Friday, 30 December 2016

Challenge: researching Jewish family in England

Uriah Moses (1780-1847) was transported from England to Australia in 1800. Fortunately his trial for theft was at The Old Bailey and the detailed trial notes are available online. Uriah's life, initially as a convict and then as an emancipist in Australia, is relatively easy to trace however searching for information about his life and that of his family in England is more of a challenge.

A good place to start is FamilySearch which provides a detailed section in their wiki on researching English Jewish Records. This includes a useful summary on the history of Jews in England.

The Jewish section of Cyndi's List also has links that may be useful. Searching by location (England) within this list leads to the British Jewry website.

Further complications occur when trying to trace Jewish ancestors is the naming patterns used. This is discussed in the article Jewish Personal Names in a Wikipedia article.

In the trial notes Kitty Jacobs is called as a character witness for Uriah. Online searching suggests that Kitty Jacobs was Kitty Moses before her marriage. A general Google search for Kitty Moses and Henry Jacobs provides links to a variety of sources which may, or may not, be helpful. One link is to a section of a book, Wealth and Notoriety: the extraordinary families of Lawrence Levy and Charles Levy,  by Robert Ward which includes information about Rebecca, a daughter of Kitty and Henry, marrying Lawrence Levy. Searching for information on other children may also be useful. An entry in WikiTree provides some information about Kitty and her family.

The website, Synagogue Scribes, provides a database of London Ashkenazi Synagogue records, with the emphasis on pre-UK civil registration. In this database is a record of the marriage of Kitty Moses to Henry Jacobs at the Great Synagogue in 1793.

British Genealogy and Family History Forums has a section on queries about the name Moses Cohen / Moshe Cohen. There is also discussion on this family on this forum page (towards the bottom of the page). References in these notes are made to Jacobs Tree website.

Another British Genealogy forum with relevant posts.

Cemetery Scribes could also be a useful resource.

What was it like to be Jewish in London at the end of the eighteenth century?

The Great Synagogue was the place of worship for Ashkenazi Jews in London. Synagogue Scribes has some brief information plus an image of the Great Synagogue. Further information about the synagogue can be found in Family Search. There is also information about the Great Synagogue in the Susser Archive.

The Great Synagogue was founded by Ashkenazi Jews. Recent research using DNA suggest that these were largely from European families who had converted to Jewish religion (Live Science 8 October 2013). Many were from Germany and other Western European countries. Additional information can be located in another article in The Scientist 8 October 2013.

There are a number of online sites which may provide useful background information about the Jewish community in London at the end of the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century.
The Jewish Virtual Library has an article on Ashkenazim and another on Jews in the UK.
Old Bailey Online has an article on Jewish communities and also on London from 1760-1815.

As it is believed that Uriah was born in Exeter in Devon it is necessary to look at the Jewish community in that region.  

Wikipedia has an article about the history of the synagogue in Exeter which was consecrated in 1764. The synagogue is located in Synagogue Place, Exeter.

A book by Helen Fry - The Jews of Exeter - has been written about the history of the synagogue and was published in 2013.

A paper on Multi-Cultural Exeter 1500-1800 is also available online. It also includes a reference to the book - The Jews of Devon and Cornwall published in 2000. Lists of the names of Jewish families from Exeter appearing in the 1841 and 1851 census are included.

Exeter Memories has a page on the Jewish Cemetery in Exeter. There is also a page on the Exeter Synagogue.

Rabbi Bernard Susser wrote a thesis on Jews of South West England (1977) which is available online on the JCR-UK website.

Social Acclimatisation of Jews in 18th and 19th Century Devon is an article by Bernard Susser also available online.

As I work through these resources no doubt other useful links will also be located. It is unlikely that the links will provide answers to all the questions that will arise but at least they should help in providing a better understanding of the life that Uriah may have had as a Jew living in England.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas trees - place for memories

A family member recently remarked how much history was attached to the decorations on our family Christmas tree.
Our first Christmas tree, when we moved to Bayswater forty years ago, was a branch from the pine tree that grew in our back garden. This continued until the tree had to be removed during a severe drought. Since then we have had this small synthetic tree which stands on a table in the corner of the lounge room. At the end of Christmas every year I say that next year I will purchase a new Christmas tree, however this tree has character even though I may need to add a little wire from time to time to hold branches in place.

The tree has a variety of decorations which are always on the tree each year. Some are macrame and fabric decorations that I made in the 1970s. There are also decorations that the grandchildren have made as well as decorations acquired when our sons were small.

When we travel overseas, particularly in Europe, I often purchase a special decoration for the tree. There are also decorations that were on the family tree when I was a child, including a couple of decorations that were on my grandmother's tree.
A selection of decorations on our tree including macrame candy canes, a felt elf from my time in Canberra in 1969, glass angels and wooden decorations from Europe, a metal decoration from Hawaii plus an assortment of decorations purchased from the Oxfam shop. The photo below also includes a hand print Santa.
At the top of the tree are a number of special decorations.
At the very top of the tree is a wooden angel that my son purchased at the Nuremberg Christmas Market when he was an exchange student in Germany. The other angel was one that I always liked on my grandmother's tree. The St Nick below the angels also was one of my grandmother's decorations.
The plastic Nativity scene was given to me when I was a child and it sits at the bottom of the tree. The star seems to have become detached so some repair work will need to be undertaken.
Special decorations do not have to be old. Several years ago when we went on an APT cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam I purchased this Christmas train on the ship. On another trip to Europe I purchased a second train and they are a colourful addition to our collection of Christmas decorations.
My four year old grandson helped me unpack the Christmas decorations this year and when he found the two Christmas wreaths he correctly told me where the wreaths are normally hung. He also supervised me when I attached one wreath to the front door to make sure that I did it properly. This is an example of how family Christmas traditions continue.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Trial of Uriah Moses (part 1)

Old Bailey Online is a great resource for information if you have family who were tried at the Central Criminal Court in London, better known as The Old Bailey. One of the convicts in my family, Uriah Moses, was tried at the Old Bailey on 10 January 1798. Old Bailey Online provides a copy of the original trial document plus a transcript of the trial.
The report of Uriah's trail is detailed, though some statements are contradictory. Like most documents used for family history research it is important to read the document thoroughly as there may be information that could be easily overlooked. I had included the main information provided in the trial in my 52 Ancestors post on Uriah Moses elsewhere in this blog. However since then my brother has been doing some research on Uriah and found a possible lead from the trial proceedings.

Currently I am doing the University of Tasmania Writing Family History course so for the first assignment, which was to be no more than 250 words, I submitted the following piece in the Discovering the Hidden Past discussion group:

Discovering the hidden past – Who was Kitty Jacobs?
At the Old Bailey on 8 December 1797, Kitty Jacobs was called as a character witness at the trial of Uriah Moses. 

Seventeen year old Uriah had been arrested for stealing 7 silk handkerchiefs, 30 yards of lace and 58 yards of calimanco from William Holmes’ Drapers Shop in Whitechapel.  Using a diamond to cut a hole in the shop window, Uriah (probably with the assistance of other boys according to the trial notes) grabbed the goods and took them to the lodging house of Ann Benjamin. During the robbery Uriah cut his hand on broken glass and Ann Benjamin gave him a shawl to wrap around it before he went to Guys Hospital for treatment. Uriah was later arrested at the hospital.

At the trial Kitty Jacobs stated that Uriah worked with her husband at her glass shop in Petticoat-lane for three years, several years previously, and that she considered him honest.  

 I had always accepted this as just a witness statement but recently a transcript of a Great Synagogue record for the marriage of Kitty (Keila) Moses to Henry Jacobs in June 1793 was made available online. Could Kitty Jacobs therefore be related to Uriah? Perhaps she was a sister or an aunt.  This has opened up a new area for investigation which may lead to information about Uriah and his family in England.

A postscript: Uriah was transported to NSW where he successfully ran a number of businesses in the Hawkesbury region.

The next step in this investigation will be to look at the trial notes again more carefully in order to collect all the clues that may provide, not just information about the crime but also about the people who Uriah knew and worked with. This may result in an insight into Uriah's life in London before his arrest and if we are lucky provide information about members of his family.

Synagogue scribes provides a collection of transcripts of Jewish records including some of the  records of the Great Synagogue in London.

Future posts will provide information about the Jewish community in which Uriah was possibly involved.

Monday, 31 October 2016

First race meetings in Australia

Melbourne Cup time again. In the past I have added a number of posts to this blog about family connections with the Melbourne Cup and with horse racing in general. Recently I came across articles mentioning Simeon Lord's connection with the introduction of horse racing in New South Wales.

The website of the State Library of New South Wales includes an archived online exhibition - Day at the races: the horse in Australia. In January 1788 five horses arrived in Australia with the First Fleet and by 1810 it was recorded that there were 203 horses in New South Wales. In the early days of the colony horses were rare and expensive and usually only owned by military officers or by free landholders. In October 1810, shortly after Govenor Macquarie arrived in New South Wales, the first official racing carnival was held at the Sydney racecourse, part of the newly created Hyde Park.
One section of the online exhibition states that 'Governor Macquarie inaugurated the first official race meeting at the new Sydney Racecourse. Macquarie saw the racecourse as a perfect neutral meeting place for colonists of all classes: military, convict, emancipist and immigrant.' The racecourse was constructed in August 1810 by members of the 73rd Regiment who came to New South Wales with Macquarie. They 'levelled ground on the eastern edge of the town and marked out the course. The straight commenced at the turn from Park Street into Elizabeth Street, with the grandstand (erected in 1813) and the winning post at the junction of Market and Elizabeth Street, on the present day site of St James Railway Station.' Funding for the project was provided by subscribers.

Searching newpapers in Trove provides details leading up to the first race meeting in Sydney. There is also information about a range of social activities associated with the race meeting.

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 21 July 1810 page 1 has a notice about a meeting of the Subscribers to the Sydney Race Course to meet in the Mess Room of the Officers of the 73rd Regiment on Monday at 10 o'clock.

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 18 August 1810 page 1 contains a report of a dinner attended by the Subscribers to the Sydney Racecourcse to celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Wales. A number of Toasts were drunk during the evening including to the King, the Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York and the rest of the Royal Family, Lord Mulgrave and the Navy, Sir David Dundass and the Army, His Excellency Governor Macquarie and the Colony, Mrs Macquarie the Patroness of the Races and the Ladies of the Colony, The Turf etc. The comment was made that 'the evening passed with the utmost convivitality and harmony'.
The report continued:
The RACES are fixed for Monday the 15th of October; and three plates of 50 guineas each will be run for during the week; exclusive of several bye-matches, subscriptions, &c.
This Establishment, altogether novel in this Country, bids fair to acquire celebrity and success from the judicious arrangements under which it has been projected, and the distinguished Auspices under which it has been brought forward, besides the advantages which the Country at large is likely to derive from the improvement of the breed of horses, an object, that in a rising Colony may be calculated upon as conducive to its internal interests and prosperity.
Lieutenant Governor O'CONNELL, Lieutenant Wright, and Mr. Williams are the Stewards elect for the present year.         
The following week John Reddington, the Clerk of the Course, issued a warning in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 25 August 1810 page 1:
The Subscribers to the Race Course are requested not to ride the horses over it that they intend to enter for plates or subscriptions at the ensuing races,nor to suffer their servants to train them over it: Any horse that may be seen in training on the Course will not be allowed to start.--By order of the Stewards.
On 19 September a Bachelor's Ball was held by the Subscribers to the Sydney Race Course and was reported to have been a great success. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 22 September 1810 page 2.

The Subscribers to the Sydney Race Course held another meeting in the Mess Room of the Officers of the 73rd Regiment on Monday 1 October. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 29 September 1810 page 1.

Under the heading, A Card, the following notice appeared in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 6 October 1810 page 3 - 'The Subscribers to the Sydney Race Course are informed, that the Stewards have made Arrangements for two Balls during the Race Week, Tuesday and Friday.--Tickets at 7s. 6d. each to be had at Mr. E. Wills's, George Street.'
On page 4 of the same paper - 'The Public are requested not to bring Dogs on the Sydney Race Course; any found thereon after this Notice will be Shot.'

A week before the racing carnival, The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 13 October 1810 page 2 reminded Subscribers about the two balls then added - 
An ORDINARY for the Subscribers and their Friends each Day of the Races at Mr. Wills's.- Dinner on Table at Five o'Clock.
On Monday the Races commence, and continue Wednesday and Friday. Horses to start each day at one. For general information on the subject of these elegant sports, a Racing Kalendar will be in readiness at nine on Monday morning.-Price 6d.
The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 20 October 1810 page 2 has a detailed  report of the three day carnival held at Sydney racecourse (Hyde Park) on Monday 15, Wednesday 17 and Friday 19 October. The report for the second day of the race meeting read:
A Cup, value 50 guineas, given by the Ladies of the Colony, for horses of all ages belonging to Subscribers of the Sydney Race Course. The best of 3 2-mile heats. Three year olds to carry 7 st. 4 lb. 4 year olds 8 st. 1lb. 5 year olds 9 st. 2 lb. and aged 10st.
Mr Lord's b. g. Tipsy (Tipsey) 2 yrs old          1 3 2
Mr Oven's ch. m. Bessie 2 yrs old                 2 4 drawn
Mr Williams' r. g. Strawberry 5 yrs old            3 2 2
Capt. Ritchie's gr. g. Chase 6 yrs old             4 1 1
Colonel O'Connell's bl. g. Carlo 6 yrs old        6 dr
Capt. Piper'sch. m. Miss Kitty aged               5 4 4
A good race between Chase and Strawberry the last two heats.
Mr. Wentworth'sb. g. Gig rode by Mr. Bayley, beat Mr. Broughton's bl. g. Jerry, rode by Capt. Ritchie, 3 miles, 40gs. - Gig won easy.
Additional information about the Ladies' Cup was provided:
The Ladies' Cup, which was of very superior workmanship, won by Chance, (Chase) was presented to Captain Ritchie by Mrs Macquarie; who accompanied by His Excellency, honoured each day's Races with her presence, and who, with her usual affability, was pleased to preface the donation with the following short address:
"In the name of the Ladies of New South Wales, I have the pleasure to present you with this Cup. Give me leave to congratulate you on being the successful Candidate for it; and to hope that it is a prelude to future success, and lasting prosperity"
Races at the racecourse at Hyde park continued until the early 1820s. However there were problems in maintaining the surface of the racecourse as shown in Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 2 February 1811 page 2.
The Non-Subscribers to the Sydney races are hereby strictly forbid driving or riding Horses on the Course, without Permission of the Stewards. It is hoped the Subscribers will see the necessity of keeping on the outer Edge, when they drive or ride round the Course, as the Damage already done to it by Carriages driving near the Posts must be obvious to every person. ( By Order of the Stewards),
The original number of Subscribers was limited to 50 however in 1813 the suggestion was made to hold a ballot allowing gentlemen who were newcomers to the Colony the opportunity to also become Subscribers. Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 17 July 1813 page 2. Another announcement in this issue of the newspaper stated:
None but Subscribers, or their authorised Servants, being entitled to ride on the Race Course, it is hoped that all other Persons will see the Propriety of avoiding the Course, during the Exercising Season, and thereby do away the Necessity for resorting to other Measures for the preserving the Course to its proper Object.
Gentlemen are requested to instruct their Servants not to ride on the Race Course unless for the Purpose of training, until after the Races, as those who are not in training interrupt the regular Exercise of the Horses destined for the public Amusement of the Race Week.
Simeon Lord's horse, Tipsey, was also entered in the race carnivals held in 1811 and in 1812.

On the first day of the three day race carnival in 1811-  held between 12 August and 16 August - Mr Lord's b. g. Tipsey 4 yrs old came second in the two heats of the Subscription Plate (value 50 gs).
Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 17 August 1811 page 2.

 The following year when the races were held from 17 August to 21 August, Tipsey (now 5 years) was again entered in the Subscription Plate but, along with a number of other horses, was disqualified. The report added that despite the heavy rains experienced from the Monday to the Thursday, "the Course was much crowded".
Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 22 August 1812 page 2.

The newspapers provide additional information about Tipsey.
A newspaper advertisement in February 1811 mentioned that two well known geldings, Strawberry and Tipsey, were available for sale. Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 7 February 1811 page 2.

The following year the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 18 January 1812 page 4 reported:
Strayed from Burn's Farm at Botany Bay, about ten days since, a Bay Gelding, black legs, mane and tail, known by the name of Typsey, late the property of Mr. Lord, but now belonging to Major Geils. Any person finding the same and bringing him to Major Geils, will be handsomely rewarded. 
As Tipsey was being raced again by Mr Lord later in the year it would appear that Simeon repurchased the horse.

The book, Horsemen of the First Frontier (1788-1900) by Keith R Binney (2005) includes several pages about Simeon Lord including his involvement with horse racing. (pp148-150).

The Dictionary of Sydney has a short article on the Hyde Park racecourse.

The Australian Racing Report also includes an article on early days of racing in Sydney.

Note. At the end of the report (in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 20 October 1810 page 2) about the three days of racing at the Sydney Racecourse in October 1810, the following information was also provided:
And afterwards Boshy's Hack ran against G. Guest's (Hack), a three mile heat, for 10gs - A good match, won by Boshy.
Reports in the Sydney Gazettee and New South Wales Advertiser show that George Guest was in Sydney for at least parts of 1810. It is therefore probable that he was the G. Guest whose horse raced Boshy's horse.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Olympic Games Melbourne, 1956 - memories

This afternoon, as part of History Week,  I spoke at Ivanhoe Library about the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956, particularly the involvement of my father, Ken Moses, who was a sports journalist on The Argus at the time.
Opening Ceremony ticket
During and after the talk a number of those present shared their memories and experiences of the Olympic Games. Some members of the audience brought along their mementoes of the 1956 Olympics - books plus a ticket to see events on the 23 November. This ticket cost 11/- compared to the £1 / 1/- for the Opening Ceremony ticket shown above.

I had brought one of my father's scrap books plus copies of The Argus published during the games, a copy of the Australian Women's Weekly from December 1956, a selection of programs prepared for individual events for each day of competition and the Official report of the Organising Committee for the Games of the XVI Olympiad Melbourne 1956.

I have a partial collection of copies of The Argus published during the Melbourne Olympic Games but one gentleman brought in a full set of this newspaper published during the games period that his mother had kept.

As the Olympic Village was constructed in neighbouring Heidelberg a number of audience members had memories of growing up near the village.
Raymond Morris Collection, National Museum of Australia
Comments were made about the Olympic Rings which were displayed near the entrance to the village. Apparently these rings are now back on display in the area.
Raymond Morris Collection, National Museum of Australia
One gentleman remembered watching the construction of the village and he used to play on the foundations of the buildings - once the builders went home -  during the early stages of construction. There were also memories of wandering through the village after school - security wasn't a major concern - and waving to and / or chatting to athletes. I was also told that a number of athletes stayed with families in private houses and that the families drove those athletes to the venues to participate in their events.
Winner's medal
One of the ladies in the audience told me that her mother was a seamstress who made the cushions used for the medal presentations at the Olympic Games in 1956.
The Olympic Torch Relay is an important event in the build up to an Olympic Games and I met one gentleman who told me that he had been one of the torch bearers in the 1956 Torch Relay.

This was a great session to share experiences and memories of events that occurred 60 years ago as we remembered the 1956 Olympic Games - an important event in the history of Melbourne.

Other posts on this topic:
Olympic Games Melbourne, 1956 - Media
Olympic Games Melbourne, 1956 - Challenges for host city
Sepia Saturday 316 - Movie cameras
Olympic Games Melbourne 1956 - view post

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Olympic Games, Melbourne 1956 - Media

The organisers of the 1956 Olympic Games faced a number of challenges not faced by the organisers of  previous games. Suitable facilities for the general press needed to be organised however the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne was the first to be extensively covered by film, along with some limited television coverage. This created new logistical problems for the organisers.
Press facilities at the MCG
Press covering events needed space for their typewriters or room to take notes using pen and paper. Telephones were provided and some journalists used tape recorders. Reports on the Olympic Games were also presented on radio. The press stand at the MCG was the largest used for the games but temporary press stands also had to be provided at other venues.

Television was launched in Australia just before the Olympic Games. A subcommittee was therefore established to oversee conditions for providing television coverage.
Local television stations in Melbourne could televise events at venues where seating was sold out such as events at the main stadium. Each evening a 16mm film was sent to television stations in Sydney.
Each night was despatched each night to various overseas destinations. Six half hour television programs were made for American syndicated television. Arrangements with airlines were made for quick transportation of film.
A major discussion point was the charges asked for by the Olympic Committee to televise Olympic Games events.
National Museum Australia has this page on TV and the Melbourne Olympics

As described in a previous post restrictions were placed on the use of movie cameras by non-accredited persons as the Australian Olympic Committee had commissioned a French company to make an official film of the Olympic Games. However the restrictions were relaxed as a number of films of the Olympic Games taken by individuals exist. Three of these home movies taken by Bruce Beresford, Mile Leyland and Sir Robert Menzies can be viewed online via the National Film and Sound Archive website.
Camerman from French film company on right
The official film was released in May 1957. The Australian Women's Weekly attended the launch and reported on the event in the 20 May 1957 issue. Members of the Australian Olympic Team attended the premier.
The staging of the Olympic Games in Melbourne was also seen as an opportunity to promote Melbourne, Victoria and Australia to the rest of the world.

The black and white images in this post are from the the Official report of the Organising Committee for the Games of the XVI Olympiad Melbourne 1956. This publication is available online.

Olympic Games Melbourne, 1956 - challenges for host city

Hosting an Olympic Games is a major undertaking and many challenges can arise. In the lead up to most Olympic Games we learn of problems in meeting deadlines, financial issues, construction concerns and sometimes threats to move the games to another location. The recent Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio is a prime example and reports have already begun circulating about the problems in staging the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. The lead up to the Melbourne Olympic Games also experienced many problems.
Argus 11 April 1896
The above statement was the first suggestion that the Olympic Games might one day be held in Melbourne. In 1906 Richard Coombes also informed Baron de Coubertin that Australia should host the Olympic Games.

The Victorian Olympic Council (VOC) was formed on 21 June 1946 and an item on the agenda was Discussion of Olympic Games for Australia. The  Australian Olympic Federation (AOF) endorsed the bid. At the 1948 Olympic Games in London Australian delegates promoted Melbourne as a venue. The vote on the city to host the 1956 Olympic Games was held in Rome in April 1949. There were six contenders - four cities in the USA, Buenos Aires and Melbourne. Melbourne won by one vote.

 The Organizing Committee for the Melbourne Olympic Games was established in November 1949. Eleven subcommittees were also established to assist in the organisation of the Olympic Games. These subcommittees were Technical, Finance and General Purposes, Construction, Housing and Catering, Press and Publicity, Film and Television, Communications, Transport, Reception, Medical and Fine Arts.

A variety of venues were required in order to host the Olympic Games. These included a main stadium, smaller stadiums / ovals, a pool, velodrome, boxing stadium, venues for fencing, shooting events, modern pentathlon, cycling, basketball plus water sports such as rowing, canoeing and yachting. Due to Australia's strict quarantine laws, equestrian events were held in Helsinki instead of in Melbourne - an issue not mentioned in Melbourne's submission to host the Olympic Games.

Indecision would be a key word to describe the initial planning for the venues for the various sports. There were also prolonged discussions as to the extent the Federal or State Governments would assist in funding the Olympic Games.

Seven sites were discussed as possibilities for the main stadium - the Showgrounds, Carlton Cricket Ground, Olympic Park, Albert Park, St Kilda Cricket Ground, University of Melbourne Sports Oval as well as the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). It was not until February 1953 that the MCG was confirmed as the main stadium. Part of the problem had been the reluctance of the Melbourne Cricket Club to make the ground available as it would disrupt the normal use of the ground.

Alterations needed to be made. The surface of the MCG had to be regraded and a new stand was built after an old stand was demolished following the Royal Visit in 1954. The upgrades would mean that the MCG would be able to accommodate more than 100,000 people. As well as a venue for cricket the MCG was used for Australian Rules Football so it was not until after the 1955 VFL Grand Final that the turf on the ground could be removed and stored, the ground regraded and drainage pipes installed in time for the staging of the 1956 VFL Grand Final. The running track was then laid. During 1955 work banns delayed work at the MCG between August and October.

The second major venue was the Olympic Park Complex. This was to include the building of an Olympic Pool, the Olympic Park stadium, a second oval plus a veledrome. Olympic Park was situated close to the MCG.

Choosing the location for rowing and canoeing also took considerable time. Sites considered included Lake Bullen Merri, Hopkins River, Barwon River, Lake Learmonth and Lake Wendouree. Ballarat Shire did not want Lake Wendouree to be used and it was not until June 1955 that they finally agreed to the use of the lake for Olympic rowing and canoeing events.

Another challenge was to find suitable accommodation for the athletes and officials attending the Olympic Games. Once again a number of locations were considered including Prahran, University of Melbourne, Albert Park Barracks, Carlton and Heildelberg. The decision to build the village at Heidelberg was finally made in September 1953.

While Melbourne decided on the location of new venues and required alterations for existing structures, some members of the International Olympic Committee, particularly Mr Avery Brundage, began suggesting that the Olympic Games should be relocated to another city, probably one of the cities in the USA who had also applied to host the 1956 Olympic Games. It was eventually decided that the 1956 Olympic Games would remain in Melbourne.

Argus 4 February 1953
 Ninety-one countries were invited to attend the Olympic Games in Melbourne. Seventeen countries declined or withdrew for a variety of reasons. The Olympic Games had always been held in the Northern Hemisphere and some countries decided it was too far to travel so declined the invitation or, if they accepted the invitation, only sent small teams.

A month or two before the Olympic Games were due to begin seven countries boycotted the Melbourne Olympics due to political events. Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq boycotted the games due to the Suez crisis in October 1956. The Hungarian Uprising on 4 November 1956 caused Spain, The Netherlands and Switzerland to boycott the games though Hungary still sent a team. The People's Republic of China announced that they were boycotting the games in November 1956 because Taiwan (Republic of China) had accepted an invitation to attend. These boycotts created additional challenges for those trying to organise events and accommodation, especially as they occurred so close to the commencement of the Olympic Games.

The final number of countries attending was sixty-seven.
Australian Women's Weekly 5 December 1956
Despite all these challenges the 1956 Olympic Games were held in Melbourne from 22 November to 8 December and they were declared a great success.

The following article looks at the venues used for the Melbourne Olympics and what happened to them after the games - Mixed Fortunes of Melbourne's 1956 Olympic Venues.

The book, Australia and the Olympic Games, by Harry Gordon (1994) contains chapters on the Melbourne Olympics including "A grenade called Brundage" (chapter 14) and "When the magic came to Melbourne" (chapter 15)

Official report of the Organizing Committee for the Games of the XVI Olympiard Melbourne 1956 is available online.

Search Trove for articles published in The Argus and The Age about the preparations for the Melbourne Olympics as well as the staging of the games in Melbourne from 22 November to 8 December 1956.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

George Guest at Risdon Cove - part 2

The State Library of Victoria has a number of books on the early settlement of Tasmania so I ordered some of them to try and discover where George Guest had his 300 acres of land at Risdon Cove.

I knew that the land was close to the original settlement so I started by looking at a work by Angela McGowan describing an archaeological dig of the area in 1978-1980.  From the excavation of several sites in the area McGowan describes a number of the structures from the original settlement. However it was on page 14 that I had my 'Eureka' moment when I found a sketch by Woodward of some of the landholdings in the area. To the right of the Risdon Brook was a rectangle identified as G Guest 300 acres.
McGowan page 14
On the other side of the brook the land was identified as belonging to W J Anson 300 acres. (William L'Anson was a surgeon who sold the land to Thomas Birch). In 1812 this block was sold to Andrew Geils, the person who tried to annex George Guest's land in 1813. Andrew Geils left Van Diemen's Land in 1814 but arranged for a series of agents to look after his interests.

Unfortunately I have found no further description of Guest's property. Phillip Tardif, however, provides a description of some of the buildings on Geil's property. "A two-storey brick house arose near what had been Moore's original garden, and a stone wharf at Bowen's original landing place. Geil's pride and joy were his 'Beautiful Gardens' he planted - with apple and peach trees, grapevines and oaks". Tardif then adds - "Stockyards, stock-keepers' huts and poultry houses were built also, but by costly error (for Geils) on the adjoining 300 acres owned by George Guest." (Tardif p192)

The Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office (TAHO) has a series of county maps on the LINC website. The maps are series AF396 County Maps created by the Lands and Surveys Department. Risdon Cove was in the Parish of Forbes located in Monmouth, one of the twenty early land districts in Tasmania. AF396-1-256 is another map of the area around Risdon Cove. This map was surveyed by a surveyor named Seymour and also shows Guest's land.
A copy of the original map surveyed by Woodward is also available on this site as AF396-1-216.

There is still much to learn about this 300 acres of land and how it was farmed plus when it was actually sold. However an article in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 21 January 1810 p2 provides an account by George Guest of the extent of farming near Hobart Town a year or two after he acquired his 300 acres at Risdon Cove.
From a Mr George Guest, a few days since arrived from the Derwent, we learn the following particulars relative to that Settlement, which may appear interesting. The ground under cultivation Mr. Guest considers to be about 1500 acres. The crop of wheat of the present year's growth he considers will scarcely average eight bushels to the acre, owing to the seed, which was mostly sent from hence, having been of a very indifferent quality. Sixteen acres of Mr. Guest's own growth, he scarcely imagines will produce three bushels to the acre. The flock of horned cattle is in very good condition, and the prices of articles are much similar to those with us; fresh beef, mutton and pork being 1s. 6d. per lb.; potatoes 2d. per do; fowls dear, being from 5 to 6s. each; tea 8 to 12s. per lb.; sugar 10d. per do; spirits 15 to 16s. per bottle; and the store price of wheat 21s. per bushel before the Union arrived. The different settlements of agriculture are New Norfolk, 25 miles from Hobart Town, on the banks of a fine fresh water river, navigable at high water to a vessel of the Lady Nelson's burthen; the next we notice will be Herdsman's Cove, about mid-way between Hobart and the above; — This has only been settled a few months since by settlers from Norfolk Island, who have not yet been able to plant any thing but potatoes; — the river gets brackish at high water. The next is Kangaroo Point about two miles from the town but on the opposite side the river, well watered by a very fine run; and about a mile more distant from Hobart is New Town, which was the first settlement made. Ralph's Bay is about eight miles from Hobart, and also on the opposite shore of the river. Here from 130 to 200 acres are in cultivation by the Norfolk settlers; about 200 of whom have at different times been removed thither with their families, amounting to 1100 persons more or less. The land near the town is considered some of the best yet cultivated, and is mostly laid out in gardens, which produce vegetables in tolerable abundance.
Glover,Margaret. 1978. History of the Site of Bowen’s Settlement, Risdon Cove. Hobart, National Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania Occasional Paper No. 2.  [SLTF 994.61 G51H]

McGowan,Angela. 1985. .Archaeological Investigations at Risdon Cove Site 1978-1980. Hobart, National Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania Occasional Paper No. 10. [SLTF 994.61 M17A]

McPherson,Kaye. 2001. Risdon Cove from the Dreamtime and the First Hundred Years. Lindisfarme, Manuta Tunapea, Puggaluggia.  [SLTF 994.61 M24R]

Tardif, Philip John. 2003. John Bowen’s Hobart: the Beginning of European Settlement in Tasmania. Hobart, Tasmanian Historical Research Association. [LT 994.6102 T17J]

George Guest at Risdon Cove - part 1

George Guest (1753-1841) and his family arrived in Hobart Town in September 1805 from Norfolk Island. The decision had been made to close the settlement on the island and George and his family were among the first to leave. However as George had a number of land holdings on Norfolk Island, a house and livestock, he left Norfolk Island on the understanding that he would be fully compensated for the land surrendered. George did receive a number of grants of land but, feeling that he never received full compensation for his Norfolk Island land, he spent many years petitioning for full compensation.

Earlier in the year I investigated the location of the Seven Stars inn in Campbell Street once owned by George Guest. When I visited Hobart last year I also visited the location of land in the area of what is now Macquarie Point which was the first land granted to George Guest in January 1806. As mentioned in the previous post my next goal was to locate the location of 300 acres of land granted to George Guest, probably in 1806, in or near Risdon Cove. Previous research in the Historical Records of Australia (HRA) had located reference to George owning 300 acres in the Risdon area.

On the 27th January 1806 Lieutenant-Governor David Collins wrote a letter to Governor King in Port Jackson informing him of what he had done so far in assisting George Guest settle into the new colony. George Guest had brought sheep with him from Norfolk Island. Not all survived the trip but some were kept by George while the remainder were purchased by the government at £3 per head. George was also allowed to land thirty-seven gallons of spirits for his own use. George Guest was under the impression that he should receive 424 acres of land in the new colony. The land at Fosbrooks (later Macquarie) Point was twenty-four acres. At one stage it was decided that George Guest would receive the rest of the land as four allotments of 100 acres and Collins reported that he had told George Guest to choose suitable land. However George then decided to remove his family to Port Jackson where his children could receive an education. George sold a yoke of oxen (two oxen) and some other animals but announced that he would return to claim land in Van Diemen's Land. He had also provided the government with a quantity of provisions including salted pork, flour and sugar in exchange for twelve cows and one calf. George Guest and his family were to travel to Port Jackson aboard the Sophia and would receive full victuals for two weeks. The letter concluded with the statement that "I understand he purposes returning at some (not very) distant Period to occupy his Farms, which he has now chosen in one allotment in the Neighbourhood of Herdsman's Cove." (HRA series III vol 1 pp354-355)
Map showing Herdsmans Cove (top) in relation to Risdon Cove (middle)
The map above shows Herdsmans Cove in relation to Risdon Cove. (Tardif) Subsequent references to the 300 acres of land belonging to Geoge Guest all provide Risdon Cove as the location.

The original European settlement on the Derwent River had been at Risdon Cove from 1803 until 1804 when Collins decided to establish the settlement of Hobart Town across the river. In February 1805 Lieutenant-Governor Collins wrote to Governor King that he had decided to open a Government Farm at Risdon Cove but some allotments could be made available for settlers. (HRA series III vol 1 p317).  A follow-up letter in October 1805 described how land in that previously cultivated area had been tilled again and replanted with barley and wheat. Collins had expectations of "an abundant produce from the ensuing harvest". (HRA series III vol 1 p331) When Collins travelled to Australia via the Cape of Good Hope he had brought with him "Cape Seed" which grew better in the new colony than the seed from England. (HRA series III vol 1 p248) The plan for a Government Farm at Risdon Cove appears to have been short lived but the area was made available to new settlers arriving in the colony to farm. George Guest would appear to have been one of these settlers.

The returns of the General Muster 1809 show that George Guest was a settler at Risdon Cove, Clarence Plains, where he owned 300 acres of land. He was farming twenty acres of wheat, had 63 cattle, 49 sheep and 1 pig. (Shaffer p54)

In April 1813 Governor Maquarie wrote a letter to Major Geils making it clear that Geils had no right to assume the 300 acres of land belonging to George Guest as part of Geil's property at Risdon Cove. Governor Maquarie stressed that Guest's land had "been regularly assigned to him and taken possession of by him in part Payment of his Norfolk Island Claims on Government." (HRA series III vol 2 pp30-31).  Geils had tried to add the land to his property arguing that Guest had left his property to go to New South Wales.  Advertisements in  newspapers located via Trove show, George Guest was regularly travelling between Van Diemen's Land and Port Jackson at this time. Macquarie told Geils that the only way that he could aquire the land was to purchase it directly from George Guest. George Guest kept possession of the 300 acres at Risdon as shown by an advertisement in the Hobart Town Courier 24 November 1827 advertising the Risdon land for sale or let.

When we visited Hobart last year we had passed Risdon Cove when we travelled via the ferry to MONA. We did visit other locations in Clarence including Bellerive and Kangaroo Bay but did not visit the Risdon Cove area. The need to create a research plan for an Introduction to Family History course provided the impetus to try and locate the actual location of George's 300 acres.

Historical Records of Australia (HRA) series III Despatches and Papers Relating to the States. vol 1 & 2

Schaffer, Irene (ed). 1991. Land Musters, Stock Returns and Lists. Van Diemen’s Land 1803-1822. Hobart, St David's Park Publishing.

Tardif, Philip John. 2003. John Bowen’s Hobart: the Beginning of European Settlement in Tasmania. Hobart, Tasmanian Historical Research Association.

Advertisement. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 21 January 1810 p1; 2 February 1811 p2; 18 July 1812 p1; 20 March 1813 p2; 16 October 1813 p1; 4 March 1815 p2; 14 December 1816 p2; 29 November 1817 p4; 18 April 1818 p1; 26 December 1818 

Advertisement. The Hobart Town Courier 24 November 1827

Monday, 3 October 2016

Family History Research Plan

The major assignment for the Introduction to Family History course at the University of Tasmania was to create a Family History Resarch Plan. I took the opportunity to decide how I might locate a map showing where George Guest had land at Risdon Cove. The research plan proved a useful exercise leading me to locate the information I was seeking. I will write about this part of George's story in another post.

Genealogical problem:
(Introduce the key focus of your research plus a clearly stated research question)
Visiting Hobart last November I spent time exploring, on foot, the area where three of my ancestors had land in Hobart prior to 1840 including the area on Fosbrooks (later Macquarie) Point that originally belonged to George Guest. George Guest also owned the Seven Stars Inn on Campbell Street. Since then I have been looking for information about other holdings of land owned by George Guest in Tasmania.

George Guest (1765-1841) was my great (x4) grandfather. In 1783 he was arrested for stealing pigs and a horse. George Guest was a First Fleet convict who travelled to Norfolk Island in January 1790. In September 1805 George and his family relocated to Hobart Town. While on Norfolk Island George became a major land owner and farmer and understood that when he left Norfolk Island he would be compensated with grants of land on his arrival in Van Diemen’s Land. George received some land grants but was to dispute whether this was fair compensation for the rest of his life.

The initial settlement on the Derwent was at Risdon Cove in 1803 before being relocated to the present site of Hobart in 1804. Prior to the relocation some of the land at Risdon Cove had been cleared for farming and Lieutenant-Governor Collins later provided seed for the planting of crops. When the settlers decided to return to Sydney the land was intended to be used as a government farm. There was a need for a reliable supply of grain for the new settlement so land in the Risdon Cove area was made available for farming. In January 1806 George Guest was considering a grant of 300 acres of land in the Herdsman’s Cove area near Risdon Cove though later references show that the land grant was at Risdon Cove. By 1809 twenty acres of the land was farmed for wheat and George had 63 cattle and 49 sheep.

George Guest made many trips to New South Wales where he also had some land but his main landholdings were in Van Diemen’s Land. In 1813 a neighbour, Major Geils, attempted to add George Guest’s land to his property on the grounds that Guest was in New South Wales. In a letter to Geils, Governor Macquarie stressed that the 300 acres at Risdon Cove belonged to George Guest as part compensation for the land and house he had surrendered when leaving Norfolk Island. George Guest continued to own this land until at least 1827 when it was advertised for sale.

My research question is:
Where exactly was the location of George Guest’s three hundred acres of land at Risdon Cove? 

Known facts:
  1. Lieutenant-Governor Collins provided seed for growing wheat and Barley at Risdon Cove in 1804.
  2. In 1805 Lieutenant-Governor Collins proposed opening up the land in Risdon Cove area for settlers to farm.
  3. Lieutenant-Governor Collins, in a letter to Governor King on 27 January 1806, wrote that George Guest had selected land ‘in one allotment in the neighbourhood of Herdsman’s Cove’.
  4. In 1809 general muster, George Guest is listed as owning 300 acres at Risdon / Clarence Plains.
  5. In 1827, land at Risdon Cove owned by George Guest described as ‘at the junction of a small chain of ponds and the Risdon Cove’.
  6. George regularly travelled between Hobart Town and Port Jackson (a sample of some of the visits provided).
  7. Neighbour, Major Geils, attempted to claim George Guest’s land and Governor Macquarie confirmed the 300 acres belonged to George Guest.
  8. Advertisement for sale of land in 1827.
Records used:
  1.  Historical Records of Australia (HRA) series III Despatches and Papers Relating to the States. Vol 1 p248-249.
  2.   HRA vol 1 p317.
  3. HRA vol 1 p355.
  4. Irene Schaffer (ed). 1991. Land Musters, Stock Returns and Lists. Van Diemen’s Land 1803-1822. Hobart. p54.
  5. Advertisement. The Hobart Town Courier 24 November 1827 p3.
  6. Advertisement. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 21 January 1810 p1; 2 February 1811 p2; 18 July 1812 p1; 20 March 1813 p2; 16 October 1813 p1; 4 March 1815 p2; 14 December 1816 p2; 29 November 1817 p4; 18 April 1818 p1; 26 December 1818 p2.
  7. HRA vol 2 p30-31.
  8. Advertisement. The Hobart Town Courier 24 November 1827 p3
Widening your search:
(Where else might you find relevant information)

State Library of Victoria
The State Library of Victoria holds books relating to the history of the Risdon Cove area. These can be checked for references particularly to George Guest and neighbouring landholders including Andrew Geils.
  1.  Glover, Margaret. History of the Site of Bowen’s Settlement, Risdon Cove. Hobart, National Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania Occasional Paper No. 2. 1978. [SLTF 994.61 G51H]
  2. McGowan, Angela.  Archaeological Investigations at Risdon Cove Site 1978-1980. Hobart, National Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania Occasional Paper No. 10, 1985. [SLTF 994.61 M17A]
  3. McPherson, Kaye. Risdon Cove from the Dreamtime and the First Hundred Years. Lindisfarme, Manuta Tunapea, Puggaluggia, 2001.  [SLTF 994.61 M24R]
  4. Tardif, Philip John. John Bowen’s Hobart: the Beginning of European Settlement in Tasmania. Hobart, Tasmanian Historical Research Association, 2003. [LT 994.6102 T17J]
Tasmanian Historical Research Association
Tasmanian Historical Research Association Papers and proceedings have been published since 1951. These are available to view online via the State Library of Victoria website.
The library also holds paper indexes for this publication:
  1. Tasmanian Historical Research Association. Index to the Papers and Proceedings. Vol 1 (1951-1983), Hobart, Tasmanian Historical Research Association, 1991.
  2. Tasmanian Historical Research Association. Index to the Papers and Proceedings. Vol 2 (1984-1993), Hobart, Tasmanian Historical Research Association, 1998.
  3. Tasmanian Historical Research Association. Index to the Papers and Proceedings. Vol 3 (1994-2003), Hobart, Tasmanian Historical Research Association, 2006. [G994.6 IN23R INDEX]
Continue to search online newspapers in Trove for references to George Guest and his land, particularly in the Herdsman Cove, Risdon Cove and Clarence area as well as land belonging to neighbours including Andrew Geils. Articles on the history / reminiscences of people living in these areas may appear in later newspapers.

A series of maps – AF316 County Maps (Lands and Surveys Department) – can be located on the LINC website. The maps and plans in this collection are arranged according to their County and Parish. Risdon Cove and surrounding area is in the Parish of Forbes in the County of Monmouth.

Likely outcomes:
(Include ethical considerations)

Locating a map showing the location of the 300 acres belonging to George Guest at Risdon Cove would be a great addition for my research; however any additional information as to where the land was located would help the search. Hopefully a search of the AF316 County Maps series will be useful.  

Books and / or articles about the early history of Risdon Cove or the wider Clarence area could provide useful background information particularly if they discuss how the land was farmed. They may also contain a map or sketch of the area around the original Risdon Cove settlement which may indicate further development of the land after the closure of the settlement. References and bibliographies may also be useful for providing additional leads for research.

This research requires looking for information relating to events that occurred two hundred years ago and therefore making information available in the findings is unlikely to be an issue for anyone, especially as material about the events at this time is available in the public record.

I will add any information located as part of the story of George Guest and his family in my blog. Using information ethically in blogs (and other publications) has been a discussion point in the Australian Local & Family History Bloggers Facebook page. The use of material from other sources without recording that the material is the work of, or belongs to, others should not occur. Much of the material available online is available as Creative Commons and can be freely used provided acknowledgement of the source is provided. However in some cases it is necessary to first obtain permission from the organisation or person making the material available before using it. Blogs make it easy to include a link back to the source page for images and other material used in a post. Apart from the ethics of this it is a courtesy to other researchers.