Tag Archives: Gamble

A Simpler Time

An old photo album has a way of taking you back to a time when everything was simpler.  As life today gets busier, there are aspects of those times that would be welcome again.  Christmas is one of those.  Braving the shops near Christmas, I’m always amazed at the frenzy. The real meaning of Christmas is forgotten with the need to meet expectations or to compete with others high on shopper’s lists.

The following photos  take me back to a time when Christmas was simple and special.  It was around 1950 when Mum was a little girl living in Ballarat.  The first two photos are of my grandfather Bill Gamble and Mum at a special time, Christmas tree day.  Not a purple or blue tree, or a highly coiffed real tree, but one plucked from the side of the road, carefully selected to fill the home with Christmas joy.  While there was a plastic Christmas tree in my house while growing up,  I do remember similar pine Christmas trees we had a school, tall, often stooped and adorned with paper chains and lanterns.

My grandparents both rode bikes, their only form of transport then, and my grandfather had a nifty little trailer to go on the back, perfect for carting a Christmas tree…or taking a little girl for a ride.

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The following photos were taken in Hamilton at the home of Nana’s brother, Bill Hadden on either Christmas Day or Boxing Day the following year.  My grandparents lived in Ballarat, but their families lived in Hamilton.  Given the family didn’t have a car then, I asked Mum how they would have travelled to Hamilton.  She suspects they went by train.  How did the trike get to Hamilton, I asked?  She didn’t know…maybe Santa made a special delivery.  Of course, I had to ask how they got the trike back to Ballarat.  Again she didn’t know.  Now I’ve got her wondering.

This is Mum, with her cousin Norma and a special visitor.

0089Norma and Nana’s sister, Rosie Miller (nee Hadden)

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What more could little girls want for Christmas other than a trike or a pram and doll.

oooNow a photo from when I was growing up in the 1970s, not as uncomplicated as the days before television but it was still an unpretentious time.  The year was 1975 and the occasion was the annual Grade 2 Nativity play, a Christmas staple for those taught by Miss Coffey.  Not a fancy costume in sight, but rather tea towels and dressing gowns sufficed. (I was a shepherd).

NativityHere’s to simpler times.


Trove Tuesday – Christmas Music

The Hamilton Brass Band has played a big part in lives of some of my family members, especially the Diwell and Gamble families, and there are still descendants of those families in the band today.  Another family member, Frederick Hughes the husband of my ggg aunt Martha Harman was a long-standing leader of the Hamilton Brass Band.

With Christmas just around the corner, I thought I would share this little snippet found at Trove, from the Hamilton Spectator of December 22, 1917.  An annual tradition for the band, was to play on “Kennan’s corner”, (the corner of Gray and Thompson Street) on Christmas Eve.  Freddie Hughes, a Hamilton jeweller, was band leader.  Interesting not a Christmas Carol in sight on the program.

CHRISTMAS MUSIC. (1917, December 22). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119860771

CHRISTMAS MUSIC. (1917, December 22). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119860771

Band music is my blood, so  I just had to find a rendition of one of the pieces on the play list, “Sunshine of Your Smile”, to take me to Kennan’s Corner, Christmas Eve, 1917.


Trove Tuesday – Ladies of the Night

It is not surprising Pam Jennings was able to write three volumes of her book, Wild and Wondrous Women of Geelong if this week’s Trove Tuesday article from the Boxing Day, 1848 edition of the  Geelong Advertiser  is anything to go by.  Not only that,  my own wild and wondrous ggg grandmother Ellen Barry and her sister Mary were living in Geelong at the time and I have found references to both of them in Volume 3 (1870-1879).  Despite Ellen’s vices, I doubt she would have been the type to take a ride in Geelong’s “nuisance” cab.

CHRISTMAS. (1848, December 26). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1847 - 1851), p. 2 Edition: MORNING. Retrieved May 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93133214

CHRISTMAS. (1848, December 26). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1847 – 1851), p. 2 Edition: MORNING. Retrieved May 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93133214

Soon we will be able to read more from the Geelong Advertiser on Trove, with issues from 1857 to 1918 due to be added in the 2013/14 financial year.  This is exciting news for anyone with family in Geelong, including myself, but also Western District researchers.  You can read more about it on the Geelong and District blog.

 


Gardeners in My Family

It was the Afternoons program on 774 ABC Melbourne that got me thinking about my gardening pedigree.  Presenter Richard Stubbs asked listeners how they came to take up gardening.  Was it passed on from someone else?

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I grew up in a gardener’s house and remember constant talk of  Spring and Autumn annuals, Marigolds, Petunias, Camellias, Dahlias, the constant moving of sprinklers and manure.

When Nana came to live with us in the late 1970s, the garden talk doubled and if my Great Auntie Rosie came to visit, well.  Auntie Rosie was Nana’s sister and they had other siblings that were keen gardeners too.

One was my great-uncle Bill Hadden.  Visiting his garden was special.  I remember fish ponds, orchids and a large television antenna tower that I had an urge to climb every time I went there.

This is a lovely photo of Uncle Bill as young man in his parent’s backyard at 78 Coleraine Road, Hamilton, planting seed in neat rows with help from his niece, Margaret.  It was about 1934.

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I too lived at 78 Coleraine Road.  Mum and Dad lived there when they first arrived in Hamilton after their marriage in 1967.  I came along in March 1968 and we lived there for about a year after my birth.  I wish I had have been older to remember the house, which was later pulled down, as that was the family home of my great grandparents, Thomas Hadden and Sarah Harman and where Nana and her brothers and sisters grew up.  Four generations lived in that house.

I showed Mum the photo of the backyard at 78 Coleraine Road and she was able to tell me more about it.  She said there was still a fence across the backyard when we there but it is was then made from  chook wire.   Auntie Rosie had lived there before us and she kept chooks.  After the photo, cherry plum and blood plum trees were planted and an apple tree, seen in the photo, was still there 33 years later.

Uncle Bill had his own home built after returning from WW2.  It was at 80 Coleraine Road, next door to his parents.

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The photo above, shows Mum and Nana, on the left, and Mum’s cousin Norma, right, in the front yard of Uncle Bill and Auntie Bess.  Although a reasonably new house, Uncle Bill already had an established garden and neat concrete and lawn driveway.  He later added a garage and sheds at the end of the driveway.

Alma, another of Nana’s sisters was also a green thumb.  When I visited her a few years ago, when she was in her late 90s, I was amazed at her beautiful potted cyclamen on her back porch. Despite almost no vision, she tended them with care.  She was often found pottering around the garden that she knew so well and was able to move around nimbly.

Advertising. (1876, July 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63316883

Advertising. (1876, July 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63316883

 

Before Nana came to live with us, she and my grandfather, Bill Gamble lived in Ballarat and I have great memories of visiting their house.  The backyard was small but  the space was well used .  Bill grew espalier apples, among other things, and had a shed with three sections lining the back fence.  From my memory, the left section was a fernery, the middle a utility shed that held grain to feed the occupants in the third section, the chooks.  I did like to admire the maiden hair ferns and their cool, soft foliage,  and the feed shed where I dipped my hands into oats in a large wooden barrel. But I did not go in the chook shed.

Advertising. (1936, July 30). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 1 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64273334

Advertising. (1936, July 30). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 1 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64273334

When I checked my memory against mum’s she told me the left side of the shed was interchangeable, depending on her father’s interest at the time.  He used to have budgies too and I can now remember budgie boxes in that part of the shed and attached to the fence.  She couldn’t remember the maiden hair ferns, but her father did grow Pelargoniums at one point.  That must have run in the family, as the following is a photo of one of Mum’s Pelargoniums.

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The next photo was taken looking across the Gamble backyard.  We have several photos taken from this angle.  It must have been the “photo spot”.  Nana (centre) is  flanked by Bill’s aunt, Jane Diwell and a friend of Jane’s from Geelong.  In the front is my Uncle Peter.  Hopefully the photo shoot did not go on too long as there may have been an accident.

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Of interest here is the espalier apple tree on the fence, the concrete garden edging my grandfather put in himself, the sack of oats and the Bergenia or “Elephant’s Ears” along the toilet wall.  Mum  used to call them “toilet flowers”.

Auntie Shirley, Bill’s sister is also a keen gardener.  We visited her in the past year and her garden was beautiful, a result of much hard work on her part.  She is now in her 80s.

My grandfather, Auntie Shirl and Auntie Jane were descended from a keen gardener, Richard Diwell, Jane’s father.  Richard was a member of the Hamilton Horticulture Society. His specialty was chrysanthemums.  The society often attended shows in nearby towns and the following  item is from 1896 when the Hamilton growers headed to Portland to show of their blooms.  Richard won three prizes in his class.

Portland Horticultural Society. (1896, May 1). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63635528

Portland Horticultural Society. (1896, May 1). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63635528

The chrysanthemums exhibited by the Hamilton growers were impressive, some a little too impressive for an amateur show.

Portland Horticultural Society. (1896, May 1). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63635528

Portland Horticultural Society. (1896, May 1). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63635528

Richard also liked ferns and apparently had a fernery.  He was a keen photographer too, and this is one of the photos we have that he “staged” and took himself with a camera timer.  A selection of plants are in the foreground including a maidenhair fern.

Richard & Elizabeth Diwell and family

Richard & Elizabeth Diwell and family

A garden photo that interests me is from the backyard of Richard’s daughter, Edith Diwell, my great-grandmother.  The photo is of three of her sons, including Grandfather Bill on the left.  This was either at a house in Mt Napier Road, Hamilton or Skene Street, Hamilton.  Either way, they would have only been in the house a short time before the photo was taken, so the garden layout was not the work of Edith.  However, it still gives an example of a 1920s backyard.  There is a vegetable garden, with wooden edging and the boys are standing in front of a Yucca.  A fruit tree stands in the background.

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My paternal side of the family, the Riddifords, did not have the same influence on my love of gardening.  Dad has never grown anything.  Well, at least that’s what I thought.  Mum told me how he thought cauliflowers could be a profitable venture, sometime around 1967, and planted them in the backyard at 78 Coleraine Road.  Turns out there was little market for his produce and that was the end of his gardening days.  We probably ate cauliflower with white sauce for some time afterwards.

Dad’s father, Percy Riddiford, did like to garden.  It was not until  recent years that I came to know how much.

Prior to her death, my Grandma, Mavis, gave me a binder of Your Garden magazines collected by Grandpa.  I knew he liked roses as they lined the perimeter of their front yard, but I didn’t realise his passion went as far as buying gardening magazines.  It just happened that the year the magazines were from was 1968, the year I was born.

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I did enjoy visiting Grandma and Grandpa’s in Ballarat.  A sign, “The Riddifords” hung proudly on the letterbox.   A terrace garden was at the back of the steep block.  Three large steps led to the top of the terrace and I recall that as a small child, I would haul myself up the steps and teeter on the top to look across neighbouring backyards to see Sovereign Hill in its infancy, sprouting up on a nearby hill.  I would cry out that I could see the “historical park”.

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I recently drove past Grandma and Grandpa’s old house to see if Grandpa’s roses were still there.  I do remember them there, but look old and gnarly, not the many years ago.  They are now gone, but suckers grow were the roses were.  A little reminder of Grandpa.

‘My gardening history started in a rented house, but now with a  home of my own, more passion is imparted.  In the 13 years we have lived here, I have gardened through a 10 year drought, dogs, goats, child and recently a plant shredding hail storm.  Inspired by Edna Walling and dispirited by Mother Nature and her creatures.

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My garden is probably not at the point I would like it, but it has changed over the years thanks, I suppose, to the drought.  I started with a range of cottage perennials, including some unusual varieties, but full water restrictions (no mains watering) did not help many of those thirsty English plants.  Anything that survived I have planted more of, and more natives and succulents have come in.

One of my favourite plants is the Aquilegia or “Granny Bonnet’.  It was also a favourite of Nana’s.

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One day my “Zephirine Drouhin”  roses will cover the arch they grow beside.  But every year, just as the juicy new shoots show, two white creatures manage to break into my garden and indulge in one of their favourite delicacies.

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Are We To Have More Fragrant Roses. (1930, September 5). Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 - 1939), p. 8. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57763452

Are We To Have More Fragrant Roses. (1930, September 5). Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 – 1939), p. 8. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57763452

The Sedum is an underrated plant and one that dates back to 19th century Australian gardens.  It transforms itself throughout the year giving ongoing variety in its form and it can cope with dry weather.  I have filled my borders with different varieties and they never disappoint.  The following description of the Sedum is from 1911.

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NOTES. (1911, March 25). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved April 6, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15231478

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Advertising. (1894, August 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved March 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65395732

Advertising. (1894, August 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved March 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65395732

If you would like to get an idea of how your ancestors’ gardens may have looked or you would like to recreate a garden from earlier times, Cottage Gardens in Australia by Peter Cuffley is a beautiful book and an excellent resource for studying Australian gardens right back to Colonial days.

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Pack Up Your Troubles

They should have known something when I suggested we go to Nelson for a few days.   Like last year when we travelled to Portland, I had found a destination that would  covertly satisfy some of my family history needs while still appealing to the other family members.

Back in April, I received an email from Daryl Povey from the Glenelg & Wannon Settlers site.   Daryl had been at the Digby Hall for ANZAC day and spoke to an old school friend, Doug.  Doug had purchased a property near Digby some time ago and had found an army issue backpack hanging on a door in the house.  It was in good condition and had the name Pte E. H. Gamble  written on it.  Daryl  knew of my Gamble link and asked me if E.H. was a relative.  He most certainly was, he was my great-uncle, Ernest Hiram Gamble

Ernest Hiram Gamble was born in 1915 at Hamilton, the third son of Joseph Henry Gamble and Edith Diwell.  My grandfather, William Henry, was the oldest son, and was four years older than Ern.

The following photo is L:  Ern, Norm, Bill (my grandfather).  This is one of my favourite Gamble photos.

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There is a lot in the photo.  The boy’s shoes – aren’t they great?  The boy’s jackets – All different and probably all from different sources, but still Edith ensured her boys looked smart.   The garden – I have an interest in Australian gardening history and the photo offers a glimpse into a 1920s backyard.  The smiles – it is heartening to see this picture taken in the early 1920s.  The boys look so happy and pleased to be together.

In the years earlier, the boys went through a period of separation.  Joseph and Edith moved from Hamilton to Moonee Ponds for a short time, living not far from Josephs’ brother Albert.   My grandfather and possibly some of the other children, spent some time in Ballarat. He even appears on the Macarthur Street State School records.  The  family returned to Hamilton in the early 1920s and three more children were born.  Life was tough at times but Edith, with her happy spirit,  kept them smiling.

In 1940, Ernest married Jean Lillian Watts and they moved to Mt Gambier.   Ern had worked as a grocer in Hamilton with Moran & Cato Pty Ltd a leading Australian grocery chain of the time and he transferred to their Mt. Gambier store.  A keen musician, a love passed through the Diwell line, Ern got involved with  local dances playing with his friend Colin McKinnon. The duo also performed in Amateur Hours such as the following at Mt Gambier in 1942.

Last Amateur Hour on Tuesday. (1942, October 24). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78118758

Last Amateur Hour on Tuesday. (1942, October 24). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78118758

Advertising. (1942, October 24). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78118780

Advertising. (1942, October 24). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78118780

On April 22,  1942, aged 27, Ern enlisted at Mt Gambier for service in WW2.  An appointment was made with The Arthur Studio in Mt. Gambier for a photo session for posterity.

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Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. BRG 347/4359 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/arthur/04500/BRG347_4359.htm

Ern’s work place gave him a send off and he set off to Adelaide for training in early October 1942.

Presentation to Staff Member. (1942, October 3). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78117772

Presentation to Staff Member. (1942, October 3). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78117772

A month later, Ern was given leave to spend time with Jean before his posting.

PERSONAL. (1942, November 12). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78119426

PERSONAL. (1942, November 12). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78119426

At time of his discharge, Ern was a corporal with the 1st Australian Base Ordnance Depot that, from what I can work out, was in Brisbane.  By the end of the war there was an Ordnance Depot at Bandiana in Victoria and I have found this referred to as the 1st Ordnance Depot.  The role of the Ordnance Corps is detailed below:

Men Wanted For Militia.—No. 7. (1940, August 6). The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved January 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article40949865

Men Wanted For Militia.—No. 7. (1940, August 6). The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved January 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article40949865

After the war, Ern and Jean welcomed a son, John Ernest.  They were living in Melbourne by that time.

This is another lovely Gamble photo.  Here Edith, surrounded by her family, and with a big smile,  looks so proud.  Ern is back right and my grandfather, back left.  This was from a series of photos taken on  a day the family managed to all come together from Melbourne, Ballarat and beyond.  My mum and Ern’s son John were only toddlers, so I think it may have been around 1948 and Edith was living at 18 Skene Street, Hamilton.

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In 1960, Ern passed away at McKinnon, aged only 44.  Jean died in 1971 aged 54 and the following year, only child John passed away, aged 26.

So that was it,  I had decided.  We were off to Nelson with its great fishing and oh, did I mention we would just happen to pass right by Doug’s house on the way?

We met up with Doug and his wonderful farm dogs.  What a great bloke Doug is, realising the backpack might hold some special family meaning and for looking after it until the day he may find some one who knew Pte E. H. Gamble.

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For over 60 years, Ern’s backpack hung on a door in a farmhouse, waiting for its owner to return.  The story of how it came to be there is not yet clear.  The house was previously owned by Ronald Mabbitt, a Digby man.  He passed away in 2005.  Ron did enlist in WW2, and when discharged he was with the 2/32 Australian Infantry Battalion.    Maybe their paths crossed during the war or maybe Ron was a musician.  Ron must have thought a lot of Ern to keep his backpack so long, hoping one day his friend may return.

Thank you to Daryl Povey for contacting me and passing on Doug’s details.    Your help is always appreciated.

Now I have some homework.   I need to order Ern’s service records from the National Archives of Australia and I am going to ring my Great Auntie Shirl, Ern’s only living sibling.  I picked Mum’s brain for this post but I want to find about a little more about Ern and his family and the instrument he played.  My grandfather played the cornet and I assume Ern was a brass player too.  I will also continue the search for the link between Ern and Ron Mabbitt.


Ellen’s Inquest

Recently I ordered some digitised Inquest records including those of my ggg grandmother Ellen Barry.  You may remember from the post A Tragic Night,  Ellen burnt to death in a house fire,  her drunkenness contributing to her demise.

The various newspaper articles from around the country gave good coverage of the fire including the findings of the coroner’s inquest and her movements on the night of her death.  I hoped that the inquest record would give me more.  The copy of the inquest proved worth it but since then Trove have released The Colac Herald (1875-1918) and an extensive article including transcripts of the witnesses evidence.  Therefore, rather than me describe what the witnesses had to say about Ellen, I can include their statements as found in the Herald

The first witness statement was from Dr Adam who examined Ellen’s badly charred body.  Even though unrecognisable , he was able to show the body was a woman and she was around five feet tall.

The next  statement was from mounted Constable Charles Magor from the Colac Police station.  By the time he arrived, the house had burnt to the ground.  He found what looked like a body and removed it, “carefully” , I might add, to the home of Ellen’s son George Gamble who lived a few doors away.

After the official witnesses, members of the public where then called, the first being Barongarook man William Heron.  He and his wife were travelling home from Colac around 11pm on January 24 when he noticed a light in Ellen Gamble’s window.  Interestedly he had seen Ellen at 9pm and to him, she appeared completely sober.

There is still a lot I don’t know about my ggg grandfather, Thomas Gamble save for fleeting mentions in Colac history books, some court records and more recently his obituary.  From the  reports of Ellen’s death that I had initially found  I had questions about their living arrangements, with Thomas supposedly living in another residence in the town.  His inquest statement reveals a little more:

 

Thomas Gamble had a greengrocer’s shop in Gellibrand Street, Colac.  Ellen had visited him at the shop on January 24th, a visit which seemed more like that of a shopper not a wife.   It is not clear if she paid for the items, however she requested vinegar and the very objects that helped contribute to her death, candles.  She also wanted bread so Thomas gave her 3 pennies to buy a small loaf on the way home.  After a drink of ginger beer she left with Mary Lennon who had also been in the shop.  Thomas noted that Ellen appeared sober then, between 5 and 6pm.  Mary Lennon in her evidence also said she thought Ellen appeared sober.

George Gamble then gave his evidence.  Ellen had wanted him to drink rum with her but he declined and Ellen went home.

DEATH BY BURNING. (1882, January 27). The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: Mornings. Retrieved November 17, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91455765

Finally evidence from George’s wife Mary-Ann including reference to Ellen’s grand-daughter Mary Ann as mentioned in A Tragic Night.  She was lucky she was not also burnt death with her grandmother.

DEATH BY BURNING. (1882, January 27). The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: Mornings. Retrieved November 17, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91455765

It’s great to have the Colac Herald online at Trove, but I hope I find some good news stories about my Gamble family soon.  Currently my Electronic Friend is sending me stories of Ellen’s court cases with  the most recent from her 33rd appearance before the Colac Police Court.


Passing of the Pioneers

The Ararat Advertiser (1914-1918) is now available at Trove and October Passing of the Pioneers highlights some obituaries from that area.  They show the lure of gold drawing people to Victoria with some of them, such as Mr and Mrs George Stock and Elizabeth Williams, being more like “gold rush chasers” moving from town to town as a rush occurred.

If you hoped your ancestor may have been a gold seeker and you haven’t found them at Bendigo or Ballarat, maybe they were at towns like Pleasant Creek (Stawell), Ararat, Landsborough or Ampitheatre.  I thought I had no gold miners until I found that James Bishop was a miner at Mount Ararat when my gg grandmother, Elizabeth Bishop, was born.

Other pioneers featured include one of my family members, Edward Gamble,  Mrs Hannah Johnstone who would never have starved if she had a gun at hand and two friends of Adam Lindsay Gordon.  I have noticed reading  obituaries that Adam Lindsay Gordon had a lot of friends, maybe even more than he thought himself!

James STARRIT: Died October 3, 1889 at Portland. It could be easy for those like James Starrit to be forgotten forever.  I have come across similar obituaries of men and women, unmarried and with few living relatives.  James Starrit, his two brothers, two sisters and elderly father arrived at Portland from Garry Gort, County Donegal, Ireland on August 18, 1852.  James and his two sisters never married and lived together on a farm, earning enough from the farm to allow them to live their simple life.  Prior to farming, James had been a policeman at Portland.

Edward GAMBLE: Died October 1897 at Colac.  Edward was my ggg uncle, and the son of Thomas Gamble and Ellen Barry.  He was only 47 at the time of his death from cancer.  His obituary alludes to its cause being his work canning rabbits,  a job he had for 21 years.  There was a preserving factory in Colac and surrounding towns.  Born in Geelong in 1847, Edward married Martha Hodgins in 1873.  They had 10 known children.  Almost 100 Oddfellows attended Edward’s funeral, dressed in their full regalia as a tribute to their fellow lodge member.

John McKAY:  Died October, 1907 at Richmond.  At the time of his death at age 84, John McKay was living with his son-in-law.  Prior to that he resided in Portland where he made his name as a blacksmith and wheelwright.  He arrived in Victoria in 1853 and Portland in 1854.

Mrs Martha FRENCH: Died October 30, 1908 at Portland.  Martha French died at the home of her grandson Charles French, just three months short of her 99th birthday.  Martha raised Charles and his siblings after the death of their father and as the obituary puts it so well “…the love and care she gave the three little ones was not relaxed as years advanced, and in return she in her declining years reaped the full reward by equally as loving care and devotion”.  Martha arrived in Victoria around 1858, spent a few years in Hamilton before moving to Portland.  She had two children living at the time of her death.

Mrs Mary MOULDEN:  Died October 1910 at Stawell.  Mary Moulden was born in Yorkshire on October 23, 1836 and at 13 she travelled to Adelaide, South Australia.  She married Mr Moulden and around 1875, they moved their family to the Wimmera in Victoria.  They later moved close to Stawell where she remained until her death.

Mrs Mahala LITTLE:  Died October 14, 1915 at Malvern.  Born in Cornwall in 1824, Mahala came to South Australia with her parents in 1840.  Mahala and her gold seeking parents moved to Victoria around 1852.  She married John Little at St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1857 aged 33 and they lived in the Ararat district throughout their married lives.  Just weeks before her death, Mahala moved to Malvern to live with her daughter.  Mahala lived through the reign of five monarchs and was 91 at the time of her death.

Thomas Christopher COATES:  Died October 26, 1915 at Buninyong.  Thomas Coates was one of the founding members of the Ballarat Stock Exchange and served as the secretary of the Ballarat Benevolent Society for 26 years.  He was born in Westmorland, England and arrived in Australia in 1853.  He settled at Creswick in 1854.  He died at the home of his son.

Mrs Agnes STEELE: Died October 11, 1916 at Rosebrook.

Obituary. (1916, October 19). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 22, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88009495

Mrs Elizabeth PRESNELL:  Died October 30, 1916 at Port Fairy.  Elizabeth Presnell was born in Parramatta, New South Wales.  When she was 11, she spent six weeks on a voyage to Port Fairy with her parents.  She married William Presnell, a farmer, known for having one of the first threshing machines in the Port Fairy district.  Elizabeth and William had 13 children, six sons and seven daughters.

William ARMSTRONG:  Died October 5, 1917 at Colac.  William was born in Belfast, Ireland the son of a Presbyterian Chaplin.  He arrived in Victoria in the 1860s, first spending time with his uncle at West Cloven Hills before setting up is own dairy farm at Darlington.  His community interests included the Darlington Presbyterian Church, the Mechanics Institute and he was the Darlington correspondent for the “Camperdown Chronicle”.  He left a widow and nine children.

Mrs Elizabeth STOCK: Died October 1917  at Ararat.  Born in 1823 in Somersetshire, England. Elizabeth married George Stock around 1852.  Not long after they married they sailed for Geelong arriving in October 1852.  In 1853, the moved to Ballarat then Stawell when gold was discovered in 1856 at “Forty Foot Hill” and then on to Ararat for the “Commissioners Hill” rush.  George was obviously following gold as they then went on to the rushes at Amphitheatre, Barkly and Landsborough.  Finally, in 1867, they settled at Ararat.  Elizabeth and George had 11 children, with seven still alive at the time of her death.  Like Mahala Little (above), Elizabeth’s obituary mentioned that she had lived through the reign of five monarchs.

Mrs Elizabeth WILLIAMS: Died October 10, 1918 at Ararat.   Elizabeth Williams was an early resident of Ararat.  She was born in Essex, England around 1824 and sailed for Sydney in 1852 aboard the “Earl of Elgin“.  While in Sydney she married J. Green.  After a year and with the lure of gold, she arrived in Bendigo, Victoria and followed the rushes until she ended up in Ararat.  She re-married to Robert Williams and they had three daughters.

Mary BARRETT:  Died October 19, 1918 at Ararat.  Mary Barrett was born in Ireland and arrived in Ararat in the 1860s.  Her uncle, Reverend Father Barrett was a pioneer Roman Catholic priest in the Ararat district and Mary resided with him.  Mary never married and when her health was failing, she moved to the Brigidine Convent in Ararat where she passed away aged 70 years.

James R. KEAN:  Died October 11, 1926 at Ararat.  Born in Portland in 1858, James Kean started working as a printer at aged 20.  Two years later, he became a journalist and produced the “Portland Mirror”.  The paper started out small, but within a year the subscribers increased and the paper was already thought of as “an influential and up to date journal”  In 1885, James purchased the “Portland Guardian” a paper established in 1842.  In the same year he married Jane Robertson,  daughter of Angus Robertson of Straun station near Merino.  James was  a member of the St Stephens Church choir, a member of the Portland racing club and the Masonic Lodge.

St Stephens Church Portland

John JOHNSTONE:  Died October 1930 at Portland.  John Johnstone was a very early arrival in Portland, in 1841, as a baby with his parents James and Dorothy Johnstone.  James was a blacksmith and wheelwright but he eventually purchased land at Kentbruck and built the Emu Flat Hotel or as known by travellers,” Mrs Johnstone’s”.  After his parent’s deaths, John took over the running of the hotel for a short time before selling it and taking up farming.  More commonly known as “Jack”, he was an expert bushman and rider and was a friend of Adam Lindsay Gordon.  He married Elizabeth Angus and they had three daughters and two sons.

John Richard MALLINSON:  Died October 14, 1934 at Pomborneit.  Born in Portland, John spent time in Merino and Hamilton as a child and young man.  He completed an apprenticeship as a blacksmith and wheelwright and opened a business in Coleraine.  After eight years, he moved to Timboon and then Camperdown in 1894 where he again ran a blacksmith’s shop.

Having lived in a number of towns and with his work as a blacksmith he had many friends with horse interests including Cobb and Co drivers of renown and like John Johnstone (above) Adam Lindsay Gordon.

OBITUARY. (1934, October 20). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27395509

Frederick WRIGHT:  Died October 14, 1934 at Camperdown.  Frederick Wright was born in Cambridgeshire, England around 1842 and arrived at Corio Bay, Victoria aboard the “Omega” aged 14.  He worked as a nurseryman in the Geelong district before learning to drive bullocks.  At 18 years of age, he took a load of flour to the goldfields at Stawell, the first bullock wagon driven into that area and he only had bush tracks to follow.  He moved to Camperdown in 1871 and ran a dairy farm and a chaff mill and later a butcher shop.  He was an original member of the Camperdown Turf Club.  He had 35 grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren at the time of his death.

Mrs Hannah JOHNSTONE:  Died October 1937 at Portland.  Hannah was born in Adelaide in the late 1840s  and moved to Kentbruck, near Portland aged 18.  She married Thomas Charles Johnstone, brother of John Johnstone (above).  Hannah was a woman not afraid to open and close gates and was handy with a gun.  She was known around Portland for sharing ducks or other game she had hunted.  Hannah and Thomas had 10 children.

John A. RIPPON:  Died October 13, 1938 at Camperdown

VICTORIA’S OLDEST “BULLOCKY”. (1938, October 20). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22995091

John Rippon carted the first load of timber into Purrumbete Estate  owned by the Manifold brothers  at age 18.  He liked it there and stayed for 10 years.  He then spent another 10 years with William Irving Winter-Irving at Tirrengower near Colac.  He then returned to work for William Thomas Chirnside splitting timber.  But John yearned for his bullock driving days and he began his own carrying business.

VICTORIA’S OLDEST “BULLOCKY”. (1938, October 20). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved October 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22995091

Rachel BLACK: Died October 27, 1941 at Kongorgong.  Rachel Black was born in the mid 1850s at Bridgewater.  Her father was Joshua Black, a pioneer of that area.  When Rachel married James Lightbody, the union brought three Bridgewater pioneering families together as James Lightbody was the son of Rebecca Kittson also from a pioneering family of Bridgewater,

Colins CATHELS:  Died October 26, 1952 at Hamilton.  Although he died at  Hamilton, Colin Cathels was a Portland identity.  Old aged forced him to leave the town he loved and he was not happy in his last days.  Born in the 1850s, Colin knew much of  Portland history and enjoyed reminiscing about picnics at the Henty’s home.   He was the Portland manager of the Belfast and Koroit Steamship Navigation Company.  Colin married a Robertson girl, from the well-known local family.


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