Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sepia Saturday: Allan Wyllie's moustache

Oh my goodness. It's the last day of November already. Sepia Saturday just snuck in with a theme photo for Movember, growing facial hair to raise awareness of mens health. He's sporting a fabulous moustache (or is it mustache or pair of moustaches?).

My grandad, Allan Wyllie never shaved off his moustache. I think he must have grown it from when he first had to shave because it's in every photo I have of him. He never used an electric shaver either. I lived with my grandparents for a year in 1965 and I remember him sharpening his razor on a leather strop he kept hanging on a cupboard with the mirror next to it, and lathering up. He was born in 1886 and died 1966 and was a farmer in Victoria.

Allan Wyllie
Dorothy Taylor and Allan Wyllie, 1916
Allan Wyllie
Allan (leaning on the car) with Dorothy and his Taylor in-laws, including his
 father-in-law Henry who also has a fabulous moustache.
Dorothy and Allan Wyllie
Now that I see all of the photos together I notice that Grandad looks very serious. He never was a man who smiled readily and openly, and his son, my dad, says that he was more likely to criticise than to praise. But I liked him.

And just for fun. This is a photo I found at a boot sale. I've no idea who it is or where it was taken but I like it very much.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sepia Saturday: An independent colony

The Sepia Saturday theme photo, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 28 June 1914, and the call to find an association between an important date in history and our own family.

Today is an anniversary for the state I live in, the state of Victoria in Australia. On this date in 1855 the 'Act to establish a constitution in and for the Colony of Victoria' was formally proclaimed. It had been drafted in Victoria and sent to the British Parliament for formal approval. It followed the 1 July 1851 declaration of Victoria as a colony independent of New South Wales. (Since the first permanent European settlement in 1834 it had been called Port Philip District.) In 1901 the colony became a state when the six separate colonies in Australia became the Commonwealth of Australia.

As an aside, I had a look for our state's Coat of Arms (not granted until half a century later). I've never noticed before, but there's a kangaroo holding the royal crown for some reason and appears to be standing in a top hat! At least our state's emblems make more sense - Common Heath Epacris impressa (floral), Weedy Sea Dragon Phyllopteryx taeniolatus (marine) and Helmeted Honeyeater Lichenostomus melanops and Leadbeater's Possum Gymnobelideus leadbeateri (fauna).

Weedy Sea-dragon
Common Heath
Helmeted Honeyeater
Leadbeater's Possum
So I got to thinking. Which of my ancestors were living in the state when it was declared an independent state? Only four. John Brown and Maryanne Howe who were both Irish and migrated separately in the 1840s and married in Melbourne in March 1850. And William Chaundy, who was sent out here in 1849 by the English courts, and his wife Rachel who was sponsored to join him out here by her parish.

Maryanne Lee nee Howe who migrated to Victoria in 1849
By the time Victoria's constitution was approved on 23 November 1855 almost all my ancestral families were out here. William and Ann Wyllie arrived in 1853, William and Mary Ann Cook arrived in 1852, James Taylor arrived 1853, Ephraim and Elizabeth Smith arrived 1852, John Hillgrove arrived in 1852 and so did his future wife, Janet Blair. The only one of my ancestors who wasn't here by 1855 was Gabriel Duckett who didn't arrive until 1868. And my husband's family follow the same pattern.

So what happened in the early 1850s to prompt all this immigration? Gold. Gold was discovered in the state about a fortnight after it was declared independent. It was the catalyst for a huge influx of people. The population increased from 77,000 to 540,000 in ten years.

In 2012 a fifth emblem was added to the state of Victoria's list. Gold became the state's mineral.

Welcome Stranger, the largest gold nugget, was found in Victoria.
 It weighed 71 kg.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Voyage to Australia: The ship 'Rodney'

My husband's ancestors, William and Ann Alford (with their infant son William), and William's brother, James, journeyed from their homes in Devon to South Australia in 1855 on the ship called 'Rodney'.

Australian newspapers regularly reported news of ships departing England but as the news was gleaned from newspapers on ships that had recently arrived it was often months out of date and inaccurate. Relatives and friends waited anxiously in Australia for news of ship travel times and events - there would have been letters sent beforehand as the intending emigrants made travel preparations.

Cornwall Chronicle (Devonport, Tasmania), 24 Jan 1855
The Rodney left Plymouth 21 November 1854 and arrived Adelaide 20 February 1855. It carried 321 passengers. William Frazer (or Fraser) was the Master, John Brownfield the Surgeon-Superintendent and Mrs Morgan the Matron. According to a report in the Government Gazette 'the ship arrived in very good order-harmony and contentment prevailed on board.'

An Adelaide newspaper listed the passengers (our William and Ann are first on the list). It doesn't mention that there were six births during the voyage and seven deaths (all infants) but the numbers were published elsewhere in the paper the same day, and the names were published in the Government Gazette.

South Australian Register, 21 Feb 1855
South Australian Register, 21 Feb 1855

The South Australian Government Gazette
Date of Death
Cause of Death
Where buried
Williams, Norris ?
December 7th 1854
at sea
Parry, Henry ?
December 19th 1854
at sea
Park, Matilda

January 8th 1855
at sea
Ellery, George
January 12th 1855
at sea
Newton, Elizabeth
January 19th 1855
at sea
Ellery, William
February 12th 1855
at sea
Trevithick, Mary A.
February 12th 1855
at sea

Name of Mother

Date of Birth
Sex of Infant

Watkins, Mary

December 24th, 1854

Harris, Celia

December 30, 1954

French, Ann

January 15th 1855

Comley, Sarah Ann

January 17th 1855

Walker, Elizabeth

February 15th 1855

Fleming, Johanna

February 17th 1855

The South Australian Register, 21 Feb 1855
The Rodney was at Port Adelaide for about four weeks and during that time one of the crew, Daniel Small, was charged by the ship's master, William Frazer, and fined for being drunk and disorderly.
South Australian Register, 28 Feb 1855
The ship sailed 20 March 1855 for Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and was carrying mail for England.
South Australian Register, 19 March 1855
The Alfords lived near the present-day Victor Harbor in South Australia for a year or two and then moved to, initially, Brighton in Victoria. William and Ann are buried at Warragul, Victoria and James is buried at Ballan, Victoria.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Trove Tuesday: In which Lemuel is shockingly injured

Gold mining was a dangerous occupation. I have quite a few horrible stories attached to various people on my family tree, stories of men and boys trying to earn a living from digging into the earth to gain the gold (or other metals) and being injured or killed in the process. This is one of them.

In 1909 my great-grandfather's cousin, Louisa Cameron, married Lemuel Williams who was a miner. In 1917 they were both about 30 years old and living at Beechworth in northern Victoria. They had six young children.

Lemuel was badly injured in a work accident. He was working at a molybdenite mine at Everton when an unexploded explosive exploded. [Don't you love the English language? Those last three words do actually make sense!] I had to research what molybdenite is. Apparently it is used, amongst other things, as an alloy for strengthening steel and the Everton mine was Victoria's most productive. Lemuel had charged a hole with explosive using two charges and only one fired so after a while he went to check and was standing close when the second charge fired.

Ovens and Murray Advertiser (Beechworth), 5 Dec 1917
Lemuel was taken to the Ovens District Hospital at Beechworth - that's a journey of eight miles, probably by horse and cart, that must have been dreadful - and then he was treated in the hospital for fractures on his skull and damaged eyes. What did Louisa do while he was in hospital? She had children to care for and their income had ceased so it must have been a very worrying time for them.

A month later there was a newspaper article about the state of Lemuel's health. He is deeply scarred and is still having trouble with his eyes but plans to go back to work 'in a week or two'. As it turns out that might have been a little optimistic because four months later there was another newspaper notice stating that he had only just gone back to work. So he was about five months off work and there was no such thing as unemployment benefits or compensation in those days. I wonder if his eyesight was permanently damaged.

Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 5 Jan 1918
Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 5 May 1918
Lemuel and Louisa had four more children before Louisa died in 1937 at the age of 52. Lemuel married again, to Helena Roy, and lived until 1963 when he was 77 years old.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sepia Saturday: Naomi and Mabel

The theme photo for this week's Sepia Saturday
A lady standing in a doorway to have her photo taken. That should be easy. I should have plenty of photos to match that theme. Huh, famous last words. I found people standing on steps, on verandahs and in front gardens. But doorways? Only two!

Naomi Wyllie nee Milgate
My Grandfather's aunt, Naomi, was born in Jacobs Creek in South Australia. Her family moved to the Wimmera district of Victoria and it's there that she met William Thomas Wyllie, a farmer at Dunmunkle. They married in 1885 and had four daughters.

They moved to Melbourne and for a number of years lived in a house called 'Lilydare' in Burwood. There's a nameplate in the photo but it isn't quite clear enough for me to read it so I'm not sure if it's that house.

It looks like Naomi has been called out to have her photo taken and she hasn't even removed her apron, just like the lady in our theme photo.

Naomi died in 1945 at the age of 83.

Mabel Lydia Larkin nee Quick
Mabel Lydia Quick was an English girl who met an Australian soldier during World War 1. She travelled out to Victoria after the war and married him in Melbourne. He took her up to the hot and dry mallee country in northern Victoria where he had a farm. She is the mother of my husband's uncle, Jack Larkin.

This photo is of Mabel Lydia standing in the door of their home. There was almost no water so gardens and lawns were almost impossible. Heat, drought, mice plagues, very cold winter nights, dust storms, lack of water, unreliable crop harvests - what a shock for an English lass!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Trove Tuesday: In which the Alfords holiday at Dromana

Bungalows, Country People's Holiday Camp, Dromana c1940
For three summers in a row the Alford family, from Mologa north of Bendigo, travelled to the Country People's Holiday Camp, Dromana on the Mornington Peninsula for a holiday by the beach. They stayed for a fortnight. There are several photos of the camp in the album.

Dining Room and Lounge, Country People's Holiday Camp, Dromana c1940
Dining Room and Lounge, Country People's Holiday Camp, Dromana c1940
So I had a look in Trove to see what the camp was all about. It seems that in the late 1930s the Country Roads Board established a camp for country people and it was supported by a committee of Melbourne society ladies.

The Argus, 14 Aug 1939
The Age, 30 Dec 1939
The Age, 27 Apr 1944

Postcard, The beach road, Dromana
Postcard, Dromana beach
In 1939, the first year they went, father stayed home to milk the dairy cows and mother went to Dromana with her five daughters. The conditions were very simple that year - they had to supply their own eating utensils and bedding, they slept in a rather a rather cramped old tram and water was in short supply (they only had tank water) because Victoria was in drought at that time. Shirley, one of the daughters, remembers that they were in church one day when they heard the fire bell and several men from the congregation left quickly to join their brigade as they defended the town from the fire that was bearing down. Ralph, the father, heard on the news that 'Dromana was wiped out' by the fire so he must have had an anxious time before he heard that his girls were safe.

The next year the whole family went down to Dromana. As mentioned in one of the newspaper articles, there was a camp cook, but while Ralph wasn't very impressed by the standard of the food I'm sure his wife, Mary, was glad of the break from cooking. That year the sleeping accommodation was much more comfortable and water was piped to the camp.

Shirley remembers that they were very lucky with the weather because it was calm and warm each time they holidayed at Dromana. Probably the drought was a major factor there. She also remembers one time they were walking along the beach, the five girls in their white wide-brimmed hats that mother insisted they wear, when a photographer from one of the Melbourne papers asked to take their photo. She said they had to run down the beach 'about fifty times' before he was satisfied that he had the right shot. It was published apparently but neither The Leader or The Weekly Times (Shirley can't remember which) has been digitised at Trove as yet for those years.

Country People's Holiday Camp, Dromana
Country People's Holiday Camp, Dromana 1939
Country People's Holiday Camp, Dromana Jan1938
Country People's Holiday Camp, Dromana

Monday, November 11, 2013

Voyage to Australia: The ship 'Susan'

In 1852 Robert Leed was 22 years old and working at Kinneil Iron Works at Bo'ness on the Forth, Scotland. His father, deceased, had been a Master and part owner of a schooner operating out of Glasgow. His mother remarried in August 1852.

Gold had been discovered in Australia so that may have influenced Robert's decision to buy passage on a ship to Australia. He paid his own way on a brig called Susan, one of only nine passengers on board. A brig has two square-rigged masts and is quite small compared with some of the huge clippers that sailed to Australia in the 1800s. She weighed 175 tons. Brigs were fast and maneuverable but had a reputation for being difficult to sail into the wind.

A brig
The Susan, with R D Munro as Master, departed Liverpool 24 January 1853. On 2 March she was sighted off the west coast of Africa by another ship called the Lima, and on 8 May she was seen west of Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia by Uncle Tom.
South Australian Register, 16 May 1853
The Argus, 25 May 1853
Hobson's Bay, Williamstown, Victoria [Source unknown]
After a voyage of four months the Susan arrived Hobson's Bay (Williamstown), Melbourne on 24 May 1853. There was a notice in Melbourne's main paper, The Argus, detailing the cargo she and several other ships had carried and the Sydney paper also listed the cargo.

The Argus, 25 May 1853
Geelong Advertiser, 26 May 1853
The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 May 1853
The brig stayed for a year or so, plying back and forth between Victoria and Tasmania carrying passengers and cargo. In August 1854 is was advertising accommodation to Mauritius and England.

The Argus, 11 Aug 1854
Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencier, 26 Aug 1854
In 1856 and 1857 there were several newspaper notices of 'the brig Susan' returning to Sydney port with sperm oil from whales, but it may not be the same ship.

Robert Leed went to the goldfields at Castlemaine and Eaglehawk, married and raised a family and died at the age of 57 from phthisis, a lung disease common with goldminers. He was a very good engineer, and worked for many years on large quartz-crushing machinery, but that's a story for another day.


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