Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Trove Tuesday: In which Thomas is awarded a medal for bravery

Over the past decade or more I've been trying to track down several of my husband's great (whatever) uncles. I have records of their early lives and then they just disappear. Unfortunately their surname is Carter so when I google them or search on Trove I get lots of occupation records, and even when I use the double quotes to include their first names I get too many matches.

Nevertheless I keep trying. And I managed to get another snippet when I searched Trove with a name and last known location in Victoria.

It turns out that Thomas Carter was awarded a bronze medal for bravery in 1876. The newspaper report was quite detailed.

The Argus (Melbourne) 28 April 1876

So, apart from the description of the rescue I was able to glean the name of his flour mill (I already knew he had one and that he had selected land in the area), that he was an auctioneer and that he was a general agent. I also found him a year or so later involved in a court case with his brother-in-law (my husband's ancestor) over debts, and some advertisements when he was declared a bankrupt. But after that? Nothing.

I've never actually been to Lake Cooper or Corop between Rochester and Shepparton in central Victoria but I found a photo on the web. I think the lake has water in it at the moment but when we had the decade-long drought in the noughties it was bone dry. From the newspaper report I'd say there used to be more reeds growing around the edge.

Lake Cooper, Corop
The Victorian Humane Society had only been established a year or two earlier (following a tragic instance of bravery) and still exists under a different name (The Royal Humane Society of Australasia). They have a webpage here that provides some of the history. And a book has been published that lists the recipients of the medals over the years but it's not in my local library so I'll have to have a look at the state library's copy. 

7000 Brave Australians: A history of the Royal Humane Society of Australasia, 1874-1994, Edited by Colin Bannister 
I can't find an image of the bronze medal on the web. I wonder if Thomas' still exists somewhere.

Thomas CARTER, son of Joseph CARTER and Ann TURNER, was born in 1834 in Billingshurst, England. He died after 1882 (in Australia?). No evidence that he married or had descendants.


  1. Great find with this! I too have had some success with Humane society awards but with an ancestor being rescued. I know exactly what you mean about searching for Carter...the same thing happens to me with Partridge!

  2. I understand your searching issues. I research both Waters and Merchant.

  3. Hi I've been searching information on my family history and I've found out that my great great whatever is Joseph carter the father of your Thomas carter! Have you found anymore information we could share?

  4. Ive been searching information on my family history too and I've discovered that my great great whatever is Joseph carter the father of your Thomas carter!

    1. Hi Chelsea. It's really good to hear from you. I'd love to correspond with you - you'll find my email address in the 'About me' box at the top right of the blog. My husband is descended from Joseph and Ann's daughter Elizabeth (Sims) so if you click on Sims in the 'labels' box in the right panel you'll see more blogs re your relatives.


I love to read your comments. Thankyou for your interest.



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