Sunday, May 28, 2017

Archival revival: Life on the Hunter River

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Take a look back at life on the Hunter's rivers and waterways, from the Fairfax archives.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 25 May 2017.

Who shafted Les Darcy? Researcher Roger Ley has answers to age-old questions about Les Darcy's life

From the Maitland Mercury report:
It’s a question that has gone unanswered for a century.
Now researcher Roger Ley says he’s uncovered new details about Maitland’s favourite son Les Darcy that reveal who shafted the legendary boxer.
Mr Ley will present his findings at East Maitland Bowling Club on Friday night when he delivers his talk as part of a Maitland and District Historical Society fundraiser.
The Canberra man has spent six years researching Darcy’s life through old newspaper articles and documents, read every book about him and even written a film script about his short life.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 25 May 2017.

East Maitland plaque where Les Darcy was an apprentice commemorates his legend

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A special plaque commemorating Maitland legend, boxer Les Darcy, was re-unveiled in front of dozens of people in East Maitland on Wednesday, to mark 100 years since the young man known as The Maitland Wonder died.
The plaque has been embedded in a wall at O’Neill’s Tyres in Melbourne Street for more than 60 years, the site of a former blacksmith’s shop where Darcy worked as an apprentice in the early 20th century.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 24 May 2017.

Maitland Catholic schools Les Darcy memorial sports day

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Hundreds of primary school students from across the region have marked the 100th anniversary of boxing legend Les Darcy’s death with a sporting gala day.
Four hundred year 5 and 6 students from Catholic primary schools met at Maitland Park on Wednesday for a series of sporting sessions run by representatives from the NRL, soccer, Rugby Union and hockey.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 24 May 2017.

Windows into Wartime Newcastle Launch

On 3 April the Windows into Wartime regional touring exhibition was officially launched by Scot MacDonald MLC, Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, at the University of Newcastle Auchmuty Library, home of the the Newcastle Regional Archives Centre. The University of Newcastle is the second venue on a year–long regional tour that commenced in Broken Hill in November last year.

The launch was attended by some forty guests including representatives from local historical societies, military historians, academics and students. University of Newcastle Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), Professor John Germov, officiated at the event, emphasising that it was vital in today’s society that we look back and learn from lessons of the past. Dr Penny Stannard, our Exhibitions Curator also spoke at the launch, explaining the exhibition’s themes and the role that government photographers had on the home front in NSW during the First World War.

Items from the University of Newcastle Cultural Collections were presented as part of the exhibition, ensuring that local perspectives contribute to the wider story of the state during the war era.

Les Darcy: Maitland’s Fighting Spirit

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Les Darcy wasn’t perfect. But in Maitland, many view him as close to it. And 100 years after his death, Darcy’s short life of just 21 years transcends time.
Darcy is still loved and admired in Maitland.
His legacy continues in ways that can’t be seen, but felt in the city. His character and influence flow through Maitland, shaping how it sees itself, as surely and as insistently as the Hunter River does. Darcy rarely fell. And more than stand, he soared in the ring.
Darcy’s fighting spirit, his perseverance and his never give-up attitude inspires others.

Do you have the fighting spirit? Does your sporting team always persevere, even when you are the underdogs?

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 23 May 2017.

Darcy's example a lasting inspiration

From the Maitland Mercury report:
It’s a week when the town reflects on our champion Les Darcy, who inspired the flood plains and eventually a nation. I have been reading about Maitland’s favorite son and, yes, the boy could fight, but it is the stories of his commitment to family that are what really inspire me.
He was a man who sacrificed his body with the goal of setting up his family’s financial future. He also took a massive risk and went against the convention of the time to fight for his family’s future in the US as opposed to fighting in WWI.

For business owners involved in Maitland Business Chamber, our sacrifices may not be as large but our commitment to creating financial prosperity or building something that our family will be proud of is what drives most entrepreneurs.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 22 May 2017.

A city pays tribute to almighty boxing legend Les Darcy 100 years on

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland will pay homage this week to Les Darcy, whose young life was cut tragically short 100 years ago at the peak of his boxing career.

A number of events will be held across the city to commemorate Darcy’s death, including the unveiling of a plaque, a public ceremony to celebrate Darcy’s life, centenary exhibitions and the re-dedication of a memorial plaque.
Maitland City Council and local service groups have organised a number of events to celebrate the life of Les Darcy.

Maitland City Library will hold “Remembering Les Darcy” starting Tuesday. This will include a slideshow of old photos from Darcy’s funeral displayed on a projector in the library and a new “Walls that Talk” display on the outside of the building.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 22 May 2017.

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.