Friday, September 30, 2011

Gould Genealogy - millions of new records online

From the Gould Genealogy blog, 29 September 2011 :
Millions of new genealogy records are now online. Online data for genealogy seems to be booming … the big online companies have been releasing new records at a phenomenal rate over the past few weeks. For a round-up of the major new records during August and September, refer to the Gould Genealogy blog posting.

RAHS Conference in Maitland

The next Royal Australian Historical Society Conference will be held on the weekend of 29-30 October 2011 at East Maitland Bowling Club, Maitland, NSW.

The theme will be: Of Droughts and Flooding Rains - Australian Disasters: Research, Recording, Recovery
Papers on the main conference topic, as well as papers on the Hunter Valley, heritage, and practical matters will be presented.
More information and registration at the RAHS website.

Maitland Courthouse trees on death row

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A delay in treating Maitland’s iconic courthouse trees has possibly caused their death.

The Department of Justice and Attorney-General has failed to act on a commitment to save the rapidly deteriorating trees and, according to Maitland arborist Steve Watson, the trees could already be dead.

Full report by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 29 Sep, 2011.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sawmillers and sawmills

National Trust event at Brough House:
Come along to Brough House, 71 Church Street, Maitland, and celebrate the rich legacy of the timbergetters and sawmillers from the early 1800s to the present. There will be talks from sawmillers, descendants of pioneeing families, displays and phtos. A book detailing the local sawmilling history will be launched and available for purchase.
Sunday, 16 October 2011, 10.00am - 3.00pm.
Bookings essential. Phone 49336452, 49334450.

Maitland & District Genealogical Society Fair

Maitland & District Genealogical Society Fair is being held on 9 Oct 2011 10:00am - 3:00pm
Venue: Maitland City Bowls, Sports and Recreation Club, Arthur Street, Rutherford.

Gail Davis will be hosting a stall at the Maitland & District Genealogical Society Family History Fair. She will also be presenting a talk on researching the NSW State archives.

Maitland’s bushland future

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The dual threat of rapid development and a lack of community concern will change the face of Maitland’s bushland if action is not taken soon. An initiative of the National Trust, the Bush Week campaign follows news that an estimated five million birds are being killed through land clearing, and 200 regional cities nationwide have their water threatened by salinity.

“The biggest problem we’ve got at the moment here in Maitland is the amount of clearing that is taking place to make way for more developments,” Mr Huber said.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 20 Sep, 2011.

Greta and Branxton schools, 125 years

From the Maitland Mercury report:
On July 5, 1886, a group of nuns travelled from Singleton to open two Catholic schools to educate the children of Greta and Branxton.

Now, 125 years later, the schools have closed to make way for the biggest Catholic school in the history of the district.
Named Rosary Park Catholic School at Branxton, the school will be an amalgamation of St Mary’s School, Greta, and St Brigid’s School, Branxton.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 19 Sep, 2011.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Royal Australian Historical Society Event

The history of Timber as a Structural Material in Australia
This is the first joint meeting of ASHET and the RAHS with Materials Australia, a society that specialises in the technology of materials used in engineering, including metals, plastics and timber.
Amie Nicholas will talk about some of the engineers and innovations, and illustrate the talk with examples of the bridges that are part of the state’s engineering heritage.

In the companion talk Chris Gerber will describe some of the more recent history of developments in fields such as laminated timber beams and plywoods and in the treatment of timbers to improve their durability. A joint activity of ASHET, the RAHS and Materials Australia.
Royal Australian Historical Society.

Date: Tuesday 27 September, 2011
Time: 5.30 for 6pm at History House
Cost: $8.00 Includes light refreshments on arrival.

National Library of Australia News September 2011

Lecture launch: a Flutter of Butterflies
Join authors Michael Braby and Penny Olsen as they discuss their latest book. A Flutter of Butterflies is a beautifully illustrated account of the history of collecting, identifying and recording Australian butterflies and moths. Fascinating biographies of some of Australia's most-loved artists are accompanied by stunning works from the Library's collections.

Refreshments and book signing to follow.
Monday 26 September, 4 pm
National Library of Australia, Canberra
Bookings: 02 6262 1424 or email

Lochinvar memorial garden to honour diggers

From the Maitland Mercury report:
They were the 55 Lochinvar men who set off to fight for their country at the start of World War I.

By the time the conflict had ended, eight of those men had been killed.
Today the names of the men appear on two aged pillars guarding the Lochinvar School of Arts Hall.
But the people of the village believe the WWI diggers deserve more.
The Lochinvar community is working with Maitland City Council to move the two pillars into Porter Place, near the hall, and create a memorial garden in honour of the soldiers

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 15 Sep, 2011.

Remember the taste of creamy Oak milkshakes

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Almost everyone remembers enjoying a thick and creamy Oak milkshake at the Hexham milk bar opened in 1955. But most people are probably not aware that the original Oak creamery and butter factory opened at Morpeth in 1917 at the site of the former Australasian Steamship Company.

Morpeth Courthouse Museum is paying tribute to the factory’s former workers and the importance of the milk and cream industry with an exhibition called Remembering the Oak.
Much of the exhibition has come from the extensive collection of former Oak employee for more than 25 years, Pete Smith of Metford.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 14 Sep, 2011.

Fears over redevelopment plans near historic property

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A man whose ancestors settled in Morpeth in 1838 has raised fears over plans for the redevelopment of historic Morpeth House to provide facilities for seniors.

Kevin Lord, who lives near the planned development in St Albans Place, has called for Morpeth House to be restored to its original condition.
Mr Lord also wants the chapel at Morpeth House to be restored and used as a place of worship, as it was originally.
In a letter to Maitland City Council’s general manager, Mr Lord said he was objecting to the planned redevelopment of Morpeth House to provide community facilities for seniors.

Full article by Alan Hardie available at Maitland Mercury, 13 Sep, 2011.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Uvon Dawn Crittenden remembered

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The swimming fraternity of Maitland – and indeed throughout Australia – is fondly remembering Uvon Dawn Crittenden, one-time star from this city, who died on Monday. In the 1940s Uvon was swimming internationally and has been honoured with her pictures on display at the Maitland Swimming Pool Hall of Fame.

Full article by Alan Hardie available at Maitland Mercury, 09 Sep, 2011.

Volunteer Initiated Museum (VIM) Grant Program

Museums & Galleries NSW is pleased to announce that the second round of the Volunteer Initiated Museum (VIM) Grant Program is now open for 2011. Applications are now invited for VIM Small Grants (funding up to $1,500) and Development Project Grants (funding up to $5,000), closing: Friday 21st October 2011.

The Guidelines for all VIM Grants can be downloaded from Museums & Galleries NSW’s website (
Closes: Friday 21st October 2011.
Contact: Phoebe Arthur, Sector Development Coordinator on ph: (02) 9339 9913, free call 1800 114 311 or to discuss your project and obtain an application form.

A lecture in memory of Harry Boyle, OAM

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The legacy of former Maitland historian Harry Boyle is to be celebrated in a lecture dedicated to his memory.

University of Newcastle archivist Gionni Di Gravio will present the Reinvigorating the Community Memory lecture at Brough House, Maitland, on Friday, September 23.
This will be the sixth in a series of lectures held annually to commemorate the life of Mr Boyle OAM.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 02 Sep, 2011.

Treasure trove of World War I data

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Military historian David Dial is compiling a “treasure trove” of information on World War I as he combs eight Hunter Valley newspapers for every entry made from August 1914 until the end of 1918.

Mr Dial began compiling the index 10 years ago and he has already unearthed 28,500 entries.
He believes the work may take three more years and he hopes to finish the index in August 2014 – the 100th anniversary of the start of the “war to end all wars.”
Full article by Alan Hardie available at Maitland Mercury, 02 Sep, 2011.

Society of Australian Genealogists

SAG Webinars

The Society is delighted to announce a new member-only service – webinars! These online presentations will last about an hour and allow members who live away from Sydney and also those that are ‘time poor’ to participate in our education activities. You’ll find more information about webinars on our site here (

Webinar - NSW Shipping Arrivals Online

Thursday 22 September (8.00pm - 9.00pm)

The days of your ancestors swimming to NSW seem to be over, with the bulk of 19th century shipping arrivals now searchable online, thanks largely to the work of State Records NSW and its commercial partner Ancestry. This session will look at why it is now easier than ever before to find an arrival into NSW up to 1922, but will also remind us of the problems that haven't been solved by mass digitisation and indexing. Presenter - Heather Garnsey. Bookings essential and limited to SAG members only. Price $10.00.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

National Trust Magazine, NSW

National Trust NSW, August-October Spring issue:

Pomp and ceremony colonial style
From the Hon. Robyn Parker MP, Minister for the environment and Minister for Heritage
Trust action: Barangaroo in review
Conservation: interiors of important churches
Enhancing the unique stories of evergaldes
Managing Miss Porter's collection, Newcastle
Heraldic panels at Miss Porter's House, Newcastle

Inside History Magazine

Inside History is for people passionate about Australian and New Zealand genealogy, history and heritage. In our September-October edition (issue 6):

•Read the remarkable discovery of a WWI soldier after 93 years, and how his belongings are being shown for the first time in Australia
•Learn why some Aussie soldiers rebelled during the Boer War
•We look at why more of us are trekking Kokoda
•A family historian in Queensland makes a fascinating find
•The history of coffee in Sydney

Hunter Lifestyle Magazine

Edition 51 of Hunter Lifestyle Magazine includes: 
Celebration of 'My Country', One Hundred Years On

Paterson Court House Museum will celebrated the centenary of the publishing of Dorothea Mackellar’s poem "My Country" and its Paterson Valley connection every Sunday next month - September 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th.
Memorabilia belonging to the poet and donated to the Museum will be on display for the first time and visitors can listen to the only recording of "My Country" made by Dorothea herself in 1958, at the age of 72 years.

History Magazine - RAHS

Royal Australian Historical Society History Magazine, September 2011 issue now available.
The Norfolk Island issue:
Industrial sites of Norfolk Island, Ian Jack
Interpretation of Norfolk Island's heritage, Sharon Veale
Kingston - an early colonial town, Bruce Baskerville
Confessions of a tour leader, Linda Emery
Inside Norfolk Island's government house, Bruce Baskerville

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Maitland personalities back in town to talk local history

Explore the trials and tribulations of well ‐ known Australians born and bred in Maitland when Maitland City Council presents Whatever happened to…? at Maitland Gaol on September 8.
At this Australian Story style event, participants will discover the stories behind iconic national cultural and political identities who have their roots in Maitland.

The evening will consist of lively discussion facilitated by Artist and former Mayor of Maitland, John Martin, Cultural Director for Maitland City Council, Joe Eisenberg and Associate Professor for Politics at the University of Newcastle, Dr Jim Jose.
Come with an open mind and walk away with a dynamic insight into the city which has been the centre for some of the most landmark events in Australia’s history as a colourful history of Maitland is presented to you at the historic Maitland Gaol.

Written and visual material, including images and recollections of Maitland with a national and international perspective, will form the basis for an insightful look back through the lives of some of Maitland’s best known identities and in doing so explore the City’s, and Australia’s rich cultural and political history.

Bookings for Whatever happened to…? can be made at any of the Maitland City Library branches.
For further information and to book phone Maitland City Library on (02) 4933 6952 or visit
Thursday 8 September 2011
6.00 pm – 8.00 pm
Maitland Gaol
$15.00, including canap├ęs and wine

Historic poem’s tie to Paterson Valley

From the Maitland Mecury report:
Harry Boyle never met the famed Australian poet Dorothea Mackellar.
But the late Maitland historian was determined to ensure that Australia knew the origins of her iconic poem My Country.
Mr Boyle embarked on a mission in 1996 to prove that the inspiration for Mackellar’s poem was in the Paterson Valley. What followed were years of research, which will be displayed throughout September to mark the 150th anniversary of the Australian publication of My Country.
The Paterson Historical Society has dedicated its month-long celebration to Mr Boyle.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 31 Aug, 2011.

Hunter’s stories a river of gold

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland historian Dr Janis Wilton will explore this issue in a series of oral history workshops, held in conjunction with the 1233 ABC Newcastle’s River Stories project.

“It’s all about living with the river and appreciating it and that’s fascinating,” Dr Wilton said. “So I’d really like us to try and give the river back its history. There’s a story that belongs to the river.”

Full report by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 31 Aug, 2011.

NSW Premier’s History Awards

The finalists for the NSW Premier’s History Awards have been announced and include works documenting colonial Australian manners, a murder plague in Sydney and the life and legacy of Mahatma Ghandi. The 16 finalists represent varied perspectives on a variety of topics, from the darker side of Australia’s past to the lighter side of life in the past, such as Playing the Numbers: Gambling in Harlem Between the Wars.
The Awards recognise distinction in the fields of historical research, writing and presentation and celebrate the commitment of historians to bring the many stories of the past to light.

More information at the Arts NSW web page.

Lloyd Gregory funeral at Maitland Uniting Church

From the Maitland Mercury report:
From New Guinea in World War II to the streets of Maitland in the 1990s, Lloyd Ernest George Gregory has been a stalwart.
He’s fought for his country, instilled pride in the people of Maitland and dedicated his time to those in need. Today the former Maitland town crier will be remembered in a service at the Maitland Uniting Church.
Mr Gregory, of Rutherford, died on Saturday, aged 93 years.

Full report by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 01 Sep, 2011.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

History Week is here!

History Week 2011: 3-11 September – EAT History
The theme for History Week 2011 is EAT History - 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!
Programme of events available on the History Council web site.

Hunter River Stories

The Hunter River is the lifeblood of the Hunter Valley. RIVER Stories is a series of radio interviews, videos and photos about the Hunter River. 1233 ABC Newcastle’s Phil Ashley-Brown first travelled down the river ten years ago and in 2011 he is tracking down the river again to see what has changed. The series is being broadcast on 1233 every week and it features the people who live along the river and the unique challenges they face.

Hunter Councils Environment Division (HCED) and Maitland Regional Art Gallery (MRAG) have combined resources and expertise to develop the RIVER Stories Partners Program in support of the 1233 ABC Radio series: River Stories. The workshops and events presented are part of a series of complementary and exciting artistic and environmental events that will engage with locals living alongside the Hunter River and share the life passion that they have had with this wonderful river system over the years. Come and join your story with theirs…

The program will culminate in an innovative multimedia exhibition between February – April 2012 at MRAG and will be featured at Hunter Council’s Regional Sustainability Conference in March 2012.

When: RIVER stories workshops beginning September 4, 2011 - see program for full details

Where: Workshops are to be held at various venues around The Hunter.

Annual Colonial Ball at Maitland

From the Maitland Mercury report:
You’d be hard-pressed to find a local resident that hasn’t experienced the beauty and buoyancy of the Maitland Town Hall floor. The floor is a feature of the city’s major meeting place and, as it happens, the main reason for the location of the annual Colonial Ball.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 27 Aug, 2011.

Branxton students bid St Brigid's farewell

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The 115 students at St Brigid’s, Branxton, will farewell their 125-year-old school site today to move into a new $5.1 million school next term.
The symbolic closing of the old primary school’s doors will be held at 11.30am and will include guests such as Bishop William Wright, former principals and students and nuns from the Sisters of Mercy. The order established the Catholic school in 1886.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 27 Aug, 2011.

Family mystery to Kurri Kurri

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A search for clues in a family mystery that started on the other side of the world has found its way to Kurri Kurri. In a small hamlet, right on the border between England and Wales, Jennifer Montague uncovered a puzzle when she received the family’s papers following the death of her brother.
Among them was a letter sent from Kurri Kurri, seemingly from a naval officer who died in World War I, but the letter was dated April, 1931.
The letter was signed “your loving son John” but the only John that Mrs Montague thinks it could possibly be is her uncle, John Kerr, who was born in 1881 and died in 1918.

Full article by Frances Sacco available at Maitland Mercury, 26 Aug, 2011.