Friday, October 28, 2011

Mystery of the violin and the bushranger

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A three-quarter sized violin has passed through four generations of David Harwood’s family, along with the story of how his great-grandfather found it among a stash of bushrangers’ treasures in a cave in the New England region about 140 years ago.
There is the possibility it was stolen by none other than Captain Thunderbolt.
But the violin’s story begins well before that.....

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 20 Oct, 2011.

Dunmore Bridge Upgrade

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The second stage of a $6.1 million upgrade of the timber Dunmore Bridge at Woodville has begun. The project involves the replacement of all three spans, as well as the approach span and the connection between the road and the bridge on the Woodville side.
Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 20 Oct, 2011.

Maitland Showground Grandstand

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland Showground is fast becoming not only an embarrassment but also a disgrace.
If ever there was a golden opportunity to secure funding for the showground’s dilapidated grandstand it was at the start of this year.
With the 150th anniversary celebrations of Maitland show in full swing, and none other than Governor-General Quentin Bryce presiding over the official opening, the century-old heritage-listed grandstand was well and truly under the spotlight.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 20 Oct, 2011.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

End of the road for historic bridge

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Timber bridges in Maitland could soon be history with one of the last of three Maitland City Council-owned structures to be demolished and replaced this month.
Trappaud Road Bridge is scheduled to be removed from October 24, as part of a $1.7 million project paid for under the Local NSW Infrastructure Fund for a new bridge and road realignment.
It will leave Melville Ford and Dagworth as the city’s only timber bridges.
Morpeth Bridge is the responsibility of the state government.

Full article by Briony Snedden availabe at Maitland Mercury, 18 Oct, 2011.

Significance Assessment Workshop 2011

This significance assessment workshop is designed for anyone working with cultural or scientific collections.
When: Monday 28 (9.30am to 5.00pm) and Tuesday 29 November (9.00am-1.00pm)
Where: The Burgmann College, the Australian National University in Canberra
Cost: Advance payment of $AUD495 (GST incl.) is required and includes catered morning and afternoon breaks, lunch on Monday 28th, and a Certificate of Completion.
Contact: ph: (02) 6291 6334 e:
Further information: and to book online visit

Captain Thunderbolt

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Though his brush with the law began with his arrest in Maitland for receiving stolen horses, a new book – Captain Thunderbolt and His Lady:The True Story of Bushrangers Frederick Ward and Mary Ann Bugg, found a beautiful, educated half-Aboriginal woman was perhaps the real lead character in Fred Ward’s tale.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 14 Oct, 2011.

Timbergetters, Sawmills and Sawmillers

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Dr McDonald’s research led her on the elephant trail which was part of life circa 1918 when the elephants were used to cart the timber around the old Pender and Foster Sawmill at Pitnacree.

“The elephants were used to move the timber around and people actually remember seeing the elephants walking through East Maitland on a Saturday morning going for a drink,” Dr McDonald said. “The things you find are just amazing.” Research for the book included interviews with many people across the district.
Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 14 Oct, 2011.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

NSW Government Heritage Volunteer Awards

Nominations are now open for the 2011 NSW Government Heritage Volunteer Awards. A Heritage Volunteer Award formally recognises the outstanding performance by individuals and community groups who have significantly improved the profile of heritage management in their local communities, successfully motivated and managed heritage projects and promoted the value of heritage by significant means and through exemplary work. Whether their contribution is through education, fundraising, historical research, interpretation, management, physical conservation, promotion or undertaking surveys and studies – this is the community’s chance to acknowledge the wonderful work undertaken by volunteers.

Nominations close: Friday 28 October 2011.
Contact: Lucy Moore at the Heritage Branch, Office of Environment & Heritage on (02) 9873 8535 or
Further information: The nomination form and list of criteria for the 2011 NSW Government Heritage Volunteer Awards program can be downloaded from the website:

Preservation Australia- Workshops in Sydney

Preservation Australia is holding two conservation workshops in Sydney in November.

Monday 21st NovemberCare of Collections. This seminar covers the deterioration of mixed collections looking at the agents of deterioration, and preventive conservation and storage options.
Tuesday 22nd November -Disaster Combo. This day discusses the principles of Disaster Planning (am) followed by a hands-on salvage procedures exercise (pm). This workshop will provide a good background for undertaking your own Disaster Preparedness.
Further information: regarding the workshops can be found on the Preservation Australia website, along with information about how to book and where the workshops will be held. Workshops are $350 each, with a 10% discount if two or more are booked.

Alan’s story takes you inside Hogwarts

From the Maitland Mercury report:
He left England for a new start on the other side of the world, leaving behind family and friends for a career at a company in a town he’d never heard of – Rutherford.
After 20 years with National Textiles, he faced redundancy and reinvented himself, eventually becoming the guardian of historic Grossmann House.
But as a tome in Maitland City Library’s Living Library, Alan Todd’s “readers” are more fascinated by his nine years at a British boarding school in the Yorkshire village of Giggleswick.
Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 12 Oct, 2011.

River Stories

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. Click for a full calendar of events at MRAG River Stories.

National Archives of Australia

The National Archives website has been revamped with a fresh look and layout.You can browse the collection or find advice on records management. Check out our images or discover the latest touring exhibitions dates.

Historic Houses Trust

Domes Day : The guardhouses at the entrance to Hyde Park Barracks will soon have new shingle-covered domed roofs. The pair of buildings, once occupied by convict guards and clerks, were a key decorative element in colonial architect Francis Greenway’s controversial design for the convict establishment in 1819.
To celebrate the restoration of the guardhouse domes, the Historic Houses Trust in conjunction with Polyartistry will be running a series of events which will culminate in a family day at Hyde Park Barracks to mark the completion of the project and unveil the finished domes. Historic Houses Trust website has more details.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Maitland’s historic trees

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland’s historic trees will not survive the next decade if an expert arborist is not employed to oversee their long-term maintenance and care, a concerned resident has warned.
Brian Harkin, who has worked in the gardening industry for the past 40 years, said trees including two London plane trees at the front of Maitland Courthouse and a group of Moreton Bay figs at Morpeth Common are suffering at the hands of inexperience and a lack of knowledge.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 04 Oct, 2011.

Historic walk set to uncover Morpeth’s intriguing past

From the Maitland Mercury report:
It’s an historical walking tour of the region’s best preserved colonial portside village, but with an investigative twist.
Morpeth St James Church ladies guild has come up with a novel way for people to explore the history of Morpeth in an event where participants will search for clues to the village’s past with a check list of 37 sites of interest.

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

Society of Australian Genealogists seminars

Society of Australian Genealogists full details of activities at the web site.

Friday 14 October (10.00am - 1.00pm) - Arrivals in Aus & NZ - Library Hands on Workshop

Held in the Library at 2/379 Kent St, Sydney. This is a hands on session for beginners who would like assistance on the various ways of locating arrivals for their ancestors in both Australia and the New Zealand. There will be a short presentation followed by a research session with SAG volunteers assisting members. Bookings Essential and limited to 14. $40 ($50 non-members).

Saturday 15 October (10.30am - 12.30pm) Ephemeral Treasures :Using postal stationery for FH

Letters, diaries, bills, receipts, postcards and other "scraps of paper" are highly prized by family historians because such items have usually been created or handled in some way by an ancestor. Yet their real value as a portal to the past can easily be overlooked. Social historian Pieter Koster uses postal stationery to show you how to get more from your ephemera. Bookings Essential. $20 ($25 non-members).

Saturday 15 October (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Out of sight - the civic legacy of the convict era

Drawing on her latest book, Australia's Birthstain, Babette Smith will explain how shame about our convict foundations distorted our history until the reality and strongly developed ethos of a flourishing convict society is neither remembered nor understood. They were 'Out of Sight', taking with them knowledge of our civic heritage from the transportation era. It was the investigations by hundreds of family historians that recovered our lost memory. Bookings Essential. $20 ($25 non-members).

Thursday 20 October (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - The Irish Online - Found, but what does it mean?

This session will cover the online indexes and databases provided by National Archives of Ireland (NAI) and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). Records covered in detail will be: 1901 and 1911 censuses for all 32 counties; The 1926 Census of the Republic (26 Counties) and Northern Ireland (6 counties) - Are they available, and when will we see them?; free online. Presenter: Terry Eakin. Bookings Essential. $20 ($25 non-members).

NSW State Records Open Day

Archives Open Day on Friday 28 October 2011
As part the State Records 50th birthday celebrations we are opening our doors and taking you behind-the-scenes. Come and join us at the Western Sydney Records Centre at Kingswood for a day of talks, information sessions, tours and hands-on-workshops.
PLEASE NOTE: We've had a wonderful response to the Open Day and some sessions were rapidly booked out. We are hoping to make more space available soon. Please re-visit the booking form after October 6 to see which sessions have been re-opened.

Les Darcy: The boxer, the farm and the tribute

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Before he was famous, before he stole the heart of a nation, Les Darcy worked on a small farm in High Street, Maitland.

Here he built up his muscles, developed enormous strength and, of course, went on to become a boxing legend and Maitland’s favourite son.
Now Rutherford artist Jim Casey has captured this part of Darcy’s history.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 30 Sep, 2011.

Grant to restore Howitzer gun

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A Howitzer gun that served in the Vietnam War will be restored with a grant from the federal government.

The grant was given to the Maitland Vietnam Veterans’ and Services Legion as part of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Saluting Their Service commemorations program.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 30 Sep, 2011.