Vote 1 – Hamilton Spectator

"[No heading]." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918) 6 Jan 1914: .

“[No heading].” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 6 Jan 1914: <;.

When the Hamilton Spectator (1914-1918) made it to Trove, I was pretty excited and my post Its Official was evidence of that.   What a benefit those five years of papers have been to my research. But I’ve always thought it was unfortunate more issues of the Spec were not available at Trove.  Portland, through the Portland Guardian & Normanby General Advertiser, the Portland Guardian and the Portland Observer & Normanby Advertiser, is represented from 1842  through to 1953.  Horsham has the Horsham Times from 1882 to 1954.  The Spec would compliment those publications as the newspapers from the three towns were all important voices for the west of the state.

The National Library of Australia with Inside History Magazine are conducting a poll to choose one of  six newspapers for digitisation and the Hamilton Spectator from 1860 to 1913 is one of those.  In fact it is the only Victorian newspaper.  We can make the digitisation of the Hamilton Spectator a reality and the first step is to vote.   If you go to the following link – Vote Now – you can cast your vote.   But hurry…voting closes on November 30. Crowdfunding will raise the money to digitise the winning paper.  With the I’ve Lived in Hamilton, Victoria Facebook group of 3500 members getting behind the campaign, hopefully it will be the Spec.

Inside History Magazine has put together a history of the Hamilton Spectator and you can read it on the link – Spec History

If you need any more incentive to vote, the following from the Hamilton Spectator of November 21, 1914 suggests a few good reasons.

"[No heading]." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918) 21 Nov 1914:>.

“[No heading].” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 21 Nov 1914:;.

Trove Tuesday – “Don’ts” for Centenary Week

With Portland celebrating its 180th birthday tomorrow (November 19),  my Trove Tuesday post this week is an article published in the Portland Guardian of October 15, 1934 prior to that year’s centenary celebrations.  Superintendent Clugston of the police department offered some timely advice for those attending the week-long celebration.  My favourite “don’ts” are “Don’t hurry or rush about”, “Don’t drive your car or other vehicle in a careless or improper manner and extend courtesy and consideration for all other road users” and “Don’t Guess”.

""DON'TS" FOR CENTENARY WEEK." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 15 Oct 1934: 2 Edition: EVENING.. Web. .

“”DON’TS” FOR CENTENARY WEEK.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 15 Oct 1934: 2 Edition: EVENING.. Web. <;.

Trove Tuesday – Fashion Quiz

Table Talk (1885-1939) at Trove is a must for those who enjoy period fashion. Having some knowledge of fashion trends through the decades is invaluable when it comes to dating family photos.  So with that,  it’s time for a Trove Tuesday Fashion Quiz.  I found the following competition in 1930 editions of Table Talk.  Over six weeks, readers could enter the weekly competition and vie for two guineas if their correct entry was drawn.

"Weekly Prize of Two Guineas." Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 - 1939) 31 Jul 1930: 19. .

“Weekly Prize of Two Guineas.” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 31 Jul 1930: 19. <;.

I have chosen the photos from weeks five and six simply because the copy of the photos were best in those weeks.  See if you can guess the years each of the dresses were from.  The date range is 1900 to 1930.  You will find the weekly solution underneath the photos.

Week Five



“Weekly Prize of Two Guineas.” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 28 Aug 1930: 45. Web.<;.


This is the entry form included for week six of the competition.

"Weekly Prize of Two Quineas." Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 - 1939) 4 Sep 1930: 34. .

“Weekly Prize of Two Quineas.” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 4 Sep 1930: 34. .

Week Six



“Weekly Prize of Two Quineas.” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 4 Sep 1930: .



How did you go? Why not test yourself on the dresses from weeks one to four listed below:


Week 1   Solution

Week 2   Solution

Week 3   Solution

Week 4   Solution


Ellen’s Incarceration

A welcome addition to Trove newspapers has been the Geelong Advertiser, first with just some early issues and now from 1857 to 1918.  With many family members having links to Geelong I was reasonably hopeful the  Advertiser would have something for me.  There were some useful Combridge “Family Notices” and land applications, but the most insightful articles were those about my ancestor who frequented the courts.  That’s right, my ggg grandmother Ellen Gamble (nee Barry) of Colac was in the news again.

Links to earlier posts about Ellen are at the bottom of this post, but in short she was an Irish immigrant who, when intoxicated , was a loud, carousing and sometimes pugnacious drunk.  Any occasion was a good occasion for Ellen to partake and as she once told the court in her Irish accent, she needed a drink for a bad cold, to “put her to rights”. The frequency of her drinking often met with serious consequences.  Aside from the neglect her children suffered, by the 1870s her encounters with the law had reached an alarming number.

At the time of her death in 1882, a tragic result of her drinking, Ellen was living apart from her husband Thomas Gamble.  From the Geelong Advertiser of January 15, 1866, I found their troubles started long before 1882.  In 1866, 40-year-old Ellen faced charges for various offences occurring outside Bradley’s Hotel in Colac. Still intoxicated the following day, she appeared in court blaming Thomas for her misdemeanors.  To prevent a recurrence she was locked up for three days. Feeling vengeful, Ellen immediately charged Thomas with failure to support her and the children.  Although Thomas was able to show cause and the case dismissed, the revelations in the Colac Police court revealed much about the Gamble family’s troubles.

COLAC POLICE COURT. (1866, January 15). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1857 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from

COLAC POLICE COURT. (1866, January 15). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1857 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from

Ten years on and little had changed.  By 1876, 50-year-old Ellen had faced the Colac Police Court 33 times.  For her latest charge of drunkenness, Ellen was sentenced to seven days imprisonment at the Geelong Gaol.

TOWN TALK. (1876, June 14). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1857 - 1918), p. 2. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from

TOWN TALK. (1876, June 14). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1857 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from

Joining Ellen on the 46 mile trip to Geelong was Mary Lennon, herself a regular at the court.


"COLAC POLICE COURT." The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 - 1918) 13 Jun 1876: .

“COLAC POLICE COURT.” The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918) 13 Jun 1876: .

The magistrate recommended that in future, Ellen and Mary should face more serious charges to ensure a longer prison term.

"NOTES AND EVENTS." The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 - 1918) 13 Jun 1876: .

“NOTES AND EVENTS.” The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918) 13 Jun 1876: <;.


So, at the expense of the state,  the “two dames” were sent by coach to the Geelong Gaol.  And what a formidable place awaited them. I visited the Old Geelong Gaol about two years ago, then unaware that Ellen too had been behind those same bluestone walls.


Geelong Prison



The following You Tube clip has further information about the history of the Old Geelong Gaol and the conditions endured.



It’s not the first time I’ve come across Ellen’s accomplice Mary Lennon.  She gave evidence at the inquest into Ellen’s death.  Now knowing a little more about Mary, it makes me wonder how seriously her evidence was taken on that occasion.


"DEATH BY BURNING." The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 - 1918) 27 Jan 1882: 2 Edition: .

“DEATH BY BURNING.” The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918) 27 Jan 1882: 2 Edition: <;.

Mary’s life did not improve after her time in jail. Some of the articles I have read about her bring to light  poverty, brutality, neglect and alcoholism .  The saddest came only months after Mary’s imprisonment in 1876.  On November 1, 1876 she and her husband  Patrick were charged with vagrancy and imprisoned. Their neglected children went to an Industrial School for a year.

Ellen didn’t learn her lesson from her imprisonment.  Three years later, the court kept a promise and Ellen was sentenced to twelve months at Geelong Gaol.

"COLAC POLICE COURT." The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 - 1918) 25 Mar 1879: 4 Edition: Mornings..

“COLAC POLICE COURT.” The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918) 25 Mar 1879: 4 Edition: Mornings..

Twelve months of drying out did not help Ellen in any way.  Two years after her release she was burnt to death at aged 55 because alcohol had taken its hold on her again.

Ellen and Mary’s antics conjure up comical characters from a Dickens’ novel,  but sadly they were real characters.  Pitiful and unfortunate characters attesting to the realities of poverty in Victoria’s country towns during the 19th century. However, Ellen’s presence in my family story has given me a glimpse of another side of life at a time when most of my ancestors were self-sufficient temperate church-goers who only set foot inside a court if called as a witness.


Previous posts about Ellen Barry:

A Tragic Night

Ellen’s Inquest


Trove Tuesday – Cup Off

The postponement of the 1916 Melbourne Cup due to days of heavy rain that deteriorated the state of the track upset the plans of racegoers taking advantage of a public holiday to attend the great race.

"MELBOURNE CUP." The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) 7 Nov 1916: .

“MELBOURNE CUP.” The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933) 7 Nov 1916: <;.

But it was the caterers who suffered the most having prepared much of their food in the days prior.

"POSTPONEMENT OF MELBOURNE CUP." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918) 8 Nov 1916 .

“POSTPONEMENT OF MELBOURNE CUP.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 8 Nov 1916 <;.


"THE POSTPONED CUP." The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929) 8 Nov 1916 .

“THE POSTPONED CUP.” The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929) 8 Nov 1916 <;.


The first article, from The Brisbane Courier, stated the 1916 postponement was the first in the Cup’s history.  But it wasn’t as in 1870 the race was postponed, again due to rain.

"No Title." The Bacchus Marsh Express (Vic. : 1866 - 1918) 29 Oct 1870 .

“No Title.” The Bacchus Marsh Express (Vic. : 1866 – 1918) 29 Oct 1870 <;.

The 1916 Melbourne Cup was eventually run on Saturday November 11  and the winner was Sasanof.

"MELBOURNE CUP WINNER FACES THE CAMERA." Winner (Melbourne, Vic. : 1914 - 1917) 15 Nov 1916:   .

“MELBOURNE CUP WINNER FACES THE CAMERA.” Winner (Melbourne, Vic. : 1914 – 1917) 15 Nov 1916: <;.

Passing of the Pioneers

Most of the pioneer obituaries found in the newspapers are for men which is unfortunate because we are always searching for more information about our female ancestors.  For the month of October the obituaries for pioneering women outnumber the men.  And great pioneers they were, making great contributions within their communities and all living to a very old age.  But none lived longer than Margaret Walker (nee Brown) of Hamilton.  Passing away in 1939, Margaret reached the age of 104 and remained healthy  almost to the end

Mark Nicholson – Died October 27, 1889 at Warrnambool.  Mark Nicholson was born in Gloucestershire in 1818 and arrived at Port Phillip in 1840.  Rather than practice his profession of law, Mark chose to run cattle at various stations across the colony.  In 1848,  Governor LaTrobe selected him to act as a Justice of the Peace at Warrnambool and in 1853 he was elected as the Warrnambool and Belfast (Port Fairy) representative in the Victorian Legislative Council.  In the following years, Mark spent time in England but returned to Warrnambool to settle in 1873.  A full biography of Mark Nicholson is available at the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

John BEST – Died October 9, 1907 at Portland.  John Best was born in Ireland in 1835 and arrived at Portland in 1857 aboard the General Hewitt.   He travelled with his parents William and Letitia Best and his six siblings.  The family settled at Heywood and John took up work as a carrier.  Later he built bridges and roads for the local Shire. He purchased a farm at nearby Mt. Clay and he remained there until his death.  He left a widow and seven children.

William SCOTT – Died October 7, 1909 at Wallan.  William Scott arrived in Victoria for the gold rushes and settled in Camperdown around 1860.  He took an active role in local politics, serving on the Hampden Shire Council.  He was also secretary of the Camperdown P&A Society.  There was barely an organisation around Camperdown that did not have William Scott on the committee.  His obituary read,

In him has passed one of the rugged pioneers who came magnificently equipped physically, and with the indomitable energy and capacity for sustained effort responsible for the remarkable development that has marked the brief history of this country.

Williams remains were returned from Wallan by train and he was buried at the Camperdown Cemetery.

Euphemia McLEOD - Died  October 3, 1914 at Purnim.  Euphemia McLeod was born in Scotland around 1826 and travelled to Australia on the Edward Johnston around 1854.  She eventually settled at Purnim with her husband George Crowe and she lived there for 50 years.  Euphemia left three daughters and a son.

Ann Rebecca EAGAR - Died October 12, 1917 at Hamilton.  Ann Eager was born in Devon, England around 1832 and sailed to Adelaide in the mid 1850s.  It was there she married George Rowe and they made their way to Victoria, settling at Wickliffe.  They remained there for around 30 years before taking up residence at Hamilton.

Only six months before her death, Ann and George had celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.  An article appeared in the Ballarat Star of April 14, 1917 reporting on the couple’s anniversary.  It  told of George’s work as a builder.  He worked on several notable buildings in the district including the Coleraine Catholic Church and the Argyle Arms Hotel in Hamilton.  During the war years, Ann supported the cause, knitting socks for soldiers and by the time of her  wedding anniversary, she had knitted 120 pairs of  socks. Ann and George had three sons and two daughters, 28 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

Margaret BROWN - Died October 1939 at Hamilton.  Margaret Brown was a great Hamilton pioneer living until the grand age of 104.  In her last years, her life was documented as she reached milestone birthdays  Margaret was born in Launceston in August 1835 with her parents having come from Scotland in 1830.  The family sailed to Victoria around 1840 aboard the City of Sydney and in 1852 Margaret married Thomas Walker at Portland.     In the mid 1860s they settled at Hamilton where they remained.  They had eight children but two died as infants.

When Margaret was 98, she was given a walking stick but she had not used it by the time of her 99th birthday in 1934.  That was also the year of the Portland Centenary and Margaret attended the town’s celebrations. During that year she had also produced 17 pieces of eyelet linen work.  In 1935, Margaret’s 100th birthday celebration was held at the Hollywood Cafe in Hamilton with the Mayor of Hamilton, Cr. Stewart, in attendance.  She also planted a commemorative tree for Victoria’s centenary celebrations.  For her 101st birthday, 25 friends and family gathered at Margaret’s home at 5 Shakespeare Street.  The highlight was a birthday cake with 101 candles.  The next three birthdays were celebrated quietly at home but Margaret continued in good health.  That was until only weeks after her 104th birthday when Margaret became more fragile, eventually passing away in October.  During her life, Margaret saw the reign of six British monarchs.

Margaret’s birthday articles 90th Birthday    99th Birthday  100th Birthday   101st Birthday   104th Birthday

Elizabeth SILVESTER – Died October 7, 1940 at Noorat.  Elizabeth Silvester was born in England around 1852 and arrived in Cobden with her parents as a two-year-old.  She ran a business in Cobden for 50 years and attended the Cobden Methodist Church.  Married to William Gilham, Elizabeth left two sons at the time of her death, one of who she had lived with at Noorat for the last year of her life.  She was buried in the Cobden Cemetery.

Robert Thomas SILVESTER – Died October 7, 1943 at Portland.  Robert Silvester was born in Merino in 1862 but as a young man he moved to Portland and trained as a solicitor.  He worked in the partnership Lynne, Silvester and Fielding before going in to practice alone.  From 1910-1920 Robert was president of the Portland Racing Club and was also president and captain of the Portland Golf Club.  Robert was also a member of the Portland Bowling Club and the following link is for a obituary from the club –

Catherine McLURE – Died October 29, 1952 at Camperdown.  Catherine McLure was born at Mepunga in 1866, the daughter of James and Eliza McLure, early pioneers of the Warrnambool district.  In 1885, Catherine married  Benjamin Jeffers at Warrnambool and they moved to Strathbogie.  They later returned to the Western District and lived at Timboon, Kellambete and finally Chocolyn were they resided for 40 years.  Catherine enjoyed making toys with her five grandchildren and 10 great-children and telling stories of days past.

Trove Tuesday – Yellow Cake

Hamilton has always grappled with its identity, from “education town” and “cathedral city” to the most enduring (and endearing) tag “Wool Capital of the World”.  But  Mayor Cr. William Ferrier Hewett’s vision in 1955, published in The Argus of June 10,  really takes the cake…


"THE STATE of VICTORIA: Home town news from everywhere." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 10 Jun 1955: 6.>.

“THE STATE of VICTORIA: Home town news from everywhere.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 10 Jun 1955: 6.;.


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