Saturday, February 25, 2012

Darcy down for the count?

From the Maitland Mercury report:
While the fully restored grave of Maitland’s favourite boxer Les Darcy will be unveiled this weekend, a Darcy relative is concerned that a sign in Les Darcy Park has fallen into disrepair.
An important guest list of family, friends, politicians and people who have fallen in love with the story of the boxer’s extraordinary life will visit Maitland this Saturday for the ceremony, some travelling from as far as Adelaide.
The sign, which is off the New England Highway, has fallen apart and has been propped up on its side with half of it resting on the ground.

Full article by Courtney Garnham available at Maitland Mercury, 23 Feb, 2012.

History Council of NSW

The Australian Heraldry Society Inc.
Sir James served during the reign of Charles I, researching and writing on subjects such as heraldry, Scottish officers of state, funeral ceremonies, and the geography of the Fife coastline.

The presenter, Dr Matthew Glozier FRHS, has published several works of early modern European history.
When: 9-Mar-12, 6pm to 8pm
Doors open 6:00pm, lecture commences 6:30pm
Where: Sydney Mechanics School of Arts
Level 1, 280 Pitt St Sydney NSW 2000
Cost: Gold Coin Donation
Tea/Coffee and Biscuits available before lecture commences
RSVP: Bookings essential
0431 701 055

Michael Waterhouse
Michael Waterhouse, an economist and historian, is author of the highly regarded book Not a Poor Man’s Field. His talk will provide insights into a little known period in Australia’s history & its colonial experience in New Guinea between the wars, followed by a short film showing rare 1930s footage of the goldfields, aviation and black-white encounters.
When: 21-Mar-12, 5:30pm
Where: Friends Room, Mitchell Library
Macquarie Street Sydney
Cost: $15.00, $10 (Friends)
RSVP: Bookings essential, contact Samantha Hagan 92731766

State Records update

The February issue of For the Record is now available online at

Read more about the following:

>> Exposure draft of guidelines for agencies implementing digitisation projects is now available

>> Guidance on mobile devices and recordkeeping to be developed

>> Digital recordkeeping in the real world

>> Closure of the Sydney Records Centre

>> News on the Digital Archives ICT Platform

>> Exposure draft of revised General retention and disposal authority: personnel records now available for comment

>> Standard on the physical storage of State records

Cemetery a link to city’s Jewish heritage

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The marked and unmarked graves of those buried at the Maitland Jewish Cemetery will be the focus of a new conservation project.
At the end of a narrow track in the middle of Louth Park, the cemetery has been neglected.
But Maitland City Council, along with the Friends of Maitland Jewish Cemetery, has begun plans to conserve the culturally significant burial site, which will include looking at its state heritage potential.

Full report by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 13 Feb, 2012.

Golden era of cricket

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A historic photograph and a century-old minutes book has forced Maitland cricket historian Lindsay Wood back to the publishers.
Wood was given the information by cricketing associates and from there he has hunted and collected a bundle of material across the district to document the 40 years of the Albion Cricket Club.
Full article by Josh Callinan available at Maitland Mercury, 15 Feb, 2012.

Anambah Heritage Risk

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Low-flying planes, overhead noise and diminished rural views are some of the concerns neighbouring property owners have about a subdivision in Anambah Road, Rutherford.
Maitland City Council voted unanimously at last night’s council meeting to approve a development application, which would allow the 70 hectares to be subdivided into two lots.
Concerns were raised in the council’s application report that historic Anambah House adjoins the rural lot.
A previous resident of Anambah House, Heather Berry, had submitted a formal objection to council about the development.

Full article by Courtney Garnham available at Maitland Mercury, 15 Feb, 2012.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tales of Tocal

Tales of Tocal event:
On Friday and Saturday 24, 25 February 2012 starting at 6.00pm at Tocal Homestead, Paterson.

In November 1874 there was a gruesome discovery in the creek at Tocal. The news soon spread around the district and made headlines in the Sydney papers.
Step back into 1874 and experience the excitement, hear what the experts had to say and what the workers around the farm thought about it. Based on a true story this production combines the talents of Upstage Theatre with Tocal's stunning heritage location for a memorable evening.
Tickets are $35 per head including pre-show drink and canapes. Call 02 4939 8901 (office hours) for tickets.

168 years on and flying foxes are still a pest

From the Maitland Mercury report:
They have earned a reputation as the city’s greatest modern-day pests.
But 168 years ago on Friday, Maitland’s pioneers were also grappling with bats.
Historian Peter Bogan unearthed an article from the Maitland Mercury and Hunter General Advertiser dated February 3, 1844, which spoke of “large flocks of these destructive animals” that had settled “behind Mr McDougall’s” – modern day Lorn.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 03 Feb, 2012.

Volunteer-Initiated Museum (VIM) Grant

Museums & Galleries NSW (M&G NSW) is pleased to announce that the Volunteer-Initiated Museum (VIM) Grant Program is now open for 2012. Applications are now invited for Leg Ups – Skill Development Grants (matched funding up to $500), VIM Small Grants (funding up to $2,000) and VIM Skills Initiatives Grants (funding up to $5,000). 
The Guidelines for all VIM Grants can be downloaded from Museums & Galleries NSW’s website.
Contact: Phoebe Arthur, Sector Development Coordinator on 02 9339 9913, free call 1800 114 311 or to organise an application form.

Maitland Court House trees

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A year-long battle to save two of Maitland’s most iconic trees could be over with at least one arborist declaring the trees dead.
During the past couple of months a recuperation program has taken place to try to save the two  deteriorating trees at Maitland Court House, but arborist Steve Watson believes it’s not enough.
Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 10 Feb, 2012.

Maitland flood history

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The thing that Noel Gilmour remembers most about the 1955 flood was how black the sky was.
The day before the Hunter River unleashed its fury and the water flowed like an ocean over the top of Mount Pleasant Street, taking his family’s home with it, the 21-year-old Mr Gilmour was leaving his work at Maitland City Council early on that Thursday afternoon when he looked up and noted how dark the sky had become.
It is a detail he will again remember as a speaker at Maitland City Library’s Look Who’s Talking Local History: Memory or Myth? Local Flood Stories event to commemorate the anniversary of the 1955 flood this month.
The event will be held at Maitland Gaol on February 23, from 6pm.
Cost is $15 per person including wine and canapes.
To book, visit any Maitland City Library branch, phone 4933 6952 or visit

Swan Street revamp at historic Morpeth

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A $1.3 million program of works for Swan Street, Morpeth includes a 40 km/h speed limit, a road reconstruction and improvements to kerb and guttering and footpaths that date back to colonial times.
“The roads weren’t designed for modern traffic, and some of the sandstone dates from the 1840s and 1850s.”
Full art6icle by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 09 Feb, 2012.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has launched a new website at
The website has undergone a major redesign aimed at improving the user experience and the ease with which you find information about the CWGC, the work we do, and the men and women we commemorate. Where we have GPS data, the location of a cemetery can also be shown on Google maps.

National Archives of Australia

The National Archives has welcomed David Fricker, who took up his role as the new Director-General in January.
He comes to the Archives from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) where he was Deputy Director-General, Corporate and Strategy.David began his career at the Australian Customs Service in 1979 after completing a BA in Computing Studies. In 1993 David founded Business Synetics, a consultancy company providing services to a broad range of federal government agencies. He left the company in 2002 to join ASIO.

Dilapidated former Bob’s Bird Barn

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The owner of the dilapidated former Bob’s Bird Barn building in central Maitland is appealing for help to restore the historic building as affordable housing.
Sydney-based Andre Khalil yesterday unveiled his vision for the High Street structure – long considered by many to be a blight on the streetscape – before the matter returns to the Land and Environment Court on February 29.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 01 Feb, 2012.

Society of Australian Genealogists

Society of Australian Genealogists - February activities

Thursday 23 February (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Getting Started on Your Family History - 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. Bookings Essential and limited to 10. Cost $10.00.

Friday 24 February (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Ancestry - Hands On Workshop PM holds more collections of genealogical information than any other subscription-based website. The sheer size of the collection and its organisation can make it difficult to find the information you seek. Kerry Farmer will repeat her popular hands-on session using SAG's computers at 379 Kent St to familiarise you with some of this vast collection. Bookings essential and limited to 14. $30 ($40 non-members).

Wednesday 29 February (10.30am - 12.00pm) - State Records NSW - Intro Session
Held at the Sydney Records Centre, 2 Globe Street, The Rocks. Learn how to make the best use of ‘State Records’ online and reading room resources (including guides, finding aids, indexes and digital copies of the records) for family and local history research. Presenter: Christine Yeats. Bookings Essential. $15 ($20 non-members).

Les Darcy the dancer?

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Long before he became a boxing champion and stole the hearts of a nation, Les Darcy had to learn to dance. Believed to be a little clumsy on his somewhat large feet, Darcy was encouraged to take dance lessons to improve his boxing technique.
It has now been revealed that the master of dance and his apprentice now rest side by side at East Maitland Catholic Cemetery.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 30 Jan, 2012.

National Living Treasures

The National Trust of Australia (NSW) has just announced the new vote for the National Living Treasure List, 2012. Now in its 15th anniversary year, seven new names will be added to this prestigious list of exceptional Australians..
“The title National Living Treasure is conferred when someone accomplishes an outstanding achievement, swelling the country’s consciousness with admiration, pride and acknowledgement,” says National Trust of Australia (NSW) CEO Brian Scarsbrick, AM.
More at the National Trust website.

A peek at life in 1972

From the Maitland Mercury report:
It was the year Gough Whitlam became Prime Minister, Shane Gould was named Australian of the Year and the controversial soap opera Number 96 made its debut.
The Maitland Regional Art Gallery, in conjunction with Maitland City Council and supported by the Maitland Mercury, is set to jog your memory with its latest exhibition titled 40 years, Picture that in Maitland: 1972.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 27 Jan, 2012.