Tuesday, 17 October 2017


 making headlines

 Karrakatta Cemetery, Western Australia has been in the headlines since it was first mooted in the late 1800's. Having opened in 1899, it was planned to be large enough to cope with the ever increasing need for burial space as the population of Western Australia and notably, Perth, grew.

TROVE is a splendid repository of articles and you can read all about the planning there.

However, in 1902, there was a very detailed article about the various areas now available...

 You can click image to enlarge


Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954), Saturday 27 September 1902, page 28



(See Illustrations.)
The general cemetery for Perth and district at Karrakatta was opened for interments on 24th April. 1899. The Board in which the control of the place is vested consists of nominees of the Government and the Perth City Council. The members of the Board are Dr. J. W. Hackett. M.L.C. (Chairman). Mr. J. Talbot Hobbs, and Mr. J. W. Langsford, who are the nominees of the Government, and the Mayors of Perth, Leederville and Subiaco, and Councillor T. G. Molloy who are the nominees of the Perth City Council. The Board have vested in them as trustees a reserve of  564  acres, the site being in a line with the Perth-Fremantle railway, and the entrance gates exactly opposite the Karrakatta railway station. The original intention was that this cemetery should serve for Perth, Fremantle, and intervening districts, but the residents of Fremantle, considering that Karrakatta was too far away for them, have obtained a reserve of their own on the boundary of that town. The work of preparation at Karrakatta has been necessarily extensive and costly. The
whole area has been fenced with a substantial picket fence, and portions of the ground allotted to the various religious bodies have been cleared. The areas allotted are as follows:--Church of England. 40 acres : Roman Catholic.,25 acres; Wesleyan, 17 acres; Congregational, 10 acres ; Presbyterian, 10 acres; Baptists, 1 1/2acres : Jews, 4 acres : Salvation Army, 1 acre ; Church of Christ. 2 acres, Plymouth Brethren, 1 acre - Lutheran’s, 1 acre ; Japanese 1 acre: Chinese, 2 acres: Mahomodans. 2 acres; and a block of 154 acres is for those professing no particular religion.
When tile cemetery was opened a commencement had been male with the construction of roads, and the first section was completed. These have now been extended considerably and the planting as well as other necessary improvements, have been carried out as funds would permit. Up to the present, sums amounting to £6,500 have been granted by the Government to the Board, and the whole has been spent in clearing, fencing, road-making, buildings, and water supply. A sum of  £500 granted by the Government last year is now being spent on road-making. The revenue derived from burial fees, etc since the first interment amounts to  £827. As the construction of roads progresses, avenues are being formed and tree planting is being carried out. Up to the present. 2.034 burials have taken place in tho cemetery. Last year there were 730 interments, and the average of burials is now about two per day. Our illustrations show what improvements have been made in the cemetery. The whole of the work has been carried out under the supervision of the board's secretary and surveyor. Mr. J. H. Hunt.
Great Britain has endorsed the circular Note recently addressed by Mr. Hay,  the United States Secretary of State to the Signatory Powers to the Berlin Convention, urging the necessity for ameliorating the condition of the Roumanian (sic) Jews. The other Powers have not yet replied.

Flames threaten Karrakatta

Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954), Saturday 16 January 1904, page 34
National Library of Australia


We face similar problems today..

Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950), Saturday 31 May 1919, page 8

National Library of Australia


Vandalism also..

Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950), Wednesday 2 September 1925, page 8 
National Library of Australia


 40,000 burials to date

Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 - 1954), Sunday 30 June 1929, page 4 
National Library of Australia


Question of a new site

West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), Saturday 4 April 1936, page 17

National Library of Australia


It seems that a more positive article was needed, after all, Karrakatta was now 37 years old.

Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 - 1954), Sunday 19 April 1936, page 11 
National Library of Australia

You can enlarge by clicking on image. 

So, what is Karrakatta like today? Remember that this is the resting place of many notable people, including the following...

Notable people interred within Karrakatta Cemetery include:
There are also ten Victoria Cross recipients who are interred in Karrakatta Cemetery:[8]

 Another is John CURTIN..

Reverend Hector Harrison conducting the burial service of John Curtin at Karrakatta cemetery, Perth, July 1945 [2] [picture]
Call Number
PIC/9682 LOC Box PIC/9682

 From TROVE... out of copyright   

Then there are many war graves... again from Wikipedia..

As at December 2016 Karrakatta Cemetery contains the graves of 107 Commonwealth service personnel of World War I and 141 of World War II, besides a Dutch naval sailor of the latter war, divided between the cemetery's various denominational plots.[9]
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has a memorial to 15 Australian service personnel - 2 sailors, 9 soldiers, 4 airmen - who died in World War II and were cremated at Karrakatta Crematorium.[10] In addition, 7 Australian personnel of the same war - 2 sailors, 4 soldiers, 1 airman -who were cremated at Karrakatta Crematorium but whose ashes had been scattered or buried at places where CWGC commemoration was not possible are listed by name on the Western Australia Cremation Memorial at the separate Perth War Cemetery.[11]

Over four years ago now, I wrote the following story... to bring attention to what is happening in Karrakatta now...


I'm sad to say that it is still happening... 99 year leases mean nothing, They are being overturned. The same is happening with 25 and 50 year leases.

Families are supposed to be notified before anything happens, but that's not always the case. Some have moved and there is no contact/owner of the grave listed. Others say that the first they have heard of their loved ones grave being listed for reinterment is when they go to visit and and find there is no longer any sign of a grave. Of course, they are told that all attempts to reach families is always made. It matters not that some of those who were resting there had served their country... they have as much chance of being disturbed as anyone else. 

If a family can afford to renew a lease, for a great deal of money, then the grave will be remain. Very few can afford what they are charging. Most of us would think that we own the headstones that we have paid for and the land that we bought in good faith to give our loved ones a resting place and ourselves a place to grieve and to pray and remember... It seems not.

Despite hundreds of protests, this travesty continues. There is a Facebook Group fighting the cause, and occasionally winning, at 

Please speak up, let your voice be heard for those who can no longer speak for themselves. Do you really want your loved ones reinterred with strangers beside or on top of them (the site is sold again) and no headstone to mark where they rest? We are taught from an early age to respect the dead.. how is this showing respect? 

Will they eventually work their way around the whole cemetery? Now they are saying that this policy only affects graves in disrepair... many can prove that that is not the case. 

You can read a notice from management here...

Do take a few moments to read other articles about what is happening... just Google    Karrakatta destruction of graves

You will find numerous articles such as these..

Speak up.. or this could soon be happening in a cemetery near you. How can this be justified? Is this all we owe our ancestors? 
This is a vast country, are we really that short of space? 

These were in a compound, if not claimed, then they were to be crushed for road base. This is obscene.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017


First World War Recruitment Poster


 It will never happen... or would it? 

Even in 1902, prior to WW1, articles appeared telling of the history of women in war... was this some kind of premonition or just acknowledging that women have always stood up for what they believed in.

Please click on articles to enlarge...

By 1911, more articles were appearing.. 
this was published in 

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954) , Wednesday 27 September 1911, 
National Library of Australia
Recruitment Poster UK & Australia

Shepparton Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 - 1953), Monday 25 January 1915, page 2 
National Library of Australia

By WWII, it had become to be taken for granted that women would be involved in far more than raising funds and nursing... The Australian Women's Land Army was just one organisation that had little trouble recruiting women.    
Australian War Memorial

The following photos are from the Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria and are out of copyright. All were sourced from TROVE    Pictures, photos,objects 

Women of the Australian Women's Land Army at work
Shows a girl driving a harvester at the Research Farm, Werribee, Vic.; girls using a transplanting machine; stacking hay; Y.W.C.A. Women's Garden Army ploughing land made available by the Brighton Council; Connie Woodward on stack of grass hay with Margaret Creswick; 

Shows part of the group of A.A.N.S. women, civilian nurses and other women involved in war work after being held for over 2 years. They had been captured at Rabaul and taken to Manila and then to Japan. 

Australian War Memorial

Women were involved worldwide

National Library of Australia

Tweed Daily (Murwillumbah, NSW : 1914 - 1949), Tuesday 10 February 1942, page 2 
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194547374 

Australian War Memorial

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), Wednesday 1 July 1942, page 1 
National Library of Australia

This was thought to be a vast improvement...

 By 1944, women were no longer a novelty in many fields...

Central Queensland Herald (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1930 - 1956), Thursday 24 September 1942, page 17 

National Library of Australia

Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954), Wednesday 15 December 1943, page 2 
National Library of Australia

We don't hear a lot about the effect that the war had on the children...

Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), Wednesday 6 January 1943, page 5 
National Library of Australia
Many well known personalities became involved in the war effort...

WOMEN IN WAR WORK was a regular column in TRUTH, Brisbane...

Truth (Brisbane, Qld. : 1900 - 1954), Sunday 24 January 1943, page 20 
National Library of Australia

However, post war, with the men returning, there was a cry for women to resign and give the jobs to the men... something, many were reluctant to do, as they had gotten used to working in all manner of jobs. Also not all women had husbands to support them now.. a social problem which was very much a problem of the times.
Editorials such as the one below cried out that the women should stand aside...

Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), Tuesday 19 March 1946, page 1
National Library of Australia

As things do, eventually it all settled down, though it took many years to recover from the war.. if we ever do...another story for another time.

One of the most famous photos of the celebrations at the announcement of the end of the war in the Pacific.

Dancing Man, Sydney, Australia, 15 August 1945

For extra reading...

just a few of the many articles/sites that are available... and of course, there is always TROVE

https://ww1.sl.nsw.gov.au  view the collection

https://ww1.sl.nsw.gov.au/diary-readings   Listen to recordings of diaries…

Tuesday, 3 October 2017


Starving Irish people raiding a government potato store; wood engraving from the Illustrated London News, June 1842..jpg  Public Domain

For those of us who have never really gone hungry, it is very hard to comprehend just how devastating the Great Famine was.  There have been, and always will be, lots of conflicting discussions as to the reasons it happened, where the blame lay, how bad it was, why it lasted so long, who profiteered... you can find numerous articles about all of those and if if you dig deep enough, you will be sure to find articles that bolster your particular outlook.

 This is not the intention of this post, rather to present the news of the day as portrayed in the local press in Australia and available to us through TROVE.

Towards the last few years of the official era of the famine, there were many discussions as to how best to help... food, money and local support were first offered, then it was realised that the disaster was far greater than anything that could be 'fixed' in any one or two ways. Those who were fortunate enough to be able to emigrate, did so in droves... to America, England, Canada and Australia in particular.

Emigrants_Leave_Ireland_by_Henry_Doyle_1868.jpg Public Domain Wikimedia

Victims of the Irish Potato Famine arriving in Liverpool,  Encyclopaedia Brittanica.Jpg Public Domain

 There was a lot of discussion, sometmes dissension, as to the value of bringing Irish migrants to Australia, as portrayed in the Argus (Melbourne) in 1850.

Transcription of above...

The Argus (Melbourne) Sat. 12 Jan. 1850

I am glad to see that you are not in-
clined to look with a partial eye upon
Orphan Immigration. Most sensible
people here hold the opinions which you
have expressed, and regard this species
of immigration as a mere humbug. The
bulk of the females introduced under
this system, coming as they do from the
bogs of Ireland, are so grossly ignorant
of every point of domestic economy that
they are worse than useless to the fami-
lies in which they are admitted as mem-
bers. Again, coming here with exalted
notions of their own importance and of
the means of accumulating wealth ; their
earliest acts are generally of a rebellious
nature. To make the matter worse,
there is no remedy to the employer be-
yond the cancellation of the indentures,
and I very much doubt whether these
indentures are not bad, ab initio, inas-
much as they are not executed by the
apprentice, nor are the latter even called
upon to signify their assent. The prin-
ciple, and indeed only argument, for the
introduction of these females—that they
add to our population without diminish-
ing our land fund—is a fallacious one*.
In the first place, they occasion the
keeping up of an extensive and at the
same time a far from efficient establish-
ment of clerks and agents, and in the
second place their irregularities and the
disputes which arise out of their engage-
ments are the means of affording consi-
derable employment to the police and
magisterial establishments.
After all, we shall have the Anniver-
sary celebrated by a regatta. Some
spirited individuals have taken up the
matter warmly, and the necessary pre-
liminaries have been completed, but I
am afraid that it will be a lame sort of
an affair, for there does not appear to
be a general disposition to second their
The new postage act is now fairly in
operation, but sufficient time has hardly
elapsed to test its working. Much in-
convenience was caused by the Post
office authorities not having the stamps
ready in time, but that has been got
over. These stamps, however, are very
paltry-looking affairs, and might be
forged by any ordinary engraver or
wood cutter. Some of our Sydney
journalists are beginning to cry out
against the tax imposed upon them by
the receipt of British and colonial
papers, and by the necessity of giving
additional temptation to country sub-
The government seems inclined to
accede to the City Corporation as large a
grant of swamp land as the latter may
deem necessary for ensuring a continuous
supply of water. It is intended forth-
with to fence in the actual swamp, to
erect a dam for preventing the escape of
water, and to lay out the surrounding
ground, from whence the swamp derives
its supply, as a place of exercise and
recreation to the Citizens. The surveys
have shown that the supply is abundant,
provided the necessary precautions are
taken, and confidence is therefore begin-
ning to be restored in reference to this
There are no changes in the market
of note. The grain is beginning to pour
in, but the bread-stuffs are, as yet,
unaffected by it. The timber trade is
rather improved by the demand for the
erection of exportable houses, but this is
only a temporary improvement.
Friday, Jan. 6, 1850.
[* Very fallacious ; the importation of orphans
being a charge upon the land fund equally with
any other immigration - Ed. A.]

Two years later, the discussion still raged, with letters to the editor a frequent occurrence... So many different schemes were proposed and discarded, all the time more in Ireland were succumbing to starvation... and for those who had survived, there were few prospects of work. Emigration agents were asking the princely sum of £15 a head... the scheme was initially dropped, though a loan of£6,000 was sought.

If, and when, the paupers arrived in Australia, they would still need feeding, housing and clothing up to the time they were able to support themselves.. a great burden on a comparatively young country. Still, the calls for accepting emigrants rose, as many could see the long term benefits as well as the humanitarian side of the proposal. Australia needed more people to establish the colony.

Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), Saturday 29 May 1852, page 3 

National Library of Australia

The official end of The Great Famine has been listed as 1852, however the effects were to last much longer.

Just one year later, there was some progress... this article talks of progress, cattle being sold at market, poorhouses empty, more food available to many. 

Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), Thursday 7 April 1853, page 3 
National Library of Australia

However, to quote from the first page, second column, of this article, which appeared in the Empire...

"The ignorance and destitution of the bulk of the Irish were very remarkable, the report shows, prior to 1846, and the famine was only an active paroxysm of a long standing chronic disorder. Partial famines, public relief, and large private subscriptions, were common before the census of 1846."  and so it goes on.. discussing the high rents, poorly designed laws..and lack of responsibilty taken by the landowners.

Click to enlarge..

By 1858,  there was a lot of talk about bringing over Irish Orphan girls to even out the numbers of male to females. 

 There have been many studies re this scheme... and these are just a selection of some of the articles which will enlighten you and perhaps even link you to one of your Irish ancestors who came to Australia this way...

The Earl Grey scheme | trevo's Irish famine orphans

earl grey scheme - Irish Famine Memorial

Earl Grey Irish Female Orphans in Australia - Geni

Earl Grey Irish Orphans - Home | Facebook

Irish orphan girls at Hyde Park Barracks | Sydney Living Museums

2016.. Irish Orphan Immigration, Maitland Mercury 1848, The Earl ...

This is just one of the ships that transported Irish girls in the Earl Grey Scheme, the 
Lady Kennaway departure 11 September 1848 arrived 6 December 1848 Port Philip. Click on the ship's name to take you to the list of the girls named on the Famine Orphan Girls database..

Freeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932), Saturday 24 April 1858, page 2 
National Library of Australia

Please click on images to enlarge... easy reading then. They detail the scheme and define the means and destinations..



One of a number of articles I also found interesting, but you might like to read this at your leisure.. They are easily found by pasting the NLA link into the TROVE search engine at 

South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), Wednesday 16 February 1859, page 2
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49902158
* discusses how even though the emigrants were still living on a very basic wage, they still managed to send some money home to aid their families, often at the detriment to their own health.

On a much lighter note, I thought you might find this column interesting...The Sydney Morning Herald ran a column titled 
The Irish Letter Writer. It wasn't meant to do anything else other than give a voice to those who otherwise had none... The letters are from boys at war, as well as those at home, general appeals and, of course, what would Irish letters be without a smile to follow the sadness  ...   enjoy.

Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), Friday 2 February 1855, page 2 (3)National Library of Australia

Click to enlarge..