Tomago House, 421 Tomago Road, Tomago. Ph. 49301471

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Angel of Peace statue in Maitland Park

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The Angel of Peace statue in Maitland Park – once heralded as a possible “angel of death” because she was falling apart – is smiling again. And so are officials from Maitland RSL sub-branch now that she has been repaired.
Full article by Alan Hardie available at Maitland Mercury, 30 Sep, 2010.

History & Genealogy Expo - Sydney

This Expo is unique opportunity to see many societies, libraries and commercial product and service suppliers in one place and to learn from the many expert presenters. There will be something for researchers at all levels.
This expo is being organised by Unlock the Past with the support of the Society of Australian Genealogists.
Venue - Parramatta RSL, Corner Macquarie and O’Connell Streets, Parramatta
Date - Friday 22 - Saturday 23 October
Time - 9.00am-6.00pm Friday - 9.00am-5.00pm Saturday
More information at Unlock the Past.

Lochinvar’s historic police station to stay

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Lochinvar’s historic police station is to be saved and will be refurbished as a working station, Maitland MP Frank Terenzini announced yesterday.
Full article at Maitland Mercury, 28 Sep, 2010.

Chair a memory to fallen soldiers - Paterson Museum

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A memorial chair honouring the lives of two men who tragically lost their lives during World War II has taken up residence at Paterson Courthouse Museum.
Dedicated by their families on May 27, 1948, the chair is in memory of Flight Sergeant Don Dixon and Sergeant Eric Livingston Newell.
The chair was originally given to St Ann’s Presbyterian Church, Paterson, but with the church being sold, the chair is now on permanent loan to the museum.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 24 Sep, 2010.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Grossmann House & the Maitland Muster

The Bush comes to Brough!
Join in the Maitland Muster celebrations on the long weekend by dropping into Grossmann/Brough House garden for a lunchtime BBQ with bush poetry. The National Trust repository has also been opened up to reveal some interesting toys from the former Australian Museum of Early Childhood. Saturday 2nd October from 11.00am. Ph. 49336452 or 49661760.

Society of Australian Genealogists

Australia & Great Britain & The Great War - Saturday 9 October 2010, 10.00 am - 4.00 pm, at Richmond Villa, 120 Kent Street, Sydney. Britain called and Australia answered, sending service men and women across the seas - many never to return; others independently made the trip to Britain and joined the forces there. Our WWI day will look ato learning more about the experiences of those who served and interpreting the records. Highlights will be two recent major research projects on Gallipoli and Fromelles from experts involved.

Collections Australia Network

Collections Australia Network (CAN) will be scaling back some of its activities pending directions by the Cultural Ministers Council regarding the CAN Review. CAN and its funding body have entered into a new agreement which outlines the services which CAN will continue to provide during this interim period. More information at Collections Australia Network.

Volunteers Needed - National Trust of Australia (NSW)

The National Trust of Australia (NSW) is looking for more people to join their lively and dedicated team of volunteers working at Old Government House and Experiment Farm Cottage, helping the National Trust present these treasures to the public.
A Volunteer Training Course will be held for people interested in being either a tour guide, working with children in education programs, shop assistance, gardening and maintenance, administration and conservation care.
For further information and applications: contact David Hoffman, Manager (or Lin Henry & Anna Ridley, Museums Coordinators) on 9635 8149 or email:

or visit

Saturday, September 18, 2010

CWA members dig into past

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland CWA has a proud history of supporting the war effort, according to CWA member and author of the group’s history book Lisa Thomas. Mrs Thomas, of Lochinvar, has been researching back to 1929 when the branch was one of the first to form in the Hunter River group.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 13 Sep, 2010.

Grossman House National Trust events

Friday 24th September 2010, Harry Boyle Memorial Lecture. Brough House is the venue for the lecture delivered by Dr. Dawn Casey. Dr. Casey is the Director of the Powerhouse Museum and is known nationally and internationally as the inaugural Director of the National Museum of Australia. Bookings essential, ph. 4933 6452 or 4932 0518.

National Library of Australia: a plan for Australian newspapers

Hilary Berthon, the Australian Newspaper Plan Coordinator at the National Library of Australia, describes how Australia’s newspapers are being preserved. Since the publication of the first newspaper in Australia in 1803, newspapers have occupied an important place in Australian life, providing both a unique commentary on and even shaping the communities in which they have been circulated.
National Library Magazine, September 2010.

Hunter Lifestyle Magazine: edition 45, Aug-Sept 2010

Historic Eelah, Maitland Vale. The property is surrounded by 69 acres, originally part of an 1826 massive 12,000 acre land grant given by Governor Lachlan Macquarie to a Mr. Timothy Nowlan, then  head of the Irish woollen mils in Dublin. The property played a vital role in the establishment of Merino sheep in Australia.
The infamous Jewboy Gang. Scone is today a pleasant rural town in the Upper Hunter Valley, but back in 1840 a tragedy occurred that would also give Scone a prominant position in Hunter bushranging history. Story & images by Gregory Powell.
Disability service celebrates 50 years. Mai-Wel is a very active organisation in the Hunter Region. The CEO Pennie Kearney talks about its history and the services it operates. Story by Tim Grant.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wedding gowns from 1930s will help raise money for kids

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The gowns of four Maitland sisters who walked down the aisle during the late 1980s and early ’90s are about to go on show to raise money for children struggling to survive in Third World countries.
The gowns, made by the sisters’ mother, will be the feature of a vintage fashion parade to raise money for World Vision.
The parade, titled Orange Blossom Time, is the work of Maitland charity group Private Collections.
Orange Blossom Time will be held at St Peter’s Church Hall, East Maitland, on Saturday, September 18, starting at 1.30pm.
An afternoon tea will follow. Phone 4933 4801 or 4934 6401 to book.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 09 Sep, 2010.

Reaching the People: Mary MacKillop in Sydney Cove

The inspirational - and vital - work of the Sisters of St Joseph at the end of the 19th century is being celebrated in a poignant exhibition at the Mary MacKillop Place Museum in North Sydney .  Reaching the People: Mary MacKillop in Sydney Cove is an exhibition focusing on Mary's tireless work between 1881 and 1901. When: 10am to 4pm, from August 28 to September 26, 7 days a Week

Where: Mary MacKillop Place Museum is located in the School House Building , 9 Mount Street, North Sydney
Admission: Admission to the exhibition is included in the museum entry fee
Contact: 02 8912 4878
Further information:

15th century Chinese scrolls take pride of place at city’s art gallery

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A collection of ancient Chinese scrolls dating back to the 15th century has been unveiled to the people of Maitland.
In a first for the Maitland Regional Art Gallery, the scrolls are now on display after spending the past five years tucked away from public view.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 07 Sep, 2010.

Corn staddle one of the last in Australia

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The Paterson Historical Society has renewed its fight to save the village’s iconic corn staddle. In Tucker Park, the 100-year-old corn staddle and hearse shed are the remnants of the once-thriving coaching business conducted by two generations of Maitland’s well-known Fry family.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 07 Sep, 2010.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Display shed puts iconic steam engine on the move

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Steam engine 1042 will be taken to a new home in time for next year’s Hunter Valley Steamfest.
Maitland City Council will build a storage and display shed in Steam Heritage Park, bounded by Maitland Railway Station and the Trezecinski Bridge, following a resolution at its meeting this week.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 26 Aug, 2010.

Look Who's Talking Local History : Faces in the Street

The next presentation in the Maitland Library's Look Who's Talking Local History series wil be held on Thursday 9 September, 6.00-8.00pm at the Maitland Gaol. Join us for a journey down the streets of the past during NSW History Week. Personal stories will bring Maitland's social history to life as locals reveal the mystery behind the faces in the street.
More information at Maitland City Library web page.

Glass negatives shed light on past

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Images of the past were captured and sealed in glass negatives at Alex Galloway’s photographic studio. And even 80 years stored beneath a nondescript Coalfields house, buried in floodwater and mud, failed to fade their images.

The Coalfields Heritage Group has spent countless hours restoring the damaged negatives after they were delivered in three boxes to Kurri Kurri’s Edgeworth David Museum – and light again shines on those faces whose gazes offer few clues to the fates that befell them after Alex Galloway snapped the shutter.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 20 Aug, 2010

A city’s progress, brick by brick

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Cedar getters and brick masters form the backbone of Maitland’s pioneering history.
The Friends of Grossmann House will celebrate that legacy and the rich history of Maitland’s brick buildings during a cedar and brick day at Brough House on Sunday.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 27 Aug, 2010.

History buff digs up list of NSW coal mines since 1804

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Kurri Kurri historian Brian Andrews is undertaking the mammoth task of listing every coal mine to operate in the state, starting with the first coal mine in Newcastle in 1804.

Enlisted by Coal Services Pty Ltd, formerly the Joint Coal Board, Mr Andrews has so far identified 1609 mines covering the coal rich Hunter, Illawarra, and a spattering in Gunnedah and the Clarence valley.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at: Maitland Mercury, 16 Aug, 2010.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Maitland Region Society of Artists

Maitland Region Society of Artists members art exhibition opening is being held on Friday 13th August 2010, 6-8pm.
The opening night begins with a book launch, A history of the Art Society by Marilyn Foster. 
Venue: Masonic hall, Grant Street Maitland.

Museums Australia National Conference

Museums Australia ( Victoria ) extends an invitation to the fourteenth annual Museums Australia National Conference in 2010, in Melbourne . The Conference will take place from 28 September to 2 October 2010, with the theme: Interesting Times: New roles for collections.
Further information:

Plaques honour boxing legend Darcy

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A limited edition Les Darcy plaque has been created to honour the boxing legend and Maitland hero. The Maitland Les Darcy Committee chairman Robbie Reid said this would be the last throw of the dice for Maitland people to own a piece of Les Darcy memorabilia.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 10 Aug, 2010.

Former prisoners exhibit artworks at historic jail

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The latest auditorium exhibition in the redeveloped education and museum space at the historic site presents the works of former inmates, ranging from oil paintings to graffiti from the cell walls.

Con Artistes: Arts and Crafts As Rehabilitative Therapy was unveiled this week, in the culmination of a long project by Maitland Gaol administration co-ordinator Gordon Sauber and researcher Steven “Mac” McLennan.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at: Maitland Mercury, 06 Aug, 2010.

National Archives of Australia Showcases

National Archives feature a number of website exhibitions, including:
Power for the people - 60 years of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme
Games we played - early decades of the 20th century
Shell-shocked: Australia after Armistice
Summers past - golden days in the sun, 1950-1970
Max Dupain - on assignment

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Take a walk to explore history

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Sempill Street was a bustling precinct in Maitland’s early history dating back to the 1830s and its earliest buildings and historic sites will be a highlight of the Friends of Grossmann House Heritage Walk on Sunday.

Organiser Holly McNamee said the tour would explore a part of West Maitland’s early history starting at the courthouse and police precinct and returning past the former Alma Hotel site in High Street.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 05 Aug, 2010.

Hunter Lifestyle Magazine

Hunter Lifestyle Magazine June-July 2010 features a number of heritage properties in the Hunter Valley:
Blythewood and Hazelrigg, Lorn. Two home gardens that were showcased during Autumn under the banner of Australia’s Open Garden Scheme.
Bolwarra Barn: to quote “unique” is an understatement for this fine and rare massively built sandstone building (circa 1836) known as Bolwarra Barn.
Elms Hall, Vacy, circa 1865, a stunning Victorian-era country home.
Pelerin, Singleton: after being converted to four flats in the 1950s, each room of Pelerin has now been peeled back to its original look and function.

Society of Australian Genealogists

                 New Records at FindMyPast and Ancestry:

Ancestry has released the Australian Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes, featuring almost 15 million records. The advantage of this new record set is that it brings indexes from all Australian states together so that you do not need to search each states' indexes one at a time.
At, birth records from the UK are now easier to search with fully indexed birth records from 1837-2006.

SAG activities: a chronological list of all SAG activities for August to October 2010 is now available for online viewing and bookings.

Reaching the People: Mary Mackillop in Sydney Cove

Reaching the People: Mary Mackillop in Sydney Cove celebrates the work and achievements of the Sisters of St Joseph in The Rocks area over a twenty year period from 1881- 1901. The exhibition highlights the establishment of the order in Sydney and the community links developed in the Catholic and protestant communities in the Rocks.
When: 27 August – 26 September 2010
Where: Mary MacKillop Place Museum, 7–11 Mount St, North Sydney
Further information:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hillsborough saved

From the Maitland Mercury report:
There was applause when Maitland City Council voted unanimously that the historic Maitland suburb of Hillsborough would keep its name last night. “It has a post code, it has an address, it has residents and it has real history – and that’s the way we should keep it,” Cr Wethered said.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 28 July, 2010.

Horse owner needs help to maintain Morpeth rides

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The gentle clip clop of Juliet the Clydesdale could soon become a sound of the past if residents fail to support her regular horse rides through Morpeth.
Juliet’s owner and carer, Dieter Hartmann, has launched a campaign to keep Juliet on the streets and is calling for residents to help keep her on the job.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 27 July, 2010.

Engineering Heritage Committee Public Lecture

Australia ’s First Railway: An “Agricultural” Venture

The venerable Australian Agricultural Company soon had its original 1824 objective of wool production supplemented by a requirement to produce coal. With an opening date of 1831, the railway connecting the mine to the Newcastle loading staiths was a structure well up to the standards of its European contemporaries.

Speaker Rod Caldwell, of the Newcastle Engineering Heritage Committee, has long been an active worker in engineering heritage.
When: Monday, 9 August 2010, 6pm. Refreshments from 5.30pm
Where: Engineers Australia Auditorium, Ground Floor, 8 Thomas St , Chatswood.  Admission: Free

Newcastle City Council - New Museum Photo Diary

Newcastle City Council has launched the New Museum Photo Diary where you can check out the progress of the new Newcastle Museum in the lead up to the launch of the fantastic new home in 2011.

More information at Newcastle Museum.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Currency Lass Hotel revamp given go ahead

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Tourists will bring new life to an empty historic hotel on High Street, Maitland with the building to be restored to its former glory. Maitland City Council has approved plans for the former Currency Lass Hotel to be transformed into a backpackers hostel to provide short-stay accommodation for visitors to the city.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 21 July, 2010.

Book highlights Maitland Region Society of Artists

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland’s hidden treasure – the city’s society of artists – has been looking for a place to call home for more than a decade.
Rutherford author Marilyn Foster has devoted a chapter to the society’s search in her book about the Maitland Region Society of Artists, called The First Decade. Crime writer and artist Barry Maitland will launch the book at the Masonic Hall, Grant Street, Maitland on Friday, August 13 at 6pm before the society’s art exhibition is opened.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 21 July 2010.

Coalfield Heritage Group

The July issue of Tumblebee, quarterly journal of the Coalfield Heritage Group, includes articles on:
Lachlan Macquarie; Birth of the coalfields; progress being made on the database of all N.S.W. coal mines.
Museum location: Cnr. Greta & Deakin Streets, Kurri Kurri, ph. 49374418.

Royal Australian Historical Society garden lecture

Garden Lecture: Snapshot of a career in historic landscapes
Landscape Architect and heritage consultant Geoffrey Britton has been coaxed to give a rare talk on his heritage landscape projects across NSW and beyond over an impressive career. With a background in the Government Architect's Office and former Department of Public Works, his contribution to our understanding of NSW's rich landscape legacy is substantial and growing
Date: Wed 11 Aug 2010
Time: from 06:30 pm
Place: History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney
More information at RAHS program of activities.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mai-Wel searches for memorabilia to record its history

From the Maitland Mercury report:
It’s been almost 50 years since the people of Maitland joined forces to establish a school for children and young people with a disability. Since then the school – now known as the Mai-Wel Group – has grown and changed, but the memories remain the same. To document the past five decades, the Mai-Wel Group is compiling historical information and data.
Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 15 July, 2010.

Australian Museum of Clothing and Textiles’ bi-annual Collectors’ Day

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Doll collecror Lin Berriman will display her wares during the Australian Museum of Clothing and Textiles’ bi-annual Collectors’ Day. Held at Maitland Gaol in September, the day is an opportunity for collectors to show their collections free of charge. The AMCAT Collector’s Day will be held on Sunday, September 26, between 10am and 4pm. Sellers of secondhand and/or collectables are also invited to have a stall for a small charge.
Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 15 July, 2010. Launches the Australia Birth, Marriage and Death Index

The Australia Birth, Marriage and Death Index, a compilation of the records of those who were born, married or died in Australia between the years 1788 and 1985.

The online index has been assembled into one fully searchable database from microfilm sourced from state record offices and archives where the records are available online or on fiche, but not in one place or in one format. Ancestry subscription information.

Artefact and artiface: getting back to basics at Hyde Park Barracks

Presented by Gary Crockett, Curator, Historic Houses Trust.
The presentation will lead a tour through this intriguing museum and examine how careful design, clear thinking and ‘good housekeeping’ brought the Hyde Park Barracks back from the brink and ensured its future for decades (at least) to come.

When: Thursday 5th August, 12.30 - 1.30pm
Where: Theatre, Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour
Contact: Registrations to by 30th July
Cost: Free!

Visions of Sydney Lecture Series: Building Sydney

Did Lachlan Macquarie really have a grand vision of Sydney ?
Join historian James Broadbent and Government Architect Peter Mould as they explore the consequences of Macquarie ’s ambitious building program.
When: Thursday 5 August 2010, 6.00 – 8.00pm
Where: Museum of Sydney , Corner Phillip and Bridge Streets, Sydney
Cost: $25.00, Concessions/Members $20.00
Bookings: 02 8239 2211 or

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Historic cemetery reopens : Maitland’s Jewish Cemetery

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The first person to be buried at Maitland’s historic Jewish Cemetery in 76 years will be lowered into the earth under a cloud of controversy.
The body of an elderly woman will be buried at the Louth Park cemetery at 3pm today more than seven decades after the entombment of Isacc Lipman in 1934.
But instead of welcoming the contemporary burial, members of the Australian Jewish Historical Society are outraged at Maitland City Council’s decision to allow the graveside service to go ahead.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 08 July, 2010

Sydney Design: 31 July – 15 August 2010

Sydney Design will host one if its most dynamic programs in 14 years with a city-wide program of more than 70 events and activities supported by an engaging theme ‘tell us a story’.
This contemporary design festival runs for 16 days from Saturday 31 July to Sunday 15 August. The program has been produced by the Powerhouse Museum in partnership with more than 50 cultural institutions, organisations and individuals across Sydney .

Further information:

Miss Porter’s House, Newcastle

Open Day with Children’s Books and Toys

Sunday, 11 July, 1.00pm - 4.00pm
Miss Porter’s House, 434 King Street, Newcastle West
Miss Porter’s House was the home of Herbert and Florence Porter and their two children, Ella and Hazel, until Herbert’s early death in 1919. Florence and the girls continued to live there all of their lives. When Hazel, the last surviving family member, died in 1997 she left the House to the National Trust. Many of the girls’ books and toys are still in the House and will be on view today. Cost: free to members, children and concession $5, adult $7. Enquiries: contact Roland Bannister. P: (02) 4967 4273 or

Australian Culture Portal Closes

1st July 2010 marks the cessation of the Culture Portal at
Further information about the closure can be found at and information about transfer of functions and content at
Australian Stories will be hosted in future by Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) in association with Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) following their successful migration to
They will still be able to be viewed at

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery

The ceremony to dedicate Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery will occur on Monday 19 July 2010. The event is being organised by the UK Ministry of Defence, the Australian Department of Defence and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Latest information at Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Tocal celebrates 45 year history

From the Maitland Mercury report:
In 1965, Tocal Agricultural College was a modest educational facility shaping the future of 15 young men.

Today, almost 45 years later, it’s a completely different story – but the history of the college remains firmly intact.
This history will come into focus later this year as the college – now regarded as one of Australia’s largest and most respected agricultural colleges – celebrates its 45th anniversary with a college reunion.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 02 July, 2010.

Society of Australian Genealogists

July activities from the Society of Australian Genealogists include:
  • Saturday 10 July (9.00am) - Library Orientation Tour, Members only. A one hour orientation tour of our library at 379 Kent Street.
  • Wednesday 14 July (10.30am - 12.30pm) - London Ancestors - It's easier than ever before! &
  • Friday 16 July (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Customising Sources with 'The Master Genealogist' (TMG) 
  • Wednesday 21 July (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Forums and Mailing Lists
  • Saturday 24 July (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Writing Interesting Family Histories
  • Thursday 29 June (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Getting Started on Your Family History - members only

Books recently published

Different sights: immigrants in New England. By Dr. Janis Wilton. Documenting the stories, people, places and objects that help to tell those stories. The aim is to seek and present the different perspectives and emphases that emerge when the focus is on the histories of immigrants who, so often, were seen to be on the margins of their local communities. Migration Heritage Centre.

The Orchid man of Paterson. By Val Anderson. Details the life of Herman Montague Rucker Rupp and his study of orchids while he was Rector of St Paul's Church of England at Paterson from 1924 to 1930. The book also contains interesting snapshots of the history of the Church of England in the Paterson Valley and records the more recent efforts of locals to retrace Rupp's steps, to find, identify and photograph the orchids he found six decades ago. Paterson Historical Society.

The Story of Lambton – a suburb of Newcastle. The Scottish Australian Mining Company established the Lambton Colliery in 1863 following which it became one of the most profitable and technologically advanced in Australia. Not surprisingly the township of Lambton which developed nearby was one of the most prosperous in the Newcastle area.  Newcastle Family History Society.

From the Spirit: A History of Newcastle Grammar School. By Anne Dunne, Troy Duncan, Rosemary Melville. The School has links to the earliest days of Anglican education in the city, beginning in 1816 when convict Henry Wrensford taught thirty eight children in a small room in Christ Church, on the site of today's Cathedral. Newcastle Grammar School.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Museums Australia NSW Tour and Talk

New Australian Museum Collections & Research Building

Construction of the Collections & Research Building , which began in late 2006, is now complete. The addition is the first major building to be constructed at the Museum in 20 years. It integrates a mosaic of spaces built at different times over the last 150 years and brings together much of the zoology collection in a purpose-built facility for over 10 million specimens, with contemporary offices and newly minted laboratories for up to 90 staff and visiting researchers.
The tour will be given by Dr Penny Berents, Head of Natural Science Collections.
When: 4pm, Wednesday 7 July 2010
Where: Australian Museum , William Street entrance, Sydney
Cost: Free
RSVP: Paul Bentley on 02 9387 7307 or 0416 121 347 or
Further information: Museums Australia

London Lives : online archive 1690 to 1800

A fully searchable edition of 240,000 manuscripts from eight archives and fifteen datasets, giving access to 3.35 million names. London Lives contains enough documentary material to reconstruct the lives, or significant portions of the lives, of hundreds of thousands of Londoners who lived in the eighteenth century, including both plebeians and the officers who manned the institutions of government and social welfare.

James Fletcher hospital site not for sale

From the Newcastle Herald report:
James Fletcher Hospital is not for sale and is set to be heritage listed by the state government while remaining a part of the mental health service provided by Hunter New England Health.
Minister for the Hunter Jodi McKay will announce plans to have the site listed on the State Heritage Register today, ensuring the hospital, built in 1819, remains in public hands.
Full article by Neil Goffet available at Newcastle Herald, 28 June, 2010.

The Hunter ... Its People : Newcastle Herald Magazine

On Thursday 24 June the Newcastle Herald publishes a landmark 48-page magazine titled The Hunter ... Its People.  It profiles more than 300 prominent people who have contributed to making our region what it is today.  Some are names of legend, people who have put their stamp on the nation and the world since Australia’s European discovery. Information at Newcastle Herald.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"Sepia Town" historical images and maps

Sepia Town combines Google Maps with historical images to present an historical map of various locations.
The objective of SepiaTown is to map a virtual past by collecting and mapping a vast collection of historical and vintage photographs, prints, film, audio and other media.
SepiaTown lets you view and share thousands of mapped historical images from around the globe. We welcome historical images from collections of all sizes, from libraries and historical societies to individuals with a boxful of cool old photos.
Try a search for 'Sydney' to view a contemporary satellite image superimposed with historical images.

National Library of Australia oral history project

The National Library of Australia is conducting an oral history project to record the lives and experiences of Forgotten Australians and former Child Migrants. Interviews will be conducted across Australia, will be preserved in the Library and made publicly available, subject to any access conditions imposed by interviewees. Along with undertaking interviews, the Library is seeking to collect associated materials, including ephemera, self-published autobiographies, websites and manuscripts. More information at the National Library Project Website.

Former foes plan to unite: Turkish soldiers to march alongside Diggers in Maitland

From The Maitland Mercury report:
Plans to invite Turkish soldiers to march alongside Diggers in Maitland are being considered as part of a mammoth program in 2015 to commemorate 100 years since the historic Gallipoli landings. Maitland RSL Sub-branch vice-president Fred Goode said the planning committee was also considering a request to have the crew of patrol boat HMAS Maitland parade through the city.

Full article by Alan Hardie available at Maitland Mercury, 24 Jun, 2010.

Fire service history to be recorded

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland resident Dr Robyn Dunlop is determined to record the 50-year history of the Iona-Duns Creek Rural Fire Service before the stories are lost. A Paterson Historical Society member, Dr Dunlop is researching the fire service history, which dates back to August 18, 1959.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 23 Jun, 2010.

Friday, June 18, 2010

National Library of Australia e-resources

The National Library of Australia has recently added two significant updates to existing eResources:

The Ireland Collection: digitised content from the extensive holdings of Queen's University Belfast.
19th Century British Newspapers Part II: 22 newspaper titles have been added to this resource of 19th century British newspapers from the British Library's collection.
Registered readers can access the Ireland Collection and 19th Century British Newspapers via the eResources portal.

Couple’s collectables to go on show

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Barbara and Neville Mead, of Lorn, have collected more tins, cans, food packaging and cookbooks than they can possibly count during the past 25 years. The Meads’ vast array of collectables, antiques and bric-a-brac will go on display this weekend for the Newcastle Antique and Collectables Club’s 2010 State Show and Trading Fair at Newcastle Racecourse.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 17 June, 2010.

Chronicling America Digitized Newspaper Collection

Chronicling America, enhancing access to America's historic newspapers. This site allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1860-1922 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. The site now includes more than 2.3 million pages from 295 titles published between 1860 and 1922 in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

Professor Carmen Lawrence to Chair Australian Heritage Council

The Federal Heritage Minister, Peter Garrett, has announced that the Honourable Professor Carmen Lawrence has been appointed Chair of the Australian Heritage Council, the Federal Government’s independent expert advisory body on heritage matters. Mr Garrett also thanked the outgoing Chair of the Australian Heritage Council, Tom Harley, for his commitment to heritage protection in Australia .
Further information:

Monday, June 14, 2010

New cache of World War I records

Also from National Archives of Australia:
The National Archives has received close to 1000 records of the World War I Federal Parliamentary War Committee from the Australian Parliament.

The records show Committee decisions on recruitment, returned and disabled soldiers, land settlement, military convalescent homes, military camps and other matters. It is believed that these original documents have never been examined by researchers.

Access to Australian archives after 20 years

The new Freedom of Information reforms passed in Parliament on 13 May mean the open access period for most National Archives records will be reduced to 20 years, instead of the current 30 years. The earlier open access periods will be phased in over 10 years, from 1 January 2011. You’ll find further information on the new legislation in Director-General Ross Gibbs’ online column.

RootsWeb notes new mailing list: Aus-Bushrangers

New Ethnic or Special Interest Mailing Lists from RootsWeb:

AUS-BUSHRANGERS —  A mailing list for the discussion of bushrangers and any other people associated with or affected by bush crimes in Australia. Commenced May 2010, with archives viewable.

Hunter Lifestyle Magazine April-May 2010

Hunter Lifestyle Magazine issue April-May 2010 includes:

Mayor of the City of Cessnock, Alison Darcy interviewed. Born in Gunnedah, she moved with her parents at the age of two to live at East Maitland, where her father took up duties as a health officer for Maitland City Council.

Leafy Lambton: born to serve. Lambton still retains the charm of yesteryear with heritage buildings, together with a retail strip offering convenience and old-fashioned, personalised service.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ray recalls the ride of his life

                 From the Maitland Mercury report:
Ray Bride was the smallest and youngest passenger at three days old to fly in Nancy Bird’s Gypsy Moth aircraft in 1935. His next experience of flying in a Moth was 74 years later when he was invited to take to the skies in the observer’s seat for the opening of the Nancy Bird-Walton Memorial Tower at Luskintyre Airfield.
Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 04 June, 2010.

Maitland Regional Art Gallery - Maitland Jewish Cemetery

The exhibition Undertow by Hanna Kay is complimented by the launch of Maitland Jewish Cemetery: a monument to dreams and deeds by Janis Wilton, a publication and installation on the history of the cemetery and the people buried there, curated by Janis Wilton and Joe Eisenberg, and designed by David Guy.
Exhibition continues to 11/07/10 at the Maitland Regional Art Gallery.

Archives at the Australian Museum, Sydney

The Archives holds records of the Australian Museum's activities going back to 1836. It constitutes a unique collection of source material for students of natural history, science, Australian history and the changing role of museums in society. You can find out about the history of the Museum's collections, its historic and contemporary buildings and the people who have worked here over nearly two centuries.

Name tied to history: Hillsborough

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The long history of Maitland area pioneering families is embedded in the soil of a rural suburb that dates back to a land grant registered in 1836. The descendants of William Vile and William Cant, who established the roots of a family tree in the area about 160 years ago, said a suggestion to erase the Hillsborough name and allow its 16 residential addresses to be included in Rosebrook will change the fabric of their ancestry.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 07 June, 2010.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Australian War Memorial Family history workshop

This family history workshop will explore original records, held in the Research Centre’s collection, that help tell the story of an individual’s service. The workshop is a follow-up to last year’s workshop, which focused on the Memorial’s online resources, and is suitable for people researching relatives who served with Australian forces.
Saturday 19 June 2010, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm

ABC National Regional Museum Awards

The ABC Radio National Regional Museum Awards 2010 nominations are now open. If you work in or know of a wonderful museum in regional Australia that deserves national recognition, visit the website at for more information on eligibility and registration. 

Grossmann and Brough House Appeal

Interesting domestic spaces – the Wash-House and Dry Laundry. The original Wash-House and Dry Laundry will be opened and newly presented, showing them as they would have been in their heyday. Conserving and interpreting this domestic space would assist in accurately reflecting the lives and lifestyles of its inhabitants and enhance the visitor experience at this iconic property.

The National Trust are appealing for donations, ph. (02) 9258 0156, Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm, or donate online.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Society of Australian Genealogists

The list of all S.A.G. activities for May to July 2010 is now available for online viewing and bookings. Bookings for most activities can be made and paid for online. You can also phone the office on 9247 3953 or call in during library hours Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday.

All activities are held at Richmond Villa, 120 Kent Street unless otherwise specified.

Irish Census 1901

The National Archives of Ireland has announced that the 1901 Irish Census will be freely available for viewing on its website from 3 June. For more details go to
All thirty-two counties for 1911 are also now available on the site.

Cappers store foundation stones uncovered

From the Maitland Mercury article:
A link to Maitland’s colonial and commercial past has been unearthed through the modernisation of the eastern end of High Street. The sandstone foundations of Cappers store, which stood on High Street between Cathedral and Odd streets until 1971, have been delicately dug from the earth as part of the demolition of the former Fren’s site.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 28 May, 2010.

Art gallery pays tribute to Les Darcy

From the Maitland Mercury article:
The life of legendary Maitland boxer Les Darcy has been honoured in many ways, at many places. This time it will be the Maitland Regional Art Gallery. The anniversary of Darcy’s death– on May 24, 1917, in America – will be commemorated at the gallery this weekend with the exhibition Recollecting: Les Darcy.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 29 May 2010.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Update on Australian Newspapers online

National Library of Australia have announced the migration to Trove of online newspapers.
All the features of the Australian Newspapers service (blue standalone version) including the advanced search have now been replicated in Trove (green version)
Sydney Morning Herald
Digitisation of the Sydney Morning Herald from available microfilm and issues from 1831 to 1954 are now available in the service.

Australian Museum introduces behind the scenes tours

Australia’s first Museum is opening its doors with the Behind the Scenes tours - offering people a unique insight into the Museum’s extraordinary collection of over 16 million scientific specimens and cultural artefacts.
Where: Australian Museum , 6 College Street , Sydney
When: Daily at 11am
Cost: Members $110 / Non-members $130
Contact: Bookings essential on (02) 9320 6009
Further information:

Forgotten history comes to life in gallery exhibition

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland was home to a thriving Jewish community made up of businessmen, tailors, photographers, watchmakers and their families during the 1800s and into the early 1900s. Historian Janis Wilton OAM and partner Maitland Regional Art Gallery cultural director Joe Eisenberg OAM have worked to unearth the city’s Jewish chapter.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 26 May, 2010.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

1st/15th Royal NSW Lancers Memorial Museum collection

1st/15th Royal NSW Lancers Memorial Museum collection has been listed on State Heritage Register. The unique museum collection of Australia ’s oldest and most highly decorated regiment, the 1st/15th Royal NSW Lancers, has been listed on the State Heritage Register. Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly, said the 6000-piece collection, housed at historic Parramatta Barracks, has been listed for its historical and cultural significance.

Trooper’s family link revealed - Fred Avard

From the Maitland Mercury report:
When Christine Avard of Morpeth was a young girl, she would get off the bus near Maitland Town Hall so she could walk up the steps to read a plaque dedicated to Trooper Fred Avard. One of Maitland’s most famous sons, the war hero was killed in action in the Anglo-Boer War in October, 1900.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 20 May, 2010

Anglo-Boer War heroes honoured

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland RSL sub-branch was among the first in NSW to recognise the Hunter region’s Anglo-Boer War veterans with a memorial wall bearing the servicemen’s names. The Anglo-Boer War memorial wall opened in Maitland Park in 2004 and this year a special day of commemoration has been set aside to honour the war heroes.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 20 May, 2010.

Maitland 1955 flood: Men reunite to relive ordeals for the camera

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A group of men who were teenagers together on the high ground of Telarah during the 1955 flood relived their ordeals for the camera on Thursday. It was a reunion of sorts for David Sciffer, Geoff Brown, Bob Benson and Vince Brooks who were the first to be interviewed for a documentary recounting personal experiences of Maitland’s worst flooding disaster.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 21 May, 2010.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Accolade for book: Hearths & Homes

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Hearths and Homes: Maitland Architecture 19 Decades of Residential Design added another accolade to the list when it was highly commended in the 2010 EnergyAustralia Heritage Awards. But Maitland City Council heritage officer Clare James said the book, by historian Cynthia Hunter, had also captured the imagination of Maitland people interested in learning more about their homes. It had been a constant seller since it was published in 2008.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 19 May, 2010.

Flags at half mast for Tom Bullen

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Tom Bullen was a generous and kind community-minded gentleman and a visionary businessman who could see the future of supermarkets in the city’s west. Mr Bullen died on Monday at Maitland Private Hospital. He was 89 and had been battling illness for several years. Mayor Peter Blackmore said flags would be flown at half mast out of respect for Mr Bullen until his funeral on Friday.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 19 May, 2010.

U.K. National Archives: merchant seamen's records

You can now search and download another 155,000 merchant seamen's records on The National Archives' DocumentsOnline service. The records list the recipients of the British War Medal and the Mercantile Marine Medal in the First World War: 
Campaign Medals awarded to First World War Merchant Seamen

Les Darcy Grave Restoration

From the Maitland Mercury report:
An American benefactor with links to Maitland has donated the final amount needed for the restoration of Les Darcy’s gravesite to go ahead.
Geoff Bible contributed more than $33,000 for Maitland City Council to begin the conservation of the Darcy family vault in East Maitland Catholic Cemetery as soon as possible.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 14 May, 2010.