Author Archives: Merron Riddiford

And the winner is…Hamilton Spectator

"[No heading]." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918) 6 Jan 1914: .

“[No heading].” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 6 Jan 1914: .

In 1951, the residents of Hamilton banded together in one of the greatest community efforts the town has ever seen.  From 6am to 10pm on a Saturday in December, a team of people met to dig a 165 feet by 50 feet Olympic size swimming pool.  Over the next two years, the volunteers continued their working bees building change rooms and a filtration plant until the pool opened for the summer of 1952/53.  The pool still serves the community today and it’s where many children have learnt to swim, including me.

"One way to build an Olympic pool." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 21 Jul 1953: 20. .

“One way to build an Olympic pool.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 21 Jul 1953: 20. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23257036&gt;.

Hamilton’s pool was the talk of Victoria and leaders of country towns met trying to emulate Hamilton’s efforts.  The Horsham Times of December 18,1951 published the comments of Mr Powell, the headmaster of the Hamilton and Western District College.  He said the efforts of the volunteers “marked a re-awakening of civic pride in Hamilton.”  Continuing, he said the town needed a pool and “a community effort was the best way of attaining it”.

While it in no way rivals the efforts of the people of Hamilton over 60 years ago,  recent activities prove the same community spirit is not dead.  For a week, Hamilton people past and present banded together to make sure the Hamilton Spectator moved a step closer to digitisation at Trove.  And it did, achieving 59% of the vote.

The ‘Spec’ hit the lead early and as the week progressed, the stand out rival was the Gympie Times.  The Gympie supporters were giving it a real push and by last Saturday, the Gympie Times had hit the lead. But Hamilton supporters rallied and by the close of voting on November 30, from a total of 31, 658, the Hamilton Spectator received 18,836 votes and the Gympie Times 10, 139. Coming in third was the Laura Standard with 1082 votes.

The I’ve Lived in Hamilton, Victoria Facebook group was abuzz with excitement, especially over the last weekend.  Former residents from interstate and as far away as The Hague and Texas joined the voting.   The Hamilton community spirit shone through,  seeking a win not just for the ‘Spec’, but also Hamilton.  It’s not surprising. Many group members are descendants of the residents who worked hard to give Hamilton a great community asset back in 1951.

Along with the Hamilton voters, there was also many Western Victorian family and local historians who voted, aware of the benefits the ‘Spec’ will bring to their research.  From the Victoria Genealogy Facebook group to the Rootsweb Western District mailing list, the word was out – “Vote for the Spec”.

So thank you Inside History Magazine and the National Library of Australia for giving us the chance to decide on a newspaper.  We look forward to the next stage of the ‘Spec’s’ path to digitisation,  a crowd-funding project.  I will keep you posted with news of that as it comes to hand.

 


Passing of the Pioneers

This November’s pioneers were an interesting bunch.  There were the sons of pastoralists, a deputy coroner and the daughter of a convict ship surgeon.  For me, it was mason Joseph Richards who caught my interest, arriving in a Hamilton in 1854 and pitching his tent on a block that is now part of the town’s CBD.  He later built the Hamilton Spectator offices.

Duncan ROBERTSON – Died November 1882 at Gringegalgona.  Duncan Robertson was born in Scotland in 1799.  He, his wife and three children travelled to Australia in 1838  first to N.S.W. and then Victoria.  They first settled at Satimer at Wando Vale before Duncan purchased Gringegalgona near Balmoral in 1856.   His brothers John and William took up land  at Wando Vale Station.  More information about Duncan and his family is available at South-west Pioneers.

Charles Henry Fiennes BADNALL – Died November 20, 1885 at Portland.  Charles Badnall was born in Staffordshire in around 1830s.  He arrived in Victoria during the 1850s and first went to the Portland district with a government survey party.  When that work finished he married Mrs Hannah McKeand  and they settled at Hannah’s hometown of Heywood  before moving to Portland.

"Family Notices." Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876) 19 May 1864: 2 Edition: .

“Family Notices.” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876) 19 May 1864: 2 Edition: .

Charles wrote for the Portland Guardian and was also a correspondent for the Hamilton Spectator.  He sang with the St. Stephens Church choir and was one of the founding members.  Across the weekend after Charles’ death, flags around Portland  flew at half-mast including on boats in the harbour, .   A biography of Charles is on the following link – Charles Badnall

St Stephens Church, Portland

Ann MERRICK – Died November 11, 1904 at Hamilton.  Ann Merrick was born in Somerset,  England around 1814 and married Edward Cornish in 1834.  In 1856 with a large family, they sailed to Australia, landing at Portland.  Edward’s first employment in Victoria was at Murndal Estate for Samuel Pratt Winter making bricks for the homestead which in years and several extensions later would look like this (below)

MURNDAL HOMESTEAD, Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria J.T.Collins collection,  Image no. H97.250/31 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230143

MURNDAL HOMESTEAD, Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria J.T.Collins collection, Image no. H97.250/31 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230143

After Murndal, the family moved to nearby Hamilton and Edward made bricks for the Hamilton Hospital.  The hospital was officially opened in early 1864, the year that Edward passed away.

HAMILTON HOSPITAL, Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H32492/2732 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63599

HAMILTON HOSPITAL, Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H32492/2732 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63599

Ann lived on in Hamilton for a further 40 years and was buried with Edward at the Old Hamilton Cemetery

Patrick LAVERY – Died November 19, 1905 at Minimay.  Patrick Lavery was born in Ireland around 1821 and arrived in Victoria with his wife in 1856.  They settled in Heywood where Patrick worked as a blacksmith and farmer.  After 27 years, Patrick moved to Minimay to farm with his sons.  At his funeral, there were 40 buggies and 25 men on horseback behind the hearse as it travelled to the Minimay cemetery.

George Gilbert HOLLARD – November 26, 1912 at Wallacedale. George Hollard was born in Devon, England in 1817.  He arrived at Portland in 1849 aboard the ship Bristol Empire and obtained work with Edward Henty at Muntham Station before returning to Portland.  During his final years, George took up residence at Wallacedale with his son.  He had great memories of the old times including the Governor of Victoria turning the first sod for the Hamilton-Portland railway in 1876.

"THE GOVERNOR'S VISIT TO THE WESTERN DISTRICT." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 28 Apr 1876: .

“THE GOVERNOR’S VISIT TO THE WESTERN DISTRICT.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 28 Apr 1876: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7437893&gt;.

Mary OSBORNE – Died November 11, 1914 at Portland.  Born in Ireland in 1825, Mary Osborne arrived in Australia as a 10 year-old.  Her father Alick Osborne was a surgeon aboard convict ships and later became the member for Illawara, N.S.W.  In 1852 at Dapto, Mary married Lindsay Clarke of Portland and Mary travelled south to Victoria to settle at Portland with Lindsay.

 

"Family Notices." The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) 28 Sep 1852: 3. .

“Family Notices.” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) 28 Sep 1852: 3. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12940304&gt;.

On the journey to Victoria, Mary and Lindsay sailed aboard the Lady Bird which was reported to have been a challenging voyage.  So much so, Mary and Lindsay disembarked at Port Fairy and continued the rest of their journey on horseback along the beaches between Port Fairy and Portland.  Mary remained in Portland for the duration of her life aside from six years spent in Hamilton.

Joseph RICHARDS – Died November 16, 1916 at Fitzroy.  Joseph Richards was born around 1830 in Cornwall and arrived aboard the Nestor to Portland in 1854,  with his wife Elizabeth and two young children.  After their arrival the Nestor was scuttled by the crew eager to get to the goldfields.  This account of the Nestor’s demise is from the obituary of Henry Barcham, first mate on the ship.

"[No heading]." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 19 Sep 1910: 2 Edition: .

“[No heading].” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 19 Sep 1910: 2 Edition: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page6067446&gt;.

Joseph arrived in Hamilton, then The Grange,  in November 1854 when there were few residents.  Joseph pitched his tent on a piece of land at what is now the corner of Brown and French Street. From the clues given in his obituary I believe it was the corner below with the brick house.  A couple of years later he purchased a block in French Street, building a home and residing there until into his seventies.

Joseph was a mason and his first job in Hamilton was to slate the roof of the Victoria Hotel which opened in 1855.  He also won the contract to build the office of the Hamilton Spectator (below), constructed in 1873.

 

HAMILTON SPECTATOR

HAMILTON SPECTATOR

The last eight years of Joseph’s life were spent living with his son in Fitzroy.  He was 86 when he passed away and his body was returned to Hamilton by train.   Joseph was buried in the Old Hamilton Cemetery.

George TURNBULL – Died November 19, 1917 at Hamilton.  George Turnbull was born in 1858 at Mt. Koroit near Coleraine to Adam Turnbull and Margaret Young.  George’s father and grandfather Dr. Adam Turnbull snr were in partnership on the property Winninburn.   George tried working for the bank but it was not for him and he returned to Winninburn to farm.  He was involved with the St Andrews Church and Sunday School.

WINNINBURN.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria JT. Collins Collection.  Image no, H98.250/295 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/232375

WINNINBURN. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria JT. Collins Collection. Image no, H98.250/295 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/232375

Frederick SPENCER – Died November 16, 1923 at Hamilton.  Frederick Spencer was born  in 1853 at Portland.  As an adult he took up residence at Dartmoor and was a Justice of the Peace.  In 1911, he was appointed Deputy Coroner for Dartmoor, a role that was long overdue according to the Portland Guardian’s Dartmoor correspondent.

"Dartmoor." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 22 May 1911: 3 Edition: EVENING. .

“Dartmoor.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 22 May 1911: 3 Edition: EVENING. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63980761&gt;.

 

Two obituaries for Frederick appeared in the Portland Guardian, the first on December 10, 1923 that stated he had lived to “be a little over the allotted span.”  Frederick was 70.   He was known for his dry-wit making him a popular chairman at functions.  Three of Frederick’s sons served at Gallipoli.  One lost his life while another had been hospitalised for three years because of the effects of gas.

John Samuel McDONALD – Died November 25, 1932 at Portland.  John McDonald was born in Scotland around 1837 and arrived in Victoria when he was seven aboard the Tamerlane.  His father had arrived at Portland several years before so John, travelling alone, was placed under the care of the ship’s captain.  John’s father went on to build Mac’s Hotel in Portland in 1855.

"DOMESTIC NEWS." Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876) 11 Jun 1855: 2 Edition: EVENING. Web. .

“DOMESTIC NEWS.” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876) 11 Jun 1855: 2 Edition: EVENING. Web. .

 

182

MAC’S HOTEL, PORTLAND

While his father was building a hotel, John was at the diggings in the hunt for gold.  After some years he settled at Strathdownie.  During the 1870s, he married Eliza McDonald of Horsham and the had a family of 10 children.

 


Vote 1 – Hamilton Spectator

"[No heading]." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918) 6 Jan 1914: .

“[No heading].” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 6 Jan 1914: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page13375984&gt;.

When the Hamilton Spectator (1914-1918) made it to Trove, I was pretty excited and my post Its Official was evidence of that.   What a benefit those five years of papers have been to my research. But I’ve always thought it was unfortunate more issues of the Spec were not available at Trove.  Portland, through the Portland Guardian & Normanby General Advertiser, the Portland Guardian and the Portland Observer & Normanby Advertiser, is represented from 1842  through to 1953.  Horsham has the Horsham Times from 1882 to 1954.  The Spec would compliment those publications as the newspapers from the three towns were all important voices for the west of the state.

The National Library of Australia with Inside History Magazine are conducting a poll to choose one of  six newspapers for digitisation and the Hamilton Spectator from 1860 to 1913 is one of those.  In fact it is the only Victorian newspaper.  We can make the digitisation of the Hamilton Spectator a reality and the first step is to vote.   If you go to the following link – Vote Now – you can cast your vote.   But hurry…voting closes on November 30. Crowdfunding will raise the money to digitise the winning paper.  With the I’ve Lived in Hamilton, Victoria Facebook group of 3500 members getting behind the campaign, hopefully it will be the Spec.

Inside History Magazine has put together a history of the Hamilton Spectator and you can read it on the link – Spec History

If you need any more incentive to vote, the following from the Hamilton Spectator of November 21, 1914 suggests a few good reasons.

"[No heading]." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918) 21 Nov 1914:   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page13385110>.

“[No heading].” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 21 Nov 1914: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page13385110&gt;.


Trove Tuesday – “Don’ts” for Centenary Week

With Portland celebrating its 180th birthday tomorrow (November 19),  my Trove Tuesday post this week is an article published in the Portland Guardian of October 15, 1934 prior to that year’s centenary celebrations.  Superintendent Clugston of the police department offered some timely advice for those attending the week-long celebration.  My favourite “don’ts” are “Don’t hurry or rush about”, “Don’t drive your car or other vehicle in a careless or improper manner and extend courtesy and consideration for all other road users” and “Don’t Guess”.

""DON'TS" FOR CENTENARY WEEK." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 15 Oct 1934: 2 Edition: EVENING.. Web. .

“”DON’TS” FOR CENTENARY WEEK.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 15 Oct 1934: 2 Edition: EVENING.. Web. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64287060&gt;.


Trove Tuesday – Fashion Quiz

Table Talk (1885-1939) at Trove is a must for those who enjoy period fashion. Having some knowledge of fashion trends through the decades is invaluable when it comes to dating family photos.  So with that,  it’s time for a Trove Tuesday Fashion Quiz.  I found the following competition in 1930 editions of Table Talk.  Over six weeks, readers could enter the weekly competition and vie for two guineas if their correct entry was drawn.

"Weekly Prize of Two Guineas." Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 - 1939) 31 Jul 1930: 19. .

“Weekly Prize of Two Guineas.” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 31 Jul 1930: 19. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146453482&gt;.

I have chosen the photos from weeks five and six simply because the copy of the photos were best in those weeks.  See if you can guess the years each of the dresses were from.  The date range is 1900 to 1930.  You will find the weekly solution underneath the photos.

Week Five

tab3

tab4

“Weekly Prize of Two Guineas.” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 28 Aug 1930: 45. Web.<http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146454103&gt;.

Solution 

This is the entry form included for week six of the competition.

"Weekly Prize of Two Quineas." Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 - 1939) 4 Sep 1930: 34. .

“Weekly Prize of Two Quineas.” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 4 Sep 1930: 34. .

Week Six

tab1

tab2

“Weekly Prize of Two Quineas.” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 4 Sep 1930: .

 

Solution

How did you go? Why not test yourself on the dresses from weeks one to four listed below:

 

Week 1   Solution

Week 2   Solution

Week 3   Solution

Week 4   Solution

 


Ellen’s Incarceration

A welcome addition to Trove newspapers has been the Geelong Advertiser, first with just some early issues and now from 1857 to 1918.  With many family members having links to Geelong I was reasonably hopeful the  Advertiser would have something for me.  There were some useful Combridge “Family Notices” and land applications, but the most insightful articles were those about my ancestor who frequented the courts.  That’s right, my ggg grandmother Ellen Gamble (nee Barry) of Colac was in the news again.

Links to earlier posts about Ellen are at the bottom of this post, but in short she was an Irish immigrant who, when intoxicated , was a loud, carousing and sometimes pugnacious drunk.  Any occasion was a good occasion for Ellen to partake and as she once told the court in her Irish accent, she needed a drink for a bad cold, to “put her to rights”. The frequency of her drinking often met with serious consequences.  Aside from the neglect her children suffered, by the 1870s her encounters with the law had reached an alarming number.

At the time of her death in 1882, a tragic result of her drinking, Ellen was living apart from her husband Thomas Gamble.  From the Geelong Advertiser of January 15, 1866, I found their troubles started long before 1882.  In 1866, 40-year-old Ellen faced charges for various offences occurring outside Bradley’s Hotel in Colac. Still intoxicated the following day, she appeared in court blaming Thomas for her misdemeanors.  To prevent a recurrence she was locked up for three days. Feeling vengeful, Ellen immediately charged Thomas with failure to support her and the children.  Although Thomas was able to show cause and the case dismissed, the revelations in the Colac Police court revealed much about the Gamble family’s troubles.

COLAC POLICE COURT. (1866, January 15). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1857 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article147563098

COLAC POLICE COURT. (1866, January 15). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1857 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article147563098

Ten years on and little had changed.  By 1876, 50-year-old Ellen had faced the Colac Police Court 33 times.  For her latest charge of drunkenness, Ellen was sentenced to seven days imprisonment at the Geelong Gaol.

TOWN TALK. (1876, June 14). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1857 - 1918), p. 2. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article148911495

TOWN TALK. (1876, June 14). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1857 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article148911495

Joining Ellen on the 46 mile trip to Geelong was Mary Lennon, herself a regular at the court.

 

"COLAC POLICE COURT." The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 - 1918) 13 Jun 1876: .

“COLAC POLICE COURT.” The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918) 13 Jun 1876: .

The magistrate recommended that in future, Ellen and Mary should face more serious charges to ensure a longer prison term.

"NOTES AND EVENTS." The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 - 1918) 13 Jun 1876: .

“NOTES AND EVENTS.” The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918) 13 Jun 1876: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91997448&gt;.

 

So, at the expense of the state,  the “two dames” were sent by coach to the Geelong Gaol.  And what a formidable place awaited them. I visited the Old Geelong Gaol about two years ago, then unaware that Ellen too had been behind those same bluestone walls.

 

IMG_1406
Geelong Prison

 

IMG_1400

The following You Tube clip has further information about the history of the Old Geelong Gaol and the conditions endured.

 

 

It’s not the first time I’ve come across Ellen’s accomplice Mary Lennon.  She gave evidence at the inquest into Ellen’s death.  Now knowing a little more about Mary, it makes me wonder how seriously her evidence was taken on that occasion.

 

"DEATH BY BURNING." The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 - 1918) 27 Jan 1882: 2 Edition: .

“DEATH BY BURNING.” The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918) 27 Jan 1882: 2 Edition: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91455765&gt;.

Mary’s life did not improve after her time in jail. Some of the articles I have read about her bring to light  poverty, brutality, neglect and alcoholism .  The saddest came only months after Mary’s imprisonment in 1876.  On November 1, 1876 she and her husband  Patrick were charged with vagrancy and imprisoned. Their neglected children went to an Industrial School for a year.

Ellen didn’t learn her lesson from her imprisonment.  Three years later, the court kept a promise and Ellen was sentenced to twelve months at Geelong Gaol.

"COLAC POLICE COURT." The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 - 1918) 25 Mar 1879: 4 Edition: Mornings..

“COLAC POLICE COURT.” The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918) 25 Mar 1879: 4 Edition: Mornings..

Twelve months of drying out did not help Ellen in any way.  Two years after her release she was burnt to death at aged 55 because alcohol had taken its hold on her again.

Ellen and Mary’s antics conjure up comical characters from a Dickens’ novel,  but sadly they were real characters.  Pitiful and unfortunate characters attesting to the realities of poverty in Victoria’s country towns during the 19th century. However, Ellen’s presence in my family story has given me a glimpse of another side of life at a time when most of my ancestors were self-sufficient temperate church-goers who only set foot inside a court if called as a witness.

 

Previous posts about Ellen Barry:

A Tragic Night

Ellen’s Inquest

 


Trove Tuesday – Cup Off

The postponement of the 1916 Melbourne Cup due to days of heavy rain that deteriorated the state of the track upset the plans of racegoers taking advantage of a public holiday to attend the great race.

"MELBOURNE CUP." The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) 7 Nov 1916: .

“MELBOURNE CUP.” The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933) 7 Nov 1916: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20106876&gt;.

But it was the caterers who suffered the most having prepared much of their food in the days prior.

"POSTPONEMENT OF MELBOURNE CUP." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918) 8 Nov 1916 .

“POSTPONEMENT OF MELBOURNE CUP.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 8 Nov 1916 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article129389399&gt;.

 

"THE POSTPONED CUP." The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929) 8 Nov 1916 .

“THE POSTPONED CUP.” The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929) 8 Nov 1916 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59904012&gt;.

 

The first article, from The Brisbane Courier, stated the 1916 postponement was the first in the Cup’s history.  But it wasn’t as in 1870 the race was postponed, again due to rain.

"No Title." The Bacchus Marsh Express (Vic. : 1866 - 1918) 29 Oct 1870 .

“No Title.” The Bacchus Marsh Express (Vic. : 1866 – 1918) 29 Oct 1870 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article89700967&gt;.

The 1916 Melbourne Cup was eventually run on Saturday November 11  and the winner was Sasanof.

"MELBOURNE CUP WINNER FACES THE CAMERA." Winner (Melbourne, Vic. : 1914 - 1917) 15 Nov 1916:   .

“MELBOURNE CUP WINNER FACES THE CAMERA.” Winner (Melbourne, Vic. : 1914 – 1917) 15 Nov 1916: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154552058&gt;.


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