Society of Australian Genealogists …. the Beginnings...

Most Aussies who’ve been doing genealogy for a little while will be familiar with the major genealogical societies in each state: QFHS, GSQ, AIGS, GSV, WAGS, GSNT, GST, SAGHS, HAGSOC and SAG. Today’s story focusses on the Society of Australian Genealogists in Sydney, which we commonly refer to as SAG. While recently browsing on Trove (as you do on cold, almost-winter evenings), I came across the following article which tells of the beginnings of the Society … So as you can see the Society of Australian Genealogists was formed way back in 1932. This made me go looking to see when the other state societies were formed, and here’s what I found: 1941 – Genealogical Society of Victoria 1964 – Heraldry & Genealogical Society of Canberra (also now known as Family History ACT) 1973 – South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society (also now known as GenealogySA) 1973 – Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies 1978 – Genealogical Society of Queensland 1979 – Queensland Family History Society 1979 – Western Australian Genealogical Society 1980 – Genealogical Society of Tasmania (now known as Tasmanian FHS) 1981 – Genealogical Society of the Northern Territory A snippet from the above 1932 article states… “Mr. H. J. Rumsey, said he was convinced that no country had more complete records from the time of its occupation by civilised people than Australia. Mr. Rumsey indicated the various sources of information available for research work, both in Australia and Great Britain … To help one another in genealogical study, Mr. Rumsey advocated the use of a card index system, so that members could be supplied with standard cards to record their investigation. Ultimately, he said, it was to be hoped that a genealogical reference library of their own...

Trove Tuesday: “There’s Gold in Them Hills …”...

The tiny town of Gumeracha in the Adelaide Hills is well known these days for being the home of the world’s biggest rocking horse, the annual medieval fair, and of course wines. But believe it not, at one stage, Gumeracha was well known for its goldfields. Many who have connections to the area would have heard of Watts Gully Road at Forreston (previously North Gumeracha), this was one area where gold was, and was first found by James Watts back in 1884. Dead Horse Gully is near Watts Gully Road, and this was another of Gumeracha’s gold diggings areas. For my Trove Tuesday post, I’ve found the following article which discusses the Dead Horse Gully goldfields … and for someone who didn’t know about them (yes me), I found it fasinating, so thought I’d share it with you. Note: old references to this place list is as Deadhorse Gully (two words), or even Dead-Horse Gully (with a hyphen), current day spelling is Dead Horse Gully (three words). For consistency, I’m using the three word version. From the South Australian Register, dated Saturday 14 March 1885 … THE GOLD FIND AT GUMERACHA. During the last few days large number of men have arrived at Dead-Horse Gully on the gold rush. Now nearly 100 men are working in the gully around Mount Crawford. The rush was so great that on Thurs-day Hill & Co. put on a special coach from Adelaide. The rush is at Mount Crawford, about seven miles north-east of Gumeracha. To get at the field it is necessary to turn off the main road at North Gumeracha-road and to go right through that township. For the first three miles there is a good district road, but after that there is merely a vehicle...

Sudden Death at the Railway Station...

Some days just don’t go as planned, and 22 June 1869 was certainly one of those day for the Elphick family of Adelaide. There’s certain words when researching that grab a researchers attention. One being the phrase ‘sudden death’ with another being ‘inquest’. Both of these we terms I came across in the newspapers on Trove, when looking for info on Mr Lonetester’s 3x great grandpa, William Kennard Elphick. I imagine that Tuesday the 22nd of June 1869 started out as a fairly standard day for the Elphick family of Adelaide. William Kennard Elphick was out and about, and made his way to the Adelaide Railway Station on North Terrace by late afternoon, either to head out or head home. However that’s when tragedy struck. While walking down the stairs William collapsed, and died … INQUEST ON MR W.K. ELPHICK On Wednesday, Mr. T. Ward, J.P., held an inquest at the Adelaide Hospital, for the purpose of ascertaining the cause of the death of William Kennard Elphick. A Jury of 13 having been empanelled, and Mr. J. M. Dowie chosen foreman, the following evidence was taken, after the body had been viewed:— James March Stacy, bootmaker, said yesterday afternoon about 4.20 he was at the Railway Station. Saw a crowd assembled carrying the deceased, whose body he had just seen in the dead-house. Recognised it as that of W. K. Elphick, late of the Burra Mine. Some females bathed his head with cold water. Felt his pulse, and found only one pulsation. Then placed his hand on the heart, which had ceased to beat. Dr. Phillips then came in. Left the deceased in charge of the police, and afterwards communicated with his friends. By a Juror—The cold water was applied whilst he was feeling the pulse of the deceased. James Phillips, surgeon, said he had made a...

Hit By Two Cars, Neither Drivers Stopped...

Tuesday … so it’s Trove Tuesday time. And again Trove has come up with an amazing tid-bit relating to my family. Ok, technically it’s Mr Lonetester’s family, but you get the point. And again it’s something I never would have thought of (of known about) if it wasn’t for the wonders of Trove. I will admit I haven’t done a whole lot of research on this side of the family, so am still learning a lot as I go, however I do know that Richard John Tester survived this accident and lived on for another 20 odd years, and is buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery in Victoria,...

Trove Tuesday: Gumeracha’s Annual Ploughing Match in 1860...

Oh how times have changed. I must say that the thought of going to a ploughing match really doesn’t excite me, but obviously it was a different time back in the mid-1800s when Gumeracha’s Annual Ploughing Match held, and it was certainly something to look forward to, as it brought out the whole town plus more! Browsing on Trove certainly brings up a bunch of articles relating to Gumeracha’s Annual Ploughing Match. This seems to have started in 1850 or there abouts, and continued at least until the 1890s. Anyway I’ve chosen to share the one from the South Australian Weekly Chronicle, dated 11 August 1860. As the article mentions it was held on land owned by William Beavis Randell, near the Gumeracha Mill (now Randell’s Mill B&B), and over 600 people attended! Even the Gumeracha Rifle Volunteers were there, and went through their drill. It must have been quite an event. There were 9 men competing, and 8 boys, and they were … And the winners were … The article is a long one, and goes on to discuss the dinner and speeches that were held afterwards. If you wish to read the full article you can find it here. After reading the article, I must say I’ve changed my mind, and I’d love to see what a ploughing match is like. But I mean one back then, not one now. It was truly a different way of life back...

One Obituary, So Many Clues...

Obituaries (aka obits) are fabulous if you can find them. While browsing around on Trove (aka Troving) recently I came across this obit for Private Charles Spurgeon McCullough. This gent is one of my great grandma’s (Dorothy McCullough) brothers – so that makes him my great grand uncle. It’s not a long one in comparison to some – but you really have the be in awe of the detail that this obit includes. While this is a great read for anyone (family or not), for this post I have decided to extract each detail one-by-one to highlight just how valuable an obituary really can be. And while newspapers may not be 100% accurate, they can be used as a guide. So let’s start … we know his name – the article names him as C.S. McCullough – no it doesn’t give his actual name, but it doesn’t just list him as Private McCullough or Mr C. McCullough either. It has both initials, so that’s a bonus. and says that he was in the Australian army and in which battalion – the article lists him as a Private in the army “who left with the 4th Reinforcements for the 6th Battalion of the A.I.F.” we learn his position in the army – “Private C.S. McCullough” this was in World War 1 – the newspaper date was in 1915 the date of his death – the article lists his date of death as 13 July no year of death given but it is inferred that it is the same year as the newspaper (1915) he has an older brother as he is listed as “the second son” his parents are listed as Rev. R. and Mrs McCullough his father’s title is...

South Australia’s Record Breaking Heatwave...

At present Adelaide is the middle of another heatwave, we’re melting on our third day of over 40°C. It is one of those “burn-the-moment-you-step-outside” type of heatwaves. The “burn-yourself-on-the seatbelt” type heatwaves. On the plus-side this weather is absolutely fabulous getting your washing dry, though you will get sunburnt while you’re hanging it out. While South Australia usually gets one or two heatwaves a summer, they usually hit later in summer. So to say that is has hit us all rather unawares, is an understatement! For those who come from the colder parts of the world (ie. everywhere else), I just wanted to claify what a “heatwave” is defined as. The Bureau of Meteorology define it as “three or more days of unusually high maximum and minimum temperatures in any area”. Which is similar to my understanding of it, which is that it was a run of three consecutive days with the temperature 35°C or higher. But hot weather in Adelaide is nothing new. A quick look on Trove comes up with numerous articles which mention the “record breaking” weather. And while it hit 45°C the other day, it has been higher than that back in 1939! A quick check on the fahrenheit to celsius converter tells me that 116.9°F is 47°C. So yes, that’s most certainly M-E-L-T-I-N-G weather!! And just think … back in 1939 they wouldn’t have had all the comfort that we do with air conditioners in our house, car, workplace, shopping centres etc. So think what it would have been like back...

The Newspaper 100 Years Ago...

It has often been said, and rightly so, about many things, that they simply don’t make things they way they were. These days you buy something, use for a bit, then throw it out and buy a new one when it breaks. Back then, things were MADE to last. Having decided it was time to browse Trove again, I decided to see what a newspaper from 100 years ago looked like, and how it compared with today’s. I chose to look at The Mount Barker Courier, which is the local paper for the area of South Australia that my family grew up in, and this issue is dated 23 October 1914. So it’s over 100 years ago. I made it to the front page, and was instantly engrossed with all the adverts. You’ll see everything from cocoa, to corsets, gas to insurance, saddles and harnesses, a bronchitis cure, as well as gates, pianos, pig troughs, Ford cars, and even mustard. See for yourself … (click here for a larger view) Isn’t is beautiful. I’m pleased to say that Mount Barker Courier, which is now known as The Courier, is STILL going … 101 years later. In a comparison of the old and new, you can see their current issue online. And maybe it’s just me, but I feel that there’s just no class to newspapers these days! Please note, I have only used the Mount Barker Courier as an example. I was not meaning to pick on them specifically, but rather use them as an example of the difference bin the style of newspapers from back then and...

Trove Tuesday: Men Chased By Wild Sea Lion...

It’s been a while since I have done a Trove Tuesday post, but when my auntie-in-law sent me a link to an article about her dad Dick Tester, that appeared in the News newspaper back in 1952, I knew that was going to be my very next post. So we have a group of young men. A fishing trip to Kangaroo Island. And a sea lion.  Was this a young man’s adventure, or was it a scene from a scary movie? You be the judge. Based on my knowledge of the Tester family, I could totally believe that the person who actually poked the sea lion was indeed Mr Lonetester’s grandpa, Richard ‘Dick’ Tester. Once again the newspapers on Trove have come up with the most amazing story. And while the older generation had sort-of heard of this story, it was totally new to me and Mr Lonetester, so may well have been another story lost to time, had it not been for discovering this...

150 Great South Australians – Part 2 J-Z...

A little while ago I introduced you to the to 150 Great South Australians list that was originally published in The Advertiser. As it was WAAAAY too long to reproduce all in one post, I split it into two. If you missed the earlier post, you can find the A-I list here, with the J-Z list below. This second list of “great South Aussies” which by the way you’ll be pleased to know includes women as well as men, contains inventors, businessmen, ministers, politicians, charity workers, doctors, manufacturers, educators, explorers and many, many more. You’ll find that many are ‘pioneers’ in their field, because basically they were coming to a colony that was just developing, and was in need of expertise. So you’ll find that many of these people helped shape not just South Australia with their skills, but in some respects, Australia as well. ————————————————————— Roland Ellis Jacobs (1891-1981) Businessman and philanthropist For nearly 20 years Roland was the managing director and chairman of the SA Brewing Company and worked widely for charities and the arts. Jimmy James (1913-1991) Aboriginal police tracker Born as a waterhole near Ernabella, James was a vigorous worker for Aboriginal rights and became a talented tracker for the South Australian police, assisting in the infamous Sundown and Pine Valley murder cases. August Ludwig Christian Kavel (1798-1860) Lutheran migrant leader One of the first Lutherans persecuted in Germany to resettle in South Australia, where he led the establishment of strong Lutheran communities in the Adelaide Hills and the Barossa Valley. Sidney Kidman (1857-1935) Pastoralist and philanthropist Kidman established transport and cattle interests in the north of South Australia and eventually became Australia’s biggest landholder with holdings stretching through Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia....