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WWII: your memories from aerial warfare over the Atlantic, to the home front

discover hidden anzacs in WWI records

Mar–Apr 2012

one family seven soldiers who went to war


the confessions of an aussie governess

who do you think you are?

Aus $10.50 incl GST NZ $11.95 incl GST PRINTED ON FSC-APPROVED PAPER MAR-APR 2012

9 771838 504008

ISSN 1838-5044


TV host shaun micallef finds out in the new series!

s u l l Teyo u r i t e

ur y o v fa s to r ! hi oks bo

lost & found

we reunite a family with a photograph from 1883

Our Anzac

special edition

our family


PO Box 406 Erskineville NSW 2043 Australia Editor Cassie Mercer Online Editor Ben Mercer Designers Rohana Archer Coral Chum Editorial contributors Brad Argent Kate Bagnall Hazel Edwards Miranda Farrell Paula Grunseit Barbara Hall Shauna Hicks Rebecca Jones Michael Martin Kate Matthew Joan Matthews Neil Smith Tracy Sullivan Emma Sutcliffe Bill Young Subscriptions See page 71 or subscribe online at

Cover image Advertisement for Ponds, 1945. Courtesy National Library of Australia and Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales

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


On the cover

Issue 9, March-April 2012

16 Ask our experts Can this baby find a home? We reunite a family with a long-lost photo


28 Talkin’ ’bout past generations Comedian Shaun Micallef kicks off the new series of Who Do You Think You Are? and tells us how the experience changed his family 32

The other Anzacs Military historian Neil Smith explains why some Anzacs can be so difficult to find in the WWI records

37 That famous fighting family Historian Kate Bagnall’s latest work details the contributions those who are often forgotten have made to Australia. Here, she introduces one family who put their lives on the line for the war effort



Your stories, your voice From aerial warfare over the Atlantic, to the home front in Townsville and rations in Hobart: we talk to three readers about their memories of WWII. Plus, safekeeping the stories of POWs


The life of an Aussie governess Was it all soothing lullabies and hours spent making daisy chains? Kate Matthew investigates


Love history, love books? Make sure your favourite non-fiction book is on our shortlist for the National Year of Reading competition!

45 37




42 genie on the go 27

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

your family 42 Mission over Oslo A nephew’s film tribute to the World War II uncle he never knew 55

A man of his time One family’s tale of how the son of a tailor in Dublin rose to become a Victorian treasurer

travel 62 Stepping through time Emma Sutcliffe takes a detour off the tourist track in the Victorian goldfields 66 Sail away, sail away Shauna Hicks reports on why she’s hooked on cruises that mix genealogy with holiday time

regulars 6

Ed’s letter


Postie’s here! Your thoughts, your say


Bob’s your uncle Network with other researchers

10 Platform Australia’s first professional artist; plus, news from the history and genealogy world

19 History now Events you won’t want to miss around Australia and New Zealand 24

All’s right in Whitehorse Victoria’s Whitehorse Historical Society talks work, weddings and wine


How to write a non-boring family history In the second of a series of six, Hazel Edwards reveals the secrets to structuring a good story


What we’re reading The latest and greatest to hit the shelves


One picture…1000 memories The story behind the image

offers 70 Win one of 10 DVDs! We’re giving away copies of A Very Short War, and Who’s Been Sleeping In My House? 71

Subscribe to Inside History… and go into the draw to win 1 of 10 great books!

editor’s letter

There was lots of excitement in the Inside History office when we found out the next series of Who Do You Think You Are? starts on March 27! And when we got the okay from SBS to interview comedian Shaun Micallef, whose episode kicks off WDYTYA? series 4, well, the excitement reached fever pitch! Paula Grunseit had the lucky — and amusing — task of interviewing Shaun, his first one about the series, no less. Read his story on page 28. This issue we’re commemorating Anzac Day and remembering our brave men and women who went off to war. On page 32 Neil Smith looks at why you may not be able to find your Anzac in the records . And on page 37 Kate Bagnall reveals the role one Chinese Australian family played in World War I. Then starting on page 45, hear about people’s experiences and memories of World War II; from the air over the Atlantic, in a POW camp, on the home front and those waiting for news by the wireless. Kate Matthew looks at the life of an English governess emigrating to rural Victoria; what her daily routines were and how it differed from the UK (see page 58). Emma Sutcliffe shows why it’s worth getting off the beaten tourist track in the Victorian goldfields on page 62. Plus we have 10 DVDs up for grabs (see page 70) and lots more. And a big congratulations to Christine Sackville, who won the findmypast subscription package from issue 7 with her family photo — turn to page 74 for her story. Thank you to everyone who entered — we received so many terrific entries that we’ll be featuring a selection of them in upcoming issues! And keep nominating your favourite history books to make sure they make our shortlist for the National Year of Reading competition! Read more on page 75. Don’t forget, we’re now available on iPad! Just search for Inside History on the App Store or on Newsstand. Our app is free to download and the cover price for a single issue is just $8.49. Plus we have some great subscription specials! Android users will be happy to hear that an Android version will be released in 2012.

PS Like us on Facebook for more great genealogy advice, the latest news and events, and exclusive giveaways. Join us at

Inside History | Nov-Dec 2011 |









1920s HOBART house history in tasmania

pHOTO dATing solving a family mystery

Jan–Feb 2012


the experiences of mums since 1788

TAke A BOw

2 201 your



rea oF

d in

how to find your ancestor in the theatre



e at’s Wh av o u rbito o k ? F

h is


maori oral history exploring norfolk island



dARwin 1942


eyewitness accounts before and after

Tell your story

18/01/11 4:04 PM

Hooked on history

Postie’s here!

I just wanted to write and say what a fantastic magazine Inside History is! I came across it by chance and I am now completely hooked. Well done to the whole team. I love reading it from cover to cover several times a day. I have even started ordering back issues and they arrive very speedily, too! Thanks for a great magazine that helps with researching our family trees. — Kylea Hughston, Point Vernon, QLD

A star team

I must congratulate you on an excellent magazine — great articles, fantastic design work and wonderful presentation. Well done! — Anne Chapple, Bayswater, WA

What a daredevil!

Congratulations on such an interesting magazine, I loved all the features in issue 8. A special thank you to Lynne LeStrange for sharing the story of her relative, Wally Balmus, with us in “One Picture… 1000 Memories”. The accompanying photo of the tiny figure of Wally balancing on his hands atop the dangerous rock face at the Gap made my blood run cold, and this was only one of his daredevil escapades. What a way to make a living!

Like us on



I remember well the iconic Tarzan’s Grip products from my childhood and really enjoyed reading the story behind the model. — Heather Jones, Canning Vale, WA

on the move

I absolutely love issue 8 of Inside History on iPad! The format is well-planned and very easy to navigate. And I really like the links incorporated into the pages. — L. Faulkner, by email Congratulations to our competition winners from issue 7! ◆ Christine Sackville from Canterbury, VIC, won the ultimate findmypast subscription package ◆ Natalie Rigney from Alexandria, NSW won the Little Branch writing and gift wrapping set ◆ Gina Annand from Yarrawonga, VIC, won the Military History & Heritage Victoria conference package ◆ Jann Walker from Millicent, SA, and Beverley Runcie from Killcare, NSW, both won a copy of Keeping Family Treasures by Elizabeth Masters and Ian Batterham at the National Archives of Australia Each issue our star letter will receive a great prize for writing in. This issue, Kylea Hughston wins a copy of Private Journal of A Voyage to Australia by James Bell (Allen & Unwin, $24.99)

Join us on

your family

Bob’s your uncle

Image Courtesy Douglas Stewart Fine Books,

Are you looking to connect with other descendants or historians? Each issue we’ll feature who and what people are researching first fleet painting

I’d like to take this opportunity to ask for help on a matter which has been unanswered for many years. When Captain Phillip landed in Sydney it is said that he was carried ashore by a convict. I am almost certain that I have seen a copy of a painting depicting this event, as have some of my friends, but searching in many libraries has shown no sign of it. If anyone can throw light on this matter I would appreciate it! Robert Hooke, Castle Hill, NSW

to some in other Australian colonies and in New Zealand, operated in a slightly different format and were a force solely in Western Australia. Known as “The Ships’ Project”, we currently have 14 family historians conducting research into 16 of the ships the men of the EPF arrived on. Research will include their military service, their parents, siblings and place of birth. Their marriages and children will also be part of this project. Anyone descended from a member of the EPF sent to WA is encouraged to get in touch. — Margaret Hickey, Bayswater, WA

Descendants from the Minerva, 1800

Sticky stories

I am researching the lives of the convicts transported on the Minerva, which arrived in Sydney in 1800. It sailed directly from Ireland with many of the rebels who took part in the 1798 rebellion. I am looking to hear from any decendants of the convicts on board. — Barbara Hall, Coogee, NSW

enrolled pensioner guard, wa

Members within the Western Australian Genealogical Society are currently conducting further extensive research into the group of retired British military men who were sent to Western Australia during the convict era. These men were known as the Enrolled Pensioner Force (EPF), and the group, while similar

The Museum of the Riverina is currently researching and developing an exhibition on the history of beekeeping in the Wagga Wagga region. We are looking for photographs and stories of beekeeping and beekeepers in the region. We are also hoping to collect or borrow items and photographs that reveal stories from beekeeping in times past. If you are able to help the museum, please contact us. — Genevieve Mott, Wagga Wagga, NSW

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

Inside History | Mar-Apr 2012 |


Image Brian Jonmundsson, 23, formerly of Iceland, and his wife Visitacion, formerly of Spain, arrive in Sydney in 1963. Courtesy National Archives of Australia.

what’s on

History now

Get out and about to the best history events this autumn


Inside History | Mar-Apr 2012 |


Byte Into Your Family History March 31 (March 27 in Adelaide) The National Archives of Australia (NAA) is holding its annual Shake Your Family Tree day in capital cities around Australia. This year the theme is “Family history research in the digital age”, bringing experts and enthusiasts together to share tips and stories. Both novice and experienced family historians can discover more about researching online — in and beyond the NAA. Each city location will offer a different range of activities, which may include talks, preservation workshops, tours and the opportunity to speak with experts. The event is free, but bookings are essential for talks, tours and workshops. Visit for each city’s program Dutch arrivals on the Sibajak, 1954. Courtesy Natio nal Archives of Australia


Walking Tour: Stories Behind The Graves April 23 The Port Macquarie Historical Society is running a guided walking tour of Port Macquarie’s Second Burial Ground. Come along and be enchanted by the tales of Port Macquarie’s previous inhabitants. The tour will shed light on the stories of the area’s famous and infamous early residents including the free settlers, soldiers and convicts who lie buried in the cemetery grounds. The tour will take around 1½ hours and bookings are essential. Call 02 6583 1108

FamilySearch: Still Evolving March 17 FamilySearch continues to grow. Are you having trouble keeping up? Then come along to this two-hour seminar with Judy Lofthouse at the Genealogical Society of Queensland and hear about some of the new records available on this key resource for family historians. Bookings are essential for members and non-members. Visit or call 07 3891 5085

Australian Heritage Week April 14–22 It’s on again! Australian Heritage Week is a chance for everyone around the nation to celebrate our unique and shared history. From fairs and walks, to a course in archaeology and gold-mining demonstrations, there’s sure to be an event to interest you. The program is listed online, and can be filtered by location and category. Visit

Easter Vintage Festival April 7–9 This year Highfields Pioneer Village near Toowoomba celebrates its 15th Easter Vintage Festival. Themed “Experience the Atmosphere of Yesteryear”, the festival features demonstrations and displays from all aspects of pioneering life including crafts, music and machinery. Enjoy damper made on authentic camp ovens, check out the grand parade and keep an eye out for infamous bushranger Ned Kelly! An event for the whole family, the festival depicts how Australian pioneers survived Australia’s early days. Visit

Home front: Wartime Sydney 1939–45 March 31 Sydney’s WWII story is on show for the first time in Home front , a new exhibition at the Museum of Sydney. Explore how Sydneysiders rallied together to help the war effort, and see more than 200 wartime Sydney mementoes, including propaganda posters, warden’s memorabilia, letters from soldiers serving overseas and a selection of wartime fashions. Visit

Digitising Your Family History April 18 Have you considered the benefits of digitising your family history research, and of bringing it online? Kim Heras, Australia & New Zealand Community Manager of, will be visiting Brisbane to speak at the Queensland Family History Society rooms in Gaythorne, Brisbane, and inspire you to take that next step. Visit or call 07 3355 3369


Silkweavers Of Spitalfields March 17 In this free event hosted by the Huguenot Society of Australia (at the HAGSOC library), historian Dr Robert Nash will present on the Silkweavers of Spitalfields — a group who fled religious persecution in late 17th century France, taking their prized silkweaving skills throughout Europe. Establishing the silk industry in East London, they produced many of the beautiful silk tapestries famous today. This event is perfect for those tracing their family back to East London, or anyone simply interested in a good story! Visit or call 0437 762 347 to register your attendance

Maria Island: How People Shape Places, And Places Shape People April 19 Presenters Kathy Gatenby and Tom Dunbabin will explore the changing landscape of Maria Island from the convict period to its evolution as a national park. Hosted by Port Arthur Historic Site, the area’s rich history will be illuminated by stories of its previous inhabitants and a vast collection of historical images. Both presenters have written books on Maria Island (available for purchase on the night) and have close associations with the spot themselves. Call 03 6251 2324

Jane Austen Festival Australia April 12–15 Calling all Jane Austen fans! This popular festival in Canberra is on again. Kicking off with a film screening at the National Film & Sound Archives in Acton, Austen fans can then immerse themselves in workshops, talks, food and entertainment galore. The festival also features country fayre, archery, a costumed promenade, fabulous dancing, singing and more! The famous Festival Ball on April 14 is a highlight. Bookings are essential. Visit

National Trust Heritage Festival 2012 April 18–May 18 From the ingenuity of Aboriginal life on the land, to examples of resourceful “make do” in hard times and the creative use of heritage places in the 21st century, the 2012 WA Heritage Festival celebrates Australia’s heritage — past, present and future. The theme for this year? Amazing Stories: Innovation and Invention. Expect to be entertained and enthralled by the host of events planned for this month-long celebration. Visit

A bomb shelter in Sydney’s Hyde Park — hear more at Home front, on at the Museum of Sydney. Courtesy Historic Houses Trust

Inside History | Mar-Apr 2012 |


Bendigo Family History Expo March 25 The upcoming Bendigo Family History Expo is set to be an invaluable experience for family history researchers — from beginner to experienced. More than 60 specialist consultants will be present (convicts, military, shipping indexes and more). Many societies from the district will be represented. Individual advice, resources to trace pioneer families, computer genealogy and databases are just some of the features that will put you in great stead to discover your family’s past. Visit

Visit historic Bendigo for the area’s family history fair

Sweets: Tastes And Traditions From March 15 On display at Melbourne’s Immigration Museum, this exhibition delves into the rich history and cultural significance of sweet foods in Victorian communities. It explores how sweets can be used to mark important rituals, celebrations and life events. Combining intriguing objects, lively photographs and multimedia, this is something every sweet-toothed historian should indulge in! Visit Fourth Annual Lara Food & Wine Festival March 25 This year’s Lara Food & Wine Festival boasts a mouth-watering array of produce from 80 of the region’s best gourmet producers. Special guest Matt Preston, from Channel Ten’s MasterChef, will judge the Ultimate Chef Challenge, plus there’s cooking demonstrations and live entertainment. Taking place on the lawns of Pirra Homestead, built in 1880, all you need to bring is a picnic rug and a gold coin donation for entry! Visit



In The Shadow of War: Australia 1942 April 21–22 To commemorate the 70th anniversary of when Australia stood in the shadow of war, Military History and Heritage Victoria is hosting a two-day conference in Melbourne. Eminent speakers from Australia, Japan and the United States will discuss a number of themes affecting Australia in 1942: Allied and Japanese strategy, the Japanese plans for Australia, the air war including the home front, co-operation with the Americans and other Allies, and political response to the threat, among others. Don’t miss the chance to hear so many expert speakers during this special event. Visit

AFFHO Congress 2012 March 28–31 The 13th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry, with the theme of “Your Ancestors In Their Social Context”, is coming to Adelaide. An exhibition featuring genealogy experts from around Australia will provide invaluable advice. A long list of impressive speakers includes highly renowned genealogists and historians from around the world. Plus the National Library of Australia will show you what resources are available now and what is planned for the future. Visit Read more about the program on page 13

Coming to grips with FamilySearch March 25 The free FamilySearch database of more than 400 million names from 90 countries includes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, International Genealogical Index (IGI) and its Addendum, the Ancestral File, and the Family History Catalogue. Presented by genealogy expert Graham Jaunay and hosted by WEA Adult Learning in Adelaide, this invaluable session will show you why some records are more reliable than others. Students should be familiar with using a PC. Call 08 8223 1979

Researching Your Anzacs April 18 Anyone who’s attempted to investigate their family’s wartime involvement would know that researching family history in the Armed Forces brings its own unique challenges. In this one-hour session at Central City Library Auckland, military historian Michael Wynd from the Navy Museum will present on searching for family members who have served with the Royal New Zealand Navy and what resources exist for the NZ Army and RNZAF. Bookings are essential. Visit Art Deco Picnic March 25 It’s time to whip out your boaters and boas and take a packed picnic lunch down to the historic Highwic House, Auckland, for a picnic like no other. Highwic is one of New Zealand’s finest Gothic houses and was established in 1862 by land owners, Alfred Buckland and wife Eliza. The house is furnished with antiques and the lawns and gardens are particularly lovely. Live jazz and refreshments will be available. Visit

Roll Of Honour: Casualties Of The Bombing Of Darwin, February 1942 Until March 25 The Northern Territory Library is marking the 70th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin with a Roll of Honour that records and remembers those killed on February 19, 1942. Based on information currently available, this Roll of Honour provides biographical details, photographs and personal stories for each fatality, remembering them as unique individuals who sacrificed their lives. A display of this online Roll of Honour will be available to view in the Library, along with two large aerial mosaics of Darwin in 1941 and 1945. Call 1800 019 155

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.

e image Emma Sutcliffe Words Miranda Farrell Lara Hous

Pirra Homestead, the venue for Lara’s Food & Wine Festival

Inside History | Mar-Apr 2012 |


your your history history

All ’s right in Whitehorse 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 Rachael Cottle from Victoria’s Whitehorse Historical Society about working life, wedding dresses and wine cellars When did Whitehorse Historical Society open?

What areas in Victoria does your society cover?

The society was formed in 1965 after Schwerkolt Cottage had been saved from demolition and restored. The museum was opened in 1977.

We have records and ephemera from the suburbs of Blackburn, Blackburn North, Blackburn South, Burwood East, Forest Hill, Mitcham, Nunawading, Vermont and Vermont South. Our society has 99 members, including our enthusiastic volunteers who attend our Wednesday working group. We also have members who show their support by attending our working bees that are held throughout the year. Our members also attend local festivals and fetes with a small display. We welcome all support including joining as a member, visiting our museum or simply saying hello on Facebook.

What is your society’s website? The short link to our website is w8rxGU. You can also like us on Facebook at

What are your opening hours and contact details? We are based in the local history room at the Schwerkolt Cottage & Museum Complex, Deep Creek Road, Mitcham, Victoria. The local history room is open on Wednesdays from 10am to 3pm. The museum and cottage is open Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from 2pm to 5pm, and entry is free. Contact the society on 03 9873 4946 or by email at whitehorsehistory for more information.

What is the cost to join? We have three membership options: $20 for individuals, $30 for households (this includes two adults and two children under 18), or $12 for a newsletter-only subscription.

Opposite Schwerkolt cottage Below The museum’s new extension Inset The cottage is furnished in the style of the late 1800s

As told to Cassie Mercer

Tell us the five best things about the Schwerkolt Cottage & Museum Complex. 1 Schwerkolt Cottage: it’s a three-roomed stone cottage built of local materials that was completed in 1888. It was originally the home of Johann August Schwerkolt and his wife Maria Oppel. The cottage is important to the society because it’s a fine example of the home of an early Victorian settler. 2 The museum: it contains many artifacts, including textiles and costumes, domestic implements, heritage craft items, and toys. The collections relate to domestic life, education, and working life in the Whitehorse area. 3 The Orchard Machinery Shed: this houses agricultural machinery and other items that were used locally. 4 The reconstructed outbuildings: these include a barn and blacksmith’s shop, a replica of a smokehouse used by the Schwerkolt family, and an original wine cellar that has been restored and contains wine-making equipment of the period. 5 The local history room: it has books, maps, periodicals and newspapers, oral and written histories, photos, slides, and is run by a group of dedicated volunteers.

What are your current projects? The extension of our museum was recently completed and the museum and new visitors’ centre is gradually being reorganised. We will continue

to improve the displays to provide an enjoyable experience for our visitors. We are about to start digitising our photographs so that they may be shared electronically; this is an enormous task and will require many volunteers. Each September we hold a Heritage Open Day, which includes exhibitions of industries such as spinners and weavers, lace-makers and blacksmiths. To commemorate the 150th anniversary of August Schwerkolt acquiring the land, we are working on a project titled “The Suburban Backyard”, in which we aim to collect photos and stories about the Whitehorse area between 1945 and 1965. We’ll be presenting these stories in an exhibition and possibly a book.

What record at your society is underutilised? Our extensive costume collection, which includes pieces from 1843 to the present day. A wedding dress and going-away outfit from 1873 are on display, however, we have 20 wedding dresses in storage that we hope to exhibit in the new space in the museum! 

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

Inside History | Mar-Apr 2012 |


your family

mission over oslo In 1940, nine men lost their lives during a reconnaissance trip to Norway. A descendant of the one Australian on board has remembered his uncle’s sacrifice by producing a film of that fateful flight


n the evening of April 8, 1940, an urgent call went out for volunteers at the RAF base at Pembroke Dock on the southwest tip of Wales. Ten men from the far corners of the Empire — four from England, two from Wales, two from Northern Ireland and one each from Canada and Australia — hastily came together to form a crew to pilot a Short Sunderland Flying Boat on a mission deemed vital by the Admiralty. They flew north from Pembroke Dock to Holyhead and then the following day to Invergordon on the east coast of Scotland. Here they changed to a Sunderland L2167 and at 1.30pm took off to the east. Once in the air sealed orders were opened. The mission: Proceed to Oslo. Reconnaissance. They were not to know that Germany had invaded Norway that very day. At 5.50pm nine of

the men died. One man, after falling more than 900m without a parachute, miraculously survived. This scenario forms the dramatic climax to a fascinating documentary entitled A Very Short War, co-directed by actor and director Bill Young, and director and editor Myles Conti. A Very Short War revolves around the life of Young’s uncle, pioneer Australian aviator Cliff Carpenter — a man who, as a teenager, designed and built his first aeroplane in a garage on Military Road in the Sydney suburb of Cremorne, formed a flying circus, initiated the first series production of Australian designed and built aircraft, and sadly lost his life at the young age of 28 in the darkening skies over Norway. A diligent letter writer, Cliff’s weekly missives from England written to his family in Sydney form

Words and images Bill Young

Opposite Cliff Carpenter, the subject of the film, sits third from left, with his siblings (from left) Warren, Joyce and Norma in 1928 Clockwise from left Cliff’s homebuilt plane being tested in Sydney in 1933; Sgt Cliff Carpenter in 1940; a program cover for Carpenter’s Aerial Circus dated July 20, 1935

the core of the narrative — an awful countdown to that moment when the letters no longer arrived. From these letters we experience an intriguing first person account of how the world appeared to an adventuresome man with nothing but his future in front of him. Young narrates the documentary from his perspective, as the nephew of the uncle he never knew. Young travelled to Norway, Wales and London with a small crew of four to record interviews and film memorial ceremonies in honour of the aircrew lost on that final, fatal mission. The airmen were the first Allied casualties in the defence of Norway after the German occupation of April 9, 1940, and are held in high regard by the Norwegians. One of the interviews was with Gunnar Lindaas,

a retired architect of Drammen (west of Oslo) who, as a nine-year-old, was an eyewitness to the tragic aerial encounter between the Sunderland and two German Messerschmitt Bf110s. Young also managed to interview the daughter and granddaughter of the sole survivor, and visited the actual crash site where pieces of the doomed Sunderland lie to this day. 

We have 5 copies of A Very Short War to give away. See page 70 for details!

A Very Short War will screen on Thursday, April 19 on ABC1. The DVD is available from major outlets and iTunes.

Inside History | Mar-Apr 2012 |


Finding treasures in the National Archives Family historians find all sorts of treasures in the National Archives’ collection. ‘More than 75 per cent of our inquiries are from people tracking down their family history,’ said Paul Dalgleish, Director of Reference and Information Services at the National Archives. ‘They become very excited when they realise they can flesh out names and dates with the records preserved in our collection. ‘We try to make it easy to search, with fact sheets and an A–Z online guide. A special family history section on our website provides tips on searching, case studies, resources and advice on preserving family treasures.’ The best way to find your own family members in the National Archives is to work out how they might have been involved with various government departments. ‘Many Australians find family documents in our immigration records or our war service records,’ said Paul. ‘We have digitised

‘Other people have forebears who worked in certain jobs, as lighthouse keepers for example, or who applied for copyright or patent protection. Others may have been the subjects of ASIO investigations. We can also help Indigenous Australians trace their families.’ While the National Archives encourages people to search their database RecordSearch online, each year they also organise Shake Your Family Tree day in capital city offices, bringing experts and enthusiasts together to share stories and tips on searching. You’ll find more at To search the database, just click on the yellow Search the collection button.

‘Byte’ into your family history at the National Archives.


Lieutenant George Eric Klug, one of the World War I servicemen whose photographs are online.

all 376,000 World War I service records which you can easily download and print at home. We’ve also recently received photographs of 500 World War I diggers, which are all online.

Online resources open up a whole new world of discovery for family history researchers.

Free event, bookings essential for talks and workshops.

Come to the National Archives on Shake Your Family Tree day to explore how we can help you piece together your family’s story.

Check for program details in your city.

Take advantage of our ever-popular panel discussions, seminars, workshops, tours, displays and the chance to speak with experts and conservators. You never know what you’ll discover.

Saturday 31 March 9.30am–4pm Adelaide 27 March National Archives of Australia Canberra Sydney Melbourne Brisbane

Perth Darwin Adelaide

your history

That famous fighting family Historian Kate Bagnall is co-founder of the Invisible Australians project, which seeks to compile biographies of non-European, non-Indigenous people living in Australia during the White Australia period. Here, she writes about one particular band of five brothers — and their two nephews — who joined up to fight in World War I


ike thousands of other Australian mothers, Jane Sam said many goodbyes during the years of World War I. In February 1915, two of her sons, James and Norman, sailed with the 4th Battalion after they enlisted in November 1914. Three months later another son, Henry, left with the 17th Battalion and then three months after that another son, George, sailed with the 4th Battalion. A fifth son, Tom, and two grandsons, William and George Loolong, also left to go to war. Jane Sam’s sons were sent off with pride by the people of West Wyalong, NSW. At the farewell for James and Norman and two other young locals, reported in the Wyalong Advocate on February 3, 1915, one speaker noted that, “he had watched these boys grow up to manhood. They had always been worthy townsmen, and he looked for the time to welcome them back”. While her boys took their place among neighbours and countrymen in going to war, Jane Sam’s family differed from most of them in a way that was both very significant and quite irrelevant. Jane was a white woman of Australian birth, but her husband was Chinese and her children, therefore, were of mixed race. In 1860, William Flood Sam had arrived as a young man from Guangdong, 

Inside History | Mar-Apr 2012 |



| |

your history

A painting by Frank Harding, depicting the attack on July 30, 1943 of Sunderland U461 on U-boat 461

Your stories,

your voice

Peter Jensen flew Sunderland planes with the RAF Coastal Command during WWII. Here, he remembers his part in one of the biggest feats of the war: the Battle of the Atlantic


hen war broke out in 1939 I applied to join the RAAF, along with thousands of others. Confusion reigned, and in an attempt to get some order, in March 1940, an announcement was made in the newspapers for everyone who’d applied for the RAAF to apply again. Apparently they’d lost all the initial applications! Eventually I was called up for an interview and a medical examination, accepted, given a lapel badge and told to wait for a call-up. In the meantime, I spent three hours two nights a week learning basic Morse code, aerodynamics, navigation and maths. The word eventually came to present myself, and on February 2, 1941, I and others took the oath, handed in our lapel badges and boarded a bus for a training depot. At last I was in the Air Force! On March 21, 1941, we were told to pack kitbags and were driven in buses to the wharf, where we were marched onto the good ship Aorangi. As dusk fell we said goodbye to Sydney and sailed through the Heads into open sea. I remember lining the rail with several others, watching in silence as darkness

fell. Then one of our number, John Anderson, voiced our thoughts: “I wonder if we will ever see that again?” Unfortunately John was one of those who didn’t. He was later killed in North Africa.

destination unknown At the end of July 1942 I was posted to Plymouth, England. The 461 Squadron had just been formed. My job in the 461 was as wireless operator/tail gunner. At first I felt pretty useless beside my experienced crew, but they made allowances and I soon became part of them. Life settled down to regular flying duties in the Short Sunderland. These were mostly anti-submarine patrols over the Bay of Biscay or convoy escorts over the Atlantic. They became routine and nothing very exciting happened apart from an occasional sighting of an unidentified aircraft — when we ducked into the nearest cloud (we called it life insurance). By June 1943 things were beginning to heat up in the Bay and we were flying constantly. Occasionally we would sight suspicious-looking aircraft — but no U-boats. That is, until July 30, 1943. 

Inside History | Mar-Apr 2012 |



Stepping through time 62


The Victorian Goldfields are well known for their historical treasures. But, says Emma Sutcliffe, if you step off the beaten track and head to the smaller towns of Halls Gap and Ararat, reminders abound of lives lived in parallel to the hunt for nuggets


Modern photographs Maisy Sutcliffe

Above Mr Bill Wallace, an inmate of J Ward for six decades Below An Ararat-Heatherlie train laden with cargo. Courtesy Janet Witham and the Halls Gap & Grampians Historical Society Opposite The hallway of the original prison at J Ward

he road from Ararat towards the hill-station town of Halls Gap cuts a meandering line through farming land nestled in the shadows of the Grampians. Just 200km northwest of Melbourne and known to generations of holidaymakers for its peaceful eucalypt-scented atmosphere, the only stresses you’ll face are decidedly un-street wise kangaroos thinking they can outrun your car. Sadly, the town lost many of its older buildings in the 2006 bushfires, but some reminders of its grand heritage remain among the caravan parks and holiday resorts. But it’s what remains hidden to the unadventurous — like the abandoned town of Heatherlie — that will create a truly memorable heritage-filled visit. Heatherlie Quarry is marked on tourist maps and road signs, but as soon as you park and step onto the dirt path strewn with bushland debris, you leave the modern world behind. Mobile reception wanes, the path twists out of sight and birdcalls echo through the trees as you start to notice signs of abandoned human habitation. And on the day we visited — outside school holidays with the tree canopy breaking the fall of gentle rain — it’s easy to be carried away in the fantasy that you’re the first to discover this little-town-that-didn’t-quite-make-it. In 1860, Francis Watkins, an Irish stonemason on the hunt for gold, discovered a variety of sandstone, called freestone, at the foot of Mount Difficult, and gave the area the name Heatherlie Quarry. Cut using the ancient Egyptian technique of “plug and feathering”, Grampians freestone blocks weighing up to 5 tonnes were transported, first by bullock and dray and later by small gauge railway, to build the Court House and Roman Catholic Church in nearby Stawell. In 1882, after intensive lobbying by Melbourne-based business partners of Watkins, the stone was selected to supply the facade of Melbourne’s Parliament House in Spring Street and work began; by 1888 more than 100 men were employed at the Quarry and four train loads a week were being transported. Apparently set for a thriving future, Heatherlie was surveyed the same 

Inside History | Mar-Apr 2012 |



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Issue 9: Mar-Apr 2012