Monday, 16 July 2018

Fifty years in Libraries - I remember when -1960s

I finished library school and began working in public libraries in Canberra in November 1967. Retiring this month after working 21 years at Whitehorse Manningham Libraies in Melbourne, it is time to reflect on changes in Australian libraries during the past fifty years.

In 2018 we cannot imagine running a library without computers and many of our patrons depend on the use of free library computers for communication and information. Patrons, at WML, can borrow up to 70 items including magazines, items in different languages and AV items. Patrons can also join multiple library systems anywhere in the state.

However when I first worked in a public library (CPLS in Canberra - now ACT Libraries) in the late 1960s, I remember when:

  • Categories of library staff were librarians, library officers or library assistants. 
  • Borrowers (not patrons) could borrow only two books at a time.
  • Magazines were for reading in the library. 
  • People could only join the library if they lived or worked or attended school locally (ballet class on a Saturday morning did not count). 
  • Card systems were used in the children’s collection for borrowing. This was a problem when we discovered that a new staff member was dyslexic. (She only worked on the adult loan’s desk after that.) 
  • Tokens were used for borrowing from the adult collection. Each adult was issued with two tokens when they joined the library. One token was exchanged for one book. (Yes, we did not know which books were out, who had borrowed them or when they should be returned) 
  • Card catalogues provided information about the adult collection.
  • All newly trained library staff spent three months cataloguing before they were released into the branches. Each book was catalogued from scratch using Dewey and L.C. subject headings. Correct punctuation was essential. After two weeks, it was decided that my time would be better spent cataloguing the children’s collection backlog. 
  • While working as a Junior Services Library Officer, the only catalogue for the children’s collection in the library system was at head office. Consequently knowledge of the Dewey decimal classification system was essential when you worked in the children’s libraries. 
  • Children’s Holiday Programs were a new feature in libraries –origami sessions, string games, picture book slide shows, native animals in the library. One year the library’s Thursday After-School Group put on a puppet show using puppets they had made. No computer booking system. The children just turned up. 
  • At that time, CPLS was part of the Commonwealth Public Service so staff members were able to travel in Commonwealth cars between libraries. 
  • As there were no computers to turn on, computer reserve lists to check, emails to answer or return chutes to empty, all staff members were responsible for shelf reading sections of the library in the morning before opening time. 
  • Each Friday afternoon staff, not working at the loans desk, covered and repaired books. 
  • Ulverscroft Large Print books were first available at this time. They were large, hard covered, heavy, volumes with white covers that had horizontal coloured stripes, top and bottom, representing genre – red for fiction, blue for romance, green for non-fiction, black for mystery. Not very exciting! 
  • Reference collections were a well-used part of the library, particularly encyclopaedias and dictionaries. 
  • People were generally quiet in libraries and no-one thought of bringing food or drink or large bags, scooters or even soccer balls to play with into the building. 
  • People could visit a library without needing to use a phone while they were there. 
  • The roster was a three week roster. Staff members worked two nights a week for two weeks – Monday and Thursday and Tuesday and Friday. On the third week they worked Wednesday night and either Saturday morning or all day Saturday depending on the branch.
  • When libraries were open at night, branches closed at 9 pm. Stand-alone children’s branches closed at 6 pm.
  • When Dickson District Library opened at the end of 1969, the library closed from 12-1 for lunch on a Saturday. 
  • We did not have a photocopier in the library. People wrote notes. (However I remember, when I was at school, Brighton Library had a photocopier in the staff area which would sometimes be used for photocopying pictures from books for school projects.)

I worked at the Canberra Public Library Service (CPLS) from November 1967 until end of January 1971. The libraries now operate as ACT Library Service

Kings Avenue Public Library was the library headquarters and administration technical services operated from the first and second floors. A library for adults operated on the ground floor. This building had been the first National Library. When closing the library at night staff were not keen on having to check the upstairs areas before leaving the building. When I first arrived in Canberra I spent three months working in this building as a cataloguer.

Kings Avenue building when National Library (Great Southern Cards)
There were a number of branch libraries. Civic, in the centre of Canberra was the largest branch, plus branches at Downer, Hughes in the Woden area and at Belconnen. There were also small libraries just for children at Lyneham, Red Hill, Narrabundah, Curtin and O'Connor. 

The central children's service was located in rooms at St Mark's Library in Barton and that was where we organised activities (including holiday programs) visits to schools and arranged for requested books to be sent to those wanting them - a children's inter-library loan scheme. All the children's library staff also met there for book discussion sessions. This was where I worked after my stint as a cataloguer.
St Mark's Library building

I was in charge of Civic Branch Library for most of 1969. It was located in Civic Square and there was a large fountain outside the library. One night in winter it began to snow and the snowflakes falling on the fountain lit with floodlights was quite a scene.
Fountain in front of Civic Library today
When Dickson District Library opened at the end of 1969 I became the Junior Services Library Officer at Dickson and was responsible for activities in children's libraries in North Canberra. As it was a new library I spent time visiting the local schools talking to teachers about the library and also reading to children in some classes. Parent groups sometimes visited the library. This was, initially, a showcase building and we had visits from representatives of other libraries in Australia wanting to view the building. It was recommended as a place of heritage significance in Canberra for its design in 2008. Downer Library closed when Dickson Library opened.
Dickson District Library (SLV)
When I last visited the building the mezzanine in the centre of the library had been removed. Although this was one of the design features of the building it was not practical for a public library. Other alterations have been made to the building over the years.

1970s - Hargrave Library at Monash University

Fifty Years in Libraries - I remember when - 1970s

Returning to Melbourne, I worked at the Hargrave Engineering and Physical Sciences Library at Monash University in the 1970s. I started work at the beginning of February 1971 and left in December 1977. For the first two years I worked as inter-library loans officer until I completed my Arts degree. I was the reference and reader education librarian for the following five years.

I remember when:

  • Most of the engineering and physical sciences students and staff were male.
  • The only computers were in the Computer Centre. 
  • Loan records were processed overnight and made available next day as a computer printout. 
  • Card catalogues still provided information about the collection.
  • Filing new catalogue cards, or replacement cards, above the rod for a senior staff member to check was done before the library opened each morning.
  • If needing to contact interstate libraries for inter-library loans there was a telex machine at the Main Library that could be used. A form was filled in then taken across campus for transmission.
  • I ran classes for students, new post-grad students and new staff on using the library and information resources. On several occasions I had to tell students to learn the alphabet before they could learn to use a card catalogue.
  • At the reference desk, three years of my life was spent checking computer print-outs and writing correction forms ensuring all items in the collection were recorded for the new computer loans system. Fortunately I left Monash before the first of several loan systems was implemented.
  •  There was a liquid toner photocopier in the public area. Copies cost 2c each and were wet when they came out of the machine.
  • The photocopier frequently broke down and one of the attendants would have to fix it.

The Hargrave Library was officially opened in 1962 and was the first library on the Monash campus until the Main Library opened in 1964.

Needless to say there have been many changes to the Hargrave Library over the years. The library now also holds the medical and biological sciences collections and has been renamed the Hargrave-Andrew Library. An extension has been added and the ground floor is now part of the library complex making three floors instead of two. In the 1970s the ground floor of the building was a cafeteria which was open during the day. In the evening we had to go to the Student Union Building to use the main cafeteria if we wanted something to eat or drink.

A staircase in a glassed in area led to the first floor. An enclosed walkway also connected the engineering buildings and the library entrance. Before people entered the library there was the bag room on the right where bags were to be left.

On entering the library the reference desk was on the left near the door. The circulation desk and reserve collection were on the right. An attendant sat at the end of the circulation desk so that he could check that only library books on loan were removed from the library.

Walking into the library you could not miss the card catalogue. The cataolgue consisted of two rows of wooden cabinets containing drawers of catalogue cards on each side of the cabinet. Cards were arranged alphabetically by author, title or subject. There was also a shelf list - a numerical sequence by Dewey number.
Example of a card catalogue (Smithsonian Library)
The reference collection was located on the wall behind the card cabinets.

The ceiling in the foyer of the library was two stories high and the focal point was a model of the box kite designed by Lawrence Hargrave after whom the library was named. Lawrence Hargrave was commemorated on the Australian $20 note from 1966-1994.
A Lawrence Hargrave box kite
On the right wall was a group of ceramic pieces designed as a Homage to Lawrence Hargrave by John Perceval, known for his 'angels'. In her biography, John Perceval, Traudi Allen noted: "Perceval wrote an explanation of his mural, describing the central core as representing the splitting of the atom, with a dead astronaut to the top right, a baby astronaut to the lower left, and a birdman homage to Hargrave.

The total can be seen as a constellation of the stars which emphasises man's desire to get off the earth. The splitting of the atom is seen as a problem incidental to that of population growth, and space travel offers no solution." (Allen p121)

SLV image -
As there was no information provided in the library about this sculpture its meaning was a mystery to most staff and students entering the building. However everyone noticed it. Above the door to the current periodicals room was another head which the Hargrave Librarian at the time irreverently referred to it as a 'woman washing her hair'. However apparently Perceval designed this as the sun, 'the source of life, a mysterious body containing the symbol of birth". (Allen p121)

A curved staircase in the middle of the foyer led to the second floor. I
t was not unusual to see a student slide down the banister. The room to the bound periodicals was past the staircase while more bound periodicals and the books were stored on the second floor. The abstracts and indexes plus maps collection, entered via the current periodicals room, was staffed by a reference librarian who helped students and staff members use these tools

The Hargrave Library was a busy library, especially during the day in term-time, and was open seven days a week - Monday to Friday from 10 am to 10 pm, Saturday until 5 pm plus Sunday afternoon.

Monash University - Library in a timeline

Hargrave Library - Monash University Gazette vol. 1 no. 1 1964 pages 7-9
Monash University - Matheson stories
Friends and Angels - John Perceval by Traudi Allen (MUP re. ed. 2015) p 121
Floor plan of Hargrave-Andrew Library today
Lawrence Hargrave - Wikiwand

Lawrence Hargrave - Australian Dictionary of Biography 

Sunday, 8 July 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 27 - Independence

The prompt this week is Independence due to July 4 (American Independence Day) occurring during the week.

I therefore looked at a number of definitions for independence (and independent) - ability to live life without being helped or influenced by other people (Cambridge Dictionary), the ability to make decisions and live your life free from the control and influence of other people (Macmillan Dictionary) plus capable of thinking and  acting for oneself and not being influenced by others, impartial (Oxford Dictionaries). There is also the political use of the word, independence, when a country or state gains political freedom from outside control (Merriam Webster dictionary).

How can the prompt, Independence, be applied to my family story?

Independence can be defined as freedom so for the convicts 'freedom from servitude' was an important stage in their lives in their new land. In the early days of the Sydney colony, convicts were provided with small parcels of land and were encouraged, in their spare time, to farm the land to provide produce not only for the colony but also for their family. To be 'off stores' was an achievement and a step to independence for the family.

The above image, from the colonial Secretary's Papers, shows the recommendation to the Governor for the emancipation of Uriah Moses who had held a Ticket of Leave for eighteen years. Although he had received a Life Sentence he was about to be a free man.

My twelve convicts had no choice in the decision to travel to Australia at the end of the eighteenth century and first few years of the nineteenth century. However, once they had served their sentence it could be argued that they had now gained their independence and were able to make independent decisions that affected their later lives.

George Guest, for example, once the decision to close the Norfolk Island settlement was announced, immediately (1805) took his family and possessions to Van Diemen's Land to organise the best opportunities in the new environment. The last settlers left the Island in 1814. Not happy with the first possible settlement offered in the north of Van Diemen's Land George settled his family in Hobart.

Then there was Simeon Lord who, as one of the first former convict (Emancipist) businessmen in Sydney, frequently antagonised the Exclusives (free settlers in the colony) as he strived to establish (not always successfully) his business endeavours.

The colonies of Sydney, and surrounding areas, and Van Diemen's Land offered countless opportunities for Emancipists to establish farms or small businesses in towns as they gained their independence from their former lives as convicts. Yes, they had to contend with the forces of nature including floods, especially in the Hawkesbury area where many of my convicts settled, but they survived and worked to support their families and eventually lived independent lives.

Monday, 25 June 2018

#52Ancestors - Mid-way - The Journey So Far

Half way through the #52 Ancestors journey for 2018 it is perhaps time to look at what has been achieved in the first six months and reflect on why I do this challenge.

I undertook the first 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge in 2014. Each week we wrote about an ancestor and this exercise proved to be a great way to see how much information I had collected over the years about a particular ancestor, to begin to piece together their story and to work out further research required.

In 2015 Amy Johnson Crow issued a new challenge, this time with a prompt for us to consider when writing the weekly post. I completed 7 posts and then 'life intervened' and that was that.

Now in 2018, when this new challenge was offered, I decided to try again and have now completed the first 26 posts based on a weekly prompt in the #52Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge.

The prompts for the first 26 posts have been Start, Favourite Photo, Longevity, Invite to Dinner, Census, Favourite Name, Valentine, Heirloom, Where There's a Will, Strong Woman, Lucky, Misfortune, Homestead, Maiden Aunt, Taxes, Storms, Cemetery, Up Close, Mothers Day, Another Language, Military, So Far, Going to the Chapel, Fathers Day, Same Name and Black Sheep.

Some of the posts have allowed me to write about family members who I grew up with including my parents, my great aunt and my grandmothers as well as the ancestors I am getting to know through research. Places have also featured including family homesteads, Rosemount, Cooring Yering, The Troffs and Metavale and churches such as St Philip's Church in Sydney which has a number of links to my family story, plus the cemetery of St Mary's Church, Todmorden (England) where many family members are buried.

This challenge has also encouraged encouraged lateral thinking. Sometimes I look at a prompt and go blank but so far I have been able to think of a family story that relates to the prompt - Up Close is an example where I recalled a family story about my great, great grandfather encountering an elephant in India. Prompts such as Black Sheep and Another Language provided the opportunity to explore shared connections and possible experiences of a group of ancestors.

I find that challenges such as #52Ancestors provide me with ideas to expand my search for stories about my family. It will be interesting to explore the next twenty-six prompts that Amy Johnson Crow has in store for us.

Monday, 18 June 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 26 - Black Sheep

Unfortunately I have no record of the reaction of the families of my convicts regarding the arrest, trial and transportation of their children or brothers or sisters to a land on the other side of the world. Were they considered as black sheep, their family connection forgotten? Hopefully the families mourned the loss of  those unfortunate enough to have been caught committing a crime (or a perceived crime). The criminal system was harsh and many of the convicts who came to Australia were arrested for what we would now consider petty crimes. Some convicts were, of course, habitual offenders.

But what was the situation regarding convicts in Australia? As we know, now it is almost a badge of honour to have a convict in the family but this has not always been the case.

Initially most of the Europeans in Sydney were convicts and this would have been the for many years. However once they had served their term the former convicts were free to create a new life in the colony. Free settlers gradually arrived and for a time there was some friction between former convicts (emancipists) and some free settlers, particularly former soldiers who were not happy about emancipists having equal rights with them. But in settlements such as Windsor, in the Hawkesbury region, where many former convicts settled and made a new life, the stigma of being a former convict was not an issue as most of the families consisted of emancipists trying to form a new life. They were just the baker, or butcher or general store keeper - people important to the local community.

Despite this, to many people, having convicts in the family was undesirable with the convicts considered the black sheep of the family. Up until the 1960s many families did not talk about the possibility of convicts in the family. My father did not discover that he had a convict, Uriah Moses, in his family until the late 1970s.

Uriah's obituary, in Bell's Life in Sydney and Country Review 11 December 1847, described Uriah as 'one of the oldest hands in the Colony, and universally esteemed by all who knew him.'  There is no mention of his convict pass. The obituary also referred to his protracted illness which he bore with 'Christian fortitude'. Uriah was a Jew who converted to Christianity shortly before he died possibly because the rest of his family were members of the Christian Church. The facts that Uriah had been a Jew plus a convict were overlooked, possibly on purpose, by the family and never mentioned in articles concerning the achievements of his sons, some of whom became large landholders and / or politicians. They possibly wanted to forget the convict connection in the family. What was recorded was that Uriah had run a successful business in Windsor. This may explain why later generations were unaware of convict and Jewish connections in the family.

Needless to say my family did not know anything about the other seven convicts in Dad's side of the family.

But what was the family reaction to the convict on my mother's side of the family? Because Simeon Lord figured in much of Sydney's early colonial history and is mentioned in most history books written about that period, it would have been difficult to ignore him and deny his family connection. My grandparents certainly knew about Simeon and Simeon's name sometimes came up in adult conversation. I assume that stories about Simeon may have been passed on to generations. Unfortunately I only learned the skeleton of these stories, possibly because my grandmother did not encourage talk about this family convict. She was, however, only too pleased to recount stories of the lives of her family members in India.

My father decided to find out all he could about Simeon and I have a suitcase containing his research  material. The focus, in the 1960s and 1970s was on Simeon and not on his wife, Mary Hyde, who was also a convict with an interesting story.

In the 1960s a television company wanted to make a program on the life of Simeon Lord and asked families associated with Simeon for permission. My family readily gave permission but another branch of the family refused. Was their refusal due to stigma to being associated with a convict or were they unsure about the way the story would be told? Whatever the reason the program was not made.

There has now been a turn around in the opinion about the early settlement of the colony that became Australia and the role played by the unfortunate people transported here. I know that I certainly do not consider the twelve convicts in my family to be black sheep of the family.

Friday, 15 June 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 25 - Same Name

When we chose names for our sons we were careful to ensure that we did not select names previously used in our immediate families. Each of our sons therefore had a unique or special name. So far our sons have also followed this pattern when naming their children. Unfortunately many of our ancestors had other ideas about naming their children and have therefore confused family historians by using the same name over many generations.

One example is the name Simeon Lord.

You would think that a name such as Simeon Lord would be relatively unusual and easy to trace. Not like the name of another ancestor, John Smith. However in and near the small community of Todmorden in Lancashire (now Yorkshire) during the seventeenth, eighteenth and probably nineteenth centuries Simeon Lord was a common name.

My Simeon was born in Todmorden in 1771. His father was also Simeon Lord (1744-1787). For a little variety his father was John Lord (1699-1775) but it will be no surprise to know that John had a brother named Simeon (1700-1726). John's father was Simeon Lord (1668-1742). Simeon's father was Simeon Lord who died in 1682. His father was also Simeon Lord who died in 1667. Consequently I have a large number of Simeon Lords in my direct family line.

This would not be a problem except that the brothers of these Simeon Lords also usually named one of their sons Simeon. Other commonly used names in the Lord family were Joshua, John and Samuel.

Recently I came across a Simeon Lord born c1794 in Todmorden who part of Lord Brothers who made machinery for the cotton industry. One of the brothers, John, had also worked for the Fielden family before branching out with his brothers to create their own business. I am still trying to investigate the family tree of these brothers as they, no doubt, fit somewhere in the family tree.

To complicate the Todmorden branch of the family, the mother of my Simeon Lord was Ann Fielden. There were lots of Fieldens in the Todmorden area too, but that is another challenge to be unravelled.

My Simeon Lord came to Australia as a convict in 1791. The first son of Simeon Lord, also named Simeon, was born in Sydney in 1810 and died in 1892. He married Sarah Birch and they had eleven children. It would be no surprise to know that among those children there was a son named Simeon (1847-1816). My great grandfather, Alfred Percy Lord (1852-1927) was the younger brother in this family and of course he included Simeon when naming one of his sons however he used it as a second name.

Some years ago I was researching Simeon Lord in Trove and came across a Simeon Lord in the 1940s. This Simeon Lord, however, turned out to be a racehorse named after my great x3 grandfather.

Lancashire Online - Burials at St Mary Parish of Todmorden 1720-1769
Lancashire Online - Burials at St Mary Parish of Todmorden 1660-1719
Grace's Guide to British Industrial History - Simeon Lord

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 24 - Fathers Day

The Fathers Day prompt for #52Ancestors provides the opportunity to think about our father or male ancestors who were fathers. For me it is an opportunity to reflect on my relationship with my father and what he did for me.
Ken Moses
Some of the best advice my father gave me was when reading a novel always pay the author the courtesy of reading the first forty pages. If the author has not hooked you by then, by all means look for another book to read.

It is strange the things that you remember years after the event. Dad died thirty-three years ago but I still remember and can visualise many things that he said and did.

For the first few years of my life I rarely saw my father. He was a journalist for daily newspapers - first the Sun News Pictorial and then the Argus. This meant that he worked in the afternoon and arrived home late at night. When we got up in the morning we had to be quiet as he was often asleep.

As a sports journalist Dad usually wrote about tennis, cycling, swimming and athletics. He often covered sporting events at weekends and sometimes was away from home for days or weeks. When I was eleven months old Dad left for London to cover the 1948 Olympic Games. As he had to travel by ship Dad was away from home for six months. Two years later he went to New Zealand to cover the Empire Games.

To say that Dad worked irregular hours would be an understatement. After the Argus folded in January 1957 Dad had a variety of jobs in advertising, public relations, television news and working for weekend newspapers.  It was not until a few years before he retired that he had a nine to five job. I accepted this lifestyle as normal. It was not until I was at secondary school that I realised that this was not the case and decided that when I married it would be to someone who worked, or mainly worked, 'normal hours'.

In 1956 Dad flew
in an aeroplane to America for work. In those days it was a special event to travel that distance in a plane and there were two stops en route. Dad was away from home for a month. By this time I was eight and old enough to know a little about the work that Dad did and no doubt told the other children in my class about my father flying to America. When Dad returned he brought my mother and my sister and me special gifts not then available in Australia -  short sleeved fluffy bri-nylon jumpers which were popular in America and about to become fashionable in Australia for us girls and  a copy of a 'My Fair Lady' LP for Mum - the play was big on Broadway at the time and would eventually come to Australia. We felt rather special with these gifts and showed them to our friends.

With Dad away from home so much our holidays were special times. Usually we travelled to Queensland to stay with my grandparents on their farm. It was a long drive taking several days. Sometimes we stayed at motels overnight but on one occasion Dad decided that we would camp. Mum and my sister slept in the back of the station wagon while Dad and I slept in the open. It was a new experience for me to sleep under the stars.

On these holidays we were able to spend time with Dad. Dad enjoyed being on the farm and helping my uncle and grandfather with the milking of the cows and other work required. I later learned that Dad had spent several years working on properties in New South Wales and Queensland before the Second World War. It was on these holidays that I really got to know my father. He had a sense of humour and was fun to be with.

We usually spent two weeks at the Sunshine Coast and each morning Dad and I would go for a swim at Alexander Headlands before breakfast. He tried to teach me body surfing with minimal success but I enjoyed these swimming sessions with Dad. Later the whole family would go to Mooloolaba  for a swim and in the afternoon my sister and I had swimming lessons at the Mooloola River.

Having a father working in media related areas had its bonuses. When he worked at Channel O (now Channel 10) Dad would sometimes take my sister and me to see the taping of teenage music shows. On one occasion he was given free tickets to a show at Festival Hall so Mum and I went to see Ray Charles perform. It was a great show and my first live concert.

Dad was responsible for me becoming a librarian. When I completed secondary school I was offered a place at Monash University but had turned it down as I was not ready to do further studies in English and history at that time. There was no such thing as a gap year in those days. Dad then discovered that RMIT had a librarianship course and, as I had spent most of my spare time at school helping in the school library, he rang Mum to tell me go into RMIT to enrol that afternoon and that we would discuss it in the evening. It was the right decision. When I finished the librarianship course I moved to Canberra to work where I began an Arts Degree part-time which I completed at Monash University when I returned to Melbourne.

Back in Melbourne, I worked at Monash University and on a Tuesday night we closed the library at 10 o'clock. This meant getting a late bus and then walking quite a distance home. However sometimes Dad and our dog met me at the bus stop and we would walk home together. These times were a good opportunity for a chat.

Health permitting, Dad always attended the Dawn Service and the Anzac Day March with his army mates. The only problem was that Anzac Day was also Mum's birthday. In the week before Anzac Day Mum would receive phone calls from some of Dad's army mates wishing her a happy birthday. This was just the way it was and we all accepted it. Dad, however, always made sure that we remembered his birthday. As soon as we put up a new calendar for the year Dad would make a circle around the date for 4 September and write 'This is Ken's birthday'. I still remember the significance of that date.

Dad's love of sport has been passed on to other family members. I am sure that he would be proud of the sporting achievements of his grandsons. I also hope that writing my blogs is partly carrying on the family tradition of writing started by grandfather and my father.

Later in his life Dad began investigating our family history. He did a great deal of research about a convict in Mum's family, Simeon Lord. Then he discovered that his great grandfather, Uriah Moses, was also a convict. Unfortunately Dad died before we discovered that there are eight convicts in his family. He would have been so proud.

Dad did not often buy us things. Mum usually purchased all the presents. However I have a leather keyring with a V on it that Dad purchased for me and this is a very special possession. When I look at it I always remember my father.

I have written many posts about Dad (Ken Moses), in this blog and there are also posts about Dad in my Exploring Military History blog.

The third Sunday in June is designated Fathers Day in many countries of the world including the United Kingdom and the United States of America. However in Australia, just to be different, we celebrate Fathers Day on the first Sunday in September, possibly because this time of the year is not so cluttered with events and provides commercial operators the opportunity to encourage purchase of products, this time for Dad.Fathers Day Australia:

Why we don't celebrate the day with the UK and the USA -

Friday, 8 June 2018

#52Ancestors - Week - Week 23 - Going to the Chapel

St Philip's Church, Sydney - Sydney Architecture
When I saw this prompt in the #52 Ancestors I immediately thought of the church in Sydney where many of my ancestors would have worshiped in the early years of the colony and where some of my family, including my parents, were married.

Amongst the tall buildings of Sydney can be found St Philip's Anglican Church located at 3 York Street.

The first church service in the new colony at Sydney Cove was conducted by the Rev. Richard Johnson on Sunday 3 February 1788. Over the next five years Rev. Johnson held regular services, conducted marriages, baptised children and buried the dead. But he needed a church.

St Philip's, on the corner of Bligh and Hunter streets, was the first church built in Sydney. It was a wattle and daub chapel that existed from 1793 until it was destroyed by fire on 1 October 1798. The T shaped church building had a thatched roof and earthen floor. It could seat 500 people so it was quite large. During the week the building was used as a school run by the Rev. Richard Johnson and his wife Mary. Student attendance varied from 150 to 200 children.

The first service in the church was conducted by Rev. Johnson on 25 August 1793. 

My great x4 grandparents, William Roberts and Kezia Brown were married by Rev Johnson in Sydney on 14 August 1793 so they were probably not married in the new church. Their daughter, Mary (my x3 great grandmother), was also baptised on that day.

A month after the fire destroying the church in 1798, planning commenced  for a new church on land known as Church Hill - now Lang Park. This time a stone church would be constructed and the foundation stone was laid by Governor King on 1 October 1800. The Parish of St Philip's was proclaimed in 1802.
St Philip's Church Sydney 1809 - Dictionary of Sydney
St Philip's Church School opened in 1812.

On 27 October 1814, my great x3 grandparents, Simeon Lord and Mary Hyde married at St Philip's Church.

Not everyone was impressed with the style of the church building so the foundation stone for the third St Philip's Church was laid by Rev. William Cowper on 1 May 1848. 

The third St Philip's church building was designed by Edmund Blacket in the English Gothic Perpendicular Style.The church was constructed in sandstone with a slate roof and cost sixteen thousand pounds to build. The money to build the church was raised by the congregation. The new church was consecrated on 27 March 1856 by Bishop Barker, the Archbishop of Sydney and Archdeacon Cowper. The new church was built across the road from the old church.
Location of present church (left) and old church (right)
St Philip's Church in 1890s or early 1900s - Sydney Architecture
Interior of St Philip's Church - Pocket Oz Sydney
The naming of the church was originally influenced by the name of the first Governor in the colony - Arthur Phillip. Later churches were dedicated to Saint Philip, the Apostle. 

Over the years St Philip's Church has played an important role in Sydney's history.

My family's connection with St Philip's Church continued into the twentieth century when my parents, Ken Moses and Rosemary Lord, were married in the church on 11 February 1946.

New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage - St Philip's Church of England
Sydney Architecture - Parish Church of St Philip
Registers of St. Philip's Church of England, Sydney, NSW, 1787-1937 - microfilm held at NLA (reel 1)
Anglican Church League - Richard Johnson First Chaplain to Australia
Church Hill - Pocket Oz Sydney

Saturday, 2 June 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 22 - So far away

Distance is a feature of my family history. Ancestors from all branches of my family tree came from England, Scotland and Ireland. As they had all arrived in Australia by the early 1870s they had to endure a long ship journey to travel to the other side of the world from their home.

Today we complain of the long time taken to travel from Melbourne to London by plane which takes approximately one day. This is nothing compared to the time taken by my ancestors to travel the same distance.

At the beginning of the convict period in Australia, my twelve convicts left England and Ireland to travel to Australia, never to return home. The length of time they spent aboard the convict ships varied. The ships of the First Fleet spent approximately 252 days sailing to Australia. However the longest voyage was that of the Lady Juliana which took 309 days. My convicts arrived in Australia by 1808 and the length of time of the later voyages for this group generally took 150 to 180 days - a long time to be in cramped conditions on a convict ship.
SS Somersetshire
The free settlers on my family tree travelled the same distance but the time taken for the trip was reduced, especially when steam ships were introduced. In 1869 George Hutton travelled to Australia on the steam ship Somersetshire, a trip lasting 58 days. I wrote an account of this voyage as part of the Family Saga unit for University of Tasmania Family History course.

For most members of the family, coming to Australia was a one way voyage. However members of one branch of the family, the Huttons and the Mackillops, made many sea voyages, not only between England and Australia but between England and India.

William Forbes Hutton was in the British army in India and he and his wife, Eleonora Mackillop, made many trips between England and India. This is shown by  the places of birth of their children. George was born in Bath, England, in 1850 but Jean Elizabeth was born in Bangalore, India, the following year.  Eleonora Mary was born in Bath  in 1854, then the next two were born in India - Alice Katherine was born in Secunderbad in 1856 and  Arthur William  was born in Ootacumund in 1857. The remaining six children were born in England. 

It was normal for children born in India of British parents to be taken to England to be cared for by a family member. This happened with the Hutton family who were cared for by Eleonora's parents in Bath. I have a copy of a letter written by Jean Mackillop to her daughter, Eleonora, providing information about three children in her care.

In 1871 William Forbes Hutton arrived in Melbourne to decide where his family might settle in Australia. He chose land at Lilydale and the family home, Cooring Yering, was built on the property. In 1873 he went back to England returning with two family members in 1874. Eleonora travelled to Australia with the rest of the family later that year. Eleonora had previously travelled from England to Tasmania then back to England with her family when she was a child.

For some families, it would therefore appear that the huge distance between countries was not a deterrent.

NB: In 2015, in another 52 Ancestors challenge, I wrote another post on the topic - So far away.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 21 - Military

Prior to Federation a series of colonial military forces were established. British soldiers had been stationed in Australia during the convict period which ended in 1868.  During the 1850s small local military forces were first recruited. The Australian War Memorial website provides an overview of the development of volunteer militia in the states during the colonial period. The State Library of Victoria has an online guide about the Voluntary and Militia Forces in Victoria.
James Campbell Thom
My great grandfather, James Campbell Thom, was an officer in the Second Infantry Regiment in New South Wales in the 1890s. This regiment of volunteers was established in 1860. Newspaper reports show James' involvement in the voluntary forces. He had become a second lieutenant on 20 February 1890 and was promoted to captain on 1 June 1894. Two years later he was promoted to the position of major. (Sunday Times 24 May 1896). At 32 James was considered to be the youngest major appointed in the New South Wales forces.

Photograph of officer's full dress tunic 2nd Infantry Regiment New South Wales (AWM).

Military badge of 2nd Infantry Regiment New South Wales (Digger History).

In 1893 James became Solicitor for Railways in New South Wales so when the New South Wales Railway Volunteer Corps was established in 1897, he was seconded from the 2nd Infantry Regiment to become the major commanding the new unit.

The Evening News 6 January 1897 described the formation of the new volunteer corps:

The Governor in Council has approved of the establishment of the N.S.W. Railway Volunteer Corps, to consist of two companies, each of one captain, two lieutenants, one color-sergeant, four sergeants, two drummers or buglers, four corporals, and eighty-six privates, being 100 in a company. There will also be an 'officer commanding,' and a staff-sergeant from the Permanent Staff as instructor. 
The New South Wales Railway Volunteer Corps disbanded in 1899. (Year Book of Australia 1909)

James was just one of many men involved in the variety of volunteer forces formed at this time in each state.