Sunday, June 29, 2014

Then and now: Regent street history and grandeur in heart of the city, Maitland

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Classified as an urban conservation area, Regent Street is home to some of Maitland’s monumental mansion’s like Benhome and Cintra House. 
Cintra (which can be seen in the right hand corner of this photograph taken in 1955) was designed by Hunter ­architectural firm of J.W. Pender and completed in 1878. 
The two-storey villa, including garden and stables, has strong links to Maitland’s Jewish community having been designed for the famous Jewish merchant families of Levy and Cohen. 
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, June 21, 2014.

Floods and death: the Maitland experience

From the Maitland Mercury report:
in floods are very much a part of the Maitland story.
In the European history of the area of the present Maitland City there have probably been 60 or more of them, of which 51 can be confirmed for the period since 1840. 
What can we tell from these deaths?
There are several patterns, and some lessons. One pattern is that many floods have claimed small numbers of lives rather than large numbers of people dying in a few big events. 
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, June 21, 2014.

$200,000 boost for Maitland Showground grandstand

From the Maitland Mercury report:

Maitland Showground's 100-year-old grandstand will receive a $200,000 boost from the pockets of a local business man.
Hunter River Agricultural and Horticultural Association treasurer David Perrott announced the donation at a Maitland Business Chamber breakfast at the showground this morning.
Mr Perrott said the money would be used to restore seating in the 4200-seat CB Marheine grandstand so spectators could use it again.
He said the benefactor asked to remain anonymous.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, June 19, 2014.

Closure of CAN, the Collections Australia Network website

In the last edition of Alert we flagged the imminent closure of CAN, the Collections Australia Network website. Since then several good things have happened.
reCollections, the well-loved and widely-used conservation resource has found a new home on the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material (AICCM) website. The good folk there have pledged to provide free and open access to the resource for as long as it is relied upon by the industry.
You can find reCollections under the Collection Care tab on their website.
AICCM is the go-to place for conservation questions, resources and professional development. They also host the Find a Conservator database which lists professional conservators in private practice.

More information at Museums & Galleries New South Wales.

Rutherford Library’s 10 top years

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The council-run Rutherford branch celebrates its 10th anniversary today.
Ms Collard said the branch had become a great resource for the ­community and played an important role in providing a place where people could develop their literacy skills, whatever their age or background.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, June 18, 2014.

Little clay pipe a big fuss in Maitland

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The discovery of an old clay pipe at a site in Horseshoe Bend has caused excitement among local people who believe it might date from the late 18th to early 19th centuries.
Shortly after the discovery, art club member Ramona Cocco saw a ­television program in which a $300 million building program in Sydney was halted – because of discoveries made at the Wynyard Walk Tunnel.
Among the items found there was a clay pipe Ms Cocco believes was identical to the one at Horseshoe Bend.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury,

Lochinvar community rallies for historic hall

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A small but dedicated group of Lochinvar residents have rallied together to help bring their village icon back to life.
Lochinvar School of Arts Hall trustees have launched a campaign to rejuvenate the building with a view to encourage more community interaction.
Built in 1892, the hall was once used for a range of community events including weddings and anniversaries while the nearby tennis courts were often filled with more than 80 people.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, June 15, 2014.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Richmond Vale Railway 150th anniversary

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The 150th anniversary of steam trains at Richmond Vale Railway will be celebrated in fine style this Sunday and Monday when the historic locomotive Marjorie puffs into action.
Known as Coalfields Steam 2014, the occasions will see the gates of the museum in Leggetts Drive open at 10am both days, with the first train ride starting at 10.30am.
“Marjorie has a top speed of up to 50km/h and will provide a thrilling train ride,” tour officer Wendy Black said. “It’s going to be a big day for all of us and our X200 diesel, built in 1968, will be joining Marjorie to give train rides throughout these two days.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, June 5, 2014.

History Magazine of the Royal Australian Historical Society

RAHS History Magazine - June 2014 issue includes:
Presidential address - making history accessible
Philip Gidley King's Orphan Schools - Christine Yeats
Dr. R. Ian Jack steps down - Siobhan Lavelle
Governor Arthur Phillip commemorations - Ane-Maree Whitaker
RAHS Library collection significance assessment
Surveyor General's sketch books - Emily Hanna
RAHS photographs - Graham Sciberras

Collections Australia Network to close

Many will be aware that the Collections Australia Network (CAN) currently hosted by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (formerly the Powerhouse Museum) will shortly go off line, permanently.
The CAN website provided a ‘first’ in online support and resources for museums across Australia. CAN had a can-do attitude making web-based training and networking facilities available through CAN-talk, CANnotices, CAN-jobs and the CAN outreach blog.

More information at Museums and Galleries.

Code-breaker lifts lid on World War II role

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Doug Pyle from Bolwarra Heights was a key member of an ace-code breaking unit in Australia that smashed the Japanese cypher system during the war.
As he nears his 92nd birthday, Mr Pyle spoke to The Maitland Mercury about whistleblower Edward Snowden and of how the world of code-breaking “ethics” has changed.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 31, 2014. 

Mystery of city skating rink

From the Maitland Mercury report:
What happened to Maitland’s Great Northern Skating Rink?
That is the question posed by Maitland District Historical Society publicity officer Val Rudkin who needs the community’s input to solve the puzzle.
Mrs Rudkin’s curiosity stems from an aerial picture taken during Maitland’s 1955 flood and an architectural drawing of a building which stood for a short period on High Street, below the post office.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 31, 2014.

Maitland's flood history repeats in June

From the Maitland Mercury report:

June has experienced more floods in Maitland’s history than any other month and respected flood author Chas Keys said the city should bear that in mind.
Mr Keys, whose background is urban planning and natural disasters, will pen six articles for the Mercury that examine Maitland’s flood history, ­starting next Friday.
That series will mark seven years since severe weather ­tested the levy protecting central Maitland and Lorn. 
“The thing with the June floods is the frequency,” Mr Keys said.
Since 1820 Maitland has recorded 12 floods above 10.5 metres, the major flood level, at the Belmore Bridge – and five of them were in June.

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

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Twenty Australian WWI soldiers identified

The Assistant Minister for Defence, The Hon Stuart Robert MP, today announced the names of a further 20 previously unidentified Australian soldiers who died at the Battle of Fromelles in 1916.
Speaking at Parliament House, Mr Robert said the identifications reflected Defence’s commitment to service personnel from all conflicts in Australia’s history.
“In the lead up to the Anzac Centenary, it is only fitting that we recognise and remember these soldiers who left for war almost 100 years ago, never to return home to their loved ones,” Mr Robert said.

Further information at:

Elsie’s Mercury loyalty dates back 80 years

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Elsie Reed isn’t quite our oldest reader but she is close to it – and one of the most loyal.
The East Maitland woman will turn 90 in July and has read the Mercury continuously for about 80 years.
“I can remember reading it at age 10,” Ms Reed said.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 28, 2014.

Tell us your war stories

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The minds behind an epic war film about soldiers who trained at Maitland in preparation for World War I have embarked on a search for family histories.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 27, 2014.

U.K. National Archives

Our First World War 100 programme is now well under way, with thousands of First World War records already published online this year and lots more to come.
Whether you're tracing an ancestor who served, or are interested in how the British government and armed forces conducted the war, our vast collection of records will prove invaluable.

For full details of our programme, including research advice and forthcoming events, visit our First World War 100 website.

Society of Australian Genealogists

A chronological list of all activities is now available for online viewing and bookings here. You can also phone Monday to Saturday during office hours on 9247 3953 or book over the desk during library hours Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday.
All activities are held at Richmond Villa, 120 Kent Street unless otherwise specified.
  • Thursday 5 June (8.00pm - 9.00pm AEST) - Webinar - Family Tree Maker for Beginners - using them for research success!
    Just bought Family Tree Maker software and don’t know how to use it? Join VICGUM’s, John Donaldson for this beginners session on how to use this ever popular software program for recording your family history. Bookings essential and limited to SAG members only. Price $10.00.
  • Thursday 12 June (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Writing Discussion Group - June
    Quotations, Abbreviations, Numbers, Dates, Italics, Punctuation. Do you know how to use them correctly or are you guilty of the greengrocers' apostrophe? Bookings Essential. $8 ($12 non-members).
  • Saturday 14 June (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Greatest Hits - SRNSW Top 20
    This talk will examine 20 of the most popular and useful record series for family historians held as State archives. Have you consulted these in your research? Come along and make sure you have not overlooked a record series which could be useful. Presenter - Gail Davis, State Records NSW. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Saturday 21 June (10.30am - 12.30pm) - UK Criminal Records - Jeremy Palmer
    A convict ancestor’s arrival was the end of a process which left many records for today’s family historians. Quarter Session and Assize records, along with local newspapers and other UK sources can help establish your convict ancestor’s origins and the circumstances which brought him/her to this country. Presenter - Jeremy Palmer. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Thursday 26 June (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.
  • Thursday 26 June (8.00pm - 9.00pm AEST) - Webinar - Tracing Tasmanian Convicts
    Join Dr Dianne Snowden, an expert on Tasmanian research, as she explains the records and resources available for tracing your Tasmanian convict ancestor. Bookings essential and limited to SAG members only. Price $10.00.
  • Saturday 28 June (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Find Your Ancestor's Land - Carole Riley
    Many of our ancestors owned a house or a farm. This session will show you what records are available and how to find them. We will start with the ancestor’s name and general place of residence and work through some examples of land searches and the resulting titles, deeds, rate books, maps and plans. Note - a Troubleshooting Group workshop will be held the same afternoon - see separate event below. Presenter: Carole Riley. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Saturday 28 June (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - NSW Land Research: Troubleshooting Group Workshop - Carole Riley
    An opportunity to work through your ‘land problem’ in a group workshop, drawing on what you’ve learned in the morning session. Carole Riley will address your specific land research problems utilising online resources where possible. Bookings essential. Presenter: Carole Riley. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).

Una, Maitland Mercury reader for 75 years

From the Maitland Mercury report:
When Una Farley turned 95 this month, she began her big day of celebration by reading the latest edition of the Maitland Mercury, as she has done for more than 75 years.
This, Mrs Farley believes, could earn her the title of being the Mercury’s most loyal reader.
Last week she brought out some of her favourite copies of the newspaper featuring articles about her days riding horses in East Maitland and about her time as being Maitland’s first female taxi driver.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 26, 2014.

Pinehurst throws open its doors

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Pinehurst, one of Maitland’s most magnificent homes once owned by renowned artist Margaret Ollie, will be open to the public on Sunday, June 1.
Known as “the pink house”, Pinehurst near Pitnacree is believed to have been built in the 1850s – an impressive example of Victorian architecture.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury,