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1920s HOBART house history in Tasmania

photo dating solving a family mystery

Jan–Feb 2012


the experiences of mums since 1788

2 1 0 2 your

ea f r o r yea


take a bow

how to find your ancestor in the theatre


at’s u r i t e k ? h W av o b o o f ry to s i h


maori oral history exploring norfolk island

9 771838 504008


ISSN 1838-5044


darwin 1942

eyewitness accounts before and after

Tell your story


On the cover

Issue 8, January-February 2012




Ask our experts We help a family with two mysterious photos, and look at Gloucestershire birth records


On our doorstep As Darwin commemorates the 70th anniversary of a devastating bombing campaign, we talk to two residents of the city


Was your ancestor a player? Tracing someone who was treading the boards? Here’s where to find the best records


Discovering Maori links We look at the resources to help with tracing Maori ancestry, plus the latest oral history collections online from FamilySearch


A mother’s day Learn more about the experiences of your maternal forebears


On Norfolk Island time One of the most important heritage sites for convict history is right on our doorstep


Henry Balwin’s legacy The Tasmanian Art Gallery and Museum recreates 1920s Hobart


Love history, love books? We want to know your favourite history book, to celebrate the National Year of Reading 2012


Contents 54

10 genie on the go 17

History apps We look at platforms that connect with the past no matter where you are in the world

your family 28

In their own words Annie Payne looks at how to encourage family members to record their stories


History now How to write a non-boring family history 19 In the first of a series of six, Hazel Edwards looks Events you won’t want to miss around Australia and New Zealand at how to get started with that book project

your history 32

Why I love my work We go behind the scenes with Maria Walsh from the Royal Australian Historical Society


Quite a young man abroad How William Mackie Turnbull’s journey to New Zealand influenced his life in Melbourne

regulars 6

Ed’s letter


Postie’s here! Your thoughts, your say


Bob’s your uncle Network with other descendants

10 Platform Digitising records at the local level; plus, news from the history and genealogy world


Finding gold in the records Stories of the Bathurst to Mudgee region, NSW


Who was the real Ludwig Leichhardt? The much maligned explorer should be proud of his accomplishments, says author John Bailey


What we’re reading Great publications worthy of a spot on your book shelf


One picture…1000 memories Where’s Wally? One reader shares her amazing family photo from the late 1930s

offers 70

Summer prize draw Win books and genealogy software!


Subscribe to Inside History from just $31.50 for six months

our family


PO Box 406 Erskineville NSW 2043 Australia Editor Cassie Mercer


Online Editor Ben Mercer Designers Rohana Archer Maree Oaten Editorial contributors John Bailey Christine Clement Anthony Curtis Hazel Edwards Miranda Farrell Paula Grunseit Barbara Hall Jenny Robin Jones Alice Johnson Annie Payne Liz Pidgeon Leann Richards Jayne Shrimpton Maria Walsh Mark Webster Submissions Inside History welcomes feature submissions. For guidelines, contact the editor Subscriptions See page 71 or subscribe online at

Cover image Gosford Library in 1951 with Miss Mary Whealin, the first librarian, in the background. Courtesy Gosford City Library

Inside History (ISSN 1838-5044) is published six times a year by Cassie Mercer (ABN 13 353 848 961) PO Box 406 Erskineville NSW 2043 Australia. Views expressed by the authors are not necessarily those of the publisher. Copyright 2012 by Cassie Mercer and Inside History. All rights reserved. Distributed by Gordon and Gotch Australia

Printed by Ligare Pty Ltd 138 Bonds Road Riverwood NSW 2210

editor’s letter

In the course of our research, it’s likely we’ve all come across an ancestor who signed their name with an “x”.

Immediately we can guess at their literacy skills and level of schooling, and can assume they probably weren’t taught to write, or read. But do you know that, even now, nearly half the population struggles to read a newspaper, follow a recipe or make sense of timetables? This year is the National Year of Reading (NYOR), a campaign started by our libraries and library associations to encourage people of all ages to discover and rediscover the joy of reading. To do our part and promote the campaign, we want to know your favourite history books. It’s a big call, so start combing those book shelves! To learn more, turn to page 65. This issue is packed with terrific stories and advice to kick-start your research for 2012. Throughout this year, author Hazel Edwards will be giving us tips on how to write that genealogy book many of us want to finish. If you have any questions for Hazel relating to writing, send them in. Her first column starts on page 35. Annie Payne shows how to encourage family members to tell their stories for future generations on page 28, and we look at how to trace ancestors who were in the theatre on page 38. On page 50 we look at women’s experiences of motherhood over the past 223 years, visit the stunning Norfolk Island (page 54), and bring you the remarkable story of Markree House and Museum in Hobart , a much-loved family property that was gifted to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (page 60). And our expert photo historian Jayne Shrimpton is back with some terrific advice on page 14 for a family in South Australia. Plus there’s so much more. Whether you’re relaxing on a beach, catching up with family or escaping the heat by chasing ancestors in your local library, we wish you a happy new year!



our family

This issue we ask our contributors… What book character did you most want to be when you were growing up?

Annie Payne

In their own words, page 28 Norah, from Mary Grant Bruce’s Billabong series of books about a young girl growing up on a cattle property in rural Victoria, was my heroine from the age of eight when I received A Little Bush Maid for Christmas.

Alice Johnson

A mother’s day, page 50 It’s a close tie between Beatrice’s quick wit in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Tolkien’s Éowyn from The Lord Of The Rings for her bravery to defeat the witch-king and fulfill the prophesy that he would not fall “by the hand of man”.

John Bailey Who was the real Ludwig Leichhardt?, page 66 My childhood dream was to don the baggy green for Australia. Now in my sixties, I still await a call from the national selectors. So my book has to have a sporting hero: Tom Brown’s Schooldays.

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |







No v–D


shE hAs my fAcE! catchiNg the geNealogy bug

your guidE to preserviNg family treasures

how you cAn hElp coNserve our early coloNial recorDs

Nov–Dec 2011

wE’rE onE!

celebrate our birthDay with us

Win ast im u lt

e myp N find s c r ip t ioe !





tasmaNia’s historic maria islaND

at e

sub cka pa


cEmEtEry rosEs what they caN reveal about your aNcestor

Forget me not

18/01/11 4:04 PM

Postie’s here!

Does what We Post Now, Stay Posted?

I purchased a copy of your magazine for the first time recently and enjoyed the format very much. I’ve been tracing my family tree for several years and I’m continually amazed at the information that is now available online regarding the lives, times and personal information about our ancestors. Even the scandals that they kept to themselves for their lifetimes, never thinking that someone would one day have access to them. Can you imagine what our descendants will be able to get their hands on in the next century? Will the items posted on social media by us all now still be accessible in some form by the time we reach old age? Will every outing that our children and grandchildren load up still be seen somewhere 100 years from now? Will anyone care what you “liked”? I love that Inside History has Australian and New Zealand content and contains local advertising as well as articles. — Marilyn McCutcheon, Warwick, WA

the genealogy bug. And I enjoy hearing of new websites as we can then share them with South East Family History Group members in South Australia. On a related note, I will be forever thankful that the South Australian branch of the National Archives did not close as planned in 2010. I was recently there and discovered the original 1854 naturalisation paper of my great great grandfather. This he had himself touched and signed, enabling him to purchase land. We know little about Johann Friedrich Carl Wundersitz and his wife Johanna Louise Schubert. They were married before their arrival in 1850. We don’t know their parents or exactly where they were born. We have land records and some Trove articles, and if the Adelaide office had closed, I would never have known this joyous moment. — Jann Walker, Millicent, SA

Congratulations to our competition winners from issue 6! ◆ Sandra Liddle from Thorneside, QLD won the World Heritage Membership to ◆ Rhonda Gow from Croydon, NSW, won the set of crystal glassware

A lucky find at the adelaide archives Congratulations to you and your team on issue 7, yet another absolutely wonderful magazine. You are offering such a wide range of articles and from such well-informed contributors. I especially loved Hazel Edwards’ article, “She Has My Face!” on catching

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Each issue our star letter will receive a great prize for writing in. This issue, Marilyn McCutcheon wins a copy of My Ancestor Was An Apprentice by Stuart A. Raymond (SoG, $23)

Join us on

your family

Bob’s your uncle Are you looking to connect with other descendants or historians? Each issue we’ll feature who and what people are researching

Image Courtesy Douglas Stewart Fine Books,

Documenting brick Chimney Stacks

My aim is to identify and prepare a photographic collection of all existing commercial brick chimney stacks still standing within NSW today. This will eventually be published in book form. Commercial chimney stacks were generally built for flues in the coal, silver and gold mining industry, for kerosene production, used in boiler houses at hospitals, built for rural flour mills, sewer vents, timber mills for burning sawdust, and council incinerators. Do you know of a brick chimney in your national park, in a country town, out in the bush, or on your friend’s property? I’d love to hear from you. — Neil Billington, Maitland, NSW Tel: 02 4739 5636;

Fourth Parliament of NSW: 1861–64

My PhD research asks some social questions about the politicians in the fourth parliament, including why they served and what social factors influenced their stance on policy. If you have an ancestor who was in the NSW parliament between 1861 and 1864, I’d love to hear from you. I’m especially interested in personal details — papers, photographs, and letters — that would tell me who these people were outside of their parliamentary lives. — Kate Matthew, Warrimoo, NSW

THE ATTACK ON HMAS KUTTABUL is looking for the descendants of the men who perished on the HMAS Kuttabul when it was attacked in Sydney Harbour on May 31, 1942. On May 31, 2012, a commemoration ceremony will take place to remember the 21 men who lost their lives 70 years before. We would like to connect the descendants with the organisers, so that they can be involved in this special event. Please contact me to register your details. — Emma Kelly, Stanhope Gardens, NSW

Luck of the draw

I am a curator at the Museum of the Riverina, NSW, and am currently researching an exhibition that will tell the story of post World War I and World War II soldier settlement in the Wagga Wagga region. These sites include Wantabadgery (East and West), Tarcutta, Toole’s Creek, Uranquinty, Gregadoo, Kywong and Marrar. If you are a descendant of a soldier settler, or live on a soldier settlement block, have objects, memories or photographs that will help us to tell this story, please get in contact. — Michelle Maddison, Wagga Wagga, NSW

To place an ad in Bob’s your uncle, email us at Adverts are free!

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |



Liz Pidgeon, local and family history librarian

Which areas does your library cater to? Yarra Plenty Regional Library (YPRL) services the cities of Banyule and Whittlesea and the Shire of Nillumbik in Melbourne’s north. Our area has a strong traditional local history group community, in addition to cemetery trusts, historical sites, local councils and others who play a role in our local history landscape. What role does the digitisation of local collections play at YPRL? “Acquiring, digitising, cataloguing and housing images — or partnering to digitise community collections — is ongoing and time consuming, but very worthwhile. Highlights of our collections include the Reflections of Diamond Valley Project, which consists of about 700 images, including the Diamond Valley miniature railway, gold mining at Christmas Hills, the establishment of Yarrambat Park, the pioneer grave site and town fairs. Another well-loved resource is the Eltham Collection; several hundred black and white images representing the past 100 years of the area. We have also partnered with Nillumbik Historical Society and Heidelberg Historical Society in providing online access to some of their photo collection. The Heidelberg Historical Society (see is particularly active in managing a huge local collection as well as converting, to date, more than 5000 photos, 200 maps, real estate brochures and other records into digital format that allows researchers to find them more easily. They are also mindful of



cataloguing digitally born images as well. They have digitised their excellent newsletter which has been published every second month since 1967, in a searchable PDF format. They have also digitised two local newspapers: The Heidelberg News 1897-1920 and The Evelyn Observer 1882-1901, which the library also provides as resources. We also contribute to adding content through digitisation and other local initiatives such as Wikinorthia: documenting life in Melbourne’s north (see What do you see as the key developments over the next few years? Digitising is the way of the future. The genealogy website FamilySearch is currently digitising all its records in its granite vaults, millions of rolls of microfilm gathered from more than 100 countries since 1939. It will be digitised and then indexed by a massive volunteer force. Google is planning on digitising the world’s 135 million books by 2020. It’s predicted that computer scientists will be able to link content through social networks such as Facebook and researchers will not even have to “go look” for the information. The increasing use of smartphones and other devices means information is becoming more mobile. Online social networks will continue to grow, and with that the sharing of information. (Facebook already stores more photos than any other site in the world). Photo sharing site Flickr claims to host over 5 billion photographs. As we develop our new strategic framework at YPRL, we’ll continue to focus on digitising collections, supporting the vision and objectives of the library to inform, educate, inspire and connect.  ✻ Visit Yarra Plenty Regional Library at

llustration Rohana Archer

Liz Pidgeon is the local and family history librarian at Yarra Plenty Regional Library, Victoria. She talks to Inside History about the digitisation of historical records at the local level

s w e n atest


h from t

e histo

geni r y and

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Are you a houstorian in the making? Chances are you’ve recently been watching the terrific new series from the ABC on the history of homes across Australia. Archaeologist and presenter Adam Ford (right) uses the tools of his trade — public records and a good spade — to discover the histories of eight houses around the nation, and the generations of families who have called them home. It’s Time Team + Grand Designs + Who Do You Think You Are? all rolled into one show! The final three episodes air in January, and you can expect more intrigue and fascinating details about our social history as Ford unravels the stories behind each home’s bricks, timber, iron and mortar. So what’s the first thing to do if you want to discover this history of your home? “Apart from dropping us a line [at the website below],” says Ford, “the first port of call should be those champions of history keeping, the local libraries and local historical societies.” As for Ford’s own home, are there any mysteries waiting to be solved? “Unfortunately not. My house was built in the 1980s — it’s a beautiful mud brick barn-of-a-place, but not very old. Mind you, we are bringing up our two daughters in it so we are creating history every day.” MORE Who’s Been Sleeping In My House? airs 8pm, January 2, 9 and 16 on ABC1. Watch previous episodes on iview at au/tv/whosbeensleeping

Genies for families Genealogists worldwide are working as a team to help families and small businesses in low income areas. Through Kiva, a non-profit organisation, the group, called Genealogists for Families, make $25 loans that give those who are less fortunate around the world the chance to support their families and build their businesses. When the $25 is repaid, the lender can choose to withdraw the money or make another loan. Everyone is welcome to join the group. MORE Sign up for the project at

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


British papers now searchable online



 Magpie (left)

and Duck (right), both from the late 1790s, by Aylmer Bourke Lambert

SLNSW’s landmark purchase A collection of 210-year-old artwork has returned to Australia. The crate of historical watercolours and drawings was unveiled in December by NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell at the State Library of New South Wales (SLNSW). The dossiers were purchased in the UK for A$7.1 million, with the financial support of TAL, its parent company Dai-ichi Life, the NSW Government and the State Library Foundation. The TAL & Dai-ichi Life Collection consists of 741 exquisite natural history artworks created by botanist Aylmer Bourke Lambert in the 1790s, and until this acquisition, had spent the past two centuries in private hands in England. “It is one of only two surviving comprehensive natural history collections of such substance from this period — the other major collection resides in London’s Natural History Museum,” said Mr O’Farrell. Highlights from the collection are on display at SLNSW until mid-February 2012. A free exhibition and regional tour is being planned for 2013. MORE

Images Courtesy ABC, British Library, State Library of New South Wales

Up to 4 million pages of newspapers from across Britain and Ireland are now searchable online. The British Newspaper Archive (BNA), a joint project between the British Library and online publisher brightsolid, features more than 200 newspaper titles, and almost 700,000 articles relating to Australia. Dating mainly from the 1800s, but which includes runs back to the early 1700s, these are the stories of our ancestors as they experienced incredible social change. The BNA is free to search; to download full articles, users have a range of payment options starting from around A$10 (NZ$14), including access for 48 hours or 30 days, and a 12-month subscription. So, how does the BNA differ from Gale’s database of 19th-century British newspapers? The project will be wider in scope, and will eventually include newspapers up to 1949, says the BNA’s Grant Miller. “The plan is to add up to 8,000 new pages a day, with a target of reaching 40 million pages by 2021, so it’s very much a continuing project. And we believe people will be very impressed by the accuracy of the scans,” says Miller. MORE

Remembering kids in care, 1867–1925 The Forgotten: Children in Homes, Reformatories and Industrial Schools, a new release from Teapot Genealogy, provides a sobering snapshot of the lives of children taken into care in NSW from 1867 to 1925. The comprehensive index gives the child’s name, age, date of their committal or conviction, date of discharge, and remarks about the case. The majority were girls, although boys were sent to institutions until age seven, after which they were transferred to the Vernon, a hulk ship in Sydney Harbour. All the children in these tough economic times came from disadvantaged homes where the mother or father were in gaol, had died or deserted the family. Among the heartwrenching stories is that of the Boden children, John, Martha and Teresa, “deserted by mother, a prostitute” in 1879, Jane Elizabeth Bowker aged 13 in 1918 and “sent to RPA Hospital for treatment of venereal disease”, and Mary Green, aged 14 in 1914 “found wandering, attending picture shows and talking to larrikins”. A reference number that refers to the original document is also included with each entry. MORE The CD is $50 or the book is $55;

The Lost Diggers come home The Lost Diggers collection of photographs from France, uncovered by Channel Seven’s Sunday Night program in 2011, is hailed as one the most important discoveries of WWI. And the latest instalment of the story is no less enthralling than the discovery itself. The 4000-strong collection of images has now been brought back to Australia. Every single glass plate has been scanned by photograph restoration experts, Oscans, and will be added to the Lost Diggers website over the coming weeks. There’s also an ambitious project underway to use facial recognition software to try to identify the men in the photos. Security software experts Computronics are cross-matching the photos with images held by the National Library of Australia, the Australian War Memorial and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Thousands of images on Trove have been isolated and will also be used in the data-match. We can’t wait to see the results. MORE

your family

Ask our experts In this issue our experts analyse one reader’s photographs, and explain why birth and baptism records can often reveal differing information about the same ancestor

A family photo debate


I’d be most grateful if you could date two photographs that are part of my family history collection. The photo of the “serious gentleman” (above) was among a collection of Turville family photos held by a senior Turville relative in Melbourne. The photos were mostly of the adult children of John Turville (1825–1905) of Castlemaine and Melbourne, and I believe this man may have married one of his daughters. The portrait of the baby (opposite) has the names “J.F. & V.M. Dibbin” stamped on the reverse. Unfortunately, only the very top of the name of the photographer is visible, the remainder has been cut from the bottom of the photo mount. We believe it could be either Veronica Mary Dibbin née Lyddy (born 1913), her sister Lorna May Lyddy (born 1909), or perhaps even their mother Priscilla May Charlton (born 1891). I’d love to know the approximate date the images were taken, particularly the baby portrait as it has caused considerable discussion among family members! Denise Davis, Woodcroft, SA




Jayne Shrimpton says: Old photographs of male ancestors are always more difficult to date closely than those of female forebears, as in the past men’s clothing and hairstyles evolved more slowly and subtly than fast-changing women’s fashions. Often photographer’s details can help with closer dating if their period of operation at a named studio can be established, as can the design on the reverse of the mount. However, this is a digital copy of the original and doesn’t bear any printed information, so we have to study the visual image for clues as to when this photograph was taken. Firstly we see a head and shoulders vignette composition — a style of photograph whereby the small central picture fades out around the edges into a blank background. This type of image became popular towards the end of the 1880s and was very common during the 1890s, drifting on into the first few years of the 20th century. We can only see a short view of the gentleman’s appearance, but the style of his lounge jacket, waistcoat, and neckwear support an 1890s or very early 1900s date — c.1891 to 1904. He wears the starched wing collar that was fashionable during

these years, especially for formal wear, and this complements his white tie, an accessory reserved for special occasions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He also sports a buttonhole, providing further confirmation that this photograph was taken to mark an important event in his life — possibly marriage or a landmark birthday. This ancestor looks to be aged around 30 or thereabouts and wears the moustache of a mature man at a time when some younger men were beginning to go clean shaven and the middle aged and elderly still wore a beard. Hopefully the date range of the photograph, combined with this ancestor’s apparent age and the probability of an important occasion, will give you some ideas as to his possible identity.

The baby portrait Jayne Shrimpton says: Photographs of babies can be notoriously hard to date closely and identify as their clothing looks fairly uniform and it’s usually impossible to tell their gender since male infants wore baby dresses until they were ‘breeched’ at around four or five years of age. However, as babies were difficult to photograph, especially in the early decades of photography when exposure times were long, most surviving portraits of babies pictured alone tend to date from the later 19th century onwards. Although we can’t see the photographer’s details here, the card mount offers very helpful clues. The dark colour confirms a date range of c.1885-1910 — the years when black, bottle green and other strong shades of card are recorded as being in use. Further, what can be seen of the Art Nouveau-inspired design at the bottom of the mount narrows this time frame very closely to c.1898-1910. The baby’s decorative white dress and frilled bonnet are fine for this kind of era, when babies and toddlers were often kitted out in the most impractical outfits. These are elaborate ‘Sunday best’ baby garments, not special christening or baptismal clothes, and the appearance of the baby suggests that he or she may have been celebrating their first birthday. There is another visual feature here that particularly stands out. The ornate studio chair on which the baby is sitting is carved with Arabic or perhaps another form of Islamic lettering. The style

of the chair isn’t familiar, but it cleverly holds the baby in place so may perhaps have been imported by the studio for this purpose; otherwise the Arabic (or similar) script suggests that the photograph could have been taken abroad — possibly in a Middle Eastern, North African or Indian location. Perhaps some of your forebears lived overseas in one of these areas around the turn of the 20th century: no doubt you will know if this is the case. Either way, the narrow time frame of the photograph should help you to positively identify this well-dressed baby from an earlier generation. ✳ Jayne Shrimpton is a professional dress historian and image specialist who analyses and lectures about old family photographs and paintings. Her book, How to Get The Most From Family Pictures (SoG, approx. A$20) is out now. MORE

Harmans from Gloucestershire


I have been searching for some of my ancestors, the Harman family of Gloucestershire. What started me looking into my maternal family line was a letter in an old bible that belonged to my mother and her mother before her. This letter is dated May 1854, and it was written by a William Harman to his son William. In it he mentions his other sons and daughters. 

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


Ask our experts

One of his sons was Thomas Harman who arrived in New Zealand in February 1843. I sent this letter to the Gloucestershire History Society and asked them to research the names on the letter, which they did, and they found records of all of them and sent them to me. However, their findings presented me with a problem in that the Thomas Harman in their research was born in Dursley, Gloucestershire, which differs from New Zealand trees, who have him born in Prestbury, Gloucestershire (a town around 40km away). What I would like to know is why the New Zealand family have Prestbury as his place of birth? John Reynolds, Kettering, Northamptonshire, UK


Christine Clement says: I presume the Gloucestershire History Society used baptism records rather than actual birth certificates. If the event was post-1837 I’d suggest buying the birth certificates to make sure you have the right family. There could be a number of reasons for the different birth place, depending on what source in New Zealand is saying he was born in Prestbury. A newspaper obituary can be notoriously wrong. If it was on a New Zealand death certificate, then the source who provided the information may have made an educated guess. Perhaps your Thomas Harman always thought he was born in Prestbury when actually, only his mother knew where he was born. She may have been visiting friends or relations at the time. Bad handwriting may have led to an error. It’s always worth checking the Phillimore Atlas & Index of Parish Registers ($145, available through

 16

or the searchable database of Phillimore’s Parish Registers — Marriages at (click on “England”, then “Gloucestershire”, then “Church Records”) to see if the different birth places were under the same parish at the time of the event. A topographic map that shows the terrain and major hills can be of help too — why go uphill when there was an easier church, though not necessarily closer, to walk to? So he could have been born in one town and baptised in another. There are usually two sources for each Gloucestershire baptism and again you can find many differences. The parish register was held by the actual church (if an Anglican church) and then once a year the parish clerk made a copy and sent them to the bishop — these are known as Bishops Transcripts. The parish clerk must have disliked that job as the room for error was huge — bad handwriting of the incumbent, mistakes that he had to correct from personal knowledge, general illiteracy of the family so they had no idea what the incumbent was writing, a change of incumbent or forgetting how he spelt the surname last time are all examples of this. If the family was non-conformist (for example, Methodist) then the minister took the book with him wherever he went so they are actually “circuit” registers rather than parish registers. Remember always treat information that isn’t sourced as rumour until you can prove or disprove it yourself.  ✳ Christine Clement has written 11 family and local histories. Between working for and running out of friends whose family tree she has not done, she works in the kiwi fruit industry for which Te Puke, New Zealand is famous. MORE

Have you hit a research roadblock? Got a query about a historical record? Our experts are here to help. Email your queries to or write to us at the address on page 5


genie on the go

History apps With Inside History recently joining the iPad pantheon of apps, now you can buy issues right inside the device, store them and flick through at your leisure. Mark Webster looks at some other apps that engage history via high tech.

WhatWasThere; Free

Historypin; Free

WhatWasThere is a handy website that ties historical photos to Google Maps, so you can see how things looked in the past. Just put in a city and you’re off. Now WhatWasThere has a free iPhone/iPad app. After you install it, your devise becomes a portable portal into the past. You can use it to view historic photos, plotted on a map, at or near your current location with a little radar view that shows proximity. You can also use your iPhone augmented reality capabilities (the camera hitched to GPS and location services) to show you the history that surrounds you. Touch the camera icon and if there are any images in range, they superimpose over your now-view. There’s also an information screen with details on the scene. It certainly makes modern trips historically more fascinating.

Another helpful app for Mac and Android is Historypin. Like WhatWasThere, it reveals photos near your current location, and superimposes images, but it also has collections (under The Collections) of some great old photos from around the world. It’s interactive, too. If you’ve logged in with a Google account you can add your image with a caption and pin it to the map, use your phone to digitise an old photo, or capture a modern moment of historic importance. Historypin was created by the not-forprofit company We Are What We Do, in partnership with Google. The app allows you to browse the Historypin map by date and location to find the nearest content, and allows you to access shared stories about the locations.

Yarra Plenty REgional Library; Free A Victorian library has produced a smartphone app to help researchers and book lovers find and reserve books. Yarra Plenty Regional Library (YPRL), which has several branches north of Melbourne, has released both an iPhone and an Android app. Search for ‘YPRL Mobile’ for the free app that makes it easy to find books, music and movies, see what’s available, place holds on items, and manage your account. Researchers can keep track of their projects, review items or add a title to a ‘For Later’ list. The app is not only a boon for YPRL customers, but also anyone intending a trip to the area looking for information. ✳ Read our interview with YPRL librarian Liz Pidgeon, on page 10

Goughmap; Free In other techy news, researchers have made a searchable, online, Google-like version of the oldest surviving map of Britain. It has been digitally captured and turned into an online resource. The 14thcentury Gough map formed the basis for almost all the maps of Britain for 200 years. With its green rivers, red-roofed cathedrals, and other detail, it’s pretty interesting. The website, www., also includes a series of scholarly essays discussing the map; latest news about the project and a blog, among other items. You can search it by modern name, medieval placename or by appearance. Be aware it’s tipped on its side, with east at the top and north to the left.

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |



Discover a World where you can be as busy or as laid back as you want...





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Where the only fast food is pulled fresh from soil or sea. Where there are no traffic lights. Ours is an island of unspoiled natural beauty, where we tread lightly upon the earth. We are a unique people, descendants of the famous Bounty mutineers. We speak our own language, and will welcome you in our own unique way. Welcome to the World of Norfolk!

To learn more about The World of Norfolk please visit:

what’s on

History now

From high tea to inheritance records: events this summer


Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


Webinar: Does the SAG have that? January 16 Here is another reason to join the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) in 2012 (as if you needed one!): members can join their regular webinars, no matter where you are in Australia. The first one for this year is presented by Heather Garnsey, and focuses on the SAG online library catalogue — what’s on there, how to do effective searches, what the results mean, and how to ensure those searches are tailored to your specific interests. All this from the comfort of your own home. Bookings are essential. Visit

Bidwill: A Botanist Cut Short February 22 Hosted by the Sydney & Northern NSW Branch of the Australian Garden History Society, this event profiles the work of early botanist, John Carne Bidwill. Arriving in Sydney in 1838, Bidwill travelled along the east coast and New Zealand, and is credited with discovering the Queensland kauri pine, among other plant species. The Branch’s committee chair Stuart Read will be giving the talk held at the National Trust Centre at Observatory Hill. Bookings are essential and light refreshments are included. Call 02 9997 5995

Inheritance in Queensland 1859–1981 January 21 Records of property can often leave a paper trail that is a goldmine for family historians. Brisbane-based lawyer and author Paul Sayer will be looking at the different sets of rules relating to the inheritance of real and personal property in Queensland from 1867 to 1877 and changes to the intestacy rules over the following century. Bookings are essential. Visit or call 07 3891 5085

Hats Off!

Until February 1 Come along to Albury City’s Library Museum for a trip down milliner’s lane! Celebrate the history of the hat as a status symbol, uniform and fashion statement at this special exhibition. Plus, on February 4 you can create your own masterpiece at a workshop with local milliner Rachael Hart. Visit Finding Antarctica: Mapping the Last Continent Until February 19 To celebrate the centenary of the expedition led by Douglas Mawson to Antarctica, the State Library of New South Wales is showcasing its magnificent collection of maps relating to the continent. View the woodcut maps of the 15th century, through to the satellite scans of the 21st century. Plus, learn about the forgotten heroes of the expedition — the Western Base Party who spent 12 months exploring the Shackleton Ice Shelf. For the very first time, hear the words of meteorologist Moreton Henry Moyes, who was accidentally left alone on the Shelf for 10 weeks! Visit



Irish Catholic Records February 18 Are your ancestors Irish Catholic? Archivist Saadia Thomson Dwyer presents a seminar on how to research your Catholic Irish ancestors in Ireland from the late 18th century to modern times through the many Irish Catholic records now online. Visit or call 07 3891 5085

From Ship to Shore From January 5 As every family historian knows, diaries can be a wonderful source of information about our ancestors or the context in which they lived. Through this State Library of Queensland travelling exhibition, diaries describing 19th-century immigration, South Sea Islander labour recruitment, and a post-World War II immigration voyage offer a glimpse into the activities of men and women from very different backgrounds, occupations and classes. At Atherton Library from January 16 to February 8, then Julia Creek Library from February 18 to March 12. Visit

Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions Until February 26 Held at the National Museum of Australia, this exhibition features the voices and personal objects of the forgotten Australians who experienced institutionalised care as children. The exhibition is an opportunity for all Australians to discover an important aspect of their nation’s history that remained hidden for so long. Visit A Maritime Tragedy of 1886 February 7 At the Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra’s first monthly meeting for 2012, guests will be joined by speaker Graeme Barrow. Author of Who Lied? The Ly-ee-Moon Disaster and a Question of Truth, Barrow will talk about about the tragedy of the Ly-ee-Moon passenger steamer, which was mysteriously wrecked on the New South Wales’ south coast as she sailed north from Melbourne in 1886. A total of 71 lives were lost, including the mother of Australia’s only saint, Mary MacKillop. Barrow will discuss the colourful history of the ship, plus recount some of his adventures in trying to determine the correct names of some of those who died. Visit

Summer Barbecue January 27 The Mersey Branch of the Tasmanian Family History Society Inc will be kicking off the new year with its annual summer barbecue event. You can expect a fascinating talk by a special guest speaker who will be presenting at 5pm, followed by dinner from the barbie starting at 6pm. Be sure to keep an eye on their website for further details as they come. Visit

Tour of the National Archives, Perth February 23 This seminar will introduce participants to the great range of records held by the National Archives of Australia. The records are a fantastic resource for both family historians and professional researchers. The tour will include a visit to the repository as well as an opportunity to view a display of original and facsimile records. The event is free but bookings are essential. Call 08 9470 7500

The rocky shoreline of Eden, NSW, near where the Ly-eeMoon came to grief

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


Picture This City: History and Photography in Moonee Valley, North Melbourne Until February 26 This photographic exhibition at the Incinerator Gallery depicts the historical development of Moonee Valley through images taken by local photographers over the past 150 years. Artist Elizabeth Gertsakis explores the history of the community through its social clubs, theatre societies and sporting groups with a series of photographic collages and multi-media presentations. She also delves into the community’s concern about urban development and protecting the natural environment, which continues to be of relevance today. Call 03 8325 1750

Moonee Valley resident Florrie Stephenson, photographed in the 1920s

Beginning Irish Family History Starts February 7 If you’re just beginning to trace your Irish family history, here’s something to make the process a little easier. An upcoming course held by the Genealogical Society of Victoria will teach participants how to investigate their Irish ancestral roots in four two-hour sessions during February. Held in the meeting room at the GSV, the course will cover recording and documenting sources, investigating land divisions and records, maps and gazetteers, wills and probate and more. Visit



Caring for Your Photos and Documents February 9 The Public Record Office Victoria is hosting an event where you can learn how to keep your precious photographs or paper documents in tip-top condition. Nick Selenitsch, special projects conservator at the University of Melbourne, will discuss the factors that lead to the deterioration of fragile paper items and will give advice on how to best preserve your valuable collections. Participants are invited to bring in examples of photographs or paper documents for specific conservation advice during this workshop. Visit

Annie Payne — Magical Memory Triggers February 23 Historian and Inside History contributor, Annie Payne, will present at the February General Meeting of the South East Family History Group. Annie operates ‘History from the Heart’, an organisation dedicated to helping people preserve their family stories before time passes and memories fade. She is also the ambassador for the Living Legacy Project — an international initiative aiming to save the stories that comprise 20th century history. Annie’s talk at the SEFHG will discuss “magical memory triggers” and the secret to unlocking your memory. Call 08 8733 1100 Read Annie Payne’s article on page 28

Ancestry and Artefact: Exploring Who I Am Through History and Art Finishes January 29 Art students from Marryatville High School have developed an exhibition telling the story of their own personal history, their ancestry and the broader migration stories of South Australia. Some of the artworks have been inspired by objects of the Migration Museum connected to the students’ family histories, others by the students’ own family mementoes or stories. It is a wonderful example of how the disciplines of history and art can complement each other. Email

Waitangi Day and Festival 2012 February 4 to 6 Each year many New Zealanders gather to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, overlooking the Bay of Islands. This year is no different, with a number of events highlighting the historical significance of February 6, including an airshow by the Royal New Zealand Air Force aerobatic flying team, free concerts and fun and games for the whole family. Visit

Planning a genealogy, history or heritage event that you would like to share with Inside History readers? We’d love to hear from you. Contact us at the details on page 5.

Smith Street in Darwin, before the bombing campaign of 1942

Library of Quee Courtesy Darwin City Council, State Words Miranda Farrell Images


High Tea at Alberton February 23 to 26 This February you’re invited to enjoy high tea in the grounds of historic Alberton, Auckland. Built in 1863, Alberton is a romantic timber mansion famous in the 19th century for its balls, garden parties and music. Some of the property’s original family furniture remains and several of the rooms retain their 19th-century wallpaper. Guests will enjoy traditional tea service with all the romantic ambience that the historic house and garden provide. Bookings are essential. Email

Frontline Australia February 11 to 26 On 19 February 1942 two Japanese raids on Darwin saw over 240 people killed, many wounded, and civil and military facilities in the area devastated. For the 70th anniversary of this tragic event, Frontline Australia is hosting a two-week program of activities to commemorate the lives of those lost, and ensure these events are remembered by a new generation of Australians. Events include a morning service at the Darwin Cenotaph, photo exhibition, film festival, and a commemorative football match. Visit

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


your history

Finding gold in the records In our regular column, we’re featuring history and family history societies, showcasing the collections they hold, and their projects on the go. Here, we talk to Lorraine Purcell from NSW’s Hill End & Tambaroora Gathering Group about curating history in a gold-field town What areas of Australia does your society cover?

Where are you and what are your opening hours?

The goldfield areas of Hill End and Tambaroora in the central west area of New South Wales, between Bathurst and Mudgee.

As we do not currently have dedicated premises all the material is held in my workroom in Carlton, Sydney. People are welcome to make a time to use the material available by calling me on 02 95870352 or emailing me at People can visit the Hill End Visitors Centre to discuss their family history with Daphne Shead. Daphne is at the centre usually on Saturdays from 10am to 3pm or by appointment. Phone 02 6337 8218 or email before visiting.

When did the society open its doors? The group started to meet in the 1930s. It has never had a home as such, and started as a reunion gathering for those who had grown up in the Hill End area. It was a meeting of those who were still living there and those who had left the area after the decline of the gold fields. They met in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney once a year. As the older generation passed on, the descendants of these early pioneers continued the tradition, and now it has evolved into more of a family history gathering. We aim to try to connect descendants who may be researching the same families as well as provide information about the times that the ancestors lived and worked in the area.

What is the cost to join? There is no charge, however we do rely on donations to print and distribute our twice-yearly newsletter.

List the five most popular records that you hold. 1 Hill End & Tambaroora Pioneer Register (600 families recorded) and additional material sent in by family members after its publication.

Above Clarke Street, Hill End in 1872 Opposite Clarke Street as it currently looks Inset A family outside their home, an image that’s part of the Holtermann Collection

Do you want to highlight the great work being done by your local society? Contact Inside History at

2 Numerous transcribed and indexed petitions and memorials from State Records New South Wales (SRNSW), listing people in the area from 1852 to 1900. 3 Hill End Family History database with more than 17,000 individual names, prepared by Daphne Shead. 4 A compilation of births, deaths and marriages in Hill End and Tambaroora, with additional material added from primary sources. This includes variations on spellings of names as well. 5 Indexes to early books and local histories on the area.

As told to Cassie Mercer

What are your current projects? One of our on-going projects is to complete the transcribing and indexing of the SRNSW material for our database. We’re in the midst of producing our next publication, called A Visit to the Western Goldfields. It’s a contemporary account from the Sydney Morning Herald in 1858–9. Due out in mid-2012, it will include additional material and early maps of the area. Plus, we’re working on a biographical record of the soldiers from the Hill End area who enlisted for WWI, in preparation for the centenary in 2014. We would love to hear from anyone who has photos or information about these soldiers.

What record at your society is underutilised? The society has access to the Holtermann collection of photographs through the State Library of NSW

(SLNSW). The collection came about after a meeting between gold miner Bernard Otto Holtermann and photographer Beaufoy Merlin in 1872. Holtermann had been associated with the recent discovery of the world’s largest specimen of reef gold, weighing 145kg, extracted from nearby Tambaroora. Merlin had just opened a studio in Hill End. In January 1873, the two announced their plans for Holtermann’s Great International Travelling Exposition, which would publicise the potential of their adopted country to the world through photography. Holtermann’s patronage enabled Merlin and his assistant Charles Bayliss of the American & Australasian Photographic Company to photograph the goldfields towns. Around 3500 negatives have survived and are held by the SLNSW. Many of the photos are named and descendants have found their ancestors’ portraits and homes among the collection.

What’s happening over the next 12 months? In addition to our on-going projects, our next gathering will be on March 10, in Rhodes Park, Sydney. We welcome anyone with Hill End connections to come along. We also hold a market day in Hill End on the Easter weekend and the October long weekend. Please email me for more details. 

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


your history

On our doorstep


or most Australians, WWII was experienced through the harsh realities of life on the homefront — rationing, munitions factories and the constant fear for those caught in the fighting; soldiers close at heart but geographically a world away. For the residents of Australia’s Top End, however, it was a period defined by repeated direct attacks, when Japanese bombing raids brought a war to Australian soil for the first time. A terror that would last for almost two years, it was heralded by the first bombing of Darwin city on February 19, 1942, inflicting a death toll of 240. Numerous bombings were to follow, with targets including Livingstone Airfield, Bynoe Harbour and the small town of Batchelor. This February marks the 70th anniversary of the remarkable historic event. To commemorate it Darwin City Council is hosting Frontline, a two-week program of events to recognise the people who were impacted when the war came to Australia, both civilians and servicemen. Darwin Lord Mayor Graeme Sawyer is hoping that February 19 will eventually be recognised a new national day of remembrance, as a way of ensuring that the events of 1942 are not forgotten. “The formal recognition of a national day of observance will ensure the



older generation will have an opportunity to pass the baton of remembrance on to younger Australians,” says Mr Sawyer. For many of the survivors of the Darwin bombings, it is an event that remains clearly etched in their memories despite the passing of time. Alva Curtis, who was serving as an Adelaide River nurse during the war, explained her memory of the raids came from it coinciding with the cycle of the moon. “Planes didn’t have the technology then that they do now so the pilots relied on the light of the moon to know where to bomb. “Darwin was bombed every full moon. Whenever the siren went off, it was lights out, under our beds and no one was allowed to smoke — everyone smoked back then.” One of the many close calls Alva experienced during her time stationed there, was spent sheltering in a dugout trench for more than five hours. “We were travelling back to Adelaide River when we were stopped at Winnellie by troops who said the planes were coming. It was only 6:30 in the evening but boy those planes came. “They [the Japanese] were dropping ‘daisy cutters’ and it lasted hours. When we thought it was safe we got back into the jeep and had another go,

Images Courtesy Darwin City Council

On February 19, 2012, Australia will pause to remember the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Darwin. Alice Johnson explores the legacy of this defining moment in Australia’s military history

Darwin Post Office, where more than nine people lost their lives in the first bombing Inset The evacuation of civilians begins Opposite Switchboard operators in Darwin. The date of the photo is unknown, but is presumed to the early ’40s

but we didn’t get too far before we had to make another run for it,” says Alva. Of course the effects of war continued to linger long after the final bombs were dropped. Margaret Stevens moved to Darwin in 1948 to work as a stenographer. As a 21-year-old dreaming of an adventure to London, Darwin’s higher post-war wages made it an adventure worth her while. “In Sydney I was only being paid £3 a week, but in Darwin working for the police department I was easily earning £8 a week. It seemed very appealing at the time. “In those days I was only a girl, and like most girls my age I wanted to go to England,” explains Margaret. “I went to Darwin and lived in a women’s hostel and worked in the only jobs available — government jobs. I met my husband-to-be who was working in Darwin as a police officer after serving in New Guinea throughout the war, and we were married in 1950.” The rebuilding process of the city was a slow one. The angel statue adorning the Catholic church where Margaret and Jack were married was riddled with bullet holes, a visible symbol of the war’s legacy. “When we arrived there were burnt-out buildings everywhere, the destroyed ships were still in the

harbour,” says Margaret. “It was such a shock, we just didn’t really know about it. It was never clearly spelled out to us in other areas of the country. It wasn’t widely known that the Japanese had entered the mainland. We knew they were in New Guinea, but we didn’t really know Darwin or Broome had been so widely attacked, or to such an extent.” “It was all a bit much for me as a young mum. The place had been so badly damaged and there were very few families, just people who were attracted by the pay like us. When an opportunity came up in Randwick, Sydney, we moved back and settled there.” Margaret and Jack returned to Darwin in the mid 1990s to discover a thriving new city, bearing little resemblance to the scarred town of their post-war years. It’s a discovery that will be made by the hundreds of civilians and diggers expected to return for February’s commemorative program, to remember one of Australia’s defining military periods. 

MORE For more on the event program, turn to

page 23 or visit

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


your family

s d r o w n w o r In thei

Personal historian Annie Payne has been helping families record the stories of loved ones for years. Here, she shows why you, too, should record your memories of a lifetime


s an active networker, I am quite familiar with the blank face that usually accompanies my reply to the question “What do you do?” Not many Antipodeans have heard about personal historians and few, if any, understand the personal history concept. Some people have already started their own personal history and many others know that it’s something they should “get on with” but just don’t know where to start. I hope the following explanations will help you put pen to paper.

What is a personal history? A personal history is the story of a life, or perhaps a collection of stories from a life. It may take the form



of a memoir, a tribute, an autobiography, or a biography in written, audio or video form. Legacy letters (or ethical wills) expressing a person’s values, wishes, regrets and lessons learned also come under this banner.

What is a personal historian? Famous figures dotted throughout history have used professional writers and editors to help them with their memoirs. Personal historians are creative professionals who help individuals and families, cultural groups, corporate organisations and local communities to write and preserve their stories for either private or public information.

K athleen S tratford Opposite Kathleen Stratford with her eldest son, D’arcy, as a baby. During her interview with personal historian Annie Payne, she told of her pioneering business ventures in South Australia during the ’50s and ’60s

A helping hand Many people balk at the idea of writing their story, citing reasons such as “I’ve never written anything before”, “I’m too old”, or “I don’t know where to start”. Working with a skilled personal historian can turn the process from being mind-numbing to one that is creative and energising. They have no preconceived ideas about the client’s life and are, therefore, able to ask questions about all areas of a person’s life without stumbling into the “assumed knowledge” encountered by interviewing relatives. They also research the background era to discover world, national or local events that may have impacted on the storyteller’s life, thereby putting any incidents into perspective. A personal historian should also be skilled in such areas as timelines, how to use photos and memorabilia as memory triggers and how to identify life themes weaving throughout the client’s story.

What’s the point? Many people tell me that they “haven’t led a very interesting life” so who’d want to read their story? But wouldn’t you like to know about your greatgrandparents’ everyday lives and the associated stories of love, strength and endurance in the face of hard times, mateship forged under enemy fire and other stories — told in their own words? The same will also be true of your life stories in the future, plus you will have benefitted from the life review process, which adds value and meaning to the experiences you’ve had. Many well-meaning people want to interview their older relatives about their early life, but keep putting off the process because they are unsure of how or where to start. The sad part is that when they do eventually have the time to do the interview, their relative’s memory may not be as good as it once was.

personal history vs genealogy Genealogists research, record, and map family trees in order to define who descended from whom. A personal historian, on the other hand, will add buds, flowers and foliage to the family tree by including the life stories of the living family members, eg. that Grandpa owned the first T-Model Ford in Geelong, 

was 88 years old when she was interviewed in 2006. S he spoke about growing up in P ort P irie and of her life as a wife , mother and business entrepreneur in

M illicent , S outh A ustralia

in the mid -1900 s

“Another thing we enjoyed doing at night in Port Pirie was swimming in the dock (as it was called, where all of the passenger ships moored), around all of the boats in the harbour. I learned to swim at the local baths but loved diving into the water from the bow of one of the boats in port and swimming around the dock, slapping my hand against the hull of each ship I passed. I think I must have been the first ‘topless’ swimmer in Port Pirie because I got a two-piece swimsuit that was made of some kind of rubber material. It had fitted pants for the bottom, and a kind of chemise top, with a halter neck and shoulders — quite daring really! I remember diving into the water from the dock, and, because air had gotten under the chemise top, the whole thing lifted up. I couldn’t see what was happening, as the top was covering my eyes, which meant it wasn’t covering my chest!” … “I was determined to give our kids the best Catholic education I could afford and, because times were tough, I started to earn a few shillings by starting my own business — Kate’s Employment Agency — here in Millicent, which I ran from my kitchen. I had confidence in my own ability to organise something that would benefit the town and earn me some muchneeded money, so I suppose I was a little ahead of my time. “Kate’s Employment Agency registered local women who wanted to work and many of the local businesses, like the new motels that were being built, needed staff for cooking, cleaning or other duties. I identified which women were best suited to the jobs I had on my books and, sometimes, when I couldn’t get staff for the job, I turned around and did it myself! I remember one time having to make gallons of gravy at the hotel for a large function! “My little business enterprises brought in necessary money for the school fees and uniforms for all three children, which was a big financial commitment for me to manage on my own. As I look back at those years, I realise that I was very enterprising at a time when many women weren’t entering into small businesses by themselves.”

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


Below left The photographer on board the Highlander in June 1940 took the images of the bombing of the Lancastria (seen in the background) during the Second World War. Ted Pritchett is the sailor second from the left Below right Able Seaman Pritchett on board the Highlander. He recounted to Annie Payne how he helped rescue survivors the day the Lancastria sank.

or that Dad loved playing the bag pipes as he walked into the office each morning (yes, that’s a true story about my father. He carried them in the boot of his car and often “piped” himself into the office, down the street to get his lunch or even into a board meeting!). Families collecting information about births, deaths, and marriages soon discover that stories bring to life all those names on the tree. And it will be the associated tales attached to each entry that will resonate with future generations. The main difference between the two disciplines is that the genealogist deals with past records, whereas the personal historian’s work is done in the present to leave as a legacy. The Association of Personal Historians (APH) supports its members in recording, preserving and sharing life stories of people, families, communities and organisations around the world. As the incoming director of membership on its board, I want to encourage both Australians and New Zealanders who currently work in various aspects of personal history to become members of APH and to gain better recognition of this new profession.  ✳ If you are interested in becoming a personal historian or would like help recording your life story, visit or email Annie Payne at



Ted Pritchett, who joined the Royal Navy aged 16, was 90 when interviewed in 2010. He was a young Able Seaman on board HMS Highlander as part of the D unkirk rescue operation when he witnessed one of WWII’ s worst sea disasters : the sinking of HMT L ancastria , formerly a luxury liner in the C unard line “At about 13.00 hours, I heard a ‘red alert’ sound and at 13.15 hours an enemy dive bomber attacked HMT Oronsay, causing damage but not making the ship unseaworthy. However, luck was not on Lancastria’s side, as the enemy bomber returned at around 15.50 hours, scoring a direct hit on the port side (rupturing the number two hold and spilling 1,400 tons of oil), with another bomb falling straight down her funnel and into the engine room, where it exploded. “Immediately we saw the Lancastria begin to roll from port to starboard, as other bombs fell, one penetrating her holds, which were crammed to the rafters with over 9000 evacuated troops and civilians. We watched, helplessly, as she rolled onto her port side, down at the bow, only allowing one lifeboat to be launched. The photographer on board our ship was busy snapping pictures, which would later become priceless mementos of this shocking event. “Everyone on the decks of nearby ships watched in horror as the enemy returned to strafe both those poor souls clinging to the hull of the Lancastria and the survivors in the sea, swimming to reach other ships. In the 20 minutes it took for her to sink, we could hear those on board bravely singing ‘There’ll Always Be An England’ and ‘Roll Out The Barrel,’ while the siren still wailed. At 16.10 hours she finally slipped beneath the waves, drawing many survivors down into her vortex as she sank to the bottom of the Bay of Biscay. “Only 2447 people survived from the Lancastria and the rescue began immediately to gather them on board the other ships in the vicinity, including ours. We lowered netting down the side and as I helped one of the first men to come aboard, he said ‘Blimey. I didn’t know how to swim before but I wasn’t being sucked down as the Lancastria sank!’”


Why I love my work

One of the 15,000 images in the RAHS collection. This shows the SS Orara at Byron Bay’s main beach, NSW. The ship carried passengers between Sydney and Byron Bay from 1911 to 1939.

For Maria Walsh, CEO of the Royal Australian History Society, each work day leads to the discovery of more fascinating stories about our unique history and cultural heritage


very day of my job at the Royal Australian Historical Society (RAHS) involves a bit of amazement. It’s fascinating enough to be part of an organisation that is 110 years old, with a council of illustrious academics who voluntarily give their time to nurture interest in Australian history. However, it’s the smaller fireworks of surprise and delight that get unearthed in the everyday tasks that keep reminding me how lucky I am. For example, perhaps I am given the task of politely managing the keynote speaker for the state conference as happened to me in November in East Maitland, NSW. Well, meeting and listening to Tim Whitford was a terrific experience. Tim is a passionate, determined and compelling amateur historian who reduced more than 150 delegates to tears of joy and compassion as he spoke about his search for his lost great-uncle, a fallen soldier in France in WWI. Or perhaps I’m involved in arranging the administrative detail behind a morning lecture. I look up and there is one of our academics presenting a talk filled with gorgeous images of early Sydney — alleyways and rickety buildings and small children in long dresses standing in the same place as now stands a multi-story corporate building. In December I was invited to help launch a



publication of stories and articles by local historians in the Sydney suburb of Marrickville. Several hours later I had to drag myself away. How is it possible to find so many enthusiastic and interesting people in one room? Or what about meeting with our librarian to look at her favourite selection of images from the RAHS library. Her favourites, that is, from more than 15,000 images we have catalogued and stored in our beautiful 19th-century building in Sydney’s CBD, companions to the other 45,000 books and ephemera. Every day brings something astounding. Maybe not least of which is to realise how widespread the passion and interest in history is. When I tell people what my job is, a common response is a shuffling of feet and then a quiet whisper in my ear: ‘I have always loved history.’ I think everyone has a different reason for loving history. In my case history is about the stories. And I’m fortunate enough to hear more of them every day. 

MORE The Royal Australian Historical Society was founded in 1901. For further details, visit or call 02 9247 8001

Specialising in early Irish convict research

Irish Wattle’s books cover more than 900 Irish convict arrivals before 1797.

Order today at

2012 will see a whole heap of amazing, fun, reading activities taking place around Australia and online, so people of all ages, from different backgrounds, can discover and rediscover the joy of reading.   The campaign links together all the great things that are already happening around books, reading and literacy, and gives them an extra boost, with inspirational programs and events taking place across the country.  

Visit the website or email


Writing a non-boring family history with

Hazel Edwards

To many children, Hazel Edwards is known for her much-loved kid’s book, There’s A Hippopotamus On Our Roof Eating Cake. To genealogists, she’s a mentor for writing witty, interesting family histories. Throughout 2012, we’ll be featuring extracts from Hazel’s book, How To Write A Non-Boring Family History, for those of you wanting to publish your genealogy research in book form. First up, how to get started on your project


lthough it can be a fascinating journey of self-discovery, writing a family history is a big job. It’s wise to be clear in your own mind why you have undertaken this project. Which of these reasons is closest to yours?  Something you’ve always wanted to do?  Older relatives or locals have died recently and you’re conscious that family or local information is dying with them?  You enjoy the research?  Suddenly there’s time available?  You’ve inherited all the bits of information, photos and letters?  A significant event is approaching?  People keep asking, “When are you going to write your family history book?”  Some other reason? Some family historians are “seduced” by the process of gathering the material and never actually want to start writing it up. Their history is their lifelong hobby. What aspect of the process do you prefer?  Planning “to do” lists?  Sorting out old material (clippings, photos, letters, documents)?  Tracking down relatives?  Interviewing people?  Organising material into written or visual format?

Recipe for writing a non-boring family history • • • • • • • • • • • • •

1 cup of self-raising imagination dates thyme (endless spoonfuls) researchitus, diluted sprinkle of ancestral curiosity pinch of opportunity flakes of serendipity zest of reader-researcher ½ litre of language, including mixed fruit of adjectives (used moderately) half-a-dozen embryonic ideas (egg-shaped) slurp of suspense, secrecy or drama dash of inspiration intriguing title, cover and blurb

Drizzle inspiration on all pages. Mix all data and especially dry ingredients in computerised container. Keep for an appropriate time. Heat emotions or ice over disputes. For special occasions, decorate and display at reunion, anniversary or family gathering.

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


 Travelling to meet subjects or research on location (a legitimate excuse to travel)?

 Putting yourself into an extended family context?

 Talking about, or having a reputation for, being ‘the family historian’? Whatever aspect of the process appeals, check that you are not prolonging gathering material so that you do not have to reach the stage that appeals less. Or if you are, at least acknowledge this to yourself.

Dealing with procrastination Most writers suffer from one of the many forms of procrastination typified by these attitudes:  There’s so much to do, I don’t know where to start.  I’ll just make a coffee/clean the windows/do domestic work ‘which needs doing’. Later I’ll work on ‘the book’. Later never comes.  I like talking about “doing the book” but I don’t like doing it.  I enjoy being called “the family historian” even if I haven’t done anything to earn the title yet.  If I finish the book, then what will I do with my spare time?  What if the readers think it’s not well written? Solutions may include:  Setting aside a regular time (for example, four hours) or number of words (1000) to be completed weekly. Alternatively, decide your manuscript deadline date and work backwards.  Permit yourself a few rituals like making



coffee or emptying the bin before starting. But once you’re settled at your regular working place, stay there until you have finished the time or the number of words.  Allow yourself the recognition that “work” is not always writing. There is interviewing, phone calls, thinking, reading, compiling, scanning and other tasks, too.  If you’re scared of finishing in case of criticism, invite “experts” (including relatives) to read sample chapters in draft form and include their suggestions in A WRiTiNG the next draft. Once your writing goes public, there will always be some criticism. Every writer-parent dislikes criticism of a book-baby, but it is inevitable. There revised edition will be praise, too.  s hazel edward

N O N boring



✻ How To Write A Non-Boring Family History is available as an e-book at writing-a-non-boring-family-history ASK Hazel If you have any questions for Hazel about writing, contact us at the details on page 5

The Forgotten Children in Homes, Reformatories and Industrial Schools NSW w Ne aSe! le Re

A new index that provides researchers with fascinating details of young children sent to homes. A valuable insight into family life in NSW from 1867-1925, revealing how many people were struggling to feed their children. Among the tragic stories, there are many that have happy endings. Others remained caught in a life of crime, including the infamous Kate Leigh (depicted in Underbelly: Razor).

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Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


your family

A postcard of actress Addie Campbell at the turn of the 20th century. Postcards are a good source of images for performers

Was your ancestor a player?

Did someone in your family tread the boards, either professionally or as an amateur? Theatre historian Leann Richards looks at the history of the art since European settlement, and where the best collections of records can be found


esearching ancestors who performed in the theatre can be a frustrating experience. It is either a feast or a famine. Material from 1788 to 1860 is difficult to find. However, from the 1870s, the amount of material is almost overwhelming. Most research relies on newspapers, theatrical programs and ephemera. Due to this, successful discoveries require a great deal of perseverance and a large dose of luck. When the English colony of Australia was established in the late 18th century, opinions towards theatre were imported with it. These attitudes were moralistic. Theatre was seen as a corrupting activity followed by indecent people who were one step away from criminality. This view did not bode well for the development of an Australian theatre tradition when the settlement consisted mainly of convicted criminals. Performances in the early years were limited and strictly monitored. Fortunately the names of some early performers of the 18th century were printed in

newspapers and playbills. The Mitchell Library in Sydney (see has a series of these playbills from 1800, which detail the names of Australia’s pioneering actors.

The debut of theatre It wasn’t until the 1830s that theatre in Australia really began. It was subject to harsh licencing laws and harsher moral judgments. These resulted in theatre activity being sporadic and subject to closure due to immoral themes or lack of funds. Two of the earliest theatres were the Theatre Royals in Sydney and Hobart. The Mitchell Library in Sydney has some records of the former, while the State Library of Tasmania (see has a collection of posters of the latter. These records detail some of the names of our earliest acting heroes. Theatre in Victoria didn’t really begin until the 1840s. The arrival of George Coppin heralded the era of the actor/manager that reached a peak two 

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


decades later with the arrival of J.C. Williamson and Harry Rickards. Coppin, an Englishman, was canny enough to pass his playbills on to his family, who fortunately donated them to public institutions. Many are kept by the State Library of Victoria (see Most performers in Victoria during the 1840s would have worked for Coppin at some time. It was around this era that the split between legitimate and popular theatre began to appear. Legitimate theatre in historical terms is regarded as opera, musical comedy and drama, while popular theatre refers to music halls, vaudeville, magic and minstrel performances. Legitimate theatre was traditionally patronised by the upper and middle classes; popular theatre was supposed to be patronised by the less well-to-do. However, in Australia, with a small population, the lack of entertainment meant that both forms of theatre were attended by all classes of society. The gold rushes of the 1850s saw more regional theatres open and their programs were well reported by local newspapers. Bendigo and Ballarat became the homes of performances that were greeted by gold nuggets being thrown on stage when successful, or rotten fruit when they were not. Lola Montez’s performances were the highlight of the gold-rush era. Local historical societies in gold-rush towns have extensive records of entertainment during the period. The Ballarat Historical Society in particular has a collection of 19th-century programs that may shed light on performances. African-American minstrels began touring around this time and records of their exploits are recorded in newspapers. Another good source for these tours, which continued into the late 19th century, are musical scores. Many of these scores have the names and some pictures of the men who sang the songs. Music Australia (see has an excellent collection of scores that may help your research.

theatre finds its stage feet The amount of material available for research becomes a landslide from the 1870s. This is primarily due to the growth of theatre in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland with the arrival of theatrical entrepreneur J.C. Williamson in 1874. Williamson’s influence on the development and promotion of legitimate theatre in the country was immense, and his company remained a dominant feature until the 1960s. Programs, playbills, theatrical magazines, postcards and newspaper articles began to proliferate with the arrival of Williamson. His ability to promote homegrown and international

talent relied on the production of attractive printed material. Researching Williamson players is relatively easy if they were headliners. The supporting players may be more difficult. Williamson material is available at the State Libraries of NSW, Victoria, and Queensland (see, the Performing Arts Collection at Melbourne’s Arts Centre (see www., the Museum of Performing Arts in Western Australia (MPAWA, see, and the National Library of Australia (see Regrettably, much of this material consists of ephemera that is not catalogued. This results in long, often fruitless searches. However, the patient researcher can find some wonderful information on ancestors with perseverance and a rough timeline. The arrival of Harry Rickards in the 1880s led to an explosion in popular theatre. Rickards, the English founder of the famous Tivoli circuit, was a man like Williamson, with a talent for promotion. For those interested in Tivoli performers, the material is mostly ephemera. The Queensland Performing Arts Centre Museum (see and MPAWA have Tivoli material, as do the State Libraries of NSW and Victoria.

Above A 19th-century pantomime program Left A Cinderella pantomime program from 1894, showing performer and designer names Opposite An early postcard of J.C. Williamson

On with the (20th-century) show The early 1900s saw a further increase in theatre and the rise of new publication sections devoted to the art. Theatre Magazine (1904–1926) followed the legitimate theatre primarily and it is partly indexed on the State Library of Victoria Australiana index. The Referee (1886–1939) from Sydney had a theatre section until the 1910s. The Magic Mirror (1909–1921) followed magicians, and the Australian Variety and Show World, (1913–1921) followed variety and vaudeville performers. These magazines often published articles about the private lives and scandalous affairs of the theatre world and provide an additional source of material for family researchers. Many performers from this era visited New Zealand. The newspapers had specialist theatrical sections, some of which included biographies of performers. Checking the newspaper site Papers Past (see can often lead to an unexpected and delightful result. Until the late 1920s, theatre was the primary source of entertainment. However, the advent of moving pictures, and then the Depression, led to a decline in theatre production and coverage. The newspapers turned to movies for their entertainment gossip. The 1930s saw a resurgence in amateur theatre. Prominent among them was Doris Fitton’s Independent

in Sydney and Brisbane’s WEA players. Stanton Library in North Sydney (call 02 9936 8400) has information on the former, while the Fryer Library at the University of Queensland (see has a collection of programs from the latter. The rise of the Elizabethan theatre in the 1950s and increased government support of Australian drama resulted in the production of a great deal of printed material. Government sponsorship also ensured the preservation of information about actors of the period. Later enterprises continued this trend and archives from amateur and professional theatres from this period to the present day are kept by major state libraries. Research for the last 50 years is easily done by looking at the appropriate state archives. The persistent researcher can find many avenues to trace a theatrical ancestor. A knowledge of the period in which they performed, and an idea of whether they were legitimate or popular actors, will help. The amount of historical material available online is increasing daily. It may take time, but by piecing together ephemera, newspaper reports and traditional sources of information such as wills, and BDM sources, a rounded picture of a theatrical ancestor can be assembled.  ✻ Leann Richards writes at

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


your family




For many New Zealanders researching their family history, their time has been rewarded with the discovery of Maori links to the land. Here, one woman shares her experience with genealogist, Christine Clement


aori cosmogony supports a culture that values the intimate connection between all creations. Maori acknowledge the sanctity of their relationship with the environment and the spiritual realms in genealogical recitations. They are tangata whenua — which literally translates as “people from the land�. During mihimihi or introductions, a speaker will always acknowledge their connection to the spiritual realm and their relationship with their esteemed ancestral mountain, river, canoe, sub tribe and tribal affiliations as a means of properly introducing themselves. The early European settlers of New Zealand happened upon a culture with strong oral traditions and fiercely held communal estates managed by Rangatira or Chiefs of respective Maori groups. As the contest for land ownership ensued between not only opposing sub tribes but also the settlers eager to build lives and communities for their families, a Native Land Commission was established in 1862. Initially it was in the Northland region of New Zealand to resolve land disputes and administer the individualisation of Native title. By c1865 the Native Land Court was fully functional throughout New Zealand. As Maori were brought before the Court to determine land entitlements and ownerships, the oral traditions of Maori citing their relationship to the land and the ancestors of it were recorded in the historical minute books. These recitals provide a profound insight into the heritage of the land and people referred to.



Below Kim Isaac from the Maori Land Court (centre) with clients at the NZ Family History Fair 2011 Opposite A plan showing the original owners of Kokohuia on the North Island dated July 21, 1873. Courtesy Maori Land Court

The Court has taken on many faces throughout its existence and it is today known as the Maori Land Court (Te Kooti Whenua Maori). It’s a Court of Record primarily responsible for the preservation and maintenance of the historical minute books containing this rich source of genealogy and history. It continues in its role today providing support, assistance and advice to the owners of the six per cent of Maori land remaining in New Zealand today.

One family’s story Wendy Cantlon, of Te Puke on the North Island of New Zealand, soon found that her husband Gus had Maori ancestry when she started researching his family tree. She had found this by collecting certificates, but among his grandmother’s papers was what Wendy found later to be a list of the owners of a block of Maori land. She took this to the Maori Land Court and was able to follow up succession orders on the block, which confirmed the names and relationships and any descendants who were claiming their share. The Land Court Minute Books were in English, but Wendy was often able to find translations of documents that weren’t, including a wonderful Maori probate that listed all the children, confirming her findings. Wendy found that her husband’s ancestry was from Ngāti Raukawa in the southern Waikato region. She then visited a museum library in the area and looked at every book written about the region. Her

husband’s ancestor, John November Gage, known by his transliteration as Hone Keeti, was the son of George Gage and Waana Pororua, and married twice, first to Rea Waitauwhi Nikorima and then to Ani Merritt. Wendy borrowed books on various Maori families of the area and started piecing together the whakapapa (family history). With the benefit of the internet, she made contact with another researcher of the same family and they were able to swap information and brainstorm problems together. One of Wendy’s difficulties with Maori research was name changes for the same person. Transliteration of European names was common, for example, Robert/ Ropata, James/Hemi, Adam/Arama, Joseph/Hohepa, William/Wiremu, John/Hone, Tamehana/Thompson. Joseph Thompson could appear in records as Hohepa Tamehana, Joseph Tamehana, Hohepa Thompson and even Tamehana Hohepa! One line of descendants may have stuck to the European surname, another line to the Maori version and yet another to a tipuna or ancestral name. In Wendy’s case, sometimes the sex of the person was unable to be determined or generations had been skipped or reversed. Registration of Maori marriages was not compulsory until 1911, although some European/Maori marriages were registered before this. Registration of Maori births and deaths was not compulsory until 1913 but included information on the tribe and residence as well as degree of Maori blood. School rolls also 

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


maori family history is passed down the generations verbally. FamilySearch is working to record these histories onto one database Genealogists the world over share the struggle of tracking down historic documents and records in a race against time and the elements. An even bigger obstacle, however, is when a tangible record does not exist. For those searching for their Maori lineage, this can be a reality. Prior to the arrival of Europeans in New Zealand, much of Maori culture, including family history records, or whakapapa, were passed down orally. The recitation of whakapapa is still performed in Maori culture, but genealogies are now being recorded digitally as well. FamilySearch is the world’s largest free genealogy organisation and is leading the way in its work to digitally preserve these histories. The site currently has more than 45 projects available online. FamilySearch representatives have gone to New Zealand to preserve the genealogies of many Maori families by audio recording whakapapa recitations. “It’s definitely one of the more unique ways in which we help preserve records,” said FamilySearch public affairs manager Paul Nauta. “We’re happy to provide this service.” The Maori oral genealogies can be searched for free as part of FamilySearch’s Community Trees feature. Community Trees are lineage-linked genealogies from specific time periods and geographic localities around the world. The information also includes the supporting sources. Each Community Tree is a searchable database with views of individuals, families, ancestors and descendants, as well as printing options. MORE



became useful for family groupings, as well as cemetery records. Many of these have been transcribed by members of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists (see South African and First and Second World War records included birth place and next of kin and can help to substantiate your research. 

Some sources for whakapapa research For more on the Maori Land Court, visit www. or Maori Land Online, Here are some further resources that may help: ✳ Te Haurapa: An Introduction to Researching Tribal Histories and Traditions by Charles Te Ahukaramu Royal ✳ Fletcher Index of Maori Names, www.waikato. ✳ The Journal of the Polynesian Society, ✳ The New World magazine, http://teaohou.natlib. ✳ Maori/Pakeha Transliterations, http://freepages. Pakehamaori.html ✳ Birth, Death and Marriage Historical Records, ✳ “Beginning your New Zealand family research” by Christine Clement in issue 2 of Inside History

your family

Quite a young man abroad 46


Below The Melbourne Lying-in Hospital in 1858, now called the Royal Women’s Hospital. Opposite Dr Turnbull was honorary physician at the hospital from 1858 to 1867

The Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne, as it is now known, was Australia’s first hospital to train nurses and, in 1865, to teach obstetrics and gynaecology to medical students. It also harboured, as one of its earliest obstetricians, an argumentative Scot by the name of William Mackie Turnbull. Jenny Robin Jones uncovers the story of a transformative voyage in 1842 that brought him to the Antipodes


he Melbourne Lying-in Hospital and Infirmary for Diseases of Women and Children was founded in 1856 at the insistence of a committee of public-spirited women and two doctors to meet a pressing need. The flip side of all those diggers pouring in from the end of 1851, scouring Bendigo, Ballarat, Ararat and Mount Alexander for immediate wealth, was too many destitute and pregnant women for the gentry to ignore. Two years later one of the doctors, John Maund, died and Dr Turnbull, who ran a large thriving practice in Melbourne’s Russell Street, replaced him as honorary physician, a post he held until his death in 1867. He played a vocal role, often engaging in battle with the other doctor, the flamboyant Richard Tracy. He won some, he lost some. Calvinist to the core, he prided himself on his honesty and willingness to express an unpopular view.

Where did these early doctors come from and what were their formative experiences? Some of the answers regarding Dr Turnbull came to light during research for my new book, No Simple Passage: The Journey of the London to New Zealand, 1842. From the early 1840s, when emigrants from England began sailing to New Zealand, eager young men applied for the position of surgeon on the voyage. They were given a cabin, ate at the captain’s table and were paid upon the safe arrival of their charges. Many of them had negligible qualifications and no experience of medicine whatsoever. William Mackie Turnbull was more nobly called. Training in Edinburgh, he soon possessed a solid grounding in the medicine of his day and obtained his MD with a thesis on uterine haemorrhage. He was lucky enough to study under the great obstetrician and midwifery professor, 

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


James Young Simpson, who gave his pupil a glowing testimonial and fired him with enthusiasm for the field of obstetrics. At the time, Edinburgh was oversubscribed with doctors so on January 1, 1842, we find Dr Turnbull on board the London, in charge of the health, orderly behaviour and spiritual welfare of 258 working-class emigrants. Selected for their agricultural and trade skills, the 55 married couples and their children eat and sleep in cramped conditions between decks, while the cabin-class passengers enjoy more comfortable quarters above and have an entire poop deck to promenade on. As it was in England, so it is shipboard — people are defined and organised by class and in the brave new world delineated by Edward Gibbon Wakefield, pioneer of planned settlement in the colonies, the capitalists will buy land which the labourer emigrants will cultivate. A new society will be created and everyone, says Wakefield, will prosper. Naturally the New Zealand Company, in exchange for free passage, wants as many of the emigrants as possible to arrive in a fit state for work. The surgeon superintendent must record the names and ages of the sick, their symptoms, his treatment and the result. If a patient dies, he must lose no opportunity of performing a post mortem (gales notwithstanding) and contribute any interesting findings to the benefit of medicine. He must report which days he allows the emigrants on deck, and when the decks are scraped, the berths cleaned and ventilated, the ship fumigated, plus any other circumstance that might affect the health of those on board. The emigrants are expected to play their part in maintaining cleanliness on board, acting in rotation as cleaners and sweepers. Each emigrant has to ensure they are personally clean, decently clothed and wearing fresh linen — at least on Sundays. The company regulations ask for careful and cheerful compliance. Dr Turnbull is the link between the classes. He drip feeds the cabin passengers information about what is going on below deck, scaring



them sometimes with news of typhus or the uncontrollably contagious scabies. The dangers are real. Just months prior to the London setting sail, 65 children on the Lloyds bound for Nelson died of whooping cough and diarrhoea. The New Zealand Company held the captain and doctor responsible. Neither received any pay. Dr Turnbull needs to arrive with fit and healthy cargo or suffer the same punishment. Along with most of his medical colleagues, Dr Turnbull believes decisive interference is best. There was a period during the 16th century when it was thought desirable to leave the cure to nature as much as possible, or, as the London Encyclopaedia puts it: Nothing ought to be undertaken rashly; and it is often the part of a prudent physician to stand still and maybe watch, without any interference, since nature sometimes cures without the assistance of art, and when we are doing nothing, we of course are avoiding positive mischief. Unfortunately, positive mischief was all too often the outcome of the 19th-century doctor’s ministrations. Disease was thought to be caused by “proteins” in the blood, and the way to restore balance was to expel “the exciting matter” by purging, bloodletting, sweating and blistering. On board the London, Dr Turnbull employs all these methods. Sadly he doesn’t see that diarrhoea and fluid loss go hand in hand. One might have expected the word to have got around, since it’s already 12 years since a surgeon working for the British East India Company noted the connection. However, Dr Turnbull’s journal shows a man doing everything he can with the knowledge at his disposal to keep his patients healthy. His rice diet will still be in use 160 years later — or at least, a rice-based solution through a tube down the nose. Like any janitor, Dr Turnbull is in intimate contact with his inmates. Despite his best efforts

Above The dietary scale of provisions for the emigrants on the London in 1842, on which Dr Turnbull was the surgeon.

and the regular withholding of food rations for bad behaviour, it’s hard for him to keep everyone in order. Nursing mother, Mary McCarthy and 16-year-old Eliza Benton are discovered fighting, while others shower him with personal abuse. Mrs Collier throws flour at him and the women refuse to keep watch in the “hospital”. When three-yearold Charles Burling succumbs to diarrhoea, his mother won’t allow the dead child to be taken there. She becomes very abusive and follows the child in, refusing to leave when medicines are about to be given out. Far from empathising with a mother’s grief, Dr Turnbull calls in Captain Atwood and stops all Mary’s rations except bread and water. The cabin passengers see a different person from those under Dr Turnbull’s discipline. Charles Empson, for whom the doctor represents company his own age, describes Turnbull as “quite a young man abroad, very reserved, rather green if I may use the expression”. He writes home that the doctor is keen to see a gale of wind but when it arrives, “as is usually the case those who talk the most mean the least for the doctor was the first to cry out about the gale.” As the journey goes on, the stock of medicines falls so low that Dr Turnbull requests a stop-off at Hobart, to no avail. The passengers blame him for the state of the flour and short measures of dried peas (a help against scurvy). The preserved milk is spoiled. Young Mary Bird falls off a ladder and

is ill for weeks. Phoebe Edwards, mother of six, dies of typhus. Mrs Barb, mother of two, dies of a bacterial infection that today would be treated with antibiotics. Thirteen children are committed to the “Deep”. However, Dr Turnbull has clearly done his utmost to save them all and to keep the ship clean, the beds aired and the emigrants from descending into social chaos or mutiny. He receives 10 shillings for the adult equivalent of each live arrival and ₤50 for the voyage. After six years practising in New Zealand he’s ready for his great Australian adventure. Several of his cousins live in Melbourne, where he marries the cousin with his mother’s name, Euphemia, and quickly becomes an integral member of the medical fraternity. No longer green, his time has come.  ✳ Jenny Robin Jones’ great-great-grandmother, Rebecca Remington, was one of those under Dr Turnbull’s charge. Jones’ book on the voyage, No Simple Passage: The Journey of the London to New Zealand, 1842 (Random House, $45) is out now

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


your family

A mother’s day History always comes alive at the State Library of New South Wales. In late 2011 the library hosted Macquarie University’s Histories of Motherhood Symposium, a showcase of cutting edge research into the experience of motherhood. Alice Johnson reports


he past seems much closer to the present when you step inside the Dixson Room at the State Library of New South Wales. It’s a space steeped in a rich history of its own; one born from philanthropy, map-making and Scottish tobacco. The landing at Sydney Cove, Sir Joseph Banks, Henry Goulburn and the room’s namesake, Sir William Dixson, all hang as oil paintings on walls that stretch to greet the room’s lofty ceiling. But it’s William Henderson’s 1830 Portrait of Mrs Elizabeth Cook, wife of the iconic explorer and mother to his six children, that suits the room so nicely for the event I’m here to see. This is the venue for Macquarie University’s 2011 Histories of Motherhood in Australia Symposium. The conference has brought together some of Australia’s leading minds to share their latest research on the topic.



Motherhood is an event that endures the passing of time: mothers have existed throughout war and peace, across motherlands, colonies and empires. It transcends our many differences, be it ethnicity or class hierarchy. Historically it acts as a marker to show us the ways we have changed, and often enough, the ways in which we ought to. This selection of speakers showcases the very best research taking place right now.

Women, war and trauma When this year’s keynote speaker took to the podium, she was introduced as the Roger Federer of Australian history. And for Professor Joy Damousi from the University of Melbourne, no further introduction was required. Her latest research enters an impressive academic career, with articles

Opposite Violet Trundle sewing with a Singer sewing machine at her home in Hughenden, Queensland, c.1925. Courtesy State Library of Queensland

spanning convict women, psychoanalysis in the colonies and wartime bereavement to name just a few. Her talk, “Women, War and Trauma” mapped her latest study into the removal of Greek children from their mothers by the Communist forces during the turbulent Cold War years. While much attention has been given to the experiences of the children, Damousi chose to instead focus on the mothers. This oral history project gave a voice to the unimaginable experience of giving up a child, driven by the hope of providing them with a safer life. Many families were reunited decades later, often across continents and speaking different languages. This incredible and turbulent historical study would be of particular interest to anyone with recent Greek heritage and it shows another dimension to the history of child-removal practices, which we are more familiar with in an Australian or English context. Many of Damousi’s interviewees are now aged well into their eighties and nineties, and the study demonstrates both the benefits and the flaws of using oral history as a methodology. Too often accounts of events can pass unremembered unless these verbal histories are captured.

and daughter. They reflect the transference of women’s knowledge and skills from one generation to the next, and came into a category of heirlooms that were passed down a family’s maternal side. A character who is central to the colonial family, yet too often forgotten in official histories, was the spinster sister. Unmarried sisters sometimes chose to live together, were a source of free childcare for their relatives, and often came to be the colonial guardians of family history. They deliberately preserved the past giving themselves a central role in their family story. In so doing, they challenged the familiar linear birth, marriage and death narrative. Evans’ exhibition is one not to be missed — keep an eye out in a future issue of Inside History for more details.

Mothers and Material Culture in Colonial Australia

Mothers forbidden to be mothers

Dr Tanya Evans from Macquarie University gave a preview of what to expect at the 2013 Museum of Sydney exhibition, “Family Life in Colonial New South Wales”. The exhibition, which Evans is curating, will draw on a range of sources, including printed, oral, pictorial and textiles to tell the stories of some key colonial Australian families. These families ranged from British convicts to ex-convicts, the rich to the poor, and Indigenous families. Evans explained how important genealogy is when curating multiple Australian family lives in the colonial period. A number of the items to be displayed, such as needlework, clothes, fabrics and dolls, will celebrate genealogy as an important activity of women. Quilts are fascinating objects that Evans will focus on in her role as curator. Quilting was a pastime that wiled away the hours on transportation and emigrant ships as well as leisure time in the home. Patchwork quilts survive as living relics of the relationship shared between a mother

Perhaps some of the most confronting research was related by Marian Quartly in her talk about forced adoption in Australia. As a chief investigator for Monash University’s “History of Adoption Project”, Quartly was heavily involved in collecting primary source accounts from women and their children separated via the adoption process. Quartly explained that within a number of these very personal recollections a consistent pattern emerged — starting with a young girl’s discovery of her pregnancy. This was too often followed by feelings of shame, being sent or choosing to attend a home for young unmarried mothers. Fast-forward to the birth, where a pillow was sometimes held in front of the mother’s face to avoid bonding with the child. A strict adoption process followed and the mother was told to “forget it and get on with life”. From here 20 to 30 years of shame is at best followed by a difficult reunion and sometimes, an ongoing relationship. These stories give a snapshot of the 

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


Above An Edwardian school run? A family stops for a photo while walking along an unidentified bush track c.1910–20. Courtesy State Library of Queensland

ways we have characterised “good” and “bad” mothers over time. The History of Adoption Project, available online at historyofadoption, is an incredibly powerful resource, complete with first-person recollections in print and audio files. For anyone affected by, or interested in the ways adoption has shaped motherhood in Australia over time, Marian Quartly’s research is a must-read.

Non-normative family formation In the penal colony of Tasmania, women were vastly outnumbered, with young, single men dominating the rates of transportation and free emigrants. Dr Rebecca Kippen’s research combines demography and history to paint a picture of “non-normative” motherhood experiences that were produced from the time. Non-convict women were in short supply and could marry above their class, while authorities often prevented convict women from marrying, usually because of British husbands at home or for previous misconduct. Kippen’s research is heavily driven by primary sources, such as the births and deaths registers. It also draws on the language of the time to identify different family situations,



Opposite Mothers waiting their turn to have their children vaccinated at City Hall in Brisbane, 1947. Courtesy State Library of Queensland

including the “identifiers” of exnuptial births such as “illegitimate”, “bastard”, “base”, “base born” or “spurious”. One of the really remarkable trends Kippen has identified came about less than five years after the end of convict transportation. Here the incidence of illegitimate births dropped markedly and “remained relatively stable thereafter, while the proportion of brides who were pregnant at marriage gradually increased over time”. For anyone interested in the lives of Tasmanian convicts in the years following transportation, Kippen is also a researcher for the Founders & Survivors project, which studies Australian life courses in historical context between 1803 and 1920. Tracing the lives of the 73,000 men, women and children transported to Tasmania, the project combines genealogy and population research to understand life after the convict period. Founders & Survivors heavily relies of the work of genealogists, so if you have an interest in the period, visit www. for further details. 

Dr Tanya Evans from Macquarie University has recently researched the significance of textiles and needlework in colonial families what can textiles such as quilts and samplers tell us about our ancestors? Numerous mothers and their daughters occupied their passage on the long journey to Australia and New Zealand by working with their needle. Girls made doll clothes and mothers sewed clothes for these as well as for their children. Samplers were made by young girls, under the supervision of their mothers and grandmothers, to practice their sewing techniques and skills. Literacy and numeracy skills were also honed when alphabets, numbers, names and places were designed and stitched. Many samplers were displayed within the home and sometimes used to demonstrate the skills of young women within the family to potential suitors. Good needleworkers made good wives! How important were those textiles at the time they were being made? Sewing skills were central to the production of key items made, owned and passed on by women to other women in colonial Australia. These were often used to construct and record family history. Clothes and material brought from Great Britain were frequently a traveller’s most valuable goods both economically as well as emotionally. The sewing machine did not come into common use in Australia until after the 1860s, and while few women sewed for a living, many would sew informally for their family. For stories on quilting in Australia see Dr Lisa Featherstone is from the University of Newcastle. One of her research areas is colonial childbirth what would the conditions have been like at early births? In the 19th century, births were experienced in many different ways, depending on the woman, her finances, her race and class, her geographic location and her birthing attendant. We have little information on the birthing practices of Aboriginal women, though we do know they were steeped in the Dreaming and traditional forms of

law. There is much more information on white Australian women. The very poorest had little or no help, and the Benevolent Society reported on women in Sydney who gave birth in the streets. Most other women were attended in the home, rather than the hospital, which delivered only the destitute in this period. Some women were cared for by a friend or neighbour, who might have gained knowledge about childbirth through her own experiences. They would provide moral support, and probably encouraged the use of basic pain relief including alcohol. Women often saved enough money during their pregnancy to buy a bottle of gin for their confinement. Only the relatively wealthy could afford a doctor to attend a birth, and this too took place in the home. The male doctor might provide pain relief in the form of ether, and they could use instruments such as forceps if the labour was difficult. A caesarean section was used in the most problematic of cases, and had a 50% maternal mortality. What were the customs leading up to and during a birth? Earlier in the century, childbirth tended to be a community event, with neighbours and family meeting to celebrate the successful birth. Often it was almost a party, and many working class families found it difficult to afford the food and drinks associated with this. Towards the end of the century, there was a push from doctors to make the birth more austere, with only professionals in attendance. While births rarely took place in a hospital itself, the home birth was increasingly institutionalised, with regimes and purchases for the event.

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |



On Norfolk Island time It’s a tiny speck in the vast ocean between Australia and New Zealand. Yet Norfolk Island packs a punch when it comes to history. Cassie Mercer discovers that it’s full of sites to explore, experiences to enjoy, and wonderful hospitality from the residents who call it home

The view over KAHVA looking south to Nepean Island. The buildings along Quality Row sit in the foreground


good place to get a feeling for what it is to be part here is a tradition on Norfolk Island, that of the Norfolk community. KAVHA is of such when a resident turns 100, that same number significance to our understanding of convict of Norfolk Island trees is planted in their honour. history, that it was added to UNESCO’s World To be able to spend a lifetime on this idyllic and Heritage List in 2010. peaceful island is worthy of celebration indeed, I learn that the island’s official history is although some of the first European settlers divided into three settlement periods; the first, would have thought the opposite. 1788 to 1814; the second, 1825 On the day I arrive, it’s a comfortable 23°C, and I’m “Quality Row dates to 1855; and the third, from 1856 onwards. There is excited to start exploring the from the 1830s, evidence the Polynesians island. But what to do first? Do and is incredibly visited the island in the 14th I walk the 2km to the top of Mt or 15th century, but they did Bates for a bird’s eye view of the impressive in its not appear to settle long-term. entire island? Head straight to Georgian scale.” It was on March 6, 1788, the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale that a party comprised of 24 Historic Area (KAVHA) that I’ve settlers: eight free men, 15 convicts and the heard so much about? And what about the commandant, Lieutenant Phillip Gidley King island’s very old cemetery? I can’t wait to visit landed on Norfolk Island and hoisted up the that. Luckily it’s National Heritage Week on British colours. The purpose of the settlement was the island, so there’s even more history events to provide pine and flax to refurbish the ships happening than normal. My first port of call is now stationed around Port Jackson, as a farm to KAVHA, where I attend a fascinating lecture on feed the colony, and to deter any thoughts the  the history of the settlement on the island. It’s a

French might have of establishing a presence on the island. By 1792 its population was greater than that of Port Jackson, and orphan children were often sent here to keep them safe. In 1814 the settlement was abandoned, and the buildings torched, although there is evidence that many foundations survive to this day. In 1824, a directive came from London with the news that Norfolk Island was to be established as a penal colony for the very worst offenders. By 1825, the second occupation had begun. The buildings that still stand magnificently along Quality Row (originally Military Row) at KAVHA are a product of that labour. Quality dates from the 1830s, and is incredibly impressive in its Georgian scale. Number 9 Quality Row has housed the research centre since 2002; here is where you can spend hours sifting through microfiche and record books, with the help of knowledgeable historians such as Liz McCoy, KAVHA’s research and interpretation officer. Liz grew up on the island, and knows its history well. The centre has collected microfilm copies from State Records NSW, the State Library of NSW, the National Library of Australia, the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office, and is soon to add copies of records from the Alexander Turnbull Library, New Zealand. Life was harsh on Norfolk during the second settlement, punishments were common for the most trivial of misdeameanours, such as singing a song, or calling for a doctor. The most hated job was that of cutting stone from Nepean Island, a short distance into the harbour at Kingston. Standing in waist-high water for hours on end, the convicts had to cut away slabs of stone then haul them back to land. Drownings on the job were common. Even now, Nepean Island has a visible flat side to it, where the stone was cut. By 1855 the second settlement was abandoned, and the convicts shipped back to the east coast of Australia. It is the third settlement, by some of the world’s most famous mutineers, from which many of the 1800 residents of the island are descended. When Fletcher Christian and his shipmates aboard the Bounty mutinied in the Pacific in 1789, they eventually made their way to Pitcairn Island, where they lived for the next 67 years. With a population of 194 men, women and children seven decades later, they’d outgrown the

Above top Looking through the ruins of the Prisoners’ Barracks, built in 1835. Above A morning spent wandering through the cemetery is fascinating. Below The “Landing Place” was used during the second settlement for holding departing convicts in stockades, port offices and the new hospital

island and needed a new home. They were granted access to Norfolk Island and arrived on June 8, 1856 aboard the Morayshire. A few convicts had stayed on to “hand over” to the Pitcairners, describing how the existing buildings worked. The mood was one of sharing and helpfulness. When a child’s funeral took place in June 1856, it was a very emotional event attended by every person on the island. The buildings that form KAVHA are remarkably intact and incredibly well-preserved. And the historical significance of Norfolk Island continues to be recognised: in October 2011 the site of the HMS Sirius shipwreck was given National and Commonwealth Heritage status. Today, the Sirius artefacts are mostly all housed in the Norfolk Island Museum. They comprise the most significant display of First Fleet cultural heritage held anywhere in Australia. The Sirius was a devastating loss, for as Capt Arthur Phillip, Governor of New South Wales recorded at the time: You never saw such dismay as the news of the wreck occasioned among us all; for, to use a sea term, we looked upon her as our sheet anchor. Walking among the gravestones

A graveyard has functioned on the site since at least 1825, and possibly since the 1790s. One of the oldest tombstones is that of Mary Brabyn; the fragments of the stone were found on the western side of Emily Bay, the site of the first burial ground. These pieces are now located at the Commissariat Store Museum on Quality Row. Brabyn was the wife of Ensign Brabyn; both came to Sydney on the Marquis Cornwalllis in 1796, and were sent to Norfolk Island soon after this. My ancestor was transported on the Marquis Cornwallis, and perhaps would have known of them. I like that there’s a little link to my own family here. Liz McCoy has researched many of the tombstones and runs me through some of the stories relating to them. “The oldest known gravestone in the cemetery is dated 1793 and 1794, that of a mother and son,” Liz explains. “And I believe we have found matches for another two first settlement stones. I am also very partial to the story of Elizabeth Robertson. She left a great insight into what life would have been like on

Norfolk Island during the second settlement, with her collection of letters to her sister in Tasmania. She died aged 24, after suffering from tuberculosis,” Liz says. “And I like to explain the stories concerning the returned sevicemens’ graves, as then I get to tell visitors of the Norfolk Islanders’ strong participation during the war. During both WWI and WWII, Norfolk Island had the highest head of enlistment per ratio of any other country in the Commonwealth: 97 per cent of the local men and women enlisted in WWII.”

History’s all around us Fletcher’s Mutiny Cyclorama, an exhibition in the main town, is worth a visit as well. It’s a 360-degree artwork that tells the history of the Bounty mutineers and how they created the Pitcairn and Norfolk communities. The brainchild behind it is Marie Bailey, a sixth generation descendant of Fletcher Christian, who had the idea after visiting a cyclorama in Canada. The exhibition really does give you an understanding of the experiences of the Pitcairn people. There is a plethora of activities to do if you want to stretch your legs. The reasonably easy 2km walk to Mt Bates is worth it — from the summit you have a view of the entire island. Norfolk Island is a wonderland for historians. And for those with partners in tow who may not appreciate its long history, there are plenty of other activities to keep them busy. 

MORE Heritage Week runs from April 14 to 22, 2012. Foundation Day is celebrated on March 6, with re-enactments commemorating the arrival of the first settlers in 1788. The anniversary of the wrecking of the Sirius is also commemorated in these months. For details see www.norfolk or call 1800 214 603 from Australia; 0800 359 437 from New Zealand. Inside History stayed at the Governors Lodge Resort Hotel. Rooms start from $140 per night twin share. See Traveller’s tip Make sure your passport is valid, as you’ll need it to travel to Norfolk Island.

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


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Adelaide Convention Centre 28 to 31 March 2012

Theme: Your ancestors in their social context

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Experience 4 days of presentations by a large team of highly qualified speakers, supplemented by tours and a large exhibition—all based in the beautiful city of Adelaide right in the CBD close to a range of accommodation and at the hub of the metro public transport system. Registration available on the web site or by mail or (08) 8272 4222.

We look forward to meeting you in Adelaide in March 2012. The Congress is being hosted by the SA Genealogy & Heraldry Society

under the auspices of AFFHO and with the support of the Fleurieu Peninsula and the Adelaide Northern Districts Family History Groups

your family

Henry Baldwin’s legacy Markree Museum has become Hobart’s newest cultural attraction and one of the few early 20th century museums in Australia. Anthony Curtis, the museum’s project manager, lets us in on why the property is so special


he Premier of Tasmania, Lara Giddings MP, officially opened Markree House Museum and Garden (Markree) in June 2011. The museum is located in inner-city Hobart and provides a rare opportunity to visit a 1920s heritage-listed Arts and Crafts home and accompanying heritage garden. Markree was established through a generous donation from Mr Henry Graham Baldwin (1919– 2007). In 2007, Henry Baldwin bequeathed the titles to Markree and two adjacent properties, as well as a considerable sum of money to the Trustees of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG). Baldwin also gifted the entire collection (the Markree Collection) and contents of Markree, which numbered more than 4200 items of fine and decorative arts, historical memorabilia, documents, and ephemera. The museum offers visitors a glimpse into the lifestyle of the 1920s, and features a program of temporary exhibitions, where a variety of fascinating items from both the Markree Collection and the State Collection are put on show. This is complemented by permanent exhibitions that interpret the house and



the genealogy of the original owners through objects and recreated period interiors. One of the more interesting aspects of the Markree Collection is the extensive family archive of objects and documents dating from the late 20th century back to the early days of Hobart Town. Baldwin’s bequest is the largest single bequest in TMAG’s history and one of the largest ever made to an Australian museum. There is no doubt that his generosity represents a historically significant gift. It was Baldwin’s wish that TMAG would use the bequest to establish a house museum at Markree, and a dedicated team of TMAG employees spent three years cataloguing the collection and preparing the house for conversion into a museum. Markree was Baldwin’s family home. It was built in 1926 for his father, Cecil Baldwin (1887–1961), who named the property after Markree Castle in County Sligo, Ireland, where his mother was born. Markree is a fine example of early 20th century Tasmanian domestic architecture, and was designed by well-known Tasmanian architect Bernard Ridley

Below Some of the Baldwin family’s personal mementos from the 1920s. Opposite First owner Cecil, his wife Ruth, and young Henry c.1929. Bottom The letter to Alfred Henry Maning from John Mitchel in 1853.

Walker (1884–1957). The design is inspired by the English Arts and Crafts movement and displays some aspects of the American Craftsman style, which was prevalent in the United States during the early part of the 20th century. The design emphasises the craftsmanship of the construction, especially noticeable in the joinery and exposed woodwork of the interior. A highlight of the Markree property is the heritage garden, which was designed and established in the 1920s by Cecil, a trained horticulturalist. He planned the area as a logical extension of the house, and selected plants that would flower throughout the year to provide colour and interest with the changing seasons. This oasis has remained virtually unchanged since it was established. It is very rare to find an early 20th century Arts and Crafts garden in such original condition, and together, Markree and its garden are a unique time capsule of this period in Tasmania’s history. The genealogy of Henry Baldwin is key to the interpretation of Markree and its history. Henry was a proud third-generation Tasmanian, descended from the Knight, Hone Fletcher, and most notably the Maning families who first arrived in Van Diemen’s Land in the 1820s; many went on to play significant roles in the state’s history.

Frederick Maning (1788–1864) was Henry Baldwin’s maternal great great grandfather. He arrived in Van Diemen’s Land from Dublin with his family in 1824. The Manings were relatively wealthy Anglo-Irish liberals who sympathised with the causes of home rule and Catholic suffrage. After taking up a land grant and farming for several years, Maning obtained a position with the Customs service in Hobart in the late 1820s, and also established a successful shipping agency at Salamanca Place. Frederick’s eldest son, Frederick Edward (1812–83) moved to New Zealand in the 1830s and became a trader. In 1865 he was appointed as one of the judges on the new Maori Land Court. He was also a notable writer, remembered for Old New Zealand: A Tale of the Good Old Times, published in 1863 (available through the National Library of Australia and National Library of New Zealand), regarded as a classic of New Zealand literature. In 1843 Frederick senior’s younger sons Archibald Thomas (1813–97) and Alfred Henry (1814–93) formed the Maning Brothers partnership and expanded their father’s business at Salamanca Place. They owned and leased a number of ships, trading mostly with Australian and New Zealand ports, although their ships also travelled the Indian and Pacific Ocean trading routes. 

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


The Maning family was active in community life in the colony, becoming supporters of the anti-transportation movement and the cause to assist Irish political prisoners. So much so that Henry’s maternal great grandfather, Alfred Henry Maning (1814-93), assisted the escape of Irish convict John Mitchel (1815–75) from Van Diemen’s Land to America in 1853. [1] On display at Markree is an original letter written from Mitchel to Maning thanking him for his assistance. The museum also holds an American silver claret jug inscribed in Maning’s honour, which was sent by Mitchel from New York in 1853. Henry’s father, Cecil, was born at Kew in Victoria; after school he trained as a landscape gardener at the Burnley School of Horticulture and worked in this field until the outbreak of the First World War. Enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force in 1915, he was posted to the 40th Battalion. Cecil served as a lieutenant in France and Belgium before being wounded and repatriated home in 1918. After the war, Cecil joined the staff of the Repatriation Department in Hobart, where, by the time of his retirement in 1950, he was acting deputy commissioner. He became president and later patron of the 40th Battalion Association, also master of the Victory Masonic Lodge. In 1941 he was appointed



a justice of the peace. Cecil married Frances Emily Ruth Maning (1878–1969) in 1918 at St George’s Church Battery Point. Initially they lived at South Hobart before moving to Markree in 1926. Ruth was skilled in needlework and a good friend of lace maker and designer Ada Grey Wilson (d. 1948) who was significant in the Arts and Crafts movement in Tasmania. Ruth won a prize for her work in the Hobart Lace Exhibition of 1910. She also enjoyed woodcarving, and examples of her work are included in the Markree Collection. Cecil and Ruth’s only child, Henry Baldwin, was born in Hobart in 1919. He was educated at the Hutchins School, and at the University of Tasmania where he graduated with a degree in Engineering Science in 1943. Initially Henry was employed with the Tasmanian Wooden Shipbuilding Board at Glenorchy, and at the Williamstown Naval Dockyard in Melbourne. In January 1946 he commenced work as a locomotive engineer with the Tasmanian Government Railways in Launceston. In a career that spanned 37 years, Henry had many achievements. In 1955 he was awarded a Federation of British Industries scholarship to study the railways of the United Kingdom, where he lived for 18 months. Henry regarded his involvement

Below Markree House, Hobart. Right The property’s heritage garden is virtually unchanged since the 1920s when it was established. Opposite Family objects are on display throughout the house.

with the new Y class diesel-electric locomotives in the early 1960s as a career highlight. One of the locomotives his team assembled, Y2, was restored for service on the Derwent Valley Railway, and named the Henry Baldwin in June 2007 in his honour. Henry retired to Hobart in 1983, and was active in various organisations including the Maritime Museum of Tasmania, the Hobart Town (1804) First Settlers Association, the Hobart branch of the World Ship Society, the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Gideons, the Hutchins Old Boys Association, and the Tasmanian Retired Railway Employees Association. Henry was a generous person with an abiding interest in preserving Tasmania’s cultural and natural heritage. He felt a strong sense of obligation to the community, and throughout his life he continued to assist his many friends and the causes he supported. He never married and

died in August 2007, leaving a significant part of his estate to TMAG. Markree House Museum and Garden is one of the few early 20th-century houses in Australia that has gained heritage listing. This unique property, its stories and architectural beauty provide visitors with an experience to be remembered.  ✳ Markree Museum is at 145 Hampden Road Hobart. Guided tours are available Tuesday to Sunday and bookings are essential. Call 03 6211 4177 or visit Like them on Facebook at Mitchel, John, Jail Journal: with an introductory narrative of transactions in Ireland, M.H. Gillard and Son Limited, Ireland (reprint from The Citizen, Mitchel’s first New York newspaper, in which the Jail Journal was originally published from 14 January to 19 August 1854).


Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


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Love history, love books?

To celebrate 2012 being the National Year of Reading, we want you to nominate your favourite history book! Inside History is delighted to share in this year-long celebration. We’re one of the partners of the National Year of Reading 2012, a campaign about children learning to read and keen readers finding new sources of inspiration. It’s about supporting reading initiatives while respecting the oral tradition of storytelling. And it’s about helping people discover and rediscover the magic of books. Read more about the initiative at Over the next few months, we’ll be asking you to nominate your favourite history and genealogy books! It’s a big call we know, so get thinking about publications that made you love history, or that contributed to your research. Enter as many titles as you wish. Then, in mid-2012, we’ll publish the top 10 nominations and ask Inside History readers to vote for their favourite, to be announced in late 2012. A few rules: the book must be non-fiction, and published in Australia or New Zealand in English. To nominate a book, email or write to Inside History PO Box 406 Erskineville NSW 2043. Entries close 5pm, April 24, 2012. Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |


the book shelf

Who was the real

Ludwig Leichhardt? A brave and fearless botanist, or a maniac on an ego trip? The views about explorer Ludwig Leichhardt have diverged widely over the past 160 years. In his latest book, Into The Unknown, author John Bailey looks at the man, the myths, and his mysterious disappearance


udwig Leichhardt’s expedition in 1844–5 from the Darling Downs, Queensland, to Port Essington, Northern Territory, established his reputation as one of Australia’s greatest explorers. His expedition of 1848 to cross the Australian continent ended in his disappearance and death giving rise to one of the enduring mysteries of Australian history. The years following Leichhardt’s disappearance brought claims that he was incompetent, aloof, tyrannical, driven beyond reason and possessed of a strong streak of Prussian arrogance. One of the first vilifiers was co-explorer Daniel Bunce in his Australasiatic Reminiscences (1857), reissued in 1859 as Travels with Dr. Leichhardt in Australia. This was followed by an even harsher attack by another companion on the second expedition, John Mann, in Eight Months with Dr Leichhardt (1888). Henry Stuart Russell, in Genesis of Queensland (1888), while praising Leichhardt for his courage, tenacity, and ambition, ridiculed him as an eccentric and claimed he lacked “practical adaption… common sense, and a sufficiency of self-denial in crises



of suffering”. Ernest Favenc in The History of Australian Exploration (1888) wondered “how anyone so destitute of tact and readiness of resource ever achieved the journey to Port Essington”. Robert Logan Jack, in his Northmost Australia (1921) allowed his anti-German feelings to infect his judgement: “He was callous to the suffering of the fever-stricken members of his party, who were unable to keep up with his pace. He made agreements that he refused to fulfil. He carried secret stores of dainties on which he luxuriated while his followers were on the brink of starvation. In the middle of the 19th century he was living proof that the Prussian spirit, as the world came to know it in 1914–18, was no new thing.” Leichhardt’s reputation plummeted further, if that was possible, with Alec H. Chisholm’s 1941 biography Strange New World (later republished as Strange Journey: The Adventures of Ludwig Leichhardt and John Gilbert). In mouth-foaming denunciation Chisholm enthusiastically vilified Leichhardt as an imposter claiming a doctorate

Opposite Ludwig Leichhardt. Drawing courtesy State Library of Victoria

he never earned, an incompetent navigator, a tyrant and an inferior scientist. This was on top of the charge that Leichhardt was a glutton, a thief, a sponger and a self-dramatist — all leading to Chisholm’s conclusion that Leichhardt was a psychopath. Since then there has been a partial recovery of Leichhardt’s reputation, as historians reject the more outlandish assessments, and praise his bushmanship, skills as a navigator, and great knowledge of the natural world. Colin Roderick, in Leichhardt, the Dauntless Explorer (1988) makes the point that Chisholm’s book “appeared as Hitler’s armies were cutting a swathe through Russia, and their allies the Japanese were sweeping on New Guinea... in the process blurring the narrow range of his enquiries by constant references to Leichhardt’s Prussian origin. The appeal to the prejudices of the time helped to sell the book, but the result was to paint a portrait of Leichhardt that left him without one virtue.” Additionally, a chapter on Leichhardt in Glen McLaren’s Beyond Leichhardt (1996) effectively demolishes much of the “selectivity and bias” in the criticisms of Leichhardt. McLaren, an accomplished bushman in his own right, followed Leichhardt’s route with the explorer’s map in hand and found his guidance entirely reliable. In my recent biography of Leichhardt, Into the Unknown, my contribution to a reassessment of his character has been to refer to and quote from both his defenders and detractors, leaving the final judgement to the reader. However, I have also acknowledged Leichhardt’s profound influence on our nation’s history, culture and knowledge of natural history. Few Australians have been so honoured. Named after him are streets, a parliamentary electorate, a river, a gorge, a range, numerous plants, a tree, a grasshopper, a fish, birds, a football stadium, hotels and a municipality. Plays, books, poems, songs and even an opera have been written about him. Leichhardt was 34 when he disappeared; he had

been in Australia a mere six years. His fame rests on his 1844–45 expedition to Port Essington and the mystery of his disappearance in 1848. If he had lived, there is no doubt this intellectual powerhouse would have made enormous contributions to our knowledge of the natural world. His range of interests were extraordinary, including botany, palaeontology, geology, geography, zoology, meteorology, anthropology and languages. He made notes of indigenous beliefs, their language and their culture. He was a mapmaker, a prospector. He collected thousands of botanical and animal specimens, sending them to fellow enthusiasts in Australia and around the world. He identified at least 200 plant species unknown to botany. Museums in Sydney and Melbourne have 5000 herbarium sheets prepared by Leichhardt, which would represent only a fraction of the plant specimens he collected. Leichhardt’s quest was to discover how our natural world fitted together, particularly the totality of living things in their environment. And the conviction of that quest armed him with the courage to embark on a crossing of the continent with meagre provisions and unsuitable companions, yet with boundless confidence, a stout reliance on Providence and a refusal to acknowledge the impossible. Whatever others may have thought of his Germanness, Leichhardt regarded himself truly as a citizen of the colonies. He planned to stay in Australia for the rest of his life and, as his letters make plain, any return to Europe after his final expedition would be of short duration. Australia was his home. Just weeks before his disappearance he wrote to his friend and mentor, his old teacher, Carl Schmalfuss: “Whatever I have done has never been for honour. I have worked for the sake of science, and for nothing else; and I shall continue to do so even if not a soul in the world pays any attention to me.” These were words spoken from the heart to the man who knew him best, and who understood the purity of his motives. They reveal the essential Leichhardt. Science and solitude were his natural air, and to them he gave his life.

MORE Into the Unknown (Macmillan Australia, A$34.99) by John Bailey is out now

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |




Captain Thunderbolt & His Lady by Carol Baxter (Allen & Unwin, A$33/NZ$40)

Inside Stories: A History Of The New Zealand Housewife by Frances Walsh (Random House, A/NZ$49.95)

This is the compelling story of Captain Thunderbolt (Frederick Wordsworth Ward), and his part-Aboriginal lover and loyal companion-in-crime, Mary Ann Bugg. He was a “gentleman robber”; she was educated in Sydney, and also taught survival skills by her Aboriginal mother. Bugg had 15 known children, three by Ward. So why did she choose a life on the run with a bushranger? Baxter combines extensive research from a wide variety of sources with a talent for literary, creative non-fiction, giving life to the two central characters while documenting important aspects of our colonial history and debunking many myths surrounding the couple’s story. A comprehensive bibliography provides plenty of further reading.

With sensitivity and humour but never with disdain, Frances Walsh presents the wisdom, activities, trials and tribulations of New Zealand’s housewives as reflected in the pages of a large selection of women’s magazines such as The New Zealand Women’s Weekly, Eve, and Femina. Most of the titles no longer exist; these records, which ‘functioned as housewives’ bush telegraphs’, are now ‘artefacts’ to be accessed with white gloves in libraries. Topic coverage is comprehensive and quirky with chapters looking at housekeeping, motherhood, cooking, cleaning, and very importantly, how to manage a husband. Extensively researched (includes endnotes and bibliography), and beautifully illustrated. Gorgeous!

Words Paula Grunseit, Barbara Hall

What we’re reading…

Coffs Harbour District Pre 1930 Pioneer Register (Coffs Harbour District Family History Society, A$40)

Hassells & Marsdens of Early Bathurst & O’Connor by Merryll Hope (Self-published, A$24)

Living In History by Alice Bennett and Georgia Warner (Allen & Unwin, A$65/NZ$80)

The updated version of the Coffs Harbour Pioneer Register has been released to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the area’s settlement. It was in 1861 that the New South Wales Government reserved and proclaimed 960 acres of Crown Land, and named it Coff’s Harbour after Captain John Korff. This new publication includes all entries from the Coffs Harbour Pioneer Register Volumes I and II published in 1987 and 1989, revised where neccessary, plus many new biographical entries up to 1930. Orders (with payment enclosed) can be directed to the Coffs Harbour District Family History Society Inc., PO Box 2057, Coffs Harbour, NSW, 2450 or email

This slim volume is packed with information on the lives of generations of the Hassall and Marsden families, important pioneers of the Bathurst region of New South Wales. The author has spent nearly 50 years researching their biographies. The book is primarily a record of the families and it is also of wider general interest because of the host of the names (convict and free) mentioned, locations, land transactions, stock musters, weather and overland journeys, interspersed with Hope’s charming drawings, maps and photographs. The price includes postage. To order, call the author on 02 6331 9425.

Tasmania has an impressive collection of historic buildings and this book features 20 of them, wonderfully photogenic mansions, stables, grand and simple farm houses, a whaling captain’s house, a coaching inn, Government House and others. The houses have been lovingly restored and maintained by their present owners. Some had been built by historically important people such as George Loveless, a Tolpuddle Martyr, and Rev. William Dry, descendant of Richard Dry, a well-known Irish rebel transported in 1800 aboard the Minerva. The book provides an evocative snapshot of the history of each house and their previous occupants, all showcased by wonderful images.

Inside History | Jan-Feb 2012 |



Summer prize draw Selected Letters of Hans Heysen and Nora Heysen One of the latest beautifully produced releases from the National Library of Australia (NLA) focuses on two of our prominent historical artists: Nora Heysen and her father Hans Heysen, one of Australia’s most recognised landscape painters. When Nora moved to London in 1934, she wrote home to her father in Hahndorf, South Australia, describing her travels abroad, and her thoughts about life and art. Their correspondence over the next 34 years, now part of the NLA’s collection, reveals an affectionate relationship, and a mutual admiration and respect for each other’s work. We have two copies of Selected Letters, valued at A$49.95 each, to give away. To enter, simply tell us what decade Nora moved to the UK, and send your name and contact details to Inside History, NLA Giveaway, PO Box 406 Erskineville NSW 2043 or email by 5pm, February 28, 2012.

Professional family tree presentations Presentation-quality tree charts are the standout feature of the new release of the family history software program, GENP. These charts can be used to help you visualise your research to date, be pinned up at a reunion, shown to family and friends, published in book form or placed online. GENP offers registered users a graphics pack featuring 100 background images, ornaments, corners, borders and name plates. And if you’re not sure of how to go about creating your family tree, there are 14 online training videos. The software starts from $33, and there are three editions to choose from. For more details, visit GENP is giving Inside History readers the chance to win one of two GENP 4 Platinum packages, worth $55 each. To enter, simply tell us how many training videos there are on the site, and send your name and contact details to Inside History, GENP Giveaway, PO Box 406 Erskineville NSW 2043 or email by 5pm, February 28, 2012. Terms and conditions Entries close 5pm, 28/02/12. Two names for each giveaway will be drawn at random from the correct answers and the winners notified by 28/03/12. Please indicate if you would like to opt out of our mailing list. Inside History won’t share your details with a third party. Prizes are not redeemable for cash.



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In the next issue of Inside History... u A very short war — the brave actions of 10 men over the skies of Norway in 1940 u Spotlight: the “other” ANZACs of World War I u The working life of a governess in rural Victoria u Plus the best resources to help with your research, lots of practical articles from genealogists, book reviews, and much more!

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No Simple Passage

the journey of the ‘London’ to New Zealand, 1842 – a ship of hope

Jenny Robin Jones collapses the distance of 150-odd years to place the reader right in the thick of the world of a steerage passenger abandoning their homeland for ‘a better life’. The narrative also moves forward in time 20 years to reveal how the passengers fared – those who survived and flourished, and those who foundered. The roles of religion, women, Maori, class, alcohol, medicine and an ever volatile economy come under Jones’s forensic, visceral eye resulting in narrative non-fiction history at its lively and colourful best. Fully illustrated, with bibliography. “Offers the reader the best of both worlds; it’s rich with historical detail but reads like a novel.” Waiheke Weekender For more details and direct links to the book at online stores, Fishpond and Mighty Ape Australia, visit the author’s website:

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One picture… Where’s Wally? Just here!

…1000 memories Wally Balmus, gymnast extraordinaire, was born Walter Wheatley on August 19, 1889 in Richmond, Victoria. He was a member of Graham Men’s Gymnastic Club, formed in Waverley, Sydney, in 1921. In the late ’30s and early ’40s the group would give free displays and exhibitions at orphanages, institutions and on Bondi Beach forming human pyramids. Best known for his amazing and — more importantly — steady equilibrist skills, Balmus performed overseas as well as around Australia. He did a handstand on the 54m-high Sun building in Melbourne (the tallest building in the city at the time) and at the edge of Niagara Falls. The picture to the right was taken as Balmus performed his trick at the edge of Sydney’s notorious Gap, a cliff-face that stands at around 100m above the crashing waves of the ocean and is the south sentinel to the entrance to Sydney Harbour. Also in my family history collection are six postcard photos that Balmus had written to my father, addressed To my cousin Vincent. I have always known of these photos but it wasn’t until I started my family tree research that I was able to work out the family connection. Balmus died from heart disease on June 10, 1940 at Edgecliff in New South Wales, aged 50. Balmus’ other claim to fame is that he was used as the model for the illustration of the wrestler on the Tarzan’s Grip glue products, which are still sold today! — Lynne LeStrange (née Catliff), Yulara, Northern Territory

✳ Do you have a favourite family image you’d like to tell our readers about? We’d love to hear from you. Email  a high-quality scan and the history behind the picture to and we’ll publish it here.



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Research and build your family tree online We have all the tools and historical records you need to get started. Create your family tree online using our FREE family tree tool. Grow your tree with the help of Ancestry Hints™ which list possible matches of people in your tree to historical records and other member trees on the site. Add further generations to your tree by accessing 6 billion searchable family history records from Australia and around the world, including the most comprehensive online index of Australian birth, marriage and death records. Learn more about your ancestors by viewing authentic images of historical records such as passenger lists from the First Fleet and other original Australian documents dating back to 1788. Plus you can also access original documents from the UK, Canada, the US and Europe. Get started today and you will be amazed at what you can discover.

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