Tuesday, 26 February 2019


TROVE is known to many as the gift that keeps on giving, an incredible selection of digitised newspapers taking us back to the very early years of Australia's settlement.

However, it is much more than that... it has diaries, letters and archives, books, government gazettes, journals, articles and data sets, pictures, photos, objects, music, sound and video, maps. archived websites (1996-now), people and organisations, lists...  and all at your fingertips.. at https://trove.nla.gov.au

Just a sample of what can be found from Diaries, letters and archives...
As always, please click to enlarge

Passenger list of the 'Hartley' • Manuscript • State Library of South Australia
https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/BRG+42/146/4/item Page 1 of 3

By wandering through Pictures, photos, objects... no surprise to regular readers that we get back to convicts...


object_158457_print Love token

Newspapers will still be the biggest drawcard. TROVE should really be thought of as a time machine, for it enables us to choose a time and place that we want to explore.

Courtesy of Clcker Free clip art

My obsession with convicts is constantly added to by trawling through TROVE.

It is a great place to find lists, such as these listing some of those convicts who have been granted Conditional Pardons...

Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), Wednesday 10 September 1845, page 3
National Library of Australia. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12882077

 You can download in .jpg,  .pdf,  or text. Do take a few minutes now and then to correct text as needed, think of it as paying back to all those volunteers who have been correcting OCR ( Optical character recognition) so that you may see a clean transcription, as in the following item.

Warwick Examiner and Times (Qld. : 1867 - 1919), Saturday 11 January 1868, page 4

The hired convict ship Hougoumont proceeded down channel on October 1st, on her voyage to Freemantle, Western Australia, after receiving on board 150 convicts from the establish-ments at Chatham and Milbank. Among the convicts shipped were a party of fifteen Fenians, who were engaged in the late conspiracy in Ireland, together with the officers and crew convicted of scuttling the ship Severn, and some others who have achieved notoriety from their crimes. The Fenian convicts, like the remainder of the prisoners, were chained together in gangs, but it was observed that they were kept apart from the other convicts in a portion of the vessel by themselves. On Tuesday. October 8, the Hougomont arrived in Portland roads. Shortly before mid-day ninety convicts were marched down to the Government pier at Portland, under a strong escort of the 12th Light Infantry. The party included twenty three Fenian convicts, among whom it was said was Moriarty. The convicts were chained together on embarking, and on board the steamer a strong guard of marines was formed, and saw the convicts safely on board the trans-port. The Governor of the penal settlement at Freemantle, Captain Young, sails in the same ship, and returns to his sphere of duty, after paying a visit to his native land.

We all love stories, what better place to find them.. some don't seem all that different from happenings today, then again...consider the tale of 

Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), Friday 12 March 1880, page 2
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article174710084

MORE CONVICTS... or Earl Grey's "Pets".. with military pensioners... this caused quite a stir.

Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 - 1857), Friday 30 November 1849, page 2
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8766134

Whether the stories be long or short, we are fortunate to be able to read them just as our ancestors did.

The Ballarat Star 25 Jan 1889

                          The Albany Advertiser  31 Mar 1920


Back to the Pictures, photos, objects for a great photo...or rather, a negative... complete with history..

Glass negative, half plate, 'Old Convict Cells, Gosford', Kerry and Co, Sydney, Australia, c. 1884-1 

What have been your greatest finds on TROVE?

For me, they are many..
learning more about our colonial history..
'travelling' through changes in society...
the wonderful photos...
learning more about not only Australia, but also of so many other countries, dutifully reported...
but none surpass the discoveries about my family that somehow never came into daily conversations. 

I found reports of my mother's school concerts, and sports days... 
of her sister accidentally causing a small house fire..
of her father being fined for receiving tyres when they were rationed...
of the generosity of my paternal grandparents as they helped numerous people over many years...
There are reports of my maternal grandparents families, from arriving as convicts to, many generations later, working in all manner of places, including sawmills. 
I discovered the many sporting feats of my uncles and aunts. Funeral notices and obituaries have given me so many clues re family connections, including leading me to 'new' cousins...
I laughed at a report of my father and friend catching octopus for sport... sure, more like for the pot! Besides, Dad would never as much as kill a worm for sport.
I smiled at the description of my Aunt & Uncle's Greek wedding.
Funny, it sounded very similar to many weddings in my family, nothing unusual there.
I traced my grandparent's movements around NSW from cafes to farm to cafe to farm, then finally to a farm at a seaside village.
The list is far too long to include here, but if ever the good folk at TROVE need a glowing report, they only have to ask. 

Treasures Reaching Over Varied Eras

Tuesday, 19 February 2019



Some of the most interesting items to be found in TROVE are the stories of convict captures. When you read the situations many found themselves in, you can understand the longing to escape.

Some were simply lifetime villains, others were still unbelieving that they had been sent so far away from their loved ones and believed it was worthwhile taking a chance of escape, even if in an unknown land.

Please click to enlarge..

James Hurley, described as a 'notorious escaped prisoner'  was definitely one of the former.

Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser (Grafton, NSW : 1859 - 1889), Tuesday 24 Aug 1875.    National Library of Australia   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article61902528

William Thompson was one of the same ilk... in Western Australia.

Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950), Tuesday 15 November 1887, page 3
National Library of Australia. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article76472263

Victoria had their fair share of escapees, this one being a man named Hutchinson... seems he had a lucky escape.

Kerang New Times, Vic. 10 Sep 1901

It seems there may have been a hungry escapee in South Australia.

Daily Telegraph Launceston 21 Nov 1904

Clive Frankston, in Victoria, was one convict who was glad to be recaptured.

Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 - 1954), Saturday 14 May 1927, page 1
National Library of Australia. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article243915979

Joseph Bourke, also known as Simpson, led the police a merry chase in Sydney...

The Argus, Melbourne. 8 Apr 1939

A further report on the above, Joseph Bourke, but in more detail.

Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 - 1954), Friday 7 April 1939, page 8
National Library of Australia. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article52302579

Poor Captain John Hindmarsh had his hands well and truly full.

Beverley Times (WA : 1905 - 1977), Thursday 16 January 1958, page 6
National Library of Australia. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article202784635

There are numerous stories in TROVE about our convict history, so many with an unexpected twists.  The above is just a small selection...

Tuesday, 12 February 2019


N.B. Approximate position.. 

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...from Rottnest Island to Broome..then across to Katherine Gorge, then Tennant Creek, from there to Darwin on the way to the Tiwi Islands, Bathurst and Melville.

We've had to travel back to Darwin, before leaving the Northern Territory, then across to Cairns, in North Queensland... but we didn't stop there, instead headed to the tropical north, to one of the most beautiful areas you can imagine... isolated yes, but perfect for that great getaway... to Cape Tribulation. It seems you loved that area so well, that Cairns was the obvious place to travel to next... not too far south. That was another very popular place...as was our visit to Fraser Island...

We then headed inland, on an approximately 6 hours flight to a place steeped in history.. what a contrast to the sub tropical island of Fraser ...no waterfalls or clear lakes or rainforest, but Longreach has so much to offer.

We then returned to Hervey Bay, by plane, and then took a short drive of approximately 25 minutes to a town founded in 1847... the charming historical town of Maryborough. So many of you loved that place as I do.

What a contrast the next destination was, though it is also very much steeped in history... a beautiful place, but it was a place of horror, of deprivation and loneliness... St. Helena Island. To get there, we left on a ferry from Manly, across to the island. 

Then we returned to Brisbane, to explore the beautiful, sub tropical capital city of the Sunshine State. Brisbane today, is the third largest city in Australia and growing rapidly... 

It has come a long way from it's beginnings as the Moreton Bay convict settlement, with such an interesting history. In an earlier issue, we explored some of the history of Brisbane, then visited Brisbane of a later period. There is so much to see and do in this beautiful city, once known as the biggest country town in Australia...

After a break, we resumed our travels...  heading in to New South Wales... not too far over the border, to a place that literally stands out, begging to be noticed. It was first given a European name by Captain James Cook...  he recorded seeing " a remarkable sharp peaked mountain lying inland". That place was the very imposing Mt. Warning.. you can refresh your memory here

The New Year saw us travelling again, refreshed and ready to go to yet another beautiful place. Many of you will have stopped there, if only to get a photo taken on the border between Queensland and New South Wales..Coolangatta one side, Tweed Heads on the other. Hard to believe that this was only known as Point Danger in times past, as indeed it was... the lighthouse is a clue... 

That place brought back many wonderful memories for so many of you...it was lovely to read your comments and receive your emails..

We moved south again, to a place that means a lot to my family, but also has a very colourful past. It is beautiful, a popular tourist place, the centre of a very busy district, steeped in Australia's colonial history.. it's the bustling town of Port Macquarie. It is around 5 hours drive south of Point Danger.

I concentrated on the convict history of Port Macquarie, perhaps we will return another time to see how the city has changed.

We then headed down the coast a bit, then inland, to another town connected to my family.. the country town of Aberdeen, where my father and five of his brothers were born, him being the youngest. It seems many of you have driven through this town, but never explored it. You would have passed my family's old home .. on the north side of town, just over the bridge on the left hand side heading north. 

This time, we are backtracking a few hours and heading back to the coast, to the bustling city of Newcastle. Just to give you a better idea of the journey...

Wikipedia outlines the following...
The Newcastle (/ˈnjkɑːsəl/) metropolitan area is the second most populated area in the Australian state of New South Wales and includes most of the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie local government areas.[3]It is the hub of the Greater Newcastle area which includes most parts of the local government areas of City of NewcastleCity of Lake MacquarieCity of CessnockCity of Maitland and Port Stephens Council.[4][5]
Located 162 kilometres (101 mi) north-northeast of Sydney, at the mouth of the Hunter River, it is the predominant city within the Hunter Region. Famous for its coal, Newcastle is the largest coal exporting harbour in the world, exporting 159.9 million tonnes of coal in 2017.[6] Beyond the city, the Hunter Region possesses large coal deposits. Geologically, the area is located in the central-eastern part of the Sydney basin.[7]
Aboriginal History
Newcastle and the lower Hunter Region were traditionally occupied by the Awabakal and Worimi Aboriginal People,[8]who called the area Malubimba.[9]
Based on Aboriginal language references documented in maps, sketches and geological descriptions, eight landmarks have been officially dual-named by the NSW Geographic Names Board with their traditional Aboriginal names.[10] They include Nobbys Head also known as Whibayganba; Flagstaff Hill also known as Tahlbihn; Pirate Point also known as Burrabihngarn; Port Hunter also known as Yohaaba; Hunter River (South Channel) also known as Coquun; Shepherds Hill also known as Khanterin; Ironbark Creek also known as Toohrnbing and Hexham Swamp also known as Burraghihnbihng.[10]
European Settlement
In September 1797 Lieutenant John Shortland became the first  European settler to explore the area. His discovery of the area was largely accidental; as he had been sent in search of a number of convicts who had seized a locally-built vessel called Cumberland as she was sailing from Sydney Cove.[11] While returning, Lt. Shortland entered what he later described as "a very fine river", which he named after New South Wales' Governor John Hunter.[12] He returned with reports of the deep-water port and the area's abundant coal. Over the next two years, coal mined from the area was the New South Wales colony's first export.[12]
Newcastle gained a reputation as a "hellhole" as it was a place where the most dangerous convicts were sent to dig in the coal mines as harsh punishment for their crimes.[12] By the start of the 19th century the mouth of the Hunter River was being visited by diverse groups of men, including coal diggers, timber-cutters, and more escaped convicts. Philip Gidley King, the Governor of New South Wales from 1800, decided on a more positive approach to exploit the now obvious natural resources of the Hunter Valley.[11] In 1801, a convict camp called King's Town (named after Governor King) was established to mine coal and cut timber. In the same year, the first shipment of coal was dispatched to Sydney. This settlement closed less than a year later.[12]
A settlement was again attempted in 1804, as a place of secondary punishment for unruly convicts. The settlement was named Coal River, also Kingstown and then renamed Newcastle, after England's famous coal port.[9] The name first appeared by the commission issued by Governor King on 15 March 1804 to Lieutenant Charles Menzies of the marine detachment on HMS Calcutta, then at Port Jackson, appointing him superintendent of the new settlement.[13] The new settlement, comprising convicts and a military guard, arrived at the Hunter River on 27 March 1804 in three ships: HMS Lady Nelson, the Resource and the James.[11][14] The convicts were rebels from the 1804 Castle Hill convict rebellion. The link with Newcastle upon Tyne, England (its namesake) and also whence many of the 19th century coal miners came, is still obvious in some of the place-names – such as JesmondHexhamWickhamWallsend and GatesheadMorpeth, New South Wales is a similar distance north of Newcastle as Morpeth, Northumberland is north of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Newcastle is perhaps best known for coal export, ship building and BHP... though there is much more to the city and it's history.

Lieutenant John Shortland, the first European to explore the Newcastle region.
Field, R; Cook, Henry R.; Gold, Joyce - http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/107321.html
Captain John Shortland, 1769-1810. This print is based on a miniature of the sitter, now MNT0089, this copy being presented with it. It originally accompanied a memoir of Shortland published in the 'Naval Chronicle' for 1810, just after his death. The original was most probably painted at Halifax, Nova Scotia, by Field - who then worked there - probably in late 1807 or early 1808 since it shows only the right epaulette, indicating a captain of under three years' seniority. The engraver has here added the left epaulette, since Shortland was a senior captain by the time he died of wounds at Basseterre in the West Indies in January 1810. [PvdM 5/10]. Public Domain

Who doesn't love a procession? This took place in 1899, there are numerous names mentioned..
As always, please click to enlarge..
Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), Tuesday 14 November 1899, page 5
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14261748

Though a number of years later, I imagine the procession above wasn't all that different to this one...

A parade of mounted soldiers along Hunter Street West, c. 1908

Coal awaiting shipment from Newcastle, 1891.  No restrictions

Typical "sixty-miler" enters the harbour in ballast for a load of coal, 1923.  Public Domain

This painting depicts the high density of buildings around the port of Newcastle.

Newcastle (1925), oil on canvas, by George Washington Lambert
George Washington Lambert - Newcastle at the Newcastle Region Art Gallery

Public Domain

BHP was looking forward to their continuing involvement in Newcastle...
Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), Tuesday 19 November 1935, page 8
National Library of Australia  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17225105

Two years later, it was the Tourist Bureau spruiking the praise of the growing number of tourists enjoying all this beautiful seaside place had to offer...

Australian Worker (Sydney, NSW : 1913 - 1950), Wednesday 21 April 1937, page 19
National Library of Australia  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146089225

The Charleville Times chose to do an interesting historical piece with a great headline... 

Charleville Times (Brisbane, Qld. : 1896 - 1954), Friday 5 September 1947, page 19
National Library of Australia  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article76545646

Obelisk marking the start of Macquarie Pier, which was started in 1818 to join Coal Island (now Nobbys Head) to the mainland.     sv1ambo              CC BY 2.0

One of the many interesting papers to read about Australian history is the World's News, which was published in Sydney, and included the column, Australiana. It included snippets and Letters to the Editor.

World's News (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 1955), Saturday 12 June 1948, page 22
National Library of Australia  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article137127293

Christ Church Cathedral still dominates the skyline of Newcastle.
Adam.J.W.C. - Own work
Christ Church Cathedral.    CC BY-SA 2.5 1 Jan 2012

Photo taken from the General Post Office balcony in Newcastle, NSW in 1947.  A tram halts outside the AMP building at the eastern end of Hunter Street, 1947. Buses later replaced the trams. CC BY-SA 3.0

Yet another clipping from World's News, but with a very different subject... I guess there's no harm in trying...

World's News (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 1955), Saturday 20 October 1951, page 23
National Library of Australia    http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139911620

Newcastle's East End in 2008 with Newcastle railway station in the centre. The buildings at right are within the Dangar Grid, designed in 1823.

 Photo taken from the General Post Office balcony in Newcastle, NSW in 1947.  A tram halts outside the AMP building at the eastern end of Hunter Street, 1947. Buses later replaced the trams. CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo by Ron Morrison of Newcastle's main shopping district towards the top end of Hunter Street, 1968. The British Leyland Buses have replaced the trams. CC BY-SA 3.0

The MS Princess of Tasmania prior to being launched at the State Dockyard Newcastle, in November 1958 CC BY-SA 3.0

The MV Pasha Bulker briefly became a local landmark when it was stranded on Nobbys Beach in 2007 CC BY-SA 3.0

Victorian terrace streetscape Newcastle. 
Photo taken by Michael Gardner, March 2007 Public Domain

The ANZAC Walk, looking towards Merewether and the outer suburbs
Holdenman05 - Own work
ANZAC Walk in Newcastle NSW, 02/07/2015      CC BY-SA 4.0

 A favourite in the city is the Stockton Ferry.. a great way to see the harbour

Uploaded by JROBBO
Stockton Ferry, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. 

Just to show you that there is more to the city than industry and ships, I'll leave you with this excerpt from an article in TROVE as below... to read the full article use the link at the end of details below...

Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), Saturday 21 July 1984, page 17
National Library of Australia  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article127215158

Why not add Newcastle to your list of places to visit? It is full of surprises, a great mix of the old and the new, close to wineries and all the rest of the attractions in the Hunter Valley. We have visited quite a few times as we had family there. It is far cleaner these days, without the belching smokestacks. It has great cafes, restaurants, hotels, galleries, museum, good seafood.. 
and I think I need to go again.

Photo merged view of the centre of Newcastle. Taken from Stockton
Macr - Own work.    CC BY-SA 3.0 4 Sept 2007