Armistice Day 1918 in the Western District

Today is the centenary of the signing of the Armistice which brought an end to the fighting of WW1.  News arrived in the Western District between 8.30pm and 9.30pm on Monday 11 November 1918 while for other towns, it was the following morning.  Everyone knew it was coming, the question was when. Hopes were high after the surrender of Austria and Turkey but there was still uncertainty and an unwillingness to celebrate until the official word came through.

“AUSTRIA’S SURRENDER.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 5 November 1918: 4. Web. 8 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119508007

Most towns had put in some preparation organising bands and ensuring bunting was at hand ready to decorate the streets.  Early on 8 November, rumours spread around Hamilton, Coleraine and other Western District towns that the signing had taken place.  But they were just rumours.

“PEACE RUMOURS.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 9 November 1918: 4. Web. 8 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119508174

 

“PREMATURE EXCITEMENT” Coleraine Albion and Western Advertiser (Vic. : 1902; 1914 – 1918) 11 November 1918: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119615782

Let’s do a fly around the Western District and see how each town reacted.  In most cases, the reaction was like nothing seen before.

In Ararat, official news came through at 8.30pm on 11 November.  Bells started to ring and the two local brass bands swung into action.

Celebrations continued on into the morning of Tuesday 12 November.

“TO-DAY’S RE[?]OICINGS.” Ararat Chronicle and Willaura and Lake Bolac Districts Recorder (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 12 November 1918 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154297182

Then into Tuesday evening with an open-air concert at Alexandra Park.

“PEACE CELEBRATIONS.” Ararat Chronicle and Willaura and Lake Bolac Districts Recorder (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 15 November 1918: 2. Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154298902

In Penshurst, church bells rang and the Penshurst Brass Band played.

“ARMISTICE SIGNED” Penshurst Free Press (Vic. : 1901 – 1918) 16 November 1918: 3. Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119565333

Just before 9pm, the Hamilton Spectator received a cable and immediately told those waiting in front of the offices in Gray Street. Bells rang, the bands played and people flooded into the streets.  The Hamilton Brass Band was taken by motor car to Tarrington to tell residents there.

“JUBILATION IN HAMILTON” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 12 November 1918: 6. Web. 5 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119508265

After a false start to celebrations, Coleraine took no time took to get in the spirit.  On 12 November the children marched along the streets of the town.

“OUTDOOR DEMONSTRATION.” Coleraine Albion and Western Advertiser (Vic. : 1902; 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 3. Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119615803

At Casterton, the townsfolk were “delirious with joy”.  There was fireworks, bands and dancing.

“Peace! Glorious Peace!” Casterton Free Press and Glenelg Shire Advertiser (Vic. : 1915 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 3. Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article152657300

Tuesday 12 November was a holiday in Casterton as it was in most places.

“Peace Celebrations.” The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 3 (Bi-Weekly.). Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74222633

Some towns like Sandford and Merino waited until official word was received the following morning. At Sandford, in a prearranged manoeuvre, the sight of the flag going up the pole of the Post Office signalled the end of the war.

“Sandford Celebrations.” The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 3 (Bi-Weekly.). Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74222628

At Merino, bells rang and guns fired.

“Merino Celebrations.” The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 3 (Bi-Weekly.). Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74222625

Heywood held off with celebrations until official word came after 9am on Tuesday 12 November. Preparations were then quickly underway for a large demonstration at 3pm

“Heywood.” Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 2. Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88196524

At Portland, the Observer received an urgent wire from Reuters around 9.30pm on 11 November with the news and the celebrations began.  People got out of the beds and rushed into the streets.

“LOCAL CELEBRATIONS.” Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 3. Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88196546

At Orford, a public picnic was planned for the following Friday.

“CELEBRATIONS AT ORFORD.” Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 2 (EVENING). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91987686

At Port Fairy, there were a couple of hiccups but that did suppress the euphoria.

“ORDERLY CELEBRATIONS.” Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 2 (EVENING). Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91987660

The official message arrived about 9pm on 11 November and the news spread around the town like wildfire.

“Advertising” Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 2 (EVENING). https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/8499675

Tuesday was a holiday and just as well because no one would have turned up for work anyway. Port Fairy’s celebrations continued all Tuesday and into Wednesday.

“TUESDAY MORNING.” Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: 2 (EVENING). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91987687

“AFTERNOON DEMONSTRATION” Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91987687

At Koroit the shops and school closed Tuesday and Wednesday.  A large bonfire was built and on Tuesday night after a parade, it was lit.

“CELEBRATION AT KOROIT” Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74039937

In Warrnambool, people waited outside the Standard office for the news on the evening of 11 November.  Fire bells started ringing as soon as the news was read out.

“PEACE AT LAST!” Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 12 November 1918: 3 (DAILY.). Web. 5 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74039813

A torchlight parade was organised for Tuesday night with a massed tin-can band.

“STATEMENT BY MR. WATT.” Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 12 November 1918: 3 (DAILY.). Web. 5 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74039792

Buildings and streets across Warrnambool were decorated with flags and bunting.

“THE CELEBRATIONS IN WARRNAMBOOL.” Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74039829

Camperdown residents rushed into Manifold Street.

“General Rejoicing.” Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954) 12 November 1918: 2. Web. 10 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32180700

Cobden celebrated too.

“PEACE AT LAST.” Cobden Times (Vic. : 1918) 13 November 1918 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119543664

In Colac, they went “wild”.

“Local Rejoicings” Colac Reformer (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 12 November 1918: 3. Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154137089

 

“PEACE CELEBRATION.” The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918) 13 November 1918: 3. Web. 5 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74474856

A torchlight parade took place on Tuesday night.

“COLAC AT NIGHT.” The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918) 13 November 1918: 3. Web. 7 Nov 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74474852

A TIN CAN BAND READY FOR COLAC’S TORCHLIGHT PARADE ON 12 NOVEMBER 1918. Image courtesy of the Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/771371

 

“CELEBRATIONS IN COLAC” Colac Reformer (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 14 November 1918: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154135561

.Despite all the celebrations, the underlying feeling was summed up by the Warrnambool Standard.

 

BIRDS OF PEACE! (1918, November 14). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 3 (DAILY.). Retrieved November 7, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74039924

The Drover’s Wife

This post was written for the 2013 Australia Day Blog Challenge organised by genealogist Helen V. Smith. The brief for the challenge was “Tell the story of your first Australian ancestor”.

Easy –  Ellen Barry arrived in 1840 on the Orient.  But you have heard enough about Ellen and her husband Thomas Gamble, another early arrival (and possible convict).   Most of my other ancestors were 1850s Assisted Immigrants.  Maybe I could go with a hunch.

My ggg grandparents James Bishop and Sarah Hughes have been difficult to research.  I eventually discovered they married in Adelaide in 1852.  A few years ago, on the passenger list of the Lysander an 1840 arrival to Adelaide, I found Robert Hughes, his wife and four daughters.

Shipping Report. (1840, September 8). Southern Australian (Adelaide, SA : 1838 - 1844), p. 3. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71619943

Shipping Report. (1840, September 8). Southern Australian (Adelaide, SA : 1838 – 1844), p. 3. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71619943

As Sarah’s father was Robert,  I’ve kept the Lysander filed away in my mind (yes, there are probably better places), occasionally having a search around the records hoping for something new.

For this post, I decided to try to find, the arrival date of either Sarah or James, but I had to choose.  Firstly, I would need to pay for a digital image of a Death Certificate simply because I was short of clues. This was still cheaper and faster than ordering a hard copy of their South Australian Marriage Certificate.

I’ve posted about James before and I know something of him but nothing of Sarah except she gave birth to eleven children, but I did want to know more.  Also, as Sarah passed away before her husband, the informant would most likely have been James and, if he was still of sane mind, information would be more accurate than that on his own certificate.   He died ten years later in 1895 and his informant may not have known the detail I was after.

Based on that reasoning, Sarah it would be.  So I ordered the certificate and waited, with fingers crossed for the digital image to appear. More often than not when I order a certificate, I end up disappointed.  I was, on this occasion, pleasantly surprised.  The column I was most interested in was “How long in the Australian colony”.  It read, “fourteen years in South Australia”, in Victoria…almost illegible but it looks like thirty-four years.  What do you think?

sh

 

It does not prove that Sarah came on the Lysander but it does qualify her as an early arrival, so let the story begin.

I have told much of the Bishop family story in the post “Jim’s Gone A-droving” but what of Sarah’s story?  I know so little about her but with help from Henry Lawson’s “The Drover’s Wife” one can wonder and imagine what life was like for her.  While I don’t believe that she felt the isolation experienced by Lawson’s “wife” she must have felt the same loneliness.

Sarah Hughes was born in Brighton, East Sussex, England in 1834 to Robert Hughes and Mary Godfer.  Robert was a sailor according to Sarah’s Death Certificate.  As a child, Sarah arrived in Adelaide.  By 1852, aged eighteen, she had met and married James Bishop from Dorset, nine years her senior.  They lived at Thebarton, just north-west of the Adelaide city centre.  Eight days short of their nine month anniversary, Sarah and Jim welcomed a daughter, Mary Elizabeth, named after her two grandmothers.

For most of his working life, Jim was a drover.  The following article describes a James  Bishop, working as a shepherd near Gawler, South Australia in 1853.

jb

This could well be my Jim, off working early in the marriage.  I have often wondered why only one child was born during the  Adelaide days from 1852-1855/6, considering the speed of conception of the first child and frequency of the later children. Maybe Jim was away working?   Could the gaps between the eleven children be a  measure of Jim’s absences?

Baby Mary passed away in 1855 and this may have been a catalyst for a move.

Family Notices. (1855, March 26). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 2. Retrieved January 24, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49308047

Family Notices. (1855, March 26). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), p. 2. Retrieved January 24, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49308047

Or was it gold?  Jim and Sarah next turned up in Ararat where a new lead was found in early 1856.

ARARAT. (1856, June 27). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), p. 2. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88050962

ARARAT. (1856, June 27). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88050962

Would life as a miner’s wife be any different to a shepherd’s wife?  The goldfields were harsh for women, in the minority and left alone while their husband’s sought to change their fortunes.  There was the cold (and Ararat can get very cold), the mud, the heat and dust.   Their home was either a tent or hut.  Settled in Ararat, Sarah gave birth to three children in four years, including my gg grandmother Elizabeth, if lucky a midwife at best assisted or another miner’s wife.  Disease lurked on the goldfields, a constant worry for a mother with young children.

Seemingly luckless, the Bishops moved to Mount Gambier.  Jim would have turned to droving by this time.   While they were in Mount Gambier,  Harriet was born in 1860 and Ellen in 1862.

dw

By 1865, the family had moved to the Macarthur/Byaduk area and in the same year, after a break of three years, Sarah gave birth to a daughter.  She called her Mary after the child she lost 10 years before.

dw2During Jim’s absences, he often took cattle to the Adelaide markets, Sarah would have faced the harshness of the land on her own.  By 1870, she had eight children from a newborn to fourteen.  That year,  Jim selected sixteen acres at Warrabkook, out of Macarthur.  At least the older boys could have helped her with daily farm tasks and Elizabeth, thirteen and Harriett, ten, with the babies.

dw3dw4

dw5

dw6

dw7

dw8

Sarah’s relationship with James is something I wonder about.  Nine years younger than him and only a girl when they married.  Drovers were stereotypically hard-drinking men adapted to long periods alone.  Margaret Kiddle in her book, Men of Yesterday, A Social History of the Western District of Victoria  described drovers as “…hardbitten, sunburnt and blasphemous.”(page 411) How did Jim adjust back at home?  The peace of life on the road with a mob of cattle would be very different to a home full of children.  Did Sarah do as Lawsons’ drover’s wife and not make a fuss?

dw9As Lawson’s “Drover’s Wife” killed a snake that terrorised the family in their home, her eldest son, with some sense of her emptiness, declared “Mother, I won’t go drovin’, blast me if I do”.

dw11For Sarah, this was not the case.  Eldest son Charles worked as a drover.

PASTORAL INTELLIGENCE. (1890, January 15). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 6. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8583931

PASTORAL INTELLIGENCE. (1890, January 15). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 6. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8583931

Third son Robert worked as a drover.

rb

The droving blood ran deep.  The 1913 Electoral Roll lists Sarah’s grandson Hubert Nathaniel Gurney Bishop, with the unmistakable name and son of Charles, as living in Longreach, Queensland.  I  believe this his him.

PASTORAL NOTES. (1913, December 15). Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1885 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60386074

PASTORAL NOTES. (1913, December 15). Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1885 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60386074

Sarah died on 15 May 1885 at Byaduk from pulmonary tuberculosis.  Buried at only fifty-one at the Macarthur cemetery.  The Wesleyan minister presided.  On Sarah’s death certificate her profession was not home duties, or wife or even mother.  It was a role that was all of those and more…drover’s wife.

 

sb

After I wrote this post I watched Australian country singer Luke O’Shea ‘s take on The Drover’s Wife.  Pass the tissues, please.

SOURCES:

Excerpts of Henry Lawson’s short story “The Drover’s Wife” from Queensland Country Life – EPICS OF THE BUSH. (1936, June 11). Queensland Country Life (Qld. : 1900 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article97158517 and Henry Lawson’s Stories of the Bush. (1936, June 18). Queensland Country Life (Qld. : 1900 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article97158597

A full version of “The Drover’s Wife” is available at this link – http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/l/lawson/henry/while_the_billy_boils/book2.1.html

Bound For South Australia