Saturday, May 20, 2017

Les Darcy: Maitland’s fighting spirit

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Having travelled half-way across the continent, Yanwyn Kirby trudges over the rain-softened earth under a swollen sky to catch up with his cousin, Les.
“He’s kind of like a mate, he’s definitely a cousin, but you think of him as a mate,” Kirby says.
The 59-year-old is walking through the Catholic section of the East Maitland Cemetery. He passes row upon row of departed souls until the mown grass surrenders to the unkempt border.

And 100 years after his death, Darcy’s short life of just 21 years transcends time.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 19 May 2017.

Maitland Mayor Peter Blackmore will not run for council again

From  the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland Mayor Peter Blackmore will retire from council when voters head to the polls in September.
The news slipped out at a press conference on Wednesday, to open the new Maitland Sportsground complex.
Planning Minister Anthony Roberts was speaking at the official opening when he questioned the mayor about his plans for retirement.
Cr Blackmore, 72, simply replied “yes”.
He told Fairfax Media that he had spent 22 years on Maitland City Council.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 17 May 2017.

Two Roses: Two Radical Hunter Valley Women: Rose Selwyn and Rose Scott

Edited version of talk and slide show given by Jude Conway The Newcastle Family History Society, 7 June 2016
In 1973 C. E. Smith, the Newcastle City librarian and president of the Newcastle and Hunter District Historical Society, wrote that Rose Scott was one of the most famous women in Australian history. 1 In the late 19th and early 20th centuries she had been pivotal to many reforms for women, especially the granting of women’s suffrage. How many people know that Rose Scott spent the first eleven years of her life at Glendon estate near Singleton and her next 22 years in Newcastle? Which is why of course that C.E. Smith was proudly proclaiming her fame.

More information: Hunter Living Histories, University of Newcastle

Federation of Australian Historical Societies

This is the Second Stage of our Survey.  The first (General) Stage was conducted earlier in 2016 and the results have been published on our website
 A third (and final) stage is planned which will concentrate on matters such as financial management, succession planning and strategic planning.
This stage focuses on Collection Management and covers the following aspects
.    the nature and size of your collection,
.    the importance of different parts of your collection
.    cataloguing
.    digitisation
.    collection policies
.    accessions register
.    access to the collection
.    forward planning.
The information we collect will assist the FAHS in its work of promoting society needs and interests, and of seeking recognition and support from government and the community.
For simplicity, the questions use the term "your society" throughout, but it is not restricted to groups calling themselves "historical societies". Other bodies with similar purposes (for example, family history societies, heritage societies and museums) are encouraged to complete the survey.
After analysis, the results of Stage Two will be added to those of Stage One, which are already accessible on our web site The reports will not contain any information that identifies particular societies.
Our Online Outreach Officer,  Dr Bernadette Flynn
and our Executive Officer,  John Davies
are available to assist with the survey.

Debate about 2007 flood in Maitland

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Next month the Maitland Historical Society will host a debate to mark a decade since the devastating storm that flooded the Hunter and washed the Pasha Bulker ashore.
The Queens Birthday storm of 2007 was the last time the Belmore Bridge’s ‘major flood’ level of 10.5 metres was breached.
As the flood approached the State Emergency Service called for the evacuation of central Maitland, Lorn and the rural areas of the floodplain of the Hunter River. Hundreds of people left their homes, but many stayed behind.

The Maitland and District Historical Society will revisit the issue on Tuesday, June 6.
The discussion will take place in the Society’s Rooms at 3 Cathedral St, Maitland, beginning at 5.30pm and led by Michael Belcher and Chas Keys.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 17 May 2017.

Maitland Highly Commended

Maitland Highly Commended in Tidy Towns
From the Maitland Mercury report:
The judges of the Tidy Towns competition have paid tribute to Maitland’s parks, heritage buildings and resource management by awarding the city high commendations in two categories.
“The town of Maitland is very well kept and displayed with great pride in the historic buildings and cultural heritage,” judge Jill Grant said.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 15 May 2017.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Historic Grave : Denny Day's historic gravesite lies anonymous

From the Maitland Mercury report:
One of Australia's most historic gravesites lies anonymous and in a state of neglect in Glebe Cemetery, East Maitland.
Denny Day, the former police magistrate of Maitland from in the 1830s and ‘40s may well be Australia's greatest lawman, instrumental in bringing to justice the killers in the infamous Myall Creek Massacre. At least 28 aborigines - mostly the elderly and children - were killed at a peaceful camp in what remains to this day as Australia's most notorious aboriginal massacre.

Maitland City Council Heritage Officer Clare James says plans are afoot to restore the gravesite.
"There has been an intensive two-year review of the gravesites at Glebe, taking into account their condition and historical importance," Ms James said. "Restoration work on the first phase is due for completion any day now, and Denny Day's gravesite is scheduled for the next phase and should be complete within the next two years.”

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 12 May 2017.

Self guided night tours at Maitland Gaol 2017

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Thanks to popular demand, self-guided night tours of Maitland Gaol will return for a limited run from Friday.
Maitland Gaol Under Lights will return to the facility on May 12 along with the Gourmet BBQ and Hi-Top Coffee vans from 5.30pm.
The Gaol, a hotspot for Australian crime history fans and paranormal investigators alike, will officially open for the event between 6.00pm and 9.30pm (last entry at 8.30pm).

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 11 May 2017.

30th birthday surprise for Maitland City Choir

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland City Choir’s 30th birthday year has been marked with extra celebration after they were awarded the City of Maitland Medal on Tuesday.
The choir was honoured with the accolade at the Maitland City Service Awards at Maitland Regional Art Gallery during National Volunteer Week.
Maitland City Choir founder and president Heather Russell-McLaren said it was an absolute thrill to be awarded after 30 years.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 10 May 2017.

Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences releases a new online collection website

Over the last six months, a project team at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) has been hard at work redesigning the MAAS online collection website, which is is now live and available at

The collection website allows online visitors to search the vast and diverse collection, enabling access to object records, photographs and in-depth information prepared by the Museum’s staff over decades.
It is a significant global resource, used by visitors from around the world including researchers, designers, students and people doing serendipitous research.
MAAS was one of the earliest institutions that led the way in making its collection data publicly available online. Much of the previous developments were implemented over 10 years ago, and both web technology, as well as audience behaviors, have changed significantly over that time.
The present redesign was aimed at updating the site to better cater to how people use the web today, on a variety of devices, while building the infrastructure to continue adding rich collection data in the future.

National Trust Friends of Grossmann house heritage walk

Join the Friends of Grossmann house and our Guide Wayne Campbell for a late afternoon walk around the historic High St and Newcastle Road of the old Wallis Plains. Step back in time and see the old inns, gracious homes and cottages which still grace this little byway of old Maitland.

Cost $25  ---  $20 National Trust members          (Includes afternoon tea)
Bookings essential                 Contact Holly 49 344314
Late afternoon tea to follow at Brough House, 73 Church St, Maitland

Renew Maitland and the Riverlink

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The team that renewed Newcastle’s stagnating, post-industrial city centre into a vibrant, creative space are turning their attention to Maitland.
Maitland City Council has engaged Renew Australia to conduct a “scoping study” to determine if the city qualifies for a renewal program.
While the study was kicking off, another milestone piece of the Levee’s Riverlink project was being winched into place.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 9 May 2017.

Maitland heritage projects win $171,462 in NSW Government funding

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Six Maitland heritage projects will receive a boost of $171,462 from the state government.
Repairs to stone work and guttering at St Peter’s Anglican Church at East Maitland and an injection into the Maitland Local Heritage Fund were among the projects earmarked for the money, Parliamentary Secretary Scot MacDonald announced on Monday.
High priority conservation work at the Glebe Cemetery in East Maitland will also receive funding and money has been set aside to develop an interpretation plan for the site.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 8 May 2017.

Maitland Regional Art Gallery Century of Australian Art

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland Regional Art Gallery (MRAG) has launched new exhibitions tracing Australian art history over the last century from Lionel Lindsay to Locust Jones.
Of major significance is a recent donation of artwork by Lionel Lindsay on display for the very first time anywhere.
The 100 years of Australian art on show is traced firstly through Lionel Lindsay’s work completed in the early 20th Century.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 7 May 2017.

Friday, May 5, 2017

RAHS Autumn Book Fair

The Royal Australian Historical Society (RAHS) is hosting an Autumn Book Fair held at History House over three days from Tuesday 16 to Thursday 18 May.
Visit during the hours of 11am and 3pm and browse a large selection of new and pre-loved history books in the historic reception rooms.

If attendees purchase a copy of Dr Lesley Muir’s recently published Shady Acres: Politicians, Developers and Sydney’s Public Transport Scandals 1872-1895, they will receive the ‘Time Traveller’s Trail’ of Macquarie Street, Sydney – a series of 12 images of this historic precinct from the mid-late 19th Century

When: Tuesday 16 to Thursday 18 May, 11am to 3pm
Where: History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney
Cost: Free

Blue Mountain Botanicals - Watercolours by pioneering conservationist Isobel Bowden

Friends of Grossman House invite you to rediscover the intricate botanical art of Isobel Bowden

Brough House, Church Street, Maitland
5 May - 30 June
Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 10.00am to 3.00pm.
Enquiries: Holly, 49344314

Historic walk near Wallis Creek thanks to Friends of Grossmann

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland’s history-drenched High Street will become the subject of a walking tour later this month thanks to the Friends of Grossmann House.
On Tuesday, May 16 at 3.30pm, local historian Wayne Campbell will lead a group down the road that led from the penal colony and growing city of Newcastle to the continent’s interior.
Originally impassable by road because of Wallis Creek, the Victoria Bridge was built a little upstream from the existing bridge in 1827 to allow road transport into the village of West Maitland.

Full report available at Maitland Mercury, 4 May 2017.

Tocal Field Days 2017 on May 5-7

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Thousands are expected to flock to the Hunter Valley this weekend for the annual Tocal Field Days event.
Tocal Field Days will feature talks, demonstrations, entertainment, competitions, animal races and more from Friday to Sunday.
Tocal Field Days manager Wendy Franklin said a major feature of the rural exhibition was the urban and community gardens.
There will be presentations offering tips and advice on growing food, biodiversity gardens set up for people to view and cooking demonstrations and competitions.

Full report available at Maitland Mercury, 2 May 2017.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Look Who's Talking - Maitland Library - Greg Powell - Bushranger Tracks

Look Who's Talking Local Authors
Greg Powell
Bushranger Tracks
Where did the Ned Kelly Gang, Ben Hall, Captain Starlight and the Hunter's own bushrangers hang out? Based on decades of research, Bushranger Tracks, brings together bushranging history with information on current day historical sites, allowing the reader with a keen imagination to travel back to the wild days of early settlements when gold glittered, guns blazed, and men and women struggled.

Monday, 22nd May
East Maitland Library             More information

Museums and Galleries Australia National Conference 2017

Museums and Galleries Australia National Conference -  in their Cultural Landscapes
Join over 500 museum and gallery colleagues from around Australia and New Zealand for a packed program of progressive session, workshops and masterclasses. Make exicting new connections and partnerships. Take fresh and inspired insights directly back to your team, let us help you add value to the work you do.
The conference theme Museums and Galleries in their Cultural Landscapes will discuss cultural, social, digital, learning and operational landscapes through plenary and parallel sessions. Prior to the main conference, there will be a half-day program of workshops, masterclasses and tours of Queensland's leading cultural institutions. The conference will feature several social activities including a welcome event, conference dinner and a variety networking opportunities.
The Regional & Remote Community Museum and Gallery content will be integrated throughout the Conference program.

14 - 17 May 2017
MGA2017 will be held at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Anzac Day 2017 service at East Maitland

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Veterans, their families, friends, school students, community organisations and emergency services were among the huge parade that made its way down the New England Highway on Thursday morning.
Hundreds of people gathered around the East Maitland Cenotaph to pay their respects to all who served Australia in fields of conflict – from the Diggers of World War One through to the service men and women who make up the Australian Defence Force today.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 25 Apr 2017.

Anzac Day in Morpeth 2017

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Mateship is front of mind for local rugby player Shaun Connelly in both his military and sporting life.
The Leading Aircraftsman with the RAAF laid a wreath at the Morpeth Anzac Day service on behalf of Maitland Rugby Club on Tuesday.
Mr Connelly, who is part of No. 35 Squadron at Richmond, has notched up almost 10 years in the Australian Defence Force.
His service included a deployment to the Middle East in 2013.
Mr Connelly said his time overseas and Anzac Day formed major parts of his military career.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 25 Apr 2017.

ANZAC DAY 2017: Dawn service in Maitland

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Hundreds of people gathered at Maitland Park, as day broke on Tuesday, for the annual commemoration of the Anzac spirit.
In his Dawn Service address, RAAF Flight Lieutenant Andrew Harris said war was the “manifestation of the worst kind of mankind”.
But he said it also brought out some of humanity’s best attributes – courage, dedication, compassion and “a fierce determination to stand by one’s mates”.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 25 Apr 2017.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

List of Anzac Day services in Maitland

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Here is a list of Anzac Day services in the Maitland area planned for Tuesday, April 25

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 20 Apr 2017.

Webinars at State Archives and Records

State Archives and Records are pleased to announce our program of free webinars! Each webinar will focus on the wonderful resources of the State archives collection and how to access them.
You can register to attend a webinar live below. This will generate an email with a link that you click on at the appointed time to attend the webinar.

We will also be recording our webinars so if you are unable to attend live, you will be able to view the webinar at a time convenient to you simply by selecting the recorded webinar of your choice. We will be building a library of recorded webinars in the coming weeks. Joining and participating in a live webinar is easy.

One Hundred Stories - Australian military during World War I

100 Stories

This film curated by Professor Bruce Scates (Monash University) tells one hundred moving stories of those who served in the Australian military during World War I. We are encouraged to remember not just the men and women who lost their lives, but also those who returned to Australia irreparably damaged by war.
National Archives of Australia

18–30 April, screening on loop 9am–5pm daily | Canberra

National Archives of Australia
Queen Victoria Terrace
Parkes ACT 2600

Morpeth Gallery exhibit pays tribute to Australian Light Horse Brigade

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Morpeth Gallery will host a new exhibit this week that pays homage to the Australian Light Horse Brigade’s six kilometre charge at Beersheba a century ago.
World renowned equine artists Jennifer and Ron Marshall have contributed the work, which will be on show at the gallery between 10am and 5pm from April 20 until April 23.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 17 Apr 2017.

John Lane talks High Street Maitland with the Historical Society

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Prominent fixture of the Maitland business community John Lane will take local history buffs on a historic journey down High Street.
Mr Lane will be the guest speaker at the Historical Society’s next meeting – his subject will be ‘the changing face and place of High Street Maitland.
The street at the heart of the city has changed greatly over the decades.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 11 Apr 2017.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Plans for 28 apartments in Swan Street Morpeth

From the Maitland Mercury report:
GHT Holdings has proposed to transform the Griffins Motors site in Swan Street, which is part of the Morpeth heritage conservation area and is next to the historic Morpeth Post Office.
The unit block, called Morpeth Central Residences, borders William and Market streets and would have a contemporary design that features elements of other buildings in the township.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 10 Apr 2017.

Lionel Lindsay exhibit open at Maitland Regional Art Gallery

From the Maitland Mercury report:
More than 170 artworks by Lionel Lindsay went on display at Maitland Regional Art Gallery on Saturday.
Mr Lindsay was one of the finest Australian black and white graphic artists of the 20th century.
He was an artist who honed his skills in etching and wood engraving so finely that, by 1927, he was already one of the most internationally successful Australian printmakers of all time.

Full article available at: Maitland Mercury, 9 Apr 2017.

RAHS and Oral History NSW event

Friday 21st April @ 11am - 1pm History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney The RAHS and Oral History NSW (OHNSW) present ‘An Introduction to Oral History: Key Principles that Everyone Should Know’ at History House on Friday 21st April. This talk introduces historians of all kinds to the possibilities and pitfalls of ‘making memories’ or doing oral history interviews with people about their experiences of the past. Further information:

Inside History Magazine discontinued

Dear Inside History friends and community,

It is with great sadness that I’m writing to let you know that I’ve decided the next issue of Inside History magazine will be our last. It’s been a difficult decision, one that I’ve made only after careful consideration.
It was a passion of mine to start a magazine that focused on Australian history, to offer a platform to people like yourselves who research and discover inspiring stories about our heritage, and share it with an audience who are just as passionate about our history.

So I have decided that, unless a patron or sponsor steps forward to make up the shortfall, I will have to close the title. It’s not been an easy decision, but the stress and cost of publishing the magazine over the past seven years has been enormous.

Further information: Genealogy and History News

Hunter Valley Steamfest 2017 success

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Massive crowds flocked to Maitland over the weekend for the country’s biggest celebration of mechanical heritage – Steamfest.
More than 50,000 people from across the region and beyond turned out for the 31st anniversary of the event.
Among the hundreds of immaculate muscle cars, clunking vintage machinery and old-world technology were the thundering steam-powered locomotives that give the event its name.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 9 Apr 2017.

Hunter Valley Steamfest 2017, look inside one of the trains

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Take a scenic trip north to the historic town of Paterson on the 3642 without leaving your home.
Fairfax Media photographer Marina Neil was lucky enough to jump on board the Paterson steam train on Saturday morning, filming the amazing experience for everyone to see.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 9 Apr 2017.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The 2017 Hunter Valley Steamfest

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The 2017 Burton Automotive Hunter Valley Steamfest is here!!!!! Steamfest celebrates Maitland’s rich steam and industrial heritage.

Saturday April 8 and Sunday April 9.
The Steamfest activities will mainly revolve around Maitland station and the nearby rally ground, in Central Maitland. Festival goers will be spoiled for choice when it comes to activities and attractions. They can jump on board the speedy Tin Hare for a historic trip out to Paterson or decide to experience the thrill of the Red Rattler when it zips out to Mount Thorley.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 7 Apr 2017.

Steamfest inspired photo shoot at Pelaw Main station

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The colour, history and the wonderful romantic and pioneering era of the steam train was brought to life in a photoshoot at Pelaw Main recently.
The pictures, taken by Mulbring photographer Paul O’Brien celebrate the great work Richmond Vale Rail Museum does and were inspired by Hunter Valley Steamfest happening in Maitland this weekend.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 7 Apr 2017.

Maitland Netball Association 70th anniversary

From the Maitland Mercury report:
This year marks the 70th anniversary for the Maitland netball competition. The season kicked-off on Saturday and started an important year for the association.
Before we look to this season, check out some of the photos from the year 1997 – the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Maitland Netball Association.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 7 Apr 2017.

Australian Mint to make commemorative coins at Hunter Valley Steamfest

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The Royal Australian Mint is giving locomotive lovers the chance to take home a piece of history from this year’s Burton Automotive Hunter Valley Steamfest.
Members of the Mint will bring a mobile coin press to Steamfest this year so punters can make their own uncirculated $1 coin to commemorate the centenary of the Trans-Australian Railway, which united the east and west of Australia.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 6 Apr 2017.

Organisers on track and rolling ahead of the 2017 Burton Automotive Hunter Valley Steamfest

It’s full steam ahead for the Hunter's celebration of trains and rail – Burton Automotive Hunter Valley Steamfest.
Rail Motor Society members were preparing heritage diesel engines at Paterson on Thursday, servicing the CHP1/CHP7 and 621/721 engines ahead of the weekend’s celebrations.
Operations manager Bruce Agland said he was looking forward to this year’s Steamfest, which begins on Saturday and wraps up on Sunday.

Full art6icle available at Maitland Mercury,  6 Apr 2017.

New builder gives new lease on life to derelict Flash Palace building Maitland

From the Maitland Mercury report:
It may be an eyesore now but the developers of the derelict Flash Palace building have given Maitland the assurance there will be something spectacular on the site within months.
The building has gradually deteriorated during the past 12 months with vandals and squatters trashing what is left of its fixtures and the interior after plans to renovate it were abandoned.

Maitland City Council approved 10 apartments in the Art Deco building at the eastern gateway to the $17 million Levee precinct.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 5 Apr 2017.

History of Hunter rail line captured on NFSA video

From the Maitland Mercury report:
It is easy to see why Jeff Wray fell in love with the sound of the steam train. The curator from the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) spent 10 years on the tracks as a signal man with the state rail.

It was this interest in the train lines which helped kick-off a new documentary titled Steam on the Main North. The 15-minute film showcases the history of the Hunter region as a major transport network. It has been released just in time for Hunter Valley Steamfest, which celebrates Maitland’s rich steam and industrial heritage.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 4 Apr 2017.

Iconic machinery for 2017 Steamfest

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The first of Steamfest’s iconic engines has rolled into Maitland in preparation for the 32nd ​iteration of the event.
Among the hissing, churning machinery that draws thousands of people to the town is Sooty, a 1926 Fowler engine that journeys more than 360 kilometres from inland NSW to Maitland each year.
“Sooty would have more than 20 years at Steamfest now,” Councilor, co-pilot and The Burton Automotive Group Hunter Valley Steamfest organiser Peter Garnham said.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 4 Apr 2017.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Community Heritage Grants 2017

The 2017 grant round is now open. For details on how to apply, visit the guidelines and application form.
The Community Heritage Grants (CHG) program provides grants of up to $15,000 to community organisations such as libraries, archives, museums, genealogical and historical societies, multicultural and Indigenous groups. The grants are provided to assist with the preservation of locally owned, but nationally significant collections of materials that are publicly accessible including artefacts, letters, diaries, maps, photographs, and audio visual material.

CHG is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Communications and the Arts; National Library of Australia; the National Archives of Australia; the National Film and Sound Archive and the National Museum of Australia.

Heritage Architect Stephen Booker at the Maitland & District Historical Society

Stephen Booker will speak to the Maitland & District Historical Society on Tuesday, 4 April at 5.30pm in the Society’s Rooms at 3 Cathedral St, Maitland. His topic will be ‘Imbued History: Chronicles written in masonry and mortar in Maitland’.

Stephen is a Heritage Conservation architect who for the greater part of his 39-year professional career has worked on a wide variety of building types and styles from humble cottages to retail and hospitality developments, from modern buildings to some dating back to the 11th century. His company, Carste STUDIO, specialises in heritage buildings and places. It deals with heritage assessments, heritage impact statements, conservation management plans and the provision of conservation advice. He will be speaking to the Maitland & District Historical Society about the considerable heritage that is embodied in the buildings of Maitland.
Stephen provides heritage advice to councils, lives in a heritage house and has been involved in many heritage-related projects in and around Maitland and Morpeth. These have included the Archaeological Management Plan for the Maitland CBD and conservation works on a number of the prominent churches and commercial buildings in Maitland.
The talk is open to members of the public who are most welcome to attend. The Society asks for a gold-coin donation to cover the costs of refreshments.
Contact details for the Maitland & District Historical Society are:
Mobile: 0438 623299

The Scott sisters of Ash Island

Hunter Living Histories - Coal River Working Party

Article by Jodi Vial - Posted 27 March 2017

It is 1846 and Harriet Scott is a girl of 16 when her father, Alexander Walker Scott, decides to move his family from Sydney to a home on Ash Island, in the Hunter River near Hexham. Harriet is accompanied by her sister Helena, 14, her stepsister Mary Ann and the girls’ mother, Harriet. The scene would be unrecognisable today, as industry had not yet staked its claim on the wilds of Ash Island. The homestead built by Walker Scott stood quite close to the river, at the end of a long jetty,  and was surrounded by trees. As one visitor to the island wrote in a letter to The Colonist newspaper dated August 27, 1835.......

Maitland council approves controversial seniors housing development at Berry Park

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A controversial seniors housing development proposed for the rural hamlet of Berry Park has been approved.
Maitland councillors voted in favour of the proposal, lodged by developer Hilton Grugeon, despite strong public opposition.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 29 Mar 2017.

Maitland's historic Oakhampton Cemetery overgrown and a city disgrace

From the Maitland Mercury report:
One of Maitland's oldest yet little known about cemeteries is in desperate need of remediation, even after thousands of dollars in State funding have been allocated in the past for its repair.
Some of Maitland's leading forefathers are buried in Oakhampton Cemetery, the historic site now labelled as a city disgrace.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 24 Mar 2017.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival is on this weekend

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Shine your shoes and put your glad rags on – the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival is on this weekend.
The annual celebration of all things ‘50s and ‘60s will kick off on Friday afternoon with a high tea and retro fashion parade at Kurri Kurri High School.
Get your program here.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 24 Mar 2017.

The first of the iconic machinery for 2017 Steamfest arrive in Maitland

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The first of Steamfest’s iconic engines has rolled into Maitland in preparation for the 32nd ​iteration of the event.
Among the hissing, churning machinery that draws thousands of people to the town is Sooty, a 1926 Fowler engine that journeys more than 360 kilometres from inland NSW to Maitland each year.
“Sooty would have more than 20 years at Steamfest now,” Councilor, co-pilot and The Burton Automotive Group Hunter Valley Steamfest organiser Peter Garnham said.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 22 Mar 2017.

Paterson Town Walk 2017

Paterson's annual town walk will be held on Sunday 2 April 2017. Dr Cameron Archer AM will take the group on an informative tour of the town's historical features. The walk starts at the Paterson Court House Museum at 1.00pm. Cost is $5 for adults, including museum entry and afternoon tea. Children are free. Media Release

Council pushes for maximum security on Maitland Gaol's long term future

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland City Council has locked into place plans to secure its long term tenure of Maitland Gaol and to cement the site’s standing as one of the region’s iconic tourist attractions.
A submission has been made for funding through the Public Reserves Management Fund and council will now engage a consultant to undertake a gaol business plan.
Council initially undertook tours of the gaol almost immediately after it closed in 1998 and was offered a licence to operate the property as a tourism facility in 2000.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 22 Mar 2017.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Call for nominations for Maitland's annual Hall of Fame awards

From the Maitland Mercury article:
Do you know someone who is a big Maitland achiever or someone who has achieved significant prominence in their field?
Maitland City Council is calling for nominations for the 2017 Maitland Hall of Fame and asking the community to nominate someone worthy of induction.
The Hall of Fame recognises the achievements and contributions of those people who have a strong association with Maitland and have achieved significant prominence in their field.

Last year the inaugural induction included champion boxer Les Darcy, actor Ruth Cracknell, Arnott’s biscuit entrepreneur William Arnott and Maitland identities like naturalist and photographer Athel D’Ombrain and former NSW Transport Minister and Member for Maitland Milton Morris.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 14 Mar 2017.

Images of Sydney in the 1960s

Join professional photographer and History Council of NSW member Russell Workman for a photographic talk at the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts. Russell will share his vintage photographs taken in and around Sydney during the 1960s, revealing how the city has changed and those areas that have stayed the same.

When: Wednesday 29 March 2017. 12:30-1:30pm.
Where: Mitchell Theatre, Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000.
Cost: Free – no bookings required.
Contact: or 02 9262 7300

Historic Belmore Hotel poised for more improvements

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland’s historic Belmore Hotel is set for another change with an application before tomorrow night’s council meeting for alterations to the landmark pub.
The hotel’s owners are proposing alterations and additions to enclose the existing outdoor dining area and extend the existing garden bar.
There are also plans to demolish the existing gaming court and build a new indoor gaming room and convert the existing gaming room into new toilets.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 13 Mar 2017

Former St Barnabas Anglican Church : O'Rourke family feels blessed

From the Maitland Mercury report:
You may say it was divine intervention but for the O’Rourke family of East Maitland it was the best investment they have ever made.
Three years ago Susan and Simon O’Rourke were house-hunting in the Maitland area, looking for something with a little bit of character and some rustic charm.
The former St Barnabas Anglican Church was a great find for the O’Rourkes. The magic happened on Valentines Day 2014. It was a match made in heaven.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 11 Mar 2017.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Community War Memorials Fund

Applications for the  Community War Memorials Fund are now open and close on Anzac Day, 25 April 2017.
The NSW Government established the Community War Memorials Fund to help protect and conserve war memorials across NSW. Since the establishment of the program in 2008, grants have been provided for a wide range of projects including honour roll repair, war memorial cleaning and conservation work, arborist advice for war memorial trees, memorial conservation assessments, security measures for memorials, repairs to war memorial halls and improvements to the accessibility of memorials.

Vanessa Berry, author of the blog Mirror Sydney - a bus tour of Sydney Lost and Found

Join Vanessa Berry, author of the blog Mirror Sydney, on a bus tour of Sydney Lost and Found. A mystery tour travelling south from the city, the journey will explore a series of curious sites with interesting stories to tell. Discover hidden traces and suburban oddities, stories of crime and controversy, and secret histories of the urban environment.
Embracing the obscurities and anomalies of Sydney's suburbs, the tour will reveal a different side of the city you thought you knew.
Produced especially to accompany the Demolished Sydney exhibition.

Maitland councillors vote to commit $50,000 to next month's Steamfest

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland's internationally acclaimed Steamfest could lose status, if more funds are not channeled into the event.
A Maitland council meeting this week heard how costs for the delivery of the festival have grown substantially in recent years.
A report said increasing costs present a challenge for staff  who attempt to continue to deliver a quality product with less funds for activity programming and marketing.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 1 Mar 2017.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Remembering the 1955 Maitland flood

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The 1955 Maitland flood was one of the most severe catastrophes to ever hit the region.
It destroyed thousands of homes as water inundated the city and claimed several lives.
On Wednesday February 23, 1955 heavy rain began falling in the Upper Hunter Valley. This would be the beginning of a horrendous week for the people of Maitland.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 23 Feb 2017.

National Archives content on the Google Cultural Institute

We’re delighted the National Archives now has a selection of curated collection content on the Google Cultural Institute platform.
Initially we have six digital exhibitions, which draw on  past Archives’ exhibitions:
• Design 29: creating a capital
• Beacons by the Sea
• Strike a Pose
• Summers Past
• Max Dupain on Assignment
• Banned.
In future, this will be complemented by other content. In the meantime, take a peek at our exhibitions at Google Cultural Institute.

History Council of NSW 2017 Awards and Prizes now open

The History Council of NSW is delighted to announce its awards and prizes for 2017 are now open. The History Council of NSW’s program of awards and prizes foster excellence in Australian historical writing, showcase and reward best practice, and advance and promote public understanding and appreciation of history.
  • The Deen De Bortoli Award for Applied History ($5,000), generously sponsored by De Bortoli Wines – 2017 Nomination form (pdf 221.KB)
  • The Aboriginal History Prize ($1,000) – 2017 Nomination form (pdf 201.KB)
  • The Max Kelly Medal ($500), sponsored by Geoffrey Jones – 2017 Nomination form (pdf 155.KB)
  • ENTRIES CLOSE Friday 31 March 2017

    A trip down memory lane for Maitland Show

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Bill Atmore and Janice Blackwell share their experiences at the show.
    In days gone by Maitland Show was filled with crowds in their Sunday best.
    People came from far and wide to be part of the iconic event, which was a major event on the yearly calendar, and many entered to be part of it.
    Ladies entered their needlework and cooking while men entered their farm produce and their animals.
    But it was the attire they wore that has long-time show patrons Bill Atmore and Janice Blackwell thinking of the past.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 21 Feb 2017.

    Brough and Grossmann House laundry opens

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    The final major piece of a Maitland historical site has been restored and will be unveiled to the public this weekend.
    The laundry at Grossmann and Brough House might not be as glamorous as the stately Victorian homes it serviced – but those behind the project say it will offer the important historic insights.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 21 Feb 2017.

    Search begins for next Maitland Hall of Fame entrant

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    There are countless examples of exceptional Maitland residents from throughout the city’s history.
    Maitland City Council is calling for people to nominate someone they think worthy of recognition in the city’s new Hall of Fame.
    The accolade recognises people who have a strong association with Maitland who have achieved significant prominence in their field.
    Nominations for this year’s induction, scheduled to take place in July, are being called for under the category of either academia, arts, business, public service or sport.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 21 Feb 2017.

    Friday, February 17, 2017

    Look Who's Talking Local History : Higher Ground - 1955 floods

    Higher Ground
    Faced with the challenge of restarting life again after the series of floods which culminated in the tragic events of February 1955, many local families saw the higher ground and open spaces west of the city as an opportunity to start afresh.
    This began a process which completely changed the character of development in the Maitland area. Seen against the wider changes brought about by the growth of suburbs in the nation's cities, Higher Ground tells the story of how communities change and grow in unexpected ways.
    Thursday 23 February
    6.00pm - 7.30pm
    Maitland Gaol Chapel

    Book now

    Flashback Friday: Royals in the Hunter

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    This month more than 60 years ago Queen Elizabeth II visited the Hunter.
    And the royal family are certainly no strangers to the Hunter, as this pictorial dig through the archive proves.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 17 Feb 2017.

    Maitland and Hunter history at Brough House in 2017

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Brough House, the hub of Hunter history, has released its schedule of exhibitions for 2017 and everything from warfare to fashion is on the cards.

    This year the Maitland Regional Museum is partnering with the Clothing Museum and Friends of Grossmann House to turn the historic home on Church Street into a centre for culture.

    The year kicked off with Future’s Fashion, which exhibits the major textile works of local students. It reveals the next generation of textile designers until March 19.
    If the walls of Brough House could talk their stories would speak straight to the heart of Maitland. And from April 8 to 23 Brough Voices will do just that when it shares the stories of the people who have lived and worked in the property from 1870 until the present day.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 6 Feb 2017.

    For Country, for Nation : Australian War Memorial

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a longstanding tradition of fighting for Country, and continue to serve with honour among our military forces. The new exhibition For Country, for Nation presents a diverse range of art, objects, photographs, and stories from across Australia to explore.
    Thematic in structure, the exhibition presents stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences during wartime.
    Weekly highlights tours will be held every Tuesday from 11.30 am. See our Events calendar for more information. The exhibition closes on 20 September 2017.

    Coal River Precinct National Nomination

    A revised ‘Coal River Precinct’ National Nomination was submitted today by the UON’s Hunter Living Histories Initiative after the Minister for the Environment and Energy called for nominations for the assessment period 2017-18. Nominations have been submitted to have ‘Coal River’ nationally recognised since 2007.

    The nomination contains substantial historical evidence required to prove that the Coal River Precinct possesses the outstanding natural, Indigenous and historic heritage values for the nation, and that will qualify it for protection by federal law under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.   We greatly appreciate the opportunity to have our city’s historic precinct formally recognised nationally.
    Further information

    Plans for Steamfest 2017 in full swing

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Preparations for Maitland's annual celebration of steam are on the boil.
    The Burton Automotive Group Hunter Valley Steamfest is locked in for April 8 and 9 and organisers are hoping to match last year's 30th anniversary crowd of 80,000 over the two days.
    Steamfest stalwart Peter Garnham said plans are in full swing, accommodation is filling quickly and moves are afoot to bring two, possibly three steam trains into town for the event.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 13 Feb 2017.

    High tea at historic Mansfield House

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Historic Mansfield House, built in 1887 in classical Victorian style is now dazzling again after a painstaking four-year renovation. It was once the grandest CBC Bank of them all, Sydney included, but since December 16 has been home to a new venture, The Palm Court Tea Salon.
    Stepping off the street through the old bank building double doors you’re stepping into another world, into our town’s history. And High Street is richer for it.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 7 Feb 2017.

    Friday, February 10, 2017

    Jude Conway and Historical Society talk Molly Morgan

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    A historian will visit Maitland Historical Society on Tuesday to recount the life of the town’s legendary founder, Molly Morgan. And it’s a saga so wild and inspiring you’d never believe it if it weren’t all true.
    England, 1789 – locked in a tavern, the infamous, fearless and compassionate woman who would go on to help forge the modern Hunter Valley was staring death in the face.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury,

    Australia Day 2017 Honours - Congratulations to RAHS President Associate Professor Carol Liston

    Royal Australian Historical Society Councillors and Staff would like to take this opportunity to warmly congratulate RAHS President, Associate Professor Carol Liston, on the award Officer (AO) in General Division of the Order Of Australia, for distinguished service to the preservation and documentation of Australian history and heritage, to professional societies, and to education as a teacher and mentor.
    Further information:

    Waratah Gas Works – Historical Timeline

    University of Newcastle:
    To assist the Waratah residents we have compiled a historical timeline of news reports from TROVE, that detail the evolution of the creation of the Waratah Gas Works that officially opened in 1st August 1889 to the time they were sold to the City of Newcastle Gas and Coke Company Limited  on 30 April 1922. Links to the articles are all provided, with transcriptions provided to some.
    1887-01-20 “THE GAS QUESTION.” Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW : 1876 – 1954) 20 January 1887: 6. Web. 3 Feb 2017.   Waratah Council in October 1885 asked Newcastle Gas Company for a quote. Too high, so Council is now considering establishing gas works for themselves.

    Full article available at Hunter Living Histories 6 February 2016.

    Flashback Friday: The Hunter in 1972

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Thanks to the Fairfax archives take a look at just a snapshot of life in the Hunter in 1972.

    Full gallery at Maitland Mercury, 3 Feb 2017.

    New children's room opens at Morpeth Museum

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Morpeth Museum has unveiled a special themed room that’s set to enthrall both the young and young at heart.
    The new room is filled with stories, toys and a model train set which is on loan from the Museum of Australian Childhood.
    “Also displayed are objects from the time when the building was used as a baby health centre,” said Morpeth Museum Chairperson Alan Todd.
    “We have displays from both the museum and The National Trust Museum of Australian Childhood collections such as Ginger Meggs, rocking horses and cuddly toys,” Mr Todd said.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 1 Feb 2017.

    Clash of the Collectables at Morpeth Antique Centre

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    Eric Knowles and Alan Carter are antique royalty.
    So when they stepped into Morpeth Antique Centre last week there was a buzz in the air, and the smell of a challenge.
    The two iconic antique experts are on an 18-day great Australia road trip between Sydney and Toowoomba to film their TV series Clash of the Collectables, which will air in April.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury,

    Sunday, January 15, 2017

    Friday Flashback: Industry in the Hunter

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    The Hunter has always been an industrious region. Take a look at our proud working past.

    Full pictorial article available at Maitland Mercury, 13 Jan 2017.

    Demolished Sydney

    This summer the Museum of Sydney will host Demolished Sydney, an exhibition exploring the buildings that once shaped the city’s skyline, from the convict built Commissariat Stores to the city's last island of industry, the Kent Brewery. 
    Curated by Dr Nicola Teffer, the exhibition examines the histories of 13 sites and asks, what are the forces that have shaped our changing city and how do we value and preserve the heritage of the city we inherit?
    19 November 2016 - 17 April 2017             Museum of Sydney

    Friday, January 6, 2017

    History Council of NSW new programs

    The History Council of NSW launched two new programs to begin in 2017: an expansion of our popular Speaker Connect program, and a brand-new Internship program.
    We have already received some fantastic applications, and can't wait to get started. If you're planning your new year of programs, don't miss out on being a part of these new initiatives. Share your history and expertise with us, or gain some experience to boost your resume.

    New South Wales State Records name change

    State Records has announced that the Authority’s name officially changed to the State Archives and Records Authority of New South Wales on 25 October 2016. This change added “Archives” back into the Authority’s name. Our new name is the State Archives and Records Authority of New South Wales.
    This is great news as it now means we have a much easier way to describe who we are and brings focus to our identify and purposes in what we do. This change further emphasises the important role the Authority plays in providing advice on good records and archives management practices to public offices.

    Maitland’s historic home for the aged, Benhome

    From the Maitland Mercury report:

    Work started on the Regent Street site in April this year and is expected to be completed mid to late 2017. Benhome CEO Neil Sutherland said the work involved the installation of on-site demountable buildings to accommodate a temporary kitchen, stores and staff amenities.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 23 Dec 2016.

    Maitland pioneer Edith McDonald passes away aged 109

    From the Maitland Mercury report:
    When Edith McDonald was born in Maitland in 1907 the average life expectancy was 47 years, only 14 per cent of homes had a bath tub and the average Aussie wage was two pounds and two shillings a week.
    Mrs McDonald, one of Maitland’s pioneers, passed away on Monday at an amazing 109 years of age. She was Australia’s seventh oldest woman.

    Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 23 Dec 2016.