Tuesday, 31 July 2018


Convicts in New Holland, 1793, by Juan Ravenet

We read a lot about convicts, 
but the stories are mostly about males 
and very few are about females or the convict's families.

The first story is titled 

"Adventures of Woman Convict" (sic)

Sent to Botany Bay... "Amongst them was Mary Broad, daughter of a respectable Cornish seaman, sentenced to transportation for stealing a cloak. Many convicts died on the voyage. The rest arrived at the promised land in rags...." 

They didn't stay at Botany Bay..rather they ended up in Tasmania... having first met on a prison hulk in Portsmouth, England, called the "Dunkirk".

Kalgoorlie Miner (WA : 1895 - 1950), Saturday 2 July 1938, page 10 (2)
National Library of Australia

Wikipedia has just one of the many stories about Mary Broad and William Bryant... which you can read here

Mullumbimby Star (NSW : 1906 - 1936), Thursday 28 August 1930, page 3
National Library of Australia

An assortment of stories, including one that I have heard many versions of as it relates to my ancestors...
Ever heard of the so called Rose millions?
If you interested in the story or have any connection to the Hobbs/Heslin/Eslin/Rose families... to name just a few branches, you might like to join the Hobbs Family Reunion Group on Facebook.. we are all cousins there.
You can read a little more about the Hobbs/Rose/Swadling clan here  and here

Sir George Grey, as mentioned above, is well portrayed in many articles... he features in yet another of TROVE's segments, that of People and Organisations, at 


George Grey, c1855

Northern Miner (Charters Towers, Qld. : 1874 - 1954), Saturday 29 April 1933, page 8
National Library of Australia

 The image isn't all that easy to read, so here is a transcript... and to think we say our courts move slowly.... for the beneficiaries, it seems a good thing that it took so long.

Just one of the convict ships.. The "Neptune"
Courtesy of Wikipedia  Public Domain


Sixty years alter a man's death in Australia a decision has been given concerning his will.
George the Fourth was king when John Herring Kennedy stole £62 from his employer, James Thomas Hathaway. Kennedy was found out, and In 1824 was sentenced to fourteen years transportation. Those were the bad old days when convicts were shipped across the sea, boatloads of misery, in order to provide colonists with a kind of slave labourer.
Kennedy seems to have made a good impression, for in 1838 he was  made a turnkey in Adelaide gaol: but there was a very bad streak in him and he was dismissed for stealing the prisoners' rations.
Kennedy made another start, acquired land, married, and had a daughter. He died In 1870, leaving property worth £100 to his daughter for her life. Afterwards it was to be divided between a kinsman of John Kennedy and the descendants of Mary Hathaway, his old employer's daughter. Kennedy wanted to make amends, after all for the stolen money.
No one has ever been able to trace John Kennedy, but there are five descendants of Mary Hathaway to share the convicts' fortune.
With the passing of time it has increased in value from £100 to £10,000.

Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 - 1922), Friday 31 May 1889, page 3
National Library of Australia


"John Gardner began life in London as a chimney sweep.."

How did murder then enter his life?
A long journey to Western Australia and the life that followed...

The second Newgate Prison: A West View of Newgate (c. 1810) by George Shepherd Public Domain, courtesy of Wikipedia

Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Thursday 30 October 1930, page 12
National Library of Australia


More on Dr. Jackson here and Henry Cowper here

Albert House, with black roof and light structure #

From another division of NLA/TROVE ... pictures and objects

Convict Button, c.1830s, Courtesy State Library of New South Wales  *

Hurley, Frank, 1885-1962
[Panorama of Brisbane, panel including Albert House, the City Hall, church, with mountains in the distance] [picture] : [Brisbane, Queensland] / [Frank Hurley]
Call Number
PIC FH/452 LOC Cold store PIC HURL 29/17
[between 1910 and 1962]  Able to be used for study/research  with accrediation as above.

Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
Object Name
Convict Work Clothing Button.
Object Description
A brass button from the work clothes of a convict assigned to the Australian Agricultural Company in the 1830s. The button was found in Pit Row, Newcastle in 1922. It is mounted on card inscribed: “This brass button was found in the ruins of the Australian Agricultural Company’s cottages in Pit Row off Darby Street, Newcastle. Donated by Dr Martin Doyle in 1930. Dimensions: 30mm diameter.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018



Ever wanted to circumnavigate Australia? We still have a way to go...we'll be going on quite a journey, at least virtually, and clockwise. So as to make sure all states and territories are covered, we started in Western Australia and explored a little of the early history of a small part of this massive state via TROVE...

We're heading north this week...still in the Northern Territory up to Darwin, but only to catch a small plane to the Tiwi islands. We could go by boat, but we have a lot of places to see over the coming weeks, so best to take the quickest route... Please accept the line as an estimate, this will give you a better idea ..


You can see a Guide to the beauty of the Tiwi Islands here where Jennifer Ennion describes them as follows.. "A unique part of Australia, the Tiwi Islands are an off-the-beaten track destination for intrepid travellers. The two main islands are Bathurst and Melville, and nine smaller, uninhabited islands. While there are minimal tourist facilities across the group, don't let this deter you from visiting; the islands are renowned for the excellent fishing opportunities and the locals are welcoming. Almost 90 per cent of residents are of Aboriginal descent and you can meet some of them on a range of cultural and wildlife tours."

This image is in the public domain because it is a screenshot from NASA’s globe software World Wind using a public domain layer, such as Blue Marble, MODIS, Landsat, SRTM, USGS or GLOBE.

One of the earliest mentions I could find on TROVE was this item on Melville Island...rather than the full six pages, I have just posted the first two...you can click to enlarge.

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), Thursday 10 March 1825, page 3
National Library of Australia   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2183810

 It is far easier to read  this version..Captain Bremer's eyewitness account... which was published in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842) Saturday 1 April 1826
This is how he began it...
"About the time that this establishment was forming, a new settlement, by orders from home, was planted on Melville Island, at the northern extremity of New Holland, which, in a commercial point of view, as an intermediate station between the establishments of New South Wales mid Van Diemen's Land and the ports of India and China, is likely to become of great importance in the eastern world. It is in this neighbourhood that the annual fleet of Malay proas fish for the trepang or sea-slug, an article of great consumption in China, and sent chiefly to that market ; not, however, without passing through the hands of the Dutch, who beside laving high duties upon the article imported into their settlements fix an enormous advance on the prices of the goods given in exchange for it. This impolitic conduct will probably have the effect of driving the Malays to our new settlement of Fort Dundas, or Melville Island, where our merchants will treat with them on more liberal terms than they have been accustomed to at the Dutch settlements; and in this view we think it would be politic to allow these industrious people to establish themselves in the neighbourhood of their trepang fishery.
It has been said, that the Dutch feel annoyed at the formation of this new establishment so near to their own ; and the more so as they had themselves taken measures for anticipating us in the same quarter. We would not willingly impute to them such unworthy feelings ; for, without adverting to our ancient and only settlements on the island of Sumatra, which they know that we consented to transfer to them upon a plea totally unfounded in fact, they can scarcely have forgotten that we voluntarily surrendered to them every island in the great oriental archipelago, which the fate of war had wrested from them when in alliance with France, nor that to our generosity they are indebted for every foot of land which they now bold in the east."

Glen Innes Examiner and General Advertiser (NSW : 1874 - 1908), Wednesday 9 October 1878, page 2 (4)
National Library of Australia   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article217825218

This mentioned George Tollemache, who accompanied Capt., now Sir John Bremer on his expedition whereupon he took possession of a number of islands in the name of the Crown.

While the weather could be wonderful on these islands, it has often turned against them... as it did in 1915

Daily Standard (Brisbane)  Cyclone 8 March 1915

The weather, the proximity to Darwin and the pearling industry around Thursday Island, the possibility of mining, etc. weren't the only reasons that attention was turned to the Tiwi Islands. 

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), Tuesday 20 March 1928, page 1 (2)
National Library of Australia  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article129339633

In 1928, the word's attention was focussing on this lady, Mrs. Keith Miller, Jessie Maude, known as "Chubbie".. the first woman to fly from England to Australia...and her route just happened to be over the Tiwi Islands.  There are many stories about her exploits, both in the air and on land.. 
Google is your friend. You could start here...
Jessie Miller - Wikipedia

The Telegraph (Brisbane) Native Dead Mourned 31 Mar 1931

Traditional burial poles, Tiwi Islands, 2005.
Tutini burial poles left after a Pukumani ceremony, Tiwi Island, NT

Pearling, as mentioned earlier, was a growing industry, as it was in Broome... where there's many, there's greed.

The Evening New Pearl Pirates (Rockhampton) 16 Mar 1932

As the population of the islands stayed predominantly aboriginal, anthropologists were interested in the culture and way of life of this race that little was known of.
News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), Monday 21 May 1934, page 4 (2)
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article128436775

Tiwi Island decorated carvings, 2005.

Carved Poles Tiwi Island

Satrina Brandt - Own work
Ceiling of a Tiwi Island art gallery and studio, 2011

World's News (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 1955), Saturday 23 June 1951, page 11 (2)
National Library of Australia   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139910878

I wonder if the "Big Boss" appreciated the message ...

The people of these islands are proud of their heritage ... their art is traditional and meaningful...

Tharunka (Kensington, NSW : 1953 - 2010), Monday 25 July 1983, page 8 (3)
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article230406111

So many are working to combine the best of both worlds, bringing health services and education to the islands without taking over the traditional values.... including Sister Anne Gardiner who has been on Bathurst Island for 40 years.
Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), Saturday 17 October 1992, page 45 (4)
National Library of Australia  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article126949641

Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), Saturday 22 February 1992, page 4
National Library of Australia   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article133932592

Nguiu Catholic church in 2005

Image courtesy of australia.com
Tiwi Islands, NT

The Tiwi Islands can only be visited on a pre-arranged tour with an Aboriginal guide and you will need a permit to visit. In this truly unique and remote part of Australia you'll experience the cultural differences between the Polynesian-influenced Tiwi people and the indigenous people of Arnhem Land just across the water. Most of the Tiwi Islands population live in the settlements of Wurrumiyanga; Pirlangimpi (Garden Point) and Milikapiti (Snake Bay) on Melville Island.
The Tiwi Islands have few tourist facilities. There is no car hire and very few places to stay with the exception of a couple of remote fishing lodges. The Tiwi Islands are renowned for their excellent fishing. You can stay at one of the fishing lodges or join a deep-sea fishing expedition.   tiwi-islands.html

These islands have so much to offer... no wonder they are known as the islands of smiles..

Where to next? Maybe time for a short break before we continue our journey...

To see more of the Tiwi Islands head to ABC iView and 
the show Back Roads Series 4 Episode 7 at

with Brooke Boney

Tuesday, 17 July 2018


Time to move on...

Ever wanted to circumnavigate Australia? Well, for the next few weeks, that's what we'll be doing, at least virtually, and clockwise. So as to make sure all states and territories are covered, we started in Western Australia and explored a little of the early history of a small part of this massive state via TROVE...

We're heading inland this week...still in the Northern Territory, heading south east from the beautiful Katherine Gorge to a much drier area...Tennant Creek.

Wikipedia describes Tennant Creek as follows...

"Tennant Creek is a town located in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is the seventh largest town in the Northern Territory, and is located on the Stuart Highway, just south of the intersection with the western terminus of the Barkly Highway. At the 2016 census, Tennant Creek had a population of approximately 3,000, of which over 50% (1,536) identified themselves as indigenous.[1]
The town is approximately 1,000 kilometres south of the territory capital, Darwin, and 500 kilometres north of Alice Springs. It is named after a nearby watercourse of the same name, and is the hub of the sprawling Barkly Tableland vast elevated plains of black soil with golden Mitchell grass, that cover more than 240,000 square kilometres. Tennant Creek is also near well-known attractions including the Devils Marbles, Mary Ann Dam, Battery Hill Mining Centre and the Nyinkka Nyunyu Culture Centre..."
"European history of this area began in 1860 when explorer John McDouall Stuart passed this way on his unsuccessful first attempt to cross the continent from South to North. He named a creek to the north of town after John Tennant, a financier of his expedition and a pastoralist from Port LincolnSouth Australia, in gratitude for the financial help Tennant had provided for Stuart's expeditions across Australia.
The Overland Telegraph that once linked Melbourne to London was constructed in the 1870s and forged a corridor through the middle of the continent that the Explorer’s Way and Ghan train now travel. A temporary building for a telegraph repeater station was erected near the watercourse of Tennant Creek in 1872. Two years later, the solid stone buildings of the Tennant Creek Telegraph Station that remain on the site today, were completed by the occupants of the station. This is one of the four remaining original telegraph stations in Australia. Tennant Creek was the site of Australia’s last gold rush during the 1930s and at that time was the third-largest gold producer in Australia. The Tennant Creek Telegraph Station remained an isolated outpost until that time."

You can read a whole lot more here... Way back in primary school, the little I learnt about Tennant Creek, was that it was known for the gold rush, and for copper..it was a Telegraph Station and that it was a place that was used to water cattle on the long cattle drives, on the times that water was available...
Wandering through TROVE, I found numerous articles supporting all those impressions, but also a whole lot more.

Geelong Advertiser 30 Nov 1883

Tennant Creek Line Man [B 22469]  1895
State Library of South Australia Public Domain, found in TROVE Images

Waterhole, Tennant Creek [B 1436] c 1920
State Library of South Australia Public Domain, found in TROVE Images

Tennant Creek Telegraph Station   Reinhard Dietrich  Public Domain
State Library of South Australia Public Domain, found in TROVE Images

Adelaide-Darwin Telegraph Line  Mart Moppel   CC BY-SA 2.0
State Library of South Australia Public Domain, found in TROVE Images

Western Argus (Kalgoorlie, WA : 1916 - 1938), Tuesday 7 May 1929, page 21

National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article34484562

Just one of the many aircrashes in the Northern Territory..

The very sad deaths of the pilot Flight Lieutenant and Mr. Hitchcock occurred on a flight in the Kookaburra, see below.
Courtesy of Northern Territory Library
Public Domain, found in TROVE Images

By 1937, gold was in the news again...
as always, please click to enlarge

Inverell Times (NSW : 1899 - 1954), Friday 2 April 1937, page 6 (2)
National Library of Australia  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article185377732

The reasonably isolated place had it's fair share of tragedies and dramas... as depicted in the West Australian 6 Oct 1934

The Herald (Melbourne) on 9 Feb 1935.

The following article defines the problems felt by many inland and outback areas of Australia. We sure do have some very dry areas, counterbalanced by others with incredible rainfalls, flowing rivers and many waterfalls and rainforests... Australia is a very large island of many contrasts...

Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 - 1954), Tuesday 15 July 1952, page 8 (3)
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article248644105

I will leave you with some links for further reading and a few more images....

Miners Memorial Board | Monument Australia  x TROVE

The following images are all available through TROVE..

Mmm, where to next ?