Tag Archives: Hamilton

Trove Tuesday – The Hamilton Ghost

I have previously written about paranormal activities in Hamilton for Trove Tuesday, when residents thought War of the Worlds had come to town.  Now I bring you the story of the Hamilton ghost.  Well, actually four stories but not all of the same ghost and on one occasion the Hamilton apparition drifted out of town to Macarthur.

What I like about these stories is that the ghosts were not the transparent style of apparition, but rather the classic white sheet type made popular by 19th century theatre.  There is a varying amount of tongue in cheek used in the reporting, but on each occasion there were a number of people scared out of their wits.

1941

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Hamilton's Ghost Walks. (1941, July 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved February 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64401002

Hamilton’s Ghost Walks. (1941, July 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved February 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64401002

1922

A "GHOST" SCARE. (1922, June 6). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved February 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72732250

A “GHOST” SCARE. (1922, June 6). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved February 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72732250

1898

Established August 1842. (1898, September 14). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved February 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63674221

Established August 1842. (1898, September 14). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved February 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63674221

1876

THE HAMILTON GHOST. (1876, May 13). Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser (Grafton, NSW : 1859 - 1889), p. 4. Retrieved February 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article61905173

THE HAMILTON GHOST. (1876, May 13). Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser (Grafton, NSW : 1859 – 1889), p. 4. Retrieved February 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article61905173


Trove Tuesday – In the News

The newspaper articles I have shared each week for Trove Tuesday are similar to those I choose for the spasmodic “In the News” posts.  There are now 21 in total (TT is drawing close with 19 posts), so I thought I would share a few of my favourites for this week’s Trove Tuesday.

September 23, 1870 – Fire swept thorough Hamilton’s main street, Gray Street.

The Bushfire series – February 8-13 1901, January 13, 1905, January 19, 1944

December 8, 1909 – The Grampians Bunyip

November 16, 1929 – Less than 12 months after my gg uncle, Charles James Harman flew on the airship R101, it crashed over France.

June 16, 1881 - Ploughing matches from Byaduk and beyond.


Trove Tuesday – Fido’s Feat

You may have noticed I do like a good animal story.  Here’s another from the Camperdown Chronicle of September 14, 1954.

It is the story of Fido, a sheep dog belonging to electrical contractor Mr A.J Moon of Hamilton.  Fido had been confined at a Port Fairy vet, but after a determined escape, he walked 54 miles home to Hamilton even though he was recovering from a leg operation.  When he arrived at Mr Moon’s home in Garton Street, Hamilton, Fido demolished 3lbs of steak.  His leg was cured too!

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Amazing Story Of Canine Courage And Endurance. (1954, September 14). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article24008716

Amazing Story Of Canine Courage And Endurance. (1954, September 14). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article24008716


Trove Tuesday – UFO Alert!

Hamilton experienced the paranormal during January 1954, with two separate “flying saucer” sightings.

Four saw flying saucers speed over Hamilton. (1954, January 13). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 5. Retrieved November 12, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26584624

From a  Trove search of “flying saucers” I found that during the 1930s the only flying saucers were those thrown across a room accompanied by a cup, but by the 1940s the flying saucers we know today, began to make news.  Many of the articles I saw were about experimental trials of flying saucers by earthlings.  But by the 1950s, “sightings” of flying saucers, presumably crewed by aliens, were common place.

A search of “science fiction” produced similar results.  There was no mention of the term during the 1930s, but by the 1950s it had reached meteoric heights.

The Science Fiction film genre changed during the 1950s.  Science Fiction films of the 1940s were horrors like Frankenstein and Dracula or superheros such as Batman and Robin.  The Invisible Man and Flash Gordon were also popular.  The 1950s Sci-Fi films took to the universe with life on other planets a major theme.  The film Flying Saucer was released in 1950. War of the Worlds and Invaders from Mars in 1953 and that year even Abbott and Costello went to Mars.

THE MARINS ARE HERE!. (1953, December 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 1. Retrieved November 12, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23303135

No wonder Hamilton residents were on high UFO alert. While the film version of War of the Worlds had not yet reached the town, to add to the hype, their holiday reading may have including installments of the H.G. Wells novel which ran in The Argus from December 24, 1953 until January 7, 1954, the same day as the Hamilton flying saucer sightings.

***If anyone finds Dr Hopper’s cosmic ray research balloon he would appreciate its return to Melbourne University.


In The News – September 23, 1870

This is one of my favourite articles about Hamilton’s history.  The Argus of September 23, 1870 reported that on the Sunday morning past, September 18, at 3am “the residents of Hamilton were aroused from their beds by the cry of “Fire!” and  a large crowd soon collected in Gray street…”.  What follows is a story of a desperate battle by fireman to save not only the shops surrounding the grocery story of Nickless and Wells but beyond.

The article gives an interesting insight into how a fire of such intensity was managed  in the 19th century.  Many buildings were wooden and there was little or no water pressure.  An early decision to pull down the butcher shop of  Messrs. Brown Brothers to create a gap between the fire and the rest of the buildings in the block was to no avail as the fire was quickly spreading from the other side of Nickless and Wells.  Fire fighting attempts were also hindered by the large crowd that had gathered.

DISASTROUS FIRE AT HAMILTON. (1870, September 23). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 7. Retrieved September 22, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5832754

Hamilton’s main street, Gray Street, is no stranger to fire.  Actually, there seems to have been an unusually large number of fires, causing significant damage often to several buildings in the town’s CBD.  I did a quick browse of Trove and found fires such at these  in the following years alone:  1874, 1885, 1888, 1900,  1912, 1914, 1920, 1930, 1932, 1938, 1944.

On August 1, 1962, one of Hamilton’s largest fires occurred when Strachans Department store, on the corner of Gray and Brown Street burnt out in a spectacular fire, talked about for years after.  During my time in Hamilton, 1970s and 80s, a large car showroom was destroyed on the opposite corner of Gray and Brown Street.  Since then, I can think of two other fires in Gray Street in the block between Brown and Thompson Streets.  The most recent saw the Target store  destroyed in October 2004 by a fire the Mayor of the time, Cr. Don Robertson considered large enough have burnt out the CBD.  What differed between the fire of 1870, with the same potential, and  the Target fire, was that in the case of  the latter,  a $1.2 million ladder platform truck was rushed from Ballarat and thermal imaging equipment came from Portland.  Huge advances from the times of horse-drawn fire-carts!

With the tendency for fires in the CBD, it was no surprise that after a fire in Gray Street in 1932,  Councillor Hughes thought smoke helmets could be of some use to the fire brigade.

SMOKE HELMETS NEEDED. (1932, March 4). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved September 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72599000


In The News – July 29, 1929

Although many of the Western District newspapers are not digitised at Trove, it is possible to find articles from the likes of The Hamilton Spectator in the The Portland Guardian,  for example.  On this day 83 years ago,  an excerpt from the Albion newspaper of Coleraine appeared in The Portland Guardian of July 29, 1929.

Prompted by the deaths of many of the early pioneers, the article reflected on the history of the Western District  from the time Major Thomas Mitchell made his way across the land he called Australia Felix 93 years earlier.

 

 

Early History. (1929, July 29). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64270110

There is a clue in the article for those of you who having trouble finding your Western District family member’s arrival in Victoria.  The writer mentions many people from Van Diemen’s Land making their way to Victoria once news got back the Hentys had pushed up from Portland into the Merino district.  It could then be possible that family members travelled to Victoria via Tasmania where they had resided as convicts or otherwise.

Jenny Fawcett, on her great South-West Victoria genealogy and history site,  has indexed the names of those who travelled to Victoria as part of a Geelong and Portland Bay Immigration Society scheme in 1845 and 1846.  The idea behind that and similar schemes was to bring labour into the colony with those behind the society being squatters and merchants.  Jenny provides a great description of the scheme on her site.

Browsing through the names,there are many I instantly recognise as Western District family names.  Also, a lot of the pioneer obituaries I have read tell of the deceased having come to Victoria via Van Diemen’s Land.

So, if you are beginning to think your ancestors were good swimmers, follow-up the possibility they came to the Western District from Tasmania.  You just never know.


Mystery Photos

Isn’t  it frustrating when you find old family photos but don’t who the subjects are?  Not long ago Mum found some photos of Nana’s we didn’t know she had. We don’t know who the people are and we have no one to ask.

I was recently contacted by Catherine Simmins, who has family links to the Western District.  She is facing the same dilemma with some photos passed on to her family some time ago.  Some were identifiable but others remain a mystery.

Catherine asked me if I could post the photos in the hope someone may recognise the subjects.  Alternatively,  if anyone is better at dating photos than myself, help in that area would also be appreciated.

THE PHOTOS

PHOTO 1

Also from Meek’s

PHOTO 2

 

PHOTO 3

The following three photos go together.

PHOTO 4

 

PHOTO 5

 

PHOTO 6

THE CLUES

The Family

Catherine’s family from the Western District included the family names THOMAS, McPHERSON, JONES and McDONALD.

Alfred Charles THOMAS (Catherines great-grandfather) was the son of  William THOMAS and Hannah JONES.  He was born in 1869 at Hamilton.  Alfred married Sarah Ann McPHERSON, the daughter of Angus McPHERSON and Christina McDONALD.

Alfred and Sarah had a large family of 11  children.

Alfred’s obituary lists the names of their children, their married names and locations.

Obituary. (1937, August 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 17, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64276614

Sarah’s obituary:

OBITUARY. (1940, February 26). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 17, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64395373

Of course, there is a good chance that the photos are not of this branch of the THOMAS family but have some link.   Catherine has offered a suggestion as to who the family in Photos 3, 4 and 5 could be.

Sarah Ann McPHERSON’s sister, Margaret Jessie McPHERSON married Donald McBEAN in 1891.  They had five known children:

Jessie Christina Jane born 1891 at Hamilton married Arch. NAISMITH

Alexander Angus born 1895 at Hamilton

Mary Monivae born 1900 at Hamilton

Margaret Murial born 1903 at Hamilton married Alfred BONE

Dorothy Jean born 1913 at Portland

This is the Family Notice for Donald McBean:

Family Notices. (1930, March 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 17, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64291722

I think Catherine’s hunch could prove correct given the number of children, their sex and the age differences in the children.  If that is baby Dorothy McBean, the  family photo could be from around 1914.

**My interest piqued when I saw the name Mary Monivae.  Monivae, my former secondary school in Hamilton, named after the Monivae homestead, the school’s first site during the 1950s, was formally owned by Acheson Ffrench and James Thomson.  I wonder if Donald McBean worked at the property or they simply liked the name. I’ll save that one for later!

The Photographer

James Meek, tobacconist and photographer of Gray Street Hamilton took Photos 1 and 2.  The earliest reference I can find of Meek in Hamilton was 1884 when he played a role in the investigations of a well-known murder case of the time “The Pierrepoint Murders”.  Pierrepoint is just out of Hamilton and Meek took a photograph of the murder victim to help with the identification process.  Interestingly a member of my Bishop family found his way into one of the witness statements.

Meek also spent some time in Portland in the mid 1890s

Established August 1842. (1896, February 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 17, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63634459

James Meek appears to have had a studio at Clunes during the early 1900s,  but I have also found references of him in Hamilton up until 1920.  There are a number of  photographs taken by James Meek at Trove

If you think you can help Catherine name the subjects in these wonderful photos, please leave a comment.  It would be much appreciated.


H is for…

If ever there was a time to enter the Gould Genealogy Family History Through the  Alphabet challenge, that time would be now.  “H” has a arrived.

When my descendants look back at my HISTORY, they will see the letter “H” recurring.

The marriage of Sarah Elizabeth HARMAN and Thomas HADDEN in 1904 brought together two of my “H”‘s.  They settled in HAMILTON and had a daughter, my nana Linda HENRIETTA HADDEN.

Thomas HADDEN & Sarah HARMAN

Sarah HARMAN was not the only one in her family to keep her initials after she married.  Her sister Ellen married a HANKS and she became Ellen HANKS of HARRIET Street HORSHAM.

HADDEN and HARMAN are two of the four main family names that make up the maternal side of my family.

HAMILTON too, features in my HISTORY.  Nana was born there and I was too.

Looking across Melville Oval, HAMILTON

I lived in HAMILTON for 18 years, the town that was formally called the Grange.  If that name had remained, my entry in this challenge may have been “G” for Grange, Gamble and the Grampians.

Nana’s middle name was HENRIETTA  which I used to find quite amusing.   Later I learnt that her name came from her great-aunt HENRIETTA HARMAN, an HONOURABLE lady but one, it would seem, with a lonely HEART.

Linda HENRIETTA HADDEN (left) & her younger sister, Enda

Another “H” which will go down as part of my HISTORY is HALLS GAP in the HEART of the Grampians.  Many HOLIDAYS were spent there and, at times, it has been a place I have called HOME.

HALLS GAP in the HEART of the Grampians

May my HISTORY also show that I liked HORSES.  It was HORSES in HAMILTON, HORSES in HALLS GAP and HORSES on HOLIDAYS in HALLS GAP, HORSES everywhere.

Finally, my HOBBIES include the HISTORY of  HADDEN, HALLS GAP, HAMILTON, HARMAN and, of course, HORSES.

HORSES in HALLS GAP

So, when I get over my obvious preference for the letters “M” and “R”, I can safely say “H” is one of my favourite letters as so much close to my HEART starts with “H”

***Apologies to the, HAZELDINE, HICKLETON, HODGINS,  HOLMES, HUNT and HURRELL families to whom I also have links.


In The News – June 22, 1877

Today’s “In the News” is from the The Portland Guardian of June 22, 1877 with the featured article from the Hamilton correspondent, filed on June 16, 1877.

The weather in Hamilton at the time was not dissimilar to the current weather and the streets and footpaths were muddy.  The cheeky correspondent suggested that the residents of Hamilton would not be thinking well of the town engineer after their foot drenching walk to church on Sunday.

HAMILTON. (1877, June 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved June 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63338700

Hare hunting was a popular sport of the time, with the weather not stopping the keen participants.

Australian Rules football was well under way in the Western District by 1877.

The papers reported disease of all types.  Typhoid fever was prevalent in the navvy’s (railway builders)camp by the Grange Burn in June 1877 and conditions were far from comfortable.   Diphtheria had also been reported, however the source was unreliable having given a false report of typhus fever in the past.

HAMILTON. (1877, June 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved June 22, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63338700


Another “What the Dickens?” Moment

To mark the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, I posted about Alfred Tennyson Dickens who lived in my hometown of Hamilton.  Entitled “What the Dickens?“, the post describes my amazement that a son of Charles Dickens could have lived in Hamilton.  Alfred left the town due to the accidental death of his wife Jessie.

Yesterday I was in Hamilton for several reasons, one of which was to visit the Hamilton Old Cemetery in search of the grave of Jessie Dickens and as a result, I had another “What the Dickens?” moment.

My visits to Hamilton are infrequent day trips so I try to cram in as much as possible. Visits to the cemetery are quick, usually to search for a specific grave or graves. Yesterday was no different, except I had absolutely no idea where in the cemetery Jesse was buried.  With Mum, we headed to the oldest and biggest graves.

We found the grave quicker than expected.  It turns out  the grave of Jessie Dickens is immediately behind my gg grandparents Richard Diwell and Elizabeth Jelly who I have posted about before.  We couldn’t believe we had previously visited the Diwell plot before, unaware the grave of the daughter-in-law of Charles Dickens was right behind. As we were earlier unaware of the Dickens link to Hamilton, we had not made the connection.

What I couldn’t believe was that I had missed the grave immediately behind Jessie’s. It was that of Stephen George Henty one of the Henty brothers, Victoria’s first settlers.  Stephen, thought to be the most influential of the brothers, was the first to settle inland from Portland, at Muntham, Merino Downs and Sandford stations.

DIWELL, DICKENS & HENTY GRAVES

 

Both the Diwell and Dickens headstones were chosen by heartbroken husbands, shattered by their wives premature deaths. Jessie was only 29, thrown from a horse-drawn carriage on Portland Road in 1878 and Elizabeth died at 44 due to complications of childbirth in 1900. I have updated the “What the Dickens?” post with a photo of Jessie’s grave.

When I came home I checked the photos I already had of the Diwell grave, and sure enough, you can see the two other graves in the background.  One of these photos appears on the post “Elizabeth Ann Jelly“.

The thing that struck me was that within a distance of about 6 metres lay the remains of 10 people.  Great Victorian pioneers, Stephen George Henty and wife Jane and their son, Richmond; the wife of the son of one of the greatest novelists of all time and my gg grandparents, Richard and Elizabeth Diwell and four of their children, Ralph, Rebecca, Ernest and an unnamed baby.  Wow!

 


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