Ship Mates

The Casterton Historical Society newsletters, as featured in Nifty Newsletters, ran a series of extracts from the book Tales of Casterton: the Waines murder and other stories by Jack Gorman.  In the September 2005 issue, Part 1 of the story stated that convicted murderer George Waines arrived in Victoria aboard the Duke of Richmond.

This is a particularly interesting find as my ggg grandmother, Margaret Diwell, who appeared as a witness at George’s murder trial, also arrived on the Duke of Richmond, along with her husband William.  This answers the question has to how she came to know the Waines, other than the fact they lived reasonably close together.

I have a database of Duke of Richmond arrivals and  I did a search but no George Waines.  I then went to an online passenger list of the Duke of Richmond that I often refer back to.  No George Waines.

So a-Troving I went.  An article from the Bendigo Advertiser, reporting on the hanging of Waines, supported his arrival on the Duke of Richmond.  But there seems to have been a case of mistaken identity Waines was keen to amend before his death.

EXECUTION OF THE CONVICT WAINES. (1860, July 18). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87945170

EXECUTION OF THE CONVICT WAINES. (1860, July 18). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87945170

I did find a George Waines in the Australian Convict Transportation Registers(1791-1868) .  Convicted in Warwickshire,  he left England for Tasmania in 1843.

Back to the Duke of Richmond passenger list.  George’s wife was Jane so I thought I would look at  first names instead of surnames.  Sure enough, there was a George and Jane Whainer both aged 29 from Yorkshire.  George’s age matches his birth date of 1823, but Yorkshire?  Both the  Casterton Historical Society Newsletter and the article above, state George was born in Dorset, England, with the Bendigo Advertiser narrowing it down to Sherborne.

Back to Trove and look what I found:

POPULATION OF THE GOLDFIELDS. (1860, October 22). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87947401

POPULATION OF THE GOLDFIELDS. (1860, October 22). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87947401

George was from Sherburn, Yorkshire, Sherburn as opposed to Sherborne, Dorset.  This and the claim George “was one of the most notorious poachers in the district” helps support something I found on the England and Wales, Criminal Registers (1791-1892).  In 1849, George Waines of Yorkshire was sentenced to  three months imprisonment on a charge of larceny.  Maybe he wasn’t as squeaky clean as he wanted people to believe.  No matter the impression he tried to project, nothing could save him from the gallows.

Using FreeBDM I found a marriage of  George Waines in 1847, registered in the Scarborough district of Yorkshire.  From the same Volume, there are two Janes, Jane Winter and Jane Jewett

That settled, back to the original aim of my post, the friendship between Margaret Diwell and the Waines, particularly Jane.  So it seems they met on the Duke of Richmond, the same ship another set of ggg grandparents sailed on, James and Susan Harman.  The Diwells spent around five years in Portland after arrival, then they went to Casterton in 1858.    The CHS newsletter says  that once in Casterton, the Diwells lived close to both the Waines and the Hunts.  As the Hunts purchased land off George Waines in 1856 at Casterton, the Waines must have arrived in town before the Diwells.

It sounds like Jane Waines would have been a good friend.  The CHS newsletter describes her as “a comely woman, a vivacious personality full of joy and fun…” . George was not described  in such a favourable way, although he did hold Jane in high regard.

EXECUTION OF THE CONVICT WAINES. (1860, July 18). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87945170

EXECUTION OF THE CONVICT WAINES. (1860, July 18). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87945170

Of course, I did wonder what happened to Jane after George’s death.  George had thoughts about what she should do.

THE CASTERTON MURDER. (1860, April 30). The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889), p. 3. Retrieved February 6, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1204764

THE CASTERTON MURDER. (1860, April 30). The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 – 1889), p. 3. Retrieved February 6, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1204764

On the Victorian Marriage Index, a Jane Waines married Thomas James Brooks in 1861.  From there I lose her.  I can not find a death record for either Jane or a Thomas James Brooks that I can definitely say is them.  I can’t get a lead on the town Jane lived in so that is making it hard to search for her at Trove.  I wonder if she stayed on in Casterton?  Did Margaret Diwell see her again?  Did Margaret and Jane’s relationship falter during the trial period, given Margaret also knew Mrs Hunt well.  So many questions.

As the Harmans were also on the Duke of Richmond, I have a picture in my mind of James Harman back in 1860, then at Muddy Creek, looking up from his paper of choice, maybe the Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser and remarking “Do you remember the Waines and the Diwells from the ship, Susan?”

Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance

The obituary of Sarah Jane Wadmore in the January Passing of the Pioneers prompted me to find out more about a booklet she co-authored for the Portland Centenary in 1934, the Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance.  I had previously read about it in newspaper reports from around the time.

Pioneer Women of Portland. (1934, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64285807

Pioneer Women of Portland. (1934, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64285807

A  Google search led me to the State Library of Victoria website and it was pleasing to see it has been digitised and is available online.  I was even more pleased that ggg grandmother Margaret Ann Diwell (nee Turner) was among the pioneering women of Portland as well as some of those I have featured in Passing of the Pioneers.

The booklet begins with a forward from Alice Frances Moss, a pioneer of women’s rights.  She was the first President of the National Council of Women of Australia and Chair of the Victorian Women’s Centenary Council.

After an offering of appreciation to pioneer women, there is the story of  Mrs Stephen George Henty, the first European woman at Portland, to whom the booklet was dedicated.  She is often called Mrs Stephen George Henty, but let us call her Jane (Pace).

There are the recollections of Mrs George Godwin Crouch (Marianne Trangmar) spanning from 1840 to 1917.  Then, a list of “Worthy Pioneers” compiled by Sarah Jane Wadmore.  Included is one of my favourites, Rebecca Kittson (Mrs William Lightbody) and Mrs Fawthrop, Jane Rosevear, wife of Captain James Fawthrop the life boat captain.

Following is the story of  Mrs Richard Charlton Hedditch and further on, a letter she wrote on Christmas Day 1848, to her parents in England.  Another woman often referred to by her husband’s name, she was Rachel Forward Read.

After some local poetry comes “Belles and Beauties of the Early Days”.  Those included are Misses Henty, Learmonth, Trangmar and Herbertson.

Finally is a list of Portland’s Pioneering Women.  Women born or living in Portland prior to 1864 were eligible.  This is where I found Margaret.  The Diwells lived in Portland for about five years from the time of their arrival on the Duke of Richmond in 1852.

Margaret appears as Mrs William Diwell and her daughter-in-law, Frances Webb,  is also listed as Mrs William Diwell.  Frances just scraped in as she was born in Portland in 1863 to John Webb and Margaret Smith, who is also listed.  This is a useful list as some entries have notes and maiden names.

The oldest pioneer women, recognised separately, include Marion Nunn Jones, Emma Holmes and Anne Beglan.

The photographs in the booklet are of Mrs Jane Henty, Mrs Marianne Crouch, Mrs Janet Laurie, Sarah Jane Wadmore and Mrs Rachel Hedditch.

The booklet also comes as an Archive CD book and is available from the Genealogical Society of Victoria.

Online book – Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance 

Pack Up Your Troubles

They should have known something when I suggested we go to Nelson for a few days.   Like last year when we travelled to Portland, I had found a destination that would  covertly satisfy some of my family history needs while still appealing to the other family members.

Back in April, I received an email from Daryl Povey from the Glenelg & Wannon Settlers site.   Daryl had been at the Digby Hall for ANZAC day and spoke to an old school friend, Doug.  Doug had purchased a property near Digby some time ago and had found an army issue backpack hanging on a door in the house.  It was in good condition and had the name Pte E. H. Gamble  written on it.  Daryl  knew of my Gamble link and asked me if E.H. was a relative.  He most certainly was, he was my great-uncle, Ernest Hiram Gamble

Ernest Hiram Gamble was born in 1915 at Hamilton, the third son of Joseph Henry Gamble and Edith Diwell.  My grandfather, William Henry, was the oldest son, and was four years older than Ern.

The following photo is L:  Ern, Norm, Bill (my grandfather).  This is one of my favourite Gamble photos.

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There is a lot in the photo.  The boy’s shoes – aren’t they great?  The boy’s jackets – All different and probably all from different sources, but still Edith ensured her boys looked smart.   The garden – I have an interest in Australian gardening history and the photo offers a glimpse into a 1920s backyard.  The smiles – it is heartening to see this picture taken in the early 1920s.  The boys look so happy and pleased to be together.

In the years earlier, the boys went through a period of separation.  Joseph and Edith moved from Hamilton to Moonee Ponds for a short time, living not far from Josephs’ brother Albert.   My grandfather and possibly some of the other children, spent some time in Ballarat. He even appears on the Macarthur Street State School records.  The  family returned to Hamilton in the early 1920s and three more children were born.  Life was tough at times but Edith, with her happy spirit,  kept them smiling.

In 1940, Ernest married Jean Lillian Watts and they moved to Mt Gambier.   Ern had worked as a grocer in Hamilton with Moran & Cato Pty Ltd a leading Australian grocery chain of the time and he transferred to their Mt. Gambier store.  A keen musician, a love passed through the Diwell line, Ern got involved with  local dances playing with his friend Colin McKinnon. The duo also performed in Amateur Hours such as the following at Mt Gambier in 1942.

Last Amateur Hour on Tuesday. (1942, October 24). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78118758

Last Amateur Hour on Tuesday. (1942, October 24). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78118758

Advertising. (1942, October 24). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78118780

Advertising. (1942, October 24). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78118780

On April 22,  1942, aged 27, Ern enlisted at Mt Gambier for service in WW2.  An appointment was made with The Arthur Studio in Mt. Gambier for a photo session for posterity.

ern

Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. BRG 347/4359 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/arthur/04500/BRG347_4359.htm

Ern’s work place gave him a send off and he set off to Adelaide for training in early October 1942.

Presentation to Staff Member. (1942, October 3). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78117772

Presentation to Staff Member. (1942, October 3). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78117772

A month later, Ern was given leave to spend time with Jean before his posting.

PERSONAL. (1942, November 12). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78119426

PERSONAL. (1942, November 12). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78119426

At time of his discharge, Ern was a corporal with the 1st Australian Base Ordnance Depot that, from what I can work out, was in Brisbane.  By the end of the war there was an Ordnance Depot at Bandiana in Victoria and I have found this referred to as the 1st Ordnance Depot.  The role of the Ordnance Corps is detailed below:

Men Wanted For Militia.—No. 7. (1940, August 6). The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved January 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article40949865

Men Wanted For Militia.—No. 7. (1940, August 6). The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved January 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article40949865

After the war, Ern and Jean welcomed a son, John Ernest.  They were living in Melbourne by that time.

This is another lovely Gamble photo.  Here Edith, surrounded by her family, and with a big smile,  looks so proud.  Ern is back right and my grandfather, back left.  This was from a series of photos taken on  a day the family managed to all come together from Melbourne, Ballarat and beyond.  My mum and Ern’s son John were only toddlers, so I think it may have been around 1948 and Edith was living at 18 Skene Street, Hamilton.

Gamblefamily

In 1960, Ern passed away at McKinnon, aged only 44.  Jean died in 1971 aged 54 and the following year, only child John passed away, aged 26.

So that was it,  I had decided.  We were off to Nelson with its great fishing and oh, did I mention we would just happen to pass right by Doug’s house on the way?

We met up with Doug and his wonderful farm dogs.  What a great bloke Doug is, realising the backpack might hold some special family meaning and for looking after it until the day he may find some one who knew Pte E. H. Gamble.

DSCN1372DSCN1375

For over 60 years, Ern’s backpack hung on a door in a farmhouse, waiting for its owner to return.  The story of how it came to be there is not yet clear.  The house was previously owned by Ronald Mabbitt, a Digby man.  He passed away in 2005.  Ron did enlist in WW2, and when discharged he was with the 2/32 Australian Infantry Battalion.    Maybe their paths crossed during the war or maybe Ron was a musician.  Ron must have thought a lot of Ern to keep his backpack so long, hoping one day his friend may return.

Thank you to Daryl Povey for contacting me and passing on Doug’s details.    Your help is always appreciated.

Now I have some homework.   I need to order Ern’s service records from the National Archives of Australia and I am going to ring my Great Auntie Shirl, Ern’s only living sibling.  I picked Mum’s brain for this post but I want to find about a little more about Ern and his family and the instrument he played.  My grandfather played the cornet and I assume Ern was a brass player too.  I will also continue the search for the link between Ern and Ron Mabbitt.

Witness for the Prosecution – New Findings

I love it when my ancestors find their voice and through their own words give something of their personalities.  Obviously their voice is not audible, but through Letters to the Editors, wills or even as witnesses for an inquest, it is then easier to imagine them speaking.

In my post Witness for the Prosecution, I told of ggg grandmother Margaret Ann Turner, married to William Diwell, and her experience as a witness in a murder trial in 1860 at Casterton. Previous newspaper reports had only mentioned her role, but an extensive report of the trial in the Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser of April 20, 1860 brings Margaret to life as she describes her conversations to the defendant, George Waines, prior to his arrest.  Of course give consideration to the abilities of the person recording the events.

This article tells me a lot about my ggg grandparents.  It reconfirmed they were in Casterton in 1859 and Margaret said they were residing in a hut owned by Mr Hunt.  Also, Margaret must have been good friends with Mrs Waines spending a lot of time at their house, including dining there on occasions.  She makes no mention of William or the six children.

CIRCUIT COURT. (1860, April 20). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved November 10, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65443361

More revelations.  George Waines dropped his wife off at Margaret’s hut one night.  Mrs Waines then stayed a further two nights, with George returning each night to take Mrs Waines away.  Margaret stated she left on June 15th, 1859 because she couldn’t bear to see Mrs Waines put through such torment.  So did Margaret leave her own hut and if so, where did she go?  Once again where were William and the six children?   One would think if William was around during these events, he too would have been called as a witness. William was a bricklayer and worked in surrounding towns, so this may explain his apparent absence.

Notice too that Margaret describes the Waines’ abode as a “house”, but the Diwells and Hunts lived in huts.  They were most likely slab huts like the one below.

Sutherland, Alexander, [Slab hut with bark roof ca. 1870-ca. 1880] Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://digital.slv.vic.gov.au/view/action/nmets.do?DOCCHOICE=353791.xml&dvs=1352638571965~542&locale=en_US&search_terms=&adjacency=&usePid1=true&usePid2=true

The Waines lived in a “house’ so it may have been  more substantial like the one below, or perhaps larger if George Waines’ aspirations were any indication.

“Family in front of their house on cleared land somewhere in Victoria”
F. J. Stubbs & Co. Photographer [ca. 1858-ca. 1908] Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/73293

Another thing that caught my attention was Margaret’s mention of a sister from Portland.  That sent me scurrying to the records as I have never found any of Margaret’s siblings and I would have thought they were back in Surrey.  A quick search of 1841 UK Census records (again) and the Australian Death Index gave me nothing, but I will keep searching.  Or was it just a ruse by Margaret to throw Waines off his interest in her mail.

It is sometimes difficult not to think of ggg grandparents as anything but old.  Reading this latest find has reminded me that Margaret was only 36 during the events leading up to the trial which has also reminded me that Margaret lived for only another nine years after the trial.  She was 45 when she died, only a little older than myself.  Margaret never became the old woman I must stop myself imagining her as.

There has also been another development in my family’s association with the Hunt murders.   Another descendant of my ggg grandfather George Jelly contacted me recently.  George’s daughter Elizabeth married Margaret Diwell’s son Richard in 1877.

Judy was kind enough to send me a copy of George’s obituary.  It tells of George’s swimming prowess and how he dived for the bones of the Hunt’s  in the Glenelg River.  Unfortunately I cannot find anything in the various reports about George’s efforts, despite it being mentioned that there was a river search and bones found.  I will bring you more on George in time.

W is for…What Else Could It Be?

Naturally I had to rejoin the Gould Genealogy Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge at “W”.  W is for Western District and that means a lot to me not only because this blog “Western District Families”.  I was born and raised in the Western District and all the families of my maternal lines, going back six generations, chose to settle in the wonderful Western District.

One of the highlights of the Western District is the geography.  Entering from the east, the Western Plains lead to the rise of the Grampians and on to the volcanic plains and green rolling hills beyond.  To the south are the forests of the Otways, the south-west coastline and volcanic Tower Hill.  And there are the rivers, meandering through the countryside to the sea.

I will take you on a geographical journey through the Western District, just a glimpse really, beginning with two colonial artists, Nicholas Chevalier and my favourite, Eugene Von Guerard.  These  artists and others traipsed around Victoria sketching and painting.  Von Guerard also travelled to Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia and New Zealand.  Looking at their paintings reminds me of the lives they lived for the sake of their art.

Chevalier’s sketch shows the Serra Range including Mt Sturgeon and Mt Abrupt at the southern end of the Grampians.

View of the Grampians, Western District [art original] N. Chevalier.
State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/100967

Moving south-west, dormant volcano Mt Eccles near Macarthur has played a part in my family history.  My gg grandfather Reuben James Harman, son of James Harman, owned property at Mt Eccles.  It was also a favourite fishing spot of my grandfather Bill Gamble.

Crater of Mt. Eccles, von Guerard, Eugene,1811-1901,artist.
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/46307

I prefer von Guerard’s depiction of Lake Surprise, the crater lake of Mt Eccles, to my own (below).  I remember as a child asking about the name “Lake Surprise”.  The answer:  When you get to the top of the crater and see the lake, you get a surprise.  Fair enough.

LAKE SURPRISE, MT ECCLES CRATER LAKE

It’s the photo of my grandfather Bill Gamble during the 1930s that is my favourite.

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A little north of Mt Eccles is the volcanic lava flow, the Harman Valley at Byaduk, named after my Harman family.  In the distance is the source of the lava, Mount Napier.

THE HARMAN VALLEY, BYADUK

South of Mount Eccles is beautiful and historic Port Fairy, the last port of call for the Moyne River, with its origins east of Macarthur, before it reaches the sea.

Port Fairy

MOYNE RIVER, PORT FAIRY

 

Moving east from Port Fairy is Tower Hill, another dormant volcano.

TOWER HILL

Next is Warrnambool.  The cemetery has a great view toward the Hopkins River close to the end of its 271 kilometre journey through the Western District from near Ararat to the sea at Logans Beach, one of the whale nurseries along the south-west coast,

WARRNAMBOOL CEMETERY

WARRNAMBOOL CEMETERY OVERLOOKING THE HOPKNS RIVER

South-east of Warrnambool is the famous Loch Ard Gorge, named for the Loch Ard which wrecked on the treacherous coastline.  The only two survivors, Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael were washed on to the beach at Loch Ard Gorge.

I find standing on the beach in the Gorge a haunting experience.

LOCH ARD GORGE

East along the coast line is one of the most iconic views, not only of Victoria but Australia.

THE 12 APOSTLES

North-west, and back where we started, are the Grampians.

HALLS GAP, GRAMPIANS

The Grampians are a perfect place to leave the subject of the Western District and move on to another “W” which has been a part of my family since the 1860s, the Wannon River…

W is for…Wannon River

The Wannon River begins its’ flow at the base of Mt Abrupt in the Southern Grampians.  It flows toward Dunkeld, around the base of Mt Sturgeon and leaves the Grampians heading north-west toward Cavendish. Along the way it passes by Mokanger, the workplace of both the Mortimers and Haddens.  Through Cavendish, it passes close to the cemetery, burial place of members of those two families.

DSCN1056

CAVENDISH OLD CEMETERY

 

From Cavendish, the river begins a southward journey toward two of the Hamilton district’s jewels, the Nigretta and Wannon waterfalls.  As the river progresses west, the Grange Burn joins the Wannon north of Morgiana, having flowed from just east of Hamilton, the city founded on the Grange.  This section of the Wannon river was another favourite fishing spot of my grandfather Bill Gamble.

On the river flows to Tahara and then Sandford. I have family links to Sandford with Julia Harman, daughter of James Harman residing there with her husband George Holmes.  Two children were born at Sandford including WW1 casualty Arthur Leonard Holmes.  My gg uncle William Diwell also spent some time around Sandford.  In 1914, he completed extensions to the St Marys Church.

The Wannon River then joins the another great river of the Western District, the Glenelg River, having passed through some of Victoria’s most beautiful countryside.  It is not surprising Joseph Hawdon, travelling overland to Adelaide with Lieutenant Alfred Miller Mundy of the 21st Regiment in 1839, endorsed Major Thomas Mitchell’s description five years earlier. Major Mitchell followed the Glenelg River from its beginnings in the Grampians through to the sea at Nelson. It is little wonder all my direct ancestors stayed in the Western District after settlement.

(1839, September 26). Launceston Advertiser (Tas. : 1829 – 1846), p. 1 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page8723904

After the merge with the Wannon, the Glenelg flows on to Casterton where I have many family links.  My ggg grandfather George Jelly, the father of Elizabeth Ann Jelly, was one man who could say he had conquered the river.  His obituary read:

“He was a remarkably good swimmer and by his abilities in this direction was instrumental in saving many persons from drowning and rescuing the bodies of many others who had perished in the river” 

He even dived for the bones of Robert and Mary Hunt, murdered by George Wains in 1860.

By the time the Glenelg River reaches the sea, it, the waters of the Wannon and Grange Burn have passed by many of the places my ancestors lived, worked, fished, swam and were laid to rest.

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NEAR THE MOUTH OF THE GLENELG RIVER, NELSON

The Wannon River between the Nigretta Falls and the Wannon Falls, about twenty kilometres from Hamilton, would be the section most frequented by myself and my family before me.  My own memories come from family visits, Sunday drives with Nana, school excursions and birthday parties.

The following views near the Wannon Falls are from the State Library of Victoria Collection and were captured around 1878 by  Thomas J. Washbourne , a Geelong photographer.

Wannon River Scene – Washbourne, Thomas J. photographer.Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Victorian Patents Office Copyright Collection (VPOCC) http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/53092

Wannon River Scene Washbourne, Thomas J.,photographer.
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria – Victorian Patents Office Copyright Collection (VPOCC) http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/52931

THE WANNON RIVER AT THE WANNON FALLS

Of the two waterfalls, I prefer the Nigretta, especially after rain.  The Wannon Falls could be described as pretty in the way the water drops off the edge, but the Nigretta Falls are, at times, spectacular.

NIGRETTA FALLS ON THE WANNON RIVER Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria – collection: Cogger album of photographs http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/41740

The Vagabond (John Stanley James) described the Nigretta Falls in his series “Picturesque Victoria” for The Argus.  In the 4 April 1885 edition of The Argus, The Vagabond wrote of his visit to the Wannon.  He enjoyed the hospitality at the Wannon Inn and then marvelled at the “miniature Niagara”

PICTURESQUE VICTORIA. (1885, April 4). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 4. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6073697

This photo taken in August this year by my friend Catherine, after some good rain, sees the Nigretta looking like the miniature Niagara Falls described by The Vagabond.

NIGRETTA FALLS – Image courtesy of Catherine Huisman

My grandfather, Bill Gamble, took the following photo in the 1930s

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It was pleasing to see that the old viewing platforms still remain at the Nigretta Falls.

NIGRETTA FALLS VIEWING PLATFORM

An impressive wooden staircase now leads down to the falls, but the original steps remain.

The Wannon Falls (below) holds memories of walking beyond the viewing platform, down to the rocks and behind the falls, but only when they were flowing lightly as they are in this photo.  A new viewing platform now prevents such precarious escapades, even undertaken while on school excursions!

WANNON FALLS

I have two framed prints of the Wannon Falls by Louis Buveot, painted in 1872.  One hangs on a wall as a constant reminder of Hamilton, the Wannon River and the waterfalls.  The original work hangs in the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery. To see the original click on the link – Wannon Falls

The topic of the Wannon River gives me an opportunity to share my all time favourite family photos.  As a little girl when I first saw Nana’s old photo album, these photos captured my imagination.  When Nana came to live with us she kept her photo albums in her wardrobe. I would take them down, sit on her bed and go straight to the photo below.  It was near the beginning of the album which had black, much turned pages.

From right: Nana, (Linda Hadden), my great-grandmother (Sarah Elizabeth Harman) and my great auntie Alma’s (Nana’s sister) mother-in-law Mrs Issac William Short (Catherine Gissane Tilley). They are standing on the original lower viewing deck.   The photos from a day at the Wannon where originally very small.  It wasn’t until I enlarged them on a computer, that I noticed Nana’s coat hanging on the railing.

I think the reason I like this photo is because Nana looked exactly liked she did when I knew her, but with long braids and I still can’t believe she was only about fifteen.  Even the small research assistant thought Nana was the lady in the middle when he first saw it.  He only knew her as an older person and does not think of her as having been a child too.

The second photo was taken from the lower viewing deck, looking toward the upper level.  I didn’t like standing here as a child and as you can see the rail was high at the front  and difficult to see over and to the right of  Nana was a gap between the fence and the rocks.  I much preferred the lower deck.

My grandfather Bill, before he married Nana, liked to visit the Wannon Falls too, although he didn’t stick to the viewing platforms.

bg13

In more recent years, a rotunda was built at the Wannon Falls reserve with information about the waterfall, the local geography and history.

On our visit, the small research assistant said “Look Mum, they even have family history here for you”  He was right. There is a lot of my family history at the Wannon Falls.

©Merron Riddiford 2012

Trove Tuesday

a collection or store of valuable or delightful things

(Oxford Dictionary)

No better words could be used to describe the National Library of Australia’s Trove website.  If you have read a few of my posts, you would know I’m a big Trove fan.    A recent post by Jill Ball at her blog Geniaus, mentioned an initiative by Amy Houston which interested me.  Amy on her blog Branches, Leaves and Pollen, told how she too is a fan of Trove and invited Australian bloggers to join her on Tuesdays each week to blog about the treasures we have found at Trove.

I have many Trove treasures and a lot of my blog posts are about those.  At first I thought I would not take part merely because I didn’t think I could choose just one a week.    Where would I start?  That is much like asking me to name my favourite book or film of all time.  I just can’t do it.  But, as Amy suggests  the treasure don’t always have to be about a family member it could be anything of interest.

I can do that.  How often have you found a newspaper article about a family member, only to find the article, above, below or beside  just as interesting.  I’m into advertisements too and I always read them.  There are some absolute gems, so expect to see some of those on Tuesdays.

Due to time constraints this week, I thought I would begin with a recap of some of  my posts that highlight the benefits of Trove to family historians, particularly the digitised newspapers.   Without the newspapers, there is much that I wouldn’t know about my ancestors. Even hours of record searching couldn’t unearth what I have found.

In fact, the papers lead me to the records.  Whether it is records from courts or cemeteries, sporting clubs or churches, Trove has led me there.  Not only is it a time saver, many of the leads I have found come from places I would never have thought of searching.

These are some of my treasures to date:

Witness for the Prosecution – The story of three of my relatives who were witnesses in murder trials.  I believe two of those stories, that of my ggg grandmother Margaret Diwell and my grandfather Percy Riddiford, would have remained hidden if it wasn’t for Trove.

Alfred Winslow Harman – Stepping out of the Shadows – I knew little about Alfred Harman before I starting an intensive search for him in the Trove digitized newspapers.  Now I know so much more.

Nina’s Royal Inspiration – The story of Nina Harman and her carpet really is delightful.  As Nina is not a close family member, I possibly would not have known this story without finding her direct descendants.  Instead I found it in a Women’s Weekly at Trove!

To Catch a Thief – Ordinarily,  to find Jim Bishop’s brush with the law, I would have had to search the Branxholme Court Registers held at PROV‘s Ballarat Archives Centre.  Not too hard, but with so many people to research and so many towns on the Victorian court circuit, it may have been a long time before I found it.  Thanks to an article in the Border Watch, that time in Jim’s life is now known to me.

All Quiet By the Wannon – The Mortimer family of Cavendish kept to themselves.  Articles I found at Trove finally gave my ggg James Mortimer a voice.

Mr Mortimer’s Daughters Another Mortimer puzzle solved thanks to Trove.  From Henry Mortimer’s death notice in the Portland Guardian, I was able to establish the married name of one daughter and a second marriage of another daughter.

There are list of Western Victorian newspapers available at Trove on my Links page.

Don’t forget there are other great treasures that can be found while searching at Trove.  Look beyond the newspaper matches as you never know what might come up in the other categories.  I have found photos of family members and some great early photos of Western Victorian towns while searching.  Trove is also great for tracking down books.

I will try to post something each Tuesday.  Thank you to Amy for the idea and I hope other Australian geneabloggers get involved too.

Show us your treasure and celebrate Trove!

Portland’s Immigration Wall

Portland’s Immigration wall is a great way to remember those ancestors who first set foot in Australia at the harbour town.  Located on the “Ploughed Field” opposite the Portland hospital and overlooking Portland Bay, the wall has plaques unveiled by grateful descendants of early pioneers to the south-west of Victoria.

The “Ploughed Field” is where one of Edward Henty’s workers ploughed the first sod of earth in Victoria in 1834 with a single furrowed plough now known as the “Henty Plough” and on display at Portland’s History House.

Some of the families remembered on the Immigration wall are :

William and Isabella ROBB were buried at the Old Portland Cemetery.

I know a little of Richard and Jane PRICE thanks to their grandson’s marriage to my first cousin 3 x removed.  Allan James Price married Ada Harman, daughter of Alfred Harman, in 1911.  One of the organisers, Lynn Price, invited me to the unveiling of the plaque and family reunion in 2009.  I met Lynn via the Rootsweb Western District mailing list.  It was disappointing that I was unable to attend as a lot of time has gone into remembering the Price family as seen at the Price family website.   It has photos of the reunion as well as a later event, the unveiling of headstone for Richard and Jane at the Heywood cemetery in 2010.

For more information on how you can see your family on the Immigration Wall, go to the Glenelg Shire website.

I hope one day plaques will be on the wall for my three sets of ggg grandparents who arrived at Portland.  James and Sarah Harman and William and Margaret Diwell and daughters Elizabeth and Sarah Diwell arrived on the Duke of Richmond in 1853 and George and Jane Jelly and their daughter Mary on the Athletae in 1855.