Tuesday, 28 May 2019


N.B. very approximate location

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.

After backtracking a few hours and heading back to the coast, we explored the bustling city of Newcastle. It was great to hear that a number of you who thought you knew Newcastle reasonably well found a few new places to check out on your next visit.

It was only a relatively short drive, just a couple of hours away from Newcastle, to our next destination... Wiseman's Ferry. Heard of it, but never been there? It took me many years to actually visit, but I'm glad I did. This is another place that has a family connection for me... this time, on my maternal line...and so many of you enjoyed the visit also, going by your comments and emails. Thank you.

From there, we headed to a place that I'm sure most of have heard of, once a year at least... a reasonably thriving place which has the best New Year's Eve fireworks in the world.

Ok, I could be slightly biased and yes, it is Sydney, capital of New South Wales, site of the oldest settlement in Australia and another place which is linked to my family. We explored a few of the heritage listed places and some of the landmarks, but there is so much more to see. 

We couldn't cover it all, but one place which is well worth exploring is Botany Bay... the proposed site of the first settlement. Lieutenant James Cook first landed there on April 29, 1770. 

A distinct change of pace and locality as we leave the bustling city of Sydney and head around five and a half hours South South West to the beautiful Snowy Mountains, best known as the Snowies... a place of stunning beauty which brings thousands of tourists every year. Some go to enjoy snow sports, mountain climbing and yes, we do have snow in Australia, and some to simply soak up the atmosphere and get a taste of colder weather and the soul warming food that goes with it. Then again, the Snowy Mountains in summer is a delight, as myriads of wild flowers cover the peaks in contrast to clear blue skies...

View to Perisher ski resort with foreground of Purple eyebrights flowers
Courtesy of Flickr 
TATTERS Some rights reserved

Mount Perisher 2054m alt. (right) in summer

Olympic T-bar ski-lift is visible here on the left.             
 Courtesy of Flickr 

Two of the highest peaks of Australia! - Panorama view to Mt. Kosciuszko and Mt. Towsend

Snowy mountains, Main Range track hiking. Kosciuszko National park.

~ 2100m above see level.
Courtesy of Flickr 
TATTERS Some rights reserved 

Some information about the Snowy Mountains range from Wikipedia ...
The Snowy Mountains, known informally as "The Snowies", is an IBRAsubregion and the highest mountain range on the continent of mainland Australia. It contains the Australian mainland's highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko, which reaches to a height of 2,228 m (7,310 ft) above sea level. The range also contains the five highest peaks on the Australian mainland (including Mount Kosciuszko), all of which are above 2,100 m (6,890 ft). They are located in southern New South Wales and are part of the larger Australian Alps and Great Dividing Range. Unusual for Australia, the mountain range experiences large natural snowfalls every winter. Snow normally falls during June, July, August and early September, with the snow cover melting by late spring. The Tasmanian highlands makes up the other (major) alpine region present in Australia.
The range is host to the mountain plum-pine, a low-lying type of conifer. It is considered to be one of the centres of the Australian ski industry during the winter months, with all four snow resorts in New South Wales being located in the region.[1]
The Alpine Way and Snowy Mountains Highway are the major roads through the Snowy Mountains region.


The mountain range is thought to have had Aboriginal occupation for 20,000 years. Large scale intertribal gatherings were held in the High Country during summer for collective feasting on the Bogong moth. This practice continued until around 1865.[2]
The area was first explored by Europeans in 1835, and in 1840, Edmund Strzelecki ascended Mount Kosciuszko and named it after the Polish patriot. High country stockmen followed who used the Snowy Mountains for grazing during the summer months. Banjo Paterson's famous poem The Man From Snowy Riverrecalls this era. The cattle graziers have left a legacy of mountain huts scattered across the area. Today these huts are maintained by the National Parks and Wildlife Service or volunteer organisations like the Kosciuszko Huts Association.
In the 19th century gold was mined on the high plains near Kiandra. At its height this community had a population of about 4,000 people, and ran 14 hotels. Since the last resident left in 1974, Kiandra has become a ghost town of ruins and abandoned diggings.[3]
The Kosciuszko National Park came into existence as the National Chase Snowy Mountains on 5 December 1906. In 1944 this became the Kosciuszko State Park, and then the Kosciuszko National Park in 1967.[4]
Recreational skiing began at Kiandra in the 1860s and experienced a boom in the 20th century following the commencement of the construction of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme between 1949 and 1976 which brought many European workers to the district and opened up access to the ranges.  You can read more here
As a child, it was quite an achievement to manage to spell the name of Australia's highest mountain, Mt. Kosciuszko. I must admit I had to think twice before writing it here. I was last there back in the late 70's when it was constantly in the news because of the hydro electric scheme that was getting world attention. It had been in the news for many years..

Sydney Morning Herald  9 Sep 1949

It was one of the most imaginative schemes ever designed by any Australian government and would take not only many years to build, but also an incredible amount of money and a huge workforce. Australia simply didn't have the population to do this on it's own, so the solution was to bring in migrants from all over the world.

There was no shortage of applicants.. but then that led to other problems... they had to be housed and fed and clothed. They needed some form of transport and health care.. and all the other necessities of life. Australia was in a situation of boom or bust...

Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), Tuesday 12 January 1954, page 11
National Library of Australia  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18404228
PLEASE click images to enlarge..

There was some concern as to whether all these different nationalities would work together and though there were a few problems now and then, on the whole they learnt to put differences aside.
The wages were attractive at the time, better than they had been for some time, so that helped...
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (National : 1901 - 1973), Thursday 3 November 1955 (No.55)

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (National : 1901 - 1973), Thursday 25 July 1957 (No.42), page 2305

It was by no means easy work and a number of accidents occurred over each stage of the project, despite all the effort to prevent them. It was to take approximately 22 years... and 121 lost their lives.

Courtesy of Flickr   Cmh    CC BY-SA 3.0      Tumut3GeneratingStation
Australia was left with a great dream completed very much in the manner of which it was conceived, dams were built, massive tunnels created to facilitate transport of needed supplies to the heart of the Snowy Mountains hydro electric project. It did run over budget, we did loose far too many people, and it did take many years... I wonder if we will ever have this far sighted outlook again.
Not all workers returned to their countries of origin, many brought their families out and blended into the Australian way of life, while introducing much of their culture to us.

 The Snowy Mountains scheme is just one part of this sensational area, Australia's wonderland, in fact one of many.

Courtesy of Flickr   Pee Tern   CC BY-SA 3.0   View of Charlotte Pass Village, Australia, on 13 Ausgust 2008 taken from the top of Pulpitt T-bar ski lift. End of Stillwell Ridge at the top right, The Chalet at the bottom left. Ski lifts visible are Basin J-bar (poma), moving carpet, and Kangaroo Ridge triple chair lift.

Courtesy of Flickr Trevar Alan Chilver     CC BY-SA 4.0       Mount Kosciuszko from the Snowy River.jpg
Courtesy of Flickr   Sterry2607 Public Domain  Snow Gum on the Dead Horse Gap Walk

Many Australians had family who worked on the Snowy, or even work there now .. or are working on the tourist side. There are a number of lovely towns in the area... if I name them, I'm sure to leave some out, so I will leave you with this... and you can see them for yourself. Do you live there or have you visited? What is your favourite place?

Courtesy of Flickr  TomGonzales      CC BY-SA 2.0     Snowy-Mountains-System

What would a story on the Snowy River area be without Clancy?


For further reading...

Details on the project and progress...
Biz (Fairfield, NSW : 1928 - 1972), Wednesday 25 September 1957, page 19
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article189939189

re tourists by 1960...
Beverley Times (WA : 1905 - 1977), Thursday 4 February 1960, page 3
National Library of Australia  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article202794501

Still looking for more staff 1966
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (National : 1901 - 1973), Thursday 27 Oct 1966 (No.90), page 5409  National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article241038700

map of area, plus progress...
Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), Friday 26 December 1975, page 5
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article102193928

Catching wild horses in the mountains
Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), Saturday 17 July 1993, page 1
National Library of Australia  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article127240047

Snowy workers sing memoirs
Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), Thursday 13 August 1992, page 14
National Library of Australia  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article137172508

What to do in the Snowy Mountains if you don't ski..

Tuesday, 21 May 2019



When we think of convicts, it's easy to think of them as beyond redemption, perhaps the lowest of society, thieves, murderers, the flotsam of humanity...but as with any strata of society, they were a mixed lot. Sure some were to follow their former ways for the rest of their lives, but many were transported to Australia for what we would consider petty crimes, or at least understandable, such as those who stole food to feed their families, or those who were transported for railing against unjust laws.

There were many examples of those who became upstanding citizens, successful in life in many ways... in other words, 'convicts who made good'.

Singleton Argus (NSW : 1880 - 1954), Saturday 3 May 1924, page 3
National Library of Australia   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article80951715
Please click to enlarge

Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 - 1954), Wednesday 12 January 1938, page 4
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166671462

Tweed Daily (Murwillumbah, NSW : 1914 - 1949), Saturday 25 January 1947, page 7
National Library of Australia  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article195087844

Of course, this wasn't simply the premise of men. A number of the female convicts also made a very successful life for themselves.

Brisbane Telegraph (Qld. : 1948 - 1954), Saturday 20 November 1954, page 14
National Library of Australia  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article217148236

Land grants were given to a number of former convicts who had proven their worth in becoming respected people in society.

Courtesy of TROVE

Macquarie Field House, Macquarie Fields, January 1954 / Barry Wollaston
1 photoprint : b&w ; 20 x 25 cm.
Photographer's note, dated January 1954, accompanies original 35mm negatives: "Taken over by the Department of Agriculture's veterinary research station, rack & ruin etc. The house is in such a poor state of repair that the cost of restoration would be terrific. There is not a door or window left. The stone verandah floor has fallen through the rotted timbers in places, and the timber columns are falling off the front."

Macquarie Field House is believed to have been built in the 1840s by wealthy convict emancipist, Samuel Terry for his daughter Martha following her marriage to Sydney mrechant John Hosking in 1843. In 1858 the property was leased for use as a boarding school under the direction of the Rev George Fairfowl Macarthur. After the death of Martha Hosking in 1877 the property changed hands several times until, in 1944, it was acquired by the Department of Agriculture for research in animal husbandry. The house, left vacant, rapidly deteriorated. 
It was rescued and restored in the 1960s. The portico, believed to have been added after the house was built, was removed at that time.
; Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection
All the above sourced from TROVE

Another great site to discover more about convicts and in particular, those reformed convicts who went on to live respectable and successful lives is the Dictionary of Sydney. The following are just a few links to those who achieved this...

Mary Reibey

Sarah Lawson

William Bland

George Hill

and a man I have written about previously
here and here
Solomon Wiseman

There are so many stories about those convicts who 'made good', here is just one more to add to this story...

Esther Abrahams - convict 'first lady' - Earshot - ABC Radio National

You can listen to her story here .. takes a moment to get to her story


Tuesday, 14 May 2019



One of the most interesting sections in newspapers can often be the Personals... They can come under various headings, sometimes Personals, sometimes under variations of Gossip Corner, Jottings, Local News, About Town...or whatever seems right for the time.

Whatever the name, there is a wealth of information included and some very personal stories, and some that make you shake your head in disbelief... here is just a small selection from the year of 1884. Please click to enlarge...

West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), Tuesday 8 April 1884, page 3
National Library of Australia  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2990960

Did you notice?
Death of John Fleay, arrived on the Drummond 41 years ago..
A man named Dixon cut the throats of four...

Queensland Figaro (Brisbane, Qld. : 1883 - 1885), Saturday 11 October 1884, page 19
National Library of Australia      http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article83675122

Did you notice?
The Superintendent of Victorian police in 1884 was Leopald Kabut.
Edward Manning was a coach driver for Cobb and Co.


Shoalhaven Telegraph (NSW : 1881 - 1937), Thursday 25 December 1884, page 2
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article127951251

Did you notice?
2nd prize in the spelling contest went to Miss C. Shannon .. wonder what happened to her... Mr. D.L. Dymock of Jamberoo delivered a lecture on"Jottings by the way".. wonder if he was related to the Dymock book store family..

Tasmanian News (Hobart, Tas. : 1883 - 1911), Thursday 14 February 1884, page 2
National Library of Australia       http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162307053

Did you notice ?
It was Joseph Fetham who pleaded not guilty to depositing night soil in Barrack Street. Poor Mr. Fraser lost all his stock in trade, as well as 14 one pound notes.. did you see how.

Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918, 1935), Saturday 26 July 1884, page 26
National Library of Australia   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197967264

Did you notice?
Poor Mrs. Johnson, why was she sent to prison because of her son.


12 Jan 1884 - MISCELLANEOUS.

Northern Territory Times and Gazette (Darwin, NT : 1873 - 1927), Saturday 12 January 1884, page 3

Mr. Carr-Boyd, writing to the Argus, denies the accuracy of Mr. O'Donnell's assertions that the exploring party under his command were not lost.
Mr. Anthony Hordern has written from London to the effect that if he is successful in his negotiations for the construction of the railways in Western Australia he will found a university in Perth.
It was but a few weeks back that we (Leader, 15th December) heard of the death by drowning of Martin Weiberg, the robber of the 5000 sovs. from the strong room of a steamer. His empty boat has been found somewhere off the coast and his death consequently assumed. The farce was followed up by Mrs. Weiberg shortly afterwards advertising her application for letters of administration to the supposed deceased. It now appears that Weiberg has really gone away by the Sorata, and has doubtlessly taken with him the bulk of those 5000 sovs., (sovereigns) of which the police have failed to recover more than one fifth up to this time.
A too willing witness (says the Maryborough Chronicle) may seriously embarrass a whole Court of justice. Such a case occurred recently on the local police court. An excited female who literally filled the witness-box, told a moving tale of assault and battery. She had been pushed backwards and fell in a sitting posture on some splintery firewood. An adequate description of her wounds became difficult, so she volunteered a noble sacrifice of modesty in the cause of justice, and requested the Bench to personally inspect the seat of injury. Suiting the action to the word, she was on the eve of administering a severe shock to the Court, when the Bench quickly assured her that her bare word would do this time.
The advocates of temperance are once more upon the war path with the rally cry oflocal option. Meetings have been held in Melbourne, Ballarat, Sandhurst and other inland centres of population, and in South Australia the publicans and teetotallers have agreed to meet on the public platform and fight the question out to its legitimate limits. This is a very sensible mode of procedure. Each party believes itself in the right, and, like free and independent Britons, they agree to apply to the issue the tests of truth and argument. The optionists maintain that the majority should rule, that anything tending to lessen the evils of drink is for the general weal, and that it becomes all good citizens to assist them in the movement. The anti-optionists, on the other hand, contend that the abolition of publichouses will not necessarily eliminate the bibulous propensities of the population ; that experience has proved the system a failure wherever it has been tried, and that it amounts to gross interference with the liberty of the subject to dic-tate what he shall eat, what he shall drink, or the wherewithal he shall be clothed. The speeches delivered in Adelaide pro and con. have been excellent in their way, although very little has been added thereby to the stock arguments upon the question. A good hit was, however, made by one of the speakers on the anti-option side, who, quoting some appropriate verses, said-
God gave the generous grape to cheer both great and small ;
But little fools will drink too much, and great ones none at all.
A. chimney-sweeper's life has its "sport side. He is deeply interested in sweeps tales!
Did you notice?
Martin Weiberg hardly benefited from those sovereigns ..

Yorke's Peninsula Advertiser (SA : 1878 - 1922), Friday 14 March 1884, page 4
National Library of Australia. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article216318182

No doubt you saw  "beware of men named Rice!"


Images courtesy of Pixabay