Time Fillers

Social distancing is nothing new. This photo shows my Nana, Linda Gamble (nee Hadden) as a nineteen-year-old isolating at Cherrypool in 1938 with friends and family.  Cherrypool is a location on the Henty Highway between Hamilton and Horsham. All from Hamilton, the group camped out to protect themselves from a polio outbreak in early 1938.  When Nana talked of the photo she always laughed because isolating themselves was basically useless because a number of Hamilton people made the eighty-five-kilometre trip to visit during their time there.

As we’ve seen over the past weeks social distancing has led to novel ways to fill in time. That was no different out at Cherrypool.  The campers came up with the idea of a mock wedding with Nana as the bride.  That’s when this photo was taken.  A mock wedding in the bush is not an option for us at this time but we can learn about our past and Western District Families is a good place to start.

The main section of Western District Families has more than 430 posts.  You can simply start at this post and start scrolling or you can view the posts by category such as Western District History and Cemeteries.  In the right sidebar of this page, you will see the drop-down box for categories. You will also see the Pioneer Obiturary Category and from there you can read the seventy-nine Passing of the Pioneers posts from the most recent.  Or if you are looking for the obituary of a specific person, go to the tabs at the top of the page you will find the Pioneer Obituary Index.  There you can find a person within the alphabetical lists. Click on their name and you will go their Passing of the Pioneers entry.

Another tab at the top of the page is the Western District Links.  There are some useful links for websites if you are interested in researching Western District family history or local history including Facebook groups and pages.  You will also find links to all the Western District newspapers digitised at Trove.

There is also Hamilton’s WW1 with 160 biographies of men and women who served.  Hamilton’s WW1 is divided into Enlistments, Women, and Memorials., Whichever you choose, just click on the underlined names to read a biography.  There are nine new biographies available.  They are:

William Charles Boyd

Thomas Brown

John Leslie Connor

Duncan Brown Cowan

Edmund Dohle

Robert William Drummond

Gertrude Agnes Grewar

Thomas Leslie O’Neil

John James Affleck Younger

A handy tip while reading the posts and pages at Western District Families is to click on any underlined text which will take you to further information on a subject.  It may be a website like, Trove or the Australian Directory of Biography or it may be a related WesternDistrict Families post.

If you’ve made it through all that, you could check out the Western District Families or the Hamilton’s WW1 Facebook pages.  You don’t even have to be a Facebook member to view them either.  On the Western District Families page recently I’ve been posting links to books about Western District history you can read for free online.  Plus there are 1000s of photos you can browse through.  You will find links to both pages in the right-hand sidebar of this page.

If after all that you find yourself twiddling your thumbs again, try the Western District Families YouTube Channel.  You can view nine videos I’ve made including the Western District Families 2018 Album made up of photos shared to the WDF Facebook page.

Or you can view the playlist I’ve put together including sixty-seven history-themed videos from across the Western District such as ‘Mrs Funk and the Dunkeld and District CWA Cookbook’. Aged 100 in 1910, Mrs Funk reads through the cookbook and is reminded of people, recipes, and stories from her past in Dunkeld.  You will find that video and more on the link – WDF YouTube Playlist.

Happy reading and viewing.

Ancestral Places Geneameme

Yes, I did say in my last post I’m on the move so the chances of me posting in the next month were slim. Just after finishing that post, I read a new post from Alona at the Lonetester blog inviting geneabloggers to take part in a geneameme with the theme, Ancestral Places. The instructions…How many ancestral places can you name using the letters of the alphabet?  I couldn’t resist because one of my favourite things about family history is the places my ancestors lived.  Finding out more about those locations helps us learn more about them it’s a great way to brush up on geography general knowledge.  I’ve listed the main places my direct ancestors resided and added links to earlier posts about some of the families.  If I included 2 x great uncle George Diwell, I could have had a J for Jeparit or 4 x great uncle William Reed, a Y for Yulecart but I managed a place for most letters:

A

Almurta, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

Ararat, Victoria, Australia – Bishop

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England – Cooke, Lane, Piddington, Riddiford

ARARAT, VICTORIA

B

Ballarat, Victoria, Australia – Gamble, Harman, Riddiford

Bass, Victoria, Australia – Combridge, Hunt, White

Bisham, Berkshire, England – Buckland

Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, England – Cooke, King, Richardson

Brighton, Sussex, England – Hughes

Broadstairs, Kent, England – Culmer, Jarman, Pettman, White

Byaduk, Victoria, Australia – Bishop, Harman

BYADUK, VICTORIA

C

Casterton, Victoria, Australia – Diwell, Jelly

Cavendish, Victoria, Australia – Hadden, Mortimer

Charlton, Wiltshire, England – Young

Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, England – Chapel, Kirkin, Parsons

Clapham, London, England – Webb

Clerkenwell, London, England – Riddiford

Colac, Victoria, Australia – Gamble, Hodgins

Cuddington, Buckinghamshire, England – Lawrence, Piddington, Riddiford, Timberlake, Wall

CAVENDISH, VICTORIA

D

Dover, Kent, England – Trewin

Drumgooland, County Down, Ireland – Jelly

E

East Lothian, Scotland – Calder, Warden

Edmonton, London, England – Riddiford

F

Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire, England – Cooke, Riddiford

Fermanagh County, Ireland – Brackin, Hodgins

Frant, Sussex, England – Diwell, Sinnock

G

Geelong, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

Gladsmuir, East Lothian, Scotland – Dobson, Hadden, Kinnaird, Neilson

Glen Alvie, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

Grantville, Victoria, Australia – Combridge, Hunt, White

GEELONG, VICTORIA

H

Haddenham, Buckinghamshire, England – Riddiford

Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland – Dobson, Hadden

Hamilton, Victoria, Australia – Diwell, Gamble, Hadden

Hulme, Lancashire, England – Jelly

HAMILTON, VICTORIA

I

Ireland – Beaty, Irwin

Islington, London, England – Kirkin

J

K

Kingswood, Gloucestershire, England – Riddiford, Trotman

L

Lambeth, London, England – Kirkin, Riddiford, Webb

Leytonstone, London, England – Riddiford

Longniddry, East Lothian, Scotland – Hadden

Lower Winchendon, Buckinghamshire, England – Lawrence

M

Macarthur, Victoria, Australia – Bishop

Macclesfield, Cheshire, England – Law, Shaw

Manchester, Lancashire, England – Shaw

Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, England – Harman, Mulberry

Merino, Victoria, Australia – Diwell

MERINO c1880 Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. Image no. B 21766/113 http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+21766/113

N

Newington, London, England – Turner

Norfolk, England – Baker, Thurling

North Nibley, Gloucestershire, England – Riddiford, Trotman

O

Oldham, Lancashire, England – Riddiford

Ontario, Canada – Riddiford

P

Poplar, London, England – Hunt, Jewell

Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia – Harman

Portland, Victoria, Australia – Diwell, Harman

PORT FAIRY, VICTORIA

Q

Queensferry, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

SAWMILL NEAR QUEENSFERY, VICTORIA c1880. Photographer: Fred Kruger. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.

R

Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, England – Combridge

Reading, Berkshire, England – Druce, Mortimer

Rotherfield, Sussex, England – Diwell, Sinnock

Rotherhithe, London, England – Webb

S

Smeaton, Victoria, Australia – Riddiford

St. Peters, Kent, England – Jarman

Steiglitz, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

ANDERSON’S MILL, SMEATON. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

T

Thanet, Kent, England – Culmer, Jarman, Trewin, White

Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England

Tipperary County, Ireland – Barry

Tonbridge, Kent, England – Lawrence

Tudeley, Kent, England – Lawrence

U

Uley, Gloucestershire, England – Riddiford

V

Victoria

W

Water Eaton, Buckinghamshire, England – Cooke, Goodman

Weymouth, Dorset, England – Bishop

Whaddon, Cambridgeshire, England – Read/Reed, Waymant

White Waltham, Berkshire, England – Buckland, Mortimer, Sharp

Wonthaggi, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

Woolwich, London, England – Kirkin

Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire, England – Riddiford

Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England – Riddiford

WONTHAGGI, VICTORIA 1925. Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. Image no. B 61788/85http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+61788/85

X

Y

Z

 

 

 

 

Ellen’s Incarceration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Geelong Prison

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Previous posts about Ellen Barry:

A Tragic Night

Ellen’s Inquest

 

A Simpler Time

An old photo album has a way of taking you back to a time when things seemed simpler.  As life today gets busier, there are aspects of those times that would be welcome again.  Christmas is one of those.  Braving the shops near Christmas, I’m always amazed at the frenzy. The real meaning of Christmas is forgotten with the need to meet expectations or to compete with others high on shopper’s lists.

The following photos take me to a time when Christmas was simple and special.  It was around 1950 when Mum was a little girl living in Ballarat.  The first two photos are of my grandfather Bill Gamble and Mum at a special time, Christmas tree day.  Not a purple or blue tree, or a highly coiffed real tree, but one plucked from the side of the road, carefully selected to fill the home with Christmas joy.  While there was a plastic Christmas tree in my house while growing up,  I do remember similar pine Christmas trees we had a school, tall, often stooped and adorned with paper chains and lanterns.

My grandparents both rode bikes, their only form of transport then, and my grandfather had a nifty little trailer to go on the back, perfect for carting a Christmas tree…or taking a little girl for a ride.

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The following photos were taken in Hamilton at the home of Nana’s brother, Bill Hadden on either Christmas Day or Boxing Day the following year.  My grandparents lived in Ballarat, but their families lived in Hamilton.  Given the family didn’t have a car then, I asked Mum how they would have travelled to Hamilton.  She suspects they went by train.  How did the trike get to Hamilton, I asked?  She didn’t know…maybe Santa made a special delivery.  Of course, I had to ask how they got the trike back to Ballarat.  Again she didn’t know.  Now I’ve got her wondering.

This is Mum, with her cousin Norma and a special visitor.

0089Norma and Nana’s sister, Rosie Miller (nee Hadden)

0091

What more could little girls want for Christmas other than a trike or a pram and doll?

oooNow a photo from when I was growing up in the 1970s, not as uncomplicated as the days before television but it was still an unpretentious time.  The year was 1975 and the occasion was the annual George Street Primary School Grade 2 nativity play, a Christmas staple for those taught by Miss Coffey.  Not a fancy costume in sight, but rather tea towels and dressing gowns sufficed. (I was a shepherd).

NativityHere’s to simpler times.

Trove Tuesday – Christmas Music

The Hamilton Brass Band has played a big part in lives of some of my family members, especially the Diwell and Gamble families, and there are still descendants of those families in the band today.  Another family member, Frederick Hughes the husband of my ggg aunt Martha Harman was a long-standing leader of the Hamilton Brass Band.

With Christmas just around the corner, I thought I would share this little snippet found at Trove, from the Hamilton Spectator of December 22, 1917.  An annual tradition for the band, was to play on “Kennan’s corner”, (the corner of Gray and Thompson Street) on Christmas Eve.  Freddie Hughes, a Hamilton jeweller, was band leader.  Interesting not a Christmas Carol in sight on the program.

CHRISTMAS MUSIC. (1917, December 22). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119860771

CHRISTMAS MUSIC. (1917, December 22). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119860771

Band music is my blood, so  I just had to find a rendition of one of the pieces on the play list, “Sunshine of Your Smile”, to take me to Kennan’s Corner, Christmas Eve, 1917.

Trove Tuesday – Ladies of the Night

It is not surprising Pam Jennings was able to write three volumes of her book, Wild and Wondrous Women of Geelong if this week’s Trove Tuesday article from the Boxing Day, 1848 edition of the  Geelong Advertiser  is anything to go by.  Not only that,  my own wild and wondrous ggg grandmother Ellen Barry and her sister Mary were living in Geelong at the time and I have found references to both of them in Volume 3 (1870-1879).  Despite Ellen’s vices, I doubt she would have been the type to take a ride in Geelong’s “nuisance” cab.

CHRISTMAS. (1848, December 26). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1847 - 1851), p. 2 Edition: MORNING. Retrieved May 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93133214

CHRISTMAS. (1848, December 26). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1847 – 1851), p. 2 Edition: MORNING. Retrieved May 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93133214

Soon we will be able to read more from the Geelong Advertiser on Trove, with issues from 1857 to 1918 due to be added in the 2013/14 financial year.  This is exciting news for anyone with family in Geelong, including myself, but also Western District researchers.  You can read more about it on the Geelong and District blog.

 

Gardeners in My Family

It was the Afternoons program on 774 ABC Melbourne that got me thinking about my gardening pedigree.  Presenter Richard Stubbs asked listeners how they came to take up gardening.  Was it passed on from someone else?

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I grew up in a gardener’s house and remember constant talk of  Spring and Autumn annuals, Marigolds, Petunias, Camellias, Dahlias, the constant moving of sprinklers and manure.

When Nana came to live with us in the late 1970s, the garden talk doubled and if my Great Auntie Rosie came to visit, well.  Auntie Rosie was Nana’s sister and they had other siblings that were keen gardeners too.

One was my great-uncle Bill Hadden.  Visiting his garden was special.  I remember fish ponds, orchids and a large television antenna tower that I had an urge to climb every time I went there.

This is a lovely photo of Uncle Bill as young man in his parent’s backyard at 78 Coleraine Road, Hamilton, planting seed in neat rows with help from his niece, Margaret.  It was about 1934.

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I too lived at 78 Coleraine Road.  Mum and Dad lived there when they first arrived in Hamilton after their marriage in 1967.  I came along in March 1968 and we lived there for about a year after my birth.  I wish I had have been older to remember the house, which was later pulled down, as that was the family home of my great grandparents, Thomas Hadden and Sarah Harman and where Nana and her brothers and sisters grew up.  Four generations lived in that house.

I showed Mum the photo of the backyard at 78 Coleraine Road and she was able to tell me more about it.  She said there was still a fence across the backyard when we there but it is was then made from  chook wire.   Auntie Rosie had lived there before us and she kept chooks.  After the photo, cherry plum and blood plum trees were planted and an apple tree, seen in the photo, was still there 33 years later.

Uncle Bill had his own home built after returning from WW2.  It was at 80 Coleraine Road, next door to his parents.

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The photo above, shows Mum and Nana, on the left, and Mum’s cousin Norma, right, in the front yard of Uncle Bill and Auntie Bess.  Although a reasonably new house, Uncle Bill already had an established garden and neat concrete and lawn driveway.  He later added a garage and sheds at the end of the driveway.

Alma, another of Nana’s sisters was also a green thumb.  When I visited her a few years ago, when she was in her late 90s, I was amazed at her beautiful potted cyclamen on her back porch. Despite almost no vision, she tended them with care.  She was often found pottering around the garden that she knew so well and was able to move around nimbly.

Advertising. (1876, July 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63316883

Advertising. (1876, July 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63316883

 

Before Nana came to live with us, she and my grandfather, Bill Gamble lived in Ballarat and I have great memories of visiting their house.  The backyard was small but  the space was well used .  Bill grew espalier apples, among other things, and had a shed with three sections lining the back fence.  From my memory, the left section was a fernery, the middle a utility shed that held grain to feed the occupants in the third section, the chooks.  I did like to admire the maiden hair ferns and their cool, soft foliage,  and the feed shed where I dipped my hands into oats in a large wooden barrel. But I did not go in the chook shed.

Advertising. (1936, July 30). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 1 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64273334

Advertising. (1936, July 30). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 1 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64273334

When I checked my memory against mum’s she told me the left side of the shed was interchangeable, depending on her father’s interest at the time.  He used to have budgies too and I can now remember budgie boxes in that part of the shed and attached to the fence.  She couldn’t remember the maiden hair ferns, but her father did grow Pelargoniums at one point.  That must have run in the family, as the following is a photo of one of Mum’s Pelargoniums.

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The next photo was taken looking across the Gamble backyard.  We have several photos taken from this angle.  It must have been the “photo spot”.  Nana (centre) is  flanked by Bill’s aunt, Jane Diwell and a friend of Jane’s from Geelong.  In the front is my Uncle Peter.  Hopefully the photo shoot did not go on too long as there may have been an accident.

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Of interest here is the espalier apple tree on the fence, the concrete garden edging my grandfather put in himself, the sack of oats and the Bergenia or “Elephant’s Ears” along the toilet wall.  Mum  used to call them “toilet flowers”.

Auntie Shirley, Bill’s sister is also a keen gardener.  We visited her in the past year and her garden was beautiful, a result of much hard work on her part.  She is now in her 80s.

My grandfather, Auntie Shirl and Auntie Jane were descended from a keen gardener, Richard Diwell, Jane’s father.  Richard was a member of the Hamilton Horticulture Society. His specialty was chrysanthemums.  The society often attended shows in nearby towns and the following  item is from 1896 when the Hamilton growers headed to Portland to show of their blooms.  Richard won three prizes in his class.

Portland Horticultural Society. (1896, May 1). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63635528

Portland Horticultural Society. (1896, May 1). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63635528

The chrysanthemums exhibited by the Hamilton growers were impressive, some a little too impressive for an amateur show.

Portland Horticultural Society. (1896, May 1). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63635528

Portland Horticultural Society. (1896, May 1). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63635528

Richard also liked ferns and apparently had a fernery.  He was a keen photographer too, and this is one of the photos we have that he “staged” and took himself with a camera timer.  A selection of plants are in the foreground including a maidenhair fern.

Richard & Elizabeth Diwell and family

Richard & Elizabeth Diwell and family

A garden photo that interests me is from the backyard of Richard’s daughter, Edith Diwell, my great-grandmother.  The photo is of three of her sons, including Grandfather Bill on the left.  This was either at a house in Mt Napier Road, Hamilton or Skene Street, Hamilton.  Either way, they would have only been in the house a short time before the photo was taken, so the garden layout was not the work of Edith.  However, it still gives an example of a 1920s backyard.  There is a vegetable garden, with wooden edging and the boys are standing in front of a Yucca.  A fruit tree stands in the background.

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My paternal side of the family, the Riddifords, did not have the same influence on my love of gardening.  Dad has never grown anything.  Well, at least that’s what I thought.  Mum told me how he thought cauliflowers could be a profitable venture, sometime around 1967, and planted them in the backyard at 78 Coleraine Road.  Turns out there was little market for his produce and that was the end of his gardening days.  We probably ate cauliflower with white sauce for some time afterwards.

Dad’s father, Percy Riddiford, did like to garden.  It was not until  recent years that I came to know how much.

Prior to her death, my Grandma, Mavis, gave me a binder of Your Garden magazines collected by Grandpa.  I knew he liked roses as they lined the perimeter of their front yard, but I didn’t realise his passion went as far as buying gardening magazines.  It just happened that the year the magazines were from was 1968, the year I was born.

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I did enjoy visiting Grandma and Grandpa’s in Ballarat.  A sign, “The Riddifords” hung proudly on the letterbox.   A terrace garden was at the back of the steep block.  Three large steps led to the top of the terrace and I recall that as a small child, I would haul myself up the steps and teeter on the top to look across neighbouring backyards to see Sovereign Hill in its infancy, sprouting up on a nearby hill.  I would cry out that I could see the “historical park”.

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I recently drove past Grandma and Grandpa’s old house to see if Grandpa’s roses were still there.  I do remember them there, but look old and gnarly, not the many years ago.  They are now gone, but suckers grow were the roses were.  A little reminder of Grandpa.

‘My gardening history started in a rented house, but now with a  home of my own, more passion is imparted.  In the 13 years we have lived here, I have gardened through a 10 year drought, dogs, goats, child and recently a plant shredding hail storm.  Inspired by Edna Walling and dispirited by Mother Nature and her creatures.

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My garden is probably not at the point I would like it, but it has changed over the years thanks, I suppose, to the drought.  I started with a range of cottage perennials, including some unusual varieties, but full water restrictions (no mains watering) did not help many of those thirsty English plants.  Anything that survived I have planted more of, and more natives and succulents have come in.

One of my favourite plants is the Aquilegia or “Granny Bonnet’.  It was also a favourite of Nana’s.

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One day my “Zephirine Drouhin”  roses will cover the arch they grow beside.  But every year, just as the juicy new shoots show, two white creatures manage to break into my garden and indulge in one of their favourite delicacies.

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Are We To Have More Fragrant Roses. (1930, September 5). Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 - 1939), p. 8. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57763452

Are We To Have More Fragrant Roses. (1930, September 5). Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 – 1939), p. 8. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57763452

The Sedum is an underrated plant and one that dates back to 19th century Australian gardens.  It transforms itself throughout the year giving ongoing variety in its form and it can cope with dry weather.  I have filled my borders with different varieties and they never disappoint.  The following description of the Sedum is from 1911.

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NOTES. (1911, March 25). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved April 6, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15231478

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Advertising. (1894, August 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved March 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65395732

Advertising. (1894, August 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved March 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65395732

If you would like to get an idea of how your ancestors’ gardens may have looked or you would like to recreate a garden from earlier times, Cottage Gardens in Australia by Peter Cuffley is a beautiful book and an excellent resource for studying Australian gardens right back to Colonial days.

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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.

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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-article78117772A 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 the 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.

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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.

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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.

 

Ellen’s Inquest

Recently I ordered some digitised Inquest records including those of my ggg grandmother Ellen Barry.  You may remember from the post A Tragic Night,  Ellen burnt to death in a house fire,  her drunkenness contributing to her demise.

The various newspaper articles from around the country gave good coverage of the fire including the findings of the coroner’s inquest and her movements on the night of her death.  I hoped that the inquest record would give me more.  The copy of the inquest proved worth it but since then Trove have released The Colac Herald (1875-1918) and an extensive article including transcripts of the witnesses evidence.  Therefore, rather than me describe what the witnesses had to say about Ellen, I can include their statements as found in the Herald

The first witness statement was from Dr Adam who examined Ellen’s badly charred body.  Even though unrecognisable , he was able to show the body was a woman and she was around five feet tall.

The next  statement was from mounted Constable Charles Magor from the Colac Police station.  By the time he arrived, the house had burnt to the ground.  He found what looked like a body and removed it, “carefully” , I might add, to the home of Ellen’s son George Gamble who lived a few doors away.

After the official witnesses, members of the public where then called, the first being Barongarook man William Heron.  He and his wife were travelling home from Colac around 11pm on January 24 when he noticed a light in Ellen Gamble’s window.  Interestedly he had seen Ellen at 9pm and to him, she appeared completely sober.

There is still a lot I don’t know about my ggg grandfather, Thomas Gamble save for fleeting mentions in Colac history books, some court records and more recently his obituary.  From the  reports of Ellen’s death that I had initially found  I had questions about their living arrangements, with Thomas supposedly living in another residence in the town.  His inquest statement reveals a little more:

 

Thomas Gamble had a greengrocer’s shop in Gellibrand Street, Colac.  Ellen had visited him at the shop on January 24th, a visit which seemed more like that of a shopper not a wife.   It is not clear if she paid for the items, however she requested vinegar and the very objects that helped contribute to her death, candles.  She also wanted bread so Thomas gave her 3 pennies to buy a small loaf on the way home.  After a drink of ginger beer she left with Mary Lennon who had also been in the shop.  Thomas noted that Ellen appeared sober then, between 5 and 6pm.  Mary Lennon in her evidence also said she thought Ellen appeared sober.

George Gamble then gave his evidence.  Ellen had wanted him to drink rum with her but he declined and Ellen went home.

DEATH BY BURNING. (1882, January 27). The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: Mornings. Retrieved November 17, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91455765

Finally evidence from George’s wife Mary-Ann including reference to Ellen’s grand-daughter Mary Ann as mentioned in A Tragic Night.  She was lucky she was not also burnt death with her grandmother.

DEATH BY BURNING. (1882, January 27). The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: Mornings. Retrieved November 17, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91455765

It’s great to have the Colac Herald online at Trove, but I hope I find some good news stories about my Gamble family soon.  Currently my Electronic Friend is sending me stories of Ellen’s court cases with  the most recent from her 33rd appearance before the Colac Police Court.

Passing of the Pioneers

The Ararat Advertiser (1914-1918) is now available at Trove and October Passing of the Pioneers highlights some obituaries from that area.  They show the lure of gold drawing people to Victoria with some of them, such as Mr and Mrs George Stock and Elizabeth Williams, being more like “gold rush chasers” moving from town to town as a rush occurred.

If you hoped your ancestor may have been a gold seeker and you haven’t found them at Bendigo or Ballarat, maybe they were at towns like Pleasant Creek (Stawell), Ararat, Landsborough or Ampitheatre. I thought I had no gold miners until I found that James Bishop was a miner at Mount Ararat when my gg grandmother, Elizabeth Bishop, was born.

Other pioneers featured include one of my family members, Edward Gamble, Mrs Hannah Johnstone who would never have starved if she had a gun at hand and two friends of Adam Lindsay Gordon. I have noticed reading obituaries that Adam Lindsay Gordon had a lot of friends, maybe even more than he thought himself!

James STARRIT: Died October 3, 1889 at Portland. It could be easy for those like James Starrit to be forgotten forever.  I have come across similar obituaries of men and women, unmarried and with few living relatives. James Starrit, his two brothers, two sisters and elderly father arrived at Portland from Garry Gort, County Donegal, Ireland on August 18, 1852.  James and his two sisters never married and lived together on a farm, earning enough from the farm to allow them to live their simple life.  Prior to farming, James had been a policeman at Portland.

Edward GAMBLE: Died October 1897 at Colac. Edward was my ggg uncle, and the son of Thomas Gamble and Ellen Barry. He was only forty-seven at the time of his death from cancer. His obituary alludes to its cause being his work canning rabbits, a job he had for twenty-one years.  There was a preserving factory in Colac and surrounding towns.  Born in Geelong in 1847, Edward married Martha Hodgins in 1873. They had 10 known children. Almost 100 Oddfellows attended Edward’s funeral, dressed in their full regalia as a tribute to their fellow lodge member.

John McKAY:  Died October 1907 at Richmond. At the time of his death at age eighty-four, John McKay was living with his son-in-law. Prior to that, he resided in Portland where he made his name as a blacksmith and wheelwright. He arrived in Victoria in 1853 and Portland in 1854.

Martha HILLS: Died October 30, 1908 at Portland. Martha Hills died at the home of her grandson Charles French, just three months short of her 99th birthday. Martha raised Charles and his siblings after the death of their father Henry and as the obituary puts it so well “…the love and care she gave the three little ones was not relaxed as years advanced, and in return she in her declining years reaped the full reward by equally as loving care and devotion”.  Martha arrived in Victoria around 1858, spent a few years in Hamilton before moving to Portland with her husband Charles French. She had two children living at the time of her death.

Mary BURNELL: Died October 1910 at Stawell. Mary Burnell was born in Yorkshire on October 23,1836 and at thirteen she travelled to Adelaide, South Australia. She married John Moulden and around 1875, they moved their family to the Wimmera in Victoria. They later moved close to Stawell where she remained until her death.

Mahala CARBIN:  Died 14 October 1915 at Malvern. Born in Cornwall in 1824, Mahala Carbin arrived in South Australia with her parents in 1840. Mahala and her gold seeking parents moved to Victoria around 1852. She married John Little at St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1857 aged thirty-three and they lived in the Ararat district throughout their married lives. Just weeks before her death, Mahala moved to Malvern to live with her daughter.  Mahala lived through the reign of five monarchs and was ninety-one at the time of her death.

Thomas Christopher COATES:  Died 26 October 1915 at Buninyong. Thomas Coates was one of the founding members of the Ballarat Stock Exchange and served as the secretary of the Ballarat Benevolent Society for twenty-six years. He was born in Westmorland, England and arrived in Australia in 1853. He settled at Creswick in 1854. He died at the home of his son.

Agnes GORMAN: Died  11 October 1916 at Rosebrook.

Obituary. (1916, October 19). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 22, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88009495

Elizabeth DAVENPORT: Died 30 October 1916 at Port Fairy. Elizabeth Davenport was born in Parramatta, New South Wales in 1838. When she was eleven, she spent six weeks on a voyage to Port Fairy with her parents. She married William Presnell, a farmer, known for having one of the first threshing machines in the Port Fairy district. Elizabeth and William had thirteen children, six sons and seven daughters.

William ARMSTRONG:  Died 5 October 1917 at Colac. William was born in Belfast, Ireland the son of a Presbyterian Chaplin. He arrived in Victoria in the 1860s, first spending time with his uncle at West Cloven Hills before setting up his own dairy farm at Darlington. His community interests included the Darlington Presbyterian Church, the Mechanics Institute and he was the Darlington correspondent for the Camperdown Chronicle. He left a widow and nine children.

Elizabeth PURNELL: Died October 1917 at Ararat. Born in 1823 in Somersetshire, England. Elizabeth Purnell married George Stock around 1852. Not long after they married they sailed for Geelong arriving in October 1852. In 1853, the moved to Ballarat then Stawell when gold was discovered in 1856 at Forty Foot Hill and then on to Ararat for the “Commissioners Hill” rush.  George was obviously following gold as they then went on to the rushes at Amphitheatre, Barkly and Landsborough. Finally, in 1867, they settled at Ararat. Elizabeth and George had eleven children, with seven still alive at the time of her death.  Like Mahala Carbin (above), Elizabeth’s obituary mentioned that she had lived through the reign of five monarchs.

Elizabeth BREWIS: Died 10 October 1918 at Ararat.  Elizabeth Williams was an early resident of Ararat. She was born in Essex, England around 1824 and sailed for Sydney in 1852 aboard the Earl of Elgin. While in Sydney she married J. Green. After a year and with the lure of gold, she arrived in Bendigo, Victoria and followed the rushes until she ended up in Ararat.  She remarried to Robert Williams and they had three daughters.

Mary BARRETT: Died 19 October 1918 at Ararat. Mary Barrett was born in Ireland and arrived in Ararat in the 1860s. Her uncle, Reverend Father Barrett was a pioneer Roman Catholic priest in the Ararat district and Mary resided with him. Mary never married and when her health was failing, she moved to the Brigidine Convent in Ararat where she passed away aged seventy years.

James R. KEAN:  Died 11 October 1926 at Ararat. Born in Portland in 1858, James Kean started working as a printer at aged twenty. Two years later, he became a journalist and produced the Portland Mirror. The paper started out small, but within a year the subscribers increased and the paper was already thought of as “an influential and up to date journal”  In 1885, James purchased the Portland Guardian a paper established in 1842.  In the same year, he married Jane Robertson, daughter of Angus Robertson of Straun station near Merino. James was  a member of the St Stephens Church choir, a member of the Portland racing club and the Masonic Lodge.

St Stephens Church Portland

John JOHNSTONE: Died October 1930 at Portland. John Johnstone was a very early arrival in Portland, in 1841, as a baby with his parents James and Dorothy Johnstone. James was a blacksmith and wheelwright but he eventually purchased land at Kentbruck and built the Emu Flat Hotel or as known by travellers,” Mrs Johnstone’s”.  After his parent’s deaths, John took over the running of the hotel for a short time before selling it and taking up farming. More commonly known as “Jack”, he was an expert bushman and rider and was a friend of Adam Lindsay Gordon. He married Elizabeth Angus and they had three daughters and two sons.

John Richard MALLINSON:  Died 14 October 1934 at Pomborneit.  Born in Portland, John spent time in Merino and Hamilton as a child and young man. He completed an apprenticeship as a blacksmith and wheelwright and opened a business in Coleraine. After eight years, he moved to Timboon and then Camperdown in 1894 where he again ran a blacksmith’s shop.

Having lived in a number of towns and with his work as a blacksmith he had many friends with horse interests including Cobb and Co drivers of renown and like John Johnstone (above) Adam Lindsay Gordon.

OBITUARY. (1934, October 20). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27395509

Frederick WRIGHT:  Died 14 October 1934 at Camperdown. Frederick Wright was born in Cambridgeshire, England around 1842 and arrived at Corio Bay, Victoria aboard the Omega aged fourteen.  He worked as a nurseryman in the Geelong district before learning to drive bullocks.  At eighteen years of age, he took a load of flour to the goldfields at Stawell, the first bullock wagon driven into that area and he only had bush tracks to follow. He moved to Camperdown in 1871 and ran a dairy farm and a chaff mill and later a butcher shop. He was an original member of the Camperdown Turf Club.  He had thirty-five grandchildren and thirty-nine great-grandchildren at the time of his death.

Hannah HANNON:  Died October 1937 at Portland. Hannah was born in Adelaide in the late 1840s and moved to Kentbruck, near Portland aged eighteen.  She married Thomas Charles Johnstone, brother of John Johnstone (above).  Hannah was a woman not afraid to open and close gates and was handy with a gun.  She was known around Portland for sharing ducks or other game she had hunted.  Hannah and Thomas had ten children.

John Alfred RIPPON:  Died 13 October 1938 at Camperdown.

VICTORIA’S OLDEST “BULLOCKY”. (1938, October 20). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22995091

John Rippon carted the first load of timber into Purrumbete Estate  owned by the Manifold brothers  at age eighteen.  He liked it there and stayed for ten years. He then spent another ten years with William Irving Winter-Irving at Tirrengower near Colac.  He then returned to work for William Thomas Chirnside splitting timber.  But John yearned for his bullock driving days and he began his own carrying business.

VICTORIA’S OLDEST “BULLOCKY”. (1938, October 20). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved October 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22995091

Rachel BLACK: Died 27 October 1941 at Kongorgong. Rachel Black was born in the mid-1850s at Bridgewater. Her father was Joshua Black, a pioneer of that area. When Rachel married James Lightbody, the union brought three Bridgewater pioneering families together as James Lightbody was the son of Rebecca Kittson also from a pioneering family of Bridgewater,

Colins CATHELS: Died 26 October 1952 at Hamilton. Although he died at  Hamilton, Colin Cathels was a Portland identity.  Old aged forced him to leave the town he loved and he was not happy in his last days. Born in the 1850s, Colin knew much of  Portland history and enjoyed reminiscing about picnics at the Henty’s home. He was the Portland manager of the Belfast and Koroit Steamship Navigation Company. Colin married a Robertson girl, from the well-known local family.