TROVE Tuesday – Australia Day

australia-1296727__340After watching the Australia Day celebrations last week, I started thinking about how Australia Day was celebrated in the past.  I didn’t remember any great fuss during my earlier years so I decided to consult TROVE to see how it was reported in 1950.




Mr Menzies might be surprised at how many flag and flag products are available now. Just check out the shopping catalogues that end up in our letter boxes every week.





1950 ‘”Celebrate Australia Day With Flags”‘, The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954), 26 January, p. 2. , viewed 31 Jan 2017,




Bordertown, S.A. 

I see that the Post Offices were open for 1 hour in the morning. It seems tennis matches were the main way of celebrating Australia Day in the towns around Bordertown.

1950 ‘PUBLIC HOLIDAY NEXT MONDAY’, Border Chronicle (Bordertown, SA : 1908 – 1950), 26 January, p. 1. , viewed 31 Jan 2017,




A very different Australia Day programme to the celebrations in 2017.


1950 ‘RADIO ROUNDABOUT’, News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954), 28 January, p. 5. , viewed 31 Jan 2017,
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Adelaide History & Genealogy Expo

Sept 2016

I was excited when the initial ads came out for the Expo. Firstly, it was in my state, secondly, it was affordable and thirdly, the weather wouldn’t be too hot.

Really, the word expo doesn’t do the 2 days justice as it was really a conference with a trade exhibition. The trade exhibition was well worth a number of visits over the 2 days. I had some useful discussions with a number of vendors and volunteer local and family history groups. Even all the SANFL football clubs were represented as they really value their history.photoThere was a wonderful smorgasbord of speakers to choose from. The hardest part was choosing which talk to attend as there were generally 5 concurrent sessions to choose from. Thankfully, a few were repeated but I still had to miss some topics I really wanted to hear. But that always happens.

I don’t know what is in the water in Queensland but most of my favourite speakers were Queenslanders. I particularly enjoyed Helen Smith’s talk on “Google, the Genealogist’s friend”, Shauna Hick’s talks on “Online newspapers – Trove from Aust and PapersPast from NZ”  and “Sporting Ancestors”.  Sadly,this one was only scheduled for 30 mins when 50 mins would have been better.  It was held in the corners of the Exhibition hall where it was difficult to hear over the noise from the exhibitors. I left another because I couldn’t hear and didn’t even try any on the second day.

Another Queenslander, Eric Kopittke’s lecture on the history of Germany was fascinating but pity it was only scheduled for 30 mins, it was definitely a 50 mins talk.  Sadly, I didn’t get to hear Rosemary Kopittke’s talks but I did see her being very busy making sure that the 2 days talks programme went smoothly.  Of course, I acknowledge that UTP as organisers had to make the difficult decision as to which talks to make 30 mins and which were in the 50 min slot and that must have been a nightmare.

I found the talk by one of the Archivists from the National Lutheran Archives (which is in Adelaide) really useful.  I’ve made my first visit today and what a welcoming and professional group they are.  And yes, I found a few interesting things eg my g grandmother’s birth and baptism dates weren’t listed in the Baptismal register beside her name and that of her parents whereas most of the other entries on the page had those details, why?

Although I’ve been using FMP for several years, I still found the presentation by FMP’s F. Brooker to be of great assistance.

This beginner blogger was encouraged by the wonderful Alona to accept my first blogger beads photo

and have my photo taken with the other bloggers attending.  It was quite daunting meeting a number of my blogging heroes.

All in all, a wonderful 2 day conference which was affordable; most are beyond my pocket. I hope that UTP do it again in a few years as we have so little here in the way of genealogy conferences.

Nearly 3 years ago, I was fortunate in being able to go on one of UTP’s genealogy cruises with a fantastic range of speakers and I highly recommend this way of going on holiday and attending a genealogy conference. Apart from the speakers program on “at sea” days, the chance to socialise with like minded people and enjoy the full benefits of a cruise was simply wonderful.

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NFHM Week 2

Week 2

For this week’s challenge, I thought it might be interesting to compare my ancestors’ occupations with those of their descendants in 2016.

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Irish farmland photographed by J Gay

There were a lot of labourers from many countries in a variety of industries among my ancestors, a few were farmers and several were sailors. One was a parish clerk.  Several were silk and cotton mill workers while a mid 19th century chemist was working among them in the northern mill towns.

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Taken at Styal Mill near Manchester by J Gay

One who had a trade was a lithographic printer in London, serving a 7 year apprenticeship starting in the late 1890’s.

Some were in the military outside of the World War periods.  One served for nearly 20 years in India with the British after the Indian Revolution and 2 others died in India while serving in the British army and Navy in the 1860’s.  At the same time, I’m sure the seller of spirits in Ireland had a lucrative business.

In one Irish port in the 19th and 20th centuries, many generations of ancestors were carpenters, joiners and ship’s carpenters.

A few of my female ancestors were small shopkeepers or sales assistants while a larger number were working from home as dressmakers or “sewers”.  One was listed in a census as a “muslin embroider”. Another one who was widowed in 1890 while pregnant with her 5th child, ran a Fruit and Veg shop with her teenage son and later was a Confectioner.  I really admire her strength as she never remarried and it was before the government provided widow’s pensions.

In 2016 the current generations include a couple of engineers (both women), a couple of librarians, a large number of teachers, a musician, a lawyer, an economist, a management consultant, a funeral director, some merchants, a carter and a number of nurses (both male and female).  We also have a book seller, a few salesmen, a stenographer, an actor, a marine biologist, a couple of secretaries, finance coordinator.  Some others are a paramedic, an accountant, a cabinet maker, a few school assistants, manager of a millinery department, a hairdresser, a storeman and a financial planner.

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National Family History Month

NFHM logo

Week 1

For the first time, I am attempting to participate in the National Family History Month challenge.  As I’m also completing the free online course “Genealogy: Researching your family tree” from the University of Strathclyde; it will be a challenge.  BTW I am enjoying this course, it is excellent for beginners but for those of us who have been at this game for a long time, we can always do with a refresher.

I came across this interesting census record while searching for someone else and it piqued my interest. It was an ecumenical household living in Warrenpoint, Co Down in the 1901 Irish census which I thought would have been unusual in that period. I wonder what other people think of my assumption.

aaaa1911The owner of the property was listed as James SAVAGE who was a retired merchant and looking after this one man were two servants.  James was Church of Ireland, while his “lady Housekeeper” Sara McFADDEN was Methodist and the domestic servant was Ellen BLACK who was Roman Catholic.

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Funeral Insurance

I was very fortunate to be able to spend a morning at PRONI in September.  It is without a doubt the most friendly and welcoming archive I’ve ever used.  The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland is in a new purpose built building in the Titanic Quarter in Belfast.  We were welcomed with great warmth by every staff member we encountered.  I particularly enjoyed the initial interview with an archivist offered to all new researchers which greatly helped me plan what resources to use.



I found one will which I found interesting and quirky.  In 1838 Hannah LENNON of Corrague near Portaferry, bequeathed one shilling to her son, John as “he having already received from me at different times Thirty pounds Stg”.  Mmm, mum wasn’t happy with him when she wrote her will. She left all her money and property to her daughter, Mary MAGUIRE, sons Thomas and Patrick and grandson James MURPHY.  She finished by instructing her executors to “finally I desire the Cow to be sold and all my funeral charges to be paid”.

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St Patrick’s Catholic Graveyard at Portaferry



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Famine in Ardrahan parish in Co Galway

Like many researchers I’ve been glued to the National Library of Ireland’s release of Catholic Parish registers this week. I am grateful and impressed they aren’t making any money out of it.

Today I’ve been looking at the parish of Ardrahan in Galway where one set of GG grandparents are reputed to be from. Sadly there weren’t many registers to digitise – there is a note at the end of the 1850 registers saying that in 1907, the 1850 – 1867 register was missing.

But the Marriage register 1843 – 1850 covers the famine and this is starkly reflected in the numbers of marriages which were solemnised each year as tabled below.

1845 – 16
1846 – 35
1847 – 15
1848 – 3
1849 – 6
1850 – 4

I understand that Co Galway was among the worst hit counties during the famine.

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Henley Beach Swimming Pool

State Library of South Australia (B23586)

State Library of South Australia (B23586)

This was an important part of my childhood. It was built out from the Esplanade onto the beach near the Henley jetty. Given it’s location, it’s not surprising that it was filled with seawater.
It’s hard to imagine a pool in that setting now as the area has gone upmarket and is surrounded by several cafes, restaurants and expensive houses.
I went to Learn to Swim lessons there for a fortnight every January for a number of years. Even though I never learned to put my face in the water, I still managed to attain most of the swimming certificates offered.
The highlight of swimming there was undoubtedly the small kiosk which sold the famous “Bush biscuits” with butter on them. I don’t know if this was only available in SA. It was a very large plain (not particularly sweet) biscuit perhaps about 10cm x 6cm. Or perhaps that’s just how big it seemed to a child?
But it was perfect after swimming to fill up on before walking some distance to the bus and then walking again from the bus to our house. There was no such thing as getting lift from your father (my mother never learned to drive which was a common occurrence).  We were all very independent and made our own way day or night.


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Love this curate!

Doing a happy dance here this afternoon. As a result of my research, I located this 1848/49 Burial register from Axmouth in Devon.  The minister and curate have kindly annotated the record with the causes of death.  After several days looking at Devon PR’s, for me this is a very interesting and unique find.


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Food Parcels after WW2

Readers of one of my favourite books 84, Charing Cross Road will recall that Helene Hanff sent parcels of food ordered from New York to the staff of the London bookshop from the late 1940’s.  She did this because she was aware of the severe food shortages that England faced for many years after the end of WW2. 

 Today, during another session of scanning old documents, I came across the inhouse magazine of Chiswick Products – the makers of Cherry Blossom Shoe Polish in London.  It was the Winter 1947 issue in which our grandfather was farewelled on his retirement after 40 years as one of their Lithographic Printers.  Three other members of the family also worked there over several years. 

 I was very moved to read the story of how the staff in Australia and South Africa wanted to send food parcels from each member of their staff – 79 from Australia and 165 from South Africa to the staff in London.  As there must have been many more staff than that number in England, it was decided to put in the names of all staff with 10 years service who had been there during the war and balloted the required number to receive the parcels.  I bet there were very mixed feelings that day in the factory as some received food they hadn’t seen since before the war and others went home empty handed.

1947 Chiswick Products magazine p.82-83

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Emigration with the Salvation Army

My father came to Australia in the 1920’s under the umbrella of the “Salvation Army Lads”. I’ve often wondered how a lad of 17 years from a big mill town in Cheshire found his way to Australia without his family. I’ve recently been in contact with the International Heritage Centre for the Salvation Army in London and they have sent me a couple of interesting booklets from that period advertising the emigration services of the Army. The Army had been sending people from the UK to Australia, Canada and New Zealand in great numbers since 1905 and apparently had a large organisation around the world dedicated to this work.

Under the heading of “Square Dinkum Opportunities” there is the following –
“Come over and give us a hand in this sunlit white man’s country. There’s room for you – thousands of you and we want clean British lads brim full of pluck and adaptability”

As they say the past is another country.

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