Sunday, December 21, 2014

Newcastle Earthquake Then and Now - Newcastle Museum

Commemorating 25 years since the Newcastle earthquake.
At 10:27am, 28 December 1989, an earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale shook Newcastle, resulting in 13 deaths and massive property damage. The earthquake surprised Novocastrians despite previous recorded earthquakes.
This December marks 25 years since the earthquake which altered not only the built environment of Newcastle but also the community’s identity, nationally and internationally. This traumatic event led to a rebuilding, resilience and life altering rebirth.

Full details at the Newcastle Museum website.

Society of Australian Genealogists January 2015 events

LECTURE Identifying Australian House Styles
Judy Keena
Can you put all your photos in time and place? In this seminar, learn how to do the architecture detective work that can add important context to your family history. Bring any photos you are unsure of (houses, gardens, backyards etc.).
Saturday 10 January 10.30am to 12.30pm
120 Kent Street $20 members, $30 non members

WORKSHOP: Hands On Workshop: Perfect Printing Every Time
Sylvia Murphy and Lorraine Brothers
Using the licenced websites (FindMyPast, Ancestry etc.) available at the SAG Library is a great way to get maximum benefit from your SAG membership and the Library’s resources. Learn how to download, edit and print images and pages from these and other sites such as Trove and British Newspaper Archive for perfect presentation and readability. Limit 14.
Friday 16 January 1.30pm to 3.30pm
379 Kent Street $30 members, $45 non members

Remember me: the lost diggers of Vignacourt

State Library of New South Wales Exhibition

The small French village of Vignacourt was always behind the front lines. For much of the First World War it was a staging point, casualty clearing station and recreation area for troops of all nationalities moving up to and then back from the battlefields on the Somme. Remember me: the lost diggers of Vignacourt tells the story of how one enterprising photographer took the opportunity of this passing traffic to establish a business taking portrait photographs.

1 November, 2014 to 18 January, 2015
Exhibition Galleries, Level 1

Maitland Woolworths bombing 1980

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Minutes before 2am on December 19, 1980, Maitland Woolworths was bombed.
Located in High Street at the time, next to the Westpac Bank, the blast caused $300,000 of stock damage.
A bomb had been lowered through a vent near the back car park of the variety shop.
Police were aware that Woolworths at Warilla had also been bombed with gelignite using a timer attached, and it too had been lowered through the roof.
Three days after the Maitland bombing, Woolworths in George Street, Sydney received a call and a letter addressed to then company executive Mr AJ Harding with a list of demands.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Dec. 18, 2014.

Stylist in Maitland to look for historical projects

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Yvonne Maule has dedicated much of her life to renovating and redesigning some of Australia’s finest abodes.
And now, more than a decade after leaving magnificent Aberglasslyn House, Mrs Maule has returned to Maitland to style homes in historic Regent Street.
“In a town like Maitland, heritage is its charm and we need to do all we can to protect that,” she said.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury,

Sunday, December 7, 2014

First World War galleries at the Australian War Memorial

Australia in the Great War is the Memorial’s new permanent exhibition on display in the First World War Galleries from 1 December 2014.
The exhibition presents the story of Australia in the First World War chronologically, covering all major theatres of operations: Gallipoli; the Western Front; Sinai and Palestine; and the war at sea. The events taking place on the home front and the immediate and enduring legacy of the war are also included.
The Memorial holds one of the world’s great collections of material related to the First World War. The First World War Galleries integrate a wide variety of items from this collection, including dioramas and other works of art; uniforms; medals; technology such as artillery and firearms; photographs; film; and personal items such as letters and diaries.

Commonwealth War Graves: Restoration Of Australian Headstones

The unique ‘Scrolling Stones’ headstones conceptualised by Australian forces admitted as patients at No. 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Harefield Park, Middlesex, England during the First World War are to be restored in time for Anzac Day in April. Harefield (St Mary) Churchyard is recognised as one of the primary places of remembrance for Australians in the UK. The work that is being undertaken at the site involves lead lettering being inserted into the marble scrolls and new engravings
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

Society of Australian Genealogists December events

Tuesday 9 December (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Take Your Family Back to the Auld Country
Join Susan Cooke of the Scottish Australian Heritage Council who will examine the link between Australian birth, death and marriage certificates and your Scottish heritage. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members). 
  • Saturday 13 December (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Sydney Cemeteries
    In this session, Martyn Killion looks at Sydney’s major cemeteries and their records, with particular emphasis on what you can find online. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Wednesday 17 December (8.00pm - 9.00pm AEST) - Webinar - Britain's Colonial Wars
    Britain's period of colonial expansion in the 19th century was characterised by military adventurism abroad and rapid industrial development at home, spreading its culture, institutions and ideas across the globe. To provide background to your family's British migratory experience, military history enthusiast Peter Lloyd will provide an overview of the conflicts that occurred during this period of expansion. Bookings essential and limited to SAG members only. Price $10.00.

    Bolwarra heritage painting specialists win award

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    A customer service award has capped a rewarding year for father and son Graham and Craig Hill.|The Bolwarra business G&RA Hill Painting, which specialises in heritage work, was nominated in the Australian Business Quality Awards and notified of the win last month.
    The judges were impressed with the quality of their work at Anambah House.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Dec. 1, 2014.

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    Family Search: 120 Years of Pioneering Genealogy

    The ever growing popularity of online ancestry research and the broad range of inviting online family history activities. Elder Packer is the Executive Director of FamilySearch International (, formerly the Genealogical Society of Utah. 120 years ago today, the obscure nonprofit organization held its first meeting under the direction of its first president, Franklin D. Richards. Billions of historic records and millions of subscribers later, it has become a premier global leader in the online genealogy space helping more people than ever discover their ancestors.

    Inside History Magazine - November/December 2014

    Issue 25, the Nov-Dec 2014, issue of Inside History has a wealth of inspiring features and practical tips to help you trace your family tree and learn about the life your ancestor led. You’ll read about:
    • The latest free records online to help you find your family
    • Why Sydney Harbour’s Old Quarantine Station is the perfect historic city mini-break
    • How you could win a History Lovers trip to Norfolk Island worth $5,000, plus have your ancestor feature on our cover
    • A non-profit company leading the way in reuniting lost war medals
    • How to tell the difference between a ‘cottage loaf’ and a ‘kiss curl’ and why it can help in decoding the date of trickier family photographs
    • The amazing discovery of a “Dead Man’s Penny” buried in a Sydney backyard, and how it was returned to descendants by a thoughtful stranger
    • The centenary celebrations underway to commemorate Ernest Shackleton’s audacious trans-Antarctic expedition and the Australian photographer who captured their death-defying struggle
    • Resident expert Shauna Hicks helps piece together the puzzle of a marriage certificate riddled with errors
    • Inside History sits down for a chat with Christine Bramble, historian and author of Sisters of the Valley, a research project into WWI nurses
    • Take note of the latest historical events around Australia and New Zealand
    • Explore our reviews of the latest historical apps and books
    • We’re giving away 40 copies of Anzac Treasures – our biggest book giveaway ever!

    What Lies Beneath: Sydney underground history

    As ground is broken for each high-rise development, archaeological remains are unearthed and hidden histories discovered, offering a chance to see what lies directly underfoot.

    In Sydney we are knee deep in ruins. Our archaeological sites may well be sarcophagus-free zones but our underground discoveries offer more than muddy boots.  

    Parbury Ruins in the historic Millers Point district was unearthed in 2000 during the construction of a residential apartment block, revealing the footings of a 1820s two-bedroom cottage including the remains of a fireplace and veranda, and a building line perched on the very edge of the harbour. This archaeological gem is now preserved below the large residential complex and a great example of what lies beneath the modern concrete jungle.
    More ifnormation at Museums and Galleries New South Wales.

    World War 1 Link

    WWI Link is a research project database established by the history-loving team at Inside History magazine. This website is an online register of research projects taking place across Australia during the centenary of WWI, promoting our WWI heritage and creating an important record of the ways in which Australians commemorated this significant centenary.
    WWI remains this country's deadliest conflict, leaving no Australian community unaffected. The centenary of this event has inspired an incredible range of commemorative projects across the country that explore the ways in which the Great War shaped our nation. WWI Link will capture and share information about these important projects to a broad public audience, providing a place for contributors to share information and resources, source volunteers and promote their work to the world.

    More information at World War 1 Link website.

    Ingleburn at Lorn sells before auction

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    One of Lorn’s most elegant and distinguished residences has sold prior to auction.
    The immaculately restored Ingleburn was listed with a $1.2 million price guide and negotiations are understood to have eased past that mark to secure the property.
    Architect J Scobie designed the home with generous proportions appropriate to Lorn, known as the ­garden suburb, with its wide tree lined streets.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 24, 2014.

    Old Maitland service station site for sale

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    A former High Street service station opposite Maitland Library, which fronts a proposed nine townhouse development, is listed for sale.
    Most recently a showroom for Hunter Irrigation, it and a two-storey building next door, on the corner of High Street and Ken Tubman Drive, were not included in the sale of the townhouse development.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 23, 2014.

    Students become historians for Anzac centenary

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    The individual names of those men and women who served in World War I so far mean little to the children of Maitland.
    But as the world prepares for the Anzac centenary one school will embark on a project to unearth the forgotten stories of the war.
    Next year, Thornton Public School ­students will take part in the Find Them Remember Them program to create a living memorial to local soldiers and nurses of their district.
    The project has been developed by John Gillam and Yvonne Fletcher, co-authors of Their Story: Service Sacrifice & Community Support 1914-1915.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 19, 2014.

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    Maitland libraries joins 75th anniversary celebrations

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Maitland's libraries are still relevant today and have adapted to meet the needs of the communities they serve, according to city librarian Keryl Collard.
    Ms Collard said today's libraries were more than just a place for story books - they are welcoming, safe and vibrant and offer technology, space and programs that library users expect.
    The city's four library branches - Maitland, Rutherford, East Maitland Thornton - joined a statewide celebration last week to mark the 75th anniversary of the NSW Library Act with simultaneous cake-cutting ceremonies.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 10, 2014.

    Tocal College 50th anniversary

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Tocal College will celebrate 50 years of education next year and planning is well under way with the release of a logo to mark the occasion.
    Graduates from that period are expected to attend a Back to Tocal weekend in July and will also mark the start of a college alumni in the vein of the country’s revered universities.
    An ex-students’ association has served the college well and will continue to during the coming months, but the principal Cameron Archer said it was a fitting development.
    “It’s sort of a coming-of-age step and it formalises that [association function],” he said. “We’ll be developing an alumni of ex-students and supporters.”

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 9, 2014.

    Newcastle NSW Christ Church Cathedral records

    The University of Newcastle has placed many of its Cultural Collections online via Flickr. One of these collections is the Register Book of Christ Church Cathedral from the archives of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle. You can browse the images for baptisms (1839-1861), marriages (1839-1855) and burials (1839-1854).

    Honour the ANZAC legacy in the 21st Cenrtury spirit

    As part of the 100 year anniversary of WWI, State Records NSW and apps4nsw are challenging developers to create an app that uses the collection of WWI state records in new and innovative ways. The goal is to streamline access to state records regarding WWI and find new ways to link the data.
    The winning app will help honour the ANZAC legacy. It could also earn its creators $15,000 in prize money.
    The data
    As part of the 100 year anniversary of WW1, State Records NSW has developed a Centenary of Anzac website, which showcases records in our collection that relate to WW1. Data sets are also available on the NSW Open Data Portal

    The challenge
    To take State Records NSW data and create new interfaces to connect researchers with the collection and provide new pathways to link material together. Ideally, the app will have a WWI focus; however, it can relate to the period in any way—home front, personal relationships, soldiers, government responses and social trends.

    For more information on the challenge and how to enter, visit apps4nsw and NSW Anzac Centenary .

    Cracking the code of old handwriting

    Sooner or later, family historians will come across a major obstacle in progressing their research - old handwriting can be difficult to resolve and this booklet is designed to overcome some of these problems.
    While most of us unknowingly read by identifying whole words by their shape rather than looking at individual letters. When we come across unfamiliar writing, we are forced to look at the individual letters in their context, resulting in considerable difficulties for modern readers. This booklet provides some strategies to overcome this problem.

    A range of family history books is available at Maitland City Library.

    Steam trains run from Newcastle to Sydney

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    A steam extravaganza to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Newcastle to Sydney express trains will come to the Hunter Valley for the next two weekends, to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Newcastle to Sydney express trains.
    Tickets are available for steam train rides on the Newcastle line during the Lachlan Valley Railway’s double weekend event, which will also pay tribute to Newcastle’s harbour-side terminus in its final months.
    The trips are part of Steam on the Newcastle Line running on November 8 and 9 and November 15 and 16.
    Two steam locomotives – 3237 and 5917 – will take centre stage along with restored 1930s-era wooden compartment carriages.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 6, 2014.

    Maitland man's part in beaching of German ship in 1914

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    At daybreak this Sunday morning, a Maitland family will be thinking about an ancestor who played his part in the destruction of the German raider Emden exactly 100 years ago.
    Cecil Gordon Grace of West Maitland was a stoker aboard the cruiser HMAS Sydney that confronted the Emden in the Indian Ocean on Sunday, November 9, 1914.
    Known simply as Pops to his family, Grace from West Maitland talked little of his wartime experiences.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 6, 2014.

    Paterson rail society's 30th anniversary

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    The society will operate four trips to Wallarobba during the day, with trains departing its depot in Webbers Creek Road, Paterson, at 9.36am, noon, 2pm and 4.05pm.
    Passengers should be at the depot at least 30 minutes beforehand.
    Tickets for train trips will only be available at Paterson on the day – on a first come, first served basis – for a gold coin donation.
    Seating is limited so get in early.
    Guided tours of the depot and rolling stock will also be conducted on the day.
    “November this year marks 30 years since the Rail Motor Society was established,” society president Arthur Burgess said.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 6, 2014.

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

    Commonwealth War Graves Commission

    From 2 – 11 November 2014 the CWGC, Imperial War Museum and the Lives of the First World War community of over 44,000 people from across the UK and beyond, are working together to actively remember and share the life stories connected to the First World War. Join us to ensure that these Life Stories are remembered now and saved for future generations on Your First World War connection could be a relative who served, someone who shares your surname, or a person listed on your local war memorial.

    New plans for old Maitland Mercury building

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    The old Maitland Mercury building could soon get a long-awaited facelift.
    An architectural firm hired to breathe new life into the former Mercury office has released new images of what the revamped High Street site could look like.
    New owners of the iconic building have hired Maitland-based Agcad Building Designers to draw new plans for the site, which could include homes, tourist accommodation and a restaurant.
    Owner and director of the firm Anthony Gibb said plans were still in the early stages.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury,

    Royal Australian Historical Society events

    November events:

    November 19
    Wednesday: 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
    The NSW State archives collection comprises many linear kilometres of paper records as well as an assortment of surprising and often quirky objects, such as the model for the 19th century “Torpedo Antidote and Wave Breaker” or a 1918 mesh evening bag. Other objects include watercolour paintings on silkscreen, showing artist’s impressions of the designs for Leeton and Griffith; illuminated addresses; travel brochures; motion pictures; furniture and photographs and fabric samples. Join Gail Davis, State Records NSW, and learn more about these and other curiosities in the collection and how they became part of the State’s archives.

    November 27

    Thursday: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
    Even before the launch of the first satellites, sounding rockets were used to explore the upper reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere. Sounding rocket programs for upper atmospheric research commenced at Woomera Rocket Range in 1957.
    Shortly afterwards, the Weapons Research Establishment (WRE), inaugurated its own program with the first successful Australian-built sounding rocket, Long Tom. This research would eventually lead to the development of Australia’s first satellite, WRESAT, launched in 1967. This talk will outline the technical and scientific history of the Australian sounding rocket program, examining its origins and its demise. It will look at the sequential development of the various Australian rockets and the particular research projects with which they were associated.
    About the speaker: Kerrie Dougherty is Curator of Space Technology and Aviation at the Powerhouse Museum and a lecturer with the Space Humanities Department of the International Space University, based in Strasbourg, France. She is also the author of Space Australia and a number of original research papers on Australian space history.
    November 27

    Thursday: 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
    Click here to register.
    Join Suzanne Holohan, RAHS Executive Officer, for a presentation and discussion on volunteering and managing volunteers. Volunteers play a key role in the not-for-profit sector. This webinar will examine the delights and challenges of managing a volunteer programme. It will examine managing volunteers with diverse skill sets and requirements, steps to retain your existing volunteers and recruit new volunteers. It will also provide an overview of recent legislative changes that impact the volunteer workforce.

    East Maitland's Alma Tuting turns 101

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    101-year-old Alma Tuting of East Maitland, who is thankful every day of her life and is possibly Maitland’s oldest citizen.
    “I am thankful for so many things,” she said. “I still know who I am. Losing your memory, as many people do as they age, is so sad.
    “I am thankful that I am able to live here in my own home and sleep in my own bed. To me that is wonderful.”
    Mrs Tuting was born in Wellington in central NSW, where she lived for 27 years.
    She worked from age 15 in the office of a general store and later married Newcastle man, Ronald Tuting.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 5, 2014.

    Tocal College deputy principal calls time on 40-year career

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Forty years working with adolescents has given Bill Kinsey a rare insight into the minds of teenagers, most notably their desire to learn but also to create mischief.
    Mr Kinsey is the deputy principal of Tocal Agricultural College, Paterson, a position he has held for the past 27 years and one he will soon relinquish when he retires at the end of this year.
    The highlights of his 40-year teaching career involve seeing students come with little working knowledge of farming practices who go on to become leaders in their field managing successful corporate or large family farming enterprises.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 30, 2014.

    Schoolgirl’s search for Maitland WWI soldier complete

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    A Queensland schoolgirl whose research uncovered the history of a Maitland soldier killed in France during World War I has traced the probable site of his death.
    Charlotte Lambert, 18, from the North State High School in Mackay, began investigating the wartime service of Sergeant Arnold Lambert Worboys from Bolwarra when she discovered her surname matched his middle name.
    She then found he had been killed at Villers-Bretonneux in 1917 on March 23 – the same day she celebrates her birthday.
    And this week Charlotte accomplished her mission when, together with children from several schools, she visited Gallipoli and battle sites in France and Belgium.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 29, 2014.

    Friday, October 31, 2014

    LEDs will light up The Levee's heritage features at Maitland

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Installation has begun on The Levee project’s facade lighting that will highlight the precinct’s heritage features.
    They will light up the top half of the buildings, above the awnings, giving pedestrians plenty to talk about after dark.
    “It will be a nice feature on these heritage buildings,” Maitland City Council civil engineering project manager Greg Blaze said.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 27, 2014.

    Society of Australian Genealogists

    Congress 2015
    Don't forget the 14th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry is being held in Canberra from 27-31 March 2015. Every three years genealogists from around Australia gather to listen to a great range of local and international speakers, see exhibits and share their passion for family history. The early bird registration closes on 31 October so hurry and get your registration in now at the discount price! See
    Renovation Work at Mitchell Library
    The Mitchell Library Reading Room will be temporarily closed from Saturday 8 November – Wednesday 12 November while refurbishment work takes place, which includes replacing the floor covering, removing the glass barrier around the stairs, enhancing the Special Collections area at the rear of the room with additional seating and services and installing a new glass barrier to separate the research and general reading area.

    During this period there will be limited access to items in the Special Collections which will be made available in the State Reference Library. Resources usually available on open access in the Special Collections area, such as microform, Mitchell collections (940-999) and collection guides will be temporarily unavailable. Contact 02 9273 1414 for more information or check the website at
    Australian Heraldry Society lecture
    The Australian Heraldry Society will be holding a lecture on 'British Heraldry of The Great War' on Friday 21 November 2014 at 6.00pm. Delivered by David Vines White, Somerset Herald, College of Arms, London, the lecture will discuss the representation of the War in the armorial bearings granted to various military and naval commanders, armament manufacturers and others. The arms will be set in the context of older English heraldic traditions and the heraldic consequences of George V's desire to sever his family's ties with Germany wll also be discussed.

    The lecture will be held at the Sydney Mechanic School of Arts, Mitchell Theatre, Level 1, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney. Entry is by gold coin donation. For bookings and inquiries please contact the Hon. Secretary, Stephen Szabo on 0431 701 055 or by email at Bookings must be made by Wednesday 19 November.

    Discovering ANZACS

    The National Archives of Australia has developed this innovative website in partnership with Archives New Zealand as a gift to both nations for the centenary of World War I.

    The Australian and New Zealand contribution to World War I extends beyond the shores of Gallipoli in April 1915. Back home and abroad, ordinary people were mobilised by the war effort and crossed paths with the government. Discovering Anzacs provides a unique opportunity to create an extensive view of contributions to the war.

    Use the search function to explore a growing selection of government records about soldiers, munitions workers, nurses, conscription, internment, wartime copyright and patents, defence correspondence and more. View the highlights to see what kinds of connections can be made and what type of records you may find. Recreate the wartime journey of an individual on the frontline, or those left behind at home.

    Cranky Handle Rally in Maitland

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    More than 100 exhibitors from across NSW made their way to Maitland for the Cranky Handle Rally on the weekend.
    The hot weather kept numbers down slightly at the annual two-day festival at the Rally Grounds next to Maitland Station.
    Tractors, chaff cutters and water pumps were on display as well as vintage cars, bikes and trucks.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 26, 2014.

    Wollombi school will be put up for (mock) auction to save the heritage building from closure

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Members of the Wollombi community will bring down the hammer on the valley’s historic school in a mock auction designed to save the building from closure.
    To highlight the school’s plight, residents will auction the building urging bidders to make an offer on what could become a piece of real estate.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 23, 2014.

    Morpeth House restoration true to its historic past

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    A historic Hunter house has been renovated and turned into a leisure facility for retirement village residents.
    Closebourne Village residents will use Morpeth House as a community centre after retirement village operator Lend Lease restored the heritage building.
    A statement from Lend Lease said that the ­company tried to restore as much of the original 150-year-old building as possible.
    But where replacement of building parts was the only option, materials and methods from 150 years ago were used to maintain the ­heritage look and feel of the house.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 23, 2014.

    Thursday, October 23, 2014

    Writing and publishing your family history

    It is said that everyone has one good book in them and many family historians are trying to find theirs. This guide will assist you achieve that goal. From design and publication elements to writing tips. A self-help guide to achieve your dream of writing your  book.

    A range of family history books is available at Maitland City Library.

    Tony Bonner in Kelly's War to be screened in Maitland on Remembrance Day

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    An Australian war movie to be specially screened in Maitland in time for Remembrance Day will have a powerful message for everyone, said actor Tony Bonner who plays a part in the film.
    A former National Service soldier and cadet who served at Singleton,  Mr Bonner, 70, is best known for his role as helicopter pilot Jerry King in the iconic Skippy series of the 1960s.
    In Kelly’s War  he plays the part of a father killed in his Australian home by bushrangers while his son is fighting in Gallipoli and in France.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 22, 2014.

    National Trust plans to lease heritage-listed Brough House in Maitland

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Brough House was built in the 1870s as a mirror image of the premises next door, Grossmann House.
    A National Trust statement said that Brough House and its garden had been used for exhibitions and displays in recent years and had been the venue for many events and functions.

    The statement said Grossmann House would continue to operate as a museum.
    “While all expressions of interest will be considered, we will be looking very favourably at expressions of interest from organisations and businesses that can contribute to the financial sustainability of the property, are compatible with, and respectful of the property’s heritage, and complimentary to the events and functions held at the two properties,” it said.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 22, 2014.

    Weston man finds historic cricket score sheet during renovations

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    A 78-year-old cricket score sheet featuring the name Bradman was the last thing Anthony Bloomfield expected to find when renovating his Weston home.
    But on Thursday night as Bloomfield ripped up carpet he made the discovery among layers of old newspapers.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 21, 2014.

    Tocal function centre

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Tocal Homestead’s popular wedding and function centre will be managed and operated by a Newcastle catering and events company from early next year .
     “The Tocal Function Centre has become very popular for weddings and it is envisaged that its use for weddings and events will be the way the Tocal Homestead, as an historic site, will flourish into the future,” Tocal director Cameron Archer said.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 20, 2014.

    Friday, October 17, 2014

    That elusive digger: tracing your Australian military ancestors

    For those seeking to search out their Australian military ancestors, this book is a great place to start.
    Providing handy summaries of Australia's military history in war and peace; where to look and what to look for; how to understand and get the most from military records.

    A range of family history books available at Maitland City Library.

    Maitland Mayor Peter Blackmore reflects on his 15 years in office

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    When Peter Blackmore runs a council meeting, he doesn’t suffer fools lightly. But he isn’t heavy handed with rebuke like some who wield civic power.
    With a steady tone of voice that comes from decades of experience in public life, he rolls through business efficiently in a matter-of-fact manner.
    It has been a colourful career so far for the 69-year-old, who first entered the public eye as a councillor in 1980.
    Cr Blackmore has been a National party member, a mayor supported by Labor and has represented the state seat of Maitland as a Liberal.
    He has worn the mayoral chains in Maitland as an independent since 1999.
    Last month marked his 15th consecutive year in the position – a record for the city.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 16, 2014.

    200 years of dedicated service to Mai-Wel comes to an end

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Together they have notched up a grand total of 200 years service at
    Long serving employees Suzie Stuart, Raelene Wiseman, Grace Cawthorne, Helen Pickles, Derek Kenny, Gwen Black and Pauline Wormald have retired from their supported workplace after decades of dedicated service.
    The longest serving of the group is Suzie with 42 years’ service.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 14, 2014.

    Park to be named in honour of WWI hero Joseph Maxwell

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Maitland’s forgotten world war one veteran, Victoria Cross recipient Joseph Maxwell, could have a long-awaited Gillieston Heights playground named in his honour.
    Property developer Stockland and Maitland City Council have reached an agreement on the Darcy’s Peak playground construction which is expected to be formally approved tomorrow night.
    All new playgrounds need a name and council has found no reason to not call it Joseph Maxwell VC Park.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 12, 2014.

    St Michael’s Anglican Church turns 75

    From the Maitland Mercury report:

    When the folk at St Michael’s Anglican church at Thornton celebrated the church’s 75th anniversary parishioner Patsy Carpenter received a big surprise.
    For there Mrs Carpenter met an old school friend she had last seen 50 years ago.
    “To meet a friend from my school days 50 years ago at my church on such a momentous occasion was really wonderful,” Mrs Carpenter said.
    “I remember her from my days at Thornton Public School and we had a great deal to talk about.
    “It was a day of nostalgia and of memories.
    “But it was so good too to be at the church where I was baptised when it celebrated its 75th anniversary.”

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 11, 2014.

    Rock ’n’ roll and an old school photo

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    A black and white portrait of a 1970s teen dressed in an oversized blazer has transported Maitland’s middle aged back to a time when Tenambit tavern was a rockin’ on a Tuesday night.
    Within minutes of it being posted to Facebook, this photograph of 13-year-old Tony Gibbons had attracted dozens of likes and many comments. 
    “It’s amazing people recognised me. Fair enough if it had have been a picture of when I was playing [in pubs] but it was a childhood photo.”

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 11, 2014.

    Royal Australian Historical Society 2014 conference

    RAHS Conference Mittagong RSL, 25 – 26 October 2014. The theme is Moving History and delegates will have the opportunity to discover how history is about change over time and is always moving as we respond to new information and ask questions about the past.
    Click here for the 2014 Conference Program and Booking Form.

    Wednesday, October 8, 2014

    Historic East Maitland cemetery plans on public display

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    It's the burial ground of some of Maitland's earliest residents.
    Sent to Wallis Plains from Ireland in the early 1800s, the men were uneducated, illiterate and highly superstitious and their bones were laid to rest at Glebe Cemetery in East Maitland.
    Today plans to conserve the historical burial site will go on display to provide Maitland City Council with guidance for its conservation and care.
    "It (the cemetery) is a gem, which encapsulates so much of Maitland's character - it's colonial history, pastoral views across the floodplain, and exemplary stonework and detail," council's heritage officer Clare James said.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury,

    Wartime photos sought for Kurri Kurri History Week

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Kurri Kurri Library is displaying a series of wartime photographs and memorabilia, with a focus on the local area, in celebration of NSW History Week,
    Kurri Kurri Tidy Towns worked closely with the library to co-ordinate the display, with most wartime memorabilia supplied by Kurri Kurri RSL committee member Eric Keggan.
    Many of the photos and historic information are from Kurri Kurri Tidy Towns’ Visions of Yesteryear collection.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 6, 2014.

    Plans for Benhome expansion

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Maitland aged care facility Benhome will have a facelift worth $17.5 million.
    Plans for the expansion of the Maitland Benevolent Society-owned facility on Regent Street have been lodged with Maitland City Council.
    Benhome has a waiting list of more than 100 people, but the ­renovations would provide space for an extra 44 residents.
    According to the application, the existing single storey aged care building, the Ribee Wing, would be replaced with a two-storey building that will feature 26 ground-level rooms, including sitting rooms, lounge areas, dining areas and ­utility rooms downstairs.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 2, 2014.

    Maitland's Nell Pyle amongst state's hidden treasures

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, said 153 women have had their names added to an important list acknowledging their volunteer roles and valuable contribution to NSW rural communities.
    Ms Hodgkinson earlier this month unveiled the 2014 Hidden Treasures Honour Roll at the 2014 NSW Rural Women’s Gathering in Coolamon in southern NSW.
    Nell Pyle has been named on the Hidden Treasures Honor Roll for her contributions to the community.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 2, 2014.

    Coal and Community: Maitland Regional Art Gallery

    Maitland Regional Art Gallery exhibition.

    Many of the towns and cities within the greater Hunter region owe their foundations and their economies to the coal industry. From the first discovery of coal in Newcastle in 1797, it has shaped the growth of our landscape as it has shaped our
    This exhibition assembles items from several important collections of archives and private material on the coal community, its people and their place. With thousands of early photographs and records, this living archive presents images, maps and artefacts that describe in captivating detail the way in which we have lived and worked in the Hunter since its very beginnings.

    The great changes in work, transport, leisure and community are visually represented with text and an accompanying web archive in which all collected photographs and associated materials are available for public view and for teachers and students, educational resources have been developed for years K-10. This archive also represents the chance to become a part of this history, to participate in locating people and place, to share personal archives and to become part of the most representative history of our region.

    Historic property: Maitland’s original Station Master’s House smashes reserve

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    An international investor from Singapore has bought Maitland’s original Station Master’s House for $50,000 above the reserve price. 
    The 130-year-old property, at 17 Steam Street, sold for $701,500 at an on-site auction on September 6.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Sept. 29, 2014.

    Grant for bronze plaques at Maitland Vietnam Veterans memorial

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Maitland Vietnam Veterans and Services Legion has received a $4000 grant to install bronze plaques on the war memorial wall at Maitland Park.
    Paterson MP Bob Baldwin said the group had won the grant as part of the federal government’s Saluting Their Service program.
    “I congratulate the Maitland Vietnam Veterans and Services Legion on its efforts to recognise the invaluable contribution of Australian servicemen and women past and present, and ensure the next generation appreciates their service and sacrifice,“ he said.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Sept. 28, 2014.

    Wednesday, October 1, 2014

    Ancestry at Maitland City Library delivers billions of records held inside more than 7,000 available databases - censuses, vital records, immigration records, family histories, military records, court and legal documents, directories, photos, maps, and more.

    Ancestry Library Edition is now available from within Maitland City Library.

    Tiger Moths ready for great race

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    The Great Tiger Moth Air Race could be the last time so many of these planes will be seen together.
    Forty-five of the historic planes will take off from Luskintyre Airfield on Saturday, October 4, fly to Camden Airport, south-west of Sydney, and return the following day.
    “This will be the first Tiger Moth Air Race held in 11 years and it could also be the final fly-by of so many of these aircraft together,” race director Richard Brougham said.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Sept. 25, 2014.

    Historic Maitland home Verona sold prior to auction

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    One of Maitland's grand old homes has been sold two weeks before auction.
    Verona House, a double-storey Victorian heritage home on High Street, sold for $765,000 on August 25.
    The four-bedroom home set on private 1500sq m leafy block was built in the late 1800s for Lieutenant Colonel William Charles Markwell and his five children.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Sept. 23, 2014.

    Roma celebrates with a Morpeth carriage ride

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    First Fleet descendant Roma Loretta Whybin of East Maitland took a trip into her family's past during a horse and carriage ride around Morpeth for her 80th birthday.
    Roma, nee Wright, is the great great granddaughter of First Fleet convict Joseph Wright from Middlesex, England who was convicted for stealing building materials while working on a building site and second fleet convict Eleanor Gott from Liverpool, England.
    At 80, Roma is the youngest surviving fourth generation descendant of Australia's First Fleet settlers.
    Her connection to Morpeth started when two of Joseph Wright's children John (her great grandfather) and Thomas left Sydney to settle in Morpeth in the 1840s.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Sept. 22, 2014.

    Gresford District Historical Society

    Gresford District Historical Society is celebrating its 25th Anniversary on Sunday 12 October 2014.
    To be held at Therese Doyle Community Centre, 9.00am to 3.30pm

    The Gresford district has an extensive and rich history extending back to the first settlements in the 1820’s and collecting, preserving and making accessible the stories, artefacts, documents and photographs which chronicle this history is the fundamental  purpose of the Gresford Historical Society.

    Workshop: capturing memories

    Are you interested in recording the memories of your family, your community or your workplace?  Then come along to this workshop.
    This workshop offers practical advice for all who wish to undertake oral history interviews as part of a historical project. Perhaps you are interested in recording the memories of your family, your community, or your workplace. This workshop will take you step by step through the process of setting up an interview, choosing equipment, processing interviews and saving files for later use and preservation. Workshop leader will be Carol McKirdy an experienced oral historian and Andrew Host whose 30 years experience as a sound engineer will help you to record interviews that will stand the test of time. Both are members of Oral History NSW.

    Saturday, 11 October 2014 from 09:45 AM to 04:30 PM     
    History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney         
    $105 General; $95 for Oral History NSW and RAHS members
     02 9247 8001,

    Saturday, September 20, 2014

    Calling all former students: Maitland High School

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Maitland High School has launched a desperate appeal to former students and staff members to attend this year’s 130th anniversary dinner.
    The dinner will be held at the school on Saturday, September 27.
    Replies have so far been received from 100 invited guests, but the school had hoped for 200 acceptances.
    “This year’s 130th anniversary will be very special because it is being held in our school’s multi-purpose centre for the first time,” Maitland High School Old Boys and Ex-Students Union secretary Peter Newcombe said.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Sept. 17, 2014.

    Inside History magazine, September-October 2014 - Maitland City Library

    Inside History is available online at Maitland City Library:

    Issue 24, our Sep-Oct 2014 edition has features and practical tips to help you trace your family tree and discover the life your ancestor led. In this edition:
    • Discover your family’s story through millinery fashion with our dress historian Jayne Shrimpton
    • We look at the booming industry of DNA testing and hear about readers’ experiences
    • Find out which 50 best genealogy and history blogs made our 3rd Annual Blog Awards
    • Need to know which family history software is best for you? Our practical guide will help
    • Go behind the scenes in Sydney’s latest archaeology digs
    • Plus, want to see your ancestor on the cover of Inside History? Enter our cover competition now!

    Lake Macquarie Art Gallery - Convict Stories from the Hunter

    A very fine river: convict stories from the Hunter.

    In 1797, while searching for a boat seized in Sydney Cove by convict escapees, Lieutenant Shortland sailed into the opening of a river, which he described 'a very fine coal river'. A convict camp called King’s Town was established soon after which became notorious as a place of incarceration. A very fine river… draws on the work of five Hunter-based artists: Sophia Emmett, Ruth Feeney, Carolyn McKay, Tara Standing and Ryan Williams. In each case, the artists not only reflect on this important period of history, but also explore how the past continues to resonate in the present.
    A gallery project curated by Rob Cleworth and Nicole Chaffey in consultation with Newcastle Regional Museum and the Aboriginal Reference Group.

    Lake Macquarie Art Gallery, 25 July to 19 October.

    Coach tragedy a part of our history

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    On Monday last the Dungog to Maitland mail coach driver James Brereton left Dungog around 2.30pm and after picking up mail at Seaham, Clarence Town and Glen Oak, arrived at Hinton Post Office, in Paterson Street, about 9pm with 5 passengers and 14 bags of mail.
    Soon after the coach left the Post Office the leading reins got caught up in the leading bar and the driver had to alight to fix them.
    Then, soon after as the driver pulled to one side to pass a buggy ahead of him, the wheels of the coach struck a culvert near Watson’s store.
    The driver was thrown off and the horses bolted down towards the punt, came into the punt yard, onto the punt, straight through the punt and into the river.

    Full article (by Peter Bogan) available at Maitland Mercury, Sept. 10, 2014.

    The lure of whisky led to jail, and a flogging

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    In the early 1880s the NSW Legislative Assembly enacted laws to permit flogging in certain cases of perceived hooliganism.
    The Mercury reported on such a case in 1884.  
    The report read:
    About 10pm on a Sunday evening a number of youths knocked on the door of James Kerr’s Adelphi Hotel claiming to be travellers and asking to be served.
    Kerr admitted the group and started to serve the requested drinks at the bar. He then heard someone running through the back and noticed three bottles of whisky missing.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Sept. 9, 2014.

    2014 NSW Premier’s History Awards

    The 2014 NSW Premier’s History Awards, offering $75,000 in prize money, were announced  on 5 September 2014 at the State Library of NSW, as part of the official launch of NSW History Week.
    The prizes, including a special commemorative medallion for Australian Military History, were presented by The Honourable Victory Dominello MP, who said: “As Minister for Veterans Affairs, I’m delighted and honoured to present the NSW Premier’s History Awards in 2014, a year which marks the start of the commemoration of the First World War.”
    Minister Troy Grant MP, Minister for the Arts commented: “I’m delighted to see the State Library of NSW and the History Council of NSW working together to promote history; it is relationships such as these that contribute to a strong and resilient arts and cultural sector.”
    2014 WINNERS
    Australian History Prize ($15,000)
    Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War, Joan Beaumont (Allen & Unwin)
    Australian Military History Prize (commemorative medallion, a subcategory of Australian History) First Victory, Mike Carlton (Random House Australia)
    General History Prize ($15,000)
    Encountering the Pacific in the Age of Enlightenment, John Gascoigne (Cambridge University Press)
    NSW Community and Regional History Prize ($15,000)
    Coast: A History of the New South Wales Edge, Ian Hoskins (NewSouth)
    Young People’s History Prize ($15,000)
    Australians All, Nadia Wheatley, illustrated by Ken Searle (Allen & Unwin)
    Multimedia History Prize ($15,000)
    Public Intimacies: The 1974 Royal Commission on Human Relationships, Michelle Arrow, Catherine Freyne and Timothy Nicastri (ABC Radio National Hindsight)

    Sunday, September 7, 2014

    Digger's Vest features in Australian War Memorial exhibition

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    An iconic sheepskin vest first worn by Australian soldiers during World War I and recreated in Maitland late last year will take pride of place at an Anzac centenary project.
    The Digger’s Vest – worn in the ­bone-chilling winters of Europe – will feature in a poignant exhibit at the Australian War Memorial in November.
    Made from sheepskins sourced from Sydney butchers and stitched by the hands of women on the home front, the vests were a gift of community support that saved many lives of those enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force.
    Last year – for the first time in almost 100 years – the vest was revived to ­commemorate the centenary of both the Anzac legend and the Australian ­sheepskin clothing industry.
    Trademarked as the Digger’s Vest, the article of clothing has been produced at Mortels Sheepskin Factory, Thornton, under the guidance of Maitland war historians John Gillam and Yvonne Fletcher.
    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Sept. 3, 2014.

    Roll of Honour name projections - Australian War Memorial

    During the centenary period, the names of the 62,000 Australians who gave their lives during the First World War will be projected onto the fa├žade of the Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial. The names will be displayed from sunset to sunrise every night, and can be seen from the Memorial's grounds. Each name will be visible for 30 seconds.
    If you would like to know when a name will be projected, there is a search function available on our website.

    Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School at Tarro celebrates 70 years

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    As Helen McCrohon listened intently to the nuns on her first day at Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School 70 years ago, classmate John Prichard was on his bike and out the gate.
    He and Ms McCrohon were among the Tarro school’s youngest students when it opened on September 12, 1944. 
    “I can remember standing outside the church on the cement and lining up,” Helen, then four years old, said.
    Full article available at Maitland Mercury,

    WWI army man brought home a bayonet

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    With the outbreak of World War I being commemorated in dozens of towns and cities, Dale Challand’s thoughts are of his great-grandfather John Britton Challand – and of a mystery bayonet he was given.
    Mr Challand’s great-grandfather was a volunteer from Kurri Kurri who came to Australia from the UK with his brother.
    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Sept. 1, 2014.

    Friday, August 29, 2014

    Maitland's Great War - Maitland City Library event

    It was to be ‘the war that will end war’ as H.G. Wells commented in August 1914. From the heights of hope to the horror of the trenches, the Great War changed the world irrevocably. It separated families and lovers, turned young men into soldiers and young women into nurses, converted friends and neighbours into enemies.
    This event will explore the impact of World War One at home, uncovering and examining some of the layers of remembrance, including an insight into ‘Maitland’s Own’ 34th Battalion and extracts from the Maitland Mercury.
    6.00pm - 7.00pm
    Thursday 11 September
    Maitland Gaol
    Book now
    Look Who's Talking 2014

    Annual History Lecture 2014: ‘The Battle Within Ourselves’ – POWs in post-war Australia

    History Council of NSW in partnership with Sydney Living Museums
    Event Type: Talk / Lecture

    When: Tuesday, 9 September 2014 from 06:00 PM to 08:30 PM
    Where: The Mint, 10 Macquarie , Sydney
    Cost: General $50.00 / Concession $45.00
    Contact: Dr Mandy Kretzschmar, 02 9252 8715,,

    The current embrace of former prisoners of war (POWs) of the Japanese as veterans who suffered undue hardships in the service of their nation belies a more complicated history. Focusing on the immediate post-war period until the 1970s, Professor Christina Twomey explores in her lecture the rare testimony from ex-POWs about how they experienced life in Australia after their return home. Many applicants to the POW Trust Fund (1952-77) certainly believed that captivity had blighted their chances and disrupted their capacity to find employment, connect properly with other people or to settle down and find happiness in work and family life. Whether imprisonment in war caused their problems, or merely compounded an existing structural disadvantage or personality failing, lay at the heart of the Trustees’ deliberations. The way Trustees chose to find an answer, which drew upon networks of information available from private charity and assumptions about who or what constituted a deserving case, demonstrates the limits of sympathy for damaged and broken men.

    Society of Australian Genealogists

    Saturday 6 September (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Writing Discussion Group - September (repeat)
    What the Editor Wants! Back by popular demand! - This session is a repeat of the Writing Group session held in March. An experienced newspaper and magazine subeditor will give some tips on the writing styles that make an editor smile. She will share her knowledge of simple writing ideas that can help polish your prose and make it sparkle. Presenter: Sheila Browne. Bookings essential. $8 ($12 non-members).
  • Tuesday 9 September (8.00pm - 9.00pm AEST) - Webinar - Gazettes in NSW Family History
    Once hidden away and hard to access, both the NSW Government and Police Gazettes are now widely available online. Join Heather Garnsey to see what they contain and learn how to use them to your best advantage. Presenter - Heather Garnsey. Bookings essential and limited to SAG members only. Price $10.00.
  • Thursday 11 September (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Writing Discussion Group - September
    Stop Procrastinating! Suffering writer’s block? Organisation is the key. In this seminar, you will hear practical ideas on how to sort through the research material you have amassed and start to write your story. Presenter - Pat Rogerson. Bookings essential. $8 ($12 non-members).
  • Thursday 18 September (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Getting Started on Your Family History - Members Only
    For new members with no family history research experience. Learn the basics of how to start researching, what to do, and where to find and ask for help. Members Only. Bookings Essential and limited to 10. Cost $10.00.
  • Saturday 20 September (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Introduction to Latin in Family History
    Latin is often encountered by family historians in sources such as parish registers, on headstones, in letters and other documentation. Learn some basics of grammar and vocabulary, see some examples of Latin in sources relevant to family history and how to tackle it. No prior Latin knowledge necessary. Bookings Essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Saturday 27 September (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Charting Your Family Tree - Jeremy Palmer
    This hands-on session will introduce methods and guidelines used in the construction of family history charts, or ‘pedigrees’. Learn how to arrange your information and set out a clear and concise chart- a useful skill that all researchers need. Bookings Essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Maitland's bells will toll to remember the beginning of WWI

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    The bells will toll throughout Maitland tomorrow as residents stop to commemorate 100 years since the start of World War I.
    And as Australia’s oldest continually operating public school, Largs  is proud to take part in the communal ceremony.
    “It’s great that a significant part of our historical school [the 175-year-old school bell] has motivated the students to learn about and participate in such an important part of Australian history,” principal Sharon Palmer said

    Greta migrants to tell their stories

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Writer Alek Schulha intends to publish their experiences in a book – the first time their stories will have been told in their own words.
    Mr Schulha has received backing from John Tucker, of the Ethnic Community Council of Newcastle, who said: “When we receive a chapter or two, we will seek funding to have the book published.”
    This news came yesterday after people learned recently that plans to celebrate the 65th anniversary of Greta Migrant Camp had been abandoned amid claims organisers had no funding and no time.
    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Aug. 26, 2014.

    For sale: 100 years of history - Verona, Maitland

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Verona House sits quiet and still today but at points during its 100-year history it has reverberated with the laughter of children, the sounds of piano recitals and neighbourhood chatter through social tennis games. 
    Valentina Maund drove past Verona, built near the boulevard of Regent Street’s grand homes, dozens of times as a child. 
    Maitland architect James Warren Scobie, who was responsible for dozens of Maitland buildings include the Town Hall, designed the grand structure that has retained many of its original features. 
    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Aug. 21, 2014.

    Thursday, August 21, 2014

    You can help with Maitland grandstand

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Hunter River Agricultural and Horticultural Association’s Sponsor A Plank Program has raised $3200 since it was launched in June.
    Two beams, two joists and seven planks have been sponsored so far.
    Association spokeswoman Amanda Winney encouraged people to get involved in the initiative to restore the 100-year-old grandstand.
    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Aug. 18, 2014.

    School project with a special ending: soldier Arnold Worboys

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    A schoolgirl’s project on a World War I Bolwarra soldier reached a solemn conclusion this week when special tribute was paid to Sergeant Arnold Worboys at a Last Post ceremony recorded at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
    It was a supreme moment for Charlotte Lambert, 17, from Queensland, whose work on Sgt Lambert uncovered the fact that he had been killed in 1917 on March 23 – the same day she celebrates her birthday.
    As the final notes of the Last Post sounded at the Memorial on Saturday, Charlotte stepped proudly forward to lay a wreath near the name of the soldier who had come to play such a big part in her life.
    Then Robert Worboys from Bolwarra, a direct descendant of Sgt Worboys, stepped forward to lay his wreath.
    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Aug. 18, 2014.

    Putting a face to Maitland WW1 soldier Arnold Worboys

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    The only known photograph of a Maitland soldier killed in World War I was discovered this week and sent to the Australian War Memorial in time for its Last Post Ceremony commemorating his history on Saturday.
    Stunned relatives of Sergeant Arnold Worboys from Bolwarra had believed all photographs of him had been destroyed in the Maitland floods.
    Robert Worboys, from Bolwarra, believes he found the site of his relative’s death – a bomb crater on a sunken road near Villers-Bretonneux on the Somme.
    But he has no known grave.
    Then a schoolgirl in Queensland, Charlotte Lambert, began studying Sgt Worboys’ ­history because Lambert was his middle name.
    And she discovered the date of his death in 1917 – March 23 – was also her birthday.
    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Aug. 14, 2014.

    Maitland Regional Art Gallery five years on

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    It's been five years since the late, great Margaret Olley took pride of place in Maitland to open the city's new-look art gallery.
    Since then the multi-million dollar design has attracted the works of the country's most prominent artists and become a booming cultural hub for the region.
    "My dream was always for the gallery to be accessible to everybody and that's what we've worked hard to achieve," gallery director Joe Eisenberg said.
    "People coming here don't have to wear a bow tie and a black suit, they can come here wearing thongs and they can come with their prams."
    This weekend the gallery, as it stands today, will celebrate its fifth birthday giving the Mercury a chance to reflect on the facility's artistic offerings since 2009.
    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Aug. 13, 2014.

    National Family History Month

    Family history and genealogy is one of the most popular hobbies around the world. Family history is the second biggest subject on the web with sites receiving billions of hits per year. There are over 250,000 Australians who are members of family history related organisations so the month has broad appeal across Australia.
    National Family History Month is an initiative of AFFHO (Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations). This popular initiative has received broad support from some of Australia’s leading government and non government organisations since its introduction in 2006. Originally only a week in August, it was expanded to include the whole month in 2013 to allow greater participation across Australia.
    For genealogy and family history societies, archives, libraries etc, a list of 2013 events is available here for ideas on what to do in 2014. A copy of the 2014 flyer is available here and it can be used to help promote your own events. Please remember to add your event to the NFHM web calendar to ensure everyone knows about your events.