Friday, March 22, 2013

Who do you think you are?

Australian Who do you think you are? Season 5 commences Tuesday, 2nd April, on SBS.

Well-known Australians Adam Hills, Asher Keddie, Susie Porter, John Howard, Don Hany, Michael Caton, Rove McManus and Lex Marinos play detective as they go in search of their family history, revealing secrets from the past.

Society of Australian Genealogists

Tracing WWI ancestors beyond using NAA – Kim Phillips
1914 will be the centenary of the commencement of WWI. Learn about tracing WWI ancestors beyond the NAA website and accessing information about battlefield sites such as Gallipoli and the Western Front. How do you prepare for your own visit to the battlefield sites?
Saturday 6th April from 10.30 am -12.30 pm
120 Kent St, Sydney $20 members / $30 non members

‘The Battle Continues’ – Soldier Settlement after WW1
- Selena Williams, SRNSW
Selena Williams from State Records NSW will outline how returned WW1 soldiers and nurses were eligible to take up land under the Soldier Settlement Scheme in NSW and how to locate them in online indexes and other records. The reality of life on the land and the difficulties these settlers experienced will also be highlighted.
Saturday 6th April from 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm
120 Kent St, Sydney $20 members / $30 non members

NSW BDM Records – Marilyn Rowan
NSW Transcription Agent Marilyn Rowan will share her extensive experience in searching the NSW online BDM indexes to their full potential and show you how to get the most out of these vital birth, death and marriage records.
Tuesday 9th April from 8.00 pm -9.00 pm
Your Place $10 and available to Members only

Society of Australian Genealogists

History Council of New South Wales

It’s been a busy month at History Council of New South Wales headquarters. A new General Council has been elected and we are delighted to welcome Ruth Balint, UNSW; Mirjana Djukic, St Lazarus Serbian Orthodox Church; Robert Evitt, Individual Member; Cassie Mercer, Inside History Magazine; Samantha Sinnayah, Botany Bay Library and Museum; Louise Trott, Australian Society of Archivists; and Christine Wright representing the Royal Australian Historical Society.

Russell Morris pays homage to Les Darcy

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Russell Morris has returned to his earliest musical style – the blues. On his new record Sharkmouth, Morris evokes a tradi­tional and minimal blues sound to tell the stories of some of the colourful characters in Australia’s history. On The Ballad of Les Darcy Morris, a long-time boxing fan, tells the story of Maitland’s heroic ­champion.

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

Maitland Steamfest - Want a hot, noisy seat?

From the Maitland Mercury article:
It’s the hottest, dirtiest, noisiest seat available – but enthusiasts are prepared to shell out a train-load of cash for the rare chance to sit in the cabin of a working steam locomotive.
For the second consecutive year, three cab rides will be auctioned on eBay as part of the activities on offer at Maitland Toyota Steamfest, which will be held on April 13 and 14.
The winning bidders will have the opportunity to sit in the fireman’s chair of the steam locomotive 3642 as it ­hurtles along at up to 80km/h during the return journey, which starts in Maitland and, depending on the day, with travel to either Branxton or Newcastle.

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

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Friends of Grossmann House Events

Steamfest at Grossmann and Brough, Saturday13th and Sunday14th April, 2013

Enjoy the peace and quiet of the house and gardens in the midst of Steamfest, as well as refreshments for sale. Maitland Model Club will be exhibiting train sets and cars at Brough House and inspections of Grossmann House available at concessional rates.

Archaeologists to investigate city’s colourful past

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A team of highly skilled archaeologists and historians will further explore Maitland’s history-laden past in an attempt to unearth some of the city’s greatest secrets.
In a first for the city, the team will undertake research as part of an Archaeological Management Plan for ­central Maitland.
The study is expected to be completed by June 2013 and will help property ­owners and council in the management
and information requirements for new development.
“Our city began as an unplanned ­settlement in the early 1800s which created a complex pattern of development before formal grants were made by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1818,” Maitland City Council heritage officer Clare James said.
From there Maitland became an ­attractive river port, supplying neighbouring settlements and servicing the needs of those travelling further inland.

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

Former Carrington Hotel at Maitland

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A historic piece of central Maitland real estate that is in need of love and affection has hit the market – with a price tag of $750,000.
The former Carrington Hotel on High Street, known to many as Bob’s Bird Barn, was listed last week by Sydney owner Andre Kahlil.
Despite his dreams to transform the old dame into chic inner-city accommodation, the building has sat empty since the pet shop operators vacated.

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

Hunter Valley Vintage Commercial Vehicle Show

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Trucks of all shapes, sizes and ages attracted more than 1000 people at the fourth Hunter Valley Vintage Commercial Vehicle Show on the weekend.
Maitland showground was filled with 123 trucks including old fire engines, buses and a strong presence of military vehicles.
This is the first time the Hunter Valley Classic Commercial Vehicle Club has held the event at the showground and members said the turn-out proved truck culture was alive and well in the Hunter.

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

Historic Houses Trust

Vintage SundaysJoin us on the first Sunday of the month as we revive traditional pastimes, rituals and pleasures with our new series.
Vintage Sundays presents a host of activities for everyone to enjoy at HHT properties, from tastings in the kitchen and garden games on the lawn, to period music in the parlour and dancing in the dining room. With workshops, crafts, talks and performances, you’ll get a taste of what life was like in bygone eras and take home your own handicrafts as a memento of the day.
Enjoy lunch from our tearooms or bring your own picnic. Come dressed in period costume for the chance to win a prize. Return to modern life refreshed, revived and inspired!
Elizabeth Farm
Sunday 7 April
11.00am — 4.00pm
Adult $20 | Groups of four $60 | Under 18s free admission

Friday, March 8, 2013

New app to take you back in time

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Cutting edge technology is being used to bring the convict history of the Great North Road to life.
Tourists who download a new app will have audio files loaded on their smart phones as they pass particular GPS locations along the historic road.
It was developed by the Convict Trail Project, in ­partnership with Cessnock City Council and the help of a $20,000 federal government grant and was launched at Wollombi on Saturday.
The 240km Great North Road was the first overland link from Sydney to the Hunter Valley and was built by convict labour between 1826 and 1836.
The app’s historical ­information is delivered in the form of a play, told through ­conversations between a number of convict characters involved in the construction of the road.

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

U.K. National Archives

U.K. National Archives:
This month we welcome the launch of Crime, Prisons and Punishment, a collection of our historical criminal records made available online for the first time through our partners at

Read about the plans to make more of these records available online and enter our fantastic competition to win a year's subscription to are also offering our readers the chance to take advantage of 20 free credits to search these fascinating new records. This offer expires on 21 March.

Dating from 1817-1931 these records are searchable by name and provide an excellent resource for anyone researching criminality and criminals.

Murder in 1845: deadly greed over just 10 pounds

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The murder of an old Scottish farmer Andrew Menzies at Hillsborough near Maitland attracted a lot of attention in December 1845.
The case brought to light the amazing forensic skills of Aboriginal trackers in those days when this science was unheard of.
The trackers’ brilliant skill to read and interpret nature went a long way to solving this murder.
The motive was not anger, hatred or revenge. It was a deep-rooted greed to possess Menzies’ few head of cattle and a few bushels of wheat, valued at 10 pounds in 1845, or roughly $820 today.
In 1845 the countryside around Maitland and between Maitland and Newcastle was very thinly settled and not always by the most honourable class of settler.

Full article by Brian Andrews available at Maitland Mercury, March 1, 2013.

Want to know what it’s like to go round the Bend?

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Nowhere is the juxtaposition of affluent and poorer class living more evident than in a small Australian suburb known, ever so fondly, as The Bend.
Sidled up against the banks of the Hunter River, Horseshoe Bend is one of Maitland’s oldest settled areas, but for Mick Belcher The Bend has, and always will be, home.
“The Bend is a unique area in Australia,” he said.
“And it’s also fantastically historical in the sense that it was one of the areas in Australia where you had a huge mix of classes. You had really well-off people living cheek to jowl with the poorer classes.”
Mr Belcher along with architectural history guide Wayne Campbell – will take people through the narrow lanes and streets of Horseshoe Bend for the Friends of Grossmann House first heritage walk of the year.

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

City’s history of flooding

From the Maitland Mercury report:
There are three generations of Maitland people who have never experienced a flood, are unaware of the city’s devastating flood history and the realisation that it can happen again.
The message about Maitland’s flood risk was driven home to the public at Maitland Town Hall yesterday in time for the 1955 flood’s 58th anniversary.
Residents, flood survivors, members of the community and school students were invited to look at photographs, watch a film and collect information at the event.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Feb. 27, 2013.

Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants

The Oral History Association NSW and the State Library NSW invite you to join a wide ranging discussion on one of the most complex national oral history projects conducted in the past decade:
Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants - Oral History Project

Sat 23 March 2013  Dixson Room, 1st Floor, Mitchell Library, Sydney
Registration 9.45 am.
Seminar commences promptly at 10 am - 1 pm
Cost includes morning tea    $45   Oral History Assoc .Members $35

More information at Oral History Association NSW

Friday, March 1, 2013

Research on pioneer artist

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Paterson’s links to a pioneering artist and author will be explored during the town’s ­annual heritage walk.
Author, illustrator and natural historian John William Lewin travelled to the Hunter Valley in 1801 and 1805 with James Grant, William Paterson and surgeon John Harris, who were exploring the potential for a settlement to be established in the region.
He spent time sketching the flora and fauna of the Hunter, with some of those drawings later appearing in his tome Birds of New South Wales, the first illustrated book to be published in Australia.
Mr Lewin and his work will form the major theme for the heritage walk being conducted by the Paterson Historical Society on March 10.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Feb. 26, 2013.

Maitland & District Historical Society

Fabruary 2013 Bulletin of the Maitland & District Historical Society now available at the Society's website.
  • Morris Cordials -  Maitland business estabglished 1889
  • 1893 flood: the Geroge Boyle White connection
  • History of Newcastle Anglican Diocese before 1847

Society of Australian Genealogists

Society of Australian Genealogists activities for March 2013:

  • Tuesday 5 March (8.00pm - 9.00pm AEST) - Webinar - Tracing the History of Your British Ancestral House
    In this webinar Dr Nick Barratt of 'Your Family History' magazine and 'House Detectives' will join us from the UK. He will show you how you can trace the history of the English house or property in which your ancestors lived. Bookings essential and limited to SAG members only. Price $10.00
  • Saturday 9 March (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Queensland Research: The Basics & Beyond with Qld genealogist Judy Webster
    Professional Queensland-based researcher Judy Webster will speak about what records are available to research your Queensland ancestors. As well as the basics, Judy will discuss other sources such as asylum, prison & police records. Bookings essential.$20 ($30 non-members).
  • Saturday 9 March (9.00am - 10.00am) - Orientation Tour
    Members only. A one hour orientation tour of our library at 2/379 Kent Street - find out how the library is set out and what services we offer there. Bookings Essential. Free - but a gold coin donation to our Building Appeal on the day would be appreciated.
  • Saturday 9 March (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Dealing with Life & Death - cultural practices in 19th century Australia
    Have you ever wondered where your ancestors were born? Who provided assistance at the birth and to new mothers? Were still births recorded? What were the diseases that killed so many infants and children? Where did people die? This discussion will cover these issues and more. Presenter: Philippa Garnsey. Bookings essential.$20 ($30 non-members).
  • Thursday 14 March (8.00pm - 9.00pm AEST) - Webinar - Colonial Secretary's Correspondence
    The NSW Colonial Secretary's Correspondence contains an amazing treasure trove of information and can be the answer to many research problems - everything from land grant applications to orphan children and foreign immigrants. Presenter: Martyn Killion. Bookings essential and limited to SAG members only. Price $10.00
  • Saturday 16 March (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Researching Beyond the Census - England & Wales Name Lists 1327-1831
    In England and Wales there are many records dating from the early 14th to the early 19th century which take the form of name lists and which can be used in the manner of census substitutes. Whilst these do not have the national coverage of the later civil censuses, they can still be very helpful in pinpointing specific people at particular places & times. Bookings essential. Bookings essential.$20 ($30 non-members). 
  • Flood lessons being ‘ignored’

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Lives and property are being put at risk because governments are ignoring the lessons of the past, a floodplain management professional has claimed.
    It is 58 years since the 1955 flood that devastated Maitland, claiming 14 lives, inundating 5200 homes and causing damage worth more than $2 billion in today’s terms.
    Floodplain Management Association chairman Ian Dinham said the government of the day was “very proactive” in constructing the Lower Hunter Flood Mitigation Scheme in the wake of that disaster.

    Full article by Michelle Meehan available at Maitland Mercury,

    Myths and misconceptions of a flood ravaged city

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Here's a thing about floods: they produce myths and misconceptions. Hunter River floods certainly do. One type of misconception is the 'myth of explanation', which arises as people try to make sense of flooding.
    The great Hunter flood of 1955 was explained by many as being caused by blowing up Glenbawn Dam, upstream of Muswellbrook.
    A rumour to this effect developed quickly as the flood ravaged Singleton, Maitland and other places. Some still believe in it today.

    Full article by Chas Keys, Maitland Mercury, Feb. 22, 2013.

    The ’55 flood: 500 photos

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    A commemorative display of 500 photos and historic films of the 1955 flood will take centre stage at the Maitland Town Hall.
    The display has been organised by the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority and the NSW State Emergency Service and is part of the Maitland community flood education program.
    CMA general manager Fiona Marshall said the recent severe flood events in NSW and Queensland made the 58th anniversary of the 1955 flood the perfect time for the community to learn more about the history of flooding in Maitland to help them prepare for the future.
    The display will be open on February 26 between 1pm and 3pm.

    Full article availabe at Maitland Mercury, Feb. 21, 2013.