Tuesday, 31 January 2017



 The title of this page intrigued me. It seems a strange collection, but newsprint was costly at the time, so maybe that was the reason for putting all these items together.  I've marked the individual stories with lines to show the beginning and the end of each item.

Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842-1899), Tuesday 4 September 1994, page 3

The first story was what caught my attention initially. It concerns two distant ancestors of mine, such a sad story and rather graphic.


Charles Swadling, a carter, aged 17 years, met with a serious accident at Guy's Wharf, Pyrmont, N.S. Wales, last week. With his brother Cornelius Swadling, and another man, he was carrying a large piece of timber into a sawmill, the two brothers being on each side of the rear end. Charles tripped and fell, and his brother not being able to hold on the timber slipped off his shoulder and crashed into his brother's head, driving his face into the earth. He was taken to Sydney Hospital, where he died shortly after admission.

 You can read the rest of the pages quite clearly if you click on the image.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017


Not all was rosy with the Irish Orphan girls who came to Australia. Some were badly treated, some were badly behaved, but many were just ordinary girls trying to do their best. There were good masters and mistresses ...  and some who took umbrage if a girl had an opinion or made a request. These are just a couple of instances concerning the girls.. 

Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1846 - 1861), Saturday 26 October 1850


ORPHAN APPRENTICES.-Mr. Rode, residing at
the station of the late German Missionaries,
" Mount Zion,", appeared before the Brisbane
Bench on the 22nd inst., to prosecute a charge
against Catherine Dempsey, his indented appren-
tice (one of the "orphans," from Ireland), who
had been apprended on a charge of absconding
from the service of her master. Mr. Rode stated
that the girl had been frequently very insolent,
and had finally absconded from his service, having
no permission from him to be absent. In defence
the prisoner stated that she was willing to return
to her service, but had gone away because she was
not allowed to attend the service of her church in
Brisbane. She said further that her mistress had
reproached her with being a Roman Catholic.
The Bench immediately called upon Mr. Rode to
explain this, when he denied that the girl's mis-
tress or himself had ever in the slightest degree
interfered with her liberty of conscience, but he
said that the girl had called one of his children a
" dirty Protestant," and he presumed that the
child might have retaliated. Regarding the at-
tendance at Divine service, he said that he had
only interfered when the defendant, instead of
going to church with other girls, wanted to travel
to Brisbane in the company of some men. The
Magistrates informed Mr. Rode that he must al-
low his servant to attend Divine service at least
every second Sunday; but there was no justifica-
tion apparent for her absconding, and she must
therefore forfeit 12s. 8d., the wages due to her,
and return to her service. Margaret Slack, an-
other orphan apprentice, in the service of Mr.
Windmell, of North Brisbane, was next charged
by her master with repeated insolence and neglect
of duty. From the evidence of Mr. Windmell it
appeared that Margaret had been in his service
for more than eight months, and for some time
past had conducted herself in a most insolent man-
ner. Having been recently requested to clean the
knives on a Saturday, to prevent work on Sunday,
she inquired in a most pert and saucy manner,
" what quality they expected that day, that they
must have the knives cleaned ? She did not do
them at the time, but subsequently condescended.
On another occasion, when sent to the butcher's
for meat, she took off her muddy shoes, and placed
them in the basket, on the meat, which was con-
sequently covered with filth ; and when remon-
strated with, and asked if she did not know better,
she replied, " No, she did not." Her master
stated further, that she had declared her intention
of leaving her situation at once, as the Rev. Mr.
Hanly had provided her with another. [Mr. Hanly,
who was in Court, came forward and made some
private communication to the Magistrates, in ex-
planation of this matter, which appeared to be
satisfactory.] The complainant added, that when
he threatened the defendant with punishment if
she left without his permission, she replied that
she had been that day informed that she could not
be punished. Many similar instances of insolence
were deposed to. The defendant, on being asked
the question, said that she had no complaint to
make respecting the work she was put to, but that
her master had beaten her. Complainant acknow-
ledged that several times when she was insolent
he had boxed her ears. As Mr. Windmell was
indifferent whether he took her back or not, the
Bench cancelled the indenture, sending the de-
fendant into the depot, and *muleting her in the
wages due to her (about 8s.).
*muleting .. depriving, taking from


Mock modesty, indeed!


If you are a descendant of one of the Irish Orphan girls who were brought to Australia in the 1800's, then you might like to read this article... it concerns a documentary being made about this time.


Tuesday, 17 January 2017



I was an avid reader of newspapers even as a child, though some of the pages seemed to be missing at times, due to parental 'guidance'.
However, there was one paper that I was never allowed to read, well, not till I was about mid teens.

That was the TRUTH.. of course, it had the most interesting headlines. This edition was way before my time, but this story was another great TROVE treasure when I was looking for more on my husband's family..

Winifred Eleanor Goopy (nee Conlon) was born 22 November, 1905. Her first marriage was in 1927, her second was in 1932, when she married William Francis Callanan Goopy, called Frank. 
Funnily enough, her father was William (Conlon), her first husband was William Edward Davis and then her third husband was also a William (officially).

Winnie lived a long life, till 16 December in 1998. She rests with Frank in Lutwyche Cemetery, Brisbane.

Truth (Brisbane, Qld. : 1900-1954), Sunday 23 April 1944, Page 10



In the testimony as revealed in the Coroner’s Court, Miss Willett had been subject to epileptic fits. She had assumed an acquaintanceship with Americans, and because of a misunderstanding with one of them, had taken it to heart and then sought to put an end to her troubles.

The inquest was opened by Mr. E.R. Gibson, Deputy Coroner, who had some severe comments to make regarding a woman witness, friend of the deceased.

 The night before Miss Willet died she was with an American friend. Blonde-haired Mrs. Winifred Eleanor Goopy, however denied in evidence that she was with the deceased that night and that they had met in Leichhardt-street.


Later, after questioning by the Deputy Coroner and Sergeant J. Denning (examining the witnesses) Mrs. Goopy admitted that she had been there.

The Deputy Coroner declared: “I take a very serious view of any person giving false evidence in this court and it is my attention to refer the evidence the sergeant concerning your being at Leichhardt-street on he night of February 8. I am not prepared to comment on what action, if any, might be taken, but I am informing you now of my intention to report the matter.”

Constable G.R. rose, West End, said that in Miss Willett’s room, he found two sealed letters and a note. One of the letters was addressed to Mr. Sam Brassington, M.L.A.

Sergeant Denning (to the constable) ; Mr. Brassington was a friend of the family? - Yes.


The letters did not concern anything about the inquest?-No. I gave it to Mr. Brassington.

The constable went on to say that according to he post-mortem examination by Dr. E. H. Derrick, there was a suggestion that Miss Willett had made an unsuccessful attempt to poison herself with gas.

Constable Brose had said he had made enquiries and had learned that Miss Willett was subject to epileptic fits. He discovered also that she was friendly with with a Sergeant McLaughlin of the U.S. Army, who had visited her at her flat on several occasions.

Sergeant Edward McLaughlin, U.S. Army, testified that he met Miss Willett about seven months ago. He had been introduced to her by an American friend, Sergeant Glisch, who was now in the battle area and who had been keeping company with Miss Willett. Since then said McLaughlin, he had visited Miss Willett once or twice a week, but the last time he saw her at the flat was on February 1.

Sergeant Denning: Were you keeping company with Miss Willett? - No, it was just a social call.


Why did you discontinue seeing her? - She used to ring me up at work and if I could not see her, she used to get annoyed.
What was her reaction over this?-She had a kind of a spell-a sort of a fit.

McLaughlin said he had seen her in fits before. deceased would fall over and go out of her mind, talk about things that happened in her childhood and become more or less delusioned. On the night of February 8, he met her in Leichhardt-street outside his club. Mrs. Goopy was with her.

Miss Willett did not want to go home, said witness, but eventually went with him and other people. Two blocks from her place she had “one of these spells.”

At the door of her home, said McLaughlin, Miss Willett said she had received a telegram telling her that her brother had been killed in New Guinea.

“Good-bye, this is the last time you will see me,” the woman said, according to McLaughlin. Any time she had been upset, she had said the same thing, aded witness.

The second time he was at Miss Willett’s flat, went on McLaughlin, there was an argument between Miss Willett and Sergt. Glisch. Miss Willett threw a bottle of lysol over Sergt. Glisch’s head, and he was in hospital for 14 days.

McLaughlin added that he remained at the flat for a while after Glisch had left -this was several months before the suicide- and Miss Willett attempted to throw a bottle of lysol over him, but he took it out of her hand. He left after that. 

Sergeant Denning: Did she ever tell you she was in love with you? -No, but she said she was fond of me.

On the last occasion you saw her, did you make up your mind not to see her again?-Yes.

Did you tell her that?-Yes.

Have you any idea as to what caused her to commit suicide?-I think it was the news about her brother being killed and the fact that she was depressed through the fits she had.

“Before I left at 4.30pm,” said Mrs. Goopy,  “Miss Willett asked me if I would sign a will. She had been ill so long and she said she had a lot of property and that if she died in one of those fits, she didn’t know where her property would go. I argued with her, but eventually I signed the will which the deceased had made out.” Witness added that the will was made out in favour of deceased’s sister.

“Miss Willett told me,” said the witness, “that she had had a misunderstanding with McLaughlin, but she seemed to worry more over the fits than Mc Laughlin.”

Mrs. Goopy admitted that she had previously denied that she had been with Miss Willett and McLaughlin on the night of February 8 when they met in Leichhardt-street, but she admitted this evidence was untrue.

The Deputy Coroner: Why did you first deny it?-I have personal reasons.

Mrs. Catherine McDougall, wife of the proprietor of the West End flats where Miss Willett’s tragic death occurred, told the court that she often heard noisy parties in the flat and a lot of American soldiers visited there.

On the application of Sergeant Denning, the inquiry was adjourned to Allora.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017



May I introduce you to my guest blogger for today, 
Joan Birtles.

 I first came into contact with my friend, Joan, many years ago on RootsWeb lists. We have a shared interest in Irish genealogy and genealogy in general. Joan has been a very enthusiastic and thorough researcher and a very helpful and dedicated transcriber. 

 Joan was looking through one of my sites, 
IRISH GRAVES - they who sleep in foreign graves
and came across the post re those buried in Dunwich Cemetery, Queensland. 
This prompted her to tell me the story about her ancestor.. 
I'll let her tell you in her own words...

A Line of Fishermen from Norwegian Andrew Thompson.

Andrew was born Tønnes Andreas Tøbiassen 27 Oct 1824 at Egvåg, Lista, Norway to Tobias Andersen Drøger and Karen Aslaksdatter.

It is not known when he left Norway but he spent most of his early life as an Able Seaman on ships sailing around the world where I found he was also working on some ships with his Norwegian friend Nils Larsen [Peter Lawson, father of Henry Lawson, the Poet].   He arrived in Gladstone, Qld on the ship “Persia” in August 1861 and in July 1862 he married Margaret Bridget Routledge who was 16 years of age, at St John’s Church, Brisbane.

Andrew and Margaret lived in Kangaroo Point, Brisbane and had 9 children [5 boys and 4 girls] during which time he was a seaman, ferryman and fisherman in Moreton Bay.    Most of his children became fisherman and oystermen or married into families of the fishing and oyster industry, including my grandfather Henry Christian who married and settled in Mooney Mooney on the Hawkesbury River and were pioneers there.    Henry’s sister Julia Catherine married John Tolman who was a Pearl Diver who lived on Thursday Island and John was known as Banana Jack;  it is believed that Julia was the first white woman to live on Thursday Island and when John was away slept with a gun under her pillow.   John died in a pearl diving incident.

Sadly Andrew died at Dunwich Asylum/Hospital in 1897, after being murdered by a South Sea Islander Tommy Anigo.  Andrew and his friend, a Chinaman who were patients at the Asylum, were walking along the beach on Stradbroke Island when his friend was attacked by the South Sea Islander and when Andrew came to his friend’s aid both he and his friend were hit over the head with an iron bar and killed.   Margaret Bridget, Andrew’s wife survived her husband by 32 years.

 It took me almost 30 years to find Andrew’s Norwegian Ancestry and his burial place on Stradbroke Island.

Joan Birtles 8 Jan 2017

(c) Joan Birtles

Brisbane Courier-Mail Jan 27, 1897

Thank you for a most interesting story, Joan.

If you would like more details or feel you may have a connection, please leave a message in the comments below, or you can contact me at the address in About Me at the top of the column and I will pass the message on to Joan.

 If you would like to be a Guest Blogger, please contact me with an outline of your story. The only conditions are that it must be a family history story and must include a Headline of Old from any newspaper or publication.



Mention 'Government Gazettes' and watch the eyes roll... 
but not by family historians.

Even the most obscure of the Gazettes, and yes, they do come in a variety of categories, can elicit some very interesting information.

Police Gazettes seem to be among the best known. They have been a godsend to me, especially when researching my in laws. I have found everything from missing persons, to court cases, to lost items, unclaimed letters, public service positions, appointments, transfers, etc. Through these, I have been able to create timelines for many of them.

However, looking beyond these, to other Gazettes, can also be productive. Take for instance, this one..

Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), Friday 16 October 1953  - Lands Department Notices

You can click to enlarge..

 You might notice that only 'undermentioned gentlemen and bodies' are mentioned as trustees 'of portions of land hereinafter particularised.'

No women mentioned.. and what could be at all interesting about these notices. Firstly any dated list of names and places can help create a timeline if you are fortunate enough to have an interest in any of the names mentioned. 

If you scroll down to the third image, you will notice one entry marked with a red line..

So, what was my interest there... 

* Urunga was my home town...

* The date is 29th May, 1953... just 10 days after my beloved grandfather had died.

* One of the above mentioned 'gentlemen' was my Uncle David Catsoulis, appointed as trustee of the War Memorial (Hall), which was the hub of the community. The Hall was used for dances, meetings, CWA functions, movies, town meetings, all the uses you would expect in a small country town. However, this refers to the War Memorial which was to feature in the hall for many years. I must check to see if it still there. 

Was my uncle chosen as an ex serviceman? Checking the other names...  TUCKER, also a WWII veteran, as is SHAW, also MITCHELL and AITKEN.  Appropriate choices.. and it seems to be the obvious reason these men were chosen. All these names are familiar to me as long time residents of Urunga and also as friends of my family.

If you read through some of these pages, (or all if you wish, as you just might find familiar names or places...) you will find trustees of cemeteries, setting aside of specified areas for various religions, changes of trustees, etc. 

Public recreation areas feature often... they may tell you when your local park was planned.
Muswellbrook's showground was planned back in 1932, so if you have an ancestor involved in a local show in Muswellbrook in 1930, you know that it must have been in a different area.  Were there houses there before, how big was the town, was that show held in a paddock? 

Whatever we find, there are always  more questions to be asked.

Now for something different... 

Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), Friday 7 June 1935 


 As this is a 12 page document, I won't post the lot, just a couple of pages. You can find the full gazette with the details above...

Page. 1
Page. 6
This identifies what particular format is registered, 
in this case, Letters and Signs.. the last category.

Page 13. 
A familiar name... my grandfather, 
Theodore Catsoulis..
 but this brings up another question of course, why Isabella as the name for the stock brand? I don't know of any Isabellas in the family, the property never had a name that I have heard of... and sadly, there is no one left to ask. How I wish that I had found this when Dad was still with us. The answer may be in one of the many notebooks that my grandfather kept, and which were passed on to my father. Now that is a challenge. It could be quite some time before they can be found. 

 The only vague reason I can come up with is a play on Bellingen, another town prominent in my family's history. 

As stated before, there is always more to learn..and more to unearth. What is the most unusual or unexpected resource you have used? What did you find, did you understand it all?
Please leave a comment so we can also learn.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017


100 years ago, 
New Year's Eve 
was celebrated in slightly different ways,
but has anything really changed?

" In no suburb is the dawn a New Year celebrated as it is in Manly. Last night, when the old year expired "by effluxion of time", there were fully 5000 persons in the principal thoroughfare of the Corso. The Manly Band, which had been playing various selections during the evening, just on the stroke of midnight, played the hymns, "Lead Kindly Light", "Abide With Me", and "A Day's March Nearer Home". Then as the hour was striking everyone clasped hands, forming a tremendous ring, and sang "Auld Lang Syne". The proceedings closed with the singing of the National Anthem.

ENTER 1917

The passing away of the old year and the dawn of 1917 were celebrated without any display of hilarity, New Year's Eve falling on a Sunday. Following an old custom, watchnight services were held in several of the city churches. A good many people remained astir until the midnight hour had struck, and the new year was ushered in by the exchange of good wishes for a happy and prosperous new year.

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW. 1888-1954) Mon 1Jan 1917

New Year's Eve last night, although
not so lively in Broken Hill as in
former years, mainly on account of it
falling on Sunday, was celebrated in
public by a large section of the com-
munity in various ways. The Scottish
Piper's Band was the first on the scene,
and the skirl of the pipes as the bands-
men marched through the streets at-
tracted a large crowd. The band gave
several selections at the intersection of
Argent and Lodide streets. Later the
Irish Pipers' Band did a tour of the
city in a motor-lorry, and the
Broken Hill Band also played the old
year out-and the new year in. Bands
of carol singers and revellers likewise
paraded the streets. At midnight there
was the usual great noise caused by
the mine whistles and the letting off of
fireworks and bombs in almost every
quarter of the city. In many of the
churches watchnight services were conducted.

We are standing on the threshold of another
year. Thousands of tired and anxious
hearts are waiting at the exit of the old year
for the portals of the new year to open. They
are looking backwards sorrowfully and for-
wards fearfully, trying to peer Into the in
scrutable future, asking the invisible. Provi
dence if they have not given enough, praying
to be spared in 1917 blows as cruel as 1916
meted out to them.
In times gone by people were wont to speed
parting time with such feasting and hilarity
that it almost seemed as if they were glad
to lop off another year of the short, span of
life allotted them. It may be news to many
to learn that although January was made the
beginning of the year by the Roman calendar
centuries B.C., it was only in 1752 that it be-
came the initial day of the legal, as well as
the popular year, in England. Documents
hitherto were dated (between January and
the Jewish New Year, somewhere about
March 25) January 30, 1648-9, meaning that
although popular feeling called the year 1649,
it was legally only '48. Scotland adopted the
popular new year wholly in 1600, when James
VI declared it legal. His good sense was
probably, due to the Influence of France,
which, had it nearly a hundred years before
because France and Scotland had many ties
then that knit the nations in bonds of sym
pathy. Possibly it is for this reason that
Scotland makes suclr a festival of the new
year. . . .
There even to-day, If Scottish hearts have
not been too sadly scourged, the head of the
house will sit before his steaming bowl of
spiced ale, with his family, around him, and
as the clock strikes the last hour of the pass
ing year, each will pledge the other's health.
Poorer people's children will dress up and
visit their richer neighbors, and demand their
Hogmanay, in the form of oaten bread and
little cakes, possibly in the words , used by
their great-grandmothers:
"Get up, good wife, and dinna sweir,
And deal your bread to them that's here;
For the time will come when ye'll be dead.
And then ye'll neither need ale nor bread."
Housewives prepare for this coming for
days beforehand baking "and the one that
begrudged to give, on this night of giving,
could expect that the first foot that crossed
her threshold would be fair-complexloned and
bring the house ill-fortune for the new year.
The French, too, just prior to war days,
made a great festival of new year, possibly;
because their celebrations of Christmas was
rather a quiet religious feast. Bon-bon sou
venirs in all manner of shapes were made by
the confectioners, and eagerly bought up for
gifts. At this time parents bestowed portions
and dowers on their children, 'and
husbands made settlements on their
wives. It was the season for inter
change of visitors, beginning with
the nearest relatives to the newest acquaint
ance. Much amusement was caused by this
conflict of visits. There was a great struggle
to be first, particularly among the men, as it
was the privilege of the first over the thres-
hold to kiss the ladles of the house on each
cheek, and the daughters of the house are
such closely guarded treasures that it was
worth while beginning with grandma, to win
a salute from the fresh cheeks of the grand
Sitting up until twelve, and then unbarring
the door with great solemnity, to let the old
year out and the new year in, as the bells
pealed out, was another old custom. It was
at this moment that each heart resolved to
try to do better things in the coming year.
The new year bells were supposed to come
with a warning and a message, and religious
folk repaired to church to make their vows
with great solemnity. Let us hope that this
new year's peal will
"Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more.
Ring out the feud of rich and poor, .
Ring in redress to all mankind."