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

Society of Australian Genealogists News

Australasian Version of the Really Useful Leaflet
The Federation of Family History Societies in the UK has now launched an Australasian version of its Really Useful Leaflet - designed to promote the work of family history societies and to help people starting their genealogical search. This free 20 page booklet contains contact details for member societies, tips on how to research your family history and lists of good websites worth checking.

A PDF version is available for download on the SAG website at leaflet.pdf and print copies are also available from our office.