Wondering where that missing newspaper edition is that you searched desperately for at Trove? Maybe the only remaining copy is buried in the walls of an old building.
Wondering where that missing newspaper edition is that you searched desperately for at Trove? Maybe the only remaining copy is buried in the walls of an old building.
The idea of catching a steam ship from Portland to Melbourne 100 years ago sounds romantic until one considers the stretch of coastline navigated to reach Melbourne – the Shipwreck coast. There have been over 200 wrecks along the entire stretch of coast and from Port Fairy to Apollo Bay alone there have been 80 shipwrecks.
Early settlers used steamers to transport wool and other freight to the Melbourne ports and back. Stephen Henty purchased his own steamers to make the trip. The steamers were also for passage, an alternative to the rough hair-raising ride of a Cobb & Co coach or later, the train.
One steamer that regularly made the journey from 1882 was the S.S.Casino, notching up 2,500 trips along the southern coastline. Owned by the Belfast and Koroit Navigation Company the ship was built in Scotland.
The Casino is the subject of the this week’s Trove Tuesday post because on July 10, 1932, the steamer made its last voyage. Just short of the Apollo Bay pier, the S.S. Casino struck a sandbar and sunk. Ten lives were lost.
The Portland Guardian reported on the disaster, noting one of the survivors, 11-year-old Joan Greer, was the daughter of a worker at the Richmond Hotel in Portland. Remarkably, while the girl travelled on the Casino, her mother took the train for the return trip from Melbourne to Portland. One of the victims was Helena Gill, the stewardess with 40 years service.
An unfortunate oversight was an advertisement that ran in the Portland Guardian on July 11, the day after the wreck. It advised that passage was available to Melbourne weekly aboard the S.S Casino, “weather and other circumstances permitting”.
The S.S. Casino still lies at the bottom of the ocean off Apollo Bay and is now a dive wreck. The anchor is displayed outside the Apollo Bay Post Office. There is more information about the steamer’s history on the Victorian Government’s Department of Planning and Community Development website.
It was the in the Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser that I first found a “They Say” column. It was actually a regular column in newspapers across Australia, offering a snapshot of news and local gossip, often with a humorous tone. Each item always began with “That” and the news reported ranged from local to international. The time period of the following four articles is 1915 to 1917, so Australia was at war.
White boots at a Kentbruck wedding? You probably had to be there. Mouzie is the Parish of Mouzie, near Portland and it seems there had been a sighting of the Tantanoola tiger. Incredible since the legend of the Tantanoola tiger went back 1884, when a Bengal tiger supposedly escaped from a circus at Tantanoola in the south-east of South Australia and was the suspected perpetrator behind mauled sheep through into Victoria. By 1915, the tiger would have been over 30 years old. Regardless, it is an interesting story with a twist that I intend to follow-up for a future Trove Tuesday.
In January 1917, Drik Drik was on the decline and the pressure on men that didn’t go to war was clear.
In June 1917, an Victorian State election was on the agenda, but when would it be? Much like what Australians have endured over the past few days. Again. Australia’s role in WW1 was costly, with the debt out to £130,000,000.
Amusing was the obituary for a sanitary inspector and the crack at the wealthy for not observing thrift, while they and the State expected those at the lower end of the scale to live an austere lifestyle during wartime.
The following “They Say”, has a more serious tone with mostly international news and was possibly written by a different reporter.
In contrast to the last “They Say” this edition was very local with much innuendo. Harry, Maude, Tom and Olive, if they were there real names, may have had a few questions to answer. Even if they were false names, Tyrendarra is so small that anyone at the local dance would have known who “Maudie” was. Pity any girl named Olive living in Portland during November 1917.
Why don’t you check out your favourite newspaper at Trove for a “They Say” column. A search of “They Say” will bring to the top all the papers that ran the column. They make enjoyable reading.
This article, from almost 130 years ago, defines our reason to post for Trove Tuesday. As researchers, reading newspapers from a time when our ancestors relied on their existence for the characteristics listed by the Colac Herald, we gain an insight into life at another time, or “a bird’s-eye view of all the magnanimity and meanness, the joys and the griefs, one births and deaths, the pride and the poverty of the world…”
Around 1931, Walter Greed of Hamilton discovered a cowry shell on the banks of Muddy Creek, near Hamilton and passed it on to the National Museum. Walter was the husband of Jessie Harman, daughter of Reuben Harman of Byaduk, and was a member of the Greed family, funeral directors of Hamilton.
Maybe that doesn’t seem that unusual, but a cowry shell is a seashell and the nearest sea to Muddy Creek is around 80 kilometres away. The shell Walter found was a fossil was from a time when the area surrounding Muddy Creek, including Hamilton, was one hundred fathoms under the sea. That is around 182 metres.
Muddy Creek and the river it flows into, the Grange Burn, are well known fossil sites, recorded in Australia’s Fossil Heritage: A Catalogue of Important Australian Fossil Sites.
This week, Trove Tuesday is all about photographs. If you are looking for photos, Trove is the place to go. One search can find photos from the various State Libraries, Museum Victoria and Flickr, to name a few. I found two photos of Hamilton from the 1880s held at the State Library of South Australia. They were going to be the only subjects of this post, but as usual, I couldn’t stop at that. With the help of Trove, Google Maps and some of my own photos, we can look at Hamilton then and now.
The first photo, probably taken from around Scoresby Street, looks toward what is known as Church Hill. On the left is the Christ Church(1868) and the right, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (1858). The photo tells so much about Hamilton in 1880, the buildings, the style of houses, and roofing materials. Even what the ladies were wearing. I wonder what they were talking about?
The shot from Google Maps shows how densely populated this part of town has become over the years.
1880 was an eventful year in Hamilton. From the Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, of February 14, 1880, comes a story from The Hamilton Spectator of February 7. Two days earlier, the Shire Secretary, Henry J. Bloomfield and a local storekeeper J.H. Cooke had a public fight that ended with the firing of Cooke’s revolver. The evening before, Cooke had been horse whipped by a female relative of Bloomfield. Scandal. Maybe that was what the ladies were talking about.
In September, 1880 The Duke of Manchester visited Hamilton. Met at the station by a large crowd, he went on to give a speech at a packed Commercial Hotel .
The event that caused “a profound sensation”, not just in Hamilton but beyond, was an outbreak of Diphtheria that lead to deaths including that of Archdeacon Innes.
An inquiry was held, as reported in the Evening News (Sydney) with the finding that the disease had originated in nearby Hochkirch (now Tarrington). Several children had died in that town, but because of a belief that disease was not contagious, it was able to spread unchecked. It was then transmitted to Hamilton and the result was the death of the Archdeacon and others.
Back to the churches. In the early 1900s, the St Andrews Presbyterian Church was pulled down and a new church built. The following photo of the original church is from 1890.
Today the two churches stand tall on Church Hill, their steeples visible from many parts of town. Below is the Christ Church in the foreground and St Andrews in the background, taken in 2012.
The “new” Presbyterian Church as seen in 2012.
The following photo, from 1880, was taken a little further east to the earlier shot, presumably by the same photographer. The Gray Street Primary School, then the National School is seen in the top right quadrant.
The current school was built in 1876, four years before the above photo, replacing a small wooden school built in 1852. The photo from the 1880s shows a turret on the centre of the school roof. It is no longer there as seen in this photo from 2012.
I wanted to identify more of the buildings in the second 1880s photo, particularly those on the extreme right, near the school. It is difficult to work out where Gray Street actually was, but taking into consideration the great depth of the school yard, I was able to establish that the building closest to the school is Hewlett House (below), on the corner of Gray and Kennedy Streets. The three windows on the upper level of the building are visible in the original photo. The home was built in 1876 by Dr. Viallis, but he died in 1879 aged 32.
The building to the front of Hewlett House must then be the former Temperance Hall in Kennedy Street built, 1876. From Google Maps, a snap of the building in more recent years.
In the 19th Century the western end of Gray Street was the epicentre of town. The Town Hall, Post Office, National School, Mechanics Institute, The Hamilton Spectator and the Hamilton Club were all is this small section of the street. The photo below is from a Rose postcard. The postcard collection I found doesn’t have specific dates, only the general date range 1920-1954.
The Hamilton Club, built in 1876 is the first building on the left side of the street. Opposite is the school, by then Gray Street State School. The building next to the school, was demolished in 1986. It was the State Savings Bank of Victoria at the time of the photograph. Further on, the building with the enclosed verandah would be the former Town Hall Hotel. It was later known as the Hamilton Hotel and today is the home of the Hamilton Baptist Church. Below is the Hamilton Club as seen in 2012.
In the original 1880s photo, a fence and hedge runs between the Hamilton Club and the next building, the Mechanics Institute, built 1865. It is now the home of the Hamilton History Centre.
Further on from the Mechanics Institute, in the original photo, there is a “Garage” sign. This was the former Town Hall, built 1873. A new Town Hall was built in Brown Street in 1909 and the original building sold. In 1969, the building was demolished and is now a car park for postal employees.
The Hamilton Post Office was built in 1878 and the clock tower added in 1890 . The Hamilton Spectator office is further along the street.
The Post Office clock tower still exists, it’s just obscured by a plane tree.
The Hamilton Spectator office, below, in 2012. George Robinson established the paper in 1860. Robinson built the current home of the Spec in 1873.
Below is the front of Melville Oval from a Rose Postcard sometime after WW1. The War Memorial is in the foreground, grandstand in the background and a band rotunda to the left of the grandstand.
Below is a similar view from 2011. The band rotunda is no longer beside the grandstand. It found a new home in 1988.
The Hamilton Botanical Gardens is one of my favourite places in Hamilton. This is the view from the entrance on the corner of Thompson and French Streets. The bust of George V was erected after the King’s death in 1936.
This is George today. If only he could talk. He would have seen some sights in his 70 or so years in the gardens.
The John Thomson Memorial Fountain was erected in 1918 in memory of the pastoralist and M.L.A. John Thomson. Thomson was a member of the Racing Club, Presbyterian Church and the Fire Brigade and more.
The fountain today, with the band rotunda, formally at Melville Oval, in the background. Relocated in 1988, the gardens is a perfect spot for it.
This post was so much easier thanks to several booklets I have, written by Margaret Gardner and Val Heffernan of the Hamilton History Centre. Under the general title of “Exploring Hamilton” they offer several walking and driving tours of Hamilton packed full of history and include the Church Hill walk, CBD – Gray Street walk and the Grange Burn walk. There are histories of prominent landmarks, shops and homes. There are eight walking tours and three driving tours in total and are available from the Hamilton History Centre for $5.00 each. I have six so far and they are a wonderful resource.
Classified advertisements have always been a favourite of mine to read but sadly they are disappearing from our newspapers. Reading the “classifieds” from old newspapers gives us some idea of the social history of a town. From lost animals to insolvency and tenders for new buildings to employment notices, the classifieds had it all.
In almost every paper there were lost and found horses and other stock. Inappropriate fencing or no fencing at all would have meant a roaming animal was a common sight.
Henry Gibb of Fiery Creek was still offering a reward for his cart horse five months after he last saw it.
Mr Mathison’s huge 17 hands high black horse would have been hard to hide. He offered a £1 reward for information on its whereabouts.
The Rev. Thomas Hastie was looking for a teacher of the Boninyong School (now Buninyong) i 1851. In Geelong, a couple with children were looking for work, him as a storekeeper and her as a housekeeper or teacher.
With plenty of building going on in 1851, Carver & Dalton’s auctions of timber would have drawn a crowd.
In 1856 the Collector of Customs of Customs House, Portland used the classifieds to issue a warning about tobacco used for washing sheep. Additional ingredients made it unfit for human consumption.
Poor George Gane had to air his dirty laundry in public presumably after his drunken wife ran up bills in his name. He declared he would not be responsible for any debts she incurred.
The following Immigration Remittance is an interesting notice and it had me thinking if I had any relatives that may have arrived in Victoria under the scheme described.
Something different to lost horses.
In 1879, the Clothes Washing Machine patented by John Walls could be purchased. The power, human power that is, needed to run the machine was minimal so even a 15-year-old girl could use it.
Miss Jenkins of Terang ran a sober operation at her Temperance Hotel and Coffee Rooms. Even the horses were well looked after. Meanwhile, Mrs Geddes of Camperdown had set up an employment agency for servants.
Henry Matson of Purrembete, tired of coursing parties in his paddocks leading to injury to his stock, threatened to lay poison in the paddocks. James Jackson of the Camperdown Brewery was also fed up. Fed up with his soda water and lemonade bottles going missing. He was going to sue basically any person with one of his bottles in their possession.
The Argus of August 5, 1873 published an article from the Hamilton Spectator, relating a story of a hare that had the writer confirming Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection. The hare may not have agreed. No amount of adaptation could save her from a band of men with sticks and dogs.
The following image from the State Library of Victoria depicts scenes from a coursing outing in 1883, however the bunny sketch could have come straight out a Peter Rabbit story.
It is not surprising Pam Jennings was able to write three volumes of her book, Wild and Wondrous Women of Geelong if this week’s Trove Tuesday article from the Boxing Day, 1848 edition of the Geelong Advertiser is anything to go by. Not only that, my own wild and wondrous ggg grandmother Ellen Barry and her sister Mary were living in Geelong at the time and I have found references to both of them in Volume 3 (1870-1879). Despite Ellen’s vices, I doubt she would have been the type to take a ride in Geelong’s “nuisance” cab.
Soon we will be able to read more from the Geelong Advertiser on Trove, with issues from 1857 to 1918 due to be added in the 2013/14 financial year. This is exciting news for anyone with family in Geelong, including myself, but also Western District researchers. You can read more about it on the Geelong and District blog.
The “For Wives and Daughters” columns from the Colac Herald first came to my attention while researching my fashion posts. The column has fashion tips, recipes, handy hints and more. I found the column in two other papers, the Warwick Examiner and Times of Queensland and the Western Mail from Perth. The earliest date I found the column was 1897. The earliest column in the Colac Herald was 1910 and it seems to have run through to the end of 1918 in that paper.
In 1914, the tight skirt was on the way out.
If you want to make dish washing less of a chore, here is a handy hint courtesy of an American housewife. Or if the cooler weather has caused your nose to run, be sure to apply Vaseline around your nose and mouth area before bed tonight.
Wondering what to have for dinner tonight? Fancy some tongue? Maybe some Pigeon Pie is more to your liking.
Look out for more “For Wives and Daughters” on future Trove Tuesdays.