Monday, December 24, 2012

Sepia Saturday: Melbourne tram

Melbourne tram by boobook48
Melbourne tram, a photo by boobook48 on Flickr.
Several times a month I volunteer at the Genealogical Society of Victoria's library. To get there I travel on a tram in Collins St, Melbourne and I really enjoy it. I love people-watching and it's a relaxing way to travel. Tourists love the Melbourne trams - I often see them standing with cameras at the ready. 

I took this photo several years ago, played around with colour and focus,  and uploaded it to my Flickr online albums. Now I'm adding it here for Sepia Saturday's last theme for the year. Unfortunately Santa is not on this tram and I don't have any old sepia Christmas photos so this is it.

Happy Christmas everyone.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sister Yeaman

More Than Bombs and Bandages: Australian Army Nurses at Work in World War I , Kirsty Harris - Google Books
I accidentally  found Edith when I was looking in Australian Archives for World War 1 service records of relatives. In my mind I was looking for soldiers, all male, but then up popped a female. So of course I had to have a look at her file and I've sincebeen to the library and borrowed the book More Than Bombs and Bandages: Australian Army Nurses at Work in World War I  by Kirsty Harris. (I also found sections of that book on Google Books and that's where the picture above came from.) Edith is a relative but somewhat distant (first cousin of my father-in-law's grandmother!) so her close family might be surprised to find her here but, as far as I know, she's my only female relative who went off to war as a nurse.

Edith Wilson Yeaman, at the age of 30, enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in Victoria in May 1915, about three weeks after the landing at Gallipoli. She was a nurse at Melbourne Hospital and was also a member of the Australian Army Nursing Service, a reserve that was established in 1900. In the AANS Edith would have attended lectures, done first aid, paraded and attended field camps. But it didn't actually prepare the nurses for the harsh conditions in a field hospital. The organisation and the nurses themselves were thrown in the deep end and they had to learn 'on the job' how to cope with trench foot, frostbite, shell shock, mustard gas, dysentery, gangrene, surgical nursing and shrapnel wounds. As well as nursing in tents, an extreme lack of supplies of food and equipment. And hospitals run according to strict military routines (when to get up, when to shave, when to bathe). It seems madness to insist that patients who were able had to stand to attention at the foot of their beds when the Medical Officer did his rounds each day! Nurses also had to escort convalescents to Egypt, England or Australia, they wrote letters home for ill soldiers, they became adept at scrounging supplies and extras for 'their boys'.

Edith was appointed to 3 A.G.H. (3rd Australian General Hospital), left Melbourne on the Mooltan and arrived in Egypt. A year later her file records her as returning from a period of recuperation in a British convalescent home for sick nurses at Bulkeley, just outside Alexandria.    This quote is from a website about the 3 AGH <>
The unit arrived in England on 27 June 1915, expecting to be posted to France. However, on 1 July, the commanding officer was informed that they would instead be deployed to Mudros, on the Greek island of Lemnos, where they would nurse the sick and injured troops fighting in the Gallipoli campaign. Lemnos was only 50 miles from the fighting, whereas the hospitals in Egypt were over 650 miles away, a journey of 1½ days.
When 3 A.G.H. first started admitting patients, the majority were wounded men from the August offensive, and it was these patients the hospital had been set up for, with operating theatres and surgeons on the staff. In later months, nearly all the patients were ill with either dysentery or paratyphoid. The staff of the hospital also fell ill, though the nurses suffered less, probably by practising better hygiene. in late November and December, the casualties changed again – troops were caught in freezing weather on the Peninsula without adequate clothing, and many were admitted to the hospitals on Lemnos suffering from severe frostbite.
The last Australians were evacuated from Gallipoli on the night of 19/20 December, and many spent Christmas on Lemnos while waiting for further orders. The whole evacuation of allied troops took three weeks. In spite of earlier predictions that up to half the remaining forces could be killed, the evacuations were so well planned that there were minimal casualties, which was a relief to the hospital staff who had been prepared for casualties. With the end of the Gallipoli campaign, the hospitals on Lemnos were disbanded. The nurses boarded the hospital ship Oxfordshire on 14 January, and sailed out of the harbour at Mudros on 17 January, bound for Egypt.
We have just seen the last of Lemnos. Of course we are glad, yet there are many things we will miss; the unconventional freedom and the unique experiences we had there… Goodbye Lemnos. We take away many happy memories of you. I would not have liked to miss you, yet I have no desire to see you again. —Sister Anne Donnell
3 A.G.H. was re-established at Abbassia in Egypt in early 1916 in an old harem, where it operated for approximately eight months. The staff then operated the Kitchener War Hospital at Brighton, England from October 1916 before moving to Abbeville, France, from May 1917.
Staff, No 3 AGH Christmas Day, Lemnos
Nurse Yeaman worked at hospitals in France and England in 1917 and 1918, was promoted to Sister in July 1917 and was herself admitted to hospital several times extremely ill with severe bronchitis and influenza in the winter of 1917/1918. In March 1919 she embarked at Portsmouth, England as one of the nursing staff on the ship Czaritza returning to Australia with a full quota of injured soldiers. At Port Said they transferred to another ship, the Dunluce Castle
Papers Past, New Zealand 
One of the passengers wrote about the voyage: 
Beneath Hill 60, Will Davies                 Source: Google Books
Edith disembarked at Melbourne 15 May 1919, almost four years after she left. She never married and continued to work in hospitals in Melbourne and Sydney. Like many of her fellow nurses Edith's brothers also enlisted in the AIF and served in France. Pte Wilfred Charles Yeaman left Victoria several months after Edith and also returned in 1919, Pte Lindsay Frederick left Australia in 1915, was injured four times in action and returned to Australia in 1919.

Edith Wilson YEAMAN, daughter of William Bunyan YEAMAN and Harriet Mary Ann WILSON, was born in 1884 in Elmore, Victoria, Australia. She died in 1963 in North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Trove Tuesday: In which Jane is lost in the bush

Getting lost in the Australian bush is easy to do, especially if you're only three. Finding someone who's lost in the bush is really hard.

Jane Perryman was lost in bush near her parent's farm at Woolshed Flat near Korong Vale north of Wedderburn. It's a goldmining area so there would have been mine shafts and other hazards and luckily it was spring not summer. Jane was found and lived until she was 85.
Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, 18 Sep 1873, p1
Wychitella Nature Reserve, Korong. Photo: K Stockwell

This article was found using Trove. It amazes me that the Maitland and Hunter River areas are in New South Wales, hundreds of miles from Wedderburn, but the incident was reported as newsworthy. And I'm glad it was because the Inglewood Advertiser hasn't been digitised as yet and it doesn't appear to have been reported in the Bendigo paper.

Jane PERRYMAN, daughter of Zechariah PERRYMAN and Margaret KERR was born in 1870 in Korong Vale, Victoria, Australia. She died in 1955 in Swan, Western Australia, Australia (Registered as MILLAR on online index.). She married John MILES in 1904 in Perth, Western Australia, Australia. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

William Cook: memorial card

In my last post there was an image of an embroidered post card sent from France by a soldier in WW1. This is also an embroidered card, but this time it's a memorial card for an ancestor of mine*.

Memorial card, William Cook, 1878
Many of the cards like this one hold clues for further family history research, some have photos of the person who has died. Many are black with gold lettering but this one is a cream fabric, probably silk. I imagine they were available 'off the shelf' with the printing added as required. Were they handed out at the funeral or posted as a 'thankyou' card? I don't know.

And, just to show that our family were copycats, here's a very similar card produced a generation earlier (or on an anniversary of Prince Albert's death).

Memorial card, Prince Albert, 1861 (source unknown)
*William Cook was a farmer at Dunmunkle, Victoria. He was born in Plumstead near London, married twice and left a widow and a large family.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sepia Saturday: Kisses from France

Hmmm. What to do. I couldn't find a single old photo in my albums to write about for this week's Sepia Saturday theme of 'kiss'.

So I decided to write about a different sort of kiss.

Grandfather Roy was one of the thousands of Aussie young men who volunteered to serve his country in World War 1 and was sent to France. He wrote to his Annie every week when he could (and married her when he returned). She kept every letter and now I have them. Every letter is signed the same way. "With fondest love from ever your own Roy XXXXXXXXXXXXX"

Postcards were enormously popular during World War 1. We have a few in our treasure box but I found this beautiful card in the State library of Victoria.

Embroidered post card sent from France, 1914-1918.
State Library of Victoria,

Monday, December 10, 2012

Trove Tuesday: In which a bushfire engulfs Zachary's farm

Zachary Perryman went to the Wedderburn area during the goldrush of the 1850s and ended up staying and buying land. There are still descendants in the area.

A little snippet of information about Zachary came from a newspaper search at Trove. In an extreme heatwave in January 1875 a number of bushfires raged throughout central Victoria and the town of Wedderburn was surrounded on all sides. Zachary's land was north of the town and a newspaper report details how he and his neighbours lost everything on their farms. (Note: The report names Zachary as William in error.)

Bacchus Marsh Express, 30 January 1875
Bendigo Advertiser 23 January 1875

Snip from Borung Parish map shows the neighbouring farmers mentioned in the newspaper article (above).
In the following months there was a Relief Fund set up so that people could donate money to distribute to the victims of the fires. Zachary Perryman must have applied, following the instructions listed in the newspaper article below, and then in October the successful applicants were listed in the newspaper. Zachary received five pounds which would have been much less than the value of what he'd lost I'm sure but appreciated all the same.

The Argus 15 September 1875

In compliance with the terms of the notice given in our columns, we have received applications for assistance from the above mentioned fund from 25 persons, whose claims amount in the aggregate to £2,267.
As the sum at our disposal only amounts to £75 6s. 6d., we have considered it inadvisable to make a pro rata division of the money, and have selected for relief those cases which appear to us to be the most deserving.
The following are the cases selected and the amounts awarded.
Mary Bull, Linton £10 0 0
Edmond Faress, Newington £5 0 0
Rosanna Burns, Huntly  £5 0 0
Charles Dunn, East Trentham, Blackwood £10 0 0
Thomas Freeman, Durdidwarrah, near Geelong  £5 0 0
William Purcell, Anakie £5 0 0
Thomas Finner, Cargarie £ 10 0 0
Zachariah Perryman, Wedderburn £5 0 0
Mary Moloney, Moranding, Kilmore £5 0 0
George Robinson, Boccoflat, near Wedderburn £ 10 0 0
Ellen Walsh, Smythesdale £5 6 6

 £75 6 6
Subscription withdrawn at request of donor £2 0 0
Total amount of fund £77 6 6

The persons to whom sums have been awarded are requested to communicate with the general manager, Argus office, Melbourne, without delay, stating how the amounts due to whom can be most conveniently transmitted.
                                                                            The Argus Saturday 16 October 1875

Zachary PERRYMAN, son of Henry PERRYMAN and Elizabeth CLAYTON was born on 23 May 1824 in Dorney, Buckinghamshire, England. He died on 07 Jul 1888 in Korong Vale, Victoria, Australia. He married Ellen STOCK, daughter of John STOCK on 07 Jan 1849 in Southwark, England. She was born in 1823 in England. She died after Jun 1854 (Adelaide or Melbourne, Australia). He married Margaret KERR, daughter of William KERR and Mary PORTER on 01 Feb 1869 (Sandhurst, Victoria, Australia). Margaret was born in 1835 in Pontspass, ARM, Ireland. She died in May 1907 in Bellevue, Western Australia, Australia.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sepia Saturday: Installing the new boiler

Keith and Neil Phelan, brothers, returned from serving in the Pacific in WW2 and were at a bit of a loss for a while as to what to do next. It turned out all right in the end but one of their business ventures, in 1952, was to take over a company that had been owned by other family members. It was a cordial factory, Euroa Cordials. They closed it down after a year or two because it wasn't profitable.

Here are Neil (left) and Keith (right) watching cheerfully while their father's first cousin, Ford McKernan (also a returned serviceman), does all the hard work! They're installing a new boiler.

You can.see more blogs on the Sepia Saturday theme here

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The house in Little James Street

Just when you think you know it all something else pops out of the woodwork.

In 1850 William Chaundy was living in Victoria, Australia. (He had been jailed in Oxford, sentenced to transportation and arrived in Geelong in February 1849 -- but that's another story.) His wife, Rachel, and six children were living in Oxford, England and were a drain on the resources of their parish so when she applied to the Poor Law Commissioners to join her husband they agreed. The whole family arrived in Melbourne late in 1850.

The Electoral Roll of 1856 records that William had a house and land in Little James St, Richmond and working as a porter. He was still living there when he died in 1863. Rachel died there three years earlier.

Richmond Rate Book, 1862.
It describes the house as made of wood with two rooms.
Probate on William Chaundy's will in 1863 describes the property as having a frontage of twenty feet, 
a depth of eighty four feet and a three-roomed house in a bad state of repair. It was valued at 90 pounds.

Little James St, Richmond as it looks today - a narrow back lane with garage access for
 houses fronting other streets. (Google Maps street view)
William left the property to a son and two daughters and I have a copy of the paperwork generated in January 1878 when the son bought out the daughters' shares for ten pounds.

Now I hadn't actually been able to determine when William bought the property and I wondered how such a poor family could even afford it by 1856. I thought perhaps the gold rush that began in Victoria in 1852 may have been a factor but couldn't prove it.

So I was delighted yesterday to find a reference that filled in a few of the blanks. Early in 1852, just before the gold rush, one of William and Rachel's sons, William Henry Chaundy, sent a letter to a friend in Oxford and it was published in a newspaper there. He described how he was working on a large farm property near Ballarat and mentioned quite a few snippets about the family, including this:
My father, through our joint efforts, has a large piece of land, and a house built on it, at Collingwood, one mile from Melbourne.
[Extract from a letter written by William Henry Chaundy, in Victoria, to a friend in Oxford, England. Published in Jackson's Oxford Journal, Saturday, April 17, 1852.]

It appears that several members of the family were earning enough to contribute to the purchase of the property some time in the prior year or so. (It was actually at Richmond not nearby Collingwood.) William also explained that he and his brother were heading to the goldfields and we know from other sources that they were quite successful.

William CHAUNDY, son of Richard CHAUNDY and Jane ATKINS was born on 09 May 1806 in Stokenchurch, Oxfordshire, England (Stokenchurch was transferred to Buckinghamshire in 1896.). He died on 20 Jan 1863 in Richmond, Victoria, Australia. He married Rachel GREEN, daughter of Edward GREEN and Elizabeth HERRING on 06 Nov 1829 in St Lawrence, Reading, Berkshire, England. She was born on 25 Jun 1810 in Eastrop, Highworth, Wiltshire, England. She died on 20 Dec 1860 in Richmond, Victoria, Australia.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Trove Tuesday: In which Uncle is dangerously ill

Saturday August 4th, 1888
We have had bad news today, had a telegram from Sale saying that Uncle is dangerously ill, that Father is to go at once if he can. So Father went this afternoon. He can only get as far as Melbourne tonight, so he will not reach Sale till Monday. I do hope poor Uncle will soon be better I am sure; poor Auntie will be in trouble. Father has a long journey before him. I do hope he will not take colds. I trust he will have a safe journey down, and find them all better than expected, and a safe journey home.

Thursday August 9th.
We received a letter from dear old Dad, at last. He arrived safely on Monday, found Uncle very much better. All the rest are well. What a blessing. I am glad Uncle is better, I'm sure it is a good thing. Mr Hampton arrived the day after Father; poor Auntie would be glad to see her Father.

Monday August 13th.
Dear Father came home today, Mr Hampton came with him, Mary went down to the railway station to meet them.

Rhoda ANDREW was 19 years old and living with her parents and her older sister on a farm near Pyramid hill north of Bendigo when she wrote the above entries in her diary. Her 'dear old dad' is John ANDREW and her uncle is Daniel ANDREW.

I was somewhat surprised to find a newspaper report about the cause of Uncle Daniel's illness.

Gippsland Times, 10 Aug 1888
PS We're very lucky to have Rhoda's diary. She only wrote it for about a year but it has provided me with quite a few clues for my family history research. Sadly both Rhoda and her mother died within a few days of each other 11 years later in an influenza epidemic.

Daniel ANDREW, son of John Andrew SHAWLEY and Susannah RAY was born on 25 Mar 1845 in Great Gidding, England. He died on 04 Aug 1913 in Longford, Victoria, Australia. He married Elizabeth HAMPTON, daughter of George HAMPTON and Pamela FRANKLIN on 27 Jul 1868 in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. She was born on 29 Aug 1847 in Bath, SOM, England. She died on 27 Mar 1917.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sepia Saturday: Joy at Hepburn

Joy Phelan on a swing footbridge at Hepburn, Victoria c1938.
You can find more blogs on the Sepia Saturday's theme of 'bridges' here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Trove Tuesday: Ploughing a straight furrow

Wheel plough, Fife Folk Museum. (Image copyright Kim Traynor)
James and William Alford were brothers and they migrated together in February 1855 from Devonshire in England to South Australia. They were agricultural labourers in Devon and must have learned how to plough properly because both of them were very successful in ploughing competitions in South Australia and Victoria.

In the newspapers at Trove I've found quite a few articles detailing their successes and also those of William's sons, Thomas and George. Here's a taste.

James was living near Encounter Bay in South Australia when he entered this ploughing competition with a horse-drawn wheeled plough (similar to above) and took out first prize.

South Australian Register, 4 August 1855, p.3
Photo taken from Rosetta Head (the Bluff) west of Victor Harbor, showing the vicinity of the ploughing match.
The Fountain Inn mentioned above still exists. It's now a B&B called 'Yelki by the Sea'. James left South Australia and moved to Victoria. He also appears to have left farming and I can't find any other references to him as a ploughman. But his brother William was a farmer in Victoria and entered quite a few ploughing matches (Bendigo, Baringhup, Marong, Warragul, Buln Buln) as a competitor and was later a judge. Ploughing matches were very popular events in the 1800s.

Ploughing Competition. Powerhouse Museum collection (on Flickr)
Bendigo Advertiser, 25 June 1869
The Lennon plough used by Alford was made by Hugh Lennon's company in Melbourne. His single and double furrow ploughs were hugely popular and William Alford seems to have also liked them very much. [Ned Kelly also used one of his ploughs to make his metal armour.]

William ALFORD, son of Jacob ALFORD and Mary WEBBER was born in 1827 in George Nympton, Devon, England. He died on 15 Jul 1903 in Warragul, Victoria, Australia. He married Ann ROGERS, daughter of Philip ROGERS and Mary ? on 21 Mar 1851 in George Nympton, Devon, England. She was born in 1828 in Meshaw, Devon, England. She died on 05 Feb 1906 in Warragul, Victoria, Australia (At the home of George Henry Alford.).

James ALFORD, son of Jacob ALFORD and Mary WEBBER was born on 27 Jan 1832 in Devon, England. He died on 08 Sep 1895 in Ballan, Victoria, Australia. He married Honora FALLON, daughter of Owen FALLON and ? on 26 Oct 1855 in Encounter Bay, South Australia, Australia. She was born in 1833 in Sligo, Ireland. She died on 27 Feb 1880 in Parwan, Victoria, Australia. He married Elizabeth KELL, daughter of John KELL and Elizabeth AGNEW in 1882 in Victoria, Australia. She was born about 1845 in Ireland. She died on 29 Sep 1939 in Ballan, Victoria, Australia.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The unlucky shoemaker

Rural scene, Scotts Creek near Timboon
State Library of Victoria image

A fatal accident occurred in the Heytesbury forest yesterday, to a man named John Brown, some time a resident of Cobden, where he carried on business as a shoemaker. Brown had recently selected land in the forest, and yesterday was at work on his holding in Cooriejong, clearing the land, when in attempting to remove a large fallen tree by the aid of a lever, the tree slipped and fell on the unfortunate man, crushing him so severely that he died in the course of a short time. Information was given to the police, and the coroner being telegraphed for, Dr  Hinchcliffe proceeded last night to Cobden for the purpose of holding an inquest, which, however, owing to the non-arrival of the body detained by bad roads, has been postponed until this day. The Hampden Guardian, December 31, 1875
Sixty year old John Brown was a shoemaker in Cobden where he resided with his wife and family. He had selected a bit of land in the parish of Cooriejong* (present day Scotts Creek), had erected a hut there and had begun the process of clearing the land of timber. One day in late December 1875 he was cutting a branch when it struck him in the chest. His son Francis, who was only twelve years old, found him and went to neighbours, Robert Howard and William Marshall, for help. He was carried to the hut where he died two hours later. An inquest was held at Cobden two days later with John's body present as was case in those days.

Cooriejong parish is south of Cobden, Victoria
John's wife, Maryanne, was left with a young family, including Martha who was not quite two years old. She was working as a housekeeper when she married a local farmer four years later. We have no way of knowing now but it must have been a huge shock for her to suddenly find herself a widow with dependants. She had a few shocks in her life. To find out more about this accident-prone family click on 'Brown' in the label list in the side panel.

*Cooriejong is also called Corriejong in some sources.

John BROWN, son of John BROWN and Jane PORTER was born in 1815 in Tyrone, Ireland. He died on 29 Dec 1875 in Scotts Creek, Cooriejong, Victoria, Australia. He married Mary Ann HOWE, daughter of Francis HOWE and Ann WEAR on 14 Mar 1850 (St Peters, Melb, Victoria, Australia). She was born in 1834 in Dublin?, Ireland. She married 2. John Lee at Camperdown on 26 May 1879. She died on 13 Jan 1907 in South Ecklin, Victoria, Australia.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Trove Tuesday: Lost in the bush

It was early in the morning, sunrise, on a summer day in January 1861. William Cook had left home near Digby with his dray. His wife, Mary Ann, went out to tend to the corn in the garden. There were children still asleep in the house. One of them, Frances aged 2, woke up and wandered outside. Her mother returned to the house and found her missing. Neighbours and the police started looking for her. It was three days before Frances was found about six miles from home, dead, beside a waterhole on Pleasant Hills Station.

I gleaned all of the above facts from witness* reports of the inquest that was held at Murndal Station, a property near Pleasant Hills. The Coroner's finding was that Frances had died from exhaustion.

In Trove I found a newspaper advertisement, inserted by William Cook, asking people to look for his daughter. By the time it was published the body of young Frances had already been found.

Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser, 21 January 1861

There is a very good website that covers the early settlers of south western Victoria, and I was able to find a map there that shows the properties mentioned in the inquest (highlighted).

On Trove I also searched for information about Glenlivet station to try to work out exactly where the Cook family were living.
Leases Granted 
No. 198 - Duncan McRAE. Name of Run, Glenlivet. Estimated Area, 5300 acres. Estimated Grazing Capacity, 500 head cattle - 4000 sheep. Bounded on the east by the station of Messrs. George and Samuel WINTER and the Messrs. COLDHAM: on the south by Messrs. McLEAN and McRAEs station: on the west by A. ROSEs station, and on the north by Francis HENTYs station: all the boundaries being settled or determined lines. Port Phillip Gazette, 1849, page 147.
* The following were witnesses at the inquest: Thomas McEvoy (Constable at Digby);
Archibald McArthur, Overseer, Ardgarton; William Cooker, stock keeper of Digby ; Mary Ann Cook, mother; John Maclean, shepherd of Ardgarton; Thomas Mark, farmer of Murndal

Frances Merino COOK, daughter of William COOK and Mary Ann PRICE was born on 15 Apr 1858 in Merino, Victoria, Australia. She died on 16 Jan 1861 in Digby, Victoria, Australia.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The women tuck up their skirts

A night's haul of mice, Minyip, 1917
We have a photo in an old photo album. It shows my ancestor (at right) and three barrows full of mice. Robert Wyllie was a wheat farmer near Minyip in Victoria's Wimmera district. In the autumn and winter of 1917 the mice built up to huge numbers, millions, and there are articles in the newspapers of the day about how to protect wheat reserves in silos and stacks. Sowing the crop was also a problem as the mice ate the seed in the soil. The mouse plague was bad in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales and cost the farmers and the governments millions of pounds.

Ararat Advertiser 5 April 1917
I couldn't find many articles about women trying to keep mice out of their homes but I know they were impossible to keep out. Imagine! This quote is from one report:
We are having a visitation of mice. They swarm in the paddocks, and the little creatures are swarming with fleas, and they invade the house, bringing their companions with them. Dan complains that a mouse has mullenized* a patch in his whiskers while he slept! After that, uneasy lies our head. They rob the roses from the curtains, they nibble mats and rugs, they borrow our books leaf by leaf, and have made a library of their own in which we commonly find a nest of wee pink quadrants. The men wear 'yorks'** to prevent the invader mounting, the women tuck up their skirts, and when sitting keep up a constant movement with their feet; but this tapping of the foot is common to bush women, for there is continual necessity of warding off small life. The Register, Adelaide, 4 May 1917
I have added the photo, above, to the National Library's Flickr group so it now shows up on Trove's search page when you search 'mouse plague'. Those keywords turns up other amazing photos on Trove as well.

* Pending the development of an effective machine, a technique known as mullenizing (after a farmer from Wasleys named Charles Mullens) became popular as a means of clearing the scrub. Mullenizing involved dragging a heavy roller over roughly cleared ground to crush young shoots; the field was then burnt, and a spiked log was run over the ground, and a crop of wheat sown. The next season, the stubble and any mallee regrowth was again burnt, and eventually the mallee died, though stumps remained underground. Wikipedia

**  I can't find a definition for 'yorks'. I wonder if it means knickerbockers, or a clip around the bottom of the trouser legs.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A bread and milk poultice was applied

This is the next instalment in the series about the accident-prone Brown family. You can read my previous blogs about the deaths of three siblings Isabella, David and James. This blog is about their brother John.

In April 1858 the mother, Mary Ann Brown, was 24 years old. She had already given birth to four children, one of whom had died, and she was six months pregnant with her fifth. Some time in the last year the family had moved from Geelong to Camperdown where the father, John, worked as a bootmaker.

One day Mary Ann put the water on to boil to wash up the dinner things. Her eldest child took the pot off the fire and put it on the floor and little John, less than two years old,  stepped backwards and fell sitting in the pot. The father removed him immediately and applied salad oil and a bread and milk poultice to the scald that extended over his buttocks, back and chest. He was later given a dose of castor oil. But baby John died two days later after a fit. The parents didn't call in a doctor because they "did not think the scald to be serious". The Coroner and jury at the inquest brought a finding of accidental death with no blame attached to the parents.

Mary Ann's next baby, born three months later, was also named John.

John BROWN, son of John BROWN and Mary Ann HOWE was born 1856 in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. He died on 05 Apr 1858 Leura Marsh, Camperdown, Victoria, Australia. Inquest: John stepped backwards and sat in a pot of boiling water that had just been taken off the stove. His father applied salad oil and a milk poultice but he died two days later.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A lecture, or four

I couldn't pass up the opportunity the hear a world-class researcher deliver four lectures in the course of the day. The Genealogical Society of Victoria organised the event, Michael Gandy was the guest. Michael is editor of the Genealogist (the magazine of the UK Society of Genealogists), author, researcher and member of AGRA (Association of Genealogists and Researchers), and, as we discovered, raconteur.

It was a brilliant day. Michael talked about 18th century English records for the conformists and non-conformists, the Irish, the poor, the Catholics. Here are some of the things I learned or was reminded about:

  • a lot of Irish records are in England
  • be flexible about religion, ethnicity and spelling of surnames
  • a third of the British army soldiers were Irish, Scottish or Catholics.
  • being really poor may have been a temporary status due to illness, age, number of children to support, work availability
  • Settlement certificates were extremely important in Anglican parishes but not in Catholic parishes or in Ireland or Scotland.
  • the importance of proving the facts on your family tree, not just relying on family stories, old publications, local histories and old genealogies
  • 'of this parish' and 'of full age' on marriage records are unreliable
  • not to be judgmental about my ancestors' attitudes, actions and beliefs
  • don't assume stereotypes re class, mobility, disciple, religion
  • and much, much more
Michael's talks have provided me with ideas for future research and a timely reminder to be exact and accurate.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

We were robbed

Good news. Trove at NLA has scanned all of the early Geelong newspapers up to August 1856 (local historian, Susie, has written a blog with the exact details). This is good news because so many of Victoria's early residents lived in or passed through Geelong, and those years also cover the early period of the goldrush.

So I thought I'd do a quick search to check it out. My keyword was 'John Brown'! Can you believe it? John and Mary Ann Brown lived in Geelong in the early 1850s and John was a bootmaker. I wasn't expecting a result but I struck gold of a different sort. There were three separate reports:
19 Feb 1853 Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer
POLICE OFFICE. Friday, 18th February. Before his Worship the Mayor and the Police Magistrate. ROBBING A TENT. Giles Fuller and George Sirridge were placed before the bench, under the following circumstances: Constable O'Connell deposed--That in consequence of information he received on Thursday last, he apprehended the prisoner Fuller for robbing a tent situated near the Breakwater, and upon receiving further information he proceeded to the Retreat Inn, South Geelong, and there took possession of a pair of boots and a sword-stick, now produced, which were alleged to have been stolen from a Mrs Brown by the prisoner Fuller and sold on behalf of Serridge. James Hale, residing at South Geelong, deposed -- That he purchased a pair of boots from the prisoner Fuller; cannot swear to the boots, but the boots now produced greatly resembled them. This witness giving his evidence in a very careless manner, was severely admonished by the Bench, who were about to commit him for contempt of court. Owing to the owner of the property, Brown, being absent, the prisoners were remanded until Tuesday next.

23 Feb 1853 Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer, p1

POLICE OFFICE. Tuesday, 22nd February. Before His Worship the Mayor, and Alexander Thomson, Esq.
ROBBING A TENT. The two men, George Surridge and Giles Fuller, who stood remanded from last week for robbing the tent of a person named Brown, situated near the Breakwater, were brought up for further examination. John Brown stated that about six weeks ago he left his tent at the Breakwater and started for the Diggings. On his return last week he found that various articles, consisting of boots, axes, sword sticks, &c., had been abstracted from the tent during his absence. His wife and a servant girl were in charge of the tent and its contents during his absence. The sword stick now produced is one that has been stolen from him, and valued at 15s. The boots produced are, to the best of his belief, his property. Cannot swear to their identity, but swears positively to the sword stick by a particular mark upon the cane. Mrs Mary Ann Brown, wife of the last witness, deposed that her husband left town for the Diggings about six weeks ago, and returned after being three weeks absent. His boots being worn out on his return, he desired witness to bring him a pair of new ones that were supposed to be in the tent. On searching the tent, the boots were not to be found, and she subsequently discovered that various other articles had been taken away. On one occasion during her husband's absence, the wife of the prisoner Fuller came to her tent to purchase some articles. The property that was afterwards missing was at that time safe in a large chest which stood outside the tent. Her servant girl left her service about a week after Mrs Fuller called. The chest was not locked, but guarded by two fierce dogs which never permitted strangers to go near without giving an alarm. Mr Francis Balfour, landlord of the Retreat Inn, South Geelong., deposed that he bought the sword stick, now produced, from the prisoner, Fuller, about a fortnight ago, for which he paid 15s. Fuller offered, also, a pair of boots for sale but witness declined purchasing. Fuller did not say from whom he procured the sword stick. Loveridge was not present when this occurred. Both prisoners were working for witness in painting his premises, &c. Cross-examined by Mr Combe - Swears positively by a certain mark now observable upon the cane of the sword stick that the one now produced is the same he bought from Fuller. Contracted with George Surridge for the painting of his premises, and Fuller was employed under Surridge. Constable McConnell deposed that from information ho received last week he proceeded to the Retreat Inn, South Geelong, when Mrs Balfour, wife of the last witness, handed him the sword- stick now produced, and put a particular mark upon it, to enable her to identify the property again; obtained the pair of boots from a person of the name of Hale, who was working under Surridge, who obtained them from the prisoner Fuller in consideration of 20s which was owing to him by Surridge and Fuller. James Hale being sworn, corroborated the evidence of this witness, and further added that Fuller had been engaged some time in disposing boots to the extent of several pairs to his knowledge; he always obtained 20s per pair, and on one occasion was seen with a gunny bag stacked full of the same kind of boots ; Surridge was not present. Cross-examined by Mr Combe - Saw Mr Balfour pay Fuller 15s for a stick at the same time that witness bought the boots; the boots were taken out of a bag, and paid for by Mrs Balfour on account of money that was due to witness on the part of Surridge; Surridge and Fuller were understood by witness to be partners in business. Mary Fuller, wife of one of the prisoners, deposed, that the prisoner Surridge had lived together with her and her husband. Examined by the Prosecutor - Has heard Surridge say that the goods stolen from the tent had all been sold, and the money divided ; Surridge also informed her that the boots which he and her husband sold were stolen from Brown's tent - this was about three weeks ago; the conversation took place between Brown's tent and the New Jail. The case was again remanded until this day week, for further evidence.

29 Apr 1853 Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer, p1, p3

Thursday, 28th April. Before His Honor Mr. Justice Barry. CRIMINAL SITTINGS. The following Jury were impannelled:-J. Cumming, R. Betts, James Black, B. Martin, S. Ball, J. Bond, J. Bray, E. Baxton, J. Bristowe, B. Bragshawe, T. Benmore, J. Buck.
ROBBING A TENT. George Fuller, was indicted for robbing the Tent of John Brown, pitched near the Breakwater, on the 1st February. Brown deposed, that he was a shoe-maker by trade, that in January last he left his wife, family, and property in a tent over the Breakwater, and proceeded to the Daisy Hill Diggings. On his return, at the beginning of February, he desired his wife to hand him a new pair of boots, out of a quantity which he had deposited in the tent, in a large chest with other property. Upon proceeding to take the boots from this chest, it was found that the whole of them were missing, and also some sword sticks, and other property. This witness entered into a long explanation, with a view of establishing the innocence of the prisoner, Fuller, whom he assured the Court had been the victim of the dishonest practice of a man named Surridge. Mrs Brown, wife of the last witness, stated that the boots and sword sticks, now produced, were safe in the chest a few days prior to her husband's arrival from the Diggings. About a week before he returned, witness sold a pair of these boots to the prisoner at the bar, for which he paid cash. Mr. F. Balfour deposed, that in January last he bought a sword stick, the one now produced, from the prisoner at the bar, for which he paid 15s. He also offered witness some boots for sale. Witness did not purchase any of the boots, but a person present bought one pair out of four which the prisoner had, for which he paid 10s. The Jury enquired of Brown, what was the fair value of the boots, and was informed 20s. per pair. The prisoner, when called upon for his defence, observed, that he had been led into the affair by the villainy of a man named Surridge, who had a criminal correspondence with his wife, and who had given him directions where to obtain the property, and to hand him over the proceeds. By the Jury to Brown.-Paid the sum of £5, to Sergeant McConnell, of the Police Force, for apprehending the prisoner. Did not himself put the notification in the newspaper offering the reward. Believes that Surridge caused the advertisement to appear in print, offering a reward of £5 for the apprehension of Fuller. His Honor said the case was one of common larceny, the jury would decide themselves whether the statement of the prisoner, was entitled to credit. They would take into consideration the facts which occasionally occur of designing men concocting robberies, and making an innocent person a victim to their evil designs. On the other hand, the jury would remember that, when the prisoner entered the Inn, for the disposal of the property, he did not explain where he got it, or whose property it was, or on whose behalf he was disposing of it, also the circumstance that the boots sold were sold for less than half their value. If any reasonable doubt, however, remained upon the minds of the jury, they would give the prisoner the benefit. The jury acquitted the prisoner, who was ordered to be detained as a witness.
ROBBERY IN A TENT. John Surridge was indicted for robbing the tent of John Brown, situated near the breakwater, on the 1st February. John Brown deposed that he left certain property, consisting of boots, sword sticks, &c., in charge of his wife, in January last, and proceeded to the diggings; upon his return, he found that a considerable portion of this property had been stolen during his absence. Mary Ann Brown stated that when her husband returned from the diggings, in February last, six pair of boots, three sword sticks, and a quantity of shot were found to have been taken out of the tent occupied by her, near the breakwater; did not remember seeing the prisoner at the bar in her tent. George Fuller being sworn, stated that in January last he was in the employment of the prisoner Surridge as a painter and glazier; that about that time the prisoner requested him to sell certain boots and sword sticks, which he said belonged to him; witness obtained this property from a box kept in an outhouse of the Retreat Inn; the proceeds of these goods was handed over by the prisoner, in the presence of his (Fuller's) wife. Mary Ann Fuller corroborated this latter part of the evidence; also, that she bought a pair of the boots, on account of her husband, from Mrs. Brown, for which she paid 23s. Mr. Francis Balfour deposed that he bought the sword stick now produced, from the witness, Fuller. The prisoner at the bar was at this time engaged in painting witness's house; Fuller did not state whose property he was selling, or on whose behalf. The prisoner entered into a very lengthened explanation of his conduct, but which, appearing to have neither beginning nor end, could not have operated with the court either in favor or against his interest. His Honor summed up, observing that the prisoner had put forward a long statement, imputing the basest motives to the witness, Fuller. This man had been tried as an accomplice in the robbery, and had been acquitted by the jury; his testimony was therefore entitled to belief; one part of it had been supported by the evidence of his wife, who distinctly stated that she saw her husband, on a certain occasion, pay over a sum of money to the prisoner, as the proceeds of the property he had disposed of, on his account. The jury found the prisoner guilty and he was sentenced to twenty calendar months hard labour on the roads of the colony.
It appears that John and Mary Ann were robbed and there was a court case, the details of which were published in the newspaper. It has provided me with information that I didn't have before (see below)and opens up more research possibilities.

      * They were living in a tent at Breakwater near South Geelong.
      * John went to look for gold at Daisy Hill, south of Maryborough.
      * He kept a sword-stick! I wonder why.
      * They employed a servant girl.
      * They kept two fierce dogs to guard their property.
      * He kept a supply of boots to sell, worth 20s a pair.

John BROWN, son of John BROWN and Jane PORTER was born in 1815 in Tyrone, Ireland. He was a shoemaker. He died on 29 Dec 1875 in Scotts Creek, Corriejong, Victoria, Australia. He married Mary Ann HOWE, daughter of Francis HOWE and Ann WEAR on 14 Mar 1850 (St Peters, Melb, Victoria, Australia). She was born in 1834 in Dublin?, Ireland. After John's death she married John LEE. She died on 13 Jan 1907 in South Ecklin, Victoria, Australia.

This is what a sword-stick looks like - a walking stick that contains a sword. They are now illegal.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Trove Tuesday: In which James falls off his bicycle

This is the next installment in a series about the accident-prone Brown family of Cobden. In previous posts here and here I wrote about two siblings who drowned in separate incidents. This time I tell the story of another sibling, James Wear Brown, who died at the age of 52. It appears that he was riding down a hill to work in Cobden, turned sharply to avoid a vehicle and fell off his bike. He died a week later as a result of the injuries.

The Argus, 10 January 1925, digital scan from Trove.
James and Agnes Brown, wedding photo 1900
Man faking fall from bicycle, SLV collection Image H84.201/90 accessed via Trove 'pictures, photos, objects'
James Wear BROWN, son of John BROWN and Mary Ann HOWE was born on 14 Feb 1872 in Cobden, Victoria, Australia. He died on 15 Jan 1925 Camperdown Hospital, Victoria, Australia as a result of injuries to head and mouth when he fell off a bicycle. He married Agnes Eleanor SPRUCE, daughter of James SPRUCE and Caroline FRANCIS on 19 Dec 1900 (St Mary's C of E, Cobden, Victoria, Australia). She was born on 22 Jul 1884 in Apsley, Victoria, Australia. She died on 04 Aug 1955 Austin Hospital, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Trove Tuesday: In which Isabella drowns

This is the story about what happened to Isabella Brown*. When she was about 15 years old she went to work for the Stack family who were farmers at South Purrumbete and she had been there for almost a year. Her older brother, David, had drowned a few years earlier in the same district. (I told his story in a previous blog.)

On Christmas Day, 1880, Isabella went out to the well to get some water and apparently fell in and drowned. She was 'quite dead' when her body was brought up from the well. The local newspaper published the proceedings of the inquest in great detail and I was able to access it on the Trove website. Isabella's mother had been widowed five years earlier and Isabella was the fifth of her twelve children to die. This was the fourth inquest held for a member of her family. I'll write about the others another time.

Camperdown Chronicle, 31 Dec 1880
This is the full transcript of the newspaper report.
A magisterial enquiry was held at South Purrumbete on Sunday, the 26th of December, on the body of Isabella Brown, domestic, servant, who was drowned on Christmas Day by falling down a well.
The following evidence was taken:
Bridget Fitzgerald Stack deposed :—I am a married woman living with my husband at Purrumbete. I know the deceased, Isabella Brown; she has been living with me as a servant for the last eleven months. I last saw her alive between 4 and 5 p.m. yesterday (Christmas Day.) I had occasion to go into the garden, as the pigs had got in and were damaging the garden; the gate was left open. I called out for deceased, as I did not see her. Looked round by the well, which is about 50 yards from the garden gate. I saw but one bucket at the well, when it is usual for the deceased to take two for water. The bucket was full of water. I looked down the well, and saw the deceased's bonnet floating in the water. I then ran for my husband, who was about 200 yards, away in the paddock driving calves to water. He came, we looked down, but could not see her. He went for help, and I remained. Deceased must have been about 30 minutes gone for the water from the time she went to the well till I went to look for her. She is about 15 years of age. Her parents reside at Scott's Creek, near Cobden.
John Stack deposed :—I am a farmer residing at Purrumbete—husband to the previous witness. I know the deceased; she has been living with us for the past 11 months. I last saw her alive about 4 p.m. on Christmas Day last. About this time I went into the paddock to drive the calves to water, when I heard my wife screaming out that the deceased was drowned down the well. I looked into the well, which is covered with loose slabs, and is about 25 feet deep, and contains at present fifteen feet of water. I could not see anything of the deceased but her bonnet on the top of the water. I then ran for assistance to my nearest neighbour, Michael Nehill and James Forster, farmers, and then assisted to get her up with a long pole. Mr. Forster put a nail through the top, and hooked her dress by the side. She was quite dead, and in my opinion must have been drowned half an hour.
Michael Nehill deposed:—l am a farmer residing at Punumbete, near Mr. Brown, since she came to Mr. Stack's. I last saw her alive two days before Christmas Day last. About 5 p.m. yesterday John Stack came to my place, and appeared to be in a depressed state. He said the girl was in the waterhole. I told him to go and get James Forster, and I would go across to the hole or well. I did so, and saw Mrs. Stack standing there. I saw no sign of the deceased except a bonnet. Stack and Forster came, and I assisted them to get her up. She was quite dead.
James Forster deposed:—l am a farmer residing near Stack's, at Purrumbete. I have known the deceased for the past eleven months. I last saw her alive about three weeks ago. Between 5 and 6 p.m. yesterday John Stack came to my place and said the girl was drowned in the well—that the bucket was on the bank and she was not there. I immediately went with Stack, and tied three poles together and put a large nail at the top, and pulled her up out of the bottom of the well. She was quite dead. We did not use any means to restore life, as I knew from experience that she had been drowned too long.
The presiding magistrate (Mr. Thomas Shenfield, J.P.) returned a verdict that the deceased was "accidentally drowned,'' and at the same time drew attention to the unsafe condition of the covering of Mr. Stack's well.

Camperdown Chronicle, 31 December 1880, p2

*Isabella BROWN, daughter of John BROWN and Mary Ann HOWE was born on 11 Nov 1866 in Cobden, Victoria, Australia. She died on 25 Dec 1880 in Purrumbete, Victoria, Australia. Inquest: 31 Dec 1875. (On Christmas Day Isabella, aged 15, drowned in a well when she was getting water. She was working as a domestic servant at John and Bridget Stack's house at Purrumbete. She had been working there for eleven months.) Father: John BROWN was born in 1815 in Tyrone, Ireland. He died on 29 Dec 1875 in Scotts Creek, Cooriejong, Victoria, Australia. Mother: Mary Ann HOWE, was born in 1834 in Dublin, Ireland. She died on 13 Jan 1907 in South Ecklin, Victoria, Australia.


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