Category Archives: Western District History

On the ALG Trail

It must be said, I am an unabashed Adam Lindsay Gordon fan.  Stories of his horsemanship got me in the first time I visited Blue Lake around age seven, during the mid 1970s. As a horse girl, the idea of a man and his horse jumping over the edge of the lake was fascinating .

Unlike school children of the first half of the 20th century, Adam Lindsay Gordon’s poetry was not on the curriculum by the 1970s and 80s. Therefore, my introduction to his poetry was the 1946 edition of  Poems of Adam Lindsay Gordon found in a second-hand book shop.  By then I had heard of his horse racing deeds, his tragic and untimely death and visited his cottage in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.  How did a dare-devil horseman write such tender words?  How could a hardened horse-breaker, find beauty in the death of a steeplechaser in The Last Leap?

“Satin coat that seems to shine

Duller now, black braided tress,

That a softer hand than mine

Far away was wont to twine

That in meadows from this

Softer lips might kiss

..

All is over! this is death,

And I stand to watch thee die,

Brave old horse! with ‘bated breath

Hardly drawn through tight-clenched teeth

Lid indented deep, but eye

Only dull and dry”

(Extract from The Last Leap, first published: Sea Spary and Smoke Drift, Gordon, Adam Lindsay, Melbourne : George Robertson, 1867.)

ADAM GORDON. (1911, July 1). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 8. Retrieved February 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58447919

ADAM GORDON. (1911, July 1). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), p. 8. Retrieved February 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58447919

During our recent visit to Nelson, we crossed the border into South Australia to visit nearby Port McDonnell.  Just out of the town is Dingley Dell Conservation Park, site of  Dingley Dell Cottage, once a holiday home of Adam Lindsay Gordon.  On the day, the temperature was in the low forties and a Total Fire ban, forced the closure of the cottage.  That was disappointing as the cottage houses some great ALG memorabilia, but we still could explore the grounds.

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Gordon spent a lot of time writing while at Dingley Dell during the years 1864 to 1868. He published his work “The Feud” in the Border Watch in August 1864 and wrote poems such as “The Song of the Surf”  inspired by the rugged limestone coast.

In 1912, ALG’s widow, Margaret Park, then Mrs Peter Low, recalled Dingley Dell in an interview published in the Chronicle (Adelaide)

ADAM LINDSAY GORDON. (1912, March 30). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), p. 39. Retrieved February 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88693399

ADAM LINDSAY GORDON. (1912, March 30). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 – 1954), p. 39. Retrieved February 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88693399

This is the cottage in 1891.  It was still owned by the Gordon family at that time.

Image Courtesty of State Library of South Australia B16893 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/17000/B16893.htm

DINGLEY DELL circa 1891 Image Courtesty of State Library of South Australia B16893 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/17000/B16893.htm

Again, around 1907.

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DINGLEY DELL, circa 1907 Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia B45883 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/55000/B54883.htm

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The day we left Nelson,we continued on the ALG trail  to Mt Gambier’s Blue Lake, site of Gordon’s legendary leap.  Set in a volcanic crater, Blue Lake itself is full of mystery and on the day the water was eddying and swirling. Add the tale of  Adam Lindsay Gordon and it was almost haunting.

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During Gordon’s life, and the early years after his death in 1870, despite having some published works, his poetry largely went unrecognised.  It was publications after his death that, by the late 1870s, saw him gain critical acclaim in Australia and overseas and his star began to rise.

The Argus. (1877, October 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 4. Retrieved February 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5941600

The Argus. (1877, October 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 4. Retrieved February 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5941600

Searching newspaper articles from his life and beyond, it was the mid 1880s that the legend of Gordon really took off.

Try as I might, including searching the Border Watch every year from 1861 until 1885, I could not find any articles from during his lifetime about the “famous leap”.  Obviously there are limited editions of the paper, particularly through the 1860s.  For example the August 30, 1864 edition in which Gordon’s “The Feud” was published is not available.

It was 1881 before I could find any reference at all and it was written as though the leap was common knowledge. Surely I could have found some mention over a 20 year period, even in with limited editions.  Even obituaries at the time of his death did not mention “Gordon’s Leap”.   The  December 31, 1881 issue of the Northern Argus (Clare, S.A.)  included the article Notes of a Holiday to the South East described Gordon’s feat at Blue Lake.

NOTES OF A HOLIDAY TRIP TO THE SOUTH-EAST. (1881, December 13). Northern Argus (Clare, SA : 1869 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved February 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article97285462

NOTES OF A HOLIDAY TRIP TO THE SOUTH-EAST. (1881, December 13). Northern Argus (Clare, SA : 1869 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved February 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article97285462

A  Letter to the Editor in the Border Watch of August 28, 1886 was the next reference I found,  proposed the erection of a monument to Gordon.  From that time on there was rarely an article written about Adam Lindsay Gordon that didn’t mention his leap.

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THE POET GORDON. (1886, August 28). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved February 16, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77547978

THE POET GORDON. (1886, August 28). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved February 16, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77547978

This touching letter from H.W. Varley of Adelaide came with “a couple of guineas” enclosed.

THE GORDON MEMORIAL. (1886, September 15). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved February 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77548266

THE GORDON MEMORIAL. (1886, September 15). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved February 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77548266

Despite a number of men present on the day of “the leap”, consensus could not be reached on the exact point Gordon jumped the fence.  Nor could they agree to the exact nature of the leap or the horse Gordon was riding, was it Modesty of Red Lancer? Even the exact day is unclear.  The Mt Gambier Aquifer Tours website, suggests it was the day after the Border Handicap Steeplechase during the winter of 1864.  I found the results of that race in the Border Watch of July 29, 1864.  The race was on Wednesday July 27, 1864.

MOUNT GAMBIER RACES. (1864, July 29). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved February 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77009190

MOUNT GAMBIER RACES. (1864, July 29). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved February 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77009190

This makes sense as the leap apparently occurred after a bet was placed by Gordon on a “square up” race with the first and second placegetters, Robert Learmonth and William Trainor.

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BLUE LAKE LOOKING TOWARDS THE AREA (ON LEFT) OF ADAM LINDSAY GORDON’S LEAP

The obelisk was finally placed at a site suggested by William “Billy” Trainor one of Gordon’s closest friends and confidants.  It was right that the American Billy, a former circus performer, was at the laying of the foundation stone as was John Riddoch another of Gordon’s confidants.  In the last years of Gordon’s life, he corresponded extensively with Riddoch sharing his deepest feelings.  The letters were published in 1970 in  The Last Letters 1868-1870:  Adam Lindsay Gordon to John Riddoch.

MEMORIAL OF A. L. GORDON. (1887, July 9). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 5. Retrieved February 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article46794085

MEMORIAL OF A. L. GORDON. (1887, July 9). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), p. 5. Retrieved February 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article46794085

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The same view toward the monument taken around 1930.

Image Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia B72412 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/72500/B72412.htm

Image Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia B72412 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/72500/B72412.htm

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From Mt. Gambier we crossed the border back into Victoria and the Western District.  We were soon heading for the “Fields of Coleraine”.  Coleraine racecourse was one often frequented by ALG.  Part two of the five-part Hippodromania is the verse “The Fields of Coleraine

On the fields of Col’raine there’ll be labour in vain

Before the Great Western is ended,

The nags will have toil’d, and the silks will be soil’d.

And the rails will require to be mended.

..

For the gullies are deep, and the uplands are steep.

And mud will of purls be the token,

And the tough stringy-bark, that invites us to lark,

With impunity may not be broken.

(Extract from “The Fields of Coleraine”. Published in Sea Spray and Smoke Drift, 1867)

Unfortunately, keeping with  racing parlance, heads were turned for home and there was no stopping at Coleraine (I suppose I had called a rest stop at the Casterton Historical Society, 30 minutes earlier), so I have no photographs of the obelisk in Gordon’s honour beside the Glenelg Highway, east of Coleraine.  A little further on is the Coleraine Racecourse and opposite is Mt Koroit homestead, former home of John Kirby, owner of 1911 Melbourne Cup winner The Parisian.

Before Gordons’s death, he spent time in Ballarat and that is where my ALG trail ended but where it will resume at another time.  However, it was during his time in Ballarat that Gordon suffered his greatest loss, the death of his 11 month old daughter Annie.  He plunged into deep sorrow and moved to Melbourne where he wrote his last poems, his melancholy evident.  Alice’s death, a bad race fall and ongoing financial difficulties saw him sink to his lowest ebb.  He eventually took his own life on Brighton Beach on June 24, 1870 at the age of 36.

When Adam Lindsay Gordon died,  little was written about him, save for coroner’s findings and the standard obituaries, but this moving piece, from the Australian Town and Country Journal  months after his death, by the “Wandering Bohemiem”, a literary writer, brings to light a man many of his Western District contemporaries never saw, and a side only those  of the “supreme brotherhood” would truly understand.  The extract of verse, taken from “A Song of Autumn” published in 1870, was apparently the last he wrote. Clearly written with his dear Annie in his heart it shows the depths he had sunken to.

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LITERATURE. (1871, February 18). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 18. Retrieved January 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70464980

LITERATURE. (1871, February 18). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 – 1907), p. 18. Retrieved January 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70464980

And Eastward by Nor’ward

Looms sadly my track,

And I must ride forward,

And still I look back,—

Look back — Ah, how vainly!

For while I see plainly,

My hands on the reins lie

Uncertain and slack.

..

The warm wind breathes strong breath,

The dust dims mine eye,

And I draw one long breath,

And stifle one sigh.

Green slopes  softly shaded,

Have flitted and faded —

My dreams flit as they did —

Good-night!— and — Good-bye!

(Extract from  “A Basket of Flowers”, Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes, Bush ballads and galloping rhymes /​ by the author of “Ashtaroth”. [A.L. Gordon]. Melbourne : Clarson, Massina, and Co., General Printers, 1870.

SOURCES:

Adam Lindsay Gordon Craft Cottage

The Adam Lindsay Gordon Commemorative Committee Inc

Brighton Cemetery

Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online

Dingley Dell Cottage

Mt. Gambier Aquifier Tours

Trove Australia


Ship Mates

The Casterton Historical Society newsletters, as featured in Nifty Newsletters, ran a series of extracts from the book Tales of Casterton: the Waines murder and other stories by Jack Gorman.  In the September 2005 issue, Part 1 of the story stated that convicted murderer George Waines arrived in Victoria aboard the Duke of Richmond.

This is a particularly interesting find as my ggg grandmother, Margaret Diwell, who appeared as a witness at George’s murder trial, also arrived on the Duke of Richmond, along with her husband William.  This answers the question has to how she came to know the Waines, other than the fact they lived reasonably close together.

I have a database of Duke of Richmond arrivals and  I did a search but no George Waines.  I then went to an online passenger list of the Duke of Richmond that I often refer back to.  No George Waines.

So a-Troving I went.  An article from the Bendigo Advertiser, reporting on the hanging of Waines, supported his arrival on the Duke of Richmond.  But there seems to have been a case of mistaken identity Waines was keen to amend before his death.

EXECUTION OF THE CONVICT WAINES. (1860, July 18). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87945170

EXECUTION OF THE CONVICT WAINES. (1860, July 18). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87945170

I did find a George Waines in the Australian Convict Transportation Registers(1791-1868) .  Convicted in Warwickshire,  he left England for Tasmania in 1843.

Back to the Duke of Richmond passenger list.  George’s wife was Jane so I thought I would look at  first names instead of surnames.  Sure enough, there was a George and Jane Whainer both aged 29 from Yorkshire.  George’s age matches his birth date of 1823, but Yorkshire?  Both the  Casterton Historical Society Newsletter and the article above, state George was born in Dorset, England, with the Bendigo Advertiser narrowing it down to Sherborne.

Back to Trove and look what I found:

POPULATION OF THE GOLDFIELDS. (1860, October 22). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87947401

POPULATION OF THE GOLDFIELDS. (1860, October 22). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87947401

George was from Yorkshire, Sherburn as opposed to Sherborne, Dorset.  This and the claim George “was one of the most notorious poachers in the district” helps support something I found on the England and Wales, Criminal Registers (1791-1892).  In 1849, George Waines of Yorkshire was sentenced to  three months imprisonment on a charge of larceny.  Maybe he wasn’t as squeaky clean as he wanted people to believe.  No matter the impression he tried to project, nothing could save him from the gallows.

Using FreeBDM I found a marriage of  George Waines in 1847, registered in the Scarborough district of Yorkshire.  From the same Volume there are two Janes, Jane Winter and Jane Jewett

That settled, back to the original aim of my post, the friendship between Margaret Diwell and the Waines, particularly Jane.  So it seems they met on the Duke of Richmond, the same ship another set of ggg grandparents sailed on, James and Susan Harman.  The Diwells spent around five years in Portland after arrival, then they went to Casterton in 1858.    The CHS newsletter says  that once in Casterton, the Diwells lived close to both the Waines and the Hunts.  As the Hunts purchased land off George Waines in 1856 at Casterton, the Waines must have arrived in town before the Diwells.

It sounds like Jane Waines would have been a good friend.  The CHS newsletter describes her as “a comely woman, a vivacious personality full of joy and fun…” . George was not described  in such a favourable way, although he did hold Jane in high regard.

EXECUTION OF THE CONVICT WAINES. (1860, July 18). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87945170

EXECUTION OF THE CONVICT WAINES. (1860, July 18). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87945170

Of course I did wonder what happened to Jane after George’s death.  George had thoughts about what she should do.

THE CASTERTON MURDER. (1860, April 30). The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889), p. 3. Retrieved February 6, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1204764

THE CASTERTON MURDER. (1860, April 30). The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 – 1889), p. 3. Retrieved February 6, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1204764

On the Victorian Marriage Index, a Jane Waines married Thomas James Brooks in 1861.  From there I lose her.  I can not find a death record for either Jane or a Thomas James Brooks that I can definitely say is them.  I can’t get a lead on the town Jane lived in so that is making it hard to search for her at Trove.  I wonder if she stayed on in Casterton?  Did Margaret Diwell see her again?  Did Margaret and Jane’s relationship falter during the trial period, given Margaret also knew Mrs Hunt well.  So many questions.

As the Harmans were also on the Duke of Richmond, I have a picture in my mind of James Harman, back in 1860 in Port Fairy, looking up from his paper of choice, maybe the Belfast Gazette and remarking “Do you remember the Waines and the Diwells from the ship Susan?”


Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance

The obituary of Sarah Jane Wadmore in the January Passing of the Pioneers prompted me to find out more about a booklet she co-authored  for the Portland Centenary in 1934, the Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance.  I had previously read about it in newspaper reports from around the time.

Pioneer Women of Portland. (1934, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64285807

Pioneer Women of Portland. (1934, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64285807

A  Google search led me to the State Library of Victoria website and it was pleasing to see it has been digitised and is available online.  I was even more pleased that ggg grandmother Margaret Ann Diwell (nee Turner) was among the pioneering women of Portland as well as some of those I have featured in Passing of the Pioneers.

The booklet begins with a forward from Alice Frances Moss, a pioneer of women’s rights.  She was the first President of the National Council of Women of Australia and Chair of the Victorian Women’s Centenary Council.

After an offering of appreciation to pioneer women, there is the story of  Mrs Stephen George Henty, the first European woman at Portland, to whom the booklet was dedicated.  She is often called Mrs Stephen George Henty, but let us call her Jane (Pace).

There are  the recollections of Mrs George Godwin Crouch (Marianne Trangmar) spanning from 1840 to 1917.  Then, a list of “Worthy Pioneers” compiled by Sarah Jane Wadmore.  Included is one of my favourites, Rebecca Kittson (Mrs William Lightbody) and Mrs Fawthrop, Jane Rosevear, wife of Captain James Fawthrop the life boat captain.

Following is the story of  Mrs Richard Charlton Hedditch and further on a letter she wrote on Christmas Day, 1848, to her parents in England.  Another woman often referred to by her husband’s name, she was Rachel Forward Read.

After some local poetry, comes “Belles and Beauties of the Early Days”.  Those included are Misses Henty, Learmonth, Trangmar and Herbertson.

Finally is a list of Portland’s Pioneering Women.  Women born or living in Portland prior to 1864 were eligible.  This is where I found Margaret.  The Diwells lived in Portland for about five years from the time of their arrival on the Duke of Richmond in 1852.

Margaret appears as Mrs William Diwell and her daughter-in-law, Frances Webb,  is also  listed as Mrs William Diwell.  Frances just scraped in as she was born in Portland in 1863 to John Webb and Margaret Smith, who is also listed.   This is a useful list as some entries have notes and maiden names.

The oldest pioneer women, recognized separately,  include Marion Nunn Jones, Emma Holmes and Anne Beglan.

The photographs in the booklet are of Mrs Jane Henty, Mrs Marianne Crouch, Mrs Janet Laurie, Sarah Jane Wadmore and Mrs Rachel Hedditch.

The booklet also comes as a Archive CD book and is available from the Genealogical Society of Victoria.


Nifty Newsletters

When I visit my local library and see masses of newsletters from the region’s family history and historical societies jammed into cardboard magazine holders, I think that while such a resource would be useful, where would I start?  Being a working mum with limited time, they are just not an option.  Also, membership to those societies would be great as I would receive a newsletter in the mail, but again my current status means I have to give consideration to each membership/subscription I take out.

Luckily some societies have newsletters available on their websites and I can read them easily from home when I choose.  Newsletters online that are the most helpful to my research are from the Casterton and District Historical Society (2005-2012) and the Warrnambool Family History Group (1990-1999 & 2004).  Both include a list of the main topics in each newsletter allowing me to easily select an issue.

The Casterton newsletter, “Historical Happenings” has items relevant to different areas of my research such as the History of the Casterton Racing Club Inc, a series of articles about the Hunt murders and Dance Halls and Orchestras of Casterton.  There is also information about surrounding towns such as Merino, Sandford and Wando Vale.  The March 2011 newsletter even recommends a new magazine called “Inside History” .   I’m sure many of us would endorse that recommendation!  The newsletter opens as a Word document.

The Warrnambool newsletter, “The South-West Genealogist“, includes indexes of Pioneer women of Victoria, school records and a lot of information on Irish settlers.  There are also many birth, deaths and marriages in the regular column “Historicals” and there are 19th century BDMs notices from the “Hamilton Spectator” which have been most useful.  The newsletter opens as a PDF document.

Thank you to both for providing such a wonderful online resource.

 


Christmas 1940s style

Christmas during wartime 1940s was bleak especially when Japan entered as National security and economic precautions came into force.  Still, there were many eager volunteers to make sure that Christmas was cheery for all, even the Australians  fighting overseas.

Preparations for Christmas 1940 started early, as volunteers packed parcels bound for overseas troops.

3HA CLUB. (1940, August 29). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64397250

3HA CLUB. (1940, August 29). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64397250

Over 800 people attended a pantomime “A Year in the Navy” at the Horsham Town Hall.

SUCCESSFUL CHRISTMAS PANTOMIME. (1940, December 20). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73155556

SUCCESSFUL CHRISTMAS PANTOMIME. (1940, December 20). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73155556

The Australian Women’s Weekly issue of December 21, 1940 featured a fancy Christmas dinner menu.

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CHRISTMAS DINNER. (1940, December 21). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 37 Section: The Homemaker. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47244840

CHRISTMAS DINNER. (1940, December 21). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 37 Section: The Homemaker. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47244840

Noradjuha school children received a treat with a visit from Father Christmas after their Christmas concert performance.

NORADJUHA. (1940, December 24). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73155694

NORADJUHA. (1940, December 24). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73155694

The message of “Peace on Earth” returned to the newspapers.

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The Christmas Message. (1940, December 24). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 8. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73155682

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WW2 saw the return of Christmas hampers and in August 1941 volunteers were again donating goods, baking puddings or packing.  Simple items were in the hampers but a soldier in the trenches would have been grateful for a tin of fruit salad on Christmas day.

 

GOODS TO GO IN CHRISTMAS HAMPERS. (1941, August 26). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26547914

GOODS TO GO IN CHRISTMAS HAMPERS. (1941, August 26). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26547914

Miss Harrison’s shop in Camperdown displayed hampers packed ready for dispatch.

CHRISTMAS HAMPERS FOR OVERSEAS MEN. (1941, September 2). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26548028

CHRISTMAS HAMPERS FOR OVERSEAS MEN. (1941, September 2). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26548028

An initiative of the State branch of the Returned Soldiers League saw  Horsham children that had fathers fighting overseas, receive a Christmas party in 1941.  A nice touch was that each father received a letter to tell them of their children’s treat.

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CHRISTMAS PARTY FOR DIGGERS’ CHILDREN. (1941, October 3). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72696036

The Federal Treasure urged employers to give their staff War savings certificates or stamps for Christmas 1941 to support the war effort.

WAR SAVINGS CERTIFICATES AS CHRISTMAS GIFTS. (1941, November 25). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72697527

WAR SAVINGS CERTIFICATES AS CHRISTMAS GIFTS. (1941, November 25). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72697527

The Williamstown Chronicle of December 19, 1941 said “Merry Christmas” to one and all.

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Christmas !. (1941, December 19). Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1856 - 1954), p. 2 Supplement: Greetings Our Christmas Supplement. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70713662

Christmas !. (1941, December 19). Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1856 – 1954), p. 2 Supplement: Greetings Our Christmas Supplement. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70713662

Parents had to choose between peaceful toys and war  toys in 1941.  Tanks, submarines and planes increased in number on the toy shop shelves and hats, balls and drums carried patriotic logos.

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Toyland is Divided Over War and Peace. (1941, December 19). Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1856 - 1954), p. 2 Supplement: Greetings Our Christmas Supplement. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70713661

Toyland is Divided Over War and Peace. (1941, December 19). Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1856 – 1954), p. 2 Supplement: Greetings Our Christmas Supplement. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70713661

Mother always considers Dad’s interests when buying a gift, such as golf clubs or fishing rods, but does Dad think that she may also like a hobby.  Don’t blow the budget though!

GIVE MOTHER A GIFT THAT WILL AID HER HOBBY. (1941, December 19). Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1856 - 1954), p. 2 Supplement: Greetings Our Christmas Supplement. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70713714

GIVE MOTHER A GIFT THAT WILL AID HER HOBBY. (1941, December 19). Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1856 – 1954), p. 2 Supplement: Greetings Our Christmas Supplement. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70713714

Wartime saw a raft of new regulations imposed on citizens and Christmas was not exempt.

SHORT HOLIDAY PERIOD OVER CHRISTMAS. (1941, December 19). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72698208

SHORT HOLIDAY PERIOD OVER CHRISTMAS. (1941, December 19). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72698208

Jack Watts of Horsham,  stationed in Malaya over Christmas 1941 wrote home of his Christmas experience.   The nurses of the AIF held an entertaining cocktail party.

CHRISTMAS DINNER ENJOYí. (1942, January 16). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72698798

CHRISTMAS DINNER ENJOYí. (1942, January 16). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72698798

The work of the Red Cross was often reported on during the 1940s.  On this occasion, they were sending 72,000 Christmas boxes to British prisoners across Europe.

CHRISTMAS PUDDINGS TO GERMANY. (1942, January 20). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72698955

CHRISTMAS PUDDINGS TO GERMANY. (1942, January 20). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72698955

Private T.M. Holmes of Gorae had a welcome break from stew and rice for Christmas 1941, spent in the Middle East.  A dinner of ham, turkey and plum duff was served by officers while the rank and file gave orders.

Les Hutchins spent Christmas in a hospital in Palestine and was grateful for his Red Cross parcel and the work of the nursing sisters to make sure Christmas for the patients was as happy as possible.

1940u

LETTER FROM OVERSEAS. (1942, February 2). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64378749

LETTER FROM OVERSEAS. (1942, February 2). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64378749

Christmas 1942,  and attention had moved from Europe and the Middle East to closer to home.  Troops were in New Guinea and family could send mail until November 15

Christmas Mail for New Guinea. (1942, November 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64382762

Christmas Mail for New Guinea. (1942, November 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64382762

New restrictions were in place  during 1942 and again Christmas was under the spotlight.   Santa was given the year off.

ADVERTISING RESTRICTIONS. (1942, November 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64382744

ADVERTISING RESTRICTIONS. (1942, November 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64382744

Printers kept a keen eye out for Christmas terms on their print jobs out of  fear of a £100 fine and/or six months imprisonment.

PRINTER'S PITFALLS. (1942, November 26). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64382890

PRINTER’S PITFALLS. (1942, November 26). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64382890

Advertisements were strictly censored as were motion pictures, signs, leaflets,  hoardings and more.

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING. (1942, November 27). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72706611

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING. (1942, November 27). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72706611

Traders were not allowed to employ staff specifically for Christmas trade but boys and girls could be used to free up the adult workforce for war related work.

CHRISTMAS TRADE. (1942, December 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64383060

CHRISTMAS TRADE. (1942, December 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64383060

Many would have been thankful for the double Christmas tea issue of 1942.

CHRISTMAS TEA ISSUE. (1942, December 15). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72706817

CHRISTMAS TEA ISSUE. (1942, December 15). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72706817

If Australian residents did not know what austerity was before WW2, they sure did by the end.  The country tightened its belt.  Not only that, a shortage of toys, sweets and books limited shopping. Shoppers opted for practical gifts,  ties and handkerchiefs.

HORSHAM'S AUSTERITY CHRISTMAS. (1943, January 1). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73103254

HORSHAM’S AUSTERITY CHRISTMAS. (1943, January 1). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73103254

Private Alfred Mitchell, formerly of Horsham, wrote a letter of thanks to Mr Crouch of Murtoa for the hamper he donated for Christmas 1942.  Alf. received  goodies including a tin of cream, dried fruit cake, tooth paste, chocolate, tobacco and kool mints.

As was the norm, Alf and the other members of his unit gave their puddings to the cooks to heat.

Christmas Hamper Appreciated. (1943, February 2). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73103694

Christmas Hamper Appreciated. (1943, February 2). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73103694

At the Horsham Methodist Church during December 1943, the congregation enjoyed the story of the nativity,  prayers for the King, Prime Minister and Winston Churchill and hymns.  The evening finished with a solo of “O Holy Night” by Mrs Wallace.   Christmas lilies, white gladioli, ivy and cyprus decorated the church.

Similar evenings were held at the St John’s Church of England and St Andrew’s Presbyterian church, also in Horsham.

CHRISTMAS MUSIC IN CHURCHES. (1943, December 21). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73108233

CHRISTMAS MUSIC IN CHURCHES. (1943, December 21). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73108233

The Australian Comforts Fund packed over 400,000 hampers for New Guinea and beyond during Christmas 1943.

Christmas Hampers for Troops. (1943, December 20). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64387758

Christmas Hampers for Troops. (1943, December 20). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64387758

 

Christmas 1944 saw a promise of better toys.  Limited materials and labour had reduced the quality during the war period.

1940ff

Christmas Toys may Improve. (1944, August 25). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 8. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11358186

Christmas Toys may Improve. (1944, August 25). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 8. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11358186

 

Portland people were getting behind the Lord Mayor’s appeal to send toys to Britain for Christmas 1944.

TOYS FOR BRITAIN. (1944, September 25). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64390532

TOYS FOR BRITAIN. (1944, September 25). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64390532

 

Cecile Besnard of Olinda won first prize in the 1944 Argus plum pudding recipe contest with a Creole Coffee pudding

1940ii

New Christmas Pudding Idea. (1944, November 21). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 9. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11371169

New Christmas Pudding Idea. (1944, November 21). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 9. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11371169

Christmas Decorations. (1944, December 19). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 10. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11375480

Christmas Decorations. (1944, December 19). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 10. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11375480

 

Despite the Japanese surrender, Christmas hampers were still in great demand for Christmas 1945.

Christmas Hampers. (1945, September 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 1 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64405473

Christmas Hampers. (1945, September 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 1 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64405473

Children that could not remember a Christmas before the war looked forward to celebrating a “real” Christmas in 1945.  Santa was back and made in-store appearances.  Sadly the toys were still inferior and the dolls thought ugly enough to scare little girls.

1940ww

Children To Have Real Christmas. (1945, November 14). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 10. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12153002

Children To Have Real Christmas. (1945, November 14). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 10. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12153002

Gift suggestion articles were back as retailers got back into the swing of Christmas trading.  Dad could expect a brush, socks or even a wool dressing gown worth 44/6 and 8 coupons.  If mum was a smoker, maybe a lipstick shaped lighter or for something different, why not a shower curtain?

Give Them for Christmas—. (1945, December 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 7. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12157846

Give Them for Christmas—. (1945, December 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 7. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12157846

Gas was in short supply in 1945 as was poultry and ham.  On the bright side dried fruits, almonds and holly sprigs were back.

CHRISTMAS PROBLEMS FOR THE HOUSEWIFE. (1945, December 19). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 12. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12159361

CHRISTMAS PROBLEMS FOR THE HOUSEWIFE. (1945, December 19). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 12. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12159361

After years of penny-pinching and low-key Christmas days,  shoppers were out in force in 1945.

1940aaa

PEOPLE BUYING HEAVILY FOR CHRISTMAS. (1945, December 21). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 3. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12159834

PEOPLE BUYING HEAVILY FOR CHRISTMAS. (1945, December 21). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 3. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12159834

Toys were plentiful, but English mechanical toys were in limited supply and beach toys were unobtainable.

CHRISTMAS TOYS PLENTIFUL. (1946, October 25). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 18. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22390326

CHRISTMAS TOYS PLENTIFUL. (1946, October 25). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 18. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22390326

Carols By candlelight was growing in popularity, so the Horsham City Council decided to introduce their own for Christmas 1946.  May Park was the proposed venue.

CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT. (1946, December 10). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73080615

CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT. (1946, December 10). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73080615

POULTRY SALES. (1946, December 16). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954), p. 4 Edition: Afternoons.. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65438306

POULTRY SALES. (1946, December 16). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 4 Edition: Afternoons.. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65438306

Christmas was brighter in Australia, but in Britain the situation was still grim.  Gifts of food could be left at the Camperdown branch of the Red Cross in Manifold Street.

1940oo

Christmas Food For Britain. (1947, December 15). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954), p. 1 Edition: Afternoons.. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65243667

Christmas Food For Britain. (1947, December 15). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 1 Edition: Afternoons.. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65243667

Was this the beginning of what used to be almost annual event?  Brewery workers went on strike just before Christmas 1947.

CHRISTMAS BEER HOW ASSURED. (1947, December 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved December 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22529758

CHRISTMAS BEER HOW ASSURED. (1947, December 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 1. Retrieved December 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22529758

The Red Cross provided transport for patients at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital to return home for Christmas 1947.  Trucks, cars and ambulances drove patients to towns such as Dunkeld, Port Fairy, Colac and Terang.

AT HOME FOR CHRISTMAS. (1948, January 20). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73087674

AT HOME FOR CHRISTMAS. (1948, January 20). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 8. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73087674

The Australian Women’s Weekly had personal gift giving ideas and a new cook book offer in their December 4, 1948 issue.

Our cookery book will make a wonderful Christmas gift. (1948, December 4). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 34. Retrieved December 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51389595

Our cookery book will make a wonderful Christmas gift. (1948, December 4). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 34. Retrieved December 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51389595

DIGGER DOINGS. (1948, December 31). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73093199

DIGGER DOINGS. (1948, December 31). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73093199

Father Christmas arrived on a bike for the Portland Kindergarten play-group Christmas party.

CHRISTMAS TREE. (1949, January 20). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64417285

CHRISTMAS TREE. (1949, January 20). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64417285

Radio 3HA ran a hospital appeal on Christmas day 1948 and due to its success, repeated it in 1949.

Xmas Radio Appeal for Hospitals. (1949, December 1). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64420168

Xmas Radio Appeal for Hospitals. (1949, December 1). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64420168

December.  What a month!

1940ggg

Editorial. (1949, December 3). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 18. Retrieved December 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51594508

Editorial. (1949, December 3). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 18. Retrieved December 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51594508

The December 17,  1949 issue of the Australian Women’s Weekly had recipes for Almond Snowballs and Chocolate date log and Christmas table presentation ideas.

Christmas. (1949, December 17). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 53. Retrieved December 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51600533

Christmas. (1949, December 17). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 53. Retrieved December 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51600533

 

The Argus also had Christmas table hints and a recipe for Rabbit pâté.

Your Christmas Table. (1949, December 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 4 Supplement: The Argus Woman's Magazine. Retrieved December 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22799645

Your Christmas Table. (1949, December 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 4 Supplement: The Argus Woman’s Magazine. Retrieved December 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22799645

 

Horsham traders were not experiencing a Christmas rush in 1949 and cooler weather had slowed the sale of summer clothing.  Barnetts, however, saw a rush on that ever popular Christmas gift, handkerchiefs.  Men’s dressing gowns were also selling well.

NO CHRISTMAS BUYING RUSH BUT TRADING IS STEADY. (1949, December 23). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved December 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73103040

NO CHRISTMAS BUYING RUSH BUT TRADING IS STEADY. (1949, December 23). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved December 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73103040


An Early Christmas Present

While I take a short break from Christmas posts, I thought I would tell you about an early and surprising Christmas gift I received.

An email arrived late last month from fellow Western District researcher Daryl Povey from the Glenelg and Wannon Settlers website.  He had noticed the following notice in Alan Bald’s book “Births, Deaths & Marriages printed in the “Hamilton Spectator” 1-7-1859 to 31-12-1920″  of which there are 11 volumes:

MARTIMER.–Hannah Martimer (or Mortimer,) wife of a Cavendish carrier, died 26/8/1888, after being bed-ridden for eight months.

“The Hamilton Spectator” 28th August 1888

At last, thanks to Daryl, I had a death date for Rosanna Buckland and yet another variation to her name, Hannah.  You may remember the sign at the entrance to the Old Cavendish Cemetery, listing a “Mrs Mortimer”, buried in 1889.  I do believe now that “Mrs Mortimer” is Rosanna which would make the date incorrect.  Rosanna was only 63 when she died and it is sad to find that she was bed-ridden in the months before her death.

Daryl then forwarded the notice for Rosanna’s husband, James Mortimer:

MORTIMER.–On the 3rd inst., at his late residence, Cavendish, James Mortimer, aged 74 years. Born in Windsor, Wiltshire, England, he came to the colony in 1851, was a station driver and overseer, then a carrier. He died of dropsy and heart disease, and was buried on 5/11/1895, leaving four grown-up children. His wife died about 7 years ago.

“The Hamilton Spectator” 5th November 1895

As Daryl pointed out, there are a couple of errors in this notice.  James was born in White Waltham, Berkshire, England and he and Rosanna arrived in Victoria in December 1852 aboard the “Bombay” and of course James was a station drover and not a driver.

Thank you Daryl for your help once again.   Why not check out Daryl’s website which also incorporates the Casterton Historical society website.  If you have a Western District Family or have an interest in Western District history, particularly  the south-west,  you are bound to find something of interest.  I am constantly amazed at the amount of content on the site.


In The News – November 24, 1941

The Portland Guardian of November 24, 1941 heralded the 100th birthday of Heywood, a small town about 25 kms north of Portland.  The article remembered The Bell family and their contribution to Heywood’s settlement.  I recently  introduced to you my family link to the Bells in a Trove Tuesday post – A Matter of Relativity about Amelia Harman.  Amelia married Christopher Bell, a grandson of John and Elizabeth Bell.

John Bell and his wife Elizabeth Morrow, left Ireland in 1841 with eight children in tow, some were adults, and sailed to Australia aboard the “Catherine Jamison“.  Five months after their departure, the Bells had settled at Mount Eckersley, a few kilometres north of Heywood.

 

 

 

Great contributors to Western Victorian racing, the family were good friends with poet Adam Lindsay Gordon.  William Bell was with Gordon when he made his mighty leap at Blue Lake, Mt. Gambier.

The Department of Primary Industries cites the height of Mt Eckersley as 450 feet (137 metres) but that didn’t stop John Bell, at the age of 101, from climbing the volcano, only months before his death.

As a family known for longevity, twin sons Henry and James lived to 92 and 97 respectively.  At one time they were Australia’s oldest living twins.

HEYWOOD IS ONE HUNDRED. (1941, November 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 1 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved November 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64402492

All of this is well and good but is it all true?  John’s year of death is recorded as 1885, with his birth about 1787.  That would have made him around 97/98, short of the 101 reported.  Still, if he did climb Mt.Eckersley, to do it aged 97/98  was still a mean feat, but John may not have been a centenarian.  The family notice in the Hamilton Spectator at the time of his death gives his age as 98.

There could also be a discrepancy with the year the Bells settled at Mt Eckersley.  The Bells did arrive on the Catherine Jamieson on October 22, 1841 to Port Phillip.  The newspaper article says they were in Heywood by November 1841.  The Glenelg and Wannon Settlers site states John Bell settled at Mt Eckersly in 1843.

A further reminder to not always believe what you read in the papers.


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