Thursday, February 27, 2014

News photo gallery: 1955 Maitland flood

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Yesterday marked the 59th anniversary of the historic 1955 Maitland flood.
The Mercury has put together an online gallery, from the Jim Lucy Collection.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Feb. 26, 2014.

Enthusiasts take to the road for the first Morpeth Motorama

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Few cars capture the mood of America’s most iconic road – Route 66 – like an early Corvette.

Insider’s view of Maitland in 1955 flood

From the Maitland Mercury report:
At flood time in 1955, I was the senior technical officer at the Maitland Communication Centre, also known as the Maitland Test Room, situated on the ground and first floors at the rear of Maitland Post Office.
At the time this centre was the largest, most important country communication centre in NSW, staffed  by about 20 expert technical personnel and 25 telephonists...
As the flood waters rose, the operation of this vital equipment was threatened.
In an effort to block the advance of the rising water, the main doorway into the power room close to the Bourke Steet entrance was blocked off with wooden 3 inch  by 3 inch  cross arm poles measuring about 4 feet long and sealed with liquid Marfak.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Feb. 22, 2014.

Maitland Historical Society Bulletin

The February 2014 edition of the Maitland and District Historical Society Inc. Bulletin is now available, featuring:

“Holbeach”: A Colonial House and Former Coach Station in Lochinvar, NSW  by Allan and Lisa Thomas

"Maitland Courthouse" researched by Peter Bogan

"The Hermitage", Ballard Street, Maitland, by Val Rudkin

Australian War Memorial

This year marks the centenary of the First World War and a busy period for the Australian War Memorial. To stay up to date with what the Memorial is doing to commemorate this significant period we have created Coo-ee! The Centenary Gazette.

Coo-ee! will keep you informed of the progress on the redevelopment of the First Word War Galleries, special centenary projects, events, and exhibitions.
On 19 February the Memorial launched its new centenary logo. To find out more about the logo and how you can be involved visit 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Grossmann House “BIG” Open Day

Grossmann House will be having an “Open Day” and will have everything “BIG” on display.
You know about the Big Banana, well Grossmann has THE BIG KNIFE?
This knife makes Crocodile Dundee’s “This is a Knife!” look like a toothpick!
Folding out at nearly 2 metres long and weighing over 20 kilograms you would be hard put
to get this one in your pocket, let alone sharpen your pencil!
Other “Big” things on show.
The Big Razor ; nearly four feet long when opened out – for a closer shave????
A really Big Saw –“I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK” etc. Plus there are more big saws!
The Big Axe ; for when the saw just won’t cut it!
The Big Lamp – well it looks more like a searchlight!
The Big Spanner – needs big muscles just to lift it up!
The Big Dinner Set – 150 x 100 – 150 years old and 100 pieces with no cups & saucers!
Stroll around the “big” garden and enjoy a “big” Devonshire tea.
There is even a big Bric-a-Brac stall. What a “big” day out!
Both big buildings on site open for inspection ie, Grossmann House & Brough House.
Everything’s “Big” except………the entry fee, which is very “SMALL”.
All entries at concession rate.
Proceeds go to the upkeep of these Maitland heritage National Trust properties.

Grossmann House & Brough House.
73 Church Street,
Maitland NSW 2320

Enquiries: 02 49337758

Picture Maitland

Picture Maitland - online historic photographs of Maitland,

hosted by Maitland City Library.

Look Who's Talking Local History

Friend or Foe
The Hunter River
Stories of flooding and the associated loss and destruction provide a compelling narrative for the river that winds its way through Maitland, but the Hunter River has created growth and development of the local economy, as well as providing a source of recreation for the community.
Join historians, writers and enthusiasts as they engage in a lively debate on the character of our River.

6.00pm - 7.00pm
Thursday 27 February
Maitland Gaol
Book now

Call to halt East Maitland development

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A small group of East Maitland residents are calling for Maitland City Council to halt development along the notorious rat run that is Mill Street.
The residents’ plea comes after a small warehouse was approved for the historic back street.
The proposal is to remove the existing dilapidated shed and build a new shed of similar footprint, to be used as storage of plumbing materials and a tradesman’s vehicle.
Caroline Chisholm barracks.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Feb. 17, 2014.

Maitland Sportsground: drawn out saga

From the Maitland Mercury report, by Peter Bogan
Pre-Maitland Sportsground the showground was used for sporting events.
About 1930 demand for sporting facilities began to increase and because the show ground now also had motorbike racing and greyhound racing a search began to find and fund a sportsground for Maitland.
Mercury files show first mention of this was on the Wednesday, September 28, 1932, when the Maitland United Rugby League Club called a public meeting at the Town Hall for the following Monday evening to discuss the project. 
The following Monday the Mercury backed the project and urged a large attendance at the meeting. 
At the well-attended meeting it was decided to select a committee to find a suitable site and ask the mayor to convene a public meeting to discuss the project. 
Even before any site was selected, a letter to the editor in March 1933 showed some dispute between Rugby League and Amateur Athletics over the use of the sportsground.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Feb. 15, 2014.

$1.1m Maitland court house upgrade complete

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The $1.1 million restoration of Maitland Court House is complete and it will reopen on Monday. 
Up to 90 tradesmen have worked to repair the four sides of the clock, reslate the roof, and restore some gloss to the 118-year-old building.
“This historic courthouse was the pride of the town when it was first opened in 1896. Children finished school early to watch the procession, which included a band and horse drawn carriages,” Heritage Minister Robyn Parker said.
“The court’s beautiful clock tower is still a symbol for the people of Maitland and I am delighted the clock has been repaired and is now working on all four sides.”
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Feb. 14, 2014.

Reprieve for Maitland's heritage lamps

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Heritage-style lamp posts had a stay of execution last night.
Council staff recommended removing 39 street lamps from the Heritage Mall, near Bourke Street, as part of mall’s redevelopment.
Interested parties will be sought to buy or reuse the lamps, which were installed in the mid-1980s.
But a late addition to the recommendation from Cr Bob Geoghegan meant council would also investigate costs involved in modifying or repairing the lights so they could continue to be used.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Feb. 12, 2014.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book reveals stories of convict past

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The deeds, misdeeds, lives and adventures of 141 convicts who arrived at Berry Park and Duckenfield have been unearthed in a new historical tome.
Titled Toil and Trouble from Maitland to Moreton Bay and ­written by Brian Walsh, the book reveals the story of those men and women who worked for Hunter Valley settler John Eales during their sentences.
“Eales employed many convicts in the process of becoming one of the wealthiest men in NSW through his shipping interests and his squatting enterprises on the Liverpool Plains and in what is now Queensland,” Dr Walsh said.
“The book also hints that he was a man of many parts – a tough employer, ruthless in business but supportive of loyal, hard-working convicts and prepared to negotiate with government on their behalf.”
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Feb. 4, 2014.

Maitland and District Historial Society Inc.

Notice of Annual General Meeting.
The 2014 AGM for the Maitland & District Historical Society will be held on Tuesday 18 March 2014 at the Society’s Rooms, 3 Cathedral St, Maitland, commencing at 5.30pm.
 This will be followed by the regular monthly Business Meeting.
All positions will be declared vacant at the AGM and will need to be filled.
 Take this opportunity to nominate to be on the committee!

ANZAC Connections: First World War Centenary digitisation project

The Australian War Memorial is currently undertaking a project to create a comprehensive digital archive of the ANZACs and their deeds, and of the wider Australian experience of war.  The collections are selected from our extensive archives and reflect the experiences of Australian servicemen, nurses and civilians during the First World War, not just well-known personalities. This project will digitally preserve the Memorial’s collections as well as provide full copies for research on the Memorial’s website.
As part of this project the Memorial is seeking contact with relatives of the persons listed below. If you have any further information about these people, or their descendants, the Memorial would love to talk to you. Please contact Nick Crofts via PubandDig[@]

Maitland history: the ‘saddest loss of life’

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The city’s “saddest loss of life” was recorded in the Mercury during the June 1864 flood when two houses fell into the river.
A French woman, Mrs Eliza Robinson, who had come to Maitland from Nottingham was among the victims.
A number of them came to the colony to settle in Maitland.
Mrs Robinson, aged about 60, lived with Mr and Mrs Fairfield and their three children along with John Boyle (known as Jack the fisherman) and his wife in two-storey houses built on the river’s edge.
The Mercury reported how the two houses built on the river’s edge had fallen into the stream and their occupants were struggling in the midst of the rapid waters.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Feb. 1, 2014.

Old Mercury building to get a new life

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Semi-retired Sydney builder George Prochowski   has returned to his old stomping ground to take ownership of 258 High Street, Maitland . . . former home of the iconic Maitland Mercury newspaper.

Putting new life into Walka Water Works, Oakhampton

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Life could soon be pumped back into one of Walka Water Works' iconic buildings.
Maitland councillors will discuss a plan tonight to seek investors from the private sector to develop the former pump house building and use it to operate a business on a long-term lease.