Friday, October 13, 2017

Memories of a Greta camp kid

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Paul Szumilas recons you’d be hard pressed to have a more enjoyable childhood than his.
Born at the Greta Migrant Camp to Polish immigrant parents, Paul can still vividly running around with a mob of kids, all fellow children of European migrants.
 “For a kid, life in the camp was fascinating,” he recalled.
“We ran around playing games. It was great for the kids. Most of us didn’t know what our parents had been through.”
Operating from 1949-1960, the Greta camp was the largest in Australia, with 100,000 migrants from across Europe settling there after fleeing their World War II-ravaged home continent.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 12 Oct 2017.

Maitland conservationist Chris Richards hopes Masters will help in battle to preserve vintage buildings

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland conservationist Chris Richards hopes the completion of a Master’s degree in heritage conservation will lend extra weight to his mission to preserve the city’s vintage buildings.
Mr Richards graduated from the University of Sydney earlier this year with a Master's degree in heritage conservation.
He said a passion for protecting the city’s ageing structures underpinned his motivation to undertake the study.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 9 Oct 2017.

Centenary service to honour 34th Battalion Maitland's Own involvement in the Battle of Passchendaele

From the Maitland Mercury report:
march, ceremony and aircraft flyover will take place at Maitland Park this Saturday in honour of the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele.
The 34th Battalion, also known as Maitland’s Own, was heavily involved in the World War I battle.
The troop entered the battle on 12 October 1917, but after a period of heavy rain the battlefield was a quagmire. Thick mud stopped the troops’ advance and fouled their weapons.
The battle ended in a disastrous defeat, with more than 50 per cent casualties for the 34th.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury,  8 Oct 2017. from the Gould History Group is the latest web site from the Gould History Group, innovators in history and Genealogy since 1976. It has been created to guide those who are on the journey to discover their past – to learn how to go about it, find and use the tools and how to present and preserve their research. has a threefold aim:
to introduce you to useful products and services – our own and those of others
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Maitland's Passchendaele centenary

The centenary of the battle of Passchendaele will be commemorated in Maitland on Saturday 14th October, with a march and commemorative service at the Cenotaph, Maitland Park, 10.30 am.

The 34th battalion, known as ‘Maitland’s Own’ led the battle on 12 October 1917.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Maitland and the Battle of Passchendaele - Public Talk 3 Cotober

34th Battalion, Maitland’s Own

Public talk by Janis Wilton at Maitland & District Historical Society
3 Cathedral Street, Maitland
5.30 pm
Tuesday 3 October 2017

Maitland Regional Museum display exhibition on 34th Battalion centenary of the First Battle of Passchendaele

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland’s rich war history will be on show from this weekend in honour of the centenary of the First Battle of Passchendaele and the involvement of the 34th Battalion.
Maitland Regional Museum will showcase the people and stories of the 34th Battalion, known as Maitland’s Own, at Brough House for two months from this Saturday.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 28 Sep 2017.

Passchendaele October to December Maitland City Library

The latest Walls That Talk installation at Maitland Library commemorates the Battle of Passchendaele focusing on important photographs taken by Frank Hurley. Read more

Maitland Library exhibits a series of eye-catching installations as part of the Walls That Talk place activation initiative.  Installations celebrate iconic people and places in Maitland, community diversity and have included an exploration of heroes from the world of comics.

Bridging the Past and Future: Australasian Congress on Genealogy 2018

15th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry
Friday 9 to Monday 12 March 2018, Sydney

The Society of Australian Genealogists is excited to be hosting the 15th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Darling Harbour, Sydney. Congress is held every three years under the auspices of AFFHO, the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations and brings together passionate family historians from around Australia, New Zealand and many parts of the world. 
Early Bird Registration closes 20 September 2017
Final registration closes 15 February 2018

Wentworth Mausoleum Walking Tour

In March 1872, William Charles Wentworth died in England, aged 81. His widow, Sarah Wentworth, adhered to William’s wish to be buried on his Vaucluse estate, and ordered their son-in-law Thomas Fisher to construct the burial vault in which William was to be buried.

Walk to the family Mausoleum located 10 minutes’ walk from Vaucluse House, and hear about the extravagant funeral service and the accompanying procession that brought Sydney to a standstill. Listen to commentary from the colonial newspapers about this great event, and enter the rarely opened Mausoleum to hear extracts from the funeral oration extolling Wentworth’s character.

Sunday 8 October 2017 10.30AM–12PM
Sunday 8 October 2017 2PM–3.30PM

Vaucluse House

Wentworth Road, Vaucluse, NSW 2030
House: 02 9388 7922
Tearooms: 02 9388 8188                  More information:

Friday, September 22, 2017

Maitland’s Passchendaele Centenary - Events

From late September 2017, there will be a number of events and exhibitions to mark 100 years since the Battle of Passchendaele. Fought in Flanders, the 34th Battalion (known as Maitland’s Own) was at the front of the charge on 12th October 1917.

29 September, 6 for 6.30    Opening of ‘Maitland’s Own’ exhibition at Brough House, Church Street, Maitland.

3 October, 5.30pm:               Public Lecture,  ‘Maitland and Passchendaele’, at  Maitland and District Historical Society, 3 Cathedral St, Maitland. and opening of ‘Remembering World War I’ display.
Visit the Facebook page:

Open Museums, Open Minds : Maitland

Open Museums, Open Minds

Council is seeking your input and feedback around options for museum experiences in Maitland.

People seek to experience history and culture in diverse ways and not all museum experiences have walls. A museum experience could be an interpretive walk, a pop up creative installation, an open day around a series of buildings, temporary displays, collections or a series of monuments that can be found at different locations around a city. These experiences are more broadly referred to as an open air museum or open museum experience.

A number of groups in Maitland, including Council, are already offering open museum style experiences, including events, history tours, heritage buildings, local library studies and local history programs, Maitland Gaol tours, Maitland Hall of Fame and more.

From now until October 2017 we are inviting you to share your thoughts on areas of Maitland’s heritage that interest you and the types of ways you would like to experience our history.

Vintage looms restored and operating at Brough House

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Two vintage weaving looms that were passed down through generations of East Maitland’s Petherbridge family, have been lovingly restored and are now in full operation at Brough House, Maitland.
It was by chance that Maitland’s Grossmann House acquired the looms after the National Trust approved their acquisition as part of the Grossmann House Collection.
One of the looms was disassembled but both had been lovingly passed down through the weavers of the Petherbridge family.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 20 Sep 2017.

Australian Doctors on the Western Front: France and Belgium 1916-1918

Media: BOOK - hardcover, 496 pages
Author: R. Likeman
Year: 2014
ISBN: 9781925078121
Other: b&w photos, maps, appendix, index
Publisher: Rosenberg
This book covers the carnage on the Western Front from 1916-1918. Likeman provides mini-biographies of each of the more than 700 doctors who served on the Western Front and in the training establishments and hospitals in the UK. Each officer's medical qualifications and career highlights are listed together with any honours and awards, and numerous photographs.
In addition to these accounts, the book also contains chapters on the Australian Imperial Force in England from 1915-1919, and nominal rolls of the Australian medical officers who served in sea transport and in the RAMC.
There is also a section of mini-biographies of the Australian women doctors who served overseas in theatres of war between 1914-1918, and AAMC medical officers who took part in the Samoa Relief Force in 1918.

More information: Australian Doctors on the Western Front

Friday, September 15, 2017

Richmond Vale Rail Museum in the path of a devastating fire

From ABC News:
The Richmond Vale Rail Museum was in the path of a devastating fire near Cessnock yesterday.
The scale of the damage was realised at first light today, when emotional volunteers gathered at the site to survey damage.
Director Graham Smith said there were now asbestos fears, with the substance dropping out of some carriages, prompting Fire and Rescue NSW to declare it a hazardous material site.
"And until they clear the site neither our members nor members of the public will be admitted," he said.
Mr Smith said the damage was worse than first thought and described it as utter devastation.

Full article available at ABC News 14 Sept. 2017

Landmark sale as Belmore Hotel sells

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland’s iconic Belmore Hotel has sold for $9 million in what is reported to be one of the largest NSW regional pub transactions for 2017.
Ray White Hotels sold the High Street premises on behalf of long-time owners the Murphy family, to a prominent local businessman.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 14 Sep 2017.

Maitland’s Passchendaele Centenary Commemoration

Maitland’s Passchendaele Centenary Facebook page has been created for community involvement and communication relating to the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele, 12 October 2017.
A number of events have been planned for the Maitland’s Passchendaele Centenary Commemoration and details of these will be provided through this Facebook page.

60,000 years of Australian History: A Plea for Interdisciplinarity

The Department of History, University of Sydney, is hosting the 2nd Bicentennial Australian History Lecture, to be delivered this year by Professor Lynette Russell, Monash Indigenous Studies Centre, Monash University.
How do we understand, imagine, visualise and create narratives for 50,000 years of Australian history?
The Bicentennial Australian History Lecture is a biennial public lecture hosted by the Department of History in the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, University of Sydney. Distinguished historians offer engaged and critical perspectives on Australia’s past and the legacies of colonisation.
When: Thursday 19 October 2017, 5-7.30pm
5-6pm: Reception in the Nicholson Museum
6-7.30pm: Lecture in General Lecture Theatre
Where: The Quadrangle, The University of Sydney
Cost: Free

The Regents Park is part of the 2017 Maitland Garden Ramble

From the Maitland Mercury report:
When Clint Marquet bought the Regent Street property, called The Regents Park, two years ago the garden had been neglected for at least a decade.
Plants were overgrown, or had died, the pool had been deprived of sunlight and there was piles of rubbish and tree branches growing in long grass.
He started the massive challenge without a green thumb and has proved that perseverance – and some help from two gardeners – can help you conquer the plant world. 

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 12 Sep 2017.

Maitland Post Office and Morpeth identity Graham Dunlop

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The larger than life character from Morpeth has sadly passed away aged 80.
Mr Dunlop was born in Stockton in 1936, the second of five children of Nancy and William Dunlop. The family moved a number of times before finally settling in Morpeth in 1941.
He attended Morpeth Primary School then Maitland Boys High leaving at age 15 when he was recruited to Morpeth Post Office after one of the post office employees broke his leg after falling from a bakers cart.
Mr Dunlop worked for Australia Post for 44 years and retired in November 1996.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 9 Sep 2017.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Maitland's Passchendaele Centenary

A Facebook page has been established for Maitland's Passchendaele Centenary

The Facebook page has been created for community involvement and communication relating to the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele, 12 October 2017.
A number of events have been planned for the Maitland’s Passchendaele Centenary Commemoration and details of these will be provided through this Facebook page.

Four Bolwarra Holden tragics feature in a book on the history of the Holden brand

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Four Bolwarra men have had their stories and photos included in the recently released book "The Passion for Holden" by Harrington resident Joel Wakely.
Bruce Soper, John and David Bambach and Glen Lee are proud owners of Holden's from the 48 -215 (1950) to the last Holden produced in Australia in 2016.The four were delighted to be among the 48 Holden owners featured in the book - 48 because the production of Holdens began in 1948.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 7 Sep 2017.

Spring Harvest Festival: Sydney Living Museums

Taste your history at our unique artisan food market, Spring Harvest Festival, at Elizabeth Farm.

Elizabeth Farm was built by John and Elizabeth Macarthur in 1793.  They quickly established a productive farm with an abundance of fresh produce, grains and livestock. At Spring Harvest Festival, we invite you to step inside  and discover the interiors of Australia’s oldest surviving homestead.
See how the Macarthurs’ dining table would have been set for a formal meal. Explore the kitchen with its wood-fired stove, see what’s growing in the kitchen garden and then discover the food and stories of the colonial dining table as you browse, sample, sip and shop from a handpicked selection of products from Sydney’s finest artisan producers.

Sunday 17 September 2017 10AM–3PMElizabeth Farm
70 Alice Street,
Rosehill, NSW 2142

Maitland's Own: Honoring the 34th Battalion

10.00 am 3.00 pm
30 th SEPTEMBER to 26 th NOVEMBER 2017

BROUGH HOUSE, 73 Church St., Maitland
Contributions of artefacts, memorabilia, stories and photographs have been loaned by the veteran’s
families and the Australian War Memorial. Much of this material has not previously been on public
Entry will be by gold coin or donation (School children free).
Groups are very welcome and exhibition open at other times by appointment.
Morning Tea can be provided @ $6/head.
For Group Bookings: Phone 02 49334450
Email OR

Umbrella Foundation of Australia to host Gatsby-themed event

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Local charity The Umbrella Foundation Australia, is hosting a Gatsby-era themed affair to remember at Mansfield House on Saturday October 7 kicking off at 6:30pm.
It will be an evening of costumes, jazz, fine wine, good food, frivolity and mystery.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 5 Sep 2017.

Turning Morpeth's history into a future

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Trevor Richards clearly remembers the moment – and the feeling of relief – when he realised his investment in the past just might have a future.
Richards is the owner of Campbell’s Store, the antique and craft centre in Morpeth’s Swan Street. It is perhaps the biggest drawcard in the tourist town, attracting up to 5000 people through its doors each week.
These days, particularly on weekends, visitors wander through history in Morpeth, soaking up the nostalgia in the museum, shopping in the stores in restored terraces, and sipping coffee or eating gourmet meals in the restaurants and cafes. That is, once they’ve managed to find a car park. There are always vehicles in Swan Street now.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 3 Sep 2017.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Inside History Magazine

Hot off the press: The latest history and genie resourcesIt's that time of the month where we round up all the history and genealogy collections recently digitised and made available online! Artworks, mental health records, female convict returns and more make the list this month. Check out the August edition of What's New Online, now live on our site.

Writing the National Library of Australia's Great War Book

Professor Peter Stanley uncovered a treasure trove of WWI material in the Library's collection for his new book The Crying Years.
How does a book begin? I can pinpoint the exact moment when the idea for what became The Crying Years popped into my head. Almost five years ago, National Library of Australia pictures curator Nicky Mackay-Sim presented a talk to the Canberra Great War Study Group—otherwise known as The Estaminet.
The Estaminet at that time was a group of Great War researchers, small enough to fit into its then regular meeting place, the tiny ‘Chapel' at the National Museum of Australia, where I was working. Nicky brought along and discussed images from the Library's pictures collection, photographs that hardly any of us—Great War specialists—had seen before. Even before she had finished speaking, I realised that here was a rich and almost entirely unknown visual resource. Soon, I was talking to the Library's publisher, Susan Hall. What about a book exposing and interpreting the Library's photographs of the Great War?

Further information:

Full steam ahead for Hunter heritage trains

From the Maitland Mercury report:
On Saturday, a historic diesel will depart Maitland at 9am for a trip to Gosford where riders will be able to enjoy a day out on the waterfront, before returning at 4.20pm.
The following day travelers will have the opportunity to enjoy a special side by side run with Steam Locomotive 5917 as they ride in a streamliner diesel train from Maitland to Waratah. The train will depart Maitland at 9.10am, returning at 12.05pm.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 31 Aug 2017.

Maitland councillor Arch Humphery is retiring from local government

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Today, 46 years on, amalgamations are still a hot topic but one Cr Humphery is happy to walk away from.
“I’m not staying for the sake of staying,” he said. “I’m leaving on a positive note, from a council that has done so well, particularly under the leadership of Mayor Peter Blackmore and General Manager David Evans,” Cr Humphery said.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 28 Aug 2017.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Traces magazine - for anyone interested in Australian history

Traces magazine is for anyone interested in this country’s history, from ancient Indigenous heritage to European settlement, local history, artefacts and family genealogy.

Due to be launched in December 2017, Traces is the only quarterly printed magazine dedicated to providing its readers with insight into the latest historical research, news, events and heritage projects taking place around Australia. The expert voices of historians, researchers, heritage professionals, genealogists and journalists uncover the fascinating characters and stories of our past.

With the partnership and collaboration of key national and local heritage organisations, as well as state libraries, Traces has its finger on the pulse of heritage news and developments around the country, making it the best consumer publication for anyone passionate about Australian history.


Lavenders Riverside Cafe Camphor Laurel tree to be chopped down

From the Maitland Merc
The owner of a well-known CBD cafe has grave fears for the future of her business after an iconic tree on site has been approved for removal.
The Camphor Laurel tree at Lavenders Riverside Cafe is set to come down, taking with it shade protection and much of the cafe’s ambience.
Maitland Council approved the removal after an assessment was made by tree service company Assurance Treesury report.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 25 Aug 2017.

Home in Church Street heritage precinct will be demolished for housing units

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Local heritage conservationist Chris Richards said a decision to demolish an old Maitland home to make way for four units has broken a long-standing precedent for council.
Maitland councillors voted last night to demolish No. 83 Church Street, Maitland, a move Mr Richards said will have developers rubbing their hands in glee.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 23 Aug 2017.

Reunion for Maitland Girls High Students who completed HSC in 1967

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A special reunion has been organised over the weekend of September 9 and 10 for Maitland Girls High students who commenced their secondary education in 1962.
The students started high school under the Wyndham Scheme in 1962 and took part in the first HSC (Higher School Certificate) in 1967. All girls are invited regardless of sitting the HSC or not.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 22 Aug 2017.

Maitland Council to vote on whether to demolish house in Church Street heritage precinct

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland City Council will vote on Tuesday night on whether to demolish a property that could “open the floodgates” on the protection of heritage buildings.
The house in one of Maitland’s oldest sections at 83 Church Street has been recommended for demolition. If approved, heritage conservationist Chris Richards says it will break a long-standing precedent for council.
“In the past when buildings in Maitland’s heritage zones have been recommended for demolition, it has invariably been on a run down property that has been substantially modified over the years, but this time it’s different,” Mr Richards said. “This property is original, in good restorable order and in a conservation zone.”

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 21 Aug 2017.

Chance for public to ride historic 1923 train Tin Hare

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Kurri Kurri Public School, alongside The Rail Motor Society of Paterson, are offering members of the public a chance to ride a 1923 passenger train from Maitland to Cessnock on Saturday, September 16.
The train has been nicknamed the ‘Tin Hare’ and is one of 10 CPH railmotors still running in NSW. The train’s first journey can be tracked back to 1923.
“The idea behind the day is to bring back some wonderful memories for the residents of Maitland, Kurri and Cessnock who all have fond memories of riding on the rail motors back in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s,” Kurri Kurri Public School spokesperson Davina Dawes said.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 20 Aug 2017.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

68 years since the first migrant ship berthed in Newcastle

From the Maitland Mercury report:
This story was originally published in 2016 for the 67th anniversary of the MV Fairsea’s arrival.It has been republished to coincide with Saturday August 19 2017 marking the 68th anniversary. 
It may be 67 years on but Vitaly (Victor) Lupish, remembers disembarking the MV Fairsea at Newcastle’s Lee Wharf as if it was yesterday.
Aged 14, with no English and eyes as big as saucers, Mr Lupish set foot on Australian soil to begin a journey that would shape the rest of his life.
Friday marks the 67th anniversary of the arrival of the Fairsea which carried 1896 refugees from Europe to Australia. It was the first migrant ship to Newcastle.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 18 Aug 2017.

Maitland Basketball Association celebrates 60 years

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland Basketball Association is about to celebrate a major milestone marking 60 years since its formation.
The association has a proud history starting in 1957 in James Street, Maitland behind the current site of Maitland Regional Art Gallery.
From its humble beginnings the association has grown to become one of the premier basketball associations in country NSW and boasts players and club officials representing the city at State and national levels.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 15 Aug 2017.

Maitland council is calling for help to decide what museums in Maitland should look like

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland City Council is seeking the help of locals to have their say on what type of museum experience they want to see developed within the area.
The initiative is part of the Open Museums, Open Minds project which is hoped to revitalise the area as well as the museum experience itself.
Interested participants can select from a variety of museum experiences including: interpretative walks, pop up museums or creative installations, open days for historic buildings, temporary displays, traditional museums or even a series of monuments that can be found at different locations across the city.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 11 Aug 2017.

National Family History Month

Family history and genealogy is one of the most popular hobbies around the world. There are over 250,000 Australians who are members of family history related organisations and the month has broad appeal across Australia. Libraries, archives and other organisations also participate in National Family History Month.

During August events will be conducted across Australia and online that focus on genealogy, family history, heraldry and related subjects. Check your state for details of local events and remember to check online events which you can do at home.
National Family History Month (NFHM) which is held in Australia every August,
an initiative of AFFHO (Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations).

Pop! Celebrate popular culture across the decades - Newcastle Region Library

Celebrate History Week with Newcastle Region Library. View some of their favourite pop culture items from the Heritage Collection and discover the stories behind the objects. Items will be available to view in the Local History Lounge from 1.00pm – 4.00pm.
When: Monday 4 September 2017 to Wednesday 6 September 2017, 1:00-4:00pm
Where: Local History Lounge, Newcastle Region Library, Laman Street, Newcastle
Cost: Free
Contact: or 02 4974 5330

Pop! goes the beach: Women’s Popular Culture on Newcastle’s Beaches

Pop! Goes the beach features in a session on Significant Women of the Hunter in History Illuminated, Lake Macquarie’s inaugural festival of history. The full program is available at
When: Monday 4 September 2017, 6:00pm-7:00pm
Where: Toronto Library, Corner Brighton Avenue and Pemell Street, Toronto
Cost: Free, book now
Contact: or 02 4921 0463

History Week: Annual History Lecture 2017

The History Council of NSW is excited to announce one of its most popular events, the Annual History Lecture – ‘The Popular is Political: struggles over national culture in 1970s Australia’ – will be delivered by Associate Professor Michelle Arrow. The lecture will take place during our flagship festival, History Week, on Tuesday 5 September 2017. Join us for all things history & networking

When: 6pm-9pm, Tuesday 5 September 2017
Where: The Mint, 10 Macquarie Street, Sydney
Tickets: $45 HCNSW members / $50 General admission (excl fees)
Contact: 02 9252 8715,

Historic Arnott's Biscuits building for sale at Morpeth

From the Maitland Mercury report:
If only the walls of Morpeth's former Arnott's Biscuits building could talk they would tell a tale of a thriving river port turned internationally acclaimed tourist destination and a family business that became an Aussie food icon.
It is with a heavy heart that founder William Arnott’s great great great grand son, Stephen and wife Allison are selling the Swan Street flagship where the business started in 2003 and now sells their Morpeth Sourdough products.
After the sale of the property Morpeth Sourdough will continue to distribute their sourdough and muesli nationally.
The building will go to auction on Saturday, September 16 at 1.30pm in the Elgin Street, Maitland office of McGrath Estate Agents.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 9 Aug 2017.

Historic Lorn home Warrane sold

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A local family has snapped up historic Lorn property Warrane, in what could be the most expensive residential sale in Maitland’s history.
The Belmore Road home, believed to be about 130 years old, was purchased in June after nearly 18 months on the market.
Marketing agent Rhonda Nyquist of PRD nationwide said there was plenty to attract buyers to the Victorian-style home.
“It’s uniqueness – it’s a quality heritage home on two acres that’s retained a lot of its Victorian splendour,” she said.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 7 Aug 2017.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

After 30 years Morpeth Tea Pot and Tea Cosy exhibition draws to a close

From the Maitland Mercury report:
It started out in 1987 with a stunning array of 53 weird tea pots and will wind up later this month with more than 4000 of the vessels on show.
Morpeth Tea Pot and Tea Cosy exhibition will run for the last time from August 17 to 27, marking the end of an era in Maitland tourism.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 3 Aug 2017.

Ukulele group 'Ukastle Ukestra' at Grossmann House / Brough House

Friends of Grossmann House event:
For a fun afternoon at Brough House, local Ukulele group Ukastle Ukestra  will play a variety of music, ranging from pop, folk, world music and jazz. Their music is infectious so singing along and dancing are part of the fun. It is a family friendly afternoon, 2-5pm on Saturday August 19. People are encouraged to wear their most “out there” shirt. Homemade pizza will be served at half time. Cost $25/20 NT members.

Saturday 19 August, 2.00pm to 5.00pm
Brough House, 73 Church street, Maitland
Bookings essential

Helen 49344087, 0427 977 392

Trove Newspapers May-July 2017 Update

During the past three months Trove has added over 26 million new records to their collection. Of these over 5 million are articles from old newspapers, taking the current total of old newspapers records to a whopping 211,080,170! That’s right … over 211 MILLION records. All online, and all free for anyone to use.
Here’s the list the latest titles they’ve released over the past few months, as well as those that are coming soon.

See Genealogy & History News,  28 July 2017.

Maitland in 1960s

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The 1960s have been renowned for opening up the Hunter Region to the outside world.
Fashion changed from being very simple and traditional into something more relaxed. At the same time there were countless advancements in technology and the expansion of suburbs increased the need for faster and more reliable forms of transport.
Here is only a handful of archived photographs from the 1960s, giving a small snapshot of life.

Full report available at Maitland Mercury, 27 Jul 2017.

Historic St Paul's Rectory at Paterson up for auction

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A key part of Hunter Anglican Church history, the landmark building will go under the auctioneer’s hammer on site on Saturday, September 2.
Charlie Lund of McGrath Real Estate has listed the grand Edwardian property which has been tastefully renovated to honour its timeless beauty.
The rectory was built in 1906 after the former rectory was demolished.
Original cedar from the demolished residence was used in the current building most notably including the cedar skirting and French doors in the drawing room, dining room and master bedroom.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 31 Jul 2017.

Friday, July 28, 2017

How Maitland has changed in 10 years | Photos

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland’s population is forecast to reach more than 104,000 by 2036.  About 14,000 new home lots have been approved and a 20-year supply of land identified for future residential purposes.
As Maitland's population changes, so does the face of the city.
We took a look at Google Street View photographs from 2007 and 2008, then compared the images to today. The changes are significant, with some locations completely unrecognisable.
Take a look at the changes in the gallery above.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 26 Jul 2017.

Les Darcy mural unveiled at aged care home

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The tale of legendary boxer Les Darcy will continue to be passed down through the Hunter aided by the unveiling of a large mural at a Maitland aged care home.
The image, by long-time Newcastle Herald cartoonist Peter Lewis, appeared in the Herald and Maitland Mercury earlier this year as part of the centenary commemorations of Darcy’s death in 1917. 
Opal Maitland manager Julie Lewis, who is also the wife of Peter, said the piece was already a talking point among those at the home.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 26 Jul 2017.

Maitland & District Historical Society’s guest speaker - Photographing Maitland in the Nineteenth Century

On Tuesday, 1 August, the Maitland & District Historical Society’s guest speaker will be Judy Nicholson, the Local Studies Librarian at the Maitland City Library. Her topic will be ‘Photographing Maitland in the Nineteenth Century’.

In this talk, Judy will touch on early photographic equipment and processes, but her main purposes will be to identify the main photographers who were active in Maitland between 1845 and 1900 and to provide examples of their work. Among the first... commercial photographers of Maitland were Morris Moss, George Kedwell, Harrie Ballard, Ernest Cameron and Jacob Audet. Some of these men focused on studio portraits of individuals and small groups and on business advertising, but a few did outside work capturing such things as river scenes and grand houses. In these early days of photography there were many who operated studios, and they left behind rich bodies of work about the people and places they captured.

The talk will be given at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 1 August at the Society’s Rooms at 3 Cathedral St, Maitland, and members of the public are most welcome. The Society asks for a gold coin donation to cover the costs of refreshments.
Contact details for the Maitland & District Historical Society are:
Phone: 0438 623299
Email: maitlandhistorical

National Archives Preservation Facility

The Australian Government has officially opened the new National Archives Preservation Facility in Canberra.
The national archival collection comprises millions of Australian Government records, reflecting our history and identity. They include paper and audiovisual files, models, maps, plans and photographs. The Archives is charged with preserving, storing and making accessible these records for the benefit of all Australians.
The National Archives Preservation Facility provides contemporary storage for more than 100 kilometres of paper records and nine kilometres of audiovisual records. End to end, the records stored at the new facility would circle Uluru about 12 times. This represents around one-quarter of the national archival collection and one of the largest movements of official records in the Archives' history.

Maitland and Beyond Family History is opening its doors at The Barracks

From the Maitland Mercury report:
If you’ve ever thought about tracing your family history, make August the month to do it.
Maitland and Beyond Family History is opening its doors twice a week next month so the past can be uncovered.
Experts will be on hand to help search for details for free to celebrate national family history month. 

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 25 Jul 2017.

Maitland Clothing Museum launches Winter Warmers

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Those with a passion for winter fashion are in for a treat at the Maitland Clothing Museum’s current exhibition at Brough House.
Winter Warmers showcases iconic clothing pieces from the 1920s to the 1980s.
The items exemplify the decade or hold historical significance of their own.
For example, one of the coats on display belonged to German woman whose home was bombed during World War II in 1945.
She escaped the home with next to nothing but her velvet jacket, which she passed on to her daughter who migrated to Australia.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 24 Jul 2017.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Hunter Living Histories - Newcastle East Women’s History Walk​

This DIY history walk was researched by Jude Conway, on the suggestion of the Newcastle women’s group AWE and the Gender, Generation and Culture Network at the University of Newcastle.
The walk tells stories of Awabakal women, the first Newcastle women’s surf club in 1908 and International Women’s Day marches. Some of the women highlighted on the walk include Joy Cummings, Irene Hall, Dymphna Cusack, Del de Glorion, Jean Perrett and Margaret Henry.

Click HERE to DOWNLOAD Newcastle East women’s walking GUIDE

90th anniversary of the opening of the Menin Gate Memorial

Australian War Memorial
As we commemorate the 90th anniversary of the opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on Monday 24th July, we will remember Private William Charles Delaney, who was killed in action in Belgium during the First World War.

Our Last Post Ceremonies take place daily in the Commemoration Area at the Memorial, and can also be viewed live on Facebook or our dedicated Last Post Ceremony YouTube Channel

Australian War Memorial - Third Battle of Ypres

The Last Post Ceremony on 31 July will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Third Battle of Ypres with the story of Corporal Theodore Willard Wright, who was killed in action in Belgium during the First World War.
Our Last Post Ceremonies take place daily in the Memorial's Commemoration Area, and can also be viewed live on Facebook or via our dedicated Last Post Ceremony YouTube Channel. Our website includes all the upcoming Last Post Ceremonies.

Alina Mackee followed her food heritage and created The Cunning Culinarian

From the Maitland Mercury report:
When Alina Mackee set her eyes on an old brick building in High Street it was love at first sight.
She knew it was the place to unite her love of home cooking and giving cooking classes, and as soon as the lease was sorted she started designing the space to illuminate the historical features.
Ms Mackee has added a classical touch to the cafe, called The Cunning Culinarian, to make it feel like a home away from home.
Classic paneling to match the upstairs area and an antique classic tile have helped the mum of three capture the homely style.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 20 Jul 2017.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Maitland council accepts offer for $96,000 worth of funding under NSW Heritage Grants program

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Three of the city’s significant historical landmarks are set for upgrades courtesy of $96,000 worth of grants offered to Maitland City Council.
The grants were offered to council by the NSW Heritage Grants program which will assist with the continued implementation of adopted management plans for key heritage sites across the State.
A works grant of $40,000 has been offered towards stage two implementation of the Walka Water Works interpretation plan and a works grant of $36,250 was offered for Glebe Cemetery conservation works program, both grants requiring a matching contribution from council.
Two grants of $10,000 relate to the preparation of interpretation plans for Glebe Cemetery and Maitland Jewish Cemetery.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 12 Jul 2017.

The Great Irish Famine Commemoration Committee

The Great Irish Famine Commemoration Committee
The first official fundraising event for The Great Irish Famine Commemoration Committee, “Stories by the fireside with Perry”, will be held
@ History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney
on 21st July 2017, from 6pm to 8pm
The ticket price is $35 per person.
Buy tickets via their
Facebook page or Eventbrite

Indigenous Oral Histories Seminar

Indigenous Oral Histories Seminar
From community-driven and university-based projects, to the collecting initiatives of libraries, archives and museums, the oral history work being undertaken with Indigenous communities across Australia is extensive.
In this seminar, you’ll hear from Associate Professor Heidi Norman, who has expertise in conducting research about Aboriginal land rights, Dr. Dino Hodge, an activist and academic renowned for his explorations of Indigenous Australian queer histories, and archivist Kirsten Thorpe, who leads the Indigenous Services team at the State Library of NSW. The session will be chaired by Kate Waters – an experienced professional historian with expertise in ethical approaches to conducting oral history interviews with Aboriginal communities.

Saturday 29 July, 2017
11am-12.45pm (morning tea will be provided from 10:30am)
History House, 133 Macquarie St, Sydney.

End of an Era For ‘Australian Family Tree Connections’ Magazine?

It was only back in a couple of months ago that Australia’s Inside History magazine made the announcement to cease printing. Now we have more big (but very sad) news from Australian genealogy magazine scene.
The following comes from Michele Stephens, Editor of the Australian Family Tree Connections Magazine and was written in the June 2017 issue.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I have to announce this is the last issue I will be editing. Unfortunately, I am not well and must do something I thought I would never do … retire!
As you know, this magazine has been my passion since I created it 25 years ago and I always envisaged publishing and editing it until the end of my days but, sadly, that is not to be. I need to slow down and learn to enjoy taking it easy – a challenge, as I was simply not built to be idle!
Of course, before I step down forever, I will be doing everything in my power to enable the magazine to continue ‘under new management’ which might even include a ‘hand over’ period where I function for a few months as ‘consulting editor’. All options are open for consideration.My inconvenient health, of course means that there may be a delay between this and the next issue, however I will keep you updated via our website.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Maitland Regional Museum holds fundraiser - Let Them Eat Cake at Brough House

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The historical ties between the Napoleonic Wars and the town of Maitland will be on show at a fundraiser for Maitland Regional Museum.
The July 16 event, titled Let Them Eat Cake, will help the museum fund exhibitions and pay for ongoing costs.
It will be the museum’s first fundraiser since it moved into a permanent space at Brough House in January.
The afternoon is one of several Napolean themed events the museum will hold this year.
Maitland Regional Museum president Janece McDonald said the Napolean era had a lot of influence on Maitland, exemplified in street names such as Napolean Lane and Blomfield Street.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 4 Jul 2017.

Australian National Maritime Museum - Escape from Pompeii

Many people know of the tragic eruption in 79 AD that buried the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum under huge avalanches of volcanic ash and debris, preserving them and the eruption’s victims for 2000 years. Few, however, would know that the Roman navy attempted to evacuate people affected by the eruption or its important role in the success of the Roman Empire. The fleet was led by the fleet’s commander Pliny the Elder, who was not a military man – he was famous for his writings, not for any warlike exploits. In 79 AD he had just completed his Natural History, an encyclopedia of how the Romans understood the world around them – a reference work for the masses that would continue to be used for the next 2,000 years.

The exhibition uncovers the role of the Roman navy and its importance to the Roman Empire. Discover how a non-military man like Pliny the Elder could be its commander, what its ships were like and who crewed them. It looks at Pompeii as a maritime and riverine port, and how it tapped into the trade boom brought about by Rome’s mastery of the sea – thanks to its navy. The exhibition uncovers the role of the Roman navy and its importance to the Roman Empire. Discover how a non-military man like Pliny the Elder could be its commander, what its ships were like and who crewed them. It looks at Pompeii as a maritime and riverine port, and how it tapped into the trade boom brought about by Rome’s mastery of the sea – thanks to its navy.

Daily, 9.30am–5pm, from 31 March to 3 September 2017. Daily, 9.30am–5pm, from 31 March to 3 September 2017.

Australian National Maritime Museum
2 Murray Street Darling Harbour

Verses: Poets in residence in Maitland

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Have you spotted a person at your local cafe with their head down, scribbling on a piece of parchment? They are probably one of the eight poets in residence around Maitland.
As part of Maitland City Council’s cultural program, a group of artists have settled into the city’s countless cafes to practice their craft.
“The program is called Verses,” Maitland City Council librarian Keryl Collard said.
“They will be writing poetry and enriching the cultural life of the cafe.”
Verses is a pilot program and will operate for three to six months. 
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 2 Jul 2017.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Identifying Battlefield Remains : Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology

Identifying Battlefield Remains : Forensic anthropology and archaeology

The Military History Society of NSW Inc. host Dr Denise Donlon, who will illustrate the methods employed by archaeologists and anthropologists to identify battlefield sites and remains.

When: Sat 8 July, 2:00-3:00pm
Where: Anzac Room, Level 2, 99 York Street, Sydney
Cost: Free – Bookings essential. Please RSVP by Wednesday 5 July

New website: WW1 stories from Sydney Living Museums

The stories on this website provide a panoramic view of how World War I was experienced by people associated with the historic houses and places managed by Sydney Living Museums. 
The stories are often poignant and sometimes heartbreaking. Most are of individuals: combatants, pacifists, patriotic fundraisers and anti-war activists. Other, larger, stories speak to broader national narratives relating to ideas of patriotism and expressions of jingoism. Still others touch on the aftermath of war and the memorialisation of those who had enlisted for active service, including those who made the supreme sacrifice.

WW1 stories further information

Woody Udovenko to tell his life’s story at Maitland & District Historical Society

Woody Udovenko to tell his life’s story at the July meeting of the Maitland & District Historical Society
Tuesday 4 July at the Society's Rooms at 3 Cathedral Street, commencing at 5.30pm.
The guest speaker at the Maitland & District Historical Society’s July meeting will be Wolodymyr (Woody) Udovenko of Vacy. His topic will be A Life’s Journey: from War-Torn Europe to the Valley of the Paterson River, with Many Adventures Along the Way
Woody’s life began in war-torn Europe in 1943, his parents forced to labour on behalf of the German war effort after being transported from their home in eastern Ukraine to Lubeck in northern Germany. After the war the thoroughly displaced family (mother, father and three boys) made their way to Naples and eventually boarded the Nelly 2 for the trip to Australia. The ship broke down in the Great Australian Bight and nearly had to be abandoned, but they eventually made it to Melbourne in September 1949. Woody’s father was immediately taken away to work, and the rest of the family was moved around to migrant camps in Greta and Cowra before being re-united with him and taking up permanent residence in Melbourne. Approaching adulthood, Woody developed an interest in photography, and he made it a career which he followed in Europe and the USA for some years before returning to Australia and getting involved in movie photography in Sydney. Late in the 1980s, the family purchased a farm property in Vacy where in something of a nod to Woody’s father (a Cossack) they developed a horse stud. Meanwhile Woody pursued an interest in the history of the local area.
Members of the public are most welcome to attend the talk. The Society asks for a gold-coin donation to cover the cost of light refreshments.
Contact details for the Maitland & District Historical Society are:
          Mobile: 0438 623299

Who shafted Les Darcy? Audio recording and transcript

Researcher Roger Ley revisits the century old cold case concerning Les Darcy and his disappearance. He answers the questions - What made Australian boxing legend Les Darcy stow away to America two days before the 1916 Conscription plebiscite?
What crime led Australian and American newspapers to vilify him mercilessly?
Why did three American state governors ban him from boxing?
Recording date: 24 May 2017
Audio and transcript:

Maitland High Street through the years

From the Maitland Mercury report:
As work continues on stage two of The Levee project in Maitland, take a look back at the ever-changing face of the High Street.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 28 Jun 2017.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Royal Australian Historical Society - History House project update

On 3 January 2017 the Development Application for the History House Project was approved. This year the focus has been on fundraising efforts, with an additional $375,000 raised so far in 2017.

The next major milestone is to undertake geotechnical investigations in the loading dock at the Phillip Lane Entrance. These tests will be used to validate the detailed structural design plans. Permissions to undertake these tests are currently being submitted to the Office of Environment and Heritage.

The Society would like to thank its members and friends for their ongoing support for this project as we enter the pre-construction phase of our plans. The building extensions will provide increased space to members, visitors and staff, improved disability access, provide for the urgent and necessary replacement of the building’s lift, and include space for digital media initiatives. It will ensure the long-term operational and financial viability of the RAHS so we can continue to deliver our overall constitutional objective – the advancement of education in the field of Australian history.

RAHS History House project further information.

Indigenous Oral Histories Seminar

From community driven and university based projects, to the collecting initiatives of libraries, archives and museums, the oral history work being undertaken with Indigenous communities across Australia is extensive.

Indigenous Oral Histories Seminar
Saturday 29 July 2017
11 am - 12.45 pm (with morning tea from 10.30 am)
History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney

In this seminar, you will hear from Associate Professor Heidi Norman, who has expertise in conducting research about Aboriginal land rights, Dr Dino Hodge, an activist and academic renowned for his explorations of Indigenous Australian queer histories and activist Kirsten Thorpe, who leads the Indigenous Services team at the State Library of NSW.

The session will be chaired by Kate Waters, an experienced professional historian with expertise in ethical approaches to conducting oral history interviews with Aboriginal communities,.
Registration: Members $20 and Non-members $30
For all enquiries please contact Cheryl Ware by email

Click here for more information and to register online

'Stitched up' exhibition - The Newcastle Industrial School 1867-1871

The Lock-Up in partnership with Timeless Textiles presents ‘STITCHED UP’ commemorating 150 years since the Industrial Girls’ School opened in Newcastle.
Exhibition includes 24-renowned international and national textile artists responding to stories associated with the 193 girls who were at The Newcastle Industrial School (1867 and 1871). The girls lived at the former military Barracks at the Newcastle Government Domain, now known as the James Fletcher site on Watt Street.

The exhibition is curated by Anne Kempton, Creative Director of Timeless Textiles and artist Wilma Simmons. In 2016 Anne and Wilma approached Hunter Living Histories about concepts for an exhibition based on women and incarceration, after discussions it was suggested by Dr. Ann Hardy and historian Jane Ison that the Industrial Girls School commemorating 150th years in 2017 would provide a rich historical and artistic interpretation.

‘STITCHED UP’ at The Lock Up – 23 JUNE – 6 AUGUST 2017

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Greta Migrant Camp in photos

From the Maitland Mercury article:
Greta Migrant Camp was the biggest of its kind in Australia, taking in 100,000 refugees escaping war torn Europe after World War II.
June marks the anniversary of the first draft of migrants in 1949. Take a look at the history of the camp in photos.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 15 Jun 2017.

Australian Historical Association Conference 2017: Draft program available

The Australian Historical Association has released a draft program for its annual conference, held this year at the University of Newcastle from 3 to 7 July 2017.

This year’s theme is ‘Entangled Histories’ in reference to the growing use of ‘entanglements’ as a key theoretical term in the humanities and social sciences. It reflects the increasing move away from narrowly defined ‘national’ histories towards an understanding of history as an interlinked whole, where identities and places are the products of mobilities and connections. The conference theme will explore the ways in which peoples, ideas and goods circulated across the boundaries of empires and nations, and viewing all cultures and societies as connected.

Rare coin fetches $1600 at Maitland auction

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A rare uncirculated coin has fetched $1600 at a Maitland auction, $400 above its reserve price.
Maitland and District Coin Club sales secretary Steve Schumacher said last Monday’s auction attracted about 50 people and resulted in some top sales.
“Most items sold over the reserve with a 1938 Australian Crown bringing $120, an Australian 1946 Penny fetching $55 and a 1954 Florin $50,” Mr Schumacher said.
But the highlight of the auction was the sale of the 1967 Australian Pattern Goose Dollar which had a reserve price of $1200.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 15 Jun 2017.

Grossmann House and Museum of Clothing - Opera Workshop Tour

Friends of Grossmann House supporters have the opportunity to join with the Museum of Clothing and the Maitland Regional Museum Committee on an
upcoming bus trip to the Opera Workshop Tour in Sydney on June 21.
$80.00 Cost is all inclusive - coach travel, tour fee, morning tea and light lunch
Limited seats
Will advise pickup points but expect a 9am departure.
Ring Sandy Earle at 4988 6454 - to express interest
messages can be left
Seat booked once payment is received

Maitland City Hall of Fame inducts second round of people

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A group of Maitland’s highest achievers in various fields has been honoured with induction into the Maitland City Hall of Fame.
The second round of the awards recognised 19 local heroes, 12 posthumously at a ceremony on Tuesday at Maitland Regional Art Gallery.
The hall of fame is the brain child of Maitland councillor Brian Burke, himself a renowned rugby league halfback who helped lead the Maitland Pumpkin Pickers to four premierships between 1965 and 1973. In 1972 he was named Country Rugby League Player of the Year.
It was a plan he instigated during his first term on council in 1999 and one he helped bring to fruition last year.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 13 Jun 2017.

Historian Cynthia Hunter has been included on the 2017 Queens Birthday honours list

From the Maitland Mercury report:
When historian Cynthia Hunter started delving into the Lower Hunter’s past in the 1970s, she never imagined she would be made an Member of the Order of Australia.
Her lifelong passion has seen her transform into an author who has written more than 20 books and publications and now she has been included in this year’s Queens Birthday honours list.
“It is nice to be recognised for what I’ve been doing in the field of history,” Mrs Hunter said.
“My research work has provided a platform for others to benefit from, especially if they are doing research themselves.
“I was fortunate enough to do some quite in-depth studies on areas within the Hunter but also further afield too.
“It’s been a lifelong interest and it’s really been nice that the work has been enjoyed by the people who are interested in history.”

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 12 Jun 2017.