Sunday, May 31, 2015 Library Edition available at Maitland City Library

Maitland City Library provides access to a range of online research databases, including

This genealogical research site 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 only available from within the library, 480 High Street, Maitland.

We Were There: Mercury archival photos identified

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The Mercury's readers have helped identify several people in photographs from our archives featured in our We Were There column.
If you know any of the people pictured in this week's batch of photos please phone Maddeline Parkes on 4931 0124, Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 29, 2015.

Mercury letter helps Christine Barrett to her grandfather's grave Anzac

From the Maitland Mercury report:
In 11 days time, a Telarah woman will honour her Anzac grandfather killed at Gallipoli – a man whose war service she came to know through letters published in the Maitland Mercury.
Christine Barrett’s research – to find information about her grandfather for her mother – finally led her to the grave in Turkey of Percy John O’Brien.
He was born at Aberglasslyn, enlisted in September 1914 and was killed on June 6 the next year.
Mrs Barrett found her grandfather’s grave in the 4th Battalion Parade Ground Cemetery and she scattered a tiny sample of soil from Aberglasslyn at the site.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 25, 2015.

BHP to celebrate 100th anniversary of steelworks

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Stanford Merthyr grandfather Darryl Cook will reunite with past workmates in June to mark the start of the BHP steelworks 100 years ago.
While the steelworks closed 15 years ago many of the workers still feel they belong there.
A feeling born out of strong sense of camaraderie.
Mr Cook started his boilermaker’s apprenticeship there in 1966 at just 14 years, 10 months old.
Hunter residents, especially past BHP workers and their families, are invited to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Newcastle Steelworks opening on June 2 at 10am.
Newcastle Industrial Heritage Association will host the event at “The Muster Point” entrance to the former Steelworks on the corner of Industrial Drive and Selwyn Street, Mayfield.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 25, 2015.

Maitland site provides images and examples of different architectural styles and colours

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Residents looking to renovate cottages and mansions across Maitland can now access an online tool designed to help with colour scheme guidelines.
The Maitland City Council ­initiative provides images and examples of different architectural styles and includes colours typical to the principal periods of residential architecture in the city.
“They are intended to be informative, motivating and go some way to help owners in designing schemes,” Maitland City Council’s heritage officer Clare James said.
“Painting a home helps ­maintain and protect the buildings fabric, but can also transform its external appearance.
“General residential colour guidelines are available ­elsewhere, but we believed that the richness of Maitland’s ­architectures warranted ­something special. As such, the guidelines are geared towards the styles of buildings particular to Maitland.”
The residential colour scheme guidelines can be found online at
For more information phone Clare James on 49349832 or email

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 25, 2015.

Society of Australian Genealogists - June 2015 activities

Thursday 4 June (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Finding Your Italian Heritage
If you have ancestors from Italy or even if you just want to learn about the development of the Italian community in Australia, then this seminar is a must for you. A range of experienced researchers from Co.At.Is (Italian Family History Group) will present a “how to” summary on navigating the minefield of family history research in Italy. Presenters: Representatives from Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
Saturday 13 June (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Beginner's Guide to State Records
Presenter: John Cann. Are you a recent convert to the family history research process? Are you an experienced researcher but are yet to tackle State Record what can be found on a visit to State Archives, & hear about the many options for research available to family historians. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Saturday 13 June (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Writing Discussion Group
    Croker Prize (Members' Choice Winner 2014).The winner of the Members’ Choice category of the Croker Prize in 2014, Bob will talk about his entry, Old Brine: Terror of the Richmond River, how he wrote it & the elements of a prize winning story. Presenter: Bob Wright. Bookings essential. $8 ($12 non-members).
  • Thursday 18 June (10.30am - 3.30pm) - Welcome Day for New Members
    Commencing at 10.30am at Richmond Villa and finishing at 2/379 Kent Street (SAG Library). Especially for new members with no family history research experience. We’ll start by showing you some of the fundamentals & ‘first steps’ in family history in a fun & stress-free environment. Then, after a break for lunch (BYO), we’ll reconvene at the SAG Library for a short explanation of its offerings and the opportunity to start researching. FREE - Members only. Bookings essential and limited to 10.
  • Thursday 18 June (8.00pm - 9.00pm) - Webinar - An A-Z of Victorian Occupations
    Have you found an ancestor but can’t understand their occupation? Professional local, social & family historian Kirsty Gray will outline some unusual occupations from the era. Bookings essential. $10. SAG Members only.
  • Saturday 20 June (10.00am - 4.00pm) - Genealogy & Technology Day - Michelle Patient
    A day of immersion in technology with expert genealogist Michelle Patient. Topics covered include: digital indexes & archives, creating digital records, using Evernote & lots of opportunity to ask questions. Full program available on the website or by phone or email. Morning & afternoon tea incl., BYO lunch. Presenter - Michelle Patient. Bookings essential. $40 ($55 non-members).
  • Tuesday 23 June (8.00pm - 9.00pm) - Webinar - Using the Ryerson Index - John Graham
    Join John Graham, the coordinator of the Ryerson Index of death notices & obituaries in Australian newspapers, as he explores & demonstrates this wonderful resource & how it can help “kill off” your ancestors with newspapers & cemetery records. Bookings essential. $10. SAG Members only.
  • Thursday 25 June (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Getting the Most out of British Census Records
    A Census of the population was taken every 10 years in Britain starting in 1801. Information gathered expanded over time & the surviving records form the mainstay of researching 19th century families in the British Isles. Learn about different resources, effective search techniques & how to interpret results. Presenter - Sylvia Murphy. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Oral History & Digital Narrative Workshop

    Learn how to create your oral history with audio, images and video.
    This one day workshop will introduce participants to the principles of telling stories digitally using a mix of rich media resources such as images, video, audio, objects and documents.

    Do you have an abundance of resources you have collected in an oral history project? Are you unsure about what to do with them next?

    This workshop will discuss options on how best to re-present your material in 'easy to access' formats suitable for the web, exhibitions, or even for community or family history projects.

    The course will include:
    • practical introductory exercises in creative writing
    • transmedia storytelling
    • digital storytelling
    • oral history interviewing
    • basic photography/video and editing tips.

    The group will work together to produce exemplary stories, so you will need to be keen to enthusiastically contribute collegially in shared ideas.

    Participants will be sent an optional pre-workshop checklist of what they can read in advance, and what they can bring on the day- e.g. camera, laptop, photos, inspiring story ideas!

    Limited to 20 places, bookings Essential

    Registration 9.45am, Workshop 10am - 4pm

    $150 Members, $190 Non-members. Morning and afternoon tea provided.

    For more visit: http:

    Friday, May 22, 2015

    My sport hero - Peter FitzSimons' tribute to Les Darcy

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    A very special commemoration will take place in Maitland this Tuesday evening to honour one of Maitland’s most famous sons.
    At the Maitland Regional Art Gallery, noted author and historian Peter FitzSimons will pay tribute to boxer Les Darcy who died in the United States 98 years ago after an illustrious career that was dogged by some controversy.
    Mr FitzSimons, who wrote an autobiography about Darcy five years ago, has promised to reveal some new information about the famous fighter.
     Mr FitzSimons’ appearance at Maitland Regional Art Gallery has been arranged with Maitland Library as part of the “Look Who’s Talking?” program.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 21, 2015.

    Heritage group explores Maitland's subterranean history

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Much is known and reported about the history of Maitland and its well trodden streets but what of the vaults that lie beneath?
    The Maitland City Heritage Group will explore the concept of underground basements in a new publication, but first the group needs help to identify a series of black and white photographs that feature the late ­historian Harry Boyle in an underground basement.
    “The photographs came to the library as part of the Harry Boyle Collection with an intriguing note saying ‘Subterranean Maitland’ but we don’t have anymore details about them and we’d love to find out more,” Maitland City Council heritage officer Clare James said.

    If you know more about the basements of Maitland
    contact Ms James on 4934 9832 or email

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 17, 2015.

    Inside History magazine - Maitland City Library

    In issue 28, our May-June 2015 edition of Australia’s favourite history and genealogy magazine, you’ll discover:
    • Our expert guide to finding and using parish maps and land records
    • Our chat with Sir Tony Robinson on his Tour of Duty discovering Australia’s hidden wartime stories
    • 95 new online genealogy resources to help grow your family tree
    • The world of the English workhouse, beyond Dickensian stereotypes
    • The iconic Tea and Sugar train of yesteryear and its cross-country rides across the Nullarbor
    • How to use asylum records and access even those closed to the public
    • Our pick of the top 5 historical walks around Australia
    • The mammoth project to document our surviving World War II veterans
    • Where to find the newly digitised collections of 14 leading museums from around Australia
    • How you can help map the past with geo-referencing projects underway
    • Why Victoria’s education system is historically significant
    Electronic edition available at Maitland City Library
    select eresources, then emagazines for full, free access.

    The Grossmann & Brough Haunted Houses Tour

    The Grossmann & Brough Haunted Houses Tour is now into its fifth year.

     Previously, as well as exploring the 1870 Houses and laundry building by candlelight, gaslight and oil lamps, participants heard about the findings of the Melbourne Psychic who was searching for “Maitland’s Most Haunted House”
    The tragic story of James Mudie’s convicts was told (James Mudie was the first white owner of the “town block” where Grossmann & Brough now stand)

    Come on the Haunted House Tour 2015 and help us Spot the Spirits
    Limited spaces available. Phone 49 337758 to secure your place.
    Tickets $30 with wine on arrival and supper at the tours conclusion.

    Saturday, May 16, 2015

    Cairn recognises Marthaville Homestead’s heritage award

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    The oldest sawn timber home in Cessnock was awarded the Hunter Valley Heritage Award in 2014.
    The award and cairn will be presented to the Marthaville Management Committee.
    Marthaville Homestead, circa 1885, was recognised by the Hunter Valley Wine Living Legends Group.
    Brian and Fay McGuigan sponsored the award.
    “Marthaville is on land where some of the earliest Cessnock district vineyards were and, as such, it represents a tangible link between today’s Pokolbin vineyards, the town of Cessnock and the viticultural heritage of the area,” Mr McGuigan said.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 14, 2015.

    Maitland Gaol house ills – prison’s medical history revealed

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    The hospital used to treat some of Australia’s most hardened and notorious criminals will open its doors to the public for the first time since the late 1990s. 
    Slightly more bearable than a small concrete cell, the single ward of the Maitland Gaol ­hospital accommodated ­criminals suffering from a range of illnesses.
    The hospital closed in 1998 along with the gaol, but will open on Sunday after 17 years in the form of an interpretive display.
    “The gaol wasn’t a particularly nice place to spend your time, and if you were unwell you can only imagine how uncomfortable it would be,” Maitland Gaol co-ordinator Gordon Sauber said.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 14, 2015.

    Historic Morpeth pub River Royal Inn - future in doubt after flood

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Engineers have declared Morpeth’s historic River Royal Inn built in 1856 unsafe as they use large fans to dry out the soggy rooms and assess extensive flood damage.
    Until their examination is finished, the future of the hotel is undecided, licensee Tom Greene said.
    He said it was heartbreaking when a surge of floodwater burst through the rooms at the height of the recent deluge.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 13, 2015.

    Maitland Street Rodders celebrate 40th anniversary

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Maitland’s hot rod club will celebrate 40 years of happy days and rumbling V8s next month.
    The Maitland Street Rodders began meetings and rod runs to car shows in 1975. 
    Mr Whan’s bright red 1933 Ford tourer graced the pages of the Mercury after it won best in class at the Newcastle Show in 1979.
    The club has 35 members and has become a fixture at Steamfest, Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival and car shows across the country.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 13, 2015.

    Aboriginal elder calls for archaeological dig at Glebe Paddock

    From the Maitland Mercury report:

    Aboriginal leader Lance Murray wants to see the spiritual significance of Glebe Paddock recognised.
    Mr Murray, a former alderman, historian and long-time advocate of Indigenous heritage in the Maitland area, wants an archaeological investigation completed before a proposed development proceeds.
    An elder of the Bungalung people from the Clarence Valley, Mr Murray was one of the leading opponents to the development of the site in East Maitland.
    Residents of the area, including Mr Murray, lodged submissions against the rezoning, but council voted to reclassify the historic Wallis Street land.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 10, 2015.

    60,000 discover their Anzacs via National Library of Australia

    On Anzac Day 60,000 visitors searched National Library of Australia websites online to discover and pay tribute to their own relatives.
    They visited both our Discovering Anzacs website and our RecordSearch database to delve into our collection.

    If you didn’t get a chance to search for your own family on the day, why not track down your Anzac now? The Discovering Anzacs website is a good place to start. As well as allowing you to view and download digitised records of all World War I service records, it gives you the opportunity to post photos and other tributes to those you wish to honour.

    Friday, May 8, 2015

    New South Wales State Records: government employees who served in WWI

    Official figures published in annual reports of NSW Government departments soon after the end of World War I, show that there were at least 11,033 Government employees who were granted military leave from 1914-1918. This number comprises 8,477 Railways and Tramways employees,[1] 2,336 public servants (those employed under the provisions of the Public Service Act),[2] and 217 from the Police Department.[3] The figures include both permanent and temporary employees, but exclude casual and contract staff of which there are no known official figures for the period. It is important to note that not all of those who were granted leave were accepted into the military, and not all those who were accepted were sent abroad.

    Of the 11,033 government employees listed, 1,659 of them were killed in action, with the highest number predictably coming from Railway and Tramway employees (1,210),[4] followed by public servants (400),[5] and policemen (49)[6]. According to departmental annual reports, the total number of Government employees including public servants, police, and railways/tramways employees up to 30 June 1919, was 66,362.

    Our new online index, NSW Government employees granted military leave 1914-1918, includes approximately 10,000 individual names across 13,134 entries. These details were taken from resources and records kept at the Western Sydney Records Centre.

    Hunter Lifestyle Magazine: April-May 2015

    From the latest edition:
    Hunter Lifestyle Magazine

    Anzac reflections: Memories that will last a lifetime for these five Maitland students

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    The Mercury sponsored five local students to tell readers of their experience 
    in Turkey attending the dawn service at Anzac Cove. Here is what they had to say:
    Jack Olive -
    The Anzac Centenary Ball was not only a celebration, but a commemoration because in the midst of all the awards, music and dancing, we were reminded of the sacrifice and the true reason that we were on this journey. 
    A highlight of the night was when a boy from Barker College gave a speech that examined the well-used phrase of “Anzac spirit” and what aspects of it were true

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, May 4, 2015.

    Regional, remote and community museums Day

    Regional, Remote and Community Museums Day will be held at the Australian National Maritime Museum on Thursday 21 May 2015.
    Did you know the entire first day of this year's Museums Australia National Conference is dedicated to those working in regional, remote and community museums?
    Or that if you can't afford the full registration you can just attend for one day? There's also a few bursaries to help remote and regional organisations attend, so there's really no excuse not to be there.
    The program focuses on developing a variety of practical skills that you can take home and put to work immediately. Highlights include sessions on using Trove, deaccessioning, myth-busting in museums and organising a museum pop-up.

    Further information and registration: Museums Australia National Conference 

    Sunday, May 3, 2015

    Society of Australian Genealogists: May calendar of activities

    Wednesday 6 May (8.00pm - 9.00pm) - Webinar - Digging for Treasure - Using Online Newspapers
    Presenter: Michelle Patient. Online newspapers have revolutionised genealogy and broken down long held brickwalls for many researchers. Learn effective research strategies to apply when delving into online newspapers, along with an array of tips & tricks for online papers covering Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Bookings essential. $10. SAG Members only.
  • Thursday 7 May (10.30am - 12.30pm) - All Aboard with Railway Employment Records
    Bill Phippen, of the Australian Railway Historical Society, has digitised all NSW Railway employee records including some not otherwise recorded at State Records. Learn about researching NSW railway ancestors at this session. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Saturday 9 May (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Family Tree Maker User Group - AM session
    Sessions: 1. I've got a source, how do I add it to FTM? - presenter - Lyn Hudson Williamson. 2. Detaching, attaching and deleting people in FTM?- presenter - Cheyne Wright. 3. Q&A session - those questions posted on the FTM hub (see will be given priority. Bookings essential. Note that the AM and PM sessions must be booked separately. $8 ($12 non-members).
  • Saturday 9 May (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Family Tree Maker User Group - PM session
    Sessions: 1. Deleting, replacing and updating sources in FTM - presenter - Lyn Hudson Williamson. 2. FTM and mobile devices - see them in action - and how to link to FTM on PC / Mac - presenter - Larry Czarnik. 3. Q&A session - those questions posted on the FTM hub (see will be given priority. Bookings essential. Note that the AM and PM sessions must be booked separately. $8 ($12 non-members).
  • Saturday 16 May (9.00am - 10.00am) - Orientation Tour
    Held in the Library at 2/379 Kent Street from 9.00am-10.00am. Members only. Bookings essential. Join us for a tour of the SAG library - learn about its layout and the services offered. Remember you can stay on and do research after the tour. Free - a gold coin donation on the day towards our Collections Fund is always appreciated.
  • Saturday 16 May (10.30am - 12.30pm) - What was the parish really like?
    This session will demonstrate ways to find out more about the English parish in which your ancestors’ births, deaths & marriages were recorded and where they lived. Presenter - Heather Garnsey. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Tuesday 19 May (8.00pm - 9.00pm) - Webinar - Tracing Your Queensland Ancestors
    Join well known genealogist, Shauna Hicks as she explains the sources, repositories & research techniques for tracing ancestors in Queensland. Bookings essential. $10. SAG Members only.
  • Thursday 21 May (10.00am - 12.30pm) - Tour - Great North Road Historical Walk
    Meet at Wiseman's Ferry (details provided on registration). Learn about the convict work gangs who carved out this road which was commenced in 1828 as a vital passage between Sydney & its breadbasket of the Hunter & Hawkesbury. The experiences & challenges of the convicts & their masters will be unveiled as we walk the road. Morning tea (food only) included. Limit 15. Bookings essential. $30 ($40 non-members).
  • NSW State Records : World War I resources online for the Centenary of Anzac

    State Records is a lead agency in the extensive New South Wales Centenary of World War I and Anzac commemorative program taking place between August 2014 and November 2018. The full program is being overseen by the NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council and has been endorsed by Cabinet. As part of the commemoration program, State Records is proud to honour the Centenary of World War I and Anzac with new online resources on the centenary of the landing of Anzac forces at Gallipoli.

    New Anzac web pages: Gallipoli campaign

    On the Centenary of the landing of ANZAC troops on the Gallipoli peninsula, we have added three new pages to our NSW Anzac Centenary website.
    The first page includes a selection of records from the State archives relating to the Gallipoli campaign, two including maps of the Gallipoli peninsula at either end of the campaign, a report on the Anzac battle tactics, two photos of Gallipoli souvenirs in NSW, and even a printed poem for the fallen soldiers left behind.

    National Library of Australia: learning workshops in May 2015

    Sign up for a free workshop and discover how to make the most of our collections and resources.
    Getting Started at the Library, Thursday 14 May, 4 pm
    Trove for Family History, Wednesday 20 May, 2 pm
    Ephemera at the Library, Wednesday 27 May, 3 pm

    National Library of Australia

    Gallipoli dawn service: The momentous day arrives

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Five students selected to visit the Gallipoli battlefields where their ancestors fought 100 years ago had another important mission - to report the key events of their tour.
    The students have spent time at the Mercury with editor Eve Nesmith as they prepare to be cadet journalists for the trip.
    Ms Nesmith said all the students had done a great deal of research and what they recorded on their trip would be important to young people in the Hunter.
    This tour of the Gallipoli war front appears unprecedented in Australia, with 20 schools from throughout the Hunter Valley represented.
    The five cadet journalists are Lauren Wood from St Phillip's Christian College, Jack Olive from Francis Greenway High School, Scarlett Budden from Maitland Christian School, Adam Robinson from Cessnock High and Georgia Filis from All Saints College St Peter's Campus.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, April 27, 2015.

    Anzac centenary: soldier Bert's family reflects on Anzac Day at Lochinvar

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    The Anzac centenary was a time of reflection and pride for the descendents of Bert Poole, a Maitland miner who lies beneath a lush wheat field outside the French town of Bullecourt
    Killed in action in 1917, the documents and portraits of Mr Poole now hang in the Lochinvar home of his granddaughter Ruth Wilkes.
    The family affectionately refers to the prominently displayed, fresh-faced Digger only as
    Soldier Bert.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, April 26, 2015.

    Maitland marks the centenary of the Gallipoli landing with a service at Town Hall

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Anzac Day history was made in Maitland at the 100th commemoration of the Gallipoli landings on Saturday when the Turkish flag flew with Australian flags for the first time.
    And a Turkish-Australian citizen, Ismail Haskara, gave an address to the 1000 crowd in Maitland Town Hall at the 11am assembly.
    Maitland RSL president Eric Bell said even greater crowds had gathered at the Anzac Day Dawn Service in the Town Hall.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, April 25, 2015.