Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fighters, Feminists and Philanthropists: Celebrating 100 Years of IWD

The first march for International Women’s Day took place in New York in 1911. Australia’s first march occurred in 1928 but women had been demanding change a long time and across the world before then. Presented by the History Council of NSW and Macquarie University, this symposium will celebrate the many different activists and forms of activism that led to dramatic changes in Australian women’s lives over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Panellists include Jill Roe, Marian Sawer, Diane Kirkby, Carole Adams, Barbara Caine, Ann Curthoys and Lyndall Ryan.
When: Tuesday 8 March 2011, 1.30pm – 5.30pm
Where: Dixon Room, State Library of NSW
Cost: Free
RSVP: Friday 4 March 2011 on 02 9252 8715 or

National Trust Magazine, February - April 2011

Trust action: Historic Hunter Valley homesteads could be removed from the State Heritage Register. The National Trust and its Hunter Regional Branch are preparing a joint submission seeking the long term protection of the 1830s Wambo Homestead Complex at Warkworth, near Singleton, which is set to be the first of many such homesteads in the region being assessed by the Heritage Council for de-listing from the  State Heritage Register. The Wambo Coal company claims that much of the complex is in ruins, but its plan to move the property from its mine site so that it could be preserved was never approved. The National Trust and local community fear that the de-listing of the complex will present a real threat of demolition.

Australian Museum of Clothing and Textiles newsletter

The January/February issue of AMCAT's newsletter, Vital Thread, includes:
Current display: Summer Fun. Our first display for 2011features summer fun activities enjoyed by people from the late 1800’s to the present day. It is quite fascinating to observe the change in fashion which reflects the social outlook of each era.

Venue: Lt. Governors’ Residence, John Street,
East Maitland (Maitland Gaol Precinct)
Admission: $3.00, Concession: $2.50
Open: Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 10.00am to 3.00pm,
Contact: Justine phone 49 886448

Party for 200th birthday rejected

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A suggestion for a working party to plan the bicentenary of the European settlement of Maitland has been rejected. Cr Philip Penfold’s motion to start preparations for the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the white settlers who laid the foundation for the modern city was described as premature at last night’s Maitland City Council meeting.

Full article availsble at Maitland Mercury, 23 Feb, 2011.

Public invited to visit historic Closebourne House

From the Maitland Mercury report:
For more than 180 years it has stood as a silent observer of the decline of Morpeth’s bustling river port and transformation to a tourist mecca. Now, historic Closebourne House, built by EC Close as his home in 1829, will shake off its detachment and throw open its doors to visitors. Lend Lease’s transformation of the former St John’s College site at Morpeth into a retirement and residential village will be revealed at a family fun day on March 5, where people will be able to walk through the heritage-listed Closebourne House.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 22 Feb, 2011.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bicentenary plans should begin now

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A call to arms to plan for the city’s bicentenary of European settlement will be made at the Maitland City Council meeting tomorrow.
Cr Philip Penfold will act on his vision for a celebration to rival 1988 with a notice of motion to form a working party to begin preparations for the bicentennial year.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 21 Feb, 2011.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is now working in association with The War Graves Photographic Project (TWGPP) to supply photographs, either emailed or hard copies, of gravestones or memorials to those that request them. The TWGPP is a volunteer based organisation who are digitally recording every war grave around the world. If you would like to use the service or volunteer your help please visit the site.

Names history washed away

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority flood education officer Amanda Hyde and flood historian Peter Bogan are appealing for help to identify the people in four photographs taken in Sempill Street and the Long Bridge during the 1955 Maitland flood.
Mr Bogan, who led a project last year to capture the experiences of those who survived the 1955 flood on video, hoped to find the people in the photographs to hear their recollections of the flood.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 18 Feb, 2011.

Steamfest promises to be bigger this year

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The festivities of 2011 will also include the launch of an expanded Steamfest Rally Ground incorporating an entertainment precinct, steam and traction engines, vintage and historic farm machinery and vehicles, a Kids Adventureland and the Powerhouse Museum’s model display and speakers program.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at: Maitland Mercury, 18 Feb, 2011.

There's a War On - Website Launch on March 1

On Tuesday 1 March 2011 Museums &Galleries NSW are pleased to launch the THERE’S A WAR ON! Wiki. This website allows members to add information about collections and locations associated with the NSW homefront. It will be invaluable in capturing the remaining memories of WWI and WWII, building a living database of intangible heritage. The launch will take place in Bathurst at the Chifley Home Education Centre, the museum that is currently exhibiting the THERE’S A WAR ON! Exhibition. To celebrate the launch of this exciting project M&G NSW is providing a day long programme that we’d love you to join.

Further information: Please contact Sarah-Jane Rennie on 02 9399 9908, freecall 1800 114 311 (regional NSW) or email:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Newcastle, the Missing Years

Newcastle, the Missing Years, by Herald journalist Greg Ray and his wife Sylvia is a book of long-lost photographs of Newcastle and surrounding areas in the 1930s and 1940s, showcasing a collection of professional-quality historical negatives Ray bought at auction last June.
Maitland features in three of the photographs:
A typical view of High Street, Maitland, showing the Town Hall and Pinfold's Butchery, October 17, 1935 :
Cars, trucks, horses and cattle make a picturesque traffic jam in the Maitland district, date unknown :
The end of the war is just the beginning for these Australian troops at West Maitland Railway Station as they prepare to join the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan, 1946.

Tumblebee: journal of the Coalfield Heritage Group

January issue of 'Tumblebee' includes:
*Ploughing match leads to agricultural shows, Pioneer days no. 301, by Brian Andrews, OAM
*The Victoria Bridge, over the Hunter River between East and West Maitland. Pioneer days no. 224, by Brian Andrews, OAM.

Edgeworth David Museum, Cnr. Greta & Deakin Streets, Kurri Kurri, ph. 49374418.

Maitland 1955 flood stories relived

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Tales of houses swept from their piers and slamming against the Long Bridge, and the amazing stories of courage and survival of the people who were caught in them, feature in the final installment of the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority’s Walk and Talk series. Flood historian Peter Bogan has gathered information from the people who lived through the destruction of the 1955 flood to recount the events that occurred at Mt Pleasant Street, Maitland when the Hunter River burst its banks.

The latest walk will start behind Maitland Courthouse and take in Sempill Street, Mt Pleasant Street, the Long Bridge and Hannon Street.
February 27. The tour costs $10 per person and starts at 7am. Call 4930 1030 for bookings.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 15 Feb, 2011.

Heritage changes eat into park’s $1m budget

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Flood impacts, a resize and heritage considerations have eaten into the $1 million budget for the creation of a Maitland steam heritage park.
Work on a storage and display building to become a permanent headquarters for Hunter Valley Steamfest and home to steam engine 1042 is under way, with completion scheduled in time for the 26th event on April 9 and 10.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 15 Feb, 2011.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Shake Your Family Tree

Shake Your Family Tree, the National Archives’ family history day, is back again.
This is the fourth year of the highly successful open day. Each National Archives capital city office is presenting a range of fascinating activities including free seminars, workshops, demonstrations and guided tours, all relating to finding your family history.
For events in Sydney, see Shake Your Family Tree 2011.

Closure threat to old theatre at Dungog

From the Maitland Mercury report:
If Robert Pollack had his way the dying breed of small cinemas scattered across the country would have long been given a lifeline.
But with intense competition from DVDs, bigger cinemas and large screen televisions, less robust theatres are losing the fight and Mr Pollack fears the James Theatre at Dungog could be next.
“I’m ready for this place to close,” the Flickerfest co-ordinator said.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 11 Feb, 2011.

Artist sells paintings to be used on postcards

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Vacy artist John Bradley has sold most of a series of his work that depicts life in Morpeth during the 1830s. Each painting depicts an iconic sight at Morpeth during the 1830s, including the town’s old cinema, Queens Wharf, Campbells General Store and the main street. Mr Bradley used original photographs to paint his pieces, but brought them to life with colour and character using oil paints.

Full article by Anna Yeo available at Maitland Mercury, 11 Feb, 2011.

Hunter Lifestyle Magazine, December 2010 - January 2011

Issue 47 of Hunter Lifestyle Magazine includes:

The Oak – A Timeless Classic
:  The Maitland district has many fine old homes designed by the renowned architect John W. Pender. "The Oak" at Old Bolwarra exhibits the touch of "the master" in its sheer artistry of design and construction and that of the original owner Mr Ken Pryor, an artisan plasterer. "The Oak" has a touch of Art Nouveau style combined with the elegance of the Arts and Crafts period. Its charm and genteel character make it a gracious home combined with the subtle addition of the luxuries and conveniences of modern times.

Guardians of the past
: Tucked away in a corner of Kurri Kurri High School is the Sir David Edgeworth Museum, operated by a small band of volunteer history enthusiasts, members of the Coalfield Heritage Group. Brian Andrews has held the position of Secretary/Treasurer since the group's inception.

Walking the tracks of gold: Robert Dawson had come to explore the back country in the 1820s, as chief agent of the A.A.Co. which had a million acres. He was very impressed with the country that he saw along the valleys of the Avon, Gloucester and Barrington Rivers. Over 40 years later, cedar-getters discovered gold and the rush was on.

The Captain's Lady
: Hunter historical fiction, based on true and actual facts, recreating the fascinating and romantic real life story of Mary Ann Bugg, Captain Thunderbolt's wife. Story courtesy of john Ramsland OAM, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Newcastle.

History Council of New South Wales - History Week 2011

History Week 2011: 3-11 September

The theme for History Week 2011 will be EAT History. History Week 2011 will bring to the table the Edible, Appetising and Tasty history of food. Who ate what and where in the past? How did we cook and where did our food come from? History Week 2011 will be a smorgasbord of delectable delights!
Need some inspiration for your History Week 2011 event? Please find below some suggestions or ideas that you may find useful.
- recreate an historic menu;
- a cooking demonstration using historic methods;
- explore cookbooks from the past
- feature a conversation about our food bowl and food sources- how can history inform us about climate change?
- Explore the lives of prominent people who changed the way we eat and drink such as Quong Tart and others.
- A tour or walk with food as a theme. This might, for example, include a guided walk through an old market garden or tours of kitchens and dining rooms in historic homes that are open to the public.
- Maybe through various restaurants we could organise banquets & include a speaker to talk about the history of that food, the importance for migrants in bringing their food styles with them.
More information:

Maitland's majestic city icons are dying

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Trees that have stood majestically at Maitland Courthouse for at least a century are slowly dying. The trees have become the focus of community concern in recent weeks with the once-lush deciduous trees taking on a stark and barren appearance. The London plane tree at the front of Maitland City Library is also at risk.“Maitland City Council will investigate the situation and look into an appropriate solution as soon as possible.”
A spokesperson from Maitland Courthouse said the trees were also being assessed by a Sydney arborist and a report was still pending.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 10 Feb, 2011.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Powerhouse Discovery Centre open day

On 12 February, The Powerhouse Discovery Centre will have their first open day in 2011! Join them to celebrate NSW’s railway and tram heritage with a program of tours, talks, special exhibitions and displays.
To mark February 2011 as the 50th anniversary of the last tram to run on Sydney’s streets, for the first time the Powerhouse Discovery Centre is providing public access to view the Museum’s R Class tram No. 1738. Opening Hours: 10.00am—4.00pm.
General Admission:$8 adult, $5 concession/ child/ seniors and pensioners, $25 family (2 adults + 2 children).
Free entry for Powerhouse Members and children under 4.
Further Information:

Artists vie for double money

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Organisers of this year’s Maitland Art Prize aim to attract a wider pool of entrants to mark the 150th anniversary of the Maitland Mercury Hunter River Super Show by doubling the prize money.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 24 Jan, 2011.

U.K. National Archives - 100th anniversary of the 1911 census

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 1911 census. This was the most detailed census since UK records began and recorded the details of 36 million people. Censuses have been undertaken in the UK for more than 200 years and provide a fascinating snapshot into social history and the lives of individuals.
For information about researching census records, see the census research signpost.

History Council of NSW annual general meeting for 2011

The History Council of NSW annual general meeting for 2011 will be held Wednesday 16 February 2011 at History House, 133 Macquarie Street Sydney from 6pm. Please rsvp to
 by Monday 15 February 2011.

Zoe Pollock
Executive Officer, History Council of NSW
T: (02) 9252 8715
M: 0424 155 895

Birth of a nation

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Bob Rose has the blood of the founders of Australia in his veins. The Ashtonfield man can trace his ancestry to a series of firsts in the colonisation of Australia, starting with the first convicts to step foot on the soil of a land that would become a nation. As the nation celebrates the 223rd anniversary of the landing of the First Fleet at Port Jackson on January 26, the day is also a commemoration of the arrival of his ancestor, John Cross, to the shores of a wild continent on the bottom of the world after escaping the hangman’s noose.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury 21 Jan, 2011.

Greta memorial wall one step closer

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Soldiers from the Greta area who served in Vietnam could soon have the recognition they missed out on when they returned from the battlefield more than 40 years ago. Greta RSL sub-branch and Ex Services League received a $7500 state government grant on Thursday, which when added to a federal government contribution meant work could begin on a wall at the Greta Cenotaph to recognise those who served in Vietnam and subsequent conflicts.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 04 Feb, 2011.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Allen photographs

In addition to images on display at the An Edwardian Summer exhibition, (details below) the Allen family albums capture everyday (middle-class) life in Sydney in the early 20th century very evocatively.

Three of the Allen albums have been digitised in their entirety:

Andy Carr, Discover Collections, State Library of New South Wales.

An Edwardian Summer : exhibition at the Museum of Sydney

Sydney lawyer and identity Arthur Wigram Allen, a tirelessly enthusiastic photographer, was fascinated by the social and technological changes occurring during his lifetime. His talent for amateur photography produced extraordinary pictures that offer a fresh insight into the Edwardian years in Sydney.
An Edwardian Summer will present a selection of Arthur Allen’s beautiful images, depicting intimate moments with family and friends, motoring and harbour excursions, theatrical celebrities, bush picnics, the introduction of surf bathing on Sydney beaches, processions, pageants and mass celebrations, and new freedoms in fashion.

Location: Corner Phillip and Bridge Streets, Sydney, NSW 2000
Contact: 02 9251 5988
Adult $10 I Child/Concession $5
Hours: Daily 9.30am — 5pm

Morpeth Bridge upgrade success

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland City councillor Steve Procter hailed the RTA’s replacement of the timber deck, which closed the route early this month, as a link between the bridge’s heritage and the needs of modern motorists....more traffic will use the 1893-built Morpeth Bridge.

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

Convict road on world list

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The Hunter Valley can market itself as a gateway to a World Heritage Site after seven kilometres of the convict-built Great North Road were placed on the UNESCO list this year. The 220 kilometre road links Sydney to the Hunter Valley.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 28 Dec, 2010

Century-old corn staddle saved again

From the Maitland Mercury report:
An iconic element of the Paterson area’s landscape has once again been saved.
A century-old corn staddle and nearby hearse shed, located at Tucker Park, will be restored thanks to a $10,000 funding boost through the Nationals Community Building Partnership Grants Program.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 23 Dec, 2010.

Minister announces Australian Heritage Week 2011

On 10 December 2010 the federal Minister the Hon Tony Burke MP announced a new national celebration: Australian Heritage Week. Australian Heritage Week is a new annual national celebration of Australia's unique heritage which will run from Thursday 14 April until Wednesday 20 April 2011. This Week is an opportunity for all Australians to join together to celebrate our shared and special heritage.

Information on the Australian Heritage Week, how you can get involved and how you can register your heritage events is available from the Department's website at