Tag Archives: Bishop

Australia Day

Because of time restrictions, I’m not participating in the 2014 Australia Day Blogging Challenge.  Don’t despair, some great geneabloggers have written posts for the 2014 Australian Day Challenge, a Geneameme, C’Mon Aussie created by Pauline Cass of the Family History Across the Seas blog.

Instead, I will re-visit my 2012 and 2013 posts, Wealth for Toil – William Hadden and The Drover’s Wife

The 2012 Challenge was about occupations and the phrase “wealth for toil” from the Australian National Anthem.  “Toil” stood out for me and I chose to write about my gg grandfather, William Hadden of Cavendish, and his work of almost 70 years, at Mokanger Station.  Full Post

The following year threw up a new challenge and for 2013, the task was to write the story of my first ancestor to arrive in Australia.  I decided not to go with my ggg grandparents Thomas Gamble and Ellen Barry, both early arrivals, because I had told their stories on other occasions.  Instead I chose Sarah Hughes, another ggg grandmother, who I had suspected arrived in 1840.

Sarah married James Bishop in 1852 and after time in Mt Gambier and the goldfields of Ararat, they settled around Byaduk and later Macarthur.  Jim was a drover and my post explores life for the wives when their husbands were away for long periods on the road. I enjoyed writing this post and I have only now read again it for the first time in a year.  As I say in the post…pass the tissues please.  Full Post

WATTLE & WILDFLOWERS 1886,  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. IAN13/11/86/SUPP http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/253970

WATTLE & WILDFLOWERS 1886, Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. IAN13/11/86/SUPP http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/253970


Byaduk Cemetery

I enjoy a trip to the Byaduk Cemetery.   When I turn off the Hamilton-Port Fairy Road and drive up the hill on not much more than a track, I can sense the ghosts of my ancestors around me, walking or driving a buggy up the hill following a horse-drawn hearse to the cemetery.  It is like stepping back in time.

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IMAGE COURTESY OF THE STATE LIBRARY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA B62833 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/63000/B62833.htm

There are over 250 burials, in the cemetery and I will share photos of a small sample of headstones, including some of my family.  There are also unmarked graves, such as that of my 4 x great grandparents Joseph and Sarah Harman.

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THREE BROTHERS

Scottish brothers, Colin, Duncan and James Fraser called Byaduk home and became respected residents.

The brothers immigrated from Scotland in 1853 and went to the Ararat diggings.  When land became available in 1861, the brothers went to Byaduk and Colin and James selected “Aird“.

They all at one time lived at “Aird. “James built a hut there but later built a home at “Lower Aird”, the adjacent property.  Colin built his home at “Aird” where he resided until his death.  The Victorian Heritage Database has a concise history of the Frasers and information about the Aird Homestead complex and the Lower Aird Homestead complex.  The Weekly Times ran an article about Lower Aird” in 2009.

Duncan didn’t buy land initially, rather, he returned to Scotland.  In 1871 he was back in  Byaduk with his wife Margaret and four children, Simon, Helen, Donald and William and they lived at “Aird” for a time.  In 1873, Duncan purchased “Camp Creek” where he lived until his death in 1878 aged just 49.

HEADSTONE OF DUNCAN &     FRASER, BYADUK CEMETERY

HEADSTONE OF DUNCAN & FRASER, BYADUK CEMETERY

James and Mary Fraser produced a WW1 hero, 2nd Lieutenant Simon Fraser, and his bravery at the Battle of Fromelles, is commemorated at the Australian Memorial Park at Fromelles.  A statue “Cobbers, depicts Simon carrying a fellow soldier during the battle.

2nd Leuitenant Simon Fraser, 58th Battalion.  Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial-ID no H05926 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/H05926/

2nd Leuitenant Simon Fraser, 58th Battalion. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial-ID no H05926 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/H05926/

A member of the 57th Battalion,  Sergeant Simon Fraser carried men from No Man’s Land.  As he lifted a man on his shoulders, he heard another call out , “Don’t forget me cobber”.  Simon was later promoted to 2nd Lieutenant. The following year he was killed in action.  “Cobbers” has been replicated at the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne.

Colin and Margaret Fraser lived at “Aird” but unlike the other two brothers, they had no children.  “Aird” was later purchased by another well-known Byaduk family, the Christies.

GRAVE OF COLIN &     FRASER, BYADUK CEMETERY

GRAVE OF COLIN & FRASER, BYADUK CEMETERY

I am very thankful to James and Mary Fraser’s third son, Peter Fraser.  It was Peter’s writings of the Early Byaduk History in 1931, compiled from events he kept in diaries, that has given me so much information on the history of Byaduk and the families that lived there.

Peter did not publish his writings, but in 1994, Ian Black of Hamilton, typed them out and published a wonderful little book, Early Byaduk Settlers.  It may only be only 15 pages long, but it is a star on my bookshelf and a must for anyone that has ancestors that lived at Byaduk.  Peter tells the story of the Fraser brothers in great detail.

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There are at least sixteen Frasers buried at Byaduk.  Following are some of the family’s headstones:

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The following headstones are either linked to each other in some way or have direct links to the Harman family

Jane Carmichael (nee Pope) came to Byaduk from Scotland later in life with two of her children, Charles and Emma.  From what I can gather her husband had either died in Scotland or remained there.

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Family Notices. (1917, November 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved March 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1664422

Family Notices. (1917, November 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 1. Retrieved March 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1664422

Emma Carmichael, born in Dundee, Scotland around 1859 married Albert Harman in 1907.  She was 48 and Albert 39.  Albert was the fourth son of James and Susan Harman.

HEADSTONE OF ALBERT AND EMMA HARMAN

HEADSTONE OF ALBERT AND EMMA HARMAN

Samuel and Jane Tyers did not have any children, but other members of Samuel’s family lived in Byaduk.  There are at least nine other Tyers family members in the Byaduk Cemetery including Samuel’s sister Jane.

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Other than Charlotte’s obituary, I could not find a lot about James and Charlotte Ward.  It was that obituary, however, that helped me find a link between this headstone and the one following it.

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Family Notices. (1904, April 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved March 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10315347

Family Notices. (1904, April 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 1. Retrieved March 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10315347

This  Holmes headstone has a link to the previous one and to Samuel and Jane Tyers (above).  Joseph Holmes (1862-1929) was the son of George Holmes and Jane Tyers.  Jane was a sister of Samuel Tyers (above).

Joseph married Agnes Brand.  Her grandparents were James and Charlotte Ward (above).  Her parents were William Brand and Agnes Ward and Charlotte’s obituary mentions her daughter “Mrs William Brand”.

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The following headstone belongs to Isabella Ward and her son Charles Ward.  Isabella was Isabella Harman, daughter of James and Susan Harman.  Her sister, Julia, married George Holmes, brother of Joseph Holmes (above).

Isabella married Stephen Ward in 1885 and their son Charles Frederick Ward was born in 1886, the same year as his mother’s death, presumably as a result of the birth.

I had heard from Nana that Henrietta Harman, Isabella’s unmarried sister, raised Charles.  James Harman, in his will, made provision for his daughter Henrietta and grandson, Charles to stay in the house that he owned beyond his death and for as long as needed.  Also, after the death of Henrietta, a trust would allow for Charles’ maintenance.  That was not because Auntie Henrietta outlived her much-loved nephew Charles.  He died in 1928 at Ballarat.

IMG_1830Henrietta Harman was Nana’s great-aunt and she could recall as s a child,  Auntie Henrietta visiting their home.  That would have been during the 1920s and 30s.  Henrietta would catch the coach from Byaduk to Hamilton.  “She was a dear old thing” Nana would say.  I think maybe because Nana, Linda Henrietta, was named after her great-aunt she felt a special bond.  Henrietta passed away in 1952 and was buried in a simple grave at Byaduk,.

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Catherine Harman was the wife of my great-great uncle Charles James Harman, son of Reuben James Harman and Elizabeth Bishop.  Catherine was Catherine Kinghorn, daughter of Francis Kinghorn and Elizabeth White.  Born in 1868 at Byaduk, Catherine married Charles, at the age of 37, in 1905.  Charles was 10 years her junior.  Catherine died in hospital in  Melbourne in 1913.  Charles enlisted in the Australian Flying Corps in 1916 and remarried in 1922 to Lavinia Raven Fisher of Middle Park.

IMG_1845William Leslie Harman was born in 1888 at Byaduk, the third child and eldest son of Alfred Harman and Louisa Newman.  William was the grandson of James and Sarah Harman.

IMG_1838Isabel Bunworth was Isabel Harman, the sixth daughter of Alfred and Louisa Harman and sister of William (above).  Isabel married John Bunworth of Byaduk in 1923.

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Gershom Harman (1869-1940) was the second son of Reuben Harman and Elizabeth Oliver.  He married Elizabeth Hilliard in 1905 and they had two children, Ivy and Gordon.

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Family Notices. (1934, March 10). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 13. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10917287

Family Notices. (1934, March 10). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 13. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10917287

Family Notices. (1940, June 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 4. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12469954

Family Notices. (1940, June 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 4. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12469954

Now to the Bishops and another Harman link as my gg grandparents were Reuben James Harman and Elizabeth Bishop.

The following headstone belongs to Charles Bishop and his wife Sarah Dancer.  Charles (1856-1916) was the eldest son of James Bishop and Sarah Hughes.  He was the brother of Elizabeth Bishop.

Charles married Sarah Dancer in 1884 and they had 11 children.  Frances Bishop Hylard was their ninth child, born in 1900.  She married Edward Thomas Hylard in 1920.

IMG_1824Charles Bishop passed away from a heart attack while loading wood.

COUNTRY NEWS. (1916, August 28). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 9. Retrieved March 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1598956

COUNTRY NEWS. (1916, August 28). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 9. Retrieved March 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1598956

Percy Almond Bishop was the second son of Charles and Sarah Bishop.  Percy was born in 1888 at Byaduk and enlisted in 1916 at Hamilton and served with the 39th Battalion.  He was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal and a Military Medal.  Percy never married.

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Family Notices. (1946, May 31). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 2. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22250486

Family Notices. (1946, May 31). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 2. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22250486

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Ian Marr’s website, Cemeteries of S.W. Victoria has a full list of the headstones at the Byaduk Cemetery.

**Thank you to Maria Cameron, President of the Port Fairy Genealogical Society for providing with me additional information on the Fraser family and correcting an oversight I had made on the parentage of Simon Fraser.


Australia Day Blog Challenge – The Drover’s Wife

Helen V. Smith’s brief  for the 2013 Australia Day Blog Challenge – Tell the story of your first Australian ancestor.

Easy –  Ellen Barry arrived in 1840 on the Orient.  But you have heard enough about Ellen and her husband Thomas Gamble, another early arrival (and possible convict).   Most of my other ancestors were 1850s Assisted Immigrants.  Maybe I could go with a hunch.

My ggg grandparents James Bishop and Sarah Hughes have been difficult to research.  I eventually discovered they married in Adelaide in 1852.  A few years ago, on the passenger list of the Lysander an 1840 arrival to Adelaide, I found Robert Hughes, his wife and four daughters.

Shipping Report. (1840, September 8). Southern Australian (Adelaide, SA : 1838 - 1844), p. 3. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71619943

Shipping Report. (1840, September 8). Southern Australian (Adelaide, SA : 1838 – 1844), p. 3. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71619943

As Sarah’s father was Robert,  I’ve kept the Lysander filed away in my mind (yes, there are probably better places), occasionally having a search around the records hoping for something new.

For this post, I decided to try to find, the arrival date of  either Sarah or James, but I had to choose.  Firstly, I would need to cough up, pay $20 for a digital image of a Death Certificate simply because I was short of clues. This was still cheaper and faster than ordering a hard copy of their South Australian Marriage Certificate.

I’ve posted about James before and I know something of him but nothing of Sarah except she gave birth to 11 children, but I did want to know more.  Also, as Sarah passed away before her husband, the informant would most likely have been James and, if he was still of sane mind, information would be more accurate than that on his own certificate.   He  died 10 years later in 1895 and his informant may not have known the detail I was after.

Based on that reasoning , Sarah it would be.  So I begrudgingly  happily paid $20 and waited, with fingers crossed for the digital image to appear. More often than not when I order a certificate, I end up disappointed.  I was, on this occasion, pleasantly surprised.  The column I was most interested in was “How long in the Australian colony”.  It read, “14 years in South Australia”, in Victoria…almost illegible but it looks like 34 years.  What do you think?

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It does not prove that Sarah came on the Lysander but it does qualify her as an early arrival, so let the story begin.

I have told much of the Bishop family story in the post Jim’s Gone A-droving but what of Sarah’s story?  I know so little about her but with help from Henry Lawson’s “The Drover’s Wife” one can  wonder and imagine what  life was like for her.  While I don’t believe that she felt the isolation experienced by Lawson’s “wife” she must have felt the same loneliness.

Sarah Hughes was born in Brighton, East Sussex, England in 1834 to Robert Hughes and Mary Godfer.  Robert was a sailor according to Sarah’s Death Certificate.  As a child, Sarah arrived in Adelaide.  By 1852, aged 18, she had met and married James Bishop from Dorset, nine years her senior.  They lived at Thebarton an  Adelaide suburb.  Eight days short of their nine month anniversary, Sarah and Jim welcomed a daughter, Mary Elizabeth, named after her two grandmothers.

For most of his working life, Jim was a drover.  The following article describes a James  Bishop, working as a shepherd near Gawler, South Australia in 1853.

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This could well be my Jim, off working early in the marriage.  I have often wondered why only one child was born during the  Adelaide days from 1852-1855/6, considering the speed of conception of the first child and frequency of the later children. Maybe Jim was away working?   Could the gaps between the eleven children be a  measure of Jim’s absences?

Baby Mary passed away in 1855 and this may have been a catalyst for a move.

Family Notices. (1855, March 26). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 2. Retrieved January 24, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49308047

Family Notices. (1855, March 26). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), p. 2. Retrieved January 24, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49308047

Or was it gold?  Jim and Sarah next turned up in Ararat where a new lead was found in early 1856.

ARARAT. (1856, June 27). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), p. 2. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88050962

ARARAT. (1856, June 27). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88050962

Would life as a miner’s wife be any different to a shepherd’s wife?  The goldfields were harsh for women, in the minority and left alone while their husband’s sought to change their fortunes.  There was the cold (and Ararat  can get very cold), the mud, the heat and dust.   Home was either a tent or  hut.  Settled in Ararat,  Sarah gave birth to three children in four years, including my gg grandmother Elizabeth, and at best, if lucky, a midwife assisted or another miner’s wife.  Disease lurked on the goldfields, a constant worry for a mother with young children.

Seemingly luckless, the Bishops moved to Mount Gambier.  Jim would have turned to droving by this time.   While they were in Mount Gambier,  Harriet was born in 1860 and Ellen in 1862.

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By 1865, the family had  moved to the Macarthur/Byaduk area and in the same year, after a break of three years, Sarah gave birth to a daughter.  She called her Mary after the child she lost 10 years before.

dw2During Jim’s absences, he often took cattle to the Adelaide markets, Sarah would have faced the harshness of the land on her own.  By 1870, she had eight children from a newborn to 14.  That year,  Jim selected 16 acres at Warrabkook, out of Macarthur.  At least the older boys could have helped her with daily farm tasks and Elizabeth, 13 and Harriett, 10, with the babies.

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Sarah’s relationship with James is something I wonder about.  Nine years younger than him and only a girl when they married.  Drovers were stereotypically hard-drinking men adapted to long periods alone.  Margaret Kiddle in her book, Men of Yesterday, A Social History of the Western District of Victoria  described drovers as “…hardbitten, sunburnt and blasphemous.”(page 411) How did Jim adjust back at home?  The peace of life on the road with a mob of cattle would be very different to a home full of children.  Did Sarah do as Lawsons’ drover’s wife and not make a fuss?

dw9 In 1878, one of Sarah’s boys committed an act that would break any mother’s heart.  Second son  George and two other young men were charged with the rape of Mary Ann McDonald, an incident that rocked the district.  That charge was later dropped, however George was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment on a charge of indecent assault.

TELEGRAPHIC DESPATCHES. (1878, May 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 7. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5932114

TELEGRAPHIC DESPATCHES. (1878, May 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 7. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5932114

As Lawson’s “Drover’s Wife” killed a snake that terrorised the family in their home, her eldest son, with some sense of her emptiness, declared “Mother, I won’t go drovin’, blast me if I do”.

dw11For Sarah this was not the case.  Eldest son Charles worked as a drover.

PASTORAL INTELLIGENCE. (1890, January 15). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 6. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8583931

PASTORAL INTELLIGENCE. (1890, January 15). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 6. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8583931

Third son Robert worked as a drover.

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The droving blood ran deep.  The 1913 Electoral Roll lists Sarah’s grandson Hubert Nathaniel Gurney Bishop, with the unmistakable name and son of Charles, as living in Longreach, Queensland.  I  believe this his him.

PASTORAL NOTES. (1913, December 15). Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1885 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60386074

PASTORAL NOTES. (1913, December 15). Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1885 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60386074

Sarah died on May 15, 1885 at Byaduk from pulmonary tuberculosis.  Buried at only 51 at  the Macarthur cemetery.  The Wesleyan minister presided.  On Sarah’s death certificate her profession was not home duties, or wife or even mother.  It was a role that was all of those and more…drover’s wife.

 

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After I wrote this post I watched Australian country singer Luke O’Shea ‘s take on The Drover’s Wife.  Pass the tissues please.

SOURCES:

Excerpts of Henry Lawson’s short story “The Drover’s Wife” from Queensland Country Life – EPICS OF THE BUSH. (1936, June 11). Queensland Country Life (Qld. : 1900 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article97158517 and Henry Lawson’s Stories of the Bush. (1936, June 18). Queensland Country Life (Qld. : 1900 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article97158597

A full version of “The Drover’s Wife” is available at this link – http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/l/lawson/henry/while_the_billy_boils/book2.1.html

Bound For South Australia

 

 

 


False Alarm

Reading the list of newspapers waiting to be released by the NLA’s  Trove,  I noticed the Port Fairy Gazette would not be far away.  Out of interest, I ran a search for “Port Fairy” and bingo many “coming soon” articles came up.  As my Harman and Bishop families lived in Port Fairy at various times, I went straight for a search on “Harman”.  Eleven matches came up with nine  relevant to my Harmans.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw one of the article previews:

Mr James Harman, Byaduk, aged 85, died last week. He landed in Port Fairy in 1853 and…..

It looked like it could be my ggg grandfathers obituary.  I search for his obituary every time Trove releases a new paper.  To date all I have found is the following snippet from The Argus:

COUNTRY NEWS. (1916, August 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 8. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1630566

Brothers Walt, George and Jonathan all had lengthy obituaries why not my ggg grandfather.  Even the shadow dweller, brother Alfred had a Family Notice when he died!.  It did seem that my only chance was to search the microfilmed Hamilton Spectators at the Hamilton History Centre .  The hard part about that is getting to Hamilton.

Trove’s release of the Port Fairy Gazette (1914-1918) happened today and yes, the much-anticipated article was available.  I clicked on the link.  This is it, I thought.  What did I find?

Personal. (1916, August 24). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88010281

Twelve more words than the preview.  Only 12 words.  How can I expect any more in The Hamilton Spectator?  How I can ever expect to find any mention of the death of my ggg grandmother Susan Read, wife of James, who died in the same year?

On the bright side I found a couple of good Bishop related articles and a nice article about my gg uncle Charles James Harman prior to his departure for Egypt during WW1. So far, only 1916 is available but  based on the results so far, I think I’m bound to find more when the other years become available.

It was a big day for Trove today with 13Victorian titles released and another Western District paper,  the Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser (1914-1918) was among them.

Also of interest to me are the Flemington Spectator (1914-1918) and the Wangaratta Chronicle (1914-1918)Sarah Harman and her husband George Adams lived in Flemington and so far I have found plenty of “Adams” matches in the Spectator but none for Sarah or George yet.  Herbert George Harman, nephew of James Harman was a reporter for the Wangaratta Chronicle for over 50 years and I have found matches for both him and his father George, mostly to do with their Masonic activities.


Trove Tuesday

a collection or store of valuable or delightful things

(Oxford Dictionary)

No better words could be used to describe the National Library of Australia’s Trove website.  If you have read a few of my posts, you would know I’m a big Trove fan.    A recent post by Jill Ball at her blog Geniaus, mentioned an initiative by Amy Houston which interested me.  Amy on her blog Branches, Leaves and Pollen, told how she too is a fan of Trove and invited Australian bloggers to join her on Tuesdays each week to blog about the treasures we have found at Trove.

I have many Trove treasures and a lot of my blog posts are about those.  At first I thought I would not take part merely because I didn’t think I could choose just one a week.    Where would I start?  That is much like asking me to name my favourite book or film of all time.  I just can’t do it.  But, as Amy suggests  the treasure don’t always have to be about a family member it could be anything of interest.

I can do that.  How often have you found a newspaper article about a family member, only to find the article, above, below or beside  just as interesting.  I’m into advertisements too and I always read them.  There are some absolute gems, so expect to see some of those on Tuesdays.

Due to time constraints this week, I thought I would begin with a recap of some of  my posts that highlight the benefits of Trove to family historians, particularly the digitised newspapers.   Without the newspapers, there is much that I wouldn’t know about my ancestors. Even hours of record searching couldn’t unearth what I have found.

In fact, the papers lead me to the records.  Whether it is records from courts or cemeteries, sporting clubs or churches, Trove has led me there.  Not only is it a time saver, many of the leads I have found come from places I would never have thought of searching.

These are some of my treasures to date:

Witness for the Prosecution – The story of three of my relatives who were witnesses in murder trials.  I believe two of those stories, that of my ggg grandmother Margaret Diwell and my grandfather Percy Riddiford, would have remained hidden if it wasn’t for Trove.

Alfred Winslow Harman – Stepping out of the Shadows – I knew little about Alfred Harman before I starting an intensive search for him in the Trove digitized newspapers.  Now I know so much more.

Nina’s Royal Inspiration – The story of Nina Harman and her carpet really is delightful.  As Nina is not a close family member, I possibly would not have known this story without finding her direct descendants.  Instead I found it in a Women’s Weekly at Trove!

To Catch a Thief – Ordinarily,  to find Jim Bishop’s brush with the law, I would have had to search the Branxholme Court Registers held at PROV‘s Ballarat Archives Centre.  Not too hard, but with so many people to research and so many towns on the Victorian court circuit, it may have been a long time before I found it.  Thanks to an article in the Border Watch, that time in Jim’s life is now known to me.

All Quiet By the Wannon – The Mortimer family of Cavendish kept to themselves.  Articles I found at Trove finally gave my ggg James Mortimer a voice.

Mr Mortimer’s Daughters - Another Mortimer puzzle solved thanks to Trove.  From Henry Mortimer’s death notice in the Portland Guardian, I was able to establish the married name of one daughter and a second marriage of another daughter.

There are list of Western Victorian newspapers available at Trove on my Links page.

Don’t forget there are other great treasures that can be found while searching at Trove.  Look beyond the newspaper matches as you never know what might come up in the other categories.  I have found photos of family members and some great early photos of Western Victorian towns while searching.  Trove is also great for tracking down books.

I will try to post something each Tuesday.  Thank you to Amy for the idea and I hope other Australian geneabloggers get involved too.

Show us your treasure and celebrate Trove!


To Catch A Thief

Well, well, well, what an exciting surprise. While searching the newly released digitised copies of the Mt Gambier paper, the “Border Watch“, I discovered that in 1877, ggg grandfather James Bishop was nabbed for horse theft and remanded pending trial.

I suppose the find was more exciting than surprising.   Why wasn’t I surprised?  Well, Jim was a drover and the article revealed he was also a dealer.  Many horses would have passed through his hands, probably unbranded. Being a drover/stockman I would doubt bookkeeping was a strong suit and after reading many Pound Notices in the newspapers of the time, a lot of horses were wandering the countryside.  Mix ups could easily happen.

SUMMARY OF NEWS. (1877, October 27). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved February 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77048847

I was, however, very excited with this new discovery. Enough to tweet about it!  To find some “dirt” is always exciting.  Why is it that we always get the most satisfaction from finding a record of an ancestor’s misfortune?  Criminal records, wills and obituaries are favourites of mine, but don’t forget inquests and asylum records.  Obviously some of the excitement is just because we have found something, anything, but it also makes the family member more interesting.  These finds give them character.  An extra dimension.

On the point of character, I would have assumed Jim’s was nothing but respectable.  A Harman/Bishop marriage (that of my gg grandparents) took place in the same year as the arrest with another in the years following. With the Harmans being self-respecting church people, I am sure neither would have occurred if there was any doubts about Jim.

I had to find the outcome of the matter.  I had thought of going to the Ballarat Archives Centre (PROV) where the Branxholme court registers are held (Series VPRS 4892 Court of Petty Sessions Registers).  This however was not going to shed much more light on the trial itself.  Surely there was more than one newspaper report.  Country newspapers reported on even the smallest of stories, and the fact James was remanded made it newsworthy.  Now that I had the date of the court case, I could narrow a Trove search down.  Believe me, this is a great help when searching a name like Bishop where a match to the Bishop of Ballarat is more likely than any members of the my Bishop family.

I narrowed down a search of “Bishop Branxholme” to 1877 and bingo, the top two matches were about James.  One, I had already found, but the other from the “Portland Guardian“, reported on Jim’s trial in November 1877 after his first court appearance.  While I had searched the same paper for the Bishops, I had not found this article.  The value of dates!  Oh and some knowledge too.  If I had of found the article earlier I may have picked up it was one of my Bishops but I would have been unsure which one.

The barter system was alive and well in the Western District in the 1870s with James trading a horse and £5 for a buggy.  The question was where did the horse come from and was it one of Mr Officer’s of Harton Hills Station

Upon questioning on this matter, Jim replied he did not know how he came to have the horse. Not a good start.

Evidence then moved to that of Constable Foster who arrested Jim in a plain clothes operation.  Who would have thought?  Jim didn’t .  When asked by the plain clothed Constable at Lower Byaduk, prior to his arrest, if he had sold mares at Branxholme lately, Jim said “…no, he had none to sell”  but added that Mr Madison had sold two colts for him at Branxholme.  As two of the four missing horses were colts, Foster arrested Jim and sent him to the lockup.

While incarcerated, Jim had plenty of time to think over his recent conversations and must have realised he said the wrong thing to Foster and raised it with him.  Jim told Foster he had thought he was “…one of Chalico’s men come to look after some of my horses, and this is why I told you I sold no mares at Branxholme.”

Then it became clear Jim was not a good bookkeeper, with him stating at the time of sale he did not get a receipt from Ted Lee the postman from whom he had bought the horse.  Then Ted was hurt, so Jim went to Belfast (Port Fairy) to get a receipt from Ted, but he was too sick.  Oh dear, things were not looking good.

At last, a savior.  Witness Samuel Taylor took the stand.  He had seen Jim and Ted Lee together with four horses.  Ted told Samuel he had sold the horses to Jim.  The horses were then agisted at Taylor’s property for the next fortnight.  Phew.  Case dismissed and Jim was off the hook.

BRANXHOLME. (1877, November 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63339852

So Jim didn’t go to jail, but if it wasn’t for Samuel Taylor’s evidence, he may have. I hope he had Ted Lee lined up as a witness.

Now the excitement has subsided and I can continue to consider Jim Bishop an honest man.  But deep down inside, a small part of me is crying…I could have searched prisoner records!  Sorry Jim!


In The News – February 8 – February 13, 1901

I have an interest in the weather, not just today or on the weekend,  but also historically.  I  participated in Melbourne University’s Climate History newspaper tagging project which involved tagging newspaper articles at Trove  which reported weather events.  This was an  interesting exercise and what did became obvious was the cyclical nature of the weather.  If it has happened before it will happen again, droughts, floods and storms.

Taking it further, I also have an interest in how such weather events effected my ancestors. That is why the Victorian bushfires of 1901 are of interest.  The weather was very similar to two days in my lifetime,  Ash Wednesday February 16, 1983 and  Black Saturday February 7, 2010 and in each case, fires spread across Victoria.  When I look at the  Department of Sustainability Bushfire history of Victoria, I am surprised the fires of 1901 are not mentioned.

The first reports came through on February 8, 1901 of the destruction.  The following article from The Argus describes the weather of February 7, 1901.  The descriptive language used takes the reader to that day.  The heat was oppressive, the wind was strong and dust storms crossed the state, causing an unnatural darkness.

HEAT AND GALES. (1901, February 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5. Retrieved January 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10533956

Fires had sprung up in the Western District.  Early reports from Branxholme were tragic with one death, stock killed and houses lost.  I have family links with three of the families who lost their homes, the Millers, Storers and Addinsalls.  George Miller, a racehorse trainer, lost his house and stables and no doubt his horses.

HEAT AND GALES. (1901, February 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5. Retrieved January 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10533956

The two-day race meeting at Ararat was held under stifling conditions.   A fire started at the course on the second day and horses were burnt.  Later the wind picked up and ripped iron off the grandstand roof, sending the ladies within running for shelter.

HEAT AND GALES. (1901, February 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5. Retrieved January 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10533956

Fires spread across Victoria including Warrnambool, Alexandra, Wangaratta, Buninyong, Yea and Castlemaine

DESTRUCTIVE BUSH FIRES IN VICTORIA. (1901, February 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved January 30, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14337694

Reading the following article about the fires at Byaduk , it really hit home how my Harman and Bishop families may have been impacted.  Even if they were lucky enought not to lose their homes, the scenes would have been unforgettable.

TERRIBLE BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 9). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 7. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4818069

In 1901, my great-grandmother Sarah Elizabeth Harman, gg grandfather Reuben James Harman and his parents James Harman and Susan Read were all living at Byaduk.  Not to mention various gg uncles and aunts and cousins, both Bishops and Harmans.  I wonder how they coped.  Did 18 year old Sarah take refuge in a dam or creek with her Grandmother Susan?  Was 70 year James Harman still fit enough to help fight the fires?  These are questions that I will never know the answer to. All I know is they were lucky enough to escape with their lives.

DESTRUCTIVE BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 9). Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (NSW : 1851 - 1904), p. 2. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64452557

The Australian Town and Country Journal accounts for 10 homes lost at Byaduk.  The Free Presbyterian Church was lost and the hotel caught alight but it seems it was saved.  The homestead of Richard Thomas Carty at “Brisbane Hill”, a large property at Byaduk, was destroyed.  The Cartys rebuilt and the replacement homestead “Dunroe” still stands.

THE VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 23). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 38. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71463761

This photograph gives us some idea of the devastation.

THE VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 23). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 38. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71463761

Portland was also under threat with fire circling the town.  The fire did not stop until it met the sea.

VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 11). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 5. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4818536

Buninyong near Ballarat was one of the worst areas hit as was Euroa and district.

BUSH FIRES IN VICTORIA. (1901, February 9). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23853766

THE VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 23). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 38. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71463761

By January 11, aid for the homeless was on the agenda and at  Branxholme a public meeting was held to discuss such matters.  Authorities discovered the fire near Branxholme, which was possibly the same fire that hit Byaduk, was started by a travelling tinsmith fixing a trough at Ardachy Estate.

THE BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10534297

Nearby Macarthur also had losses as did Princetown on the south coast.  At Timboon, bullock teams from the local sawmill were lost.

FIRES IN VICTORIA. (1901, February 12). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 6. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article54558042

The fire was so strong and relentless that old residents were drawing comparisons to Black Thursday of 1851.

TELEGRAPHIC. (1901, February 12). Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 - 1916), p. 32. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32205605

Today and for the past few days, the temperature has struggled to reach 20 degrees. Three years ago the temperature was more than twice that.  The weather will be like today during future summers, but I also know there will be days again like February 7, 1901, February 16, 1983 and February 7, 2009.  It is the nature of the weather.  Let us hope the devastation of each of these past events are never repeated.


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