Trove Tuesday – Five Generations

Recently while searching for newspaper photos of Portland, I stumbled across a photo of my 1st cousin 4 x removed,  Amelia Harman with four of her descendants published in the Weekly Times in 1952.  Standing back left is Amelia’s daughter, Elsie May Harman.  Elsie married Herbert Skipworth in 1909 at Heywood.  Back right is Elsie’s daughter Doris Eveline Skipworth.  Doris married Samuel Porter in 1929. Sitting directly in front of her is Doris’ daughter and her daughter Lynette Wilmot.

“No title” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 9 April 1952: 42. Web. 19 Jul 2017 <;.

This is a great find because I’ve previously posted a photo I found of a Mrs Bell photographed with her grand-daughter, great-granddaughter and a great-great granddaughter.  I couldn’t be 100% sure the woman below was Amelia, although reasonably convinced, however, the new find confirms Amelia Bell (nee Harman) was the same Mrs Bell I wrote about in Matter of Relativity.

MATTER OF RELATIVITY. (1951, December 14). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), p. 8. Retrieved October 9, 2012, from

Amelia was the eldest daughter of Jonathan Harman and Elizabeth Oliver of Byaduk.  She died in 1956 in Portland aged ninety-one.  Her husband Chris Bell predeceased her by twenty-seven years.

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:


Almurta, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

Ararat, Victoria, Australia – Bishop

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



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



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



Dover, Kent, England – Trewin

Drumgooland, County Down, Ireland – Jelly


East Lothian, Scotland – Calder, Warden

Edmonton, London, England – Riddiford


Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire, England – Cooke, Riddiford

Fermanagh County, Ireland – Brackin, Hodgins

Frant, Sussex, England – Diwell, Sinnock


Geelong, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

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

Glen Alvie, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

Grantville, Victoria, Australia – Combridge, Hunt, White



Haddenham, Buckinghamshire, England – Riddiford

Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland – Dobson, Hadden

Hamilton, Victoria, Australia – Diwell, Gamble, Hadden

Hulme, Lancashire, England – Jelly



Ireland – Beaty, Irwin

Islington, London, England – Kirkin



Kingswood, Gloucestershire, England – Riddiford, Trotman


Lambeth, London, England – Kirkin, Riddiford, Webb

Leytonstone, London, England – Riddiford

Longniddry, East Lothian, Scotland – Hadden

Lower Winchendon, Buckinghamshire, England – Lawrence


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


Newington, London, England – Turner

Norfolk, England – Baker, Thurling

North Nibley, Gloucestershire, England – Riddiford, Trotman


Oldham, Lancashire, England – Riddiford

Ontario, Canada – Riddiford


Poplar, London, England – Hunt, Jewell

Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia – Harman

Portland, Victoria, Australia – Diwell, Harman



Queensferry, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

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


Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, England – Combridge

Reading, Berkshire, England – Druce, Mortimer

Rotherfield, Sussex, England – Diwell, Sinnock

Rotherhithe, London, England – Webb


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


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

Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England

Tipperary County, Ireland – Barry

Tonbridge, Kent, England – Lawrence

Tudeley, Kent, England – Lawrence


Uley, Gloucestershire, England – Riddiford




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 61788/85








In Memory of James Harman

The following advertisement for the 1916 Hamilton Pastoral & Agriculture (P & A) Show reminded me it was the first Hamilton P & A show my ggg grandfather James Harman was not around for. In turn, it reminded me today is the 100th anniversary of James Harman’s death.

"Advertising" Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 29 August 1916: 5. .

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 29 August 1916: 5. <;.

James Harman’s roles with the P & A included exhibitor, judge and committee member.  Over the years he exhibited Lincoln sheep, farm produce, and border collie dogs and judged produce and farm machinery.

LINCOLN SHEEP. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. PRG 280/1/17/796

A LINCOLN SHEEP. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. PRG 280/1/17/796

Toward the end of the 1870s, when his oldest boys could take on duties on his farm, James had more “leisure” time so he threw himself into a few local farm related activities and the P & A was one of those. Respected by farmers and graziers alike, James could mix with all men including Hamilton Spectator owner George Rippon, grazier and politician John Thomson and businessmen Peter Learmonth, and Robert Stapylton Bree each prominent names in the annals of Hamilton and district.

"PASTORAL AND AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 17 May 1883: 4. .

“PASTORAL AND AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 17 May 1883: 4. .

In 2011, I wrote The Leader of the Pack on the assumption if all my ancestors came together at one place and time it would be James Harman who would step to the front and lead the group.  Five years on and knowing so much more about James, I have no doubt.  At first I formed my opinion on his place in the Harman family as eldest son and his place in the community as a Wesleyan Methodist Church Local Preacher.  Now, with more issues of the Hamilton Spectator at Trove now giving me 248 tagged articles for James, I know his leadership went beyond the confines of family and the Byaduk community.  

Along with James’ P & A involvement, he was on several occasions President of the Hamilton Farmers Union in the 1880s and the founding president of the Byaduk Farmers Club.  He also was on the Byaduk State School committee, represented the Byaduk community at Dundas Shire meetings and as a leader in the church, attended Wesleyan Methodist Synods representing the Hamilton circuit, always considering the interests of the local church goers.


JAMES HARMAN AGED AROUND THIRTY-SEVEN (1867). Photo taken from the Byaduk Pioneer photo boards in the Byaduk Hall, compiled by Vern McCallum (website

Throughout, James remained humble and during his Farmers’ Union presidency considered he was not worthy of leading the organisation.  But James also said if he joined a committee he gave it everything he had and he was true to his word.  James’ election to chairman of a meeting in 1881 to discuss a possible extension of the railway from Hamilton to Byaduk was just one occasion when James expressed those sentiments publicly.

"RAILWAY MEETING AT BYADUK." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 15 October 1881: .

“RAILWAY MEETING AT BYADUK.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 15 October 1881: <;.

Such activities meant James was rarely home but always waiting patiently to all hours of the night was his wife Susan.  Susan shared his life from 1852 in Cambridgeshire, through their voyage to Australia as newlyweds and trusted James when he suggested moving north from Port Fairy to select their own piece of Australia.  It was Susan’s death only four months before his own that saw James’ health slip, taking away the vigour that served him so well for eighty-five years.  As Reverend Guard, the then Byaduk Wesleyan Methodist said in the obituary he wrote for James, “Earth had not such an interest for him…”



Trove Tuesday – Hometown News

It was a chance discovery while searching the fifteen or so years of the Hamilton Spectator available at Trove. There in the search results was an article from 1910. That wasn’t expected when only the WW1 years and the decade 1870-9 were available.  Curious, I tried a search of “Harman” and the result was dozens of articles from the 1880s to 1910. Trove had surprised me adding a further three decades of Specs and I couldn’t have been happier.  Since that day a couple of months ago, I have searched, tagged and found out an incredible amount of new detail about my Hamilton district families.  Also, surnames, street names and locations bring such a sense of familiarity when reading my hometown newspaper, even issues from 100 hundred years before I was a resident.

One of the first items of interest I found was an obituary for my gggg grandfather Joseph Harman from 1893. His son James converted to Methodism around 1851 while still in England.  Joseph, entrenched in the Church of England, didn’t share his son’s enthusiasm for Methodism. However, when the Harmans moved to Byaduk in 1863,  the first church built was Wesleyan Methodist and James Harman, by then a Local Preacher, was one of the forces behind the church.  Joseph had little choice but go along to Methodist services, but as soon as a Presbyterian Church was built at Byaduk eighteen years later, he made that church his Sunday morning destination. There were no family loyalties when it came to Joseph’s faith. It would seem that although the new church wasn’t Church of England, it was more to his liking than the teachings of John Wesley. Granted the Presbyterian Church was less than a mile down the road from his home but the Methodist church was only that distance again further on.

"Items of news." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 30 March 1893: .

“Items of news.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 30 March 1893: <;.

Also found was a rare obituary for a female family member.  Although it doesn’t tell me much about my ggg grandmother Sarah Hughes‘ life, the 400 mourners at her funeral tells me something of the sort of person she was.

"Items of News." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 23 May 1885: .

“Items of News.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 23 May 1885: <;.


There are also some great articles about Sarah’s husband James Bishop but I’ll save those for a post just about him because he was a character.

Something I enjoy reading in old newspapers is the seemingly mundane day-to-day goings on in a town. Of course, it’s even better when a story includes a family member.  Like the time in 1899 when my gg grandfather Richard Diwell of Hamilton complained about the night soil man.

"HAMILTON BOROUGH COUNCIL." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 14 October 1899: 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). .

“HAMILTON BOROUGH COUNCIL.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 14 October 1899: 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). .

The night soil man Frederick Malster was given the right of reply after the investigation into Richard’s complaint.

"HAMILTON BOROUGH COUNCIL." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 28 October 1899: 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). .

“HAMILTON BOROUGH COUNCIL.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 28 October 1899: 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR). .

One of the best finds so far were a number of sketches included in a Hamilton Spectator supplement in 1888. The Spec had the sketches of businesses and scenes of Hamilton made by a Ballarat company. Sketches such as these give us a chance to see how things have changed…



Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 17 April 1888: 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR)..

CORNER OF GRAY & THOMPSON STREETS IN 1888. Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 17 April 1888: 2 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR).




And how other things have barely changed at all…


"VIEW OF HAMILTON VICTORIA." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 17 April 1888: 1 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR)..






Trove Tuesday – Early Settlers

A welcome addition to Trove has been the Weekly Times, Victoria’s favourite newspaper for country readers and still in publication.  The editions at Trove cover the years 1869 to 1954 and with a rural focus, I anticipated its arrival. Familiar with the newspaper, I was sure the Western District would be well represented and I wasn’t disappointed.  The photos alone are fantastic.  I’ve found some great Hamilton photos and have shared those to the Facebook group I’ve Lived in Hamilton, Victoria. Some from the 1950s have included faces familiar to many in the group.

There are also family photos and for Trove Tuesday I thought I’d share this lovely photo of Macarthur Pioneers Frederick Button Huggins and Frances Mary Trowell.  Both born in Kent, England in the mid-1830s, they married prior to their arrival at Portland in 1856, settling at Macarthur two years later.  Frances died in 1920 at Macarthur aged eighty-five and Frederick died in 1927 at Macarthur aged ninety-three.

"EARLY SETTLERS AT MACARTHUR" Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 - 1954) 6 September 1919: 25.

“EARLY SETTLERS AT MACARTHUR” Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) 6 September 1919: 25.

During the 1880s, there was a mass exodus of families from the Mount Eccles district near Macarthur.  They included the eldest children of Frederick and Frances Huggins, James, Agnes, and Frances Susan.  With them was Henry Condon, husband of Agnes Huggins and my relatives Walter and Lydia Harman and their children.  Tired of the volcanic stones from nearby Mount Eccles covering their selections making the land unfit for cultivation, they were in search of a fertile place with good rainfall, unlike the often drought prone southwest of the state. That place was Omeo in Victoria’s High Country and they settled there from the mid-1880s.  Henry’s uncle John Condon had lived there since at least 1880 and when his first wife Mary Jane died in 1886, he married Frances Susan Huggins in 1888. 

One of the fifty great-grandchildren of pioneers Frederick and Frances Huggins was the subject of a past Western District Families post.  Witness for the Prosecution from 2011, includes the story of the suspicious death of the wife of the Omeo Methodist Rev. Ronald Griggs.  Lottie Condon, a great-granddaughter of Macarthur’s Frederick and Frances Huggins was unwittingly involved. Lottie’s grandparents James Huggins and Elizabeth Skipworth, both from Macarthur, married in 1881 prior to their move to Omeo.  Their daughter Frances Ethel was born in Macarthur and was only a small child when they moved.  At the age of twenty-one, Frances Ethel Huggins married John Henry Condon, a son of John Condon and his first wife Mary Jane. In 1907, Lottie Elizabeth Condon was born at Omeo to John Henry Condon and Frances Ethel Huggins and twenty-one years later became mixed up in the murder trial of Rev. Ronald Griggs. 

The Harman connection with the families continued with the marriage of Walter and Lydia’s daughter Susannah Harman to William Condon in 1898.  Also, Susannah’s brother Henry was a good friend of Lottie Condon’s parents strengthened by their connection with the Methodist Church at Omeo and in 1928, he too became involved in the murder trial of Rev. Griggs.

To search the Weekly Times, you can follow this link – Weekly Times.  If you would like to read more about Frederick and Frances Huggins’ great-granddaughter Lottie Condon and the murder trial of Ronald Griggs, follow this link – Witness for the Prosecution. 


Trove Tuesday – Troveitis

As I write, it is seventeen hours and twenty-one minutes since Trove went offline to prepare for the launch of Trove 7 on Thursday 25 February.  And yes, I’m already missing it.  Not a day goes by when I don’t turn to Trove to find a photo, a parish map, information on events in Australian history or book details.   But I’m reassured knowing in two days this wonderful free resource we are so lucky to have will be back new and improved.

Of course, the online newspapers are my favourite Trove feature especially little gems such as the following article my “Electronic Friend” from Trove sent on Friday.  The article from The Ballarat Star of 18 July 1881 is about my ggg grandfather James Harman.  At age fifty-one in 1881. James and his old horses, pulling a Lennon plough, were a great team, often winning local ploughing matches.  James lived another thirty-five summers but I’m guessing not too many more summers passed after the article before James laid the horses to rest on his Byaduk property Mt Pleasant.



"BREVIA." The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924) 18 Jul 1881

“BREVIA.” The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 – 1924) 18 Jul 1881


**Postscript – Since writing this post I’ve become aware of funding cuts to the National Library of Australia, the home of Trove.  It would be terrible if it meant Trove’s digitisation program was restricted or worse, the introduction of a paywall.  You can read more about the funding cuts here.

In Broad Daylight

A few years ago, I wrote a post about the youngest son of Joseph Harman and Sarah Mulberry of Byaduk and formally of Melbourn, Cambridgeshire. “Alfred Winslow Harman – Stepping out of the Shadows” was so named because research for the post uncovered things about Alfred I hadn’t known.

Finding a photo of Alfred was the next aim and I thought I had just one shot at it…a photo of the Rupanyup Rifle Team c1880-90.  Having seen their great Facebook page, I thought I would contact the Rupanyup Historical Society.  I soon heard back from Helen, the society’s Secretary. The society had a meeting the following evening and the President was an expert on the Sargood Shield.   That was great news as the Rupanyup Rifle Club had great success in the Sargood Shield, a highly prized annual competition between Melbourne and country Victorian teams. Alfred was captain of the team in 1886.

Helen came back to me after the meeting and finally I was able to see Alfred Harman, out of the shadows and in broad daylight.  Helen had emailed me a photo of the 1885 Rupanyup Rifle Club. Alfred is the middle row, first on the left in this photo of the 1885.  To give you some idea about where he was in his life,  he was thirty-three years old, married for seven years and father to a six-year-old son.  His brother-in-law Samuel Miller is in the back row, third from the left.  There are some impressive Hairy Mancestors among them.

Image courtesy of the Rupanyup Historical Society.

Image courtesy of the Rupanyup Historical Society.

Thank you so much to the Rupanyup Historical Society.  Please go and check out their wonderful Facebook page on the link – Rupanyup Historical Society Facebook Page.  It was there I found WW1 photos of Alfred Harman’s great-nephews Robert and George Cruikshank, my 2nd cousins, 3 x removed,  who grew up in Rupanyup.  I also found photos of members of the Loats and Starbuck families who had lived in the Muddy Creek area, near Hamilton, and with whom I have family links.