Friday, December 20, 2013

British Library Uploads a Million Images on Flickr

We have released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images were taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books digitised by Microsoft who then generously gifted the scanned images to us, allowing us to release them back into the Public Domain.
The images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of.
- See more at:

Iconic theatre off heritage register

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Dungog’s James Theatre has been refused entry to the NSW Heritage Register.
The iconic picture theatre turns 101 this month but was left off the list for management reasons rather than a lack of merit.
Heritage Minister Robyn Parker determined that listing may materially reduce economic opportunities for the facility and lead to a loss or decline in volunteer support that was considered essential for its continuing use.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Dec. 19, 2013.

War memorabilia and stories, please

From the Maitland Mercury report:
What it lacks in bricks and mortar, the Maitland Regional Museum certainly makes up for in ambition.
Just months after establishing its first steering committee, the Maitland Regional Museum Inc has joined forces with The Australian War Memorial to bring a travelling exhibition to the city next year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I.
“We don’t know where we’ll put it, but Maitland is going to get this travelling exhibition and the museum, as a group, wants to put Maitland’s signature on it,” chair of the Maitland Museum Steering Committee Janece McDonald said.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Dec. 18, 2013.

Boxer Les Darcy comes to life

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Zac Garred has spent the best part of the year transforming himself into Les Darcy.
He’s jabbed, ducked, weaved and hooked in a bid to bring the story of the Maitland boxing legend to the big screen. 
And yesterday the young actor and filmmaker took his commitment one step further by re-enacting Darcy’s fight against East Maitland jockey George ‘Guv’nor’ Balser in 1911.
Originally the fight took place at a Thornton construction site for railway cuttings, but Garred and his crew instead chose Richmond Vale Railway Museum for the scene to be used as part of a trailer for the film, based on Peter FitzSimon’s book The Ballad of Les Darcy.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury,

Great Scott! the true beauty of nature

From the Maitland Mercury report:
They have been described as the Bronte sisters of the botanical world, exuding wit, intelligence and scientific expertise in the male-dominated world of the 19th century.
In a coup for the Maitland Regional Art Gallery, the beautiful and intricate works of  Harriet (Hattie) and Helena (Nellie) Scott are now on show in the exquisite exhibition titled Beauty from Nature: the art of the Scott sisters.

Inside History magazine

Inside History magazine is for people passionate about Australian and New Zealand genealogy, history and heritage. The Nov-Dec 2013 edition (issue 19) has arrived.
Voices from the past: Inside History’s Remembrance edition, Issue 19: Nov-Dec 2013, has arrived! You’ll find:
  • Our exclusive Great War diary excerpts from the State Library of NSW’s new digitisation project
  • The personal letters and diaries in the Australian War Memorial’s new exhibition, ANZAC Voices
  • Award-winning author Janet Butler talks about researching World War I army nurses
  • Read about the two New Zealand pilots who became best friends during in World War II
  • Renowned genealogist Shauna Hicks shows you how to find your World War servicewomen
  • An introduction to The Benevolent Society and its archives
  • Ned Kelly by Peter FitzSimons: the author discusses the iconic outlaw and his new book
  • Our Gatsby-inspired getaway in the Blue Mountains
  • A history of Australian scrapbooking – you’ll never guess which quirky sources some early Aussie genealogists kept for posterity!
  • Australia’s first great recycling scheme in the wake of World War II
  • Read how two men’s Great War experiences and later lives were intertwined through their granddaughter’s research
  • How our photo-dating experts help solve readers’ family history mysteries, from a Welsh WW1 soldier to an 1870s family portrait
  • A new biographical database that’s linking together our 19th-century ancestors
There’s a dream digitisation kit, including a Kaiser Baas photo scanner, photo maker and video converter, up for grabs in our exclusive subscription offer, as well as opportunities to network with other genealogists, giveaways, book reviews and app reviews!

Sit at the desk where history has been made

From the Maitland Mercury report:
desk where former prime minister John Howard signed a trade treaty with ex-US president George W Bush and a furniture suite that once seated the leaders of the world have made their home in Maitland.
Bought by heritage conservationist Chris Richards during an auction earlier this year, the furniture has taken up permanent residence at High Street’s historic Mansfield function centre.
Along with the desk and three-piece furniture suite, Mr Richards has also bought a 36-seat cabinet table used to discuss some of Australia’s most important pieces of legislation including the post-September 11 national anti-terrorism plan.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Dec. 10, 2013.

Heritage directory

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland home renovators can now access the latest information on how to keep their home true to period style and which suppliers to use.
Maitland City Council has published the 2014 edition of the Maitland Heritage Trades Directory.

Sink-hole that took a Maitland boy’s life in 1848

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A dangerous and deceptive mix of dung and water lurked about on the corner of Elgin and West streets, Maitland in 1848.
It was a waterhole which had been so filled with manure that it resembled a large dung-heap.
The moment a heavy body was placed on its surface it would yield and it quickly took a person with it, deeper and deeper they would sink, with no possibility of extracting oneself without help.
There had been seven accidents in a week at the waterhole and while help was at hand for those people, it was not the case for a seven-year-old orphan boy James McCarten on August 16, 1848.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Dec. 7, 2013.

Friday, December 13, 2013

1963 captured by Mercury photographers

From the Maitland Mercury report:
If you missed the chance to see the Mercury's photographic exhibition at Maitland Regional Art Gallery this month fear not.
The exhibition, 1963, Picture that in Maitland 50 Years, curated by the Mercury's chief photographer Cath Bowen is in the above image carousel.
The photographs were taken by Mercury staff photographers throughout 1963 and document events and milestones in Maitland that year.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Dec. 6, 2013.

The latest newspapers in Trove

Trove latest newspapers accessible:
Life in rural New South Wales can be glimpsed through newly digitised newspapers such as The Gundagai Independent, The Bathurst Daily Argus and The Tamworth Observer and Northern Advertiser. These titles have been supported by the State Library of NSW as part of the Digital Excellence Program, funded by the NSW Government.

Australian War Memorial

What Australians endured on Gallipoli and the Western Front, in the mud of Flanders, and in the deserts of Sinai–Palestine was almost beyond description. Drawing on their letters and diaries in the Memorial’s collection, ANZAC voices presents an intimate account of the First World War
ANZAC voices is now on display and will remain on display until the redeveloped First World War galleries open in late November 2014 to mark the centenary of the First World War.
Towards the middle of December 2013 you will notice some changes on our website. The changes are intended to make it easier for you to find information on our site.
The changes are the first stage of the ANZAC Connections project which will continue during 2014 and 2015. In later stages, we will be making more digitised records available, as well as enabling people to tag and comment on collection material, and to transcribe original diaries and letters.

Australian Family Tree Connections – December 2013

This December issue of Australian Family Tree Connections quite naturally has a Christmas theme, while still providing readers with an interesting array of articles for their holiday reading.
In this December 2013 issue, you’ll find articles on the following: The Midolo Family at Christmas; The Charlton Christmas of 1937; and Sandra tells us about her 6 week trip to the UK, and how it is impossible to see everything, and how she had to prioritise. Shani and Nikki tell us how their research journey took them to Jamaica, Scotland and Australia in search of William Mackie Jnr. Then we read about Little Freddy Heazlewood who went missing from Portland, and Margaret tells up about her Wilson and Baker families from England.

$50,000 Bird Barn legal challenge

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Absentee landlord Andre Kahilil has launched a legal challenge to avoid $50,000 in costs to secure a derelict central Maitland building known to most as Bob’s Bird Barn - previously the Carrington Hotel.
The property, listed for sale in March for $750,000, has also been removed from the market. 
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Dec. 3, 2013.

Hero’s gold medal auctioned for £3360

From the Maitland Mercury report:
In 1858 the Maitland Mercury reported on a gold medal awarded to a captain who saved 105 souls from a shipwreck. 
On Wednesday, that medal sold at auction for £3360 or $6025.86 in London. 
It was awarded to Captain Morrison who discovered the shipwrecked Timandra off Cape Keppel on October 23, 1858. The captain rescued 105 people from peril when their ship hit Keppel Bay sand spit.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 30, 2013. 

Our city? It’s a living museum

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland city centre is a living museum.
That’s the view of Maitland Historical Society member Val Rudkin, who has been researching the stories behind the city’s High Street buildings for the past three years.
She has been looking at the street one section at a time to study the prominent names, buildings and people that have captured her interest.
Born and raised in Lorn, Mrs Rudkin has always treasured her strong ties to the city.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 29, 2013.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A quick look back at 160 years of fashion

From the Maitland Mercury report:
An image of the world’s oldest working supermodel Carmen Dell’Orefice looms large on the walls of East Maitland Library.

Titled Flashback: 160 years of Australian Fashion Photos, the exhibition – curated by Margot Riley – showcases a selection of beautiful and iconic images from the State Library’s unrivalled collection, ranging from mid-19th century hand-coloured portraiture through to contemporary fashion shots.
Ms Riley will talk about the exhibition during a high tea at East Maitland Library

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 25, 2013.

Cathedral precinct plan for Maitland

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A multi-million dollar project to restore the eastern end of High Street into the cathedral precinct of Maitland will begin next year with the resurrection of St John the Baptist Chapel.
Plans to restore the historic Catholic church will form stage one of a vision to revive the precinct for the 2016 sesquicentenary of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

The church was built in the 1840s but when the bishop (the Most Reverend James Murray) came here in the 1860s it became a cathedral,” diocesan head Bishop Bill Wright said.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury,

Les Darcy film tribute

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A movie about the life of Maitland boxing legend Les Darcy is one step closer to fruition with a trailer set to be filmed across the Hunter early next month.
The trailer is the next stage of the film project launched earlier this year.
Earlier this year Garred and childhood friend Tom Arthur, both 26, launched a campaign to bring the story of the Australian icon and Maitland boxing legend to the big screen after buying the screen rights of Peter FitzSimons’ book The Ballad of Les Darcy.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 21, 2013.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Convicts as pioneers ignored, says historian

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Before the arrival of the institutional Catholic Church in Maitland there were the convicts.
Sent to Wallis Plains from Ireland in the early 1800s, these men were uneducated, illiterate and highly superstitious.
And according to historian Michael Belcher they were also the true pioneer Catholics of the Maitland district. “The early European history of the Wallis Plains area was overwhelmingly male, convict and single,” Mr Belcher said.
“And a large proportion of these people were Catholics who, as far as the governing classes were concerned, were benighted and bereft of every advantage that can adorn the mind of man.”

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 19, 2013.

Touch of history in the city of Maitland

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Wet weather did nothing to dampen the spirits of 44 Australian Air Force cadets from the City of Maitland 308 Squadron as they took part in an ancient ceremony on Saturday.
The airforce cadets were only the third group to be granted the Freedom of Entry ceremony, the first since the crew of HMAS Maitland seven years ago.

Our Walli folly?: house mystery explored

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Is it Wallis or Walli House?  That’s the question Maitland City Council faced recently when looking at the pale pink two storey residence beside Wallis Creek.
The mystery is almost as old as the building itself.

For twenty years Maitland City Council documents have called it Wallis House.
It’s one of three houses pioneer pastoralist Samuel Clift built on the Hunter River tributary and the National Trust lists as the Wallis House Group, supporting retention of the ‘s’.
But the more council heritage officer Clare James read about this historic residence, the greater her suspicions grew.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 16, 2013.

McGuigan patriarch celebrates his century

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Congratulatory messages from dignitaries including the Queen, Governor-General and the Prime Minister have arrived in time for Perce McGuigan’s biggest celebration – his 100th birthday.
Mr McGuigan devoted more than 30 years of his life to ­winemaking and started the McGuigan dynasty which his sons Brian and Neil have carried on.
“In 1941 when I started in the industry there were nine winemakers in the Hunter Valley and these days there would be over 100,” he said.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 16, 2013.

ICON magazine launched

ICON Magazine is a new national arts magazine for major galleries, museums and cultural institutions around Australia.
For the first time, pages of beautifully presented, informative, expert content from the curators of all of Australia’s major arts and cultural icons will be published in the one magazine, on sale nationally on 5 November.
This first issue celebrates the exciting diversity of the arts, culture and science of Australia and even features a behind-the-scene account of the “Australia” exhibition currently on show in London as its cover story.

National Trust Magazine - November 2013-January 2014

National Trust Magazine - November 2013-January 2014

Contents include:
  • Annual Review 2012/2013
  • Environmental heritage
  • Museums, galleries and collections
  • A year of events around New South Wales
  • New Trust policies to address change
  • Norman Lindsay Gallery celebrates 40 years of exhibitions and events
  • Looking after heritage properties
  • Events caladar 2013/2014

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Burial site history is ignored

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland historian Lance Murray is outraged that land surrounding the city’s first burial ground off Wallis Street, East Maitland is earmarked for housing.
The burial ground features in written accounts of Maitland’s earliest days of European settlement and holds equal importance to Aboriginal history.
Maitland City Council has acknowledged a potential Aboriginal archeological deposit outside its planning proposal for 40 lots but Mr Murray said any development around the site would be detrimental.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 7, 2013.

Could there be ghosts inside this house?

From the Maitland Mercury report:
There is a presence inside historic East Maitland house “Torquay” that owner Leanne Saccaro can sense every time she walks in the front door.
She calls it Torquay’s personality, the spirits of the original owners remaining within the walls.
A gentleman in a top hat and tails has been seen walking along the hall and there is a female presence that is protective of the house, Mrs Saccaro said.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 7, 2013.

The story of Tocal College – on DVD

From the Maitland Mercury report:
By his own admission Garth Russell has put himself in a position of privilege time and again.
As a self-described extractor of stories, the well-known Hunter journalist spends much of his time recording the stories of others.
And now Russell has told the story of Tocal Agricultural College. In a DVD titled Reflections on Tocal College, Russell details the genesis of agricultural education there as told by college principals, senior staff, farmers and former students.
“I certainly knew how important history was to Tocal and I know the word passion is bandied around a lot, but I really got a sense that there is a real passion for this place,” Russell said.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 5, 2013.

State Records of New South Wales

On the State Records website we have uploaded several podcasts and accompanying slideshows presented by staff at Open Day back in August.  The theme of the day was travel and transport and these presentations cover a broad selection under this category: from convict transport to railroads, cars and road construction.

State Library of New South Wales publishing war diaries online

The State Library of NSW holds over 500 World War One diary and letter collections which have been deposited since 1918.

They would like to find out more about our service men and women. The Library has their war story and now they would like your war stories about them.
What happened when they returned home? Do you have any mementos, photos, letters that shed light on their lives? You may know where they were born or where they enlisted. You may know in which battles they fought and any awards they received.

Many of their diaries have been transcribed so you can easily read the handwritten entries. They will be adding more transcriptions to the website over the coming months.

Posinatus: an unlikely champion

From the Maitland Mercury report:
What does Morpeth, the Melbourne Cup, a coin toss, prophetic dream and a parish priest have in common?
It may sound like the start of a joke but it is actually the story of Posinatus and the punch line was delivered 100 years ago at Flemington.
Posinatus left the township of Morpeth as a 100-1 shot and returned home to the banks of the Hunter River as a Melbourne Cup champion.
A century may have passed since that historic victory at Flemington but the story still resonates around the streets where Posinatus once roamed and beyond.
Not only was Posinatus the last Maitland connection to win the famed two mile race, following on from four others in the decade before him, but the five-year-old gelding clearly defied the odds to claim one of the sport’s ultimate prizes.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 2, 2013.

Morpeth honours Melbourne Cup champ

From the Maitland Mercury report:
At this time of year the attention of a nation turns to horse racing and Victoria’s spring carnival.
In 2013 the Morpeth Museum is doing the same, but to mark a special anniversary of a town legend.
It is a combination of images, footage, information, replicas and objects such as saddles from a century ago.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 2, 2013.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Residents battle zoning change

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Twenty years ago Wallis Street residents fought and won a battle to stop development on the heritage-significant Glebe paddock at East Maitland.
Now they are faced with another fight as Maitland City Council prepares to decide whether the rural land, owned by St Peter’s Anglican Church, should be zoned residential after a development proposal of 40 lots was submitted earlier this year.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 1, 2013.

$30,000 for Maitland heritage sites

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Three historic heritage sites in Maitland have been given a welcome boost after the state government secured $30,000 in grants.
St Peter’s Anglican Church and Glebe Cemetery at East Maitland, Walka Water Works, and Cintra House garden and stables are three of 40 projects that have shared in $2 million that Heritage Minister and Maitland MP Robyn Parker announced yesterday.
Ms Parker (pictured) said the three state heritage-listed icons had played a pivotal role in Maitland’s history with the church and Glebe cemetery and Walker Water Works dating back to 1886, and Cintra House 1879.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury,

Maitland bids farewell to film

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The curtains are about to close on Maitland’s love affair with film.
More than two decades after the city’s cinema complex screened its first movies, the four picture theatres are going digital.
Maitland Reading Cinema will close on Monday for a $1.5 million refurbishment, which will include the conversion to digital, new carpet, seats, curtains and lights.
The final three movies screened via film will be Prisoner staring Hugh Jackman, Captain Phillips staring Tom Hanks and Two Guns with Denzel Washington.
“These will be the last films shown in Maitland, possibly the Hunter,” cinema manager Yvette Cavanagh said.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 31, 2013.

New Royal Aaustralian Historical Soviety Podcasts

Three new podcasts of recent lectures at History House have been uploaded to this website under the ‘Podcasts’ section, with further podcasts soon to follow.
  •  Andrew Tink – Air Disaster Canberra 1940
  •  Lt. Cdr. Desmond Woods – Genesis of the RAN & the First Fleet Unit 1913
  • Dr. Siobhan Lavelle – Frank Walker FRAHS: Historian in the Field
Access at the RAHS website:

House tour of "Torquay" in East Maitland

The National Trust's Friends of Grossmann House Group are hosting a tour of "Tourquay". Take the opportunity to peek inside one of East Maitland's grand homes, as well as partaking of afternoon refreshments provided by the Friends of Grossmann House.

Sunday 10 November, 2.00-3.30pm.
$15.00/$12.00 NT.
Bookings essential. Phone Lynn on 49320518.

On show: images from 50 years ago

From the Maitland Mercury report:
An exhibition featuring a range of photographic images shown through the eyes of the Maitland Mercury  in 1963 is now on show at the Maitland Regional Art Gallery.
Curated by Mercury photographic editor Cath Bowen and titled 1963, Picture that in Maitland: 50 Years, the exhibition is the current instalment of an annual display at the gallery.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 30, 2013.

Cranky Handle Rally at Maitland - Extreme steam machines

From the Maitland Mercury report:
An enthusiastic crowd and glorious weather were the highlights of the 27th annual Cranky Handle Rally at the Maitland Rally Ground.
The two day festival was held over Saturday and Sunday with people travelling from across  NSW and interstate for the event.
The event, which is run by Hunter Valley Vintage Farm Machinery Club, attracted good numbers according to Cr Peter Garnham.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 28, 2013.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

POLL: Heritage hope

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Landmarks such as the Indian Root Pill shed could be spared from demolition under new council powers, even if they are not heritage listed.
The iconic East Maitland building is an example of what interim heritage orders could save if its owner wanted the shed gone in the future.
Recent changes to the heritage act mean Maitland City Council could issue an interim heritage order while a thorough assessment was carried out.
If the subject of the order was found to have heritage merit, it could then be listed as such under the Maitland local environment plan.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 16, 2013.

New powers will protect our Maitland heritage past for future generations

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Many Maitland buildings are heritage protected – and for very good reason.
Not only have they stood the tyranny of time, in many cases they are  beautifully and faithfully restored in  keeping with the era they represent.

Other buildings, however, such as the iconic blue Indian Root Pill shed on the road between East Maitland and Morpeth, are technically in heritage no-man’s land.
But under new Maitland City Council powers these unlisted buildings may well be protected in the future should their owners ever seek to demolish them.
The new powers mean that the council could issue an interim heritage order while a thorough assessment was carried out.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 16, 2013.

150th anniversary of the Morpeth Court House

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The Morpeth Museum Committee and Maitland City Council are preparing celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Morpeth Court House.
Mrs Thomas, who is the Morpeth Museum curator, is helping to prepare the courthouse for it’s 150th anniversary celebrations on October 18.
The courthouse, now occupied by the museum, has recently undergone significant renovations to restore it to its original condition.
Built in 1862, the courthouse ­didn’t see it’s first case until July 1863 because citizens claimed it wasn’t finished.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 12, 2013.

Branxton Public School turns 150

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Never will Branxton Public School’s motto be more ­meaningful than on Saturday.
The school will celebrate it’s 150th anniversary with a fair starting at 10am.

A 1930s garden party revisited

From the Maitland Mercury report:
In 1933 hundreds of people gathered in the grounds of historic Brough House for a Jubilee Garden Party honouring 50 years of secondary education in Maitland.

Now, more than 80 years, the Friends of Grossmann House are celebrating the garden party at the same place.
“Our aim is to create an event in the spirit of that day because we think it's important to look back and remember these things and try to bring them to life,” Friends of Grossmann House member Janece McDonald said.

The October 19 event will feature a 1930s fashion parade presented by the Maitland-based Australian Museum of Clothing and Textiles while Sing Australia will perform songs of the era.

The Jubilee Garden Party will start at 2pm. For more information and bookings phone Grossmann House on 4933 6452

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 9, 2013.

Rejuvenation of city’s heritage to put it on tourism map

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland’s credentials as a heritage centre can  only be further enhanced by the planned rejuvenation of Melbourne Street, East Maitland.
The Hunter Valley’s wineries have been the backbone of its tourism industry but Maitland has the potential to become the place to stay when ­visiting the region.
Melbourne Street, like High Street and its surrounds, is blessed with some wonderful historic buildings which can become the centrepieces of the city’s inner-city renaissance.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 8, 2013.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Secret life of Maitland dancer John Hampton Christison to be revealed

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The life and times of champion Maitland dancer John Hampton Christison are morally dubious to say the least.
To the public the Scotland native was a ­highly acclaimed dancer who arrived in the Hunter region in the late 1870s where he proceeded to thrill Maitland audiences with his spectacular exhibition dances and taught hundreds of locals to dance.
But the public persona of this larger-than-life character masked some secrets and puzzles, and his time in Maitland was marked by sudden disappearances, parallel careers and long absences interstate and overseas.
Next week Ray Christison will reveal his great-grandfather’s secrets during a Maitland City Library Look Who’s Talking local history event.
Titled Fancy Footwork, the presentation will tell the tale of Professor Christison’s checkered life which included bank­ruptcy, adultery, cruelty and kidnapping.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 7, 2013.

Society of Australian Genealogists

  • Friday 18 October (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Hands On - Online trees for free
    Learn how to safely add a few key ancestors to a free online family tree, so others can contact you for more information. This is a hands-on session, so bring information about a family of your own (all deceased and ideally at least parents and a child) and create a free online tree. (If possible include an ancestor found in the 1881 UK census.) Websites used include WeRelate, Lost Cousins and MyHeritage. Presenter: Kerry Farmer. Bookings essential. $30 ($45 non-members).
  • Saturday 19 October (10.30am - 12.30pm) - British Military Service Records
    Many families have a connection to service in the British armed forces. The records of the British Army, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force are extensive and can provide a fascinating insight into the lives of our ancestors who served their country. This seminar will cover ‘recent’ records from the First World War as well as looking at material available for earlier time periods. Presenter: Jeremy Palmer. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Saturday 19 October (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - How to Research Australian Military Ancestors
    Discover the variety of resources available and the information contained within while exploring sites including the Australian War Memorial, National Archives, Commonwealth War Graves Commission and SAG. Learn ways to find your relative’s service history and the history of the units with which they served. Presenter - Damien Bowley. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Wednesday 23 October (8.00pm - 9.00pm AEST) - Webinar - Finding Living UK Relatives
    Join UK professional genealogist Dr Geoff Swinfield, as he illustrates, using a real example, the techniques and sources used to identify and locate living relatives in the UK Presenter - Dr Geoff Swinfield. Bookings essential and limited to SAG members only. Price $10.00.
  • Saturday 26 October (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Ancestral Links - the Biographical Database of Australia goes online
    The former ABGR Project, which published all the Musters in the 1990s, and four volumes of biographies, has created a web-based database of transcribed BDM and other records, linked to create thousands of profiles of people arriving or born in colonial Australia. Malcolm Sainty and Michael Flynn explain how the database works and how it can help genealogists and historians. Presenters - Malcolm Sainty & Michael Flynn. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Trove's first handwritten newspaper

    Explore the recently digitised newspaper The Renmark Pioneer, now available online through Trove.

    This South Australian newspaper includes incredible handwritten issues dating back to 1892.

    ANZAC Voices

    What Australians endured on Gallipoli and the Western Front, in the mud of Flanders, and in the deserts of Sinai–Palestine was almost beyond description. Drawing on their letters and diaries in the Memorial’s collection, ANZAC voices presents an intimate account of the First World War.

    On display in the Memorial's Special Exhibitions Gallery from 29 November until 30 November 2014.

    Now and then: Pomfrett Butchers

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Pomfrett Butchers have usually done well in Maitland and in the 1910 business directory there were six: Henry Atkinson, A. Bailey, George Maher, J. Walsh, the Co-operative Butchering Company and William Pomfrett.
    Source: The Rise of High Street, Maitland by John Turner.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 5, 2013.

    Dick Osborn : rescued from Maitland’s 1955 flood

    Lucky perhaps, and a gentleman
    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    To some, Dick Osborn was one of the lucky ones rescued from Maitland’s raging floodwaters of 1955.
    To many he was the essence of harness racing in the Hunter Valley and further afield.
    Mr Osborn, of Sawyers Gully, died on Tuesday and tributes for the 83-year-old have flowed in from the community.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 3, 2013.

    Saturday, September 28, 2013

    Irish Dog Licences!

    Another new collection of Irish records have gone online for the first time ever, and that is the Irish Dog Licences! Not something that you’d think on looking for is it? But these are a great untapped resource for Irish family historians. The dog licence registers currently contains over 500,000 records, with more to be added before the end of the year.
    The details included in the dog licence entry are similar to those found on modern dog licences
    - Owner’s (licencee) name
    - Owner’s address
    - Owner’s county
    - Year of licence
    - Court
    Start searching these records now.

    Maitland Historical Society Guest Speaker evening Tuesday 01 October

    The next Guest Speaker evening is on Tuesday  01 October at the Society’s rooms  3 Cathedral Street Maitland commencing at 5.30 pm.

    The guest speaker will be John Fenwick, who is 92 years old, and will take us for “A Walk Down Memory Lane”.
    For more information Phone Ruth, 49336021
    Visit the Maitland & District Inc. website

    Insights into the NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages index

    Author: Joy Murrin & Allan Murrin
    ISBN: 9781921956317
    Year: 2013
    Item Code: UTP0191
    Printed Book: paperback, 40 pages, $15.00 more information
    Ebook: to come soon
    The author writes … “When we started researching out family history the New South Wales births, deaths and marriages index was not available for public access. Our research in those years involved writing to the registry in hope they were able to provide a certificate.
    The index was first released as microfiche, then CDs which required a trip to a society of library. Now the index is available on the internet allowing searches any where and any time.
    Although there are benefits in each of the indexes, there are challenges which are explained in this book, together with offering insights as to how to full utilise the New South BDM index.

    Firends of Grossmann House Events

    Garden Party Jubilee at Brough House 

    October 19th, 2.00-4.00pm

    Be a part of a 1930's themed garden party, with afternoon tea, fashion parade by AMCAT and songs by Sing Australia.
    Bookings essential and dressing up in a 1930's theme theme encouraged. For more information phone Janece 49334450.

    Saturday, September 21, 2013

    Inside History magazine

    Inside History magazine is for people passionate about Australian and New Zealand genealogy, history and heritage. The Sep-Oct 2013 edition (issue 18) has arrived.
    Journeys through the past: Inside History’s September-October issue, the transport edition, has landed! From carriages to railway, lighthouses to paddle steamers, we look at how your ancestors moved around.
    • Margaret Simpson, from the Powerhouse Museum Sydney, guides us through the history of carriage transport, from horses to bullocks, buggies to wagons
    • Meander along the Murray-Darling and explore the paddle steamers of yesteryear
    • Read about our iconic lighthouses from the Bass Strait to Rottnest Island
    • Meet two young heroines from the 19th century whose dramatic shipwreck rescues saved lives and made headlines around the world
    • Return to the Parramatta Female Factory to discover its link to convict architect Francis Greenway and Australia’s first female riot
    • Mark Tedeschi reveals how a chance encounter with a Sydney tram driver in 1941 secured his grandfather’s release from a World War II internment camp
    • Learn about the French teenagers planning their journey down under for a multimedia project to commemorate the Anzac diggers at Vignacourt
    • Hear about the musical legacy of a renowned West Australian cellist who, in 1925, eschewed the opportunity to play with Europe’s finest orchestras to teach music at a small regional school
    • Plus, the new online resource profiling Sydney’s aldermen and councillors
    • William Hall’s photographic journey along the Hawkesbury River
    • The Benevolent Society’s call-out for descendants of the Society’s five founders
    • Photo-dating expert Margot Riley’s examination of a photograph with a legendary family history
    • The Coalfields Heritage Group’s new projects to showcase the Hunter Valley’s mining history
    • The State Library of Queensland’s Australian South Sea Islanders project

    Allan Walsh’s legacy set in concrete

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    The Maitland MP who brought $150 million worth of improvements to the city including the $30 million Les Darcy Drive bypass road, has died in Sydney.
    Allan Walsh was the Labor member for Maitland in the NSW Legislative Assembly from 1981 to 1991.
    Maitland benefited greatly from Mr Walsh’s plans for the city which included buildings, road works and community ­services.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Sept. 19, 2013.

    Preservation Australia Workshops

    Preservation Australia’s highly regarded conservation workshops are being delivered again in late September.  These workshops are designed to take conservation out of the ‘too hard basket’. During the week beginning 23 September, they are offering Basic Paper Conservation, Care of Photographs, Disaster Combo, Care of Collections, Basic Textile Conservation, and Display and Storage Techniques. 

    When: Week starting 23 September 2013
    Where: Preservation Australia, Alice Street, Newtown

    The ‘Success’ – From Prison Hulk to Exhibition Ship

    Rose Cullen reveals the amazing story of the Success, one of the most elaborate tourism enterprises in colonial Australia. FREE & Open to the Public
    SMSA (Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts)
    280 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
    02 9262 7300 | 

    An old prison hulk from Melbourne, the Success was transformed into a floating museum of convict Australia. Its lurid displays of wax figures and convict manacles attracted large crowds in Australian ports in the early 1890s, before touring Britain and North America.

    A visit to the ship appealed to our lingering curiosity about the convict origins of the Australian colonies. The exhibition was promoted as a true object lesson, however historical accuracy fell victim to showmanship and visitors were sold an increasingly sensational version of Australia’s past.

    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

    Now and then: Fry Bros undertakers

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    The best way to go in 1902 was in one of the Fry Brothers’ hearses which were valued at £250 each.
    Undertaking and cabinet-making went together in colonial Australia and the Fry Brothers made a particular success of it using this building, which still exists, at 395 High Street.
    In 1910 they had three competitors, A.S. Mehan and Company, Frank Ward and William Loan and Sons.
    Source: The Rise of High Street, Maitland by John Turner

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Sept. 14, 2013.

    Maitland Town Hall’s $2 million upgrade

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Maitland Town Hall’s auditorium will be transformed into a theatrical space capable of housing productions and musical entertainment after the state government gave a commitment of $2 million.

    Heritage Minister and Maitland MP Robyn Parker said the project was necessary to help the town hall become part of the civic and cultural hub that Maitland City Council intends to develop within the city.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Sept. 13, 2013.

    State Records Open Day report

    A wrap-up of the State Records day for 2013 is available on their blog.

    Around 350-400 people turned up for a rare glimpse behind the scenes of the NSW State archives. The theme of the day was Transport, Travel & Tourism and the program was packed with speakers, tours, advice on conservation and digital recordkeeping, plus a display of treasures from our collection. The history and genealogy stalls were very popular, as were the vintage military vehicles, food and coffee (the important stuff!) and the second-hand book sale.

    Maitland Historical Society Bulletin

    The August 2012 edition of the Bulletin of the Maitland and District Historical Society is now available via the website.
    • Museum momentum
    • Trains and floods
    • Lecture meetings
    • Rathluba
    • 'Ghost' signs
    • Local History Newslink
    • Early Maitland on display

    Historian Troy Murphie hopes to bring the history of Maitland to life.

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Mr Murphie wants to establish a re-enactment society in the city to entertain and educate locals and visitors on the proud history of the area.
    “I have a great passion for history and I’d love to get some more people involved,” he said.
    “What we need is a governing body to start with.
    “We have so many places like the courthouse and the waterfront to produce historically accurate re-enactments and it would be great for the region.”
    Mr Murphie has also relaunched his ghost tours of Morpeth, with the first comeback tour on Friday night.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Sept. 11, 2013.

    Trees threaten iconic Lorn home

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Six towering camphor laurel trees threaten one of Lorn’s iconic homes and face the chop.
    The century-old trees have caused extensive cracking in the walls of “Nameerah” and Maitland City Council is expected to sound their death knell tomorrow night despite some reservations.
    “The proposed removal of the trees will have a significant impact on the streetscape of Roxburgh Street, Lorn,” council planning, environment and lifestyle manager Bernie Mortomore said.
    “However the trees are greatly impacting on “Nameerah” with evidence showing that the trees roots are responsible for significant ­damage to the internal walls, driveway, fence, gate and council-owned footpath.”

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Sept. 9, 2013.

    Sunday, September 8, 2013

    Picture This: Maitland City Library’s historic photograph collection

    From the Maitland Mercury report:

    For the first time this month, Maitland’s 21st ­century residents will see the city library’s historic photograph collection digitised and on display for NSW History Week which starts this Saturday.
    The library has 1000 pictures in its collection and some have been selected for an exhibition projected onto the walls of the Maitland Gaol chapel from September 13 to October 12.
    The images will be presented across six themes with 15 images in each – life’s an adventure, streets of our town, water views, the world is a stage, ­generations, and working together.
    The launch of the collection takes place on Thursday 12 September at Maitland Gaol.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, .

    Sister act: it’s a lovely garden

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    The Sisters of St Joseph of Lochinvar marked 130 years of service to the community yesterday dedicating a garden in the name of their founding Father Julian Tenison Woods.
    Father Julian and Sister Mary MacKillop established the order in 1866 and 17 years later, in 1883, four sisters travelled to Lochinvar where they opened a school.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Sept. 4, 2013.

    ‘Mr Maitland’ entrusts memories to historical society

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Politicians come and politicians go but a Maitland Historical Society collection celebrates a representative who etched his name on the city’s fortunes.
    “If you think of Maitland and what people have done here Milton Morris would be at the top of the list,” historical society president Ruth Trappel said.

    Poignant, curious tales : Maitland City Heritage

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    To the left of the lych gate inside historic Morpeth Cemetery are the leaning headstones of five dead sailors.
    Drowning was the fate of the men – aged 20 to 40 years – and their deaths occurred far from home and family.
    Poignantly known as Sailors’ Row, the memorials are traditional upright slab headstones and most are carved with the anchor and rope motif, symbolising the occupation of the sailor and the anchor of hope derived from Saint Paul.
    The story of the sailors will ­feature in the latest offering from the Maitland City Heritage Group.
    Titled Curiosities of Maitland, the book will be a collection of the city’s more unusual and quirky tales of the past.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Sept. 3, 2013.

    Collectors Weekend - Maitland Historical Society

    The Maitland & District Historical Society is hosting a collectors Weekend, Saturday & Sunday, 28 & 29 September. Collections of museum items and trading tables.
    Collections include: The Clothing Museum, clothing and textiles; bricks, bottles, photos, household items. Morning and afternoon teas may be purchased at the Friends of Grossman House 'Tea Shoppe'.
    Historical Society 'Sausage Sizzle' at rear of hall.

    When: Saturday & Sunday, 28 & 29 September
    Where: Catholic Hall, cnr. High and Cathedral Streets, Maitland.
    Admission: $4.00; concession, members & children (u/8) $2.00

    More information: phone Adele 49328007 or email

    Wednesday, September 4, 2013

    Maitland's dusty past

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    The Mercury has been a sounding post for many and varied viewpoints since 1843 and throughout its history space has been devoted to letters and opinions from readers.
    Pollution to politics, roads to rallies, comments and concerns are all published in the Mercury.
    Back in 1865 one of the most distressing issues facing Maitland residents was dust in our streets.
    Published under that heading in the Mercury, January 8, 1865 was a humorous letter with a serious subject from John Gilpin to the editors of the time.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Aug. 31, 2013.

    Couple’s homage to classic style in Morpeth

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    An 1860s Victorian-style house in Morpeth has been ­resurrected with the hard work and dedication of a local ­couple.
    Trevor and Wendy Nye bought a vacant block of land in High Street, Morpeth but council regulations required them to design their new house with consideration to the ­former house’s heritage.
    The outcome has been spectacular, with the ghost of the house that formerly stood on the site brought back to life in the form of the  new Settlers Rest Cottage.
    “The new house had to be designed to match the old 1860s house that had been demolished years previously,” Mr Nye said.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Aug. 30, 2013.

    History Week - Kangaroo: The Evolution of an Image

    When George Stubbs painted the first portrait of a kangaroo by a European, he did so based only on a skin and some rough sketches brought back by Sir Joseph Banks, who travelled on the Endeavour with Captain James Cook.
    Interestingly, Stubb’s painting – and the many subsequent engravings it generated – produced a standardised way of seeing kangaroos in Australia for much of the nineteenth century.
    John Simons explores how the way we view the kangaroo is affected by visual and cultural representations such as Stubb’s image and addresses some of the ways in which other images challenged the Stubbsian orthodoxy.

    10 Sep 2013 12:30pm - 1:30pm

    Mitchell Theatre at Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts
    280 Pitt Street

    Free and open to the public

    The Oral History Association NSW and Royal Australian Historical Society

    A practical workshop for staff and volunteers:
    SAT 12 OCTOBER,  2013   9.30 am – 4.30pm

    This workshop  promotes best practice standards for interviewing and archiving using appropriate digital resources.  Topics cover the nature and reliability of memory, preparing and structuring an oral history interview, choosing a digital recorder, ownership and copyright, editing, logging and transcribing and much more.  Workshop leader Frank Heimans is a winner of the Hazel de Berg Award for Oral History Excellence.

    Where:  History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney
    $105     Oral History Assoc  NSW and RAHS Members $95
    Bookings essential as numbers limited to 30
    Ring RAHS (02) 9247.8001
    Full details 

    Sydney Living Museums

    Last week we launched a delicious range of gastronomic workshops, tastes, talks, tours and events as part of a brand-new, year-round program – Sydney Living Museums Food.
    Inspired by our stunning historic homes, and their gardens and kitchens, the program presents a specially curated menu of enticing food experiences, including the new exhibition Eat Your History: A Shared Table at the Museum of Sydney.
    We’ve partnered with some of Sydney’s most highly respected chefs, foodies and craftspeople to bring you a tasty mix of experiences, such as a long lunch on the lawns of Vaucluse House, banquets at the Hyde Park Barracks Museum and an artisan food market just in time for Christmas.
    Director of Sydney Living Museums, Mark Goggin, says he is honoured to launch such a rich program that invites people of all ages to experience Sydney’s culinary history as though they had lived it themselves.
    For the full program and bookings, visit