Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Simeon Lord

A select biblography 


Simeon Lord by D R Hainsworth - a 30 page booklet published in 1968 by Oxford University Press as part of the Great Australians series.

The Sydney Traders: Simeon Lord and his contemporaries, 1788-1821 by D R Hainsworth published in 1972 by Cassell Australia (264p). 2nd edition published in 1981 by Melbourne University Press.
 [This book was based on a thesis submitted for degree of Doctor of Philosophy in History at the University of Adelade in 1969]

 A merchant prince of Botany Bay: the story of Simeon Lord by E C Rowland published in 1944 (44p). Originally published as an article in Royal Australian Historical Society Journal, vol. xxx.

A likely lad: the story of Simeon Lord by Nelse Cay published in 1989 by the author. (173p) "This is written as a story rather than a documentary to try and give flesh and blood to the dry bones of history" - quote from author. It contains a number of historical inaccuracies.

These publications were written some time ago and additional information has been uncovered since their publication.

Simeon Lord 1771-1840 by D R Hainsworth - article in Australian Dictionary of Biography

Nothing but gum trees: textile manufacturing in New South Wales 1788-1850 by Eve Stenning - article in Australasian Historical Archaeology vol. 11 1993 pages 76- 87

A quick search online provided a number of  titles with relevant information:

Horsemen of the first frontier (1788-1900) and the Serpent's legacy by Keith R Binney published in 2005 by Volcanic Productions (542p). This history of early horse racing in the colony includes a section on Simeon Lord pages 148-150 - available online via Google books

Debt, seduction and other disasters: the birth of civil law in convict New South Wales by Bruce Kersher published in 1996 by Federation Press (238p) - sections available online via Google books
In the Tables of Cases section the list of litigation in which Simeon was involved is provided

Sealers: William Tucker, Simeon Lord, Jonas Poole, James Weddell, Thomas Edge, John Boultbee, Thomas Marmaduke, John Davis, William Smith published in 2010 by General Books (48p) (no digital copy)

Taka: a vignette life of William Tucker 1784-1817: convict, sealer, trader in human heads, Otago settler, New Zealand's first art dealer by Peter Entwisle published in 2005 by Port Daniel Press (157p) - sections available in Google books

Selection of reports and papers of the House of Commons: Prisons ... vol. 51 Google books - references to Simeon Lord as a magistrate including the disapproval of Ellis Bent

Most books written on the early European history of Sydney will contain references to Simeon Lord.

Books about Todmorden, England, where Simeon Lord lived before his transportation to Australia and also about his mother's family:

Fieldens of Todmorden: a nuneteenth century business dynasty by Brian R Law published in 1995. (302p)

 The Fielden Trail: a ramble through Todmorden's past by Jim Jarratt published in 1988 by Smith Settle. (105p)

These are only a few of the many available resources with information about aspects of the life of Simeon Lord. Other titles will be added as located.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Sepia Saturday 318: Elsa Stralia

Family history research can lead in many directions. Two years ago when investigating the lives of the families of the siblings of my great grandfather (George Moses) I located the following family story.The image for this week's Sepia Saturday, encouraged me to check my notes and write this post on what I had previously found.
Program held in National Library of Australia collection - online on History Bucket post
The above image is the cover of an eight page program prepared for the tour of Australia and New Zealand by the opera singer, Madame Elsa Stralia, in 1925.

Elsie Mary Fischer was born in Adelaide on 1 March 1881. Her parents, Johannes Hugo Fischer and Annie Christina Clausen, were both musicians - her mother was a pianist while her father was a baritone and Secretary of the Adelaide Liedertafel. In 1889 the family moved to Melbourne where Elsie went to school. She then studied at the Conservatorium of Music directed by Professor George Marshall-Hall where she was awarded two annual scholarships to study with Mme Elise Wiedermann. Her studies completed, Elsie travelled with W C Williamson's Comic Opera Company and in Sydney studied with Gustave Slapoffski who, in 1909, presented her at a concert of the Sydney Philhamonic Orchestra. Elsie's music career was underway.

William Mountford Moses was born on 18 May 1875 and was the son of William Moses (1844-1923) and Elvina Mountford (1851-1935). William and Elvina had twelve children (one died when a baby). The family was known in the Windsor district for their musical abilities and they regularly arranged and performed in concerts. One of their sons, Stanley Mountford Moses, a violinist, was performing in concerts in Europe when he died at the age of 23. William Mountford Moses played the flute and also organised a district drum and fife band. In 1899 William married Linda May Beatrice Conlan. In August 1906 William and Linda had a son, Jack, who died on 29 November. Linda died a week later on 5 December 1906.

At St Stephen's Church, Phillip Street, Sydney, on 24 December 1908, William Mountford Moses (eldest son of William Moses of Windsor) married Elsie Mary Fischer (eldest daughter of the late Hugo Fischer of Adelaide).

Shortly afterwards the newly married couple set off for Europe so Elsie could further her musical career. But first Elsie started to make changes to her name. At one stage she performed as Elsa Adela but as another singer was using Adelaide as a name she finally decided on Elsa Stralia. Australian singers at the time seemed to favour the trend set by Dame Nellie Melba in selecting Australian related names as stage names.

Elsie performed in some concerts in London before travelling to Italy to become a pupil of Falchi in Milan. In 1912 she performed at Genova Teatro Carlo Felice before returning to England. In 1913 she made her debut at Covent Garden as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and performed there again the following year.
The Advertiser 12 July 1913
Then war came to Europe. During the war years Madame Elsa Stralia performed at the Drury Lane Theatre with roles in Thomas Beecham's opera seasons. She also toured with with a concert party to South Africa, was soloist with the Royal Philharmonic Society as well as touring with violinist Eugène Ysaÿe, pianist Vladimir de Pachmann and with (Dame) Clara Butt. Many of these performance raised funds for the war effort. Two of Elsie's brothers, Harold and Frank, were killed in action during the war.

Newspapers in Australia, including the Windsor and Richmond Gazette, provided short reports of the success of Elsa Stralia (Mrs W M Moses) including the following:
A great concert was held in London in honor of the magnificent feat of arms by the Australasians in the landing at Gallipoli. The singers represented the different dominions of the Empire. Madame Stralia (Mrs. W. M. Moses) sang tor Australia, and was accorded a wildly enthusiastic reception. (Windsor and Richmond Gazette 13 August 1915)
Many of the newspaper reports mention that Mr W M Moses was accompanying his wife but there is little additional information except for one report that mentioned that he was working in the munitions industry in England during the war. This was confirmed in William's obituary published in Windsor and Richmond Gazette 8 November 1940:
...during the Great War played his part as manager of a munitions factory in England, having a number of memorable experiences in the bombing raids of that period, when the Zepplins were attempting to score a hit on the factory with which he was connected. As a result of his employment in this work, however, he contracted, through regular contact with certain of the materials used in manufacturing explosives, an illness which left him a semi-invalid for the remaining years of his life, though he bore his ill-health with an habitual cheerfulness which was an inspiration to his friends.
After the war Elsa Stralia continued to perform in England and Europe and in 1921-22 she was a soloist in twelve concerts for the New York Symphony Orchestra.  Returning to London she began her recording career with the Columbia Gramophone Company. In 1925 Elsa Stralia made a successful tour of Australia and New Zealand. Another tour was made in 1934 for the Australian Broadcasting Commission. She also toured New Zealand. From 1925 to 1934 she spent much of her time in the USA, often doing radio broadcasts, while in 1929 she made another concert tour of the United States.

I am not sure when William decided to return to Australia. An article in Windsor and Richmond Gazette 16 January 1920 states that he had applied for transfer of a wine licence to the new Hawkesbury stores.  I have seen other references suggesting he was still in England:
A letter was recently received by Mr. and Mrs. W. Moses, of Lawson, from their son, Mr. W. H. Moses[W M] , husband of Mme. Elsa Stralia, who is regarded as one of the greatest singers of the present day. They are in London. Mme. Elsa Stralia has been engaged by the Beecham Opera Company, and is to give 76 operatic performances, commencing on September 27, and finishing at the end of July. At the end of her operatic season this Australian nightingale will probably make a tour of Australia.  Windsor and Richmond Gazette 24 September 1920.
However William certainly remained in Australia in 1925 after his wife returned overseas after her Australasian tour. On her return to Australia in 1934-1935 Elsie Mary Moses filed for a divorce from her husband, William Mountford Moses, in Sydney in April 1935 on the grounds of desertion. The divorce was not contested and we only have Elsie's side of the story. According to Elsie, William returned to Sydney in 1920 'to prepare a home for her'. William did not reply to her letters and when she announced to him in 1924 that she wanted to retire 'he refused to do anything for her'. When in America in 1933 she became ill and had to be assisted back to Australia. She then stated that she saw her husband in a cafe, but he would have nothing to do with her. (Canberra Times 16 April 1935). The divorce was granted.

In Wellington New Zealand 29 April 1935 the announcement was made of the engagement of 'Miss Elsa Stralia, the well known singer who arrived here from Sydney by the liner Monowai today' to Mr Adolph Christensen, a sheep farmer, of Patea, New Zealand. 'Mr Christensen met Miss Stralia on her arrival, and in an interview both confirmed the engagement. (The West Australian 30 April 1935)

Madame Elsa Stralia  and Adolph Christensen were married in Sydney on 14 November 1935. The newspaper reports at the time stated that the couple had met after Madame Elsa Stralia had sung a concert at Patea and they were engaged three days later. The Advertiser (Adelaide) 15 November 1935 provides a detailed description of the wedding including the dress of the wedding party. After the wedding the couple returned to New Zealand. When her husband died in 1943 Elsie returned to Australia and lived in Belgrave until her death on 1 September 1945.

Money from the estate of Elsie Mary Christensen was used to fund a scholarship  for young female singers.

William Moses died at Windsor, New South Wales on 1 November 1930. His obituary stated that his health had suffered from the effects of working in the munitions factory in London during the First World War. The electoral roll entries show that he lived in Manly for a time but spent most of the rest of his life in Windsor. The entry for 1930 provides his occupation as 'invalid'. Occupation is blank for other entries. In Windsor he would have been close to a large circle of family and friends.

There are many references to and articles about Elsa Stralia in Trove including photos, sheet music and gramophone recordings. Among the photos there is also an image of a pendant presented to Elsa Stralia on her arrival in Sydney in March 1925.
There are also a number of articles available online including:
Elsa Stralia (1881-1945) - Australian Dictionary of Biography
Elsa Stralia - Forgotton Opera Singers
Elsa Stralia - History Bucket

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Sepia Saturday 317: Another Golf Foursome

Golfing Foursome is the title of the Sepia Saturday post no. 317 .
The above image of a Golfing Foursome is one of my favourite family photos.It was probably taken in the 1920s or early 1930s. The golfer second from the left is my grandfather, Reg Moses. Unfortunately I do not know the names of the other three golfers. No names were written on the back of the photograph and there is no-one that I can now ask who might know. The young caddie in front of the golfers may be my father but as he is almost hidden under the large hat it is difficult to be certain one way or another. I do know that my grandfather enjoyed playing golf and in his obituary it was stated that he was a member of the Manly Golf Club and The Lakes Golf Club. From the newspaper paragraphs below he appears to have played much of his early golf at Killara.

A quick look in Trove showed some articles mentioning golf scores made by my grandfather in the early 1920s:
The scoring at Killara in the four ball best-ball against bogey was remarkably good, no less than four pairs returning cards of 6 up: C. E. F. McKay (16) and R. J. H. Moses (13) ... (Referee 2 November 1921)

R. J. H. Moses (17) won at Killara with 77. Moses has not been playing very long, but is a rapidly improving player, and is very keen. He should develop rapidly.  (Referee 18 January 1922)

At the four-ball best ball the Press scored remarkably, well, C. E. F. McKay (16) and R. J. H. Moses (12) winning with 7 up. They only won, however, by one hole, for J. Kell (5) .and V. G. Fisher (6) and E. Yule (18) and E..C. McKay (5) came second with 6 up.(Referee 19 April 1922)

IN BROILING HEAT. Saturday was a distressing day, with very humid heat. Golfers, notwithstandinging, went forth for a game as usual, though one would have thought the harbor or surf much more enticing. Every week some Killara man or other puts up a splendid score. On Saturday it was R. J. H. Moses.- Last week he romped home an easy winner in the B Grade with a 4 up from the 11 mark. This week he won the A Grade with a 67 while rated at a reduced handicap of 8. The score, which represents 7 up on bogey in his handicap, was  Out — 3 6 4 6 4 3 3 5—38 ; in— 4 5 3 5 6 4 4 4 5 —40 — 78. The first 6 was due to a missed putt, the second to nursing his drive and finding the ditch, the third to again diffing his drive. Moses is a powerfully built man who, until recently, played with a pronounced crouch, which made it impossible for him to be accurate. This he evidently recognised, for he now stands in an orthodox manner. With practice he has the makings of a really fine player, provided he is temperamentally sound.(Referee 14 March 1923)

The Referee was a sports newspaper published in Sydney.

The C E F McKay mentioned as playing with my grandfather was Claude Eric Fergusson McKay (1878-1972), one of the proprietors of the newspaper, Smith's Weekly, where my grandfather worked as a journalist and literary editor. He is possibly one of the other men in the photograph. His biography in ADB describes him as 'an enthusiastic golfer, he belonged to the Killara and Elanora Country clubs in Sydney.' E C McKay was also listed as playing in the same competitions but have not, in a quick search been able to find out anything else about hime except that he played golf for many years.

Some years later a paragraph in the Referee 18 January 1934 suggested that my father also played some golf when he was a teenager, probably with his father or encouraged by his father:
KEN MOSES, 'The Little Boy from Manly,' aged 15, 5ft 10 in in height, and 12st 5lb in weight, has been vacillating in his choice of golf or swimming as a sport on which to give his serious attention. Maybe swimming will win for he won the 220 yards swimming handicap at the Manly carnival on Saturday, beating a big field of youngsters who never saw his heels for spray. A disinterested outsider, however, might suggest that in view of his bulk wrestling would be more in his line.
I am not aware of my father playing golf later in his life but swimming continued as a favourite activity.

My grandfather also wrote a book about golf entitled Fore which was published in 1937. R J H Moses died in 1936. My grandfather was known for writing about humorous aspects of life and the book was written to entertain ordinary golfers in the 1930s. The name of the author on the original publication was given as Pa Golf and the illustrations were said to be by Mel - Syd Miller. The book section of Trove shows that the book was also published in Sydney. Investigating newspapers in Trove I found two reviews for the book:

Golf Humor 
Usually the man who regards himself as a born humorist, and insists on trying to be funny, is an infliction, but Mr. R. J. H. Moses, who writes humorously about golf in "Fore" (Eyre and Spotttswoode, London), is that extreme rarity, a funny man who is really amusing. "Personally, we have always been in favor of girl caddies," he writes, in a chapter on how to run a golf club. "The club could dress them like they do the usherettes at the picture palaces. What, we mean is the costumes would be appropriate to the season, and the event in progress — open necks and backless for the open events, high neck and button-up gaiters for the close championship, fur trimmings in January, and mesh net in June, of course, it will be argued that this would inevitably lead to the abandonment of the mixed foursomes; but we're not worrying about that. Who wants to take his troubles to the golf links anyhow? And pay green fees for her?" In the same strain, Mr. Moses writes about tho professional golfer, the new member, the oldest member, club secretaries, the art of putting, golfng temperament, and other things, The text is illustrated with a dozen clever and amusing drawings by "Mel."
 The Age Literary Supplement 24 July 1937 

Author Sees Fun of Game
In a succession of new books on golf it has been left to an Australian, R. J. H. Moses, to provide humour. In 'Fore' (Messrs. Eyre and Spottiswoode) there is as much pleasure as may be obtained in years of keen observation of the frailties of golfers and the incongruities of the game. 
Writing from the point of view of the ordinary club member the author, aided by clever illustration by Mel, does not ridicule the game, but finds fun in it. 'The driving mashie was a club invented long ago for women, but not for golf.' he says. 
Chapters on 'A Lesson from the Pro.' 'Mixing it in Mixed Foursomes.' 'Playing Behind a Slow Four,' 'The Oldest Member,' and 'Golf Cuckoos' reveal in a new light trials and tribulations familiar to every golfer. The book can be confidently recommended.
The Courier Mail 27 August 1937

Once again it shows how useful  Trove can be in providing information that can add to or back up (or sometimes disprove) a family story. 

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Sepia Saturday 316 - Movie cameras

The Sepia Saturday Post 316 shows a cameraman on Bondi Beach in 1951 shooting film. This brought back memories of my father, Ken Moses, and his adventure with his 8mm movie camera which he brought back to Australia in 1956 after a trip to the USA.
Ken Moses at Olympic Park 7 Nov 1956
This photograph appeared in The Argus on 8 November 1956 (thank you Trove) and shows Dad, with camera over his shoulder, having a discussion with an official at Olympic Park, Melbourne. This was three weeks before the Olympic Games and Dad, as a sports' journalist for The Argus, had gone to Olympic Park to cover a training session. He took his new toy with him and was told people carrying movie cameras attempting to enter Olympic premises would not be admitted unless thay carried a pass permitting them to enter with a camera. The Olympic Committee had hired a firm to make an official (16mm) film of the Olympic Games and other cameras were not allowed.

Needless to say this incident became the feature of an article written by my father and published in The Argus. A footnote stated that: "The secretary of the Australian Olympic Federation, Mr. Edgar Tanner, in a recent letter to the president of the Federation of Amateur Cine Societies, said every facility would be given to amateur movie fans to take films in training."

My father did contine to take his camera with him and filmed a number of the events that he covered during the Olympic Games.

Dad also used the camera to take a film of a holiday on my grandparents' farm in Queensland. I can remember him filming us swimming in the creek and also of my younger sister plucking a chook. My mother recalled a section of the film showing my sister on a horse while she was mouthing the words, "let me off". Film nights when Dad showed his movies on the projector were part of family entertainment.

Good family memories however the family film has disappeared. Dad lent it to someone who was out from England to show him what the Australian bush was like. The film has not been seen since. I guess that this story illustrates how important it is for us to keep copies / back up our files.

Postscript: I have just visited my sister who says that there are cans of film in a cupboard and she is sure that one of them contains the Olympic Games film. If so, we will have a DVD made from it. She confirms that the family holiday film has definitely gone.