Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Trove Tuesday: Margaret Alford nee Stone

Margaret Alford nee Stone
My mother-in-law had fond memories of her Grandma.

Margaret Alford was born Margaret Stone in Bagdad, Tasmania in 1860 where her family were farmers. Her parents were Joseph Stone and Margaret Foster and she had two older brothers when, in March 1863, the family moved across the Bass Strait to Victoria, selecting land at Woodstock West and building a house they called 'Alva'.

Margaret's older brother, Joseph, died when Margaret was five years old. Five more siblings were born in Victoria but one, a sister Joanna, died at three when Margaret was nine years old. I don't know the cause of death for either child but their deaths must have had an impact on young Margaret.

'Alva' homestead, Woodstock West
In May 1882 Margaret married a local farmer, Thomas Alford, at the Bible Christian Church at Woodstock West. The bride walked to the church from her home.

Thomas Alford married Margaret Stone
Bendigo Advertiser, 5 May 1882
Thomas and Margaret Alford lived at Warragul, then moved back to Woodstock until 1897 when they moved to Warragul again. Thomas' brother, sister and parents also lived at Warragul. Thomas and Margaret had eight children.

Margaret and Thomas move to Warragul, Victoria
Bendigo Advertiser 8 May 1897
In 1903 the family moved to Mologa, near Pyramid Hill in central Victoria, and built a house on their farm they called 'Myall Marsh'.

Margaret's father had died in 1890 at the age of 63. He'd never fully recovered after a horse kicked him three years earlier.

Death of Joseph Stone
In the next few years there was a series of accidents involving Margaret's siblings and children:

Margaret's brother James had married Thomas Alford's sister, Eliza but she died in 1892 of Tuberculosis.

In 1901 Margaret's brother. George Henry Stone, also had an accident. He was 25 years old. Unfortunately it seems to have had a lasting effect because he committed suicide in 1907.
George Stone seriously injured.
Bendigo Advertiser 2 March 1901
SAD SUICIDE AT NEWBRIDGEWoodstock West, 21st JanuaryQuite a gloom was cast over the district on Saturday when it became known that Mr. George Stone, well-known respected farmer, had been found early in the morning hanging from a rafter in a stable at his farm near Newbridge. The body was quite cold, and it is presumed death must have taken place the previous evening. The deceased, who was only 30 years of age, was connected with the Methodist Church mid Sunday School, and was also a prominent member of the Rechabite Order. Some few years ago the unfortunate young man met with a serious accident, having been found in an unconscious condition, the result of a fall from a horse, the effects of which were at the time severely felt. Deceased was engaged carting wheat to the Shelbourne railway station, and had delivered a load on Friday. After partaking of lunch with his sister he proceeded to prepare for Saturday's work. An inquiry was conducted on Saturday evening before Mr. W Greene, P.M. and a verdict of suicide whilst temporarily insane was recorded. The funeral took place Sunday afternoon at Newbridge Cemetery and was largely attended. The service at the grave was conducted by the. Rev. A. Uglow. Much sympathy was expressed for the relatives and friends. Bendigo Advertiser 22 January 1907

In 1903 Margaret's sister had her leg amputated. The family story is that it was done on the kitchen table and that Isabella sufferered from epilepsy after the operation. Margaret's daughter, Ella aged 18, went down to Woodstock to care for her. Isabella died in 1916 at the age of 52.

Isabella Stone's leg is amputated.
Bendigo Advertiser 23 Jun 1903

Isabella is recovering.
Bendigo Advertiser 13 August 1903
In 1904 Margaret's mother, also called Margaret, died at the age of 71. Both of her parents appear to have been highly respected.

In January 1906 Margaret's son Arthur died when he was 18. He drowned in a dam near their farm at Mologa after presumably suffering cramp. His younger brother could not save him.

In  WW1 Margaret and Thomas' son, Tom Alford, enlisted in the army in March 1916 and served in France. He returned to Australia in 1919.

In 1922 Margaret's son Charles (Dick) Alford died aged 20. He was thrown from a gig. His leg was badly broken but there were other internal problems and he died five weeks later.

A year later, in 1923, Margaret's daughter Ruby (Hare) died at 34 from appendicitis leaving seven young children.

Margaret and Thomas Alford with family
Thomas and Margaret Alford
In 1919 Thomas and Margaret moved off the farm, leaving it in the charge of their sons Tom and Ralph, and moved to Honeysuckle St, Eaglehawk.

Margaret Alford

In this photo Margaret is wandering alone through a garden and even though she was much loved by her family it is tempting to think that she was remembering those in her family who had died.

Margaret herself died in 1932 at the age of 71. Her husband had contracted influenza and decided to go to their daughter Ella Pickles' home to recuperate.  It was while nursing Thomas that Margaret took ill and she never recovered. Thomas died eight years later. Both are buried at Pyramid Hill.

The Argus 1 March 1932
This post highlights the amazing resources at Trove at the National Library of Australia.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Trove Tuesday: Was he guilty?

In 1906 young Charlie (David Charles) Stokes was 19 years old, almost 20, and had been working on Cornelia Creek station near Echuca as a boundary rider for five or six years. His father, Charles David Stokes, lived at Corop (his mother had died in 1904), and his grandmother Stokes (Eleanor nee Paynter) was still alive and living nearby. Charlie had 6 younger brothers and sisters and one older sister.

This is the story that I've pieced together from newspaper reports.

The manager, Ernest Harpham, of Cornelia Creek reported to police that he had been robbed on the 17th March 1906 and when on 22nd March they went to the sheep station to interview him he said that he'd been awakened at 1 a.m and found Charlie Stokes in the passage. Charlie had been sent to Echuca earlier in the day to pick up a telegram and entered the house to give it to him. As he opened the door into the living room Harpham found that the curtains were ablaze and considerable damage was caused before it was brought under control. The next day the manager found that he had also been robbed of a gold brooch, 2 watches, a gold chain, three pairs of cuff-links, £7/10 in cash and his day and cash books.

Suspicion soon fell on Charlie Stokes because as well as being in the house apparently he owed about five pounds to the station. The assumption was that by destroying the books he was destroying proof of the debt.

The police and the manager went to the Koyuga railway station where they found Charlie on the platform and persuaded him to return to Cornelia Creek. Detective Sergeant Wilson interviewed him in his room and asked him to write a statement. Wilson then left the room and he and two other witnesses, the gardener Thomas Mills and the cook John Irving, stated that he was only out of the room a few seconds when they heard a gun shot. Charlie had killed himself.

At the inquest the policeman said that the gun must have been prepared and hidden because there wasn't time for Charlie to have taken off his coat and hung it up before getting the gun and using his toe to pull the string attached to the trigger.

Albury Banner and Wodonga Express 30 Mar 1906

The day before he died Charlie wrote a letter to his sister (the newspapers don't say which one) claiming to be innocent of the crime and asking for help from his father. The letter was later published in the paper.

Riverine Herald 2 Apr 1906
Detective Sergeant Wilson stated that Stokes appeared to be agitated and denied implication in the crime. An article in the Bendigo Independent on 23 March had the following paragraph: The youth was greatly liked by the manager and other employees, who thought he would be the last person to commit such a robbery or take his own life. He was a general favourite and was regarded as trustworthy and hard working. His father resides in Corop.

The inquest returned an open verdict.

For me there are still questions that remain unanswered. Where are the stolen goods? Where was Charlie buried? Was he guilty and if not who was?


* Coincidentally the owner of Cornelia Creek, George Simmie, died in Melbourne in the same week aged 78. He was the former MLC for Northern Province.

** Cornelia Creek was subdivided in 1911 but there is a winery currently operating under that name on the original homestead site.

*** My connection with this story is that Charlie Stokes' grandmother, Eleanor Stokes nee Paynter, was a great great aunt of my husband.  She was born in the village of Iwerne Courtney, Dorset and when she was 18, in January 1855,  she married a local lad called Charles David Stokes. Almost immediately, with her new husband, her parents and siblings she sailed to Australia on the 'Omega', arriving in May 1855.

For this post I was able to use the amazing newspaper resources at Trove.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sepia Saturday: Photographing children

This blog is generally about family but this post specifically highlights some photos I have purchased.
I think it's sad that snapshots and formal photos are sold online. Presumably when homes are cleaned out after people die their families don't want the old memorabilia. Most of the photos I buy (rescue) are the informal snapshots from the 1900s but some are formal studio photos like those below. I scan the photos, upload them with appropriate tags to my Flickr page and link them to the National Library of Australia's Flickr page that is connected to the library's search engine. 
I now have a shelf of photos that aren't connected to my own family and, like all collectors, I wonder what will happen to them after I'm gone. But in the meantime they have given me a lot of pleasure.

Why were babies and young children often photographed naked?

Judging by the bunched-up clothes it's possible the the mother is
sitting behind this child.

Photobomb: I presume mother has just let go of the youngest child.

This post is in response to the Sepia Saturday theme this week. The theme photo, below, is of a girl sitting at a desk. You could pop over there to see other responses.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Two Australian icons

Family holiday snap, Gundagai c1962
Ask any Australian if they know Streets Icecream and the answer will be yes. And ask any Australian if they know about the dog on the tuckerbox and the answer will be yes. They are two Australian icons. But ask any Australian about the background story of the icons and you'll be met with a blank face or a shoulder shrug. Here they are in the same family holiday snapshot taken near Gundagai, New South Wales in about 1962. There's the dog on the tucker box and parked nearby is a Streets Ice Cream delivery van.

The life-size statue of a dog was unveiled by the Prime Minister of Australia, the Right Honorable Joseph Lyons, in 1932. It is a memorial to the pioneers of the Gundergai district.

The Dog on the tuckerbox kiosk at Snake Gully
showing the Dog on the Tuckerbox statue in front. Gundagai, New South Wales, ca. 1970
[NLA P805/1732 Album 1139] 
Photo taken c2010. Same building, same dog.

Between WWI and WWII, Edwin (‘Ted’) Street with the help of his wife and brother laid the foundations (in Corrimal, NSW) for what would ultimately become Australia’s biggest and best-known ice cream manufacturer. Streets ice cream was originally made in the back shed by Ted. He would then sell these to neighbours along with sweets, cakes and lemonade. Popularity grew and he soon used a cart, then a one-horse- power motorbike to sell Streets ice cream. It continued to grow and today Streets ice cream is sold throughout Australia and New Zealand with well known brands such as Magnum, Paddle Pop and Blue Ribbon. [http://www.streetsicecream.com.au/ShareHappyFlexible/AboutStreets.aspx]

The statue was inspired by a bullock drover's poem, "Bullocky Bill", which celebrates the life of an allegorical drover's dog that loyally guarded the man's tuckerbox (an Australian colloquialism for a box that holds food) until death...Bullocky Bill was written by an otherwise unknown poet who used the pen name "Bowyang Yorke" and first printed in 1857. A later poem by Jack Moses drew on the Bowyang Yorke poem for inspiration and was published in the 1920s. The latter poem was very popular and was the inspiration for the statue. Moses's poem, Nine Miles from Gundagai, was first published in 1938, several years after the statue's unveiling. Jack O'Hagan's song, "Where the Dog Sits on the Tuckerbox (5 miles from Gundagai)", was published in 1937. [Wikipedia]

You can hear another Aussie icon, Slim Dusty, singing the song here.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Sepia Saturday: A set of wheels

Tricycle plus wheelbarrow. It might work.

This photo is a scanned family slide from a about the 1960s. I think the child is my husband's younger sister Kay. I like the creative thinking of the children at play. It looks like the arrangement of tricycle towing a wheelbarrow complete with passenger would work. And obviously an adult has taken the photo so they couldn't have been too worried about consequences.

This post is in response to the Sepia Saturday theme image. You can read other responses over there.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Sepia Saturday: Swimming in the '20s

Swimming in the 1920s, probably at Kow Swamp.
This week's photo is in a family album but I don't know who the people are. I think it was taken at Kow Swamp in the 1920s.

Kow Swamp is a shallow freshwater lake in northern Victoria near Gunbower now used for water storage and some recreational activities such as fishing and birdwatching. It is also a significant archaeological site of Aboriginal heritage and history.

You can find more responses over at Sepia Saturday.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Sepia Saturday: McKinnon's farm, Homerton

In 1952 my parents moved from a wheat farm in the Wimmera to a dairy farm at Homerton on the south coast of Victoria. I was three years old and my younger brother just one.

Our parents owned the farm for about 35 years so I grew up there and have many happy memories of the farm and the district.

Just a few years ago I met a lady by chance who, as a child, was friends with the girl in the first photo below, Heather McKinnon. The McKinnons had owned our farm before us and I was delighted when Heather gave me some copies of old photographs she had of the farm.

It's been interesting to compare what the farm looked like in the 1930s and as I remember it from the 1950s. Some of the buildings were still there, some not. Dad used a tractor rather than horses. Even the trees and vegetation in the background are interesting.

The three photos below were taken on different occasions so I think the cream cart must have been used to entertain visitors as well as their real purpose of taking the cream cans to the end of the lane for pickup and probably for carting other items around the farm as well. Heather was an only child so I imagine she was very skilled with horses and other farm work.
Heather McKinnon with her dogs on the horse-drawn cream sled.

Visitors with the dogs on the cream sled.
When we bought the farm we moved into the McKinnon's home (in the photo below) but it was quite old and we only lived there for about three years before my parents built a new house. Some of the garden trees still exist but the house in this photo is long gone.
Visiting children on the cream sled.
This post has been in response to Sepia Saturday's theme photo of dogs. You can see other responses here.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

London School of Music

At a recent family gathering a relative turned up with a photo I hadn't seen before. It was my husband's grandmother, Mary Leed.

Mary Leed, 1922
Mary is wearing a graduation gown and hat and holding a rolled-up certificate. The photo prompted me to search on Trove and I found a relevant article. It informs me that Mary was awarded the Diploma of Associate (A.L.C.M.) for Singing.

Mary Leed, The Argus 18 June 1922
ALCM means Associate London College of Music and Mary was entitled to put those initials after her name (ie Mary I Leed ALCM). It meant that she had studied singing for many years, moving through each of the eight grades and then the Diploma which is equivalent to a second-year university degree. She was, indeed, a very fine singer and entertained at concerts in northern Victoria.

The LCM exams started in London 1887 and were very popular in Australia. Students studied musical performance and theory and examinations were held twice a year.

Advertisement for London College of Music, The Advocate 26 May 1921
Mary grew up on a farm in Central Molga near Pyramid Hill, went to school locally and then attended Methodist Ladies College in Melbourne for a year. She married a local farmer, Ralph Alford, in September 1922 - the year the graduation photo was taken.

A generation later Mary's daughter, Shirley Alford, was awarded a Licentiate of the London College of Music, an LLCM, for piano. That award is equivalent to a final-year university module. She taught piano for many years and played the organ at church. She also supported local Eisteddfod sompetitions.

Shirley Alford, LLCM c1947
The London School of Music is still very active and is now incorporated into the University of West London.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Sepia Saturday: A trio of damaged photographs

The theme photo for Sepia Saturday this week is shows a print from a glass plate negative of three choir boys. I don't have any family photos to match so I've chosen a trio of damaged photos of trios.

These three photos are in the collection of the Genealogical Society of Victoria. They appear to be prints from damaged glass negatives. Most seem to be taken in a Melbourne studio in the 1920s, very few have names but the quality (of the undamaged bits) is very good. The photographer is unknown.

You can see more contributions to the theme over at Sepia Saturday's webpage. And you can see the rest of the collection on GSV's Flickr page here and here.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Sepia Saturday: April fool

A head on a platter (and she looks pretty happy about it)
A post for Sepia Saturday following the theme photo below. You can find more  posts for 1 April here.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Sepia Saturday: It's time for work

We bought the farm. A lot of work needed doing. One of Phil's first jobs was getting the abandoned Field Marshall tractor going. (Never mind the poor quality pasture and the fences falling down. They can wait.)

Then the kids arrived, one by one, two girls then a boy. Glenn was a chip off the old block, always keen to help, Always keen to sort out anything mechanical.

Photo credit: Uncle Stephen

Photo credit: Uncle Stephen

This post is on response to the Sepia Saturday theme photo of work. You can see more workers here.


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