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,