Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Thinking of the Far S.W.

Today I planned to write a post about our trip to Nelson in the far south-west of Victoria, that we have just returned from.   We drove down last Wednesday, through towns such as Digby, Dartmoor and Drik Drik, tiny communities which feature in my blog particularity the Passing of the Pioneers posts.  As we turned into the Winnap/Nelson Road and entered the Lower Glenelg National Park, the beauty of the area was obvious.  I was particularly taken by the number of wild flowers on the side of the roads, pink, white and yellow .



I also made a note of the Drik Drik cemetery which I hoped to visit on our way home.  Ian Marr on his Cemeteries of  S.W. Victoria site describes the cemetery -

The most notable feature is the rather impressive entrance. On each side of the gates are honour rolls for both World Wars. The graves are mostly centred in one area, with a small grouping in the far right, front corner. 

Drik Drik cemetery is the resting place of many of the pioneers I have written about.  They include  William Mullen and his wife Emma Holmes, Robert Arthur Lightbody, Mary Hedditch and her husband James Malseed and the McLeans.  Descendants of these families still live in the area.

The temperature quickly reached 43 degrees Celsius Friday leading to an itinerary shuffle.  Friday afternoon, while at Nelson we received a CFA text message warning us that fire was 18 kilometres east of Nelson at Kentbruk.

On Saturday, the fire was still out of control and as we hadn’t made our planned trip to Mt. Gambier, rather than head back toward the fire we would go home via nearby Mt Gambier.

Today, four days after it started, as I sit here at home, smoke from the fire is beginning to become visible to the south.  The fire is still out of control and threatening the community of Drik Drik and the town of Dartmoor.  You may remember Dartmoor and the fantastic Avenue of Honour I posted on back in April.  Again we were going to stop on the way home and take some photos.  Also the road that led us into the area, the Winnap/Nelson road is now closed

Instead of posting about our holiday, I would like to wish everyone living in the area well and hope that soon life can return to normal.  While they are no strangers to bushfire that never makes it easier to deal with.   But they are from hardy stock down that way, it’s in the blood.  My thoughts  are also with the wonderful firefighters working hard in difficult terrain.

In these times, I also think of the wildlife which is abundant and diverse through the Lower Glenelg National Park and the adjacent Cobboboonee National Park.  May serenity soon return to their lives and they can graze again among the wildflowers, pink, white and yellow.

Postscript:  Since I started this post, a fire is now burning out of control at Chepstowe and Carngham around 20 kilometres from home.  There are reports of homes lost including an unconfirmed report that the historic Carngham Station homestead has been destroyed.  I will keep you posted.

Further Update on Carngham Station: Tonight it was confirmed that the homestead at Carngham Station was lost in today’s fire.  A photo released on Twitter tonight reveals the devastation.  .

Accentuate the Positive 2012 Geneameme

Geniaus has asked geneabloggers to accentuate the positives of our blogging year that was 2012 with the help of a geneameme she  devised.  I  jumped at the chance because everything about my 2012 blogging year has been positive.  During a year where I struggle to draw many positives on a personal level, Western District Families has been both uplifting and a great escape thanks to the wonderful feedback I have received and friends I have made in 2012 thanks to blogging.  I have excluded a couple of the points as there were not applicable to my year but maybe next year.

Accentuate the Positive 2012 Geneameme

1.  An elusive ancestor I found was Rosanna Buckland.  Well, I had already knew about her but I found the elusive information I have searched high and low for.

2.  A precious family photo I found was of Susan Harman and another of my great-grandmother Edith Diwell and her sisters as young girls.  Thank you to newly found family members Janine and Judy for sharing these with me.

3.  An ancestor’s grave I found was Rosanna Buckland, well at least I now know which cemetery she was buried in, but a missing headstone, like so many other graves at the Old Cavendish Cemetery, stops me from pinpointing her grave.

4.  A newly found family member who shared – there are so many.  One of the great positives of blogging this year was the number of new family members I found (or who found me) and I intend to post about my new cousins in 2013.

5.  A geneasurprise I received was from Daryl Povey with an early Christmas present, Rosanna Buckland’s obituary

6.   My 2012 blog post that I was particularly proud of was Everybody Happy, about my third cousin 1 x removed, Rupert Hazell.    Two posts that were not genealogy related but I am equally proud of were about Western District racing history.   They were  Alice Hawthorne – The Western Mare and a post about The Parisian, the 1911 Melbourne Cup winner with a Western District owner.

7.   My 2012 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments was Alfred Winslow Harman – Stepping Out of the Shadows.  This post was assisted by a much appreciated mention in a Trove News forum of April 24 .  According to WordPress, the post which received the most comments was William Hadden – Wealth for Toil – Australia Day.

8.  A new piece of software I mastered was – The closest I came to new software was my recently updated Family Tree Maker software.

9. A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was Google +

10. A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was at the 2012 Weston Bate Lecture at Sovereign Hill, Ballarat.  The topic was the  Lost Soldiers of Fromelles presented by Tim Whitford and Lambis Englezos.  I have an interest in the Lost Soldiers which I can hopefully revel in 2013 and I found Lambis and Tim’s presentation incredibly moving.  Their fantastic style of presentation also made it interesting, amusing and thought-provoking.  If you get the opportunity to hear Tim and Lambis speak, take it.

11. I taught a friend how to – It was a work friend actually.  I must bore them sometimes, but I helped one girl find her grandfather’s WW2 service records and request a copy.

12. A genealogy book that taught me something new was Unlock the Past’s Digital Imaging Essentials.  To tell the truth I bought it for Mum for Christmas but I did sneak a peak before I wrapped it.

13. A great repository/archive/library I visited was Hamilton History Centre…fantastic.  A new one was Portland’s History House

14. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was a 2004 publication, but new to my bookshelf, The Potato Village, Mount Eccles near Macarthur by Beverley Ross.

15. A geneadventure I enjoyed was a trip to Hamilton which included research at the Hamilton History Centre and the Old Cavendish Cemetery

16. Another positive I would like to share was Western District Families inclusion in the Inside History Magazine Top 50 genealogy blogs which was a thrill.  Also, the interest in Western District Families in 2012 has been really encouraging with 25,000 views this year and 55 followers.  Thank  you to everyone.

To top it off,  last week I received the results for the Certificate of Genealogical Research I have studied with the Society of Australian Genealogists and I passed with a distinction.  I’ll be starting the Diploma of Family Historical Studies in 2013 which I’m looking forward to.

I almost forgot,  Trove Tuesday has been great fun – thank you Amy for the idea.

A Busy Month Ahead

I have been busy searching Trove, more than usual if that is possible, preparing  December posts.  It will be a big month.

December 1 is the first day of Summer so keep an eye out for some Summer Fashions.  As I found from my Spring Fashion post, that it is interesting to track the changing fashions over the decades.  A “not to be missed” post especially if you would like to find out when women stopped wearing two petticoats in Summer!

Following on from a successful series of posts in December 2011, I will also bring you Christmas from the 1900s to the 1950s with a Western District slant.  The Pioneer Christmas posts have been very popular and, like fashions, there have been definite changes to Christmas celebrations over the decades.

Have you been following the great Trove Tuesday posts from various bloggers each week?  If you would like to see all the posts from the last 14 weeks (can’t believe it’s been that many) check out Amy Houston’s blog Branches, Leaves and Pollen.  Christmas Day will also be Trove Tuesday, so I will have to begin a search for a Trove treasure with a Christmas theme.

There will also be the 19th edition of Passing of the Pioneers.  Around 250 pioneers have now been remembered in these monthly posts and the stories of the early days of the Western District continue.

I also have some new links to add to the Western District Links Page.

In between all this maybe I’ll get a post or two in about my family members.  One of my fellow Western District researchers has, in the last few days, handed me a big hammer to smash down one of my brick walls, so I’ll have to share that.

Phew!  I better get going.

Z is for…Zero, Zilch, Zip

The Gould Genealogy Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge has reached its zenith and I have nothing to offer.  My main purpose of this post is to thank Gould Genealogy  for running the challenge for the past 26 weeks and although I have only contributed four posts, they have all been great fun to write.

Congratulations must also go to those who were able to offer a post for every letter from A-Z with such zest.  A fantastic effort and I have enjoyed reading many of them.  All the posts are at Gould Genealogy & History News under each individual letter.

I possibly could have come up with a few more myself, but with time constraints I thought I would just highlight a couple of letters that meant the most to my family history.  Initially that would be letter “H” and “R” but  two other letters inspired me along the way.  In case you missed, my posts were:

“H” is for …

“I” is for…Investigation

“M” is for…Methodist

“R” is for…Riddiford

For the letter “Z” I did consider Zumsteins, a lovely little place in the Grampians known in the past for its kangaroos.  I enjoyed visiting as a child but it is only a small part of my family history.

I will take this opportunity, however, to mention that Zumsteins celebrates 100 years of settlement this year.  Sadly, because of  bad flooding in the Grampians during the early part of 2011, birthday celebrations are postponed until 2013.  Zumsteins was badly damaged and a culture heritage overlay has, apparently, delayed restoration plans.

The exciting part is the Horsham Historical Society are producing a book to mark the occasion.  They are looking for photos and memories of Zumsteins.  If you would like to share, please contact the Horsham Historical Society

Misadventures, Deaths and Near Misses

Transport is important to us in one form or another. If nothing else it sure beats walking.   However, the subjects of this installment of Misadventures, Deaths and Near Misses should have stuck to Shank’s pony.

Click on the links to read each article in full.


Described as an “energetic” gentleman, Fred Heathcote, having just displayed his cricketing prowess on the field, gave a display of his riding prowess.  Unfortunately, his mount was  freshly broken and reared, falling onto Fred.  Despite an operation in excess of four hours, Fred was expected to make a full recovery

“Look what I’ve done, I’ve broken both my wrists” were the words uttered by Frank Millard upon seeking help after a horse accident.  Frank’s horse had taken him under a low branch.

In 1896,the horse of William Lucas shied at two dogs and somersaulted.  William received concussion, the horse was shaken.

A witness description of the accident involving John Beglin in 1894, suggested the horse “danced on the man while on the ground”  This sounds like it was rather a spectacular fall in which John sustained possible internal injuries.


Add a wooden attachment to horse, laden with people,  and accidents are bound to happen.  Take, for example, Patrick Power of Byaduk in 1889. The Port Fairy Cobb & Co coach was not far from Koroit when it broke an axle and tipped.  The coach driver fell on top of Patrick leaving him in need of medical attention

Not so lucky was  Oliver Filmer also of Byaduk. In early January 1900, Oliver and six others were returning from an outing to the Byaduk Caves when the horses bolted down a hill.  The buggy went over an embankment and capsized.  All the occupants were thrown out, including Oliver who sustained head injuries and later died.  Oliver was father-in-law to Absalom Harman, the son of Reuben.

In 1901, Mr H. J. Thompson was standing on the back board of a buggy as it went up a steep hill near Wickliffe.  The buggy wheel fell into a rut, Mr Thompson fell forward and hit the wheel with his leg.  Suffering lacerations and a dislocated knee, he was still able to catch the train home from the Wickliffe station.

Thursday April 20, 1876 was a day of accidents and  Mr & Mrs Webley  and their daughter, all of Byaduk, were caught up in the dramas.  While returning from Hamilton to Branxholme in the darkness, a pin holding the buggy shaft fell out and Mr Webley turned the horse across the road to stop it, but the horse went up an embankment, dropping Miss Webley out the back.  The horse then continued on down a cutting and Mr & Mrs Webley tumbled out.  Mr Webley received cuts, Mrs Webley, a broken arm and Miss Webley was not injured.

Similarly, on the same day, Alfred Bennett had a hair-raising experience when his horse, pulling a dog-cart, bolted.

Lucky Hector McDougall had “no dangerous consequences” after his accident when he tangled with a dray’s wheel.

Table Talk. (1864, December 5). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 16, 2012, from

Mr Blackney, was left with cake on his face after an incident in Hamilton in 1942.  While his back was turned, his horse bolted, pulling a cart laden with cakes.

CAKES FLEW WHEN HORSE BOLTED. (1942, September 15). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved October 16, 2012, from

I’m sure a piece of cake helped residents recover from their “mild shock” at finding cakes at their front gates.

After a fun day at the Byaduk Coronation Celebrations in 1911, which included a fancy dress football match, the Smith Familyof Warrabkook met with disaster while travelling home.

SERIOUS ACCIDENT AT BYADUK. (1911, June 27). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved October 16, 2012, from


If horses and carts weren’t bad enough, throw cars and motorcycles into the mix, and disaster was almost ensured, especially if they all came together at once.  It also appears that with only a lucky few having a motor vehicle in the early days, it was not unusual to pile as many people into the car as possible.

Driving a Damlier home from a day’s shooting at Kirkstall in 1914, George Lock and his four passengers came to grief on the Port Fairy Road on the outskirts of Warrnambool.  It was 7.15pm and the road was dark and narrow.  George, having moved aside for an oncoming car, failed to see the unlit cart of a Chinese market gardener following behind the car.  His car hit the cart sending vegetables across the road.  Debris hit the car’s steering wheel sending the car out of control and into a fence and embankment, throwing the occupants from the car.  George Robinson received the most serious injuries, a ruptured liver.  The Chinese gentleman was lucky to avoid injury and was last seen chasing his horse, also very lucky, down the road.

T.S.A Laidlaw had a scary experience in his new Oldsmobile after leaving Byaduk bound for Macarthur.  The car got into the gravel, crossed the road, went over a prostrate telegraph pole, up an embankment and then overturned.  The car was extensively damaged, Mr Laidlaw wasn’t.

Robert Rymill, a 38-year-old grazier from Penola met a tragic end in a very early motoring accident.  In 1906, he was driving his 15hp Darracq from Melbourne home to Penola when he failed to take a sharp turn at the bottom of a hill, taken while travelling at 12mph.  The car’s wheels slipped and it overturned.  Robert’s passenger, his young gardener was thrown clear, but Robert was pinned underneath the car.  While initially conscious, Robert had passed away by the time help arrived.  This was despite the best attempts of his passenger.

If you are wondering what a Darracq looks like, this clip shows a much more powerful 1905 model travelling a lot faster than 12mph, but you get the idea.

Mr Dotzauer, in 1904, was riding his motorcycle between Terang and Noorat when a horse ran across his path. Mr Doutzauer broke his collar-bone, damage to the motorcycle and horse unknown.

Mrs Living got more than she bargained for when she hitched a ride in Mr E.J.Coopers sidecar one Friday night in 1932.

HORSE JUMPS INTO SIDE-CAR. (1932, April 19). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved October 18, 2012, from

Len Austin’s accident was caused by a truck tyre, but no, it didn’t run over him.  While working as a road contractor, he noticed a bulge in the truck’s tyre.  The tyre suddenly blew and the expelled air caught him the eye.

Messrs. W Smith and Michael Hickey’s day took a turn for the worse in 1923 while driving a gig with a saddle horse tied to the shafts.  A car with five occupants approached and the saddle horse, obviously not used to the mechanical beasts, shied and found itself on top of the car.  The car rolled, but with plenty of help on hand, it was righted and the driver and his passengers continued on to Horsham.  The horse’s journey ended at the scene.

Genealogy in the Papers

Just for fun, I thought I would search the term “genealogy” at Trove.  There were 7, 897 matches, so I narrowed the search down to papers that serviced the Western District.  What I found was a mix of humorous pieces, hints and more.

One of the earliest references I found was from the Camperdown Chronicle of June 20, 1899.  I wonder where Mr Meek’s genealogical charts got to?

NEWS Of THE DISTRICT. (1899, June 20). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved July 31, 2012, from

This piece did the rounds of the papers in 1908:

A FAMILY TREE. (1908, December 19). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved July 31, 2012, from

From the Border Watch of October 7, 1911, some tips on tracing your family tree:

HOW TO TRACE YOUR ANCESTRY. (1911, October 7). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved July 31, 2012, from

This is an excerpt of an interesting article from the Horsham Times of December 29, 1914 about  London’s Public Record Office:

WONDERS OF THE RECORD OFFICE. (1914, December 29). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 10. Retrieved July 31, 2012, from

Were these genealogical pedigrees really a bargain or just a scam?

Bargains in Ancestors. (1928, March 15). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved July 31, 2012, from

The article from the Border Watch of March 15, 1928 does go on with a disclaimer from Mr Anjou , described as a reclusive “pedigree king”.

If the earlier advice on tracing a family tree was not successful, one could always employ the services of G.P.Townend.

Classified Advertising. (1920, January 28). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 1. Retrieved July 31, 2012, from

The next article appeared on what could be best described as the “funnies” page of The Portland Guardian of February 24, 1927.  I wonder if G.P, Townend charged in the same way?

PROBABLY NECESSARY. (1927, February 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 5 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 31, 2012, from

If you are related to the Wells family of Portland and Mt Gambia (sic), you best be quick and contact Bruce Cartwright of Honolulu!

NEWS OF PIONEERS SOUGHT. (1931, September 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 1 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 31, 2012, from

If you have ever gone searching for Ballarat Supreme Court records prior to 1920, stop looking, they were pulped.

ARCHIVES DESTROYED. (1940, September 6). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 2. Retrieved July 31, 2012, from

I’m glad this stereotype of a genealogist, from 1928, has changed.  It has, hasn’t it??


BY VAN. (1928, June 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 5 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 31, 2012, from

That is just a small selection of what could be found about genealogy in the early papers of the Western District.  Try it for yourself and see what you find from the localities you research.  I also searched “genealogist” and had 863 matches, so I will leave you with one of the results from that search from the Western Argus of Kalgoorlie:

DEFINITION. (1937, April 20). Western Argus (Kalgoorlie, WA : 1916 – 1938), p. 29. Retrieved July 31, 2012, from






Lots to Like About Local History

Despite all the L’s, this is not a post for this week’s Gould Genealogy’s Family History Through the Alphabet challenge  but rather acknowledgement  of one of the posts for that challenge.

Sharn White’s post “L for Local History”  is one that I wanted to share as she reinforces the value of an understanding of local history when researching your family’s history.

Sharn says:

“Knowledge of local history can place our forebears into a geographical, economic, religious and social context. Local history plays a valuable role in family history research”.

“It is this type of broader understanding which provides us with a much closer perspective of our ancestors’ lives  and which puts the meat on the bare bones of our family history research. Local history makes family history more than just a family tree.”

Recently I nominated Sharn for an Illumanting Blogger Award and this post is further justification of that and, as I mentioned at the time, Sharn’s posts are well researched and this is no exception.


More Illuminating Blogger Award Excitement

How lucky am I?  Two nominations for an Illuminating Blogger Award.

Earlier this week  Kerryn from AncestorChasing nominated me and yesterday Jennifer from Tracking Down The Family contacted me to tell me she too had nominated me.  It is great to get recognition from my fellow geneabloggers.

Jennifer wrote in her post:

I think Merron  at Western District Families and I started blogging at about the same. I find her blog which focuses on the Western  District of Victoria very interesting, especially the obituaries she regularly posts. I have no connection to her area, but Merron makes me wish that I did when I see all the information about the area and it’s families that is shared on her blog.

I appreciate Jennifer’s comment a lot as it affirms to me that my blog, which focuses on a relative small geographical area, can appeal to those who have no family link to the Western District.

My blog provides snippets of Western District history dispersed among the stories of my family.  The aim behind this was to help those who found they had  family from the Western District learn something of such a historic part of Victoria.  Having some knowledge of local history is so important when putting together your family’s history. It is flattering to know that those with no link to the Western District can find my blog interesting.

But I really must not take all the credit.  Thank you to all the pioneers of Western Victoria who left such wonderful stories and of, course  Trove , a favourite website of so many.  Being able to illustrate my posts with newspaper “clippings” from Trove is so important in making Western District Families work.

Jennifer mentions that we started blogging around the same time which gives us something in common.  However, I have always felt I have another connection to Jennifer. Of the geneabloggers I follow, Jennifer lives the closest to me with both places having very similar histories.

Thank you again to both Jennifer and Kerryn and if you missed my six nominations for an Illuminating Blogger Award, you can find them here

Misadventures, Deaths and Near Misses

I have previously posted on the Misadventures, Deaths and Near Misses of my family members, but as people could hurt themselves in so many ways in the 19th and early 20th century I thought I would share some more.   I have included a couple of people  related to me, but most are just everyday people doing everyday things.  If you click on the “victim’s” name it will take you to Trove and the original article.


Beware the perils of rabbit shooting.  Henry Beaton , Reverend T Scanlan & John Kinghorn all knew the dangers, at least in hindsight.

Poor Henry was climbing through a fence with his Winchester when it went off and shot him in the foot.  John Kinghorn, a somewhat accident prone lad, lost the flesh below his thumb after the barrel of his gun exploded in 1890.  On another day not long after, he was riding to Hamilton with the Byaduk Mounted Rifles when another horse kicked him in the leg resulting in a severe leg injury to John.

Reverend Father Scanlan was shooting rabbits with Reverend Father Timmins.  Father Timmins wounded a hare so Father Scanlan pointed his gun through a hedge to take a last shot when the gun exploded, wounding him in the thigh.

A search at Trove found 1624 article headlines containing “Peculiar Accident”  So what characterizes a peculiar accident?  Well  Mrs C.E. Lewis qualified after a cow’s  horn ripped her eyelid.

Mr W.B Edgar made the grade while trying to relive his golfing days only to have some protective plovers attack him.

Peculiar Accident. (1937, August 30). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 11, 2012, from

An over exuberant crack of a stock whip resulted in Stephen Moodie’s peculiar accident. Another peculiar accident occurred to an unknown, and probably embarrassed customer of Page’s store in Warracknabeal. Lucky in-store video surveillance was not around then or the footage may have made it to a 1920s equivalent of Funniest Home Videos.

A PECULIAR ACCIDENT. (1929, March 19). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 8. Retrieved July 11, 2012, from

Young Alex McIntyre would have thought twice before he messed with a bottle of spirits of salts again.  Deciding the best way to make sure the cork was in the bottle was to stomp down on it with his boot, he caused the bottle to explode.  It was enough to blow the hat from his head.  Luckily he escaped with minor burns and a dose of sense.

While the following peculiar accidents were not headlined as such, I do believe they fall into that category.  Feeding peanuts to a leopard at Melbourne Zoo did it for David Horsfall and Mrs Hill of Casterton found a lost needle in her hand, 35 years later.

Miss Gladys Makin would have been wary of yawning after her peculiar accident in 1908.

PECULIAR ACCIDENT. (1908, March 31). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved July 12, 2012, from

“Eyes Damaged by Paper” was the headline for Mr H. Fosters  peculiar accident.  From the Minyip “Guardian” newspaper, Mr Foster took paper cuts to a whole new level.  Fingers are the usual victims of the dreaded paper cut, but the gentleman managed to have the paper he was carrying pass over his eyeball.  Several days in a dark room was the remedy.

PAINFUL ACCIDENT. (1916, January 25). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 3 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved July 11, 2012, from

The headline “painful accident” was found 2149 times at Trove, although I think most accidents would fit this description.

Walter Greed of Hamilton was a victim of painful accident in 1891.  Walter was the son-in-law of Reuben Harman and husband of Jesse Harman.  While working at his uncle’s coach building business Walter’s hand became caught in a studded drum used to prepare stuffing for carriage seats.  Once released, he ran, blood dripping, to Rountree’s Chemists in Gray Street where his hand was bandaged.  The chemist recommended Walter attend the Hamilton Hospital where it was found he had no broken bones.

It goes without saying that Mr Matthews’ accident was painful.  While mustering sheep in the Grampians in 1898  a fall on to dry sticks saw one of them enter three inches into his leg.  Wood was also the cause of Mr J. Sullivan’s painful accident near Warrnambool.  A chip of wood flew up and hit him in the eye, resulting in the eye being removed.

I feel bad  smiling while reading the following article.  But when I begin to visualise what John Brisbane was doing it is becomes cartoon like, particularly if I think of what might have happened and thankfully didn’t.  Apologies to John’s descendants for my mirth.

PAINFUL MOTORING ACCIDENT. (1946, July 25). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 12, 2012, from


Death by misadventure best describes the unfortunate death of my gg uncle and again spirit of salts proved a very dangerous substance.  In 1939, Ernest Richard Diwell drunk spirits of salts thinking it was whiskey.  This was a fatal mistake.

Only two years earlier, Ernest’s, uncle William Diwell had his own misadventure.

Advertising. (1937, June 10). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 12, 2012, from

I could go on all day with examples.  I have hundreds of them including “unusual accidents”, “extraordinary deaths” and articles with headlines such as “Horse Jumps in Side-Car” and “Cakes Flew When Horse Bolted”, but I will save them for another time.

Illuminating Blogger Award

More excitement.  Kerryn from the blog AncestorChasing has nominated Western District Families for the Illuminating Blogger Award.

She wrote on her blog:

Merron finds and shares some great genealogy resources and information on her Western District Families, one of which I have a slight connection to.   

Lots of local knowledge.

That’s very flattering.  Thank you Kerryn for your continuing support.

In just over a year, I have obtained so much more from writing Western District Families  than I expected at the outset.  It all started with my need to get all my research out of my head.  I had to tell someone and no one around me was terribly interested.  Not only have I met that need, I have made contact with so many people.  Some are related and would never have found me otherwise.  Others have had family on the “Duke of Richmond“, a ship two lots of my ggg grandparents travelled aboard to Portland.  Then there others like Kerryn who have a link to my family through marriage or otherwise.

One condition of the award nomination is that I need to nominate at least five other blogs.  I have selected six illuminating blogs which I regularly read:

My Genealogy Adventure – Tanya Honey’s blog is one I enjoy very much.  Her posts are well researched and well written.  Not only that, she is supportive of her fellow bloggers.  I have received many comments from Tanya on both my blog and social media.  Like myself, she juggles family, work, study, blogging and researching her family.

Twigs of Yore – I have followed Shelly Crawford’s Twigs of Yore blog for some time now.  Shelly is also balancing  raising small children and blogging and she does a great job.  She has also given me a great idea to fill in the school holidays with my son.  Going together to the local cemetery with the Billion Graves app and photographing headstones has been high on my list of things of things to do this holidays, but given the miserable weather we may have to wait until spring.

Finding Family – I recently came across this blog from Jess of Perth, Western Australia.  It is great to see someone so young (I sound like a grandma) so interested in history.  Her posts are full of detail and are well written.  Also there are lots of photos and like me, she loves Trove.

Strong Foundations  – This another blog I have recently discovered and really enjoyed.  Sharon, a fellow Victorian, has the best photos on her blog. She also uses maps and newspapers articles to illustrate her posts which I like.  I particularly enjoyed her post H is for…Horses.

FamilyHistory4u – Sharn White’s FamilyHistory4U is another wonderful blog.  The research and detail that goes into each post is fantastic.  Recently Sharn shared her journey to the U.S. which included a trip to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum for some research.  This was an excellent insight into what to expect and if ever get to New York, I will follow her tips to research members of my Riddiford family who made their way to the U.S.

Our Great Southern Land – Jayne is another Victorian and I love her passion which comes across in her posts.  It’s not only her passion for history, but her family, various causes and social issues and of course Dunolly, a central Victorian town to which Jayne dedicates a whole blog to.  But is Our Great Southern Land, which she writes in her own distinct style, that I find most illuminating.  I now even have a recipe for dog cakes (cakes for the dog not of the dog).  I also follow Jayne on Twitter and she provides many insightful links and she is not afraid to stand up for what she believes.

Another condition of the nomination is that I give a random fact about myself.  In 1991, I attended my first, and only, Melbourne Cup to watch London Bridge run in the big race.  Dad was a co-owner and Bart Cummings was the trainer.  London Bridge ran an honourable 9th and despite it raining all day and not being able to see or hear the race because of the crowd, it was still one of the biggest thrills of my life.

If you have been nominated this is what you need to do:

  1. The nominee should visit the award site ( and leave a comment indicating that they have been nominated and by whom. (This step is so important because it’s the only way that we can create a blogroll of award winners).
  2. The Nominee should thank the person that nominated them by posting & including a link to their blog.
  3. The Nominee should include a courtesy link back to the official award site ( in their blog post.
  4. Share one random thing about yourself in your blog post.
  5. Select at least five other bloggers that you enjoy reading their illuminating, informative posts and nominate them for the award. Many people indicate that they wish they could nominate more so please feel free to nominate all your favorites.
  6. Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog, including a link to the award site (


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