Christmas Day last week, New Year’s Day this week, so keeping to the theme the focus of Trove Tuesday today is the arrival of a New Year, thanks to the Australian Town and Country Journal of December 29, 1877.
Category Archives: Trove Tuesday
It’s Christmas Day and Trove Tuesday so of course I had to find a Christmas treasure. It seems right the two share a day as every day researching at Trove is like Christmas Day!
Although I have spent the past two weeks presenting Christmas from the 1900s to the 1950s with the help of newspapers articles from Trove, there are still many Christmas treasures waiting to be found. I narrowed it down to two favourites and since it is Christmas, I thought I would share both.
The first item is a poem from the Geelong Advertiser of December 26, 1849. The poet, “W.A” was from Little Scotland, Geelong. Little Scotland later formed what is Geelong West today. During the 1840s the Gamble family lived in nearby Kildare, which also became Geelong West.
As one of my favourite Trove Tuesday posts was about a magpie and they are one of my favourite birds, I couldn’t go past this next item from the Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW) of December 22, 1888. A beautiful drawing and a Christmas poem to match.
For a family historian, great great-grandfather Culmer White is good value because he liked to write a letter. On Trove Tuesday October 2, I shared a letter Culmer wrote to the papers thanking the Reverend that married him to Alice Hunt.
Only months before his death, an article in The Argus of January 13, 1938, stirred up memories from almost 60 years before when he was only 22. His memory may have failed him a little as you will discover.
Firstly some background into the story. In July 1877, a Martin Wiberg stole over 5,000 freshly minted gold sovereigns from the steamer Avoca on a trip from Sydney to Melbourne. He was not initially suspected and was able to cart the sovereigns, hidden in bars of soap, close to Inverloch, Gippsland.
In October 1878, police captured him, only to have him escape again while supposedly leading them to his stash of sovereigns. In May 1879 police caught up with him again and he served out his term in Pentridge, which was only around 4 years. He was then believed to have drowned in the sea off Inverloch, after his boat was found. In 1897, his name hit the papers again when a Melbourne resident on holiday, made conversation with him in Sweden.
And so to Culmer’s letter published in The Argus on January 22, 1938. It was one of two letters on that day devoted to Wiberg’s case.
Culmer wrote that when he checked back in his ledger of September 25, 1879 he found the job for Martin Wiberg. On this date, Wiberg would have been in Pentridge after his recapture. Maybe it was an error while writing the letter and he really he meant 1878 at which time Wiberg was still at large as he was arrested for the first time in October 1878. Prior to his first arrest, Wiberg would have moved the sovereigns, but it is unlikely he would have done that during his second stint on the run in 1879.
While I was going back over this letter for the purpose of this post, I thought I would check if there were more “Letters to the Editor” on the Wiberg matter, hoping there may have been a rebuttal to Culmer’s letter in the following weeks. A rebuttal did come on February 12 from J.T.M. of Canterbury. He began by criticising the other letter published on the same day as Culmer’s. He then turned his attention to Culmer:
This story has so many twists and turns and newsletters from the Inverloch Historical Society in 2000, state that a local man, Samuel Laycock, may have been an accomplice to Wiberg. One day, some day, when I have time, I will put all the articles about this case on a Trove list.
It doesn’t matter that Culmer’s memory may have been fuzzy, the article once again demonstrates his lovely style of letter writing and good on him for keeping ledgers for over 60 years. I wonder where they go to? It also confirmed for me his presence in Gippsland during the late 1870s. He married Alice in 1881 at Fern Hill, Gippsland. Before I found the letter, I didn’t know where he was prior to 1881 or when he arrived in Australia from Kent. I have found some newspaper articles that have lead me to believe he may have “jumped ship” in 1875, but I’ll save that for another Trove Tuesday.
Of course, when I found Culmer’s letter I sent a copy to his granddaughter, my great-auntie Jean and like the previous letter, it brought back fond memories of her grandfather.
You may have noticed I do like a good animal story. Here’s another from the Camperdown Chronicle of September 14, 1954.
It is the story of Fido, a sheep dog belonging to electrical contractor Mr A.J Moon of Hamilton. Fido had been confined at a Port Fairy vet, but after a determined escape, he walked 54 miles home to Hamilton even though he was recovering from a leg operation. When he arrived at Mr Moon’s home in Garton Street, Hamilton, Fido demolished 3lbs of steak. His leg was cured too!
You just never know what you are going to stumble upon at Trove. Thanks to the Department of Air’s four simple lessons, I feel I am now ready if a plane happens to crash in my vicinity.
This article from The Portland Guardian of April 13, 1942 was in the column next to the obituary of John Finn Kirby, Western District owner of 1911 Melbourne cup winner, The Parisian. I was researching the horse and owner for a post around Melbourne Cup time and my eyes strayed to the left and there it was.
The constant theme through the article is to not be a fool and stop smoking when a plane crashes nearby. Of course this was during WW2 and there would have been more planes in the skies and flying skills may not have been up to scratch as many pilots would have been in training to go overseas.
I wanted to know if there were a prevalence of plane crashes during this period to prompt the article, so I searched “RAAF Plane Crash” in the decade 1940-1949 and there were 363 articles. Most of those were in 1941 with 116 reports and many were fatal crashes on Australian soil, although I didn’t notice any that caught fire as a result of a cigarette, the crash itself usually enough to cause a fire. Nor did I see any that involved souveniring.
The Portland Guardian was not the only paper to publish the article during 1942. Eight papers from Brisbane to Geraldton to Kalgoorlie ran the article in varying forms and Mt Gambier’s Border Watch including the message among the classifieds. Just three of the papers ran the full story, while the others published a reduced version:
The Portland Guardian dutifully ran this shorter article a week after publishing the full article.
I just love this story:
Driving a Beeston Humberette, Florence Thompson travelled from Adelaide to Melbourne in March 1904 earning her the title of the first female to drive the trip. Spurred on by her dentist husband Ben’s achievements in 1902, completing the same trip, Florence was a nothing short of a trail blazer.
The trip was not without its problems, but the thick sands of the Coorong, limited petrol availability, a puncture and a leaky radiator did not stop Florence. Lucky she took a mechanic along with her.
Florence did not stop there. In 1905, she competed in the Dunlop Reliability rally from Sydney to Melbourne. Some mechanical problems at Albury looked as though they would stop Florence, but she made it to Melbourne to great adulation.
Mrs Florence Thompson was truly a motoring pioneer as was her husband Ben. Both had adventurous spirits and how many men in 1904 would have not only allowed their wife to do what she did, accompanied with another man too, but fully encourage her? To see a picture of Florence and Ben in 1903, follow this link and go to page 18 – Serpolette’s Tricycle
The Port Fairy Gazette has a lot of Byaduk news and I just love this treasure from May 31, 1915. Australia celebrated Empire Day on May 24 from 1905. School children participated in patriotic singing and speeches and flags adorned buildings. The children had a holiday from school in the afternoon. May 24 was also Cracker Night and in the evening people would gather around bonfires and let off fireworks.
Empire Day 1915 saw ggg grandfather James Harman visit the Byaduk State School and address the children. He then sang “Just Before the Battle, Mother” and I’m pleased to see he “delighted” the children. At age 85, he was only a year away from his passing.
“Just Before the Battle, Mother” was an American civil war song but given it was in the midst of WW1, it was apt. If you have not heard the song before, click on the play button below to hear a rendition courtesy of Soundcloud and P. Murray.
Hamilton experienced the paranormal during January 1954, with two separate “flying saucer” sightings.
From a Trove search of “flying saucers” I found that during the 1930s the only flying saucers were those thrown across a room accompanied by a cup, but by the 1940s the flying saucers we know today, began to make news. Many of the articles I saw were about experimental trials of flying saucers by earthlings. But by the 1950s, “sightings” of flying saucers, presumably crewed by aliens, were common place.
A search of “science fiction” produced similar results. There was no mention of the term during the 1930s, but by the 1950s it had reached meteoric heights.
The Science Fiction film genre changed during the 1950s. Science Fiction films of the 1940s were horrors like Frankenstein and Dracula or superheros such as Batman and Robin. The Invisible Man and Flash Gordon were also popular. The 1950s Sci-Fi films took to the universe with life on other planets a major theme. The film Flying Saucer was released in 1950. War of the Worlds and Invaders from Mars in 1953 and that year even Abbott and Costello went to Mars.
No wonder Hamilton residents were on high UFO alert. While the film version of War of the Worlds had not yet reached the town, to add to the hype, their holiday reading may have including installments of the H.G. Wells novel which ran in The Argus from December 24, 1953 until January 7, 1954, the same day as the Hamilton flying saucer sightings.
***If anyone finds Dr Hopper’s cosmic ray research balloon he would appreciate its return to Melbourne University.
Today’s Melbourne Cup marks 20 years since a horse my father was a part-owner of, ran in the Cup. London Bridge won the Duke of Norfolk Handicap (now known as the Andrew Ramsden Stakes) in 1992, a race over 3200 metres at Flemington just like the Melbourne Cup, and he won it in race record time. He was also trained by the master, Bart Cummings, so London Bridge went into Melbourne Cup day with some hope of a good run.
On Cup Day, the rains came and we knew from the Adelaide Cup in May 1992, that London Bridge was not partial to getting is feet wet. The winner of the Adelaide Cup was Subzero and when it rained at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November 1992, London Bridge’s chances decreased and Subzero’s chances increased dramatically. Subbie won and London Bridge ran a brave ninth.
Both London Bridge and Subzero went on to noble careers after their racing retirements. London Bridge served as a police horse with the Victorian Police Force and Subzero was a Clerk of Course horse for 15 years and then became an Ambassador for Racing Victoria. At 24, he still visits schools as part of Racing Victoria’s Community Education Programs and other public appearances .
To mark the 20th anniversary of London Bridge’s Melbourne Cup run, this week’s Trove Tuesday has a Cup theme with newspaper articles about Bart Cummings. Both articles are from the Barrier Miner, a Broken Hill newspaper where, surprisingly enough, I find many treasures.
The first article is from 1947 and a young Bart Cummings, working for his father, had a fall from a flighty colt.
When I first read this story I thought this was a different horse to that in the following article, 1950 Melbourne Cup winner, Comic Court. However after reading Racing Victoria’s bio of Comic Court I realised that Comedy Court and Comic Court were one and the same. Both horse and rider were lucky to win any Melbourne Cups!
The next treasure from the Barrier Miner is a photo of Bart Cummings, Comic Court and Deidre Gath, the daughter of Albert Gath, a harness racing trainer, who had stables near Flemington.
I like this photo as it brings together two racing dynasties, one thoroughbred racing, the other harness racing. The Cummings family have had three generations of trainers, Jim, Bart and Anthony while the Gath family had five brothers training during the 1950s. Like the Cummings name in thoroughbred racing, the Gaths are still a force in harness racing today. In August, Andy Gath trained the winner of the Group 1 Breeders Crown Final with Caribbean Blaster and last Saturday, an Anthony Cummings trained horse, Fiveandahalfstar won the Group 1 Victoria Derby.
I also love the way Comic Court is looking at Deidre.
Having been a media student, I do like to look at advertisements and some of the ads in the old newspapers at Trove are absolute treasures. I came across this group of advertisements recently in the The Mercury, Hobart from May 21, 1917. The were all found on Page 7, otherwise dominated by racing news. Only one, a Havelock tobacco advertisement, was directed at the person in the house most likely to read that section of the paper.
Just as they do today, the advertisement play on the insecurities of consumers. In these examples they include ‘Am I a good mother/housekeeper?” and “Am I as attractive/fashionable as I can possibly be?” Buying the featured products would miraculously take away those insecurities. Or so the advertisers wanted consumers to believe and still do.
Online shopping was not available in 1917, but the same excitement could be experienced when a mail order parcel arrived in the mail box. Aimed at the country lady (hence the necessity to ride to the mail box), this advertisement makes the reader feel they could be missing out on something if they did not buy from Andrew Mather & Co, with “thousands of satisfied customers. Are you one?”
My post on Spring Fashion, explained the change of dress length during WW1. This advertisement heralded a new era in ladies footwear. No longer could shoes be hidden under a lady’s skirt.
If it’s good enough for the washerwoman….This Robur advertisement targets both the well-to-do lady of the house and those struggling to make ends meet. The washerwoman shamed the households that bought “cheap rubbish”" to serve to their staff, and maybe even their guests, and reassured those on lower incomes that Robur worked out cheaper because it went further and even the finest grades were affordable.
Buying Edmonds Baking Powder was a must for becoming a better home economist.
What a great product Lane’s Emulsion must have been. It cured Mrs Collison’s daughter of asthma! All it took was six bottles…poor Ella. Testimonials in advertisements where very common. In fact, you may find that a relative gave a testimonial. While researching Sarah Harman’s son, Alfred James Oakley, I found that he had given a testimonial for Mr Lum the Chinese herbalist from Stawell. Apparently Mr Lum’s herbal medicines returned Mrs Oakley to full health, something three months under the care of doctors in Melbourne could not do.
An interesting choice of ads to place side by side. Both play on a housewife’s doubts about herself, with the ad on the left suggesting experienced housewives know Rex Lorraine Smoked Sausages are “good and fresh”. Buy them and you too will be a success. Just “pop the tin in boiling water”, so convenient and no greasy pan to wash! Trouble is they don’t sound very appetising. If the smoked sausages in jelly caused an outbreak of pimples, Cuticura was the answer.
The pimple cream ad. and this one for Russian Hair Restorer, show us that women 100 years ago did care about their appearance. All that was needed for beautiful hair was a Russian potion. And what a potion it must have been, supposedly having the power to return grey or faded hair back to a natural colour while stimulating growth.
So next time your browsing the Trove newspapers, check out the advertisements. Learning about our ancestor’s food, entertainment, dress and more can go a long way towards understanding their lives.