Author Archives: Merron Riddiford

Trove Tuesday – A Frisky Pony

Trove Tuesday goes to Horsham this week with a story about a naughty pony that caused excitement in the town’s main street, Fibrace Street,  After some kicking and erratic behavior, the pony ended up facing its driver and passenger, Mrs Blight and her daughter.

A PONY'S ESCAPADE. (1909, January 19). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved December 16, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72825888

A PONY’S ESCAPADE. (1909, January 19). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved December 16, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72825888

The photo I found at Trove to go with the article, is a treasure.  Taken around the same period as Mrs Blight’s driving excitement, the photo shows Mary Lloyd Taylor and her two daughters in a lovely buggy drawn by a beautiful flaxen chestnut pony.

Mary Lloyd Tayler and two of her daughters in a buggy drawn by pony at "Mynda". c1890-1910.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H83.94/156 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/16217

Mary Lloyd Tayler and two of her daughters in a buggy drawn by pony at “Mynda”. c1890-1910. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H83.94/156 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/16217


The Vagabond Tours the Portland District

It’s time to re-join The Vagabond on his tour of Picturesque Victoria.  Last time we caught up with him, he was touring the town of Portland.   In this installment, he ventures out to the countryside surrounding the town and he was not disappointed.  I would have to agree with him that the landscape around the town “is the most picturesque and varied scenery”  seen along the Victorian coastline.

With an old Portland citizen, the Vagabond headed toward Narrawong and Heywood.  Looking out to sea he caught a view of Julia Percy Island and Lawrence Rocks.

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LAWRENCE ROCKS & JULIA PERCY ISLAND (background). Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. IMP25/12/65/193 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/95486

LAWRENCE ROCKS & JULIA PERCY ISLAND (background). Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. IMP25/12/65/193 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/95486

The Vagabond reflected on the early settlement of the district and likened the countryside around him to an English country lane.

vag1Out of Portland , the Vagabond and the “Ancient Citizen” met the colony’s first road, built by the Hentys.  Although the colony was only within the first 50 years of settlement, change was upon it.  The railways had been costly to the hotels along the roadways as noted by The Vagabond as he passed two empty hotels.

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After a stop in Portland, The Vagabond set off again for the rugged coastline of Nelson Bay.  The secretary of the Portland Jubilee committee accompanied him, one of many gentleman offering endless hospitality to the acclaimed writer, hopeful for a good word about their town.

vagAs they left Portland, heading West, the travelling party passed “Burswood” the former home of Edward Henty and they admired the unique flora along the roadside.

BURSWOOD.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Colin Caldwell Trust collection, Image no. H84.276/6/44A  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/72455

BURSWOOD. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Colin Caldwell Trust collection, Image no. H84.276/6/44A http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/72455

Before long they had reached Nelson Bay and the wrath of the seas below came a little closer than was comfortable. “Below the waves circle one after another – placid and quiet in the outer rings, increasing in speed and fury until they dash in a foaming surf on the rocks and sands at the base of the cliff”

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Ahead The Vagabond could see his destination, the Cape Nelson lighthouse.

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CAPE NELSON LIGHTHOUSE

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PICTURESQUE VICTORIA. (1884, November 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 4. Retrieved November 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6061787

 

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LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S RESIDENCE

After climbing the 115 steps to the balcony near the top of the lighthouse, The Vagabond looked out to sea at the passing vessels, while the lighthouse keeper, Mr Fisher,told him lighthouse tales.

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From the lighthouse, the horse’s heads turned toward Cape Bridgewater.  The Vagabond quipped that the Banks of Portland would not be offering customers overdrafts on that day because all the managers were travelling with him.

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The Vagabond stopped to marvel at the Bat’s Ridge cave.  He advised visitors to the caves to take their own candles,  magnesium wire and string.

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BATS’ RIDGE CAVE

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A little further on and the group arrived at serene Bridgewater Bay and its small settlement.

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BRIDGEWATER BAY

BRIDGEWATER BAY

Continuing westward they came to Cape Bridgewater and the Blowholes.

CAPE BRIDGEWATER.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H32492/1662 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64872

CAPE BRIDGEWATER. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H32492/1662
http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64872

 

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PICTURESQUE VICTORIA. (1884, November 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 4. Retrieved December 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6061787

PICTURESQUE VICTORIA. (1884, November 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 4. Retrieved December 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6061787

BLOWHOLE, CAPE BRIDGEWATER.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no, H32492/1661 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/65004

BLOWHOLE, CAPE BRIDGEWATER. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no, H32492/1661 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/65004

Join The Vagabond on his next installment of Picturesque Victoria, continuing along the south-west coastline.  What did he see that he described as “fearfully sublime” and “grandly weird”?  Find out next time.

Full Article “Picturesque Victoria, Excursions from Portland, No 1″


Trove Tuesday – Christmas Music

The Hamilton Brass Band has played a big part in lives of some of my family members, especially the Diwell and Gamble families, and there are still descendants of those families in the band today.  Another family member, Frederick Hughes the husband of my ggg aunt Martha Harman was a long-standing leader of the Hamilton Brass Band.

With Christmas just around the corner, I thought I would share this little snippet found at Trove, from the Hamilton Spectator of December 22, 1917.  An annual tradition for the band, was to play on “Kennan’s corner”, (the corner of Gray and Thompson Street) on Christmas Eve.  Freddie Hughes, a Hamilton jeweller, was band leader.  Interesting not a Christmas Carol in sight on the program.

CHRISTMAS MUSIC. (1917, December 22). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119860771

CHRISTMAS MUSIC. (1917, December 22). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119860771

Band music is my blood, so  I just had to find a rendition of one of the pieces on the play list, “Sunshine of Your Smile”, to take me to Kennan’s Corner, Christmas Eve, 1917.


Trove Tuesday – Toy Sale

One of the great things about the “I’ve Lived in Hamilton, Victoria” Facebook page is that it’s given me a good excuse to read more of the recently added Hamilton Spectator (1914-1918) at Trove.  As a result, I have been able to find out more about businesses, home owners and general town history.

It was while reading a Hamilton Spectator, that I cam across this wonderful advertisement from November 1917 for  Thomson’s Department Store, a Hamilton institution and well remembered by many members of the Facebook group.  The store opened in 1863 and remained pretty much in the same form until the 1980s when the store began a transformation that eventually saw it disappear altogether and become an arcade of shops by the 1990s.

Advertising. (1917, November 29). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved December 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119859911

Advertising. (1917, November 29). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved December 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119859911


Passing of the Pioneers

Welcome to November Passing of the Pioneers with a Stawell, Port Fairy and Irish flavour.  The pioneers include a licensee, a chemist and an inventive engineer.

If you are new to the monthly Passing of the Pioneers, the obituaries listed here are a summary of the original obituaries, using dates and other information direct from the obituary.  I make no attempt to check or correct information contained in the obituary. The original obituaries are found by clicking on the names of the pioneers.

A word of warning, while obituaries often have a wealth of information, that information must be treated with caution.  Naturally, obituaries are written using second-hand information and recall events that occurred many years before the subject’s death, therefore that information can often be incorrect and sometimes even fanciful.   Therefore information found in an obituary can only used for a guide to find primary sources to qualify the claims of an obituary.

Alexander RUSSELL - Died November 27, 1867 at Port Fairy.  When Alexander Russell first arrived in Port Fairy in 1847, he took up his chosen profession as a doctor.  However, upon his return to the “old country” he gave away medicine and moved into the field of “mercantile speculation” and upon his return to Port Fairy established the Moyne Mill using machinery he brought back from Scotland.  Alexander was also the first Mayor of Belfast (Port Fairy) and was elected to the State parliament as member for Villiers and Heytesbury.  He relinquished his seat due to ill-health.

Mary D. KEATING – Died November 8, 1914 at Port Fairy.  Mary Keating was born in Port Fairy and before her marriage to William Wall, she worked as a teacher at the local Catholic school.  William was the Secretary of the Belfast Shire.  During her life, Mary was a tireless worker for the Catholic church.  William predeceased Mary by 15 years and they had four children.

Michael QUINLAN – Died November 1914 at Hawkesdale.  Michael Quinlan was born in Tipperary, Ireland around 1835, and he travelled to Australia when he was around 24.  He settled first around Koroit, before taking up land at Hawkesdale.  He was a Minhamite Shire Councillor and enjoyed visiting the winter race meeting at Warrnambool.  Michael left one daughter at the time of his passing.

George KAY – Died November 11, 1915 at Stawell.  George Kay lived his 49 years in Stawell, in that relatively short time left his mark.  He began work at the Stawell foundry and worked in engineering.  He took up a partnership in the Kay & Co. Stawell Foundry and remained there until his death.  One of his engineering feats was inventing a judging machine for the Stawell Athletics Club, famous for the Stawell Gift.  The machine earned him much praise, including from the Governor of Victoria on a trip to Stawell.  He was a member of the Stawell Rifle Club and a member of the Pride of Wimmera Lodge.  He left a widow and two daughters.

William WAREHAM – Died November 3, 1916 at Woolongoon.  William Wareham was born at Box Hill in 1844 and at 19 went to work at Woolongoon Station, near Mortlake.  He married and settled in the area.

OBITUARY. (1916, November 8). Mortlake Dispatch (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved November 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119795904

OBITUARY. (1916, November 8). Mortlake Dispatch (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved November 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119795904

He left a large family including 32 grandchildren.

Mary KELLY – Died November 19, 1916 at Stawell.  Mary Kelly was born in Tipperary, Ireland around 1836 and travelled to Australia with her parents when she was a girl.  She married John Kay and  they settled at Great Western. They later moved to Stawell and ran a wine saloon in Main Street before becoming licensees of the Star Hotel (later known as the Stawell Club) in the late 1890s.  Family members continued to run the hotel until 1910 when John Alison took over the licence, but Mary continued to own the building.

Margaret ANDERSON – Died November 20, 1916 at Port Fairy.  Margaret Anderson was born in Melbourne in 1844 and moved to the Western District with her family at the age of three, taking up residence at Rosebrook.  She married John Wright and they settled at nearby Yambuk.  Four years prior to her death, Margaret moved into Port Fairy.  She was a devout member of St Patrick’s Catholic Church at Port Fairy.  Three sons and one daughter were alive at the time of her death, with son George a parish priest in New Zealand.

ST. PATRICKS CATHOLIC CHURCH, PORT FAIRY.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria,  Image no H32492/7521 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/61612

ST. PATRICKS CATHOLIC CHURCH, PORT FAIRY. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no H32492/7521 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/61612

William DAWSON –  Died November 30, 1916 at Stawell.  William Dawson was born in Stawell around 1868 and followed his father into the chemist business.  After his father’s death, William took over the family chemist shop.  William’s passion was sport and he was involved in most of what was on offer in Stawell.  He rode high wheeled bicycles when they were in vogue, and was an official at the Stawell Cycling Club.  William was also a cricketer and played with the state side, the Victorian Rangers.  He was also a founding member of the Stawell Rifle Club and Golf Club and was a keen fisherman.  Sport aside, William was a prominent member of the Stawell Brass Band.

Mrs Bridget CLANCY – Died November 15, 1918 at Port Fairy.  Mrs Clancy was born in Ireland in 1823.  She arrived in Australia with her husband John Clancy in 1855, travelling from America.  Bridget and John settled on a farm at Yambuk.  John passed away around 1895 and Bridget continued to live at Yambuk until seven years prior to her death when she moved to Port Fairy to live with her daughter Lizzie.

William REES - Died November 29, 1918 at Stawell.  William Rees was born in South Wales around 1830.  He  began an apprenticeship as a joiner and for the next five years he travelled to Canada and the United States, arriving in California in 1853.  In 1854 he was lured to the goldfields of Victoria, including Ballarat, Carisbrook and Ararat.  He married another native of South Wales in Jane Symons in 1855.  William and Jane arrived at Stawell in 1857.  William  worked as a carpenter for the Oriental and North Cross Mining Company for many years.

 


Trove Tuesday – High Fire Danger

This week’s Trove Tuesday post began as a story about Magic Lanterns, the early version of the film projector, and the problems they were causing in Portland in 1914.  But a reference in the article to “celluloid collars” changed the post slightly to include another unexpected fire risk to mostly men and boys of the early 20th century.

The first article comes from the Portland Guardian of October 14, 1914.  A cheap toy Magic Lantern, or more precisely the lens of the lantern, was the curse of the mother’s of Portland boys.  The lenses, probably removed for the purpose of mischief by the boys, were burning holes in their pockets.  The whistle-blower on the events, warned that if one were placed in a celluloid collar, disaster would prevail.

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1914, October 14). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved November 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63970668

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1914, October 14). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved November 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63970668

That got me thinking, why were celluloid collars such a risk.  While I assumed that being made from the same material as film, they would be flammable (thanks to a recent episode of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries for that realisation), but was the danger really that great?  A Trove search found that yes they were a danger, and sometimes in the most innocent ways.  One  headline I found was “Killed by Collar of Fire” , another “Dangers of Celluloid”.  I’ve read many accounts of the risks to ladies wearing full skirts around open fires and even sparks from buggy wheels catching an overhanging skirt, but celluloid collars, it seems, were the male equivalent.

Some Horsham children were lucky that the celluloid collar they were playing with didn’t cause more damage.

A FIRE AVERTED. (1915, June 22). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved November 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72974894

A FIRE AVERTED. (1915, June 22). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved November 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72974894

The photo below is of a Magic Lantern, but not a toy that the Portland boys had.  For the purpose of the demonstration, the photo of the Magic Lantern was taken in daylight, but darkness was necessary to view the projected images.

A Magic Lantern (1909).  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no.  H2009.29/120 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/159294

A Magic Lantern (1909). Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2009.29/120 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/159294


It’s A Small World

I didn’t think I would ever see the names Harman and Combridge together in a newspaper article.  Harman,  is my maternal great-grandmother’s family name and Combridge, my paternal grandmother’s family name.  One is from the west of the Western District and the other family was predominately from around Geelong, but my paternal grandmother’s own family moved across to South Gippsland.  Also, I thought that not until my parent’s marriage in 1967, would Harman and Combridge descendants have stood together in a church, but in fact 53 years before in Kyneton, Central Victoria they did.

The Harman in question was Nina Harman (who you have met before when she appeared in the Australian Women’s Weekly with her carpet, a royal inspiration).  The Combridge in question was John Robert Combridge (1868-1934), brother of my gg grandfather, Herbert Combridge.

Nina Harman, then 19, was in Kyneton back in 1914 because her father, Walter Graham Harman had moved the family there from Port Fairy in the early 1900s.  John Combridge, a Church of Christ minister, was finishing a stint at the Kyneton Church of Christ, before moving to Horsham, the deepest any Combridge had ventured into Western Victoria. The purpose of the gathering at the Kyneton Church of Christ was to farewell John and his wife, Julia Mill, and wish them luck for their time in Horsham.  Not only was Nina a member of the congregation, she played the piano alongside Julia on the organ.

Nina wasn’t the only Harman in church that Sunday evening.  Mr and Miss Harman sang the hymn “Look up to Christ” accompanied by Nina and Julia.  Mr Harman would have been Nina’s father Walter and the Miss Harman, one of Nina’s sisters, either Elise or Nellie.  John then launched into his final sermon at Kyneton Church of Christ.

While it was a smaller world in 1914, I’m still surprised the families met and I can only wonder how well they knew each other.

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THE CHURCH OF CHRIST. (1914, June 30). Kyneton Guardian (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 2. Retrieved November 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article129618902

THE CHURCH OF CHRIST. (1914, June 30). Kyneton Guardian (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved November 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article129618902


Trove Tuesday – Monkey Business

This week for Trove Tuesday we go to  Smythesdale, a small town just west of Ballarat with an article from The Gippsland Times of  October 14, 1865.  And guess what?  It’s another animal story, but I love it because it’s almost 150 years old and it is so descriptive, I can clearly picture the lady “tastefully attired in silks” and Constable Monekton removing himself from the scene at great haste.

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NOVEL HIGHWAY ROBBERY. (1865, October 14). Gippsland Times (Vic. : 1861 - 1954), p. 1 Edition: Morning., Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO The Gippsland Times.. Retrieved November 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65366052

NOVEL HIGHWAY ROBBERY. (1865, October 14). Gippsland Times (Vic. : 1861 – 1954), p. 1 Edition: Morning., Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO The Gippsland Times.. Retrieved November 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65366052

As usual, I can count on Trove to help me find the right photo to go with my article.  I am a little concerned about this photo from the State Library of Victoria as the title is “Woman playing with pet monkey” (c1893).  Considering the woman has a stick in her hand and the monkey has its hands on its head, “playing” mightn’t be the right word.  It did however remind me of the scene on the road near Smythesdale.

Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image No. H83.47/154  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/23564

Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image No. H83.47/154 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/23564

 


Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

While Christmas is the furthest thing from my mind at the moment, judging by the hits my Christmas posts have had in the past week, others are warming up to it.

Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. John Etkins Collection. Image No. H2005.36/75 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/73735

Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. John Etkins Collection. Image No. H2005.36/75 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/73735

During December 2011 and 2012, I compiled five Pioneer Christmas posts for the decades 1850-1890 and six Western District Christmas posts, 1900-1950. If you would like to know how your ancestors celebrated Christmas, check them out.  From the early decades of the Victorian Colony when the first settlers pined for a white Christmas while they sweltered through summer’s heat through to the 1950s when Christmas Day in Victoria was much as it is today.  In between, there were the struggles of two World Wars and a couple of Depressions.  During those times of austerity, the Christmas spirit still managed to shine through, albeit with some adjustments.

Honestly, I’m all Christmased out after the 11 Christmas posts I have written over two years.  This year, I can rest easy as I now know how my ancestors passed their Christmas Days.

Image Courtesy of State Library of Victoria.  Image No. H42790/19 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/41584

Image Courtesy of State Library of Victoria. Image No. H42790/19 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/41584


Trove Tuesday – Fido, A Family Favourite

This week, I want to revisit one of my earlier Trove Tuesday posts, “Fido’s Feat”.  To refresh your memory here is Fido’s story again and then, a lovely postscript to his story:

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Amazing Story Of Canine Courage And Endurance. (1954, September 14). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article24008716

Amazing Story Of Canine Courage And Endurance. (1954, September 14). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article24008716

I recently told you about a Facebook group I set up called, I’ve Lived in Hamilton, Victoria, that was, and still is, offering me “A Pleasant Distraction”.  I’ve posted a few Hamilton stories from Western District Families, and one of those was Fido’s story.  So, it was a thrill to hear from Alan Moon’s children, Graeme and Diana, members of the group.

Growing up, the story of Fido’s feat was a family favourite, with Graeme commenting that he didn’t think anyone else knew the story their father often told them as children.  He recalled being “amazed” at the brave dog’s journey from Port Fairy to Hamilton.  Diana told me she would ask her father to tell her the story over and over.  Thank you Graeme and Diana for sharing your childhood memories and for adding to Fido’s wonderful story.

If you are wondering how the Hamilton group is going, it’s going mad.  To give you an idea, one of my favourite quotes comes from Helen – “This site is better than Candy Crush”.  There are now over 1600 members and hundreds of photos.  A “Back to Hamilton” is becoming more of a reality each day which is exciting.


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