Monday, September 23, 2013

Trove Tuesday: In which boys wear frocks and lace collars.

I have a few photos in my family albums, taken around the early 1900s, in which the boys wear frocks and lace collars. In some instances, where the children aren't named, I can't decide whether they are boys or girls.

In 2013 we look at such photos with amusement, try and fail to imagine our lively grandsons or sons wearing those types of clothes. But I'm guessing that in 100 years time their descendants will look at the photos of today and have a giggle as well.

Duncan and Susannah Hillgrove, early 1900s in Victoria. Is the younger child a boy or a girl?
The two boys in this photo are cousins of the children in the first photo. Luckily this photo has names attached so there is no confusion.

William and Albert Hillgrove, sons of John and Sarah Hillgrove, c1904 in Victoria.
In Trove I found this country newspaper article from the time. The fashion details are clearly described and illustrated and contemporaneous photos confirm that children were indeed dressed in dresses.

Warragul Guardian 17 Apr 1900, Victoria
A real photo postcard from Melbourne, early in the 1900s.
State Library of Victoria, accessed through Trove. Image H2005.34/1029
Taken at Warracknabeal, Victoria. 
Robert and Jeannetta Wyllie with their two sons Angus and Allan (my grandfather).
Wimmera, Victoria c1887
Young Boy on a Rocking Horse c1906, South Australia State Library File No. B69727_100

Friday, September 20, 2013

Sepia Saturday: Peace

There used to be a town called Mologa. It developed to serve the land selectors that started arriving in the 1870s. Now the shops, churches, school and post office have almost gone. But the War Memorial remains and it records the names of sons of those selectors who served in two world wars.

The two photos below have been taken from almost the same position and you can see in the first some of the buildings that used to be there in the 1920s. Great-uncle Ray Leed was killed in France and Great-uncle George Leed served in France. Both are named on the memorial. In fact for such a small community there are a lot of names on the memorial and this is repeated all over Australia.

Mologa war memorial (Alford family album)
War Memorial, Mologa (2013) Photo: Tim Fitzgerald
Most towns and cities in Australia erected memorials after the first world war and they still hold an important place in our culture. They are the focus point for the ceremonies that are held each year to celebrate the volunteers who left to serve overseas. And the communities also planted memorial avenues of trees, installed memorial boards in halls, clubs and workplaces and built memorial halls, bridges and so on. The war had a huge impact on the peace time that followed.

Not far away from Mologa is the town of Mitiamo. At the time of the first world war it was bigger and busier than it is now but it hasn't disappeared like Mologa has, and the community at Mitiamo also installed a memorial. I remember reading somewhere that this memorial is unusual in that it has a female sculpted figure - presumably she represents something or other and is not just there to look pretty. She seems to be holding a basket of fruit or vegetables.

Grandpa Roy Phelan (at right in the photo below) served in France in WW1 and his name is on the memorial. And so are the names of his two sons, Neil and Keith, who served in WW2.

Mitiamo war memorial (Phelan family album)
Mitiamo war memorial (Phelan family album)
The photo above is interesting because it records the German machine gun that was also installed at the memorial. It is no longer there and I believe it was stolen.

Mitiamo memorial as it looks now.
More information here:
and here:
The theme for this week's Sepia Saturday was peace, as in a campaign for peace, but I don't have any campaigners in my photo collection. So I went for the 'peace after war' idea.  I suggest you march on over to see what other Sepians have to say about peace.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Trove Tuesday: In which Gabriel wins Shire of Korong contracts

I think I'm in love... with Trove. Every time I check it comes up trumps. There's always something new and interesting in one of Australia's newspapers of long ago.

I've recently been to Wedderburn where my grandmother grew up, saw the house they lived in, saw the school she went to, the church the family attended. Myrtle's father, Gabriel Duckett, was a gold miner. I had previously thought that was his major occupation but now I'm not so sure because of several newspaper reports reporting that Gabriel was successful in applying to his local council for contracts.

In 1880 he won two contracts: to grub about 3 miles in the parish of Yeungroon for 10 pounds 5 shillings and to grub one and a half miles at Spring Hill for 5 pounds. This refers to roads and involves clearing tree stumps and timber.
Bendigo Advertiser 24 Sep 1880
In 1884 Gabriel wins a tender to light the lamps at Wedderburn for 2 shillings and 2 pence per lamp per week. They would have been the street lights fueled by kerosene. I wonder how many lamps there were.
Bendigo Advertiser 17 Dec 1884
Three years later he is not being paid as much to do the same job but this time the materials aren't mentioned so maybe the council supplied those.

Bendigo Advertiser 16 Dec 1887
A reproduction gas lamp, Uralla, NSW
In 1890 he was paid 17 pounds 17 shillings to paint the shire weighbridges. Presumably that was gross - he would have had to supply the paint himself.

Bendigo Advertiser 25 Nov 1890
And it wasn't only the shire that Gabriel sought contracts with. In 1888 he (with his father-in-law Zachary Perryman) was successful in gaining a contact with the Railway Department to supply 200 tons of firewood (cut into 2 ft lengths) to the Korong Vale railway station.

The Argus 26 Sep 1888
All of this physical work is making me tired - mining for gold, cutting timber, lighting lamps, grubbing stumps, painting weighbridges - as well as maintenance jobs around the house. Gabriel must have been very busy. But I also know for sure that Sunday was a rest day because the Duckett family were all members of the Church of Christ in Wedderburn.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sepia Saturday: Winding the wool

This is something you don't see any more but I remember standing with my arms held wide holding taut a skein of wall while my nana or mother wound a ball of wool. This is uncle Gibson Phelan doing the same in the 1920s. I was reminded of this photo when I saw the theme photo for this week's Sepia Saturday - a lady sewing or mending a flag. 

Gibson Phelan assists in the winding of the wool.
Hand crafts are changing or disappearing. My weekly quilting group members are crafting quilts but none of us make quilts because they are an essential part of our home bedding. My father makes wooden bowls, chairs and tables but he does it because he enjoys the process - not because we need the items. None of his children or grandchildren know how to work the wood.  My daughters enjoy growing vegetables but they could easily buy them at their local market or store. My sister-in-law preserves fruit even though she can afford to buy fruit throughout the year (even out-of-season fruit flown in from all over the world). My friend makes her own clothes even though there are cheaper items available in the stores - and my own sewing machine doesn't get used anywhere near as much as it used to even though I still have the skills. My step-mother knits jumpers from new and recycled wool and donates them to a charity. I knit rarely and my daughters not at all. My husband's grandmother always won prizes whenever she entered the cooking sections at the local shows - if we want to use puff pastry in a recipe we head to our freezer whereas she made it from scratch.

And this photo reminds me of a time when wool arrived in large skeins that had to be rolled into smaller balls before the actual knitting could be started. I searched YouTube for a little video of the process but failed. There are plenty of videos involving mechanical ways of holding the skeins but none showing a person doing the job. Surprising really because it such a friendly way of doing it, but maybe we're all leading such busy lives it's hard to find a friend with the time to just sit and chat while they hold their arms wide open. I wonder if you can even buy a skein of wool now.

I searched Google images and Australian newspapers online at Trove to see what else I could find about winding balls off the skein or hank of wool. I found a cartoon and several humerous items. I hadn't thought of the process as a 'romantic dance' until I read the report below and the snippet from the story in the last item.

Australian Womens Weekly 15 June 1955
Albury Banner and Wodonga Express 29 Dec 1933
Australian Womens Weekly 27 Apr 1940
Harold Harvey's painting 'Winding the Wool'
The Daily News (Perth), 9 June 1905

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A team of Yeamans

Bendigo Advertiser, 18 Aug 1893
A cricket team has eleven players and according to another article I found about this match they all had the surname 'Yeaman'. So I checked the family tree.

The Yeaman family migrated from Scotland in 1841 and settled down to farming in the Kyneton area of Victoria. By 1893 the next generation had spread to several other areas of Victoria including Tennyson and Pine Grove near Echuca. There were seven surviving children but two of those were daughters. Of the sons in 1893, Robert was living in Williamstown and his son was too young, William was living in Williamstown and his sons were too young, George (56 years old) didn't have any children, Charles (aged 60) was farming in Tennyson and had seven sons, Archibald (aged 63) was farming at Tennyson and had six sons. So in my reckoning it was possible to put together a full cricket team of Yeamans.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sepia Saturday: Just messing about in boats

Sepia Saturday's theme photo this week suggests space to think, rowboats, a single person rowing, a single woman, ocean ... *

I don't have a family photo of this spot but various branches of the family certainly spent a lot of time in the area. The Sims family had a holiday house, called Mitiamo House, in the spa town of Hepburn Springs in central Victoria. The Alford family stayed in a guest house when they holidayed there. Daylesford is nearby. The towns were originally established because of gold mining but the spa springs took over as the main attraction. Both towns are still very popular. Jubilee Lake was constructed in 1860 as a water supply.

 Jubilee Lake, Daylesford, Australia (Old Postcard folder)
And I'm including this photo just because it matches the theme and I have it in my collection. It appears to be some sort of water-based festival at Largs in Scotland. 

Largs, Scotland (Postcard folder)
And something out of left field. I have an album of tiny photos taken by an Australian soldier during World War 2.** I'm not sure who the soldier was as yet but he was stationed on Morotai and then Tarakan after the islands were taken back from the Japanese. Both are small islands in the Indonesian group. Coincidentally my father, Angus Wyllie, was also on Morotai during WW2 with the AIF's 'Z Special' reconnaissance unit. 

'Swimming Beach', Morotai Island, Indonesia, WW2
Tarakan Island, WW2
* Sail on over to Sepia Saturday to see some other interpretations of the theme.
** You can see more photos from this album in my Flickr photostream.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Trove Tuesday: In which Louis and Elizabeth's marriage creates history

Having a surname like Smith to research is a touch tricky but luckily 'my' Smiths liked to use other family names (like Darker, Dacre) as second names and also liked biblical names (like Kezia and Sampson). So I randomly put "Darker Smith" into the Trove search engine tonight and was most surprised when this newspaper item popped up.

Elizabeth Sarah Darker Smith was a daughter of my grandfather's cousin, William John Darker Smith, and his wife Sarah. I knew the family had a connection with the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) but had no idea that Elizabeth's was the first Mormon marriage in Australia.

Evening News (Sydney), 17 Oct 1923
MORMONS TO WEDMELBOURNE, Wednesday.The first Mormon marriage in Australia will be celebrated at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, Albert-street, East Melbourne. Elizabeth Sarah Darker Smith will become the wife of Louis Paul Kneale.Both live in Melbourne. Rev. Joseph Baxter Gunnell,, an elder of the church, will perform the ceremony. Previous to the recent Act of the State Government sanctioning marriages by the Church of Latter Day Saints, all marriages among members had to be held either in another church or at the office of a registrar. This religion began in Australia about 60 years ago. Then its missionary activities were stopped, not to be renewed until 30 years ago. The present church building was completed 18 months ago. Two weeks from Saturday Mr. Kneale's brother, Frederick Raymond Kneale, also an elder of the church, will be married to Elsie Parker. These two weddings will probably be the first and last held in the church this year.
August 1922 
I found the photo above on a Utah webpage and feel sure that Louis and Elizabeth would be in there somewhere - it was the year before their wedding. Louis and Elizabeth remained members of the East Melbourne Mormon Church (Church of the Latter Day Saints) congregation. Her funeral was held in the church.
The Argus, (Melbourne) 18 Nov 1950


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