Trove Tuesday – Spec-tacular

Since late last year, myself and many others have followed the progress of the digitisation of the Hamilton Spectator, from the poll conducted by the Australian National Library and Inside History Magazine through to yesterday when we were able to read the first digitised issues of the Hamilton Spectator from 1870-1873. But we had an extra surprise when we discovered that not only was the Hamilton Spectator (1870-1873)  digitised but also the Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (1860-1870).

From a quick search, I have already found some treasures in the two papers.  For example, an article about the opening of the Byaduk Wesleyan Church at which my ggg grandfather and Methodist local preacher, James Harman was present.  Also an article about an inquest at Cavendish where another two ggg grandfathers Charles Hadden and James Mortimer were jurors. And in another article, a report of the opening of the Presbyterian Church at Casterton, built by yet another ggg grandfather William Diwell and his partner George Northcott.

The most precious pieces of Trove treasure from the two Specs have been the following articles from the Hamilton Spectator about an accident that ultimately claimed the life of William Diwell in 1871.

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“MERINO.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1873; 1914 – 1918) 22 Mar 1871 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196304000&gt;.

 

William was just forty-six when he died in the days after his accident.  His wife, Margaret Turner, died in 1869 aged forty-five.  Their early departures left a family of eight, the youngest just seven.  It was interesting to read of William’s funeral and learn he was a Forester.

"MERINO." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1873; 1914 - 1918) 29 Mar 1871.

“MERINO.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1873; 1914 – 1918) 29 Mar 1871<http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196304508&gt;.

Thank you National Library of Australia, Inside History Magazine, Hamiltonians past and present and history lovers everywhere who saw the value of having the Hamilton Spectator digitised.

To track the Hamilton Spectator’s path to Trove glory, these are the posts I’ve written along the way.

Vote 1 – Hamilton Spectator

And the winner is…Hamilton Spectator

Make a Pledge for the ‘Spec’

 

 

New Pioneer Index

Now it’s even easier to find your Western District pioneer’s “Passing of the Pioneers” entry and obituary.  

The 550 pioneers that have been included in the “Passing of the Pioneers” posts over the last four years are now indexed.  If you navigate to the menu at the top of this page, you will notice a new tab, Pioneer Obituary Index.  Click directly there or navigate straight to the alphabetical listing of your pioneer.  Where possible, I have matched up husbands, wives, children and other relatives.

There hasn’t been a new “Passing of the Pioneers” post since January while I took time to prepare the index, but after reading back through the stories I can’t wait to get back to scanning the Western District newspapers at Trove for obituaries. Look out for a new post in July when “Passing of the Pioneers” will celebrate a fourth birthday, so expect a bumper edition.

While you’re in at the top of this page, why not check out “Hamilton’s WW1″ tab.  There are now twenty-six Hamilton soldiers profiled in that section. I will continue to add profiles with an aim to add about three new profiles each week. Maybe by the centenary of the armistice, I will have come close to recording the hundreds of soldiers from Hamilton who volunteered their services.

Happy reading…

Port Fairy Cemetery – Part Two

I promised a second Port Fairy Cemetery post months ago and finally, here it is.  Considering the number of photos I have from my January 2014 and 2015 visits, there could be a third and maybe a fourth installment.

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Clara Atkinson died in Port Fairy on 8 April, 1873 aged fifty-one.  Her husband John Henry Atkinson a chemist, ordered a headstone to remember not only Clara but the two babies the couple lost in 1856 and 1858.

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“Family Notices.” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876) 21 Apr 1873: 2 Edition: EVENINGS. Web. 12 Jan 2015 .

If it wasn’t for the words “San Francisco” on the headstone, this post would have been much shorter.  Seeing San Francisco on a headstone in Port Fairy stirred the “how” and “whys” in me and I had to find out more.  Baby Lucy Jane Atkinson passed away in San Francisco on 28 June 1856.  She was buried at the Lone Mountain Cemetery in San Francisco aged one month.

Two years later in Warrnambool, on 30 October 1858, Clara and John lost another baby, Clara Bevans aged fifty days.

The Atkinsons seem to have arrived at Hobson’s Bay on 14 July 1858 from San Francisco aboard the Mary Robinson as cabin passengers.  If those passengers were the said Atkinsons, Clara would have been heavily pregnant with baby Clara.

“SHIPPING.” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 26 Jul 1858: 4. Web. 12 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154873476&gt;.

Searches for a John Henry Atkinson, Chemist at Trove brought up many references to Sandhurst (Bendigo) where a John H. Atkinson had a spot of bother in the courts, leading to insolvency.  I was beginning to wonder, first if that was the same John H. and secondly was there a link to an important and influential resident of Bendigo from the 1860s, Harry Leigh Atkinson who at the time of his death was considered one of the largest landholders in Victoria?  

Using Trove and records from Ancestry.com.au, I began to piece the jigsaw together. The only solid clue to John Henry Atkinson’s past came from his death notice that stated he was the brother of the Portland Shire Secretary, Edwin Atkinson and that John died in Exmouth, England.

“Family Notices.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 1 Apr 1887: 2 Edition: EVENING. Web. 12 Jan 2015 .

That information was useful as I was able to find the following information about John’s will:

“Wills and Bequests.” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 2 Sep 1887: 7. Web. 12 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146710419

Suddenly I had the names of nieces and nephews to trace and the clue of Nafferton, Yorkshire which led me to the 1841 UK census.  Brother of John, Edwin Atkinson helped me find John’s birthplace, Kilham in Yorkshire and his baptism in March 1822. His parents were Thomas Atkinson and Harriet Parkin. Checking the 1841 census, I found a John Atkinson “druggist” aged 20 living at Kilham.

Back at Trove, I found a man by the name of John Henry Atkinson of Launceston qualifying as a chemist in 1849.

 

“[No heading].” The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859) 14 Mar 1849: 2. Web. 13 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page638262&gt;.

Less than six months later, a John Henry Atkinson was a cabin passenger aboard the Spartan bound for San Francisco from Launceston.

“Shipping Intelligence.” Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 – 1899) 1 Aug 1849: 7 Edition: AFTERNOON. Web. 12 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article36258021&gt;.

With the knowledge about Kilham, Yorkshire, I discovered John had another brother, Thomas Parkin Atkinson which led to the name of another brother, Dr. Alfred Atkinson.  With that confirmation that John, Thomas, Edwin and Alfred Atkinson were cousins of Dr. Harry Leigh Atkinson.

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 21 May 1866: 4. Web. 13 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5763019&gt;.

With that solved, I was still interested in why John was in San Fransisco.  I discovered a reason when I read the notice of Dr Alfred Atkinson’s death at Eaglehawk.  Alfred went to Bendigo in 1862 after many years in California.

“THE BENDIGO ADVERTISER.” Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918) 17 Mar 1876: 2. Web. 13 Jan 2015 .

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The Webb family headstone remembers parents William and Elizabeth Jane Webb and their children William Robert James and Edith Gertrude.

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WEBB FAMILY GRAVE

William Webb Sr was born in Wiltshire around 1830.  He arrived in Port Fairy about 1852 and married Elizabeth Jane Francis in 1858.  They had eleven children including William Jr and Edith. Edith passed away in 1875 aged two and her brother William Jr passed away in 1886 aged twenty-six.  In 1911, mother Elizabeth passed away aged seventy-two years.

William Webb Sr passed away in 1919 having lived to the age of 89 years.  During his life, he established himself as a leading citizen of Port Fairy, spending forty years on the Borough council with a record seven terms as Mayor.  From the Victorian Heritage Database, I found William established an iron casting business in Gipps Street, Port Fairy with his brother Henry in the 1850s that included carriage making and a horseshoe forge. He later moved the business to Sackville Street.

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“Cruelty to a Horse.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 8 Jul 1919: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4718862&gt;.

“BOROUGH OF PORT FAIRY.” Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 22 Feb 1915: 4 Edition: EVENING. Web. 11 Jan 2015 .

Seven members of the Gibson/McKechnie family were buried in the following plot.

 

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GIBSON/McKECHNIE FAMILY GRAVE

John Gibson was a President of the Port Fairy Shire and was a renown breeder of stock horses at his property Leura. He married Sarah Ann Taylor in 1856.  They had a large family and one of their first losses was daughter Margaret in 1877 aged six.  The following year Ann passed away aged eighteen.

John died in September 1887 only a month after being elected shire president.  Only the week before, his eldest son Thomas Edward Gibson had died as a result of an old injury.

“Brevities.” Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954) 5 Oct 1887: 3. Web. 18 Dec 2014 .

“Wills and Bequests.” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 16 Dec 1887: 4. Web. 18 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146710973&gt;.

In 1889, John’s daughter Alice Gibson married Richard Stirling McKechnie of Balmoral.

“Family Notices.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 23 Feb 1889: 53. Web. 18 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139697003&gt;.

In 1890, a son Richard was born to Alice and Richard but he died in the same year and was buried in the Gibson plot.  Alice passed away in 1894 and was also buried in the Gibson family plot. Richard McKechnie remarried to Jessie Ireland of Port Fairy.  At the time, he was living at Lagoon Lodge, located to the west of the town.

David Gibson was the next member of the family to pass away, on 24 June 1895 aged thirty-one.

John Gibson’s wife Sarah Ann died in 1899 at Port Fairy.  She was buried in another grave with their youngest son Charles James Gibson who died in 1902 aged twenty-three.  Also Sarah’s mother Ann Taylor who died in 1909 aged eighty-seven.

As I moved away from the grave, something caught my eye on the bottom right-hand corner of the headstone – “G. Harman, Port Fairy”

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There is only one G. Harman of Port Fairy I know of and that is ggg uncle George Hall Harman whose own headstone in the Port Fairy Cemetery is below.  He was buried with his wife Rebecca Graham and their headstone remembers their daughter Edith who died in 1866 at Byaduk.

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GEORGE HALL HARMAN

GEORGE HALL HARMAN

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REBECCA GRAHAM

The following headstone originated out of tragedy.

SEARLE FAMILY GRAVE

SEARLE FAMILY GRAVE

On a Sunday morning during December 1886, Annie Edith Searle daughter of nurseryman Henry Searle and Phoebe Robins of Port Fairy, drowned at Boarding School Bay, just west of the township.

“THREE LADIES DROWNED.” The North Eastern Ensign (Benalla, Vic. : 1872 – 1938) 19 Jan 1886: 2. Web. 19 Dec 2014 .

Mother Phoebe, passed away on 19 April 1909 aged eighty-seven and her husband Henry Searle passed away eight months later, on 27 December aged eighty-six.

“PORT FAIRY.” Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 – 1924) 7 Jan 1910: 4. Web. 11 Jan 2015 .

In 1922, another daughter Alice Amelia was buried in the plot, passing away at the age of sixty-three.

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 19 Jan 1921: 1. Web. 19 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1733152&gt;.

The following grave is that of infant Robert Vincent Ware.

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GRAVE OF ROBERT VINCENT WARE

Robert Ware was the two-year-old son of James Ware and Jane Mailor and was born in 1854 at Belfast.  He died in 1856.

 

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From the 1856 Victorian Electoral Roll,  I found that James Ware was a licensed victualler and was a leaseholder on the corner of James and Bank Street , the location of the Caledonian Inn in Port Fairy. Construction of the inn began in 1844.

CALEDONIAN INN, PORT FAIY

CALEDONIAN INN, PORT FAIRY

James and Jane had at least another three children after Robert’s death, Susan, Alice and Mary Ann. They were born at Port Fairy and Rosebrook. I’m still to find what happened to James Ware, but I do know that by 1894,  Jane had moved to Melbourne, taking up residence at Bella Vista in East Melbourne where Susan passed away in 1894 .

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 5 Mar 1894: 1. Web. 14 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8730679&gt;.

Looking at the 1903 Victorian Electoral Roll, the Ware’s may not have been guests at the luxury boarding house Bella Vista, as Mary Ann’s occupation was listed as “boarding-house keeper.”

Jane Ware passed away in Sydney on 17 September 1900.  She died at 71C Darlinghurst Road, at that time operating as a boarding house.

“Family Notices.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 29 Sep 1900: 55. Web. 14 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139156386&gt;.

Daughter Mary Jane stayed on at Bella Vista and  passed away in 1939.

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“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 10 Feb 1939: 10. Web. 17 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12095589&gt;.



The headstone of Abijah Brown is one of the most distinctive in the Port Fairy cemetery.

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GRAVE OF ABIJAH BROWN

The 1856 Victorian Electoral Rolls shows that Abijah was at that time the licensee of the Stag Hotel in Sackville Street.

SEACOMBE HOUSE, PORT FAIRY FORMALLY THE STAG HOTEL.

SEACOMBE HOUSE, PORT FAIRY FORMALLY THE STAG HOTEL.

Abijah’s nickname was ‘Clockey’ because of the large gold watch and chain he wore and he took over license of The Stag hotel, Port Fairy in 1855. Pamela Marriott in her book “Time Gentlemen Please,” mentions Abijah was a jeweller which explains his gold watch.  Abijah was also a councillor for a short time.  Prior to going to the Stag Hotel, he ran the Plough Inn at Killarney.  He died on 19 July 1862.

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The men buried in the last two graves of this post had family links through marriage.

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HEADSTONE WILLIAM MUSGREAVE AND HANNAH KIRK.

Rupert Kirk was a former army captain who purchased over 300 acres of land at Land Cove, Sydney in 1831.  He established a soap making business and named his property Woodford Park. He was also the father of William Musgreave Kirk buried in the Port Fairy Cemetery (above).

“Classified Advertising.” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842) 13 May 1841: 4. Web. 20 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2553302&gt;.

RUPERT KIRK. Artist: Maurice Felton Surgeon. Sydney / del.t March 27th 1841.” Image courtesy of the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Rupert passed away on 8 March 1850.

“Family Notices.” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) 11 Mar 1850: 3. Web. 20 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12916317&gt;.

Only weeks earlier, Rupert’s son William Kirk married Hannah Lindsay in Sydney.

“Family Notices.” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) 26 Jan 1850: 3. Web. 20 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12915234&gt;.

William was living in Mudgee, N.S.W. after his marriage in 1850

“Advertising.” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) 6 Mar 1850: 3. Web. 20 Dec 2014 .

Alos at that time, William’s sister was living in the Port Fairy district, marrying Horace Flower there in 1850 as reported by The Argus on 19 October 1850.  William  Kirk was in Victoria some time from the early 1850s living by the Merri Creek near Woodford.  He died there on 11 July 1855.

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 18 Jul 1855: 4. Web. 20 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4812501&gt;.

Hannah Lindsay, William’s wife passed away on 2 December 1864 and was buried in the same grave.

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 13 Dec 1864: 4. Web. 20 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5748104&gt;.

As mentioned, there is a link between William Kirk and the next grave’s occupant, Lloyd Rutledge.

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HEADSTONE OF LLOYD RUTLEDGE

If you believe in ghosts, Lloyd Rutledge’s grave is a must see especially if you visit on the night of 17 December when Lloyd is said to appear each year at his grave. Lloyd was the younger brother of William Rutledge who arrived in Port Fairy around 1843 and established William Rutledge & Co. a mercantile company shipping goods to and from England. William Rutledge had married Eliza Kirk, a sister of William Kirk (above) in Sydney in 1840.  That marriage was most likely the catalyst for William Kirk and his other siblings to move to Victoria.

When William Rutledge first arrived in Australia in 1829, he settled himself in Sydney and once established brought his siblings in Ireland to Australia.  Lloyd followed him to Port Fairy and worked with him at William Rutledge & Co.  In 1852, Lloyd returned to Sydney to marry Isabella Bennett, daughter of Richard Bennett.

“Family Notices.” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) 6 Aug 1852: 3. Web. 20 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12938972&gt;.

The Rutledge, Bennett and Kirk family were all intertwined through marriage.  William Rutledge married Eliza Kirk, maternal aunt of Lloyd’s wife Isabella Bennett.  Isabella’s brother Richard Bennett Jnr wrote the articles that make up the book “Richard Bennetts’ Early Days of Port Fairy.”

Only a month before Lloyd and Isabella’s wedding, William Rutledge sent Lloyd to Portland on a mission.  Desperately in need of labour, William wanted Lloyd to meet the incoming immigrant ship Runnymede.  Accompanying Lloyd was Thomas Browne, better known by his pen name  Rolf Boldrewood , the author of “Robbery Under Arms.”   Supplied with blank forms of agreement from William, Lloyd boarded the ship and signed up seventy passengers for work, ignoring the police interest in his activities.  Boldrewood wrote about the event in an article entitled “Desirable Immigrants” published in The Australasian on 8 July 1905.

“TOBTLAND.” Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857) 2 Jul 1852: 3. Web. 20 Dec 2014 .

  Lloyd was a racehorse owner and steward.

“VICTORIA.” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) 10 Oct 1854: 3. Web. 17 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12961947&gt;.

He also rode in races and these results from 22 February 1856, show him running third at the Portland races aboard “Tross”.

“THIRD DAY, THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21ST.” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876) 22 Feb 1856: 1 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE PORTLAND GUARDIAN.. Web. 17 Jan 2015 .

Also racing was “Alice Hawthorne” who was later one of Victoria’s leading racehorses, competing  in a NSW vs Victoria match race in 1857, a forerunner to the first Melbourne Cup in 1861   You can read more about Alice by clicking on the link on her name.

In 1855, Lloyd had a two-storey home constructed in Port Fairy and named it Cooinda.  It was there in 1858 that Lloyd’s life would end at just thirty-one years of age.  Partial to a drink, Lloyd was climbing the stairs of Cooinda after a drinking session when he fell backwards down the stairs and broke his neck.

 

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 21 Dec 1858: 4. Web. 12 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7306711&gt;.

Cooinda moved into the hands of the Finn family of Port Fairy.  In 1918, they sold the house.

“PROPERTY SALES.” Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 9 Sep 1918: 2 Edition: EVENING. Web. 15 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91988481&gt;.

Cooinda fell into a bad state of disrepair.  It was known locally as the “haunted house” with Lloyd said to appear at the top of the stairs each 17 December.  In the 1950s, the house was demolished.  It was from then that Lloyd supposedly moved his annual “appearance” to his graveside.  More information on an investigation into paranormal activity at the grave site is on the Port Fairy Cemetery website.

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SOURCES

Australian Electoral Rolls (Australian Electoral Commission) – Ancestry.com.au

Bennett, Richard and Critchett, Jan Richard Bennetts early days of Port Fairy. W.I.A.E. Press, Warrnambool, Vic, 1984.

Marriott, Pamela M Time gentlemen please! : an history of Western District inns, 1840-1915. Pamela M Marriott, [Flemington, Vic.], 2001.

Port Fairy Public Cemetery website

PORT FAIRY CEMETERY PART ONE

Trove Tuesday – Rebecca’s Trees

Trove is great for finding photos and it was the Trove picture search I headed to recently looking for the home of George Hall Harman and his wife Rebecca Graham formally of James Street, Port Fairy.  I knew the house no longer existed and with the help of a family history written by George and Rebecca’s granddaughter Edna Harman,  I thought I had roughly found the location of the house while visiting Port Fairy in January 2014.

During the past year, more information was forthcoming when Mike Harman contacted me.  Mike is my Nana Linda Hadden’s first cousin, both grandchildren of Reuben James Harman, a nephew of George Hall Harman.  Mike passed on some of the work his sister Joan had done on the history of the Harmans and the information about George Hall Harman, caught my eye.  Apparently, when Rebecca passed away in 1902, grieving George planted four Norfolk Pines in front of their home in James Street.

Armed with that knowledge while visiting Port Fairy in January, I headed to James Street.  Port Fairy has many Norfolk Pines lining its streets but in the Harman’s block of James Street there are just four, all in a row and only a few doors up from where I previously visited.  I thought if George did plant the trees those standing before me had to be “Rebecca’s trees.”

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Once home, I went in search of an old photo of James Street.  The State Library of Victoria’s (SLV) collection was the likely place to find one but instead of searching directly at the SLV site, I chose Trove, my preferred ‘search engine’.  I seem to get better results when I search Trove, I like the filters that aid the search and I can tag my results or had them to one of my many lists.  I searched for “James Street Port Fairy”  and toward the top of the search results was a photo from the Lilian Isobel Powling collection at the SLV.  It was of James Street from 1958 and it gave me more than I expected.

JAMES STREET, PORT FAIRY.  Image courtesy of the State Library Collection.  Photo by Isobel Powling, 1958.  Image no.  H2008.75/102 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/95700

JAMES STREET, PORT FAIRY. Image courtesy of the State Library Collection. Photo by Isobel Powling, 1958. Image no. H2008.75/102 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/95700

The photo was looking right at the house that once stood behind the pines, presumably that of George and Rebecca Harman.  The top of St. John’s Anglican Church is visible in the background.

I did take a photo from a similar angle to the 1958 version but a little further back.

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Although it is hard to see, the top of the church is now obscured by pines and an electricity pole stands in the same spot as 1958.

Recently on the Victoria Genealogy Facebook group’s feed, there was a discussion about family stories becoming family “fact” so I would like to make sure Rebecca’s trees are more than a family story.  I have a lot of Harman information from the Port Fairy Historical Society, but there is no information about the trees.  The Port Fairy Gazette is a possibility, but my first step will be to confirm exactly where the Harman’s lived in James Street.  However, I’m a little “Harmaned out” at the moment and would like to focus on some of my tree’s other branches, so in-depth research will have to wait for now.

Trans-Tasman Anzac Day Blog Challenge 2015

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The Trans Tasman Anzac Day Blog Challenge is now running for the fifth year. I have participated in the past four challenges and for me each post has been among my favourites to research and write.  Each year, the brief for the post is “write a blog post about a serviceman or woman and/or their family, and the impact war had on their family’s story”.

This year I have decided not to enter a post since I have started the ‘Hamilton’s WW1′ page and now the ‘Grampians Soldiers’ page.  Each of the soldier profiles I have researched and/or written so far falls into the ‘blog challenge’ criteria.  The sorrow of the families pours out of each service record or newspaper article I read. There is the example of Hamilton’s Francis Tredrea’s family.

Francis Stanley TREDREA

Francis Stanley TREDREA. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial

 

Father Abraham Tredrea and Francis’ wife Ada, with babe in arms, held out hope for twelve months that Francis was a prisoner of war.  Ada even advertised in The Argus, hoping someone may know something of Francis’ whereabouts, after having little success getting information from the defence department.

Then there was Florence Henty, wife of Edward (Ted) Ellis Henty of Hamilton.  Florence was six months pregnant with their first child when she received the news of Ted’s death.  The lists in the Hamilton Spectator, still naming Edward as a casualty a month or so after his death distressed Florence greatly, so much so a relative wrote a “Letter to the Editor” explaining the pain of the constant reminder.  Reading Ted and Florence’s story never fails to tug at my heart-strings.

Poor Charles Lindsay’s mother received a postcard from Charles one day telling her he was fine, only to receive news of his death the next.

Charles Henry LINDSAY.  Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.  Image no, H06462 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/H06462/

Charles Henry LINDSAY. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no, H06462 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/H06462/

There are also the widowed mothers who received letters from the AIF Base Records Office after the deaths of their sons:

“Dear Madam, it is noted you are registered on the records of the late Pt. Smith as next of kin, but in order that our file may be brought up to date, it is desired to learn if the above named soldier had any nearer blood relations than yourself, for instance, if his father is still alive…”.

 Double whammy. No…triple whammy.

I could go on and on.

If you would like more information about the ‘blog challenge’ or to read the many contributions from this year and earlier years, follow this link Trans Tasman Anzac Day Blog Challenge.

Each of my  Anzac Day posts are on the following links:

 

Last Ride – The WW1 story of light horseman Walter Rodney Kinghorn of Byaduk

From Six Bob Tourist to Souvenir – My great-grandfather Les Combridge of Wonthaggi and his service with the 21st Battalion.

The McClintock Brothers – Three brothers from Grassdale went to war.  Only one returned.

Arthur Leonard Holmes – The story of a Casterton cornet player gassed in Belgium, never to see his new bride again.

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4th Blogiversary

Well, that snuck up on me.  It’s Western District Families’ 4th Blogiversary.

Image courtesy of the Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria.  Image No. H98.101/329 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/202825

Image courtesy of the Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria. Image No. H98.101/329 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/202825

Western District Families’ fourth year was the quietest to date and I don’t like to promise much more in the blog’s fifth year, but I’ll try.  I’m off to a good start with a new tab at the top of the page, “Hamilton’s WW1″ and two more planned, another WW1 related and an index of the Passing of the Pioneer obituaries.  The monthly Passing of the Pioneer posts are having a short break while I get the two WW1 projects up and running, but the prospect of having the pioneers indexed is exciting.  It will certainly make my research easier and I hope it will help you too when searching for relatives among the obituaries.

There’s not too much to report on the top five posts for the year, something I’ve done in past years, except the Old Portland Cemetery – Part 1, continued to keep up its popularity. It was good to see the July Passing of the Pioneers post making it into the top five for the year and the post on the Western District enlistments of the 8th Light Horse Regiment B Squadron from January.

Almost all of my posts over the past four years would not be possible without the resource we all love, Trove.  Now there is an opportunity to give something back to Trove with the Inside History/NLA  Pozible campaign to raise funds for the digitisation of the Hamilton Spectator (1860-1913).  My pledge was a win-win  Not only will it boost the Spec’s chances of digitisation which, as a Western District researcher, is huge, but I also get to support Trove, a free resource that maybe we sometimes take for granted. For for me, a visit to an overseas newspaper archive site always reminds me how lucky we are to have Trove.  The Pozible campaign runs until 25 April and with pledges only just reaching the halfway mark, now’s a perfect time to give a bit back to Trove.  Plus it would my make my blogiversary month so much better knowing that at least ten years of the Hamilton Spectator at Trove was just around the corner.  This is the link if you would like to pledge – www.pozible.com/project/191002

Launching Hamilton’s WW1

It was time I considered how Western District Families could commemorate the centenary of WW1. A project was selected and work began, however another idea presented itself. A list of names in two editions of the Hamilton Spectator from 1917 and 1918 and some potted histories of Hamilton soldiers I wrote for the I’ve Lived in Hamilton Facebook group saw “Hamilton’s WW1″ come to fruition.  The first installment of “Hamilton’s WW1″  is now available, the story of Hamilton’s Anzac Avenue and the men commemorated at a now all but forgotten landmark in Hamilton.

Each of the faces in the photo below have a story to tell. They are some of the early Hamilton enlistments and immediately I recognise twenty-two year-old Hamilton College and Geelong College educated John “Paddy” Fenton (back row, 3rd from right) and George McQueen (centre, 2nd row from front) a thirty-five year-old widower, both killed in France. Others among them were also killed, some wounded and others suffered psychologically but as they gathered at Broadmeadows in 1915, none could imagine the path ahead. What was in store for them or the man beside them. But they were “Hamilton Boys” and they would give it their all and they did.

LEST WE FORGET  

'HAMILTON BOYS' c 30 April 1915.  Photo Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.  Image no.DAOD1060   https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DAOD1060/

‘HAMILTON BOYS’ c 30 April 1915. Photo Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no. DAOD1060 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DAOD1060/