Sunday, 18 February 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 7 - Valentine

Valentines's Day (14 February) is celebrated by many as a time for Love and Romance. It is thought to have dated back to Roman times as a festival - Lupercalia - which celebrated the coming of Spring. Since the fourteenth century it has been celebrated as Valentine's Day in many countries.

When my convict ancestors arrived in Australia I suspect the main emphasis on their lives was the need to survive. Sydney was first and foremost a convict settlement which had to be established in an environment that appeared alien to those who had previously lived in England and Ireland. Over time the convicts [later emancipists] had the opportunity to acquire small parcels of land on which to grow food essential for the survival of themselves and the settlement in general.

The first marriages occurred in the new colony on 17 February 1788, only a few weeks after the arrival of the convicts. The Reverend Johnson, a Church of England minister, officiated. However men greatly outnumbered women in the new settlement.

Seven hundred and seventy-eight male convicts arrived in the First Fleet (January 1778) along with one hundred and ninety-two female convicts. However when the Lady Juliana arrived in the colony in June 1790, another 226 women joined the Sydney Cove population. Seventy-eight female convicts arrived aboard the Neptune later in the month.

The proportion of male convicts compared with female convicts in the colony was still high but the new arrivals provided a window of opportunity for First Fleet convicts to find partners.

In my family, William Roberts (1756-1820) and George Guest (1765-1841) were sent to Australia on First Fleet ships. Then, in 1790,  Mary Bateman (1773-1829) arrived on the Lady Juliana followed by Kezia Brown (1771-1854) aboard the Neptune. Eventually George and Mary married on Norfolk Island on 5 November 1791 while William and Kezia were married in Sydney on 17 August 1793.

George Guest (24) arrived at Norfolk Island in January 1790 and Mary Bateman (17) arrived there in August. On 5 November 1791 they were married when Rev Johnson briefly visited the island. He married up to 100 couples during his short stay. As Mary and George's daughter, Sarah, was born on 1 May 1792 they, like most of the others married at this time, would have been living together before the clergyman made his first visit to to Norfolk Island. Rev Johnson also performed many baptisms.

William Roberts was 22 when he married 21 year old Mary Russell (1757-1802) at Helston, Cornwell, England on 1 July 1778.They had three children, Mary, William and Richard. However the family's life dramatically changed when William was arrested for stealing a quantity of yarn and sentenced to seven years transportation in August 1786. The following year he was on his way to Sydney Cove aboard the Scarborough. As we have seen, Kezia arrived in the colony in June 1790. William and Kezia's first child was born in 1791 so it would appear that they had formed a relationship shortly after Kezia's arrival in the colony. However, because William had a wife and family back in England, William had to wait seven years from the time of his sentence until he could remarry. Consequently William (now 37) and Kezia (22) were married in Sydney on 14 August 1793. Together they had ten children.

On October 18 1813 William and Kezia's eldest daughter, Mary Roberts (1793-1863) married Richard Holland (1783-1867). Twelve days later their first son, William, was born. Richard, aged 23,  had been arrested in 1806 for stealing a parcel from a delivery van in the middle of the day. When transported to Australia he left a wife behind in England. Richard, now 30, therefore also had to wait seven years before marrying 20 year old Mary. They had nine children.

The Church of England was the official religion of the early settlement at Sydney Cove. However not all convicts transported to Sydney were members of the Church of England. This may have affected decisions regarding marriage for some of the convicts.

John Pendergast (1769-1833), a Catholic, was transported to Sydney Cove in 1799 arriving in January 1800. It is believed that he married another convict, Catherine, and they had a son, also John, born in 1801. Catherine also died in 1801. Records show that Jane Williams (1775-1838) was assigned to John Pendergast shortly after her arrival in the colony in 1801. There are no records showing that John and Jane married, however they had five children, the first born in 1803. John and Jane were both Catholics and although there was one Catholic priest in Australia in 1803 his permission to perform marriages was withdrawn shortly after his arrival. The next Catholic priests arrived in Australia in 1820.

Uriah Moses (1780-1847) was transported to Sydney Cove arriving in November 1800. He eventually settled in Windsor where he ran a bakery, along with other businesses. Uriah was 20 when he arrived in Australia but he did not marry until he was 50 years old. Uriah was a Jew but on 9 March, 1830 he married Ann Daley (1809-1880) at St Matthews' Church of England. Ann was the 20 year old daughter of convicts, Charles Daley (1775-1831) and Susannah Alderson (1780-1854).  Uriah and Ann had nine children, their eldest son arriving three months after they married. Twenty-two years after Uriah's death Ann married James Powell.

It was not unusual for the convicts to have married more than once in the colony as we have already seen with John Pendergast. Charles Daley arrived in Australia in 1793 and three years later he married another convict, Ann Lockett. Ann died ten years later in 1806. They had no children. On 27  August 1810 Charles married Susannah Alderson who had arrived in Australia with her son in November 1808. Susannah had been charged with perjury after she accused the schoolmaster she worked for of being the father of her child. Charles and Susannah had five children.

Mary Hyde (1779-1864) arrived in Sydney in July 1798. She lived with a ship's officer (John Black) when he was not at sea. They had two children. Captain Black's ship disappeared at sea in May 1802 and was officially declared missing in February 1803. By 1805 Mary was in a new relationship with Simeon Lord (1771-1840) and their first child was born in 1806. By the time they married on 27 October 1814 they had five children. Another five were born after their marriage. Simeon adopted the two children that Mary had with Captain Black plus another girl whose parents had died. 

So looking at this small sample what factors contributed to the need / ability to form a relationship / marry once in the  new colony? 

Forming a relationship, whether it resulted in marriage or not, could provide a form of protection for the female convicts, especially in a male dominated society. However for convicts who had been married in England it was necessary to wait seven years before they could legally marry again, though there was nothing to stop them forming a new relationship and new family in the meantime. For some couples there was no hurry to marry anyway or to marry at all. Religious beliefs that differed from the established Church of England could also influence or delay decisions. Most of the couples, with the possible exception of Mary and George Guest, appear to have built a comfortable new life with their partner and family in their new land, so hopefully there was some romance as well as practicality in the arrangements.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Japanese submarines off Sydney

A previous post on the shelling of Rose Bay covered some of the story of the prescence of Japanese submarines in the vicinity of Sydney in June 1942.

A number of books have been written about this period of Australian history. Some I mentioned in a post in another blog on books written about Sydney during World War II.

Two books, in particular, Battle Surface! by David Jenkins and The Battle for Australia by Bob Wurth have used Japanese records as well as Royal Australian Navy records to describe what was happening at the time.

Japanese midget submarines entering Sydney Harbour on the night of 31 May - 1 June 1942 is the story that people remember. Three Japanese submarines were stationed outside the harbour entrance. Being midwinter it was dark early although there was a full moon. Earlier the Japanese had flown a small plane to check shipping in the harbour. During the evening three midget submarines left the mother submarines, I-22, I-24 and I-27, and entered the harbour. Technically there was a black out in Sydney but some lights were still on. Although parts of the harbour were netted, the city was not really expecting an attack by submarine.

The first midget submarine entered the harbour around 8 o'clock but its propellers encountered the anti-submarine nets and became entangled. The two men in the submarine destroyed the submarine before crew of Australian craft could investigate.

The crew of the second midget submarine unsuccessfully attacked Chicago, a ship in the harbour.  One shell remained unexploded on Garden Island while a second torpedo sank the former ferry, Kuttabul, killing 21 men. The submarine diappeared and was not found until 2006 when divers discovered the wreckage in the harbour.

The third midget submarine entered the harbour several hours later. Patrol boats detected it and the submarine was sunk. When the vessel was retrieved by RAN divers it was discovered that the crew had shot themselves.

The war had come to Sydney.

The bodies of the four Japanese discovered after the incursion into the harbour were given a funeral with military honours.

The mother submarine, I-24, remained in the area for several days after the attack before firing shells across the peninsula of land near Rose Bay on the night of 8 June.

After this week of activity the Japanese submarines returned to their prime task of disrupting shipping along the coast.

A summary of the Japanese attack on Sydney Harbour can be read on the Australian Navy website

#52Ancestors - Week 6 - Favourite Name

Quoting Shakespeare, 'What's in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.' (Romeo and Juliet). However the names chosen for family members can cause many challenges when doing family history research.

When I first did the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge in 2014, at the 26 week mark I wrote a short post about the family naming patterns to that point.

As an update to that post, of the 52 people chosen for that project Sarah and Anne / Anne / Annie were the most common female names, each used four times. There were three ancestors in that list named Mary, and two named Catherine, Agnes or Jane. The most unusual name was Keziah.

George and William plus John / Joshua were the most popular male names, each appearing four times as a first name. Henry and Simeon appeared three times, while two ancestors  in the list were named Charles.

There are some names you would expect to be difficult to locate. I do have a third great grandfather named John Smith! Fortunately my second great grandfather had a more distinctive name - Charles Septimus Smith - which eased some of the pain when searching this branch of the family.

Looking at the family tree in general it is interesting to see how families stuck to naming patterns. An example is Simeon Lord. You would think with an ancestor named Simeon Lord there would be relatively easy to locate his family, especially as I knew the family lived in the small community of Todmorden in England. Unfortunately the extended Lord family also lived in the region near Todmorden and each branch of the family in the eighteenth century appear to have had a son named Simeon. Just one of the challenges of family history research.

In another branch of the family tree the name Eleanora or Eleonora is a family name used through the generations. This branch of the family tree can be traced back to the Plantagentets where Eleanor was also often used. My great aunt was Eleonora Ruby Hutton and I remember my grandmother telling us that her sister was the eleventh Eleonora / Eleanora in the family. This is another theory that I should explore further.

#52Ancestors - Week 5 - Census

I have used the English and Scottish census data available from 1841 until 1911 to locate information about some of family members who didn't come to Australia until the mid to late nineteenth century, or remained in England. However, as my twelve convicts arrived in Australia prior to 1806, it is the convict musters that I have used to trace the movements of family members during early colonial settlement.

Being initially a convict settlement, the British government kept records of the convicts transported to the colonies. Ancestry has a collection of records entitled, New South Wales and Tasmania, Australia Convict Musters 1806 - 1849. The musters in the collection were conducted in 1806, 1811, 1822, 1823 - 1825, 1837 for NSW  and 1808-1849 for Tasmania. The information in the muster records varies but can provide information about the convict or former convict, their family, present occupation and where they are living at the time of the muster. The musters are only one of a series of records available for researching convicts in Ancestry.
Click on image for larger view
The above image tells us that Simeon Lord arrived on the ship, Boddington, in 1793 and that in 1825 he was a merchant in Sydney. His wife is listed as Mrs Lord though she had also been a convict. The names of eight children are also listed. Two of the daughters by this time were married and their husband's names are recorded.
Click on image for larger view
The 1806 muster concentrated on the land owned by convicts or former convicts and how the land was being farmed, including livestock owned. A section on the second page indicated numbers of family and workers associated with the person.
Click on image for larger view
As the colonies grew regualar data about the development of the colonies, especially, industries was collected but information about individuals was not recorded. Regular statistical information has been kept and made available via the Australian Bureau of Statistics since Federation. Recent census forms have provided those filling in the forms to indicate that they approve their individual information being made available in the future - one hundred years from the census date. Fortunately, in the meantime, family history researchers have access to directories and electoral rolls to assisit in filling in the gaps when researching family stories.

Early Australian census records - SLV guide

Friday, 26 January 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 4 - Invite to dinner

The prompt this week is to write a post about an ancestor you would invite to dinner. Well the list is endless, however I decided, after some consideration, that if time travel was possible my invitation would go to my 3 x great grandfather, Thomas William  Birch (1767-1821).

Why would I choose Thomas William Birch? Simply because there are lots of questions that I would like to ask him especially as his early life appears to be a mystery. Some notes about and questions for Thomas.

  1. Thomas William Birch is the first member of my family to voluntarily settle in Australia.
  2. When was he born? There is uncertainty about his actual date of birth. It is generally accepted that he was born sometime in 1767 but it may have been later.
  3. Where in England was he born?
  4. Who were his parents? Some family trees provide parents for him but I have not yet seen any documents or sources confirming his parentage.
  5. We do know that he arrived in Hobart Town in May 1808 aboard the whaler, Dubuc.
  6. We know that he was a medical officer aboard the ship and there are accounts of him occasionally working as a doctor in Hobart Town.
  7. Where did Thomas do his medical training?
  8. Why did he decide to remain in Hobart Town? We can make assumptions, the obvious one being that he married a local girl and decided to settle in the colony. On 12 September 1808 Thomas married Sarah Guest (1792-1868), daughter of George Guest and Mary Bateman, at St David's Church. Hobart Town. The following month the Dubuc left for the return trip to England but sank in the Derwent River. 
  9. The second assumption would be that Thomas could see potential in making a new life in the colony. The settlement was only four years old when Thomas arrived. Before long Thomas proceeded to establish himself as a merchant. Sealing and whaling were also profitable industries from Hobart Town at thta time.
  10. Thomas and Sarah had seven children (a daughter died as an infant). 
  11. We know that by the time of his death in 1821, Thomas was one of the richest and most successful business people in Hobart Town. It would be interesting to know what this man was really like as a person.
  12. When Thomas died unexpectedly in December 1821 he left a complicated will that took 18 years to settle. Why did he plan his affairs that way?
It would be good to have answers to some of these questions and to have a better understanding of this complex businessman.

Friday, 19 January 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 3 - Longevity

Nancy Hazel Hutton
The prompt for week 3 is LONGEVITY. There are several ways that you can look at longevity in family history research. Longevity could be how long you have been researching a particular person or family. It could also be looking at how long ancestors have lived which is the angle I propose to take. Longevity in this case largely depends on the period in which ancestors lived as well as the the conditions in which they lived.

Genes can be a contributing factor members of some families living longer than others born at the same time.

Rosemary Lord with her aunt, Eleonora Hutton (mid 1940s)
One of my grandmothers, Nancy Hazel Hutton (1899-1997) and her sister, Eleonora Ruby Hutton (1892-1990) both lived to be 98.

In this case the longevity genes appear to have come from their father's line. Their father, George Hutton (1850-1936), was 86 when he died. Their grandfather, William Forbes Hutton (1816-1896) lived to be 80 while their great grandparents, Thomas Hutton (1772-1856) and Janet Robertson (1780-1862) lived to be 84 and 82 which would have been considered to be old age at that time in the UK. George Hutton came to Australia when 19 while William Forbes Hutton came to Australia after serving in the army in India.

Longevity can also be linked to a person's health and life style. With twelve convicts in the family I am interested in how the convict members of the family fared in their new environment. 

Mary Hyde

One of my convict ancestors, Mary Hyde (1779-1864) lived to be 85 which in the mid 19th century would be considered a good age. 

Below is a table of the longevity of my twelve convicts:

As can be seen two of the convicts died in their mid 50s, five died in their 60s, two in their 70s and three in their 80s.

I do not have details of the parents for all of the convicts but Simeon Lord's father, also Simeon Lord (1744-1787), died when he was 43 while his wife, Ann Fielden (1745-1786) died at 41.We would consider this young but it was around the average age of adult deaths in the UK at that time.  

However Kezia Brown's father, Aaron Brown (1749-1840) was an exception. He was 91 when he died while his wife, Mary Farley (1745-1804) died when she was 59. 

William Robert's parents, John Roberts (1717-1792) who died at 75 and Jane Lugg (1727-1804) who died at 66, also lived longer lives than would be expected at that time in England. 

Perhaps life was healthier in Worcestershire and Cornwall than in Yorkshire where Simeon's parents lived.

I suspect that when looking at the ages that my convicts died you could argue that they appear to have lived a healthier lifestyle and perhaps eventually had better food (though the first years in the colony would have been extremely difficult) than family who stayed behind in England. When time permits, I want to spend time investigating what happened to family members, including brothers and sisters, who remained in England and Scotland if information is available. It may then be possible to make a reliable comparison. 

A project for later this year.

Saturday, 13 January 2018


Kambala school for girls began at Fernbank, a house in Edgecliff Road Edgecliffe. In 1887 Miss Louisa Jane Guerney started a school with 12 girls in the house. As the number of pupils increased the school moved to a larger property named Kambala in 1891.The new property consisted of 13 acres. By this time Mademoiselle Augustine Soubeiran was co-principal with Miss Guerney.

In 1913 the school had grown to almost 50 pupils so it once again relocated, this time to Tivoli, its present home in Rose Bay. The school brought the name, Kambala, to the new location. A building has been on this site since 1842 when Captain William Dumaresq built a cottage and later a house. The Dumaresq family lived on the site until 1881 when Morrice Alexander Black purchased the property. He then had the house rebuilt. Further estensions and alterations have been made to Tivoli since it became a school. It is currently the boarding house for year 7 - 10 students.
Tivoli (1941)
Additional buildings have been built on the site as well as sports grounds.
Senior House building (1941)
In 1926 Kambala became a Church of England (Anglican) Foundation School.

My mother, Rosemary Lord, was a pupil at Kambala from 1939-1942. Consequently she was at the school during part of the Second World War. The post in this blog, Shelling of Rose Bay, provides information about Rosemary's memories of her school days at Kambala during the war.

Rosemary started the school in first form (year 7 now). Rosemary's life at school during this time can be viewed via some of the photographs in a family album.
Group of friends outside the Tivoli building (1939)
Miss Fifi Hawthorne was headmistress of the school when Rosemary attended Kambala. Miss Chadwick was the House Mistress during Rosemary's first year at the school.
Miss Chadwick (1939)
In a family history interview in 1994 Rosemary described one of her interests at school:

I used to take part in the drama class at school. The first year I got the runners up prize and the second year I won the prize for playing a hunter in some crazy thing. We used to spend lunch time sometimes fooling around in plays and things. One girl was really funny. She had invented a skit on The Three Bears. There was much giggling and what have you. She later became a doctor.
Friends (Rosemary second from left in group)
Relaxing in the school grounds
Shirley, Judy, Helen, Myra, Jill, Rosemary, Jocelyn, Ruth (1941)
Rosemary's favourite sport at school was tennis. In the 1994 interview she described her interest in sport: "I played tennis and I was captain of the B team. I played basketball (netball) but I played in the B team."
Ready for a game of tennis.
Kambala is in a beautiful location as the image below, from Wikipedia, indicates.
Click on the image for a better view
As Rosemary noted: "The school was in a beautiful position overlooking the harbour by the flying boat base. For a couple of years I was in classrooms that overlooked the base and it was hard to concentrate."

Although Australia was at war it did not directly impact upon Sydney until 1942. However the girls would have had family members - brothers, cousins - who had enlisted and in some cases were serving overseas. Rosemary's cousin, David, enlisted in July 1940 and was sent to Malaya. Her brother, Michael, enlisted in December 1941. There must have been discussion among the students regarding events overseas.

When the girls returned to school in 1942 air raid shelters had been constructed during the holidays and air raid practice implemented. Then in June 1942 a Japanese submarine shelled sections of Rose Bay, not far from the school.

Rosemary observed: "The air raid came in the middle of the night. We didn’t realise at the time how serious it was. Part of Rose Bay was shelled including the beach. At New South Head Road some flats were hit, not badly but windows were broken."

Rosemary also noticed one change in the neighbourhood after the shelling in 1942:  "Across the road from us there was a house which was let to the Americans who used to come there on R & R leave. Of course I was young and innocent and did not take notice particularly but I presume they had their girlfriends there."

The shelling of Rose Bay would have alerted the students at Kambala, especially the senior students to the seriousness of war. A number of them, including Rosemary and her friend Jill, volunteered to do community work with war related organisations. (More about that in a future post).  However, in the meantime the students completed their studies before embarking on the next stage of their life.

Further information and references:

Shelling of Rose Bay - Family Connections

For the love of old buildings - a post in the blog Lilyfield Life

Kambala School - Wikipedia

Kambala Girls' School - Local History Fast Facts - Woollahra City Council (useful information about other sites in Woollahra)

History - Kambala - School website

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Shelling of Rose Bay

This was the final essay in the Oral History unit (my final subject) for the University of Tasmania Family History Diploma. The essay was restricted to 800 words (give or take 10%) and ended up being 819 words. Working to a word limit restricts providing some of the information on the topic but I will be linking additional posts to this one providing additional information on on the Flying Boat Base at Rose Bay and the presence of the Japanese off the coast plus incursions into the harbour. Photos not in original.]

Shortly after midnight, the residents of Rose Bay, a Sydney suburb, awoke to the sound of shells soaring over their homes. It was 8 June 1942. The previous week midget submarines had shelled targets in parts of Sydney Harbour, but now war had come to their suburb. [1]

1939 was a year of change for Rosemary as she moved from the family sheep station in south-western Queensland to Rose Bay to live with her aunt and attend secondary school. Her new home was Kooyong, a brick house on the corner of Hamilton Street and Carlisle Street. Rosemary described Kooyong’s location: “It was built up on a bit of a rise … and we looked down towards the Rose Bay Golf Club. We couldn’t see the harbour, but if you walked up to the next corner, and turned around the next street, you had a lovely view.” Rosemary also noted, “It was walking distance to school.”[2] 
Kooyong 1940s
School was Kambala in nearby Vaucluse. School days were happy days. Rosemary enjoyed playing sport, particularly tennis and netball and her favourite subject was drama. Her best friend, Jill, lived a few streets away. Rosemary described the school as being “in a beautiful position overlooking the harbour by the flying boat base.” She added, “For a couple of years I was in classrooms that overlooked the base and it was hard to concentrate.”

The flying boat base at Rose Bay opened in 1938 and was used by Qantas to take mail and passengers to England, plus other countries closer to Australia.[3] It was a busy centre with planes frequently arriving or leaving the base. However, by 1942, the RAAF had requisitioned most of the flying boats. The Rose Bay base then closed until the end of the war.

On 3 September, 1939, when Mr Menzies announced that Australia was at war with Germany, [4] Rosemary was holidaying with her mother and aunt in the Blue Mountains. They listened to the declaration of war on the radio. Almost three years later, shells from a Japanese submarine landed near her home. [5]

Initially war seemed far from Australia but fear of Japanese aggression grew, particularly in 1941. Japanese troops advanced towards Malaya and Singapore and then, in December, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour. [6]

At the beginning of the 1942 school year, students discovered air raid shelters built during the holidays. Rosemary described the precautions taken at Kambala: “At school we had air raid shelters which were a couple of classrooms strengthened up with beams and sandbags.” Students also learned what to do in the event of an air raid warning. “We used to have air raid practice, racing across and trying to remember what to do.” Rosemary added, “I hate to think what would have happened if there had been a raid.”

Precautions were not just restricted to schools. At night all buildings, including houses, observed blackout conditions. “At Rose Bay we had to blackout all the windows. We weren’t allowed to show any lights of course,” said Rosemary.

Owners of private houses also constructed air raid shelters for protection should enemy planes approach. Rosemary described how precautions were made at Kooyong. “We had our air raid shelter under Aunt’s room. There was a trapdoor that led down to the room though we could get to it from the outside as well. That was our shelter and we kept provisions there.”

When the Japanese submarine attacked, the sleepy residents of Kooyong hurriedly tried to follow their instructions: “…we had to rush to turn off the gas, fill the bath with water and make sure we had water below.” Rosemary then added, “I am afraid that if it had really been serious we would have been dead before we got ourselves organised.”

The shells that landed on Rose Bay came from the Japanese submarine, I-24, located fourteen kilometres out to sea.[7] Residents wondered what was happening. “We didn’t realise at the time how serious it was” Rosemary observed. “Part of Rose Bay was shelled including the beach. At New South Head Road some flats were hit, not badly but windows were broken.”

Few shells exploded though there was damage to a number of buildings, including houses, and roads.[8] Fortunately no-one was seriously injured. Two shells also landed on the golf course, located near the flying boat base.[9] Accounts of the shelling appeared in the newspapers.[10] Rosemary and her friends later visited some of the sites.

It is now believed that the Japanese attack on June 8 was planned to scare the population, rather than to create significant damage.[11] Not surprisingly some panic and uncertainty occurred after the attack. There was also a fall in house and rental prices in coastal areas and some families relocated to the safety of the country.[12] However most residents, including Rosemary (the girl from the country) and her aunt, remained in Rose Bay and continued their normal routine for the duration of the war.

Click image for a clearer view or use this link
The above image is from the website of Artius Real Estate and provides a view of Rose Bay overlooking the harbour taken in 2011. Kambala is to the left and the golf courses are to the right. Catalina Restaurant is built on the site of the buildings used by the sea plane base.

[1] David Jenkins, Battle Surface! Japan’s Submarine War Against Australia 1942-1944, Sydney, Random House, 1992, pp. 201-237; Bob Wurth, 1942: Australia’s Greatest Peril, Sydney, Pan Macmillan Australia, 2008, pp. 221-255
[2] In 1994 Rosemary Moses recalled memories of living in Rose Bay during the Second World War. [3] Kim Hanna, ‘Rose Bay Airport’, Dictionary of Sydney, 2014. accessed 1 December 2017
[4] Michael McKernan, Australians at Home: World War II, Scoresby, Victoria, Five Mile Press, 2014, p. 3; Bob Wurth, The Battle for Australia: A Nation and its Leader Under Siege, Sydney, Pan Macmillan Australia, 2013, p. 18.
[5] On the same night the Japanese submarine, I-21, shelled parts of Newcastle.
[6] McKernan, Australians at home, p. 96.
[7]Jenkins, Battle Surface!  pp. 247-251; Wurth, 1942l,  p. 261.
[8] Terry Jones and Steven Carruthers, A Parting Shot: Shelling of Australia by Japanese Submarines 1942, Narabeen, NSW, Casper Publications, 2013, pp. 44-53; Wurth, The Battle for Australia, p. 308. [9] Jones and Carruthers, A Parting Shot, pp. 87-97.
[10] ‘Sea Raiders Shell Sydney and Newcastle’, Sydney Morning Herald, 8 June 1942, p. 5.
[11] Jones and Carruthers, A Parting Shot, pp. 257-259.
[12] Jones and Carruthers, A Parting Shot, pp. 275-276.

Dean, Peter J (editor), Australia 1942: In the Shadow of War, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013.
Hanna, Kim, ‘Rose Bay Airport’, Dictionary of Sydney, accessed 1 December 2017
Jenkins, David, Battle Surface! Japan’s Submarine War against Australia 1942-1944, Sydney, Random House, 1992.
Jones, Terry and Carruthers, Steven, A Parting Shot: Shelling of Australia by Japanese Submarines 1942, Narabeen, NSW, Casper Publications, 2013.
McKernan, Michael, Australians at Home: World War II, Scoresby, Victoria, Five Mile Press, 2014.
Moses, Rosemary, Interview by author, Audiotape recording, Melbourne, Australia, 10 May, 1994, in author’s possession.
Sydney Morning Herald.
Wurth, Bob, 1942: Australia’s Greatest Peril, Sydney, Pan Macmillan Australia, 2008.
Wurth, Bob, The Battle for Australia: A Nation and its Leader under Siege, Sydney, Pan Macmillan Australia, 2013.

For more information about the above books see my blog, Reading and Other Pursuits, for the post Sydney during the Second World War.

The post, Japanese submarines off Sydney contains a brief summary of events at the beginning of June.

Additional information about Kambala and Rosemary's experience of school in Sydney during the war can be found in another post in this blog - Kambala.
The post Rose Bay Flying Boat Base provides additional information about the flying boats.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 2 - favourite photo

I love this photograph of my grandmother, Agnes Campbell Thom, taken when she was, what we would call today, a teenager. Agnes was born on 4 July 1891. Agnes' father, James Campbell Thom was a solicitor who for many years held a high position in the New South Wales Civil Service. Consequently the family lived a comfortable lifestyle.

Unfortunately the actual date of the photograph is unknown but the dress and hairstyle suggest a young lady of the Edwardian period. What would the future bring? This small sepia photograph of Agnes looking directly at the camera suggests that she is confident and determined and ready to face what life has to offer.

Photographs can show different stages of a person's life and lifestyle.

This photograph was probably taken in the 1920s judging from the clothing and her short hair. By this time Agnes (known as Fairy) was the mother of two boys, Rex and Ken. She looks relaxed learning against the rock wall. On 29 January 1914, Agnes had married  journalist, JHR Moses (also known as Reginald or Reg or Mo). She was 22.  Her husband worked for a number of publications but is best known for his contributions to Smith's Weekly. Correspondence and research suggests that Reg and Fairy, to some extent, may have experienced Sydney's bohemian scene in the 1920s and early 1930s. (More information can be found in an earlier post.)

Some years later this photograph shows Agnes working in the Daily Telegraph Library. The photograph was possibly taken in the 1940s. Agnes is in the front on the right. Her husband had just started working at the Daily Telegraph when he died of pneumonia on 3 April 1936. It was the 1930s and Agnes needed employment so she accepted a position in the Daily Telegraph library. Agnes worked in the library for many years and eventually  had the role of supervising the other women working there.

Going back to the original photograph in this post, this young girl could not have imagined the changes in society and lifestyle she would witness and experience during her life-time including  World War I, the freedom of the 1920s, the challenges of the 1930s Depression, plus the early death of her husband then two sons serving in World War II. Not to mention changes in fashion - Fairy was always well dressed - music, transport, food and the beginnings of a multicultural community. Agnes died on 8 November 1974 aged 83.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Rose Bay Flying Boat Base

When I interviewed my mother in 1994 she talked about living in Rose Bay in the 1940s and, at school, being distracted by the flying boats that often could be observed from classroom windows.  This observation made me interested in finding information about the flying boats.

The flying boat base at Rose Bay was Australia's first international airport. It was chosen 'primarily because it was a large bay with calm water located close to the city'. (Sydney Living Museums website).
Rose Bay Flying Boat Base 1939
The flying boat base was opened on 4 August 1938 by Lord Huntingfield, acting Governor General of Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald (4 August 1938 page 11) described the opening procedure:

The Minister for Defence and Civil Aviation, Mr Thorby, will speak, followed by the Post-Master General, Senator McLachlan who will hand to the Acting Governor-General, Lord Huntingfield, a special bag in which letters to the King, the British Prime Minister, and the British Post Master will be placed.
After a number of speeches Lord Huntingfield will hand the mail bag to the commander of the flying-boat, Camilla, Captain Lester J Brain. The Camilla will be moored as close inshore as weather conditions will permit and will be connected to the shore with a red, white, and blue ribbon, which will be severed by Lord Huntingfield.
When the Camilla takes off for Brisbane it will have an escort of planes from the Royal Aero Club of New South Wales. The flying-boat Camilla will depart from Rose Bay to-day about noon, instead of tomorrow at 7 am. The Camilla will carry two passengers for London, one for Singapore, one for Penang, one for Darwin, one for Groot Eylandt, and two for Brisbane. It will also take 150lb of freight, and some mails. The remainder of the British and foreign mails will be sent by air to Darwin, by way of Adelaide. The Camilla will not leave Darwin for Koepang until Sunday.
View of Rose Bay base c1938. Note swimming pool on right.
Initially the flying boats were used primarily to carry mail but, on 5 July 1938, Cooee made the first designated passenger flight from Rose Bay to Southampton in England. The Qantas flight took ten days with 30 stops. As the flying boats did not operate at night there were nine overnight stops with passengers usually staying in luxury hotels.
Daily Commercial News and Shipping List 6 July 1938
The passengers were provided with first class service, including meals, during the flight. There were fifteen passenger seats, two crew and three cabin crew. Passengers could walk about during the flight. As well as the main cabin there was a smoking cabin and a promenade deck where they could look out at the clouds or the countryside. The flying boats flew at 150 mph.
Flying boats of Australia
The flying boat base at Rose Bay was often busy with flying boats carrying, mail, cargo or passengers arriving or departing. It is no wonder that this activity may have distracted school students from time to time, especially when the base was so close to school.

During the Second World War flights to and from England were suspended in 1942 and flying boats were requisitioned for service in the Australian Airforce.

It was not until 18 May 1946 that the passenger flying boat service to London resumed. In 1955 Qantas discontinued its flying boat service. Ansett Airways purchased the flying boats to fly passengers to Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island, a service that continued until 1974.

References and further information:                                                                               
There is much of information online about the flying boats and the base at Rose Bay. Four websites are listed below.

Airways Museum - Rose Bay flying boat base - There is much useful information on this site but not easy to navigate

Australia Government - About Australia - Flying boats of Australia

Dictionary of Sydney - Rose Bay Airport

Sydney Living Museums - Flying boats: Sydney's Golden Age of Aviation