Friday, 21 October 2016

Olympic Games Melbourne, 1956 - memories

This afternoon, as part of History Week,  I spoke at Ivanhoe Library about the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956, particularly the involvement of my father, Ken Moses, who was a sports journalist on The Argus at the time.
Opening Ceremony ticket
During and after the talk a number of those present shared their memories and experiences of the Olympic Games. Some members of the audience brought along their momentoes of the 1956 Olympics - books plus a ticket to see events on the 23 November. This ticket cost 11/- compared to the £1 / 1/- for the Opening Ceremony ticket shown above.

I had brought one of my father's scrap books plus copies of The Argus published during the games, a copy of the Australian Women's Weekly from December 1956, a selection of programs prepared for individual events for each day of competition and the Official report of the Organising Committee for the Games of the XVI Olympiad Melbourne 1956.
I have a partial collection of copies of The Argus published during the Melbourne Olympic Games but one gentleman brought in a full set of this newspaper published during the games period that his mother had kept.

As the Olympic Village was constructed in neighbouring Heidelberg a number of audience members had memories of growing up near the village.
Raymond Morris Collection, National Museum of Australia
Comments were made about the Olympic Rings which were displayed near the entrance to the village. Apparently these rings are now back on display in the area.
Raymond Morris Collection, National Museum of Australia
One gentleman remembered watching the construction of the village and he used to play on the foundations of the buildings - once the builders went home -  during the early stages of construction. There were also memories of wandering through the village after school - security wasn't a major concern - and waving to and / or chatting to athletes. I was also told that a number of athletes stayed with families in private houses and that the families drove those athletes to the venues to participate in their events.
Winner's medal
One of the ladies in the audience told me that her mother was a seamstress who made the cushions used for the medal presentations at the Olympic Games in 1956.
The Olympic Torch Relay is an important event in the build up to an Olympic Games and I met one gentleman who told me that he had been one of the torch bearers in the 1956 Torch Relay.

This was a great session to share experiences and memories of events that occurred 60 years ago as we remembered the 1956 Olympic Games - an important event in the history of Melbourne.

Other posts on this topic:
Olympic Games Melbourne, 1956 - Media
Olympic Games Melbourne, 1956 - Challenges for host city
Sepia Saturday 316 - Movie cameras
Olympic Games Melbourne 1956 - view post

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Olympic Games, Melbourne 1956 - Media

The organisers of the 1956 Olympic Games faced a number of challenges not faced by the organisers of  previous games. Suitable facilities for the general press needed to be organised however the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne was the first to be extensively covered by film, along with some limited television coverage. This created new logistical problems for the organisers.
Press facilities at the MCG
Press covering events needed space for their typewriters or room to take notes using pen and paper. Telephones were provided and some journalists used tape recorders. Reports on the Olympic Games were also presented on radio. The press stand at the MCG was the largest used for the games but temporary press stands also had to be provided at other venues.
Television was launched in Australia just before the Olympic Games. A subcommittee was therefore established to oversee conditions for providing television coverage.
Local television stations in Melbourne could televise events at venues where seating was sold out such as events at the main stadium. Each evening a 16mm film was sent to television stations in Sydney.
Each night was despatched each night to various overseas destinations. Six half hour television programs were made for American syndicated television. Arrangements with airlines were made for quick transportation of film.
A major discussion point was the charges asked for by the Olympic Committee to televise Olympic Games events.
National Museum Australia has this page on TV and the Melbourne Olympics

As described in a previous post restrictions were placed on the use of movie cameras by non-accredited persons as the Australian Olympic Committee had commissioned a French company to make an official film of the Olympic Games. However the restrictions were relaxed as a number of films of the Olympic Games taken by individuals exist. Three of these home movies taken by Bruce Beresford, Mile Leyland and Sir Robert Menzies can be viewed online via the National Film and Sound Archive website.
Camerman from French film company on right
The official film was released in May 1957. The Australian Women's Weekly attended the launch and reported on the event in the 20 May 1957 issue. Members of the Australian Olympic Team attended the premier.
The staging of the Olympic Games in Melbourne was also seen as an opportunity to promote Melbourne, Victoria and Australia to the rest of the world.

The black and white images in this post are from the the Official report of the Organising Committee for the Games of the XVI Olympiad Melbourne 1956. This publication is available online.

Olympic Games Melbourne, 1956 - challenges for host city

Hosting an Olympic Games is a major undertaking and many challenges can arise. In the lead up to most Olympic Games we learn of problems in meeting deadlines, financial issues, construction concerns and sometimes threats to move the games to another location. The recent Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio is a prime example and reports have already begun circulating about the problems in staging the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. The lead up to the Melbourne Olympic Games also experienced many problems.
Argus 11 April 1896
The above statement was the first suggestion that the Olympic Games might one day be held in Melbourne. In 1906 Richard Coombes also informed Baron de Coubertin that Australia should host the Olympic Games.

The Victorian Olympic Council (VOC) was formed on 21 June 1946 and an item on the agenda was Discussion of Olympic Games for Australia. The  Australian Olympic Federation (AOF) endorsed the bid. At the 1948 Olympic Games in London Australian delegates promoted Melbourne as a venue. The vote on the city to host the 1956 Olympic Games was held in Rome in April 1949. There were six contenders - four cities in the USA, Buenos Aires and Melbourne. Melbourne won by one vote.

 The Organizing Committee for the Melbourne Olympic Games was established in November 1949. Eleven subcommittees were also established to assist in the organisation of the Olympic Games. These subcommittees were Technical, Finance and General Purposes, Construction, Housing and Catering, Press and Publicity, Film and Television, Communications, Transport, Reception, Medical and Fine Arts.

A variety of venues were required in order to host the Olympic Games. These included a main stadium, smaller stadiums / ovals, a pool, velodrome, boxing stadium, venues for fencing, shooting events, modern pentathlon, cycling, basketball plus water sports such as rowing, canoeing and yachting. Due to Australia's strict quarantine laws, equestrian events were held in Helsinki instead of in Melbourne - an issue not mentioned in Melbourne's submission to host the Olympic Games.

Indecision would be a key word to describe the initial planning for the venues for the various sports. There were also prolonged discussions as to the extent the Federal or State Governments would assist in funding the Olympic Games.

Seven sites were discussed as possibilities for the main stadium - the Showgrounds, Carlton Cricket Ground, Olympic Park, Albert Park, St Kilda Cricket Ground, University of Melbourne Sports Oval as well as the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). It was not until February 1953 that the MCG was confirmed as the main stadium. Part of the problem had been the reluctance of the Melbourne Cricket Club to make the ground available as it would disrupt the normal use of the ground.

Alterations needed to be made. The surface of the MCG had to be regraded and a new stand was built after an old stand was demolished following the Royal Visit in 1954. The upgrades would mean that the MCG would be able to accommodate more than 100,000 people. As well as a venue for cricket the MCG was used for Australian Rules Football so it was not until after the 1955 VFL Grand Final that the turf on the ground could be removed and stored, the ground regraded and drainage pipes installed in time for the staging of the 1956 VFL Grand Final. The running track was then laid. During 1955 work banns delayed work at the MCG between August and October.

The second major venue was the Olympic Park Complex. This was to include the building of an Olympic Pool, the Olympic Park stadium, a second oval plus a veledrome. Olympic Park was situated close to the MCG.
Choosing the location for rowing and canoeing also took considerable time. Sites considered included Lake Bullen Merri, Hopkins River, Barwon River, Lake Learmonth and Lake Wendouree. Ballarat Shire did not want Lake Wendouree to be used and it was not until June 1955 that they finally agreed to the use of the lake for Olympic rowing and canoeing events.

Another challenge was to find suitable accommodation for the athletes and officials attending the Olympic Games. Once again a number of locations were considered including Prahran, University of Melbourne, Albert Park Barracks, Carlton and Heildelberg. The decision to build the village at Heidelberg was finally made in September 1953.

While Melbourne decided on the location of new venues and required alterations for existing structures, some members of the International Olympic Committee, particularly Mr Avery Brundage, began suggesting that the Olympic Games should be relocated to another city, probably one of the cities in the USA who had also applied to host the 1956 Olympic Games. It was eventually decided that the 1956 Olympic Games would remain in Melbourne.

Argus 4 February 1953
 Ninety-one countries were invited to attend the Olympic Games in Melbourne. Seventeen countries declined or withdrew for a variety of reasons. The Olympic Games had always been held in the Northern Hemisphere and some countries decided it was too far to travel so declined the invitation or, if they accepted the invitation, only sent small teams.

A month or two before the Olympic Games were due to begin seven countries boycotted the Melbourne Olympics due to political events. Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq boycotted the games due to the Suez crisis in October 1956. The Hungarian Uprising on 4 November 1956 caused Spain, The Netherlands and Switzerland to boycott the games though Hungary still sent a team. The People's Republic of China announced that they were boycotting the games in November 1956 because Taiwan (Republic of China) had accepted an invitation to attend. These boycotts created additional challenges for those trying to organise events and accommodation, especially as they occurred so close to the commencement of the Olympic Games.

The final number of countries attending was sixty-seven.
Australian Women's Weekly 5 December 1956
Despite all these challenges the 1956 Olympic Games were held in Melbourne from 22 November to 8 December and they were declared a great success.

The following article looks at the venues used for the Melbourne Olympics and what happened to them after the games - Mixed Fortunes of Melbourne's 1956 Olympic Venues.

The book, Australia and the Olympic Games, by Harry Gordon (1994) contains chapters on the Melbourne Olympics including "A grenade called Brundage" (chapter 14) and "When the magic came to Melbourne" (chapter 15)

Official report of the Organizing Committee for the Games of the XVI Olympiard Melbourne 1956 is available online.

Search Trove for articles published in The Argus and The Age about the preparations for the Melbourne Olympics as well as the staging of the games in Melbourne from 22 November to 8 December 1956.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

George Guest at Risdon Cove - part 2

The State Library of Victoria has a number of books on the early settlement of Tasmania so I ordered some of them to try and discover where George Guest had his 300 acres of land at Risdon Cove.

I knew that the land was close to the original settlement so I started by looking at a work by Angela McGowan describing an archaeological dig of the area in 1978-1980.  From the excavation of several sites in the area McGowan describes a number of the structures from the original settlement. However it was on page 14 that I had my 'Eureka' moment when I found a sketch by Woodward of some of the landholdings in the area. To the right of the Risdon Brook was a rectangle identified as G Guest 300 acres.
McGowan page 14
On the other side of the brook the land was identified as belonging to W J Anson 300 acres. (William L'Anson was a surgeon who sold the land to Thomas Birch). In 1812 this block was sold to Andrew Geils, the person who tried to annex George Guest's land in 1813. Andrew Geils left Van Diemen's Land in 1814 but arranged for a series of agents to look after his interests.

Unfortunately I have found no further description of Guest's property. Phillip Tardif, however, provides a description of some of the buildings on Geil's property. "A two-storey brick house arose near what had been Moore's original garden, and a stone wharf at Bowen's original landing place. Geil's pride and joy were his 'Beautiful Gardens' he planted - with apple and peach trees, grapevines and oaks". Tardif then adds - "Stockyards, stock-keepers' huts and poultry houses were built also, but by costly error (for Geils) on the adjoining 300 acres owned by George Guest." (Tardif p192)

The Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office (TAHO) has a series of county maps on the LINC website. The maps are series AF396 County Maps created by the Lands and Surveys Department. Risdon Cove was in the Parish of Forbes located in Monmouth, one of the twenty early land districts in Tasmania. AF396-1-256 is another map of the area around Risdon Cove. This map was surveyed by a surveyor named Seymour and also shows Guest's land.
A copy of the original map surveyed by Woodward is also available on this site as AF396-1-216.

There is still much to learn about this 300 acres of land and how it was farmed plus when it was actually sold. However an article in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 21 January 1810 p2 provides an account by George Guest of the extent of farming near Hobart Town a year or two after he acquired his 300 acres at Risdon Cove.
From a Mr George Guest, a few days since arrived from the Derwent, we learn the following particulars relative to that Settlement, which may appear interesting. The ground under cultivation Mr. Guest considers to be about 1500 acres. The crop of wheat of the present year's growth he considers will scarcely average eight bushels to the acre, owing to the seed, which was mostly sent from hence, having been of a very indifferent quality. Sixteen acres of Mr. Guest's own growth, he scarcely imagines will produce three bushels to the acre. The flock of horned cattle is in very good condition, and the prices of articles are much similar to those with us; fresh beef, mutton and pork being 1s. 6d. per lb.; potatoes 2d. per do; fowls dear, being from 5 to 6s. each; tea 8 to 12s. per lb.; sugar 10d. per do; spirits 15 to 16s. per bottle; and the store price of wheat 21s. per bushel before the Union arrived. The different settlements of agriculture are New Norfolk, 25 miles from Hobart Town, on the banks of a fine fresh water river, navigable at high water to a vessel of the Lady Nelson's burthen; the next we notice will be Herdsman's Cove, about mid-way between Hobart and the above; — This has only been settled a few months since by settlers from Norfolk Island, who have not yet been able to plant any thing but potatoes; — the river gets brackish at high water. The next is Kangaroo Point about two miles from the town but on the opposite side the river, well watered by a very fine run; and about a mile more distant from Hobart is New Town, which was the first settlement made. Ralph's Bay is about eight miles from Hobart, and also on the opposite shore of the river. Here from 130 to 200 acres are in cultivation by the Norfolk settlers; about 200 of whom have at different times been removed thither with their families, amounting to 1100 persons more or less. The land near the town is considered some of the best yet cultivated, and is mostly laid out in gardens, which produce vegetables in tolerable abundance.
Glover,Margaret. 1978. History of the Site of Bowen’s Settlement, Risdon Cove. Hobart, National Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania Occasional Paper No. 2.  [SLTF 994.61 G51H]

McGowan,Angela. 1985. .Archaeological Investigations at Risdon Cove Site 1978-1980. Hobart, National Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania Occasional Paper No. 10. [SLTF 994.61 M17A]

McPherson,Kaye. 2001. Risdon Cove from the Dreamtime and the First Hundred Years. Lindisfarme, Manuta Tunapea, Puggaluggia.  [SLTF 994.61 M24R]

Tardif, Philip John. 2003. John Bowen’s Hobart: the Beginning of European Settlement in Tasmania. Hobart, Tasmanian Historical Research Association. [LT 994.6102 T17J]

George Guest at Risdon Cove - part 1

George Guest (1753-1841) and his family arrived in Hobart Town in September 1805 from Norfolk Island. The decision had been made to close the settlement on the island and George and his family were among the first to leave. However as George had a number of land holdings on Norfolk Island, a house and livestock, he left Norfolk Island on the understanding that he would be fully compensated for the land surrendered. George did receive a number of grants of land but, feeling that he never received full compensation for his Norfolk Island land, he spent many years petitioning for full compensation.

Earlier in the year I investigated the location of the Seven Stars inn in Campbell Street once owned by George Guest. When I visited Hobart last year I also visited the location of land in the area of what is now Macquarie Point which was the first land granted to George Guest in January 1806. As mentioned in the previous post my next goal was to locate the location of 300 acres of land granted to George Guest, probably in 1806, in or near Risdon Cove. Previous research in the Historical Records of Australia (HRA) had located reference to George owning 300 acres in the Risdon area.

On the 27th January 1806 Lieutenant-Governor David Collins wrote a letter to Governor King in Port Jackson informing him of what he had done so far in assisting George Guest settle into the new colony. George Guest had brought sheep with him from Norfolk Island. Not all survived the trip but some were kept by George while the remainder were purchased by the government at £3 per head. George was also allowed to land thirty-seven gallons of spirits for his own use. George Guest was under the impression that he should receive 424 acres of land in the new colony. The land at Fosbrooks (later Macquarie) Point was twenty-four acres. At one stage it was decided that George Guest would receive the rest of the land as four allotments of 100 acres and Collins reported that he had told George Guest to choose suitable land. However George then decided to remove his family to Port Jackson where his children could receive an education. George sold a yoke of oxen (two oxen) and some other animals but announced that he would return to claim land in Van Diemen's Land. He had also provided the government with a quantity of provisions including salted pork, flour and sugar in exchange for twelve cows and one calf. George Guest and his family were to travel to Port Jackson aboard the Sophia and would receive full victuals for two weeks. The letter concluded with the statement that "I understand he purposes returning at some (not very) distant Period to occupy his Farms, which he has now chosen in one allotment in the Neighbourhood of Herdsman's Cove." (HRA series III vol 1 pp354-355)
Map showing Herdsmans Cove (top) in relation to Risdon Cove (middle)
The map above shows Herdsmans Cove in relation to Risdon Cove. (Tardif) Subsequent references to the 300 acres of land belonging to Geoge Guest all provide Risdon Cove as the location.

The original European settlement on the Derwent River had been at Risdon Cove from 1803 until 1804 when Collins decided to establish the settlement of Hobart Town across the river. In February 1805 Lieutenant-Governor Collins wrote to Governor King that he had decided to open a Government Farm at Risdon Cove but some allotments could be made available for settlers. (HRA series III vol 1 p317).  A follow-up letter in October 1805 described how land in that previously cultivated area had been tilled again and replanted with barley and wheat. Collins had expectations of "an abundant produce from the ensuing harvest". (HRA series III vol 1 p331) When Collins travelled to Australia via the Cape of Good Hope he had brought with him "Cape Seed" which grew better in the new colony than the seed from England. (HRA series III vol 1 p248) The plan for a Government Farm at Risdon Cove appears to have been short lived but the area was made available to new settlers arriving in the colony to farm. George Guest would appear to have been one of these settlers.

The returns of the General Muster 1809 show that George Guest was a settler at Risdon Cove, Clarence Plains, where he owned 300 acres of land. He was farming twenty acres of wheat, had 63 cattle, 49 sheep and 1 pig. (Shaffer p54)

In April 1813 Governor Maquarie wrote a letter to Major Geils making it clear that Geils had no right to assume the 300 acres of land belonging to George Guest as part of Geil's property at Risdon Cove. Governor Maquarie stressed that Guest's land had "been regularly assigned to him and taken possession of by him in part Payment of his Norfolk Island Claims on Government." (HRA series III vol 2 pp30-31).  Geils had tried to add the land to his property arguing that Guest had left his property to go to New South Wales.  Advertisements in  newspapers located via Trove show, George Guest was regularly travelling between Van Diemen's Land and Port Jackson at this time. Macquarie told Geils that the only way that he could aquire the land was to purchase it directly from George Guest. George Guest kept possession of the 300 acres at Risdon as shown by an advertisement in the Hobart Town Courier 24 November 1827 advertising the Risdon land for sale or let.
When we visited Hobart last year we had passed Risdon Cove when we travelled via the ferry to MONA. We did visit other locations in Clarence including Bellerive and Kangaroo Bay but did not visit the Risdon Cove area. The need to create a research plan for an Introduction to Family History course provided the impetus to try and locate the actual location of George's 300 acres.

Historical Records of Australia (HRA) series III Despatches and Papers Relating to the States. vol 1 & 2

Schaffer, Irene (ed). 1991. Land Musters, Stock Returns and Lists. Van Diemen’s Land 1803-1822. Hobart, St David's Park Publishing.

Tardif, Philip John. 2003. John Bowen’s Hobart: the Beginning of European Settlement in Tasmania. Hobart, Tasmanian Historical Research Association.

Advertisement. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 21 January 1810 p1; 2 February 1811 p2; 18 July 1812 p1; 20 March 1813 p2; 16 October 1813 p1; 4 March 1815 p2; 14 December 1816 p2; 29 November 1817 p4; 18 April 1818 p1; 26 December 1818 

Advertisement. The Hobart Town Courier 24 November 1827

Monday, 3 October 2016

Family History Research Plan

The major assignment for the Introduction to Family History course at the University of Tasmania was to create a Family History Resarch Plan. I took the opportunity to decide how I might locate a map showing where George Guest had land at Risdon Cove. The research plan proved a useful exercise leading me to locate the information I was seeking. I will write about this part of George's story in another post.

Genealogical problem:
(Introduce the key focus of your research plus a clearly stated research question)
Visiting Hobart last November I spent time exploring, on foot, the area where three of my ancestors had land in Hobart prior to 1840 including the area on Fosbrooks (later Macquarie) Point that originally belonged to George Guest. George Guest also owned the Seven Stars Inn on Campbell Street. Since then I have been looking for information about other holdings of land owned by George Guest in Tasmania.

George Guest (1765-1841) was my great (x4) grandfather. In 1783 he was arrested for stealing pigs and a horse. George Guest was a First Fleet convict who travelled to Norfolk Island in January 1790. In September 1805 George and his family relocated to Hobart Town. While on Norfolk Island George became a major land owner and farmer and understood that when he left Norfolk Island he would be compensated with grants of land on his arrival in Van Diemen’s Land. George received some land grants but was to dispute whether this was fair compensation for the rest of his life.

The initial settlement on the Derwent was at Risdon Cove in 1803 before being relocated to the present site of Hobart in 1804. Prior to the relocation some of the land at Risdon Cove had been cleared for farming and Lieutenant-Governor Collins later provided seed for the planting of crops. When the settlers decided to return to Sydney the land was intended to be used as a government farm. There was a need for a reliable supply of grain for the new settlement so land in the Risdon Cove area was made available for farming. In January 1806 George Guest was considering a grant of 300 acres of land in the Herdsman’s Cove area near Risdon Cove though later references show that the land grant was at Risdon Cove. By 1809 twenty acres of the land was farmed for wheat and George had 63 cattle and 49 sheep.

George Guest made many trips to New South Wales where he also had some land but his main landholdings were in Van Diemen’s Land. In 1813 a neighbour, Major Geils, attempted to add George Guest’s land to his property on the grounds that Guest was in New South Wales. In a letter to Geils, Governor Macquarie stressed that the 300 acres at Risdon Cove belonged to George Guest as part compensation for the land and house he had surrendered when leaving Norfolk Island. George Guest continued to own this land until at least 1827 when it was advertised for sale.

My research question is:
Where exactly was the location of George Guest’s three hundred acres of land at Risdon Cove? 

Known facts:
  1. Lieutenant-Governor Collins provided seed for growing wheat and Barley at Risdon Cove in 1804.
  2. In 1805 Lieutenant-Governor Collins proposed opening up the land in Risdon Cove area for settlers to farm.
  3. Lieutenant-Governor Collins, in a letter to Governor King on 27 January 1806, wrote that George Guest had selected land ‘in one allotment in the neighbourhood of Herdsman’s Cove’.
  4. In 1809 general muster, George Guest is listed as owning 300 acres at Risdon / Clarence Plains.
  5. In 1827, land at Risdon Cove owned by George Guest described as ‘at the junction of a small chain of ponds and the Risdon Cove’.
  6. George regularly travelled between Hobart Town and Port Jackson (a sample of some of the visits provided).
  7. Neighbour, Major Geils, attempted to claim George Guest’s land and Governor Macquarie confirmed the 300 acres belonged to George Guest.
  8. Advertisement for sale of land in 1827.
Records used:
  1.  Historical Records of Australia (HRA) series III Despatches and Papers Relating to the States. Vol 1 p248-249.
  2.   HRA vol 1 p317.
  3. HRA vol 1 p355.
  4. Irene Schaffer (ed). 1991. Land Musters, Stock Returns and Lists. Van Diemen’s Land 1803-1822. Hobart. p54.
  5. Advertisement. The Hobart Town Courier 24 November 1827 p3.
  6. Advertisement. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 21 January 1810 p1; 2 February 1811 p2; 18 July 1812 p1; 20 March 1813 p2; 16 October 1813 p1; 4 March 1815 p2; 14 December 1816 p2; 29 November 1817 p4; 18 April 1818 p1; 26 December 1818 p2.
  7. HRA vol 2 p30-31.
  8. Advertisement. The Hobart Town Courier 24 November 1827 p3
Widening your search:
(Where else might you find relevant information)

State Library of Victoria
The State Library of Victoria holds books relating to the history of the Risdon Cove area. These can be checked for references particularly to George Guest and neighbouring landholders including Andrew Geils.
  1.  Glover, Margaret. History of the Site of Bowen’s Settlement, Risdon Cove. Hobart, National Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania Occasional Paper No. 2. 1978. [SLTF 994.61 G51H]
  2. McGowan, Angela.  Archaeological Investigations at Risdon Cove Site 1978-1980. Hobart, National Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania Occasional Paper No. 10, 1985. [SLTF 994.61 M17A]
  3. McPherson, Kaye. Risdon Cove from the Dreamtime and the First Hundred Years. Lindisfarme, Manuta Tunapea, Puggaluggia, 2001.  [SLTF 994.61 M24R]
  4. Tardif, Philip John. John Bowen’s Hobart: the Beginning of European Settlement in Tasmania. Hobart, Tasmanian Historical Research Association, 2003. [LT 994.6102 T17J]
Tasmanian Historical Research Association
Tasmanian Historical Research Association Papers and proceedings have been published since 1951. These are available to view online via the State Library of Victoria website.
The library also holds paper indexes for this publication:
  1. Tasmanian Historical Research Association. Index to the Papers and Proceedings. Vol 1 (1951-1983), Hobart, Tasmanian Historical Research Association, 1991.
  2. Tasmanian Historical Research Association. Index to the Papers and Proceedings. Vol 2 (1984-1993), Hobart, Tasmanian Historical Research Association, 1998.
  3. Tasmanian Historical Research Association. Index to the Papers and Proceedings. Vol 3 (1994-2003), Hobart, Tasmanian Historical Research Association, 2006. [G994.6 IN23R INDEX]
Continue to search online newspapers in Trove for references to George Guest and his land, particularly in the Herdsman Cove, Risdon Cove and Clarence area as well as land belonging to neighbours including Andrew Geils. Articles on the history / reminiscences of people living in these areas may appear in later newspapers.

A series of maps – AF316 County Maps (Lands and Surveys Department) – can be located on the LINC website. The maps and plans in this collection are arranged according to their County and Parish. Risdon Cove and surrounding area is in the Parish of Forbes in the County of Monmouth.

Likely outcomes:
(Include ethical considerations)

Locating a map showing the location of the 300 acres belonging to George Guest at Risdon Cove would be a great addition for my research; however any additional information as to where the land was located would help the search. Hopefully a search of the AF316 County Maps series will be useful.  

Books and / or articles about the early history of Risdon Cove or the wider Clarence area could provide useful background information particularly if they discuss how the land was farmed. They may also contain a map or sketch of the area around the original Risdon Cove settlement which may indicate further development of the land after the closure of the settlement. References and bibliographies may also be useful for providing additional leads for research.

This research requires looking for information relating to events that occurred two hundred years ago and therefore making information available in the findings is unlikely to be an issue for anyone, especially as material about the events at this time is available in the public record.

I will add any information located as part of the story of George Guest and his family in my blog. Using information ethically in blogs (and other publications) has been a discussion point in the Australian Local & Family History Bloggers Facebook page. The use of material from other sources without recording that the material is the work of, or belongs to, others should not occur. Much of the material available online is available as Creative Commons and can be freely used provided acknowledgement of the source is provided. However in some cases it is necessary to first obtain permission from the organisation or person making the material available before using it. Blogs make it easy to include a link back to the source page for images and other material used in a post. Apart from the ethics of this it is a courtesy to other researchers.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

A Patchwork of Memories

Week Four in the National Family History Month Blogging Challenge looks at the idea of country or place in family history including what makes a place special or unique.
Check more contributions here
One of the assignments in the University of Tasmania Family History unit, Place, Image Object, was to create an annotated map of an area important to your family history. This was to be a creative activity where participants chose materials to create their map. A short reflective statement was to accompany the annonated map / artwork created. This proved to be a challenging assignment as the examples provided appeared to relate more to artwork rather than history but I took a deep breath and did the best that I could.

Although the presentation of the material was a challenge the exercise, from a history viewpoint, was worthwhile. I was seven and in grade 2 when we arrived at our new home in Edinburgh Street, so I based my assignment as an observation of the area as seen largely through the eyes of a child. As I thought about my chosen site I recalled many memories of my childhood and the process caused me to think about how the area had developed from market garden to suburbia. I named the assignment A Patchwork of Memories.
Patchwork of Memories
I chose to look at the a section of the suburb of East Bentleigh which my family moved to in May 1955, an area which several years earlier had been market gardens. This area, locally, also has the name of Coatesville after the name of the primary school established in August 1953. The school was originally South Oakleigh State School but was renamed Coatesville in 1955 after Councillor Leslie Robert Coates. The post office, lawn bowls club and tennis club also use the name Coatesville.

When doing research for this assignment I discovered, on the State Library website, a Collins Street Directory 1952 map of the area showing a blank space for the area where we were to live, go to school, attend church and shop.
Map of part of East Bentleigh 1952 - Collins Street Directory
I created a very basic map for the assignment showing the initial changes made to the area by 1955.
The area on both sides of Mackie Road had now begun to be developed with the addition of streets, a shopping centre, school and church.
Google Maps shows the area today as suburbia
My family moved from rental accommodation in an established area to a brand new house, purchased via a war service loan, built on a developing housing estate. As already mentioned, the area had originally been market gardens. An article in The Australasian in 1906 describes the market gardens in Moorabbin with crops grown  including potatoes, cabbages, carrots, turnips and cauliflowers. Artichokes were grown in the Coatesville area as at one stage as my parents and neighbours found artichokes in the garden for many years. When we moved to Edinburgh Street there were hardly any completed buildings in the street apart from our house, the house on the Mackie Road corner belonging to the family who had owned the local market gardens and a house on the Tambet Street corner.

Other houses were being built nearby and gradually the area changed from green furrowed paddocks with a few houses to streets of houses, made roads and lots of people, including children. The paddocks were places to explore, make cubby houses and daisy chains. The sound of building was prominent during the day but once the builders left, the new structures became play areas for children. We spent hours clambering over these wooden structures forming the intial frame of what were to become rows of brick veneer houses.

For a child the nearby school was an important place. Being only two streets from home it was a short walk to school and in my senior years at primary school I often went home for lunch. Initially Coatesville was the only state school in a rapidly expanding residential area and consequently the class sizes were large until new schools opened at South Oakleigh and Valkstone. When Valkstone State School opened two grade four classes from Coatesville were each day bussed to the new school for their lessons. My memories of primary school include learning to play skippy, hopscotch, swapcards, shelter sheds where we often played but also watched movie films with blackout curtains over the doors, lessons via radio piped into the classroom, school milk each day, ink wells, ink monitors and boys flicking ink soaked blotting paper across the room, rows of desks, blackboard monitors, marching into school to the beat of a drum after assembly, school marching team, inter school sports at Oakleigh, swimming lessons at Brighton baths, learning maypole dancing and the school fete each year. There was also a vacant paddock next to the school (it later became part of the school grounds) where we were not allowed to play but, of course, we did.

The church was where we went to Sunday School - hundreds of children attended each Sunday - attended the Girls Friendly Society (GFS) each week, played in our GFS basketball team, went on the annual Sunday School Picnic (often in a furniture van to places such as Ferntree Gully) and, of course, the Church fetes.

The shopping centre was also two streets away in the opposite direction to the school so I was allowed to go to the shops for Mum to purchase her copy of the Women's Weekly from the newsagent or to buy a bag of broken Nice biscuits from the Grocers. At the Milk Bar we were occasionally allowed to buy an icy pole or a small bag of mixed lollies which we chose from the display cabinet.

Being a new area creating a garden was an important activity and we watched the transformation of the area when lawns were planted, trees began to grow and there was colour from newly planted flowers. Planting a  liquid amber in the front garden proved to be an unwise decision but it did have pretty leaves in autumn.

I don't remember this but according to my mother Edinburgh Street was the first of the smaller streets to be a made road. I do, however, remember the bread and milk being delivered via a horse and cart. One of the boys in my class used to sometimes skip school to do the rounds with the man delivering the bread. For many years each Spring, when there was heavy rain, our section of Edinburgh Street used to flood. Children from all the houses would play in the water until a neighbour pointed out that it may not really be a healthy activity. New neighbours who had just planted their lawn were also not impressed.

In the 1950s there were two firework nights each year - Empire Day (later Commonwealth Day) on 21 May and Guy Fawkes Day on 5 November. These were the days when we could go to the shops and buy fire crackers. It was a community event with neighbours often coming together to let off rockets, fountains, catherine wheels set in holes in the fence, light bungers and wave sparklers in the air. One year we had a bonfire on the evening of the school fete.

Fetes were also community events with people working together to raise money for the school or church. I have memories of Mum making cakes all day for the fete and we would also make toffees and cocnut ice to be sold. Our next door  neighbour spent months sewing aprons and other items for the craft stall. There were always lots of stalls, food to eat and rides. As children, fetes were something to look forward to.

The move to East Bentleigh was a great adventure for a seven year old. This was a time of freedom, a time to explore and to make friends. It was also the building of a new community. 

For our assignment we had to try and capture the feelings of the area in our annotated map. I chose to use Popplet to create my map.
Annotated Map in Popplet -
Using the 1952 map and images I also created a Patchwork of Memories illustrating recollections of my childhood in this new environment. An annotated version of A Patchwork of Memories was also produced in Popplet.
Annotated A Patchwork of Memories in Popplet -
Although this assignment caused initial angst it proved to be a useful exercise in thinking about the importance of place in a family story.

Coatesville (place) - eMelbourne
Bentleigh East - Wikipedia

'Coatesville State School' in Vision and realisation: a centenary history of State education in Victoria. (1973) volume 3 page 492
Coatesville Primary School website
Coatesville Primary School - Know your schools website

'Market gardens at Moorabbin' - photo 1953 - Victorian Places
'Through the market gardens', Moorabbin in The Australasian 25 August 1906 - Trove

 Collins street directory 1952 - State Library of Victoria

Annotated map in Popplet
Annotated A Patchwork of Memories in Popplet

Monday, 22 August 2016

War Widows' and Widowed Mothers' Association of Victoria

The Week Three theme for the National Family History Week Blogging Challenge relates to the First World War, particularly events in August 1916. This post is not strictly on topic however when you look at the huge number of deaths of Australian soldiers in 1916 the establishment of a support group for the widows and widowed mothers of those who died is important.
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The first meeting of the War Widows' and Widowed Mothers' Association of Victoria (WWWMAV) was held in Melbourne in May 1922. After the First World War a number of support groups were established for war widows and / or widowed mothers but most of these groups have disappeared over time. In 2016, although the membership is shrinking, the War Widows' and Widowed Mothers' Association continues as a support group for its members.
When my father died in 1984 my mother was contacted by the local branch of the WWWMAV and her membership of this organisation continues. For many years she has been secretary of the local branch. The age of the membership is currently around 90 +, give or take a few years, but the ladies continue to meet regularly when health and other commitments allow.

Towards the end of 2003 a decision was made at a WWWMAV State Council meeting that the ladies would like a history of their association to ensure that in the future there would be a record of their organisation and their activities. My mother suggested (volunteered) that I should undertake the project so much of 2004 was spent reading the minutes, newsletters and other papers that had been kept (unfortunately minutes of the AGM prior to 1948 are missing). I also conducted a small survey of sample WWWMAV members as well as reading background material available in books and online about events affecting the lives of widows and widowed mothers during and after the First World War. In 2005 the Patriotic Funds Council arranged for the publication of War Widows and Widowed Mothers Association of Victoria: the first 82 years and copies were made available to members.

Although legislation such as the War Pensions Act 1914 paved the way for the payment of a pension to widows, and later widowed mothers dependant on their sons who died serving overseas, the pension was well below the basic wage and women with children, in particular, faced financial difficulties. A decision was therefore made to form an organisation to promote the cause of war widows and widowed mothers. Inintially, as stated in the WWWMAV constitution, the group worked towards attaining the betterment of pensions, amenities and concessions for war widows and widowed mothers and their families as well as the promotion of fellowship, interest and co-operation among members with help and advice wherever possible to the bereaved. This group has proved to be an important network. During and after World War II the WWWMAV quickly absorbed and assisted a new generation of widows and widowed mothers.
Plaque in Birdwood Avenue, Shrine Reserve (Monument Australia)
Twenty-nine branches of the WWWMAV were founded throughout Victoria though a number have closed over the years. The Association has been governed by a State Council. Statewide events included an annual State Conference, an annual Get-together Luncheon and an annual Pilgrimage to the Shrine. The WWWMAV also produced a monthly publication, Remembrance, for members.

Caring and sharing can be seen as two major functions of the Association as the WWWMAV works as a support group for its members. Branches hold regular, often monthly meetings which may be followed by a speaker or a product demonstration. Bus trips to a variety of destinations have been a popular activity. In the past many groups also organised holiday trips for members. Branch anniversary and Christmas celebrations have also been important and well attended functions and in many cases have also been attended by members of neighbouring groups. Especially after the Second World War when the existing group membership was joined by younger members, often with young children, an annual Christamas Treat for the children was organised.

When WWWMAV was established visiting patients in repatriation hospitals was an important role of members. Members continue to visit their members who may be hospitalised and regularly check on the needs of members who are unwell. The WWWMAV has maintained a close association with Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital including members attending services at the hospital.

Anzac Day and Remembrance Day are special days of commemoration with members often attending services at the Shrine or services organised by their local RSL. An annual pilgrimage to the Shrine was a regular event. The WWWMAV branches work with their local RSL branches and also with local Legacy groups.

From the early 1950s WWWMAV funds purchased holiday homes at Rosebud and Olinda and later at Ferny Creek allowing members and their families the opportunity of affordable holidays. In 2004 ownership of the remaining homes at Rosebud was transferred to Carry On Victoria. Seventy-five thousand dollars was also been placed in a trust fund with the interest used for an annual nursing scholarship at Federation University, Ballarat.

Support, care and companionship remain key elements of the WWWMAV as well as providing information for members regarding benefits and services. At meetings and other functions it is never forgotten that the current members are widows of men who served in Australian forces.

The membership may be aging but the WWWMAV plays an important part in the lives of its members, providing the opportunity to form friendships and share experiences. To quote one of the members replying to the survey question - why she joined the Association - "Lovely club, wonderful girls, great friends."

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Challenges of Working on the Land

The Week Two topic for the National Family History Blogging Challenge is to honour our working ancestors and the challenges they faced in their occupations.
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Many generations of my family have owned and worked on properties primarily in New South Wales and Queensland.The early settlers to the colonies were often granted or purchased parcels of land. When Dorothea Mackellar wrote of 'droughts and flooding rains' in her poem, My Country, the experiences she described were faced by family members who lived in outback Queensland and NSW as well as family members with smaller properties near the Hawkesbury River.

An example of how challenging being a landowner can be can be shown through the experiences of George Hutton (1850-1936). George was born in Bath, England and at the age of 19 came to Australia. Initially he worked on a number of properties in western Victoria and southern NSW before his father arrived in Victoria to investigate settling there. The contrast between life in Bath and life in rural Australia must have been dramatic for George however I suspect he treated it as an adventure, initially anyway, as he spent the rest of his life in this country.

George helped his father in the early establishment of a property in Lilydale before deciding, in 1874, to go north to Queensland to work as a cattle drover. The next time we hear of him he had purchased (with financial assistance from his father) a sheep station, The Troffs, near Parkes.

Articles in Trove refer to the prices obtained at the wool sales and also note that George was a Pasture Director of the Forbes Pastures and Stock Protection Board in the 1890s. There is also a report of George purchasing additional sheep in 1888.
Forbes Stock Report January 13 included information that 2000 ewes on the 6th January had crossed the river travelling from Grawlin Plain to The Troffs.
Australian Town and Country Journal Saturday 21 January 1888 p4
George's brother, Arthur, joined him to help run the property. Lack of water was a problem for property owners and in the early 1890s rain was limited. However worse was to come in the form of the Federation Drought which occurred between the years 1895 to 1902.
Federation drought 1895-1902
The five years preceding Federation had been intermittently dry over most of the country. Very dry conditions set in across eastern Australia during the spring of 1901, and became entrenched over the following months. As the drought worsened, enormous sheep and cattle losses were reported from Queensland, and many rivers dried up. The Darling River at Bourke virtually ran dry, while Murray River towns such as Mildura, Balranald and Deniliquin - at that time dependent on the river for transport - suffered badly. The Australian wheat crop was all but lost. Rain in December 1902 brought temporary relief, with a more substantial break in autumn 1903. The long drought and its severe climax in 1902 had devastated stock numbers, and began focusing attention on planning for irrigation, especially in the three states through which the Murray River flows. Australian Yearbook 2008 - Natural disasters in Australia.
The family property, The Troffs, was sold and George needed to find new employment. His wife, Annie, moved to Sydney and took their two daughters with her but George elected to remain in the Parkes area where he became a Rabbit Inspector for the Molong Pastures Protection Board.

As we all know the introduction of rabbits to this country was a disaster for property owners. Rabbit Inspectors were therefore appointed to check that property owners were complying with regulations to minimise the spread rabbits on their properties. Articles in Trove show that monthly meetings were held which included reports from the Rabbit Inspectors.
Rabbit Inspector Hutton reported that he had travelled 304 miles since the previous meeting, and had made 45 inspections. He reported ten holders to be unsatisfactory, and recommended three owners for prosecution. The board decided to lay poison in reserves at a cost of £25, and to prosecute three holders reported by Inspector Hutton.
Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday 23 December 1914 p9
According to the Sands Directory, George was still a Rabbit Inspector in 1926. It was around this time that he left Parkes and spent the rest of his life living with his daughter and her family on their property in Western Queensland.

While trying to make a living from the land in his new country George discovered that the environment provided many challenges difficult to overcome no matter how hard you perservered.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Exploring census data

As part of National Family History Month,  held in August, a challenge was issued to write a post on a selected topic each week. The topic for Week 1 was a Census Story.
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Recently, as part of the Convict Ancestors course, I  reseached one of my convict ancestors, Mary Bateman, who arrived in New South Wales aboard the Lady Juliana in 1790 and was then sent to Norfolk Island where she lived until her family relocated to Hobart Town in 1805. On Norfolk Island Mary had married George Guest, a First Fleet convict. The New South Wales Convict Death Register shows that Mary died in April 1829 and was buried at St Luke's, Liverpool, NSW.

We know from newspaper reports and correspondence in Historical Records of Australia that Mary and her family travelled to Port Jackson in 1806 as opportunities for education for the children in Hobart Town were limited. It seems, however, that Mary did not return to Hobart Town with her family. There are a few reports mentioning Mary and her husband, who made frequent trips to Port Jackson, in Trove however I needed to rely on the muster and census records to try and piece together what happened to Mary.

Mary's name, sometimes under Bateman and sometimes under Guest, is recorded on the New South Wales population Muster for 1811,  the New South Wales Settler and Convict List for 1818 and the New South Wales Musters of 1822 and 1825. The last two records show that Mary was at the Lunatic Asylum in Parramatta. The New South Wales Census 1828 then shows that Mary had been transferred to the Lunatic Asylum at Liverpool. She died there the following year.
Tuesday 9 August 2016 is Census Night when once again the Australian Bureau of Statistics is asking householders to complete the Census of Population and Housing. From the early days of the settlement of the Colony of New South Wales, officials carried out and relied on census data to record information about the convicts, former convicts and free settlers in the colony. The initial surveys were known as musters but by 1828 the term census was being used.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics website has an article on Colonial Censuses and Musters while the State Library of Victoria has a useful guide on Early Australian Census Records.  The links at the top of the SLV guide page provide specific information for each state.

Fortunately much of the early collected data up to the 1841 New South Wales census is available for the use of historians, including family historians, via online databases such as Some census reports (not the data) is available on Historical Census and Colonial Data Archive. Some of this data can also be found on microfiche. The first Commonwealth Census was held in 1911. Initially the census was taken every ten years but since 1961 has been held every five years.

During the second half of the nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century the census records were destroyed once the data had been collated into reports. This policy has changed since the 2001 census resulting in those filling in census forms being able to indicate if they want their information to be kept in secure storage for one hundred years when information may be released for general research. Those of us investigating the history of family members in the UK are likely to have used data from census records from 1841 until 1911 and are grateful that this information is now readily available.

Those of us using the available census information for family history research know that the data about family members varies. The later British census forms now available online provide quite detailed information about households. However even the limited information to be found on some of the early colonial muster and census forms can still provide a new, sometimes unexpected, piece of information leading to further research. Census information can be a really useful research tool.

NB: A useful link that has just  appeared - Australian Census 1828 and 2016
Also Census Musters Guide