Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sepia Saturday: Caravans

The theme photo for this week's Sepia Saturday suggests birds, beasts, caravans, travelling, ladders etc. I'm going with caravans.

Phil and Alan and the family's bondwood (3ply) caravan, c1953
Phil with his mum and dad, aunt and grandma, same van, early 1950s.
So 60 years later that kid gets his own van. We've just ordered a new caravan and will pick it up in about six weeks. It has more bells and whistles than the one above! Australia here we come.

Phil and I both come from families that enjoyed caravanning and we have done quite a bit ourselves (in borrowed vans). But now we have our own, and we'll be joining the thousands of other 'grey nomads' circumnavigating this country and heading north for the winter. Hopefully I'll be able to add more birds to my Australian list, take many photos of landscapes, plants and fungi, make contact with lots of relatives on our family tree to glean snippets of information and photos to add to my database, write lots of blogs about our travels and upload photos to Flickr. Sometimes we'll stay home to play with the grandkids and pull the garden back into order, and do a bit of work to pay for the next holiday.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sepia Saturday: A lady with style

This week's Sepia Saturday theme is human faces. I'm posting just one photo this week. I love the strength in Grace's face and she seems very self-assured, and confident in her dress style.

Grace Leed
Great-great aunt Grace Leed was born 1860 on the goldfields of Specimen Hill near Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia. Her father was Robert Leed and her mother Helen Jackson The family moved to Eaglehawk, a gold mining town, when she was about four years old. Her father worked as an engineer in a stamping battery. Three of her siblings died as children, six survived to adulthood, and both her parents died before she turned thirty.

She married John McKenzie in 1881 and then Robert McKay in 1907 and died 1915 in Caulfield, Victoria. She had no children but cared for nieces and nephews at various times, in particular the two young sons of her brother David when he was widowed (until he remarried).

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Trove Tuesday: A deaf and blind cricketer

Every Chaundy in Australia is related to me. In fact, every Chaundy in the world probably. This family originated in a small village in Oxfordshire, England called Ascott-Under-Wychwood and there don't appear to be any others so it's been relatively easy to document them.

So who was Richard Chaundy the deaf and dumb cricketer? I've no idea where he fits in on my tree. Richard is definitely a family name so that's not a surprise. And the location of Prahran in Melbourne is not a surprise either because various family members lived in that area. According to the article below young Richard was five years old in 1924 and was deaf and dumb. If only the mother's first name had been added in the report (sigh).

Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 - 1954), Wednesday 2 April 1924, page 6
I'm presuming that this is the same Richard playing cricket in the deaf and dumb competitions in Adelaide in 1936 and in Hobart in 1938. I read in one online report that the first recorded deaf and dumb cricket match was played between Victoria and South Australia in December 1894. 

The West Australian  30 Dec 1936
The Mercury 27 Dec 1938
I'd be delighted to hear from anyone who knew Richard or who knows where he fits into the Chaundy family tree.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sepia Saturday: Off the rails

I didn't have any photos of upsidedown people for this week's Sepia Saturday theme so I went with the railing instead. But then, any photo would have done because we're 'down under' anyway here in Aus.

Shirley and Mary Alford (somewhere in Adelaide I think)
All aboard a ship to somewhere
Mum, my siblings and me (on the left), in front of our farm house. All dressed up, so it must have been Sunday.
Phil in his 'cage'. There's no way my kids would have been happy about  being put in one of these.
Mary and friend
Now you can wander over to the webpage to see what other Sepians have done with the theme.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Trove Tuesday: In which two cousins are shot

In 1855 two brothers, William and James Alford, migrated together from Devon to Australia. Coincidentally each had a son who died of gunshot wounds.

One brother, William, was living with his family at Woodstock on Loddon in central Victoria and his oldest son, William John was 18 years old. Apparently William John was working nearby as a woodsplitter at Shelbourne (cutting timber for a bridge) when he picked up his gun by the muzzle and it caught on a log and shot him in the stomach. He didn't die immediately and was able to tell his father and others what had happened so his workmate, George Cousins, wasn't implicated in his death.

William John Alford's inquest
 Bendigo Advertiser  23 June 1871
The other brother, James, was living with his family at Maddingly near Bacchus Marsh in central Victoria in 1884 when his third-born son, Edward, died of gunshot wounds. Edward, who was 25 years old and a butcher, was working on a property at Arundel near Keilor north of Melbourne when he met up with a fishing group and led them to where hares were plentiful. As they were walking Cornelius Clancy's gun caught in his clothes and discharged, killing Edward Alford almost immediately. Clancy was arrested but later released.

Edward Alford, accidental death.
 Kerang Times and Swan Hill Gazette,  28 Nov 1884
In Trove it's worth checking all the newspaper reports available because they don't always write exactly the same information. In this case one report mentioned that two of the fishing party were women, and another report mentioned that Clancy was discharged.

Edward Alford's accidental death
 Evelyn Times and South and East Bourke Record, 28 Nov 1884 
Edward Alford's inquest
 Bendigo Advertiser, 26 Nov 1884

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sepia Saturday: holiday postcards

Cigarette dispensers, cigarette advertising, smoking. Hmmm. Can't follow the theme this week for Sepia Saturday with a photo from my family albums - I can't find a single photo with anyone smoking! But I have got a few postcards sent to a relative early in the 1900s. Smoking? Tick. Sepia? Uh, uh :(

Now you could wander over to the Sepia Saturday page to see what others made of the theme this week.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Martha Taylor the midwife

Martha Taylor nee Brown is my great-grandmother. She grew up on a farm near Cobden in south-western Victoria and married Henry Taylor in 1893 when she was 19 years old.

Henry was a vegetable grower, a market gardener, and they lived at South Ecklin west of Cobden, then Cobden, also Lismore and in the Rochester district of northern Victoria. Ecklin is good farming country now but in those days the farmers had to clear an awful lot of trees and undergrowth off the land before they could start ploughing - it was hard work. And Martha worked hard too because she produced eight children and raised them all successfully. In doing so she must have learned a lot about childbirth and put the knowledge to good use by becoming a registered midwife. As far as I can work out she was a midwife for well over twenty years, using her own home as a 'private hospital'.

Martha Brown and Henry Taylor, 1893
Martha Taylor, Sylvester St, Cobden, with her chooks (chickens) and house cow.
The house in the background was her private hospital.
My friend Pam found the following entry for me when she was doing some indexing. I hadn't realised that midwives had to be registered.

Victorian Government Gazette, 26 May 1930.
It lists Martha Taylor as a registered midwife, her address, the date of her original registration (1918)
and the fact that she was involved in midwifery in 1913 (code 14b).
And I found this notice in the local newspaper report about council correspondence in 1917. Martha's residence is approved as a private hospital.
Camperdown Chronicle 15 Sep 1917
Martha (2nd r) and Henry Taylor (l) with family members in mid 1930s.
Martha Taylor with her daughter Dorothy Wyllie, my grandmother.
I wonder what sort of person Martha was. In the photos she looks very stern. She had dealt with some very sad events in her life, but she had also cared for a number of foster children as well as her own so must have been generous by nature I think. And I'd love to have a chat with her because I reckon she'd have some stories to tell.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Monday is washing day

Sunday Jan 15th.
A terribly hot day; wind blowing, dust flying, everywhere so hot and disagreeable. Mr Cock preached here today, a splendid service; Matthew 2, 11.

Monday Jan 16th. Washing day.

Tuesday Jan 17th.
Ironing day. 

It was 1888. Rhoda Andrew was 18 years old when she wrote those words in her diary. She was living with her parents and older sister on a wheat farm in central Victoria. Her simple life revolved around corresponding and socialising with friends and relations, attending church, helping her father on the farm and her mother with housework. She kept a diary for about 18 months and I've used it to glean bits and pieces of family history, but with these entries I'm highlighting her daily life.

Weatherboard cottage c1900.  This was a town house in NSW but country farm houses were very similar.
Rhoda is complaining about the weather and the only thing she finds to write about on Monday and Tuesday is the washing and ironing she has to do. The Bendigo Advertiser report confirms the hot temperature for Sunday 15 January 1888, about 107 degrees F (42 C). Bendigo is south of where Rhoda lived near Pyramid Hill. 

Bendigo Advertiser, 16 January 1988
Can you imagine Rhoda in her long-sleeved floor-length dress slaving over a copper washing tub and a fire to heat the water, and wooden scrubbing board? (I wonder when wringers were invented.) If you had called her workspace a laundry she wouldn't have known what you were talking about. She would have called it a wash house and it was usually a separate building from the house. And nearby would have been the clothes line suspended between trees or props with a forked branch handy to lower and raise the line as required.

Can you see her heating the flat irons on a hot wood-burning stove? And then, poor girl, she had to do it all again the following week. 
Flat irons on the stove. Source unknown. Copied off the web a while ago.
I've written about Rhoda's diary previously here, and will probably blog more of it in the future.

Trove Tuesday: Dunmunkle Parish

I remember years ago spending days at the Public Record Office (PRO) in Victoria trying to track down the properties that various ancestors selected in the 1800s.

We first had to locate the parish maps and that led to the wonderful selection files that are held at the PRO. It wasn't easy to find the appropriate maps - some editions of the maps didn't include the famous fraction and without the fraction it was very difficult to access the selection files. The fraction? If you look at allotment 48 on the map below you can see in the bottom left a number 5735 over 19. That was the magic number that led to the selection papers of my great-great-grandfather, William George Smith. W G Smith and his wife Sarah Alice (nee Hillgrove) lived all their married lives on this property. Their home there was called 'Eulong'.

Part of Dunmunkle Parish, County of Borung, Victoria, Feb. 1880
Online at State Library of Victoria. Accessed from a link at Trove.
The same area today, entirely cultivated for crops. Google Maps.
So if William George (known as George) owned the land why does the map show Mary Smith as the owner?

Mary was George's sister and so was Alice Rebecca Smith whose name is on the allotment next door. Both girls and several brothers selected land in the parish at the same time as their father Ephraim when the family moved to the Wimmera district from Warrnambool in the 1870s. Anyone over the age of 18 years was able to select a maximum of 320 acres so that meant the girls could apply. George wasn't old enough. The family members would have all worked as a team on all of the land parcels. There were strict government regulations to comply with including improvements, enclosing, clearing and cultivation, as well as a requirement that they live on the land.  In 1892 Mary transferred the lease on allotment 48 to her brother George.

The dry bed of Dunmunkle Creek. Copyright David Craker
See that wriggly line on the left side of the map? That's Dunmunkle Creek. When the Smiths first moved to the area Ephraim's wife Elizabeth went looking for the creek, in vain. It looks like this most of the time - not exactly a reliable water supply.

Today the parish maps are easy to find. I found the Dunmunkle Parish map on a link via Trove to the State Library of Victoria's website. If you know where to look they are also on the PRO's website. Not so easy is accessing the selection files. You have to go to the PRO in person for those but it's worth it. They are little goldmines. It's amazing to be able to hold in your hand, as I did, a letter written by an ancestor 120 years ago explaining to 'the government' that he wouldn't be able to pay his lease because the crop failed.


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