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AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

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remember me

 see the lost diggers of vignacourt in canberra  we help to solve a war widow’s mystery from 72 years ago

sharing our migrant stories

expert Q&A

 how to look after vintage garments

Aus $10.50 incl GST NZ $11.95 incl GST PRINTED ON FSC-APPROVED PAPER ISSUE 13: NOV–DEC 2012

9 771838 504008

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 tips on getting the most from ancestry.com.au

ISSN 1838-5044

Nov–Dec 2012

destination australia: found:

rare maps from the macquarie era

win…

a findmypast world collection subscription

the lost diggers

Ross Coulthart’s new research putting names to faces


NEWS!

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Over 55 million NEW Australian & New Zealand records and growing Records include more invaluable electoral rolls, gazettes, directories and so much more Access our collections from Britain, Ireland and the United States on findmypast.com.au You can now access the Passenger Lists Leaving UK 1890 -1960 records with your Australian/New Zealand subscription

NEW IMPROVED SEARCH

Join us today at www.findmypast.com.au Facebook: www.facebook.com/findmypastAustralia Twitter: www.twitter.com/findmypastAU


Contents Issue 13, Nov–Dec 2012

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On the cover 13

Platform Dr Robin McLachlan reveals how he discovered two rare maps from the Macquarie era

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Ask our experts The National Archives of Australia offers advice on storing vintage garments

29

Getting the most from Ancestry.com.au Brad Argent answers reader questions about searching the collection

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Stories behind the photo The lost diggers of Vignacourt exhibition is on now at the Australian War Memorial. Dr Janda Gooding, from the Memorial, shows us how they identify unnamed soldiers in photographs

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Naming the lost diggers For more than a year Sunday Night journalist Ross Coulthart has been working to identify the men in the lost digger images. He lets us in on what he’s found

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A war widow’s mystery For 72 years May Milton wondered about the fate of the husband she’d been married to for just one day. Barry Stone finds out

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Findmypast down under Learn how to get the most of findmypast’s newly expanded database of records, plus you could win a World Collection subscription!

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Australia calling Get involved! The National Archives wants to hear your family’s migration stories

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Contents

64

19 genie on the go 27

History apps The best ones to download to your tablet

your family 40

The Berry Boys The Museum of New Zealand wants your help to identify WWI soldiers

59

A gift of love Make a festive gift that your family will treasure

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Festive season of yesteryear How did your ancestors celebrate Christmas?

your history 24

Society spotlight: Limestone Coast With SA’s South East Family History Group

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Remembering the east coast sea war The WWII tragedies that took the lives of hundreds of men and women so close to home

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Your favourite history book It’s time to reveal the history book you love the most, or would most like to own!

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Postie’s here! Your thoughts, your say

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Bob’s your uncle Network with other researchers

19 History now Events you won’t want to miss 56

How to write a non-boring family history In her series final, author Hazel Edwards looks at selling your masterpiece

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The book shelf What we’re reading

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One picture…1000 memories The story behind a family photo

64 15 great historical getaways Our round up of heritage destinations will have you packing your suitcase!

offers 71

Subscribe to Inside History… and go into the draw to win 1 of 8 books!

regulars

72

Your chance to win… nearly $400 in prizes!

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Ed’s letter


our family

AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

PO Box 406 Erskineville NSW 2043 Australia Publisher Ben Mercer ben@insidehistory.com.au Editor Cassie Mercer cass@insidehistory.com.au Designers Rohana Archer Sebastian Andreassen Kelly Bounassif Editorial contributors Brad Argent Bernard de Broglio Mary Lou Byrne Steven Carruthers Ross Coulthart Hazel Edwards Miranda Farrell Janda Gooding Barbara Hall Rosemary Kopittke Michael Martin Robin McLachlan Annie Payne Kirstie Ross Barry Stone Sarah Trevor Mark Webster Print Subscriptions See page 71 or subscribe online at www.insidehistory.com.au Digital Subscriptions For iPad, find us on Apple Newsstand For Android and PC, find us at au.zinio.com

Cover image One of the many lost digger images discovered in a barn in France last year by Ross Coulthart and the Seven Network’s Sunday Night team. For more on the discovery, and the new research that’s identified hundreds of Australian soldiers in the collection, turn to page 36. Courtesy the Kerry Stokes Collection, The Louis and Antoinette Thuillier Collection.

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

aired the story about the collection of photographs of Australian soldiers found in the small village of Vignacourt in France, we were enthralled. This issue we’re delighted to speak with Ross Coulthart , the journalist who helped make the discovery, about how he tracked down this wonderful collection. Read his story on page 36. Just as exciting is the news that a selection of the photographs is currently on show for the first time at the Australian War Memorial in an exhibition called Remember Me: The Lost Diggers of Vignacourt. In keeping with this theme, on page 32 the Australian War Memorial shares their tips for identifying WWI soldiers in photographs. The clues a simple portrait can reveal are fascinating. Perhaps you have New Zealand ties to WWI ? You may be able to help the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa identify the Berry Boys , a collection of photos that were taken as young soldiers said goodbye to loved ones, unsure if they’d ever see them again. Read more on page 40. If you’re a regular on our Facebook page, you’ll have noticed our Expert Q&A sessions each Thursday night at 8.30pm (ESDT). Every week we host an expert in a particular field of family history, and readers are able to ask them questions and receive answers in real time . It’s a fun event, with lots of wonderful advice from our experts. From the Trove team, to dress historians at the State Library of NSW, and curators at the National Archives of Australia, they graciously give their time to help you with your genealogy questions. Recently we hosted a session with Brad Argent, content director at Ancestry.com.au , on how to get the most from that terrific site. See the questions and Brad’s advice on page 29. We also explore 15 great historical holiday spots just in time for summer (page 64), spotlight findmypast’s new World Collection and how it can further your research (page 48), and give you the chance to win a subscription to this fabulous resource (page 72). Plus we look at how your ancestors spent the holiday season (page 60), and suggest a lovely gift idea for someone special this Christmas (page 59) — besides a subscription to Inside History, of course! Speaking of which, the team here wish you and your family a wonderful and safe festive break — we’ll see you bright and early in the new year!

Left Charles Vandersluys, c.1916, part of the Berry Boys Collection. Read more on page 40.

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Image Courtesy Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

The discovery of the lost diggers images captured our collective imagination in 2011. When Channel Seven’s Sunday Night program


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letters

sep

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12

It’s the wedding issue

 how to get the most from familysearch marriage records

 the clues often overlooked on marriage certificates  love in the age of convicts sep-oct 2012

digital spotlight

 free online tools that will transform your research  get even more from trove with our expert Q&a special  discover the latest techniQue in photodating

plus…

 jill dupleix’s favourite family recipes

Aus $10.50 incl Gst NZ $11.95 incl Gst pRINteD oN Fsc-AppRoVeD pApeR sep–oct 2012

9 771838 504008

ISSN 1838-5044

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 win an ancestry.com.au membership worth $299!

t d ou Fin this why g veil l din wed specia is so

11/05/12 12:16 PM

Postie’s here!

finding the final resting place

After reading my advert in “Bob's your uncle” (issue 11), one of your readers contacted me with a 1917 death for a Thomas John, in Bendigo Benevolent Asylum, and a burial in Bendigo Cemetery, but under John Thomas. No wonder I couldn’t find his final resting place. I’m 99 per cent sure I’ve found my man — after nine years of looking — thanks to your magazine! — Bindi Johns, Bendigo, Vic.

postcards and prints

First, what a wonderful magazine. The stories are fantastic. After reading Bill Oates’ article, “Clues the camera left behind”, I’d like to offer another suggestion. I’ve inherited a wonderful original postcard collection from the 1920s-30s. Now whenever I visit a town my ancestors came from, I check out the local art gallery and family history centre to see if they have postcards or prints of the area from the timeframe I’m looking at. Just another way to add “flesh to the bones” of our research. — Lilian Magill, Panania, NSW

stepping up your research

I just wanted to say how much I love your magazine. I’ve gained so many new skills, plus knowledge on where to look for my next research steps. I also like the information on the Facebook page — and now there is the app for iPad. What else could a girl want? Thanks, Inside History. — Vicki Ryan, Bilbul, NSW

Like us on facebook.com/insidehistorymagazine

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the convict and the free woman

I found your article, “Love in the age of convicts” (issue 12), a fascinating read. I’ve often thought about my own convict ancestor whose marriage was very different from those mentioned in your article. My ancestor David Hartley was married in 1811 in Windsor, NSW. Interestingly, his spouse was a free woman whose father, John Grono, had some standing in the colony at the time. I have long wondered how this marriage occurred as they were from such different classes and from what we can tell she was ostracised by her family as a result. Your article has inspired me to delve deeper and search for more information on this fascinating area of my family history. Thank you! — Samantha Starr, Bathurst, NSW

a magazine for wherever, whenever

I think the iPad edition is great. I will have this magazine to read wherever I go. It’s so much easier to carry in my handbag. Congratulations on a great idea, I love it! — Suse, via email Want to have your say on our “Postie’s here” page? Write to us at contribute@insidehistory.com.au Each issue our star letter will receive a great prize for writing in! This issue, Samantha Starr wins a copy of Lost Voices by Christopher Koch (HarperCollins, $32.99)

Join us on twitter.com/insidehistory


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, www.douglasstewart.com.au

william and elizabeth cairnes

From 1854 onwards, my great grandfather William Bellingham Cairnes lived in Castlemaine, then at “Cairnesville”, Yarrawonga, Victoria with his wife Elizabeth and their 15 children. William was a JP, magistrate, hardware and timber merchant, and funeral director. Elizabeth died in 1909 aged 67, William when he was 90. Both are buried in Yarrawonga. I have one photo of William, but I’m looking for more information on Elizabeth. She married William when she was 15, during the gold rush era, and then bore all those children. Many of their descendants settled all over north-east Victoria, so I am hoping that there must be a photograph of her out there. — Linda Cairnes, lindacairnes@hotmail.com

a melbourne photography company

A recent conversation with my great aunt on our family history touched on relatives who were professional photographers. When I researched the company and names of people that had been mentioned, I found that these relations were an integral part of Melbourne’s photographic history. My research shows that Henry James Johnstone, Emily Hasler (née O’Shannessy) and George Hasler formed a vital part of a company known as Johnstone & O’Shannessy & Co. This company operated around the 1860s until the early 1900s, and had various changes

to its partnerships and managers over this period. I’m looking for photos taken by the company for their clients. If you find any, please share these images at www.flickr.com/groups/johnstone-oshannessy which is my photo group on Flickr. — Brett Fitzgerald, brettfitz@ozemail.com.au

seeking world war i letters

I’m writing a book about the First World War based on letters written at the time, and if you have any I’d love to hear from you. Whether they’re from servicemen who were stationed abroad, or loved ones who waited at home, personal correspondence paints a vivid picture of how that generation coped in such dreadful times. I live in the UK and a recent appeal to genealogists here has resulted in some terrific material. But I’m keen that our ‘colonial allies’ aren’t forgotten, hence this appeal to family historians. My book is due out at the end of 2014 to coincide with the centenary of the First World War. Visit my blog at www.soldierletters.blogspot.co.uk for more information. — Jacqueline Wadsworth, jacwadsworth@hotmail.com

Lots of researchers have been linking up through “Bob’s your uncle”. To place an ad, email contribute@insidehistory.com.au. Adverts are free!

Inside History | Nov-Dec 2012 |

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s w e n atest

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Show us your Hairy Mancestors!

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Archival passenger records to go online

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A new partnership between the National Archives of Australia and Ancestry.com.au will see the digitisation of millions of Western Australian passenger records between 1897 and 1963. Because most ships stopped off at Western Australia even when headed for other Australian ports, these records include most people arriving in Australia by ship during this period. With the wealth of information available on passenger records — including nationality, race, age, sex, occupation, place of embarkation, date and place of arrival — this news will excite family history researchers across Australia. “This project is the first of its kind for the Archives,” said David Fricker, director-general of the National Archives. “This will mean the people of Australia will have easy online access to records that were previously difficult to find.” Ancestry.com.au will also compile the first index for this material, making it easily searchable. When the project is ready for researchers to use, the records will be made accessible on both the National Archives and Ancestry websites. Stay tuned for more details!

Dutch arrivals on the Sibajak, 1954. Courtesy National Archives of Australia.

Did your ancestor sport a fine nose neighbour such as a Handlebar or Horseshoe, or was he a fan of the Walrus? What on earth are we talking about? Moustaches, of course! Movember, the month of the mighty mo’, is upon us. And following the mo-verall success of last November’s Hairy Mancestors campaign, Inside History is determined to again do our bit to raise awareness and vital funds for the important cause of men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and depression. Upload a photo of your moustached ancestor onto our Hairy Mancestor page at www. facebook.com/HairyMancestors complete with the gentleman’s name, approximate date and story. For each Mancestor photo (up to five per entrant), Inside History will donate 50c to the Movember cause. To increase our donation on your behalf to $1, post a current pic of yourself (or your partner, brother, father, son) sporting a similarly fabulous moustache alongside your moustached mancestor’s photo, so we can see the resemblance. Be sure to “Like” our Facebook page, and check back at the end of November for the ‘Best Mo in Show’ awards. And for even more mo-tivation, every participant who uploads a photo of their moustached mancestor will go into the draw to win one of two World Heritage Memberships from our friends at Ancestry.com.au. Get mo-ing! MORE www.facebook.com/ HairyMancestors

Left Joseph Graves (1847–1926) was part of our “Best Mo in Show” awards in 2011. Courtesy Vivienne Graves. Far left Queensland miner Michael Slattery sporting a mighty mo’ in 1872. Courtesy State Library of Queensland.


Want to research in Salt Lake City?

The heritage value of Windsor, NSW, is under threat from state government plans to demolish its historic bridge and construct a major road through its town square. The heritage-listed Thompson Square, Australia’s first public square, contains Georgian-era buildings and parkland. Named after local pioneer Andrew Thompson by Governor Macquarie in 1811, the area is one of Australia’s few remaining colonial civic spaces. The adjacent historic Windsor Bridge was the first bridge to cross the Hawkesbury River, with some sections dating back to its original construction in 1874. If the state government’s proposal eventuates, Windsor Bridge will be demolished and a high, modern bridge structure and arterial road will be built in Thompson Square. Local group Community Action for Windsor Bridge (CAWB) is dedicated to saving the area from destruction. Show your support by signing their petition, accessed through their website below. MORE www.cawb.weebly.com

Help the Windsor Bridge and Thompson Square precinct

The historically significant Windsor Bridge, which dates back to 1874.

Ask a genealogist what is their idea of genealogy heaven and most would answer: researching in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. For at least a week! Jan Gow, a leading genealogist based in New Zealand, has been hosting tours of Salt Lake City for the past 20 years. So popular are the events, that some of her clients have been as many as 10 times! Jan’s next tour starts on 13 March 2013. Departing from New Zealand, it includes three weeks in Salt Lake City during the RootsTech Conference, when more than 4,000 genealogists from around the world meet to discuss, watch, read, listen and learn about using technology to research our families. You’ll receive guidance on the billions of free records at your fingertips in the Family History Library, plus special tours. After that it’s off to London for 10 days, and then on to Ireland, plus an optional visit to Edinburgh. It really does sound like genealogy heaven! MORE Visit www.hookedongenealogy tours.com or www.letsresearch.co.nz; or email hogtours@genealogy.net.nz for more information.

Astor saved! In Issue 11 we wrote about Melbourne landmark, the Astor Theatre, which was facing an uncertain future. We’re happy to say the campaign by the Friends of the Astor to save the building was a huge success! Read more at www.fota.net.au

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Now you can enjoy Inside History magazine whenever and wherever you want on iPad! Download the app for free, then buy each issue inside the app or subscribe and start building your family history library. Store all your issues in one place and refer back to them when you need to, and save bookshelf space at home!

Get the iPad version of Inside History today and benefit from… l

Enriched content with video and audio files, and photo galleries

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Interactive content with links to websites, emails and phone numbers

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Choice of viewing mode to zoom in on text and make reading as easy as possible

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Instant access to your Inside History library, no matter where you are

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No waiting time for the post — you receive your issue as soon as it’s released

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Save 36% on the printed subscription cost.

Subscribe now on the Apple Newsstand


genie on the go

History apps Though hardly hallowed by the passing of time, these apps harness the latest technology to help you link with your past in informative and interesting ways. Mark Webster roadtests four of the latest to see how they fare.

Lost! Free; iOS compatible

Skype wifi Free; iOS compatible

Indicommons Free; iOS compatible

myMemoir AU$1.99/NZ$2.59; iOS compatible

Bringing historic Melbourne back to life is Lost! 100 Lost Buildings of Melbourne. It’s an interactive app that uses augmented reality to show a visual overlay of historic buildings of the past over the reality of the present. You can experience Melbourne in a new way, discovering the grand (or otherwise) lost and hidden buildings of this great city. Users can interact with buildings in real time by ‘ghosting’ pictures of what was there over what is currently standing. Historical information, photos and stories of these often long demolished buildings is available, plus information on buildings currently at risk in the city – all for free.

Travelling to find research sources can be an expensive business – not least because of data roaming charges on your smart device. And despite the growth of public WiFi access points (hotspots) there never seems to be one where you need it. Now Skype has an app that offers access to one million WiFi hotspots around the world. Just download the free Skype WiFi app, sign in with your Skype account, tap an access point to connect, then browse the internet at will. You only pay for the time you’re connected, with no limits to the amount of data you can upload or download. You’ll need to have some Skype credit in your account, and remember to tap “Go offline” when you’re finished!

Indicommons represents a shared visual heritage, one that encourages public participation in the collection of historical information. The Commons was launched in 2008 by Flickr with the release of nearly 3,000 images from two popular US Library of Congress collections. The project aims to increase access to publicly held photography collections in civic institutions around the world and to provide a way for the public to contribute historical data. Now more than 50,000 images can be accessed via a free app. You can browse through the collections, or search for items of interest. And if you have a Flickr account, you can tag and add comments to items no matter where you are.

If you want to keep a journal, for example to chronicle your historical project, myMemoir is a great option. It supports multiple journals that can be saved as ePub, PDF or TXT documents. (An ePub allows you to open the document with almost any eBook reader). But its true power lies in the fact that you can add photos and videos to your journal to document your latest trip, load photos of the ancestors you are tracing, and much more. The possibilities are endless! Correction In issue 12 we reviewed MobileFamilyTree Pro and included the wrong prices. The correct price is AU$15.99 and NZ$18.99. Inside History apologises for any confusion.

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Join us on Facebook for daily Inside History updates!

Ever wonder what happens to the history we just can’t fit in the magazine? Want to be an Inside History insider, and access extra content updated daily? Click “Like” on our Facebook page to join the community. Have a chat with fellow researchers, check out our useful links, quiz experts in real time during our Q&A sessions, enter our weekly book giveaways and check out the dozens of historical photographs we just can’t include in the magazine.


Naming the

lost diggers

In 2011 journalist Ross Coulthart was part of the team that unearthed the collection of glass plate images of Aussie soldiers in Vignacourt. Here, Ross talks about the next chapter in the Diggers’ stories. How did you first become aware of the collection of antique glass photographic plates in a dusty attic in France? Ross Coulthart: “In late 2010, we noticed The Independent newspaper in London was attracting a huge online audience for a handful of glass plate images of British Tommies. The paper apparently found these in a different Somme village, through French locals who reportedly retrieved them off a rubbish tip. Some of the images featured Australian Diggers in the background and we approached the paper asking if there were any more Australians. There weren’t — but it made us wonder if there were any other such collections hidden away. We approached a British historian, Paul Reed, to do some sleuthing for us but he had no luck. Eventually though, he came back with a name of an amateur French historian he’d heard about: Laurent Mirouze. “It turned out Laurent had seen part of another, completely separate, substantial collection of the glass plate images back in the 1980s after he got a tip-off from a friend that the Vignacourt town hall had a couple of dozen prints of extraordinarily high quality on the wall of Tommies/Diggers and other allied soldiers. He was introduced to Robert Crognier, a local Vignacourt photographer, who allowed him to see some of the collection, including Australian images. Robert was a relative of the photographers, Louis and Antoinette Thuillier, who had long since passed away. Laurent scanned some of those negatives and they were the ones he showed us when we first met him at his home in the Loire Valley. “We had independently realised that there must be a significant collection because we also obtained a brochure featuring some of the

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images, which the village of Vignacourt had handed out to Australian dignitaries during a commemoration ceremony in the 1980s. One of these pamphlets had found its way back to historian Peter Burness at the Australian War Memorial and he, like us, was excited by the fact that most of the images had a distinctive painted backdrop. Only a handful of images with this backdrop had ever made their way into the Memorial’s collection. Laurent’s description of the plates he’d seen decades earlier and the commemoration brochure both implied there was a collection out there waiting to be found. So we hired Laurent to try to find the surviving relatives of Louis and Antoinette. Unfortunately, in the intervening years, Robert Crognier had passed away and the Thuillier family had moved out of Vignacourt.” How did you track down the collection? “This was the fun part. The breakthrough came when Laurent found Robert Crognier’s widow, who was still living in Vignacourt. She finally agreed to meet us, and after a long meeting, she went into her attic and pulled out some ammunition cases. It turned out she still had some of the glass plates her husband had made prints from 25 years earlier. When she realised we wanted to bring this collection to the Memorial and see it properly preserved, she insisted we take it back to Australia: “Pour les Australiens,” she told us, pointing to the commemorative Australian plaque on her wall. Bless the French — they’ve never forgotten what our lads did there. “More importantly, Madame Crognier admitted she was aware the substantial bulk of the collection of 4000+ glass plates still existed. She introduced us to the descendants of Louis and Antoinette Thuillier. After much negotiation, they agreed to take us to the secret location, in the attic of one of the family farmhouses, where the plates were hidden. We were so lucky. The family told us they were about to sell the home and chances were they would have thrown the glass plate images away.”


your family

Festive season of yesteryear

As families gather and spread good cheer, this time of year offers the ideal opportunity to reflect on our ancestors’ holiday customs. Sarah Trevor delves into Trove to discover snapshots from festive seasons of years past across several communities.

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From Holly to gum nuts

offering peace

Many 19th-century traditions remain prevalent today. Queen Victoria reportedly popularised the Christmas tree — initially a German tradition — among her English subjects, while the modern Christmas card originated in England in the 1840s and soon spread here. Gradually, Britain’s wintry customs were acclimatised to our summery season. Holly’s place in Christmas decorations was replaced with cherries and mistletoe with roses. Adelaide’s celebrations of 1880 were particularly grand: Rundle Street blossomed in decorations, from Chinese lanterns to gum branches. In 1836 the Sydney Gazette condemned the increasing ritual of “intemperance”. Before dawn on Christmas Day, the colony’s youngsters reportedly wandered around, calling into homes to bid Merry Christmas. In return, they were granted pence, bread and ale. Celebrations were also marked with balls and bustling markets. And some aspects of the season have changed little — in 1902, the necessity of having to “tackle the Christmas shopping crowds” seemed as dreaded as it is today!

Spreading Christmas cheer was not the only motivation behind the annual ‘Native Conference’ events initiated during Governor Macquarie’s administration. Held in the market square at Parramatta, the first Conference in 1814 was attended by 60 Indigenous men, women and children from the Sydney region, who sat in a circle along with the Governor and his wife, enjoying roast beef and ale. By 1818, several hundred Aborigines attended. The 1824 Conference was attended by the tribal chief, Windradyne, who had led the Wiradjuri people’s resistance against colonial settlers in Bathurst. He walked some 200km to Parramatta to request peace from Governor Brisbane, which was duly granted. Kalgoorlie, in Western Australia, held its first annual ‘Blackfellows’ Christmas Feast’ in 1891, and maintained the event for decades. In the Western Argus on 27 December 1921, E M Collick appealed for food and donations, noting, “We don’t do much for our black neighbours as a whole, so let us at least be generous to them on their Feast Day”.

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the tree of life

Breaking bread

With a long history of immigration to Australia and New Zealand, the Chinese community’s customs have added diversity to our holiday calendar. Predominantly Buddhist and Taoist, Australia’s early Chinese settlers appeared to have viewed Christmas primarily as an opportunity to have a grand feast (at least according to Australian newspapers). As early as 1856, The Argus reported that Chinese immigrants in Geelong, Victoria, had purchased pigs and poultry in preparation for a “grand gorge”, speculating that since it was near Christmastime, “it may be the preliminary to a laudable adoption of the good old English customs”. By the mid 20th century, many Chinese families also commemorated Christmas by decorating their ‘Tree of Life’ with paper flowers and chains. Of course, the most important holiday on the Chinese calendar has been Chinese New Year for thousands of years. It has a long history here too, with fireworks marking the occasion in towns and cities across Australia from at least the 1880s.

The Greek community in Australia is well known for proudly maintaining its ethnic traditions while contributing to broader Australian society, and its holiday celebrations are no different. During the Great Depression, a Greek migrant by the name of Gregory Casimaty gave a wonderful demonstration of Christmas spirit, hosting a dinner for 200 unemployed single men who otherwise may have had quite a lonely Christmas. Casimaty, who was known for his philanthropy in his town of Hobart, had arrived in Sydney from Greece in 1905, just 15 years old. In 1938 The Advertiser described a Christmas performance at Adelaide’s Holy Trinity Church Hall as a “mixture of Greek and Australian custom.” Students of the city’s Greek school performed folk dances, songs and poems. Generations of religious Greeks have fasted from meat, fish and dairy in the lead-up to Christmas Day. At the long-awaited feast on Christmas Day, special bread called christopsomo is served along with other Christmas dishes and is still enjoyed today.

Images Courtesy State Library of Victoria

food, Glorious (italian) food “It seems as if we have caught to some extent the spirit of the old Italian carnivals in our Christmas and New Year Eve celebrations,” declared The Brisbane Courier in 1903 when describing Brisbane’s festive spirit. Certainly the Christmastime pantomime shows attended throughout Australia in the early 20th century were believed to have Italian origins. Italians expected to attend a traditional midnight mass on Christmas Eve — even when at sea! The Savinas, a Cairns couple of Italian descent who were aboard the Surriento when returning from a trip to Italy, described the ship’s sumptuous Christmas celebrations to the Cairns Post, 11 January 1951. Typically Italian, so much food was served that only about half was eaten by the passengers. Many Italian migrants helped build our post-war infrastructure projects, and the work could be lonely. Those working on the South Australian railways in 1953 were kindly sent a Christmas parcel containing nuts, cigarettes, Italian newspapers and a personal greeting, with the help of railway officials.

Above Christmas, 1878 from the Illustrated Sydney News, 21 December 1878. Opposite Christmas in Australia published in The Australian, 23 December 1865.

Traditions young and old As written in Queensland’s Nambour Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser, on 15 December 1950, “here in our own country we took our Christmas custom from everywhere, blending into open traditional design that we all warm to — the typical Australian Christmas.”

Inside History | Nov-Dec 2012 |

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your family

What we’re reading…

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100 Stories from the Australian National Maritime Museum (New South Books, A$39.95)

Hell’s Bells & Mademoiselles by Joe Maxwell VC (HarperCollins, A$24.99)

Discover Scottish Land Records by Chris Paton (Unlock the Past, A$20)

Utterly absorbing and well-written, 100 Stories dives into Australia’s maritime heritage, from early exploration, immigration and wartime through to modern beach culture. Compiled by the Museum’s senior curators, the book features photos, maps and engravings from the museum’s vast 30,000-plus collection. These include Indigenous watercraft, remnants of 17th century Dutch ships and Captain Cook’s voyages, and destroyer HMAS Vampire, to name but a few. By sharing the human stories behind the artefacts — and the social context behind both — this book proves a noteworthy history work in its own right, testifying to how the tides of Australia’s culture have been shaped by the seas that girt our shores. Plus you can download a free digital copy from iBookstore. — Sarah Trevor

LT Joe Maxwell VC — Australian hero and larrikin — wrote in 1932 about his wartime experiences as a memoir of his service in Gallipoli and France. It’s a delight to announce that his colourful exploits have been reprinted after many years. Joe enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 8 February 1915. In just over 12 months he was commissioned and decorated four times for his bravery and became Australia’s second most decorated soldier of WWI. This entertaining memoir is a unique record of life as a WWI digger. Joe saw action in most of the major battles of the Western Front and describes his experience in combat. He also gives a great account of the notorious adventures of the off-duty diggers in England and France. This must-read title is available from www.regimental-books. com.au — Michael Martin

This is an excellent reference for those wishing to delve into the wonderful set of records available that traces possession and inheritance of land in Scotland back to the 16th century. The feudal system of land tenure wasn’t abolished until 2004 and the documents of land conveyance and inheritance are completely different to others in the UK. Chris leads the researcher through the complicated land records series to enable them to discover more about their families, the land they occupied, and place them in historical context. He explains terms such as alloidal tenure, conquest, feu duty, precept of clare constat, retour, and skat — terms that are probably unfamiliar to most researchers but which are common in Scottish land documents. A must for those with Scottish heritage who want to go beyond BMD and census records. — Rosemary Kopittke

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Marketplace

A PARTING SHOT

is book tells the story of the shelling of Australia by Japanese submarines during 1942-43, and the east coast sea war that claimed the lives of 671 men and women. From an Australian perspective, this is a story of good luck, courage and tragedy.

$34.95

(post paid within Australia)

Release date: January 2013 (Pre-orders welcome)

Fighting Nineteenth by Wayne Matthews and David Wilson (Australian Military History Publications, A$49.95)

Casper Publications Pty Ltd (ABN 67 064 029 303) PO Box 225, Narrabeen, NSW 2101 Ph: (02) 9905-9933 Email: info@hydroponics.com.au

The 19th Battalion AIF was one of Australia’s finest infantry battalions during WWI, but for more than 90 years its active service history has gone unrecorded — until now. A well overdue and comprehensively researched account of the 19th Battalion from its formation in 1915 in Sydney onwards, the book covers in amazing detail the battles it participated in, from the attack on Hill 60 at Gallipoli, through to fighting on the trenches of the Western Front. Essential for anyone whose relative served in the 19th Battalion, this book includes a comprehensive Nominal Roll of its members. Using private photographs, letters and war diaries to collate ordinary soldiers’ stories with the official history, this is a classic account of Australian soldiers at war. Order from www.regimentalbooks.com.au — Michael Martin

Inside History | Nov-Dec 2012 |

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your history

15 great

historic getaways From convict settlements to historic ports, Indigenous sites to goldrush villages, there’s an array of destinations close to home just waiting to be discovered. Sarah Trevor explores 15 fascinating contenders for the history lover’s dream holiday!

1

Burra, SA..Situated 160km

north of Adelaide, Burra is a perfect place for a peaceful getaway. From 1845, when local shepherds discovered copper, through to the late 1870s, Burra was a booming mining town. Today it’s one of Australia’s best-preserved towns from the Victorian era, with 21 sites and relics showcased on the Burra Heritage Trail. Best time to visit May

1 64

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your family

One picture… 1,000 memories

This photograph was taken by my dad, Ralph Turville, at a sports picnic near Melbourne in 1936. The lady on the left is my mum, Ruby Morrison, and this was taken before they became engaged. Dad was part of a group called the “Straight Eight” which was made up of eight young, fun-loving outdoor lads who went fishing, cycling, rabbiting and camping together for many years. Of course they eventually became interested in girls, and my mother and her friend Dot Liddy (on the right) were the first girlfriends of my dad and Jack Goddison (far right) respectively. I’m afraid I don’t know the names of the other two fellows, but the remaining members of the Straight Eight were Kevin Callahan, Alf Curry, Bill O’Connell, Frank Corr, Reg Liddy and Maurie Turville. I love the debonair and carefree atmosphere that it portrays — that splendid period between the Great Depression and World War II when halcyon days returned for just a few years. The stylish blazers and the jaunty attitude of the fellows — complete with glass of wine — seem to reflect the upbeat and positive outlook of the era. All remained lifelong friends and later became “uncles and aunts” to me after my parent’s wedding in 1938. — Denise Davis, Woodcroft, SA

Do you have a favourite family image you’d like to share with our readers? We’d love to hear from you. Email a high-quality scan and the story behind the picture to contribute@insidehistory.com.au and we’ll publish it here.

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“ First-hand knowledge of the war fades over time, but the collection – full of objects from the battlefield, soldiers’ diaries and letters, photographs of moments which would otherwise be lost – ensures the stories live forever.” Nola Anderson, Author

Australian War Memorial Treasures from a century of collecting This lavishly illustrated new book brings to life one of the most significant military collections in the world. RP $90.00 Published by Murdoch Books

awm.gov.au


Getting started on your family tree is easy Ancestry.com.au is the perfect place to start your family tree. With helpful features such as Ancestry Hints™ plus over 9 billion searchable historic family history records from Australia, the UK, the US, and Europe, you will be amazed at what you can discover.

5 easy steps to get started

1. Start with yourself and work backwards 2. I nterview your relatives, beginning with the eldest 3. Document and organise what you find and enter this into your online tree

4. Search Ancestry’s historic records for your ancestors and watch your tree grow

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For more information on how to get started with your family tree, simply download our FREE Getting Started Guide. Its packed with fantastic tips and hints including how to successfully search the historical records.

Download your FREE Getting Started Guide Visit ancestry.com.au/insidehistory

Profile for Inside History

Issue 13: Nov-Dec 2012  

Remembrance and discovery: the Nov-Dec edition (issue 13) of Inside History has arrived! • In our exclusive Q&A, Sunday Night journalist and...

Issue 13: Nov-Dec 2012  

Remembrance and discovery: the Nov-Dec edition (issue 13) of Inside History has arrived! • In our exclusive Q&A, Sunday Night journalist and...

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