A Pleasant Distraction

I’ve been a bit distracted from my usual research/blogging regime of late.  Instead, I’ve been indulging in a feast of Hamilton history.  But I haven’t been to the usual repositories, looking at physical records and photographs. I’ve been on Facebook.

In 2008, I set up a Facebook group, “I’ve Lived in Hamilton, Victoria”.  There were a couple of reasons behind it.  I wanted to connect with other Hamilton people and the search features offered by Facebook then didn’t fully satisfy that.  What I was looking for was a central hub, where Hamiltonions could go, find old friends and share memories of growing up in the town.

I was also interested in the power of Social Media to network.  In those days, Facebook pages didn’t exist, only groups, and if a person joined, that action would show on their timeline, much the same as a page today.  My hope was friends would see that post and they too would join the group and so on.  Well it worked, and within a few months we had 1600 members.  It was pretty amazing really.  The unfortunate thing at that time was that it was difficult to get a conversation going among members and then sustain it.

Facebook being Facebook changed at some point, and groups looked like they were on the way out.  Those that weren’t active faced the axe and the Hamilton group, despite large numbers, was one of those.  Eventually all the members were “delisted” and while the group remained, people had to join again.  Problem was, groups became less visible on profiles and most assumed they were still a member or they simply forgot.  Also, if someone joined, it was no longer displayed on their timeline, making it hard to get the word out.

Over the past year, Facebook groups have found their place again and are again visible on members’ profiles and there are “group suggestions” beside the timeline.  A perfect time to get the group happening again.  With just 70 or so stalwart members, I started posting more often.  Then I turned to Trove and I added photos of Hamilton in days of old.  Well, 70 members soon became 130, then 200 and in a couple of weeks we have reached 1100 members.  The photos got the conversation going and the memories flowing.  Once again Trove helped save the day!

A. MILLER & CO. PTY LTD, GRAY STREET, HAMILTON. Circa 1950s.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image No.  H91.142/9 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/122523

A. MILLER & CO. PTY LTD, GRAY STREET, HAMILTON. Circa 1950s. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H91.142/9 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/122523

As I  started to read the hundreds of  new posts and the many associated comments, I realised that what we were creating was an online social history of post-war WW2 Hamilton.  Just about every topic has been covered.  Festivals, businesses, milk bars, schools, football and cricket, marching girls and town characters.  One post with a surprisingly large number of comments and likes was about the underground toilets that were in Thompson Street.  There are photos of buildings, houses, bands, Blue Light Discos and sporting teams.  There are newspaper clippings of advertisements and Hamilton events.

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THE GEORGE HOTEL. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no.http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64135 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/60456

All pure gold.  To have a response from such a large amount of people across such a cross-section of ages would otherwise be almost impossible.  Even if a “Back to Hamilton” was held and each person in attendance recorded two memories, I don’t think you would get such an in-depth view of Hamilton life during the past 60 years.  It would probably just end in hundreds of references to the underground toilets.  I suppose they were a novelty.

So after getting the ball rolling, the group has taken on a life of its own and I can sit back and read the fabulous memories and share in the reunions.  There are people who have not seen each other for 50 years and lost extended family members have also been found.   Some members are relaying stories to older relatives not on Facebook, then coming back with questions or comments.   It’s been amazing.

Another interesting observation has been how our memory works.  It was photos of Hamilton that triggered memories that people thought were long gone and many have commented how they had forgotten so much but it was all flooding back.  As one memory is dug up, it almost always seems to trigger another, unlocked from the deep recesses of our minds.

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GRAY STREET, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H32492/2033 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64135

The group has also given me the opportunity to post about the Harman family of Byaduk, the subject of my thesis.  I have had a wonderful result, with new found cousins and confirmation that those I had suspected were cousins, (Electoral Rolls are my friend) are really my cousins.  Also, I’ve been researching  the Hamilton Botanic Gardens for a project that I can never get around to.  My focus is on the animals housed in the Garden’s zoo but there is very little information available, but I knew the animals at the gardens held a special place for all that grew up in Hamilton before 1980, especially the Rhesus monkeys.  I asked if anyone knew the year the monkeys left the zoo,  and while we still haven’t come up with a definitive year I think it will come.  I can then hit past editions of the Hamilton Spectator for articles about their removal.

So well done to all Hamiltonions past and present who have, like myself, found a pleasant distraction while collaborating to create a wonderful reminder of our past.  I believe people have a genuine interest in local history as seen by the increase in Facebook pages such as “Lost Warrnambool” and “Have You Seen Old Ballaarat Town”.  The content, in a user-friendly format,  is something people can relate to.

It will be interesting to see how our group will evolve. If I had the time, I would like to organise the stories into categories and topics to bring them together in some sort of order.  Also, there are many calls for a “Back to Hamilton” something that hasn’t been held since 1954 when the Queen visited the town.  If the past and present residents of Hamilton could embrace the idea of “Back to…” in the wonderful spirit they have shown with the “I’ve Lived in Hamilton” group, I am sure it would be a great occasion in the history of our hometown.

Trove Tuesday – Early Hamilton Sport

What do you know?  It’s another animal story for Trove Tuesday.  This time we go back to the early days of my hometown, Hamilton and a guide to early sporting activities.  Although the population was sparse, residents from surrounding stations would travel for foot racing and horse racing.  But it was an early kangaroo hunt that captured the Spec’s correspondent’s attention.    The article appeared in the Hamilton Spectator in 1914, but the story comes from long before, when Hamilton was known as The Grange.

I have tried to put an approximate date on the said kangaroo hunt and it must have been after 1852 when the Hamilton Inn, opened.  The Botanic Gardens were first gazetted in 1853 but not planted out until 1870.  The first races in Hamilton were held in 1851 at the sight refered to in the article.  Later the racecourse moved slightly north-east to beside what is now Ballarat Road, before moving to the current location on the other side of town. (The Hamilton History Centre Grange Burn Walk Guide p.8)

Another interesting landmark was Mount Craig, a large stone hill on the gardens site.  It was also known as “Shepherd’s View”.  Information from the Hamilton History Centre refers to Mt. Craig and the spring that ran from it, providing water for the locals.  It was located near the current Thompson Street entrance.

Along with the many landmarks that created a clear picture in my mind of the hunt’s route, the article mentions many of those involved with the hunt, some of whom still have descendants in the Hamilton district today.

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EARLY HAMILTON SPORT. (1914, November 25). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 6. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119872739

EARLY HAMILTON SPORT. (1914, November 25). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 6. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119872739

After Many Days

To really get a feel for a time in history, there is nothing better than a diary, letter, memoir or personal account.  Some of my favourite Western District history books are those from pioneer times, such as “The Diaries of Sarah Midgley and Richard Skilbeck” and James Bonwick’s educational tour of Western Victoria in 1857.  There is another on my list that I haven’t shared with you before, “After Many Day’s: being the reminisces of Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh.  Even better, the book is available online. (See link at end of post)

Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh, born in Ireland in 1837, published his memoir in 1918, when he was 81, written, he claims, after much prodding from his wife, Flora and friends particularly a friend from the later part of his life, writer Walter G. Henderson of Albury.   Much thanks must go to them, because their persuading resulted in a  414 page rollicking yarn, packed with places, names and stories from the first half of Cuthbert’s life.  And there are illustrations.

EARLY MEMORIES. (1925, June 12). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16211009

EARLY MEMORIES. (1925, June 12). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 10. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16211009

This is not just a story of the Western District, but of life in Ireland and Germany during Cuthbert’s childhood.  There is also a wonderful description of his passage on a second-class ticket to Melbourne aboard the “Sussex” in 1853.  Cuthbert spent some time in Melbourne before he went to  the Henty’s Muntham Station (p.90) in the Western District, and his account brings 1850s Melbourne  to life.

He outlines his friendship with Thomas Browne/Rolf Boldrewood author of “Robbery Under Arms “(p 40).  He includes the obituary of his father, Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh, who spent time as a Police Magistrate at Hamilton (p.52).  During his time there, Cuthbert senior, resided at  Correagh at Strathkeller, just north of Hamilton.  (Today, Correagh is in excellent condition and was featured in an issue of Home Life magazine, available online)

There are stories of horse breaking, bushrangers, colonial racing and more.

Some of the Western District identities he met included members of the Henty family, Samuel Pratt Cooke, Acheson Ffrench and the Learmonths.  But there were also stockmen, horse breakers and crack riders.

He associated with Adam Lindsay Gordon (p.165), a person he admired for his riding skill and poetry, and there are several extracts of ALG’s verse.

Cuthbert devoted several pages to George Waines (p177) and the trial, that saw Waines convicted and sentenced to hang for the murders of Casterton couple Robert and Mary Hunt.

After Muntham, Cuthbert travelled to Queensland via Sydney.  On the way he dropped in at the Chirnside’s Mt William Station at the foot of the Grampians.  It is was there he saw the “western mare” Alice Hawthorne, in the days when she was beginning her Cinderella story, transforming from station hack to champion racehorse.

After lengthy reminisces of his time in Queensland, past Rockhampton, Cuthbert then focused on his life in N.S.W where he spent two years as an Anglican minister.  He died in Wellington, N.S.W. in 1925, aged 88, remembered as a pastoral leader.

What the critics said:

At the time of the book’s release, the Sydney Stock and Station Journal described the book as “pure Australian”

GOSSIP. (1918, April 12). The Sydney Stock and Station Journal (NSW : 1896 - 1924), p. 3. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article124218838

GOSSIP. (1918, April 12). The Sydney Stock and Station Journal (NSW : 1896 – 1924), p. 3. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article124218838

When Cuthbert died in 1925,  Walter Henderson wrote of his friend and the book he persuaded Cuthbert to write.

CUTHBERT FETHERSTONHAUGH. (1925, July 15). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16210414

CUTHBERT FETHERSTONHAUGH. (1925, July 15). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 12. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16210414

Read “After Many Days: being the reminiscences of Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh” online

Trove Tuesday – Let it Snow

Since Western Victoria is experiencing a cold snap with snowfalls around Ballarat and the Grampians in the past 24 hours, I thought a snow theme for Trove Tuesday appropriate.

This treasure found at Trove is a postcard from 1909 and for those that know Ballarat, the scene is instantly recognisable as the former police station in Camp Street.

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Snowfalls on the hills around Ballarat and surrounding district are not uncommon, but the snow rarely settles in the town.  Mt William, the highest peak in the Grampians gets a snow cap some winters, but for a short time only.  Further west, it is less likely to snow in Hamilton and from memory in the 18 years I lived there, it may have snowed  once, but it was closer to sleet than snow.  I have never known it to snow as it did in July 1901, when snow fell for around nine hours in Hamilton.  It would have been a beautiful sight.

HEAVY SNOW IN THE COUNTRY. (1901, July 29). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 6. Retrieved August 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10563557

HEAVY SNOW IN THE COUNTRY. (1901, July 29). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 6. Retrieved August 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10563557

With Trove’s help, I found a photo of a snowman built at Hamilton in 1901, held by Museum Victoria.  Unfortunately copyright restrictions don’t allow me to show it here but you can view it by following the link – Hamilton Snowman.

In 1905, heavy snow saw high jinx in the streets of Ballarat that got out of hand resulting in a revolver wielding publican and the Mayor, Councillor Whykes suffering concussion

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FALLS OF SNOW. (1905, September 8). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved August 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72817822

FALLS OF SNOW. (1905, September 8). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved August 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72817822

In 1910, Hamilton saw another heavy snowfall.  Such was the novelty, snowballing in the streets took priority over opening the shops.  A large snowman was built on nearby Mt Pierrepoint.

 

SNOW MAN ON A MOUNTAIN. (1910, October 11). The Border Morning Mail and Riverina Times (Albury, NSW : 1903 - 1920), p. 2. Retrieved August 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111390335

SNOW MAN ON A MOUNTAIN. (1910, October 11). The Border Morning Mail and Riverina Times (Albury, NSW : 1903 – 1920), p. 2. Retrieved August 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111390335

 

Well, this post is my 52nd Trove Tuesday post.  I did it.  I managed to post every Tuesday since Amy Lehmann  launched Trove Tuesday on August 28  last year.  Next week, we celebrate Trove Tuesday entering a second year and I will share some of the most popular posts from the past 52 weeks.

 

Trove Tuesday – When the Sea Covered Hamilton

Since I have just written about the Reeds of Muddy Creek, I will continue the Muddy Creek theme for Trove Tuesday.

Around 1931, Walter Greed of Hamilton discovered a cowry shell on the banks of Muddy Creek, near Hamilton and passed it on to the National Museum.  Walter was the husband of Jessie Harman, daughter of Reuben Harman of Byaduk, and was a member of the Greed family, funeral directors of Hamilton.

Maybe that doesn’t seem that unusual, but a cowry shell is a seashell and the nearest sea to Muddy Creek is around 80 kilometres away.  The shell Walter  found was a fossil was from a time when the area surrounding Muddy Creek, including Hamilton, was one hundred fathoms under the sea.  That is around 182 metres.

Muddy Creek and the river it flows into, the Grange Burn, are well known fossil sites, recorded in Australia’s Fossil Heritage: A Catalogue of Important Australian Fossil Sites.

WHEN THE SEA COVERED HAMILTON. (1931, June 26). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved June 16, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72635176

WHEN THE SEA COVERED HAMILTON. (1931, June 26). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved June 16, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72635176

Trove Tuesday – Hamilton Then and Now

This week, Trove Tuesday is all about photographs.  If you are looking for photos, Trove is the place to go.  One search can find photos from the various State Libraries, Museum Victoria and Flickr, to name a few.  I found two photos of Hamilton from the 1880s held at the State Library of South Australia.  They were going to be the only subjects of this post, but as usual, I couldn’t stop at that.  With the help of Trove, Google Maps and some of my own photos, we can look at Hamilton then and now.

The first photo, probably taken from around Scoresby Street, looks toward what is known as Church Hill.  On the left is the Christ Church(1868) and the right, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (1858).  The photo tells so much about Hamilton in 1880, the buildings, the style of houses, and roofing materials.  Even what the ladies were wearing.  I wonder what they were talking about?

 

VIEW OF HAMILTON, 1880.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia Image No. B2176/55 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_55.htm

VIEW OF HAMILTON, 1880. Image Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia Image No. B2176/55 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_55.htm

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The shot from Google Maps shows how densely populated this part of town has become over the years.

1880 was an eventful year in Hamilton.  From the Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, of February 14, 1880, comes a story from The Hamilton Spectator of February 7.  Two days earlier, the Shire Secretary, Henry J. Bloomfield and a local storekeeper J.H. Cooke had a public fight that ended with the firing of Cooke’s revolver.  The evening before, Cooke had been horse whipped by a female relative of Bloomfield.  Scandal. Maybe that was what the ladies were talking about.

In September, 1880 The Duke of Manchester visited Hamilton.  Met at the station by a large crowd, he went on to give a speech at a packed Commercial Hotel .

The event that caused “a profound sensation”, not just in Hamilton but beyond, was an outbreak of Diphtheria that lead to deaths including that of  Archdeacon Innes.

Obituary. ARCHDEACON INNES. (1880, April 17). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 17. Retrieved June 11, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70943080

Obituary. ARCHDEACON INNES. (1880, April 17). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 – 1907), p. 17. Retrieved June 11, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70943080

An inquiry was held, as reported in the Evening News (Sydney) with the finding that the disease had originated in nearby Hochkirch (now Tarrington).  Several children had died in that town, but because of a belief that disease was not contagious, it was able to spread unchecked.  It was then transmitted to Hamilton and the result was the death of the Archdeacon and others.

Back to the churches.  In  the early 1900s, the St Andrews Presbyterian Church was pulled down and a new church built.  The following photo of the original church is from 1890.

ST ANDREWS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH & HAMILTON ANGLICAN CHURCH c1890  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no.  H11827 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/69513

ST ANDREWS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH & HAMILTON ANGLICAN CHURCH c1890 Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H11827 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/69513

Today the two churches stand tall on Church Hill, their steeples visible from many parts of town. Below is the Christ Church in the foreground and  St Andrews in the background, taken in 2012.

HAMILTON CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL & ST ANDREWS PRESBYTERIAN CHRUCH, 2012

HAMILTON CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL & ST ANDREWS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 2012

The “new” Presbyterian Church as seen in 2012.

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The following photo, from 1880, was taken a little further east to the earlier shot, presumably by the same photographer.  The Gray Street Primary School, then the National School is seen in the top right quadrant.

VIEW OF HAMILTON, 1880.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. Image no.  B21766/54 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_54.htm

VIEW OF HAMILTON, 1880. Image Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. Image no. B21766/54 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_54.htm

The current school was built in 1876, four years before the above photo, replacing a small wooden school built in 1852.  The photo from the 1880s shows a turret on the centre of the school roof.  It is no longer there as seen in this photo from 2012.

HAMILTON STATE SCHOOL, 2012

HAMILTON STATE SCHOOL, 2012

I wanted to identify more of the buildings in the second 1880s photo, particularly those on the extreme right, near the school.  It is difficult to work out where Gray Street actually was, but taking into consideration the great depth of the school yard, I was able to establish that the building closest to the school is Hewlett House (below), on the corner of Gray and Kennedy Streets.  The three windows on the upper level of the building are visible in the original photo.  The home was built in 1876 by Dr. Viallis, but he died in 1879 aged 32.

HEWLETT HOUSE, HAMILTON

HEWLETT HOUSE, HAMILTON

The building to the front of Hewlett House must then be the former Temperance Hall in Kennedy Street  built, 1876.  From Google Maps, a snap of the building in more recent years.

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In the 19th Century the western end of Gray Street was the epicentre of town.  The Town Hall, Post Office, National School, Mechanics Institute, The Hamilton Spectator and the Hamilton Club were all is this small section of the street.  The photo below is from a Rose postcard.  The  postcard collection I found doesn’t have specific dates, only the general date range 1920-1954.

GRAY STREET, HAMILTON.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria,  Image No. H32492/2731

GRAY STREET, HAMILTON. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image No. H32492/2731 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63083

The Hamilton Club, built in 1876  is the first building on the left side of the street.  Opposite is the school, by then Gray Street State School.  The building next to the school, was demolished in 1986.  It was the State Savings Bank of Victoria at the time of the photograph.  Further on, the building with the enclosed verandah would be the former Town Hall Hotel.  It was later known as the Hamilton Hotel and today is the home of the Hamilton Baptist Church.  Below is the Hamilton Club as seen in 2012.

THE HAMILTON CLUB, HAMILTON

THE HAMILTON CLUB, HAMILTON

In the original 1880s photo, a fence and hedge runs between the Hamilton Club and the next building, the Mechanics Institute, built 1865.  It is now the home of the Hamilton History Centre.

 

HAMILTON HISTORY CENTRE, FORMALLY MECHANICS INSTITUTE.

HAMILTON HISTORY CENTRE, FORMALLY MECHANICS INSTITUTE.

Further on from the Mechanics Institute, in the original photo, there is a “Garage” sign.  This was the former Town Hall, built 1873.  A new Town Hall was built in Brown Street in 1909 and the original building sold.  In 1969, the building was demolished and is now a car park for postal employees.

The Hamilton Post Office was built in 1878 and the clock tower added in 1890 .  The Hamilton Spectator office is further along the street.

HAMILTON POST OFFICE.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H32492/3788  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/61503

HAMILTON POST OFFICE. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H32492/3788 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/61503

The Post Office clock tower still exists, it’s just obscured by a plane tree.

HAMILTON POST OFFICE

HAMILTON POST OFFICE

The Hamilton Spectator office, below,  in 2012.  George Robinson established the paper in 1860.  Robinson built the current home of the Spec in 1873.

 

THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR OFFICE, HAMILTON

THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR OFFICE, HAMILTON

Below is the front of Melville Oval from a Rose Postcard sometime after WW1.  The War Memorial is in the foreground, grandstand in the background and a band rotunda to the left of the grandstand.

MELVILLE OVAL, HAMILTON.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image No.H32492/2800   http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63848

MELVILLE OVAL, HAMILTON. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No.H32492/2800 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63848

Below is a similar view from 2011.  The band rotunda is no longer beside the grandstand.  It found a new home in 1988.

MELVILLE OVAL, HAMILTON

MELVILLE OVAL, HAMILTON

The Hamilton Botanical Gardens is one of my favourite places in Hamilton.  This is the view from the entrance on the corner of Thompson and French Streets.  The bust of George V was erected after the King’s death in 1936.

HAMILTON BOTANICAL GARDENS Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no.  H32492/3783 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/60784

HAMILTON BOTANICAL GARDENS Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H32492/3783 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/60784

This is George today.  If only he could talk. He would have seen some sights in his 70 or so years in the gardens.

KING GEORGE V MEMORIAL, HAMILTON BOTANICAL GARDENS

KING GEORGE V MEMORIAL, HAMILTON BOTANICAL GARDENS

The John Thomson Memorial Fountain was erected in 1918 in memory of the pastoralist and M.L.A. John Thomson.  Thomson was a member of the Racing Club, Presbyterian Church and the Fire Brigade and more.

JOHN THOMSON MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN, HAMILTON BOTANICAL GARDENS.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no.  H32492/2808 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63460

JOHN THOMSON MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN, HAMILTON BOTANICAL GARDENS. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H32492/2808
http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63460

The fountain today, with the band rotunda, formally at Melville Oval, in the background.  Relocated in 1988,  the gardens is a perfect spot for it.

JOHN THOMSON MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN, HAMILTON BOTANICAL GARDENS

JOHN THOMSON MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN, HAMILTON BOTANICAL GARDENS

 

This post was so much easier thanks to several booklets I have, written by Margaret Gardner and Val Heffernan of the Hamilton History Centre.  Under the general title of “Exploring Hamilton” they offer several walking and driving tours of Hamilton packed full of history and include the Church Hill walk, CBD – Gray Street walk and the Grange Burn walk.  There are histories of prominent landmarks, shops and homes.  There are eight walking tours and three driving tours in total and are available from the Hamilton History Centre for $5.00 each.  I have six so far and they are a wonderful resource.

Trove Tuesday – A Hare Raising Tale

Enough of  Ladies of the Night, Dancing Girls, Husband’s Commandments, Bottom Drawers and Whispering Wedding Bells.  It’s time to go back to one of my favourite Trove Tuesday themes, animal stories.

The Argus of August 5, 1873 published an article from the Hamilton Spectator, relating a story of a hare that had the writer confirming Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection.  The hare may not have agreed.  No amount of adaptation could save her from a band of men with sticks and dogs.

coursing coursing1

COURSING EXTRAORDINARY. (1873, August 5). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 6. Retrieved May 27, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5868695

COURSING EXTRAORDINARY. (1873, August 5). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 6. Retrieved May 27, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5868695

The following image from the State Library of Victoria depicts scenes from a coursing outing in 1883, however the bunny sketch could have come straight out a Peter Rabbit story.

COURSING.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. A/S07/05/83/85  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/156341

COURSING. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. A/S07/05/83/85 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/156341