Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Postcard Photographs of George Kelly

University of Newcastle Library Cultural Collections
has recently made available an album of Dungog Postcards by George Kelly, a photographer of Dungog (c1905-1915).
The correspondence on the back of the postcards from Edie Kelly (Dungog) – daughter of the photographer George Kelly to Miss Gertie Alder (Hamilton) 1908-1914, has also been reproduced.

The album is available from the Cultural Collections Flickr site.

Hunter Lifestyle Magazine

August-September 2012 issue includes:
  • Top honours for Block winners, Brad Cranfield & Lara Welham
  • Glanmire, Edwardian residence, Regent Street Maitland
  • Lorn cottage, circa 1910
  • Traditional heirloom Christening gowns hand crafted by Judy Wearne
  • Caring for country women: CWA
  • Southern Cross Needlework, historic precinct East Maitland
Hunter Lifestyle magazine - Life in the Hunter Region of NSW

Silver anniversary exhibition

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The art of embroidery will become the focus of an exclusive silver anniversary exhibition opening next week.
The Maitland Embroiderers Club has put together a display of almost 300 pieces of their members’ work to mark the special occasion.

The group started with six women in 1987 and now has 180 members, which president Barbara Horn said was a sign that embroidery was a popular skill.
The exhibition will be held at the Therry Centre at East Maitland on Friday, September 7 between 10am and 8pm and on Saturday, September 8, between 10am and 4pm, with the official opening at 7pm on the Friday.

Stepping into the late1800s

From the Maitland Mercury report:
All dressed up and stepping into the late1800s
A snapshot of the lives, and minuscule waist sizes, of those living in the late 1800s and early 1900s are about to be revealed as part a display to celebrate history week in Maitland.
Friends of Grossmann House will host Wardrobes of the Past next month providing a glimpse into the Victorian era and coinciding with this year’s History Week theme, from September 8 to 16, titled Threads.

“This particular theme fits in with us very well because we have a National Trust garment and textile collection housed here in Grossmann House,” Friends of Grossmann House treasurer Holly McNamee said.
“But the garments don’t see the light of day all that often, so this will be a wonderful opportunity to show people what we have.”
Items in the display will include a white lace gown dating back to 1912 and a morning dress circa 1860.
“What you are seeing is the original fabric, the needlework and everything that goes with the pieces because they were lived in,” committee member Lynn Morris said.

Guided tours of the display will be held on Sunday, September 9, between 10am and 3pm. Phone Holly McNamee on 4934 4314 or 4933 6452.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, Aug. 29, 2012.

Maitland Mall plan taps into tourism

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The success of the Maitland Heritage Mall redevelopment and the prosperity of retailers could come down to tourism.
Promoting the mall as not only a shopping hot spot but a tourist destination was one of the 12 principles released by the urban designers Coxall McGregor on Monday.
The 12 design principles, drawn from community input and consolidated by McGregor Coxall, included making space for regular events such as market stalls featuring the Hunter’s produce.

Full article by Sam Norris available at Maitland Mercury, Aug. 29, 2012.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Maitland and District Historical Society

Bulletin of the The Maitland and District Historical Society Inc. August edition is now available on the Society's website.
  • Historic Dunmore House
  • Poundkeeping in early Lochinvar
  • Walter Finlay O'Hearn
  • Historical Society actvities
  • Peter Smith's contributions to the ABC Open's Now & Then project

Miss Porter's House and Garden in History Week

Miss Porter's House and Garden in History Week - National Trust
SUN 9 SEP | 1:00PM - 4.00PM | Miss Porter's House
The Porter family’s place in the story of Newcastle West can be traced back to the 1880s when James Porter purchased land ‘opposite Honeysuckle Railway Station’ (in Hunter Street West) on which he established a general store and carrier business. James and his wife Eliza (nee Jolly) sold the land at the rear of their property to their son Herbert who built a House for he and his bride-to-be Florence (nee Jolly) there in 1909. Herbert and Florence had two daughters, Ella and Hazel. After Herbert's untimely death in 1919 his widow and the two girls lived in the House for the rest of their lives. The history of the Porter family is part of the history of Newcastle West.

Cost: Concession $5.00, Family $20.00, Adult $7.00
More information at National Trust.

Partial solution for Maitland grandstand finish

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Works on Maitland Showground’s 100-year-old grandstand have hit a snag, but on the bright side it is hopeful it will be partly reopened in time for the Inner City Pace harness racing meeting in January.
Hunter River Agricultural and Horticultural Society president Trevor Hardes said the search for suitable lengths of replacement timber had been fruitless.
“I’ve been searching as far as the north coast to find the six metre lengths needed,” he said. “They’re very hard to get.”
Appropriate timber has to be cured for six months after milling, adding significantly to the cost – and rarity of the timber – while putting a strain on the timeline.

Full article by Sam Norris

Hats, handbags and history

From the Maitland Mercyury report:
Fashionistas will relish in the latest instalment of fashion through the ages.
The Australian Museum of Clothing and Textiles group has collected all of those items from days gone by that you loved and the ones you would rather live without to bring them together in their Highs and Lows of Fashion exhibition.
Hats, shoes and handbags are the main
feature of the display along with several items of clothing – including furs – to show how fashion has progressed and has also been
similar over the years. Secretary Stephanie Rogers put the exhibition together and said the hardest part was choosing the items.
“We have so much upstairs . . . there was so much to choose from,” she said. “I’ve loved putting this all together, there are so many
lovely pieces. We have turn of the century evening bags and a particular style of handbag which was carried through the 1940s to 1960s.”

The exhibition also features a set of Regal luggage that “every girl” was given on her 21st birthday. The exhibition can be seen at the Lt Governor’s Residence next to Maitland Gaol on Thursday and Saturday between 10am and 3pm and on Friday between 10am and 2pm.

Full article by Belinda-Jane Davis available at Maitland Mercury, Aug. 24, 2012.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Grossmann House ghost tour

An evening with the spirits at Grossmann and Brough Houses

Experience the 1870s houses by gaslight & candlelight
What lurks in yonder corridor & outhouse?
Blood Wine on arrival
150 year old harmonium “comes to life”
Tales from the psycho psychic
“Evelyn” the Hostel ghost
…. .and more
Supernatural supper included

 Saturday 25th August 2012. The ghostly evening will commence at 7.00pm and involve tours and supper.
$25.00, or $20.00 for National Trust members.

 Bookings essential. Phone Grossmann House 49336452.

Mystery of the service medal

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Police are seeking information that could reunite a service medal with its rightful owner.
The origins of the medal, circa World War II, have police and history buffs looking for answers in a tale that stretches back to England.
Maitland police took custody of the medal last month but no one is yet to come forward with information aiding its return.

But Maitland RSL sub-branch vice-president Fred Goode has come forward with some clues that could reuinte the Mitchell Main Colliery – in the UK – medal with a descendent of the recipient.
“These men might not have been able to join the war but their services, mining for coal, kept the ships going,” he said.
“There was an influx of Welsh and English workers during ’20s and ’30s when the Cessnock mines were starting.”
The exact identity of the medal’s recipient is unclear.

Full article by Sam Norris available at Maitland Mercury, Aug. 21, 2012.

History, the Hunter, and a paddle

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The history of the Hunter is nowhere more apparent than in a canoe, on the river, at Maitland, according to former foreign correspondent Scott Bevan.
The ABC journalist wrote The Hunter, which delves into the significance of the region to the Australian colony and its lifeblood, after he paddled the 470 kilometre length from the Barrington springs to Newcastle Port.
“In the greater Maitland area the history, the glimpses of these mansions, was extraordinary,” he said.
Bevan, who will promote his book in Morpeth tomorrow, said the glimpses of 19th century estates were among the highlights of the trip.
“Aberglasslyn House just stares at you down the river,” he said. “Even the banks of the river tell the story of the ’55 flood and, looking at that piece of flood mitigation, it’s hard not to think about Maitland’s modern history. I’m really looking forward to talking to people who are passionate about the river while I’m in Maitland.”

Full article by Sam Norris available at Maitland Mercury, Aug. 22, 2012.

Roseneath House, East Maitland

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Thirteen years’ hard toil has restored East Maitland’s Roseneath House - including the servants’ quarters - to a habitable, commercial property.
Russell and Jan Lines put the finishing touches on the circa 1837 residence yesterday, that started life as the Queen Victoria Hotel, by opening the servants’ quarters as a bed and breakfast.
“Before it was Roseneath House it was an inn, so it’s fitting it has been restored as accommodation,” Mr Lines said.
The brick and rough-hewn timber servants’ quarters adjoin the original kitchen, that together as an outbuilding predate the old hotel on Day Street.
The original hardwood timber shingles are preserved beneath the corrugated iron roof and visible in the servants’ kitchen which has survived the building’s numerous owners.
The original inn, built by the Clift family, was converted to Roseneath House when it was sold in the 1930s.

Full article by Sam Norris available at: Maitland Mercury, Aug. 22, 2012.

Threads- History Week 2012

Swinging Sixties? Fashion and Culture in Sixties Australia

When did that much-mythologised decade known worldwide as ‘the sixties’ begin in Australia? How did popular culture make sense of the social and cultural change of the period?

Dr Michelle Arrow, author of Friday on Our Minds: Popular Culture since 1945 in Australia, will explore the fashion and popular culture of ‘the sixties’ in this public lecture.
When: Wednesday, 12 September 2012 from 11:00am to 01:00pm
Where: Australian History Museum, Building W6A, Level 1, Macquarie University , North Ryde

Contact: Jane Thogersen, 98508870,,

Friday, August 17, 2012

Maitland councillor’s emotional farewell after 35 years of service

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A standing round of applause and a tear marked the end of 35 years of dedicated service to Maitland as Cr Ray Fairweather retired from council last night.
Councillors and staff around the horseshoe table thanked “Mr Roads” for going in to bat for his constituents and his guidance on procedural matters gained from a wealth of local government experience.
In return, Cr Fairweather thanked staff, his contemporary councillors and aldermen of the past.
In the address, Cr Fairweather cast his mind back to his many achievements.
Cr Fairweather was mayor in 1990 and 1991. His awards include the Australian National Medal for Public Service (1987), the Australian Centenary Medal for service to the community (2003), and the Local Government Association of NSW long service medal in 2000.
In recognition of his service council unveiled the Ray Fairweather Park at Walka Water Works last month.

Full article by Sam Norris available at Maitland Mercury Aug. 15, 2012.

Historical Society puts heat on council to save Mercury Building

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland and District Historical Society has launched a plan of action to shame the council into buying the former Mercury building at 258 High Street.
In a bold move, the society has written to Maitland City Council and each councillor to pressure them to purchase the vacant building and open it as a museum.
The historical society’s members voted unanimously to push ahead with the idea, which would see the disused building take on a new purpose.

“The former Mercury building would form part of the municipal and historical precinct that Maitland City Council plans to establish at the eastern end of High Street,” society member Bob Roberts said.
“The idea surfaced last month when I moved a motion at a society meeting. Letters were sent to council and all councillors to make sure no one could say they did not receive one or it went astray.
“It is too soon for a reply, but that was stage one of the plan.”
Mr Roberts said stage two involved gaining public support through the pages of the Mercury.
“Maitland City Council has done nothing towards the history of Maitland. The last thing council did for Maitland was in 1955 when it built a levee around the town.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, Aug. 16, 2012.

Dunmore House is heritage listed

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Dunmore House has been placed on the State Heritage Register.
Environment and Heritage Minister and Maitland MP Robyn Parker will announce the listing of the historic building at Dunmore House on Friday and present owners Paris and Mitty Osborne with a framed certificate.
The house is one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the region and was built by convicts in the 1800s.
Mr Osborne was pleased the house had made the list.
“It should be recognised because of its historical importance and it should be acknowledged by the Maitland community,” he said.
He said the listing was important because Dunmore was one of the most important residences in the area.”
The couple have owned the house since 2000 and it has been through a lengthy restoration process.

Full article by Belinda-Jane Davis available at Maitland Mercury, Aug. 17, 2012.

Australian War Memorial News

In early August, Mr Kerry Stokes AC presented a collection of fragile First World War photographic glass plates to the Australian War Memorial.
These plates form part of the Louis and Antoinette Thuillier Collection, courtesy of the Kerry Stokes collection, uncovered in 2011 after sitting undisturbed for nearly a century in the attic of a farmhouse in the French town of Vignacourt. Mr Stokes is donating more than 800 of these glass plate negatives, which feature Australian soldiers in informal settings. The discovery of these photographs represents one of the most important recent finds of material from the First World War. The donation is among the most significant to have been made to a cultural institution.

Remember me: the lost diggers of Vignacourt, an exhibition showcasing this unique collection, will open at the Australian War Memorial on 2 November 2012.

Fifties Fair - Historic Houses Trust

Take a hip trip to the ultimate celebration of all things 1950s at Rose Seidler House. Join guys and dolls, hepcats and groovers, rockabillies and preppies for a fantastic fun-filled day of fashion, entertainment, music and dancing.
Dance along to rocking performances by the ReChords and Scotty Baker & the Pat Capocci Combo. All the way from Victoria, both bands will get you up and jiving.
The ReChords will be playing at 10.45am and 1pm
Scotty Baker & the Pat Capocci Combo will be playing at 12pm and 2.45pm

Put on your best 50s threads for a chance to win ‘best dressed’, perfect your quiff at our barber shop or get glamorous in our beauty parlour.
Specialist collectors and dealers will be selling the finest in vintage wares, from kitchenalia and knick-knacks to fashion and furniture. Tour the house and take inspiration for your own style from the original furniture and fixtures of one of Australia’s most important post-war design collections.

This year, tickets to the Fifties Fair are pre-sale only. Book now to avoid disappointment!
A free shuttle bus will operate between Turramurra Station and Rose Seidler House.
Rose Seidler House
Sunday 26 August
10.00am — 4.00pm

Thursday, August 2, 2012

London 1948 Olympian dies shy of 2012 event

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The late John Treloar was the businessman behind Maitland’s first major manufacturing plant, Treloar Enterprises.
Mr Treloar, of Sydney, a former Australian sprinter who came close to winning the Olympic men’s 100m, died this week at the age of 84.

He came sixth at the 1952 Helsinki Games but his hand-held clocking of 10.5 seconds placed him only a 10th of a second behind the winner, Lindy Remigino of the United States.
He competed in the post-war Olympics in London in 1948 where he reached the semi-finals of the 100m and 200m events.
He was a triple gold medallist at the 1950 Auckland Empire Games and was regarded as one of Australia’s greatest sprinters.

Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates described Treloar “as a wonderful athlete and an even greater man”.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury,

History Council of New South Wales Annual Lecture

History and Australia: a foundational past?

Craving historical tradition, longing for a deeply rooted past, and uncertain of the place of Aboriginal Australia within both its past and present, Australia has long struggled to reconcile its colonial history with an increasingly confident, optimistic and patriotic self image. The rise of Anzac Day as a focal point of national communion in recent decades has occurred at the same time as fiercely contested public debates over frontier history and the stolen generations. In this lecture Mark McKenna asks whether the anxiety over Australia’s search for a foundational history has finally come to an end.

Wednesday August 8, 2012
6.00pm to 8.30pm
Contact: History Council of New South Wales 

Society of Australian Genealogists

Society of Australian Genealogists August birthday activities:
August is our Birthday Month
The Society celebrates its 80th anniversary during August, and we’re marking this in a few different ways.
On the afternoon of Sunday 26 August we’re holding a birthday party for the Society at Richmond Villa – click here to register your interest in attending. We’re hoping as many members as possible can be accommodated so please register by 10 August – if you’ve already done so we’ll be in contact shortly. The cost is $30 per head.

August is also ‘‘Bring a Friend’ month in the library a 379 Kent Street. Members can bring along a relative, friend, neighbour, work colleague (or whoever) with them into the library for the day and they won’t have to pay the $20 day fee – this is a great opportunity to introduce others to the Society’s collections and to family history. No bookings are necessary, and if they decide to join on the day we’ll waive the $20 joining fee too!

And on Wednesday 29 August (our official birthday) we’ll be open free of charge to all non-members for the day.

Reaching this milestone is a testament to the work of all our volunteers and supporters over the past eight decades – thank you!

Take a peek into the past at historic Tocal Homestead

From the Maitland Mercury report:More than 500 people are expected to gather at Tocal Homestead for the annual Peek Into The Past extravaganza.
This year’s attractions will include the Hunter Valley Concours D’Elegance for horses and ponies in harness and will also showcase a range of artisans’ skills including spinning, quilting, felting, knitting, blacksmithing, sheep shearing and wood turning.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, July 26, 2012.

Tumblebee - Journal of the Coalfields Heritage Group

In the August 2012 issue:
  • Young Wallsend Colliery and township
  • Heroic pioneer of Newcastle, Thomas Maxwell Walsh
  • 1897 Queen Victoria Jubilee
  • Police Inspector Stein
  • Prominant citizens Richard W. Thompson, Captain W.C. Markwell
  • Aldine biographies
  • Morpeth Catholic Church
  • Historic Newcastle Schools
  • Maitland old Presbyterian Cemetery
  • West Maitland news, 1840
Coalfields Heritage Group, Edgeworth David Musuem, 36 Gillies Street, Kurri Kurri.