Emigration from England to South Australia in the 1800s...

The “Mayflower” is ‘the ship’ in US history. The first ship to transport passengers from England to the United States in 1620. 102 people, all hoping to start a new life on the other side of the Atlantic. Well, in South Australian history the “Buffalo” is the equivalent. It was one of a fleet of ships to arrive in the colony at the end of 1836. Once it arrived at Glenelg, Governor John Hindmarsh who was on board, proclaimed the establishment of government in South Australia as a British province. From then on, there was a big push to get skilled labourers from England to emigrate to the new colony, and as an enticement they were offered free passage (assisted passage). Of course there was still the option for anyone who wished to emigrate to pay their own way (known as unassisted passage), but many took up the offer of the emigration scheme, and as a result these pioneers helped make South Australia what it is today. But as with anything that’s free, there were some rules and regulations. I came across this list of rules for those wanting assisted passage in the West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser, dated 27 February 1839, and it’s truly fascinating. RULES FOR EMIGRATION The Act of Parliament declares that the whole of the funds arising from the sale of lands, and the rent of pasture, shall form an Emigration Fund, to be employed in affording a free passage to the Colony from Great Britain and Ireland for poorer persons; “provided that they shall, as far as possible, be adult persons of both sexes in equal proportions, and not exceeding the age of 30 years.” With a view to carrying this provision into effect, the Commissioners...

“Dear Friends” … Letter From an Emigrant in 1864...

So what was life like for those who emigrated to South Australia back in the 1800s? Generally you’re only likely to find this information from letters written to family or friends in the ‘old country’, or otherwise from diaries. So it was a surprise to find an article on Trove about an emigrant who not only came to South Australia, but actually settled in the tiny town of Gumeraka (note the alternate spelling of Gumeracha). Written in 1864 to some friends in England (or maybe Wales), it was produced as an article the Scotts Circular (Newport, Wales), and then in The Adelaide Express, 22 April 1865 (as reproduced below). The writer details what it was like for him and his family with housing food, work and wages, neighbours and other businesses all getting a mention. What we don’t know is who the author of the letter is. Still, it makes for an interesting read. In 1864 the town of Gumeracha was not very old, having only been laid out in the 1850s  (for more on that click here). The article starts off with “The following interesting letter has arrived from an emigrant who received a passage under Government, to South Australia.” —————————— The text below is a full transcript of the article. Note the paragraphs have been added in by me to make it easier to read. AN EMIGRANT’S LETTER. Gumeraka, Australia, September 18th, 1864. My Dear Friends, I am glad to tell you that I have got plenty of work the first day that I went on after landing, and the first master that I spoke to I  engaged to go with to go into the Bush a dray-making and waggon-making at the wheelwrighting trade, at the rate of wages I will give you, and...

180, and Still So Young!...

Happy Birthday South Australia! 28th of December. The day that my beautiful homestate celebrates its birthday, and today it turns 180. And while 180 is ancient in human terms, for the age of place it’s really only a baby. But even so, in those 180 years, the colony (and now State) has seen so many remarkable achievements throughout the years. But first South Australia’s birthday is officially called “Proclamation Day“, and Wikipedia says … “Proclamation Day in South Australia celebrates the establishment of government in South Australia as a British province. The proclamation was made by Captain John Hindmarsh beside The Old Gum Tree at the present-day suburb of Glenelg North on 28 December 1836.“ John Hindmarsh, who became the first governor of South Australia arrived in South Australia on the “Buffalo”, on 28th December 1836, and when he stepped ashore at Holdfast Bay (near the Old Gum Tree), he read the proclamation. Each year re-enactments of the events of South Australia’s founding are still held on the same day, by the remains of the same Old Gum Tree. The proclamation calls upon the colonists to “conduct themselves with order and quietness,” to be law-abiding citizens, to follow after industry, sobriety, and morality, and to observe the Christian religion. By so doing, they would prove to be worthy founders of a “great free colony.” You can read the full proclamation on the Adelaidia site. The People … As with any place, South Australia has many men and women of ‘note’. Those who’ve made an impact on the State  in various ways, and you’ll find many of these mentioned in the 150 Great South Australians post (see links below), but obviously the list is confined to 150, with others who...

Discovering Links: 15 FREE Links for Australian Genealogy and History...

Here’s another of my “Discovering Links” post. These posts consist of a collection of links that I have discovered, or found useful, and want to share with others. But rather than simply giving you a whole batch of random links each time, I am grouping them by Australian state, country or topic. You can see my previous Discovering Links posts here. For this one I’ve decided to share my Australian (meaning Australia-wide) links. It is not intended to be an exhaustive collection (not by a long shot), but they are simply ones that many will find useful, and it may include some that you may not have known about. And while many people think that genealogy costs a lot of money, let me tell you that all of the links below are free. Personally I find that it’s often a matter of knowing where to look beyond the big-name websites, and hopefully this will help with that. ======= MONUMENT AUSTRALIA Containing almost 30,000 monuments so far, the Monument Australia website is a site which records the “public monuments and memorials in all Australian States and Territories under various themes”.  Divided into conflict, culture, disaster, government, landscape, people and technology, you can search this site, and find transcriptions and photographs of most of the monuments listed. The work of volunteers, they are to be commended for their efforts. AUSTRALASIAN BDM EXCHANGE The Aus BDM Exhange site is a “free resource for genealogists to share information from Australian and New Zealand vital records”. If you have BDM records you can enter their details in so others can find them. And you can search to see if anyone has already entered details for those you are researching. Their stats show that currently the...

Facebook for Australian History and Genealogy...

Anyone who thought that Facebook is useless for genealogy research is WRONG, and this proves it. Over the past few years I’ve compiled a number of lists of Australian history and genealogy related pages and groups that are on Facebook. But I figured it was time to combine them all into one, and expand it yet again. And rather than have a HUGE long list to scroll through, I’ve made it into a PDF file so now you can download it. DOWNLOAD HERE This 20 page list has over 500 Australian genealogy and history Facebook links all categorised into State or topic (military, commercial, researcher etc.). This is an ongoing list which will be updated regularly, so if you have any links you’d like added, please either send an email to  alona @ lonetester.com (without the spaces), or message me on my Lonetester page on Facebook. ————– While we’re on the topic of Facebook and genealogy, if your research covers more than just Australia be sure to check out Katherine Willson’s worldwide Genealogy on Facebook list. This list is enormous, and now has over 10,000 links. And if you have Canadian connections, you can’t beat Gail Dever’s Facebook for Canadian Genealogy...

The Australian Census: 1828 and 2016 Comparing the Questions...

Tuesday the 9th of August 2016 was an important day in Australia’s history. It was Census Day. A day that many find a chore (and not just because of the census website crash). But to say it’s a day that all genealogists and historians look forward to is an understatement. Anyway while I was filling out my paper copy of Australia’s 2016 Census (all 60 questions worth), I was thinking about what questions were actually asked in Australia’s first ‘official’ census. But before we get on to that, let’s take a step back. It is a well known fact that Australia conducts a census, extracts the data and then destroys them … much to the horror of historians and researchers. Anyway as a result, very few Australian censuses even exist. But one that does is Australia’s very first one. It was held in New South Wales in November 1828 … ok, technically it was New South Wales not Australia, as Australia wasn’t a country until Federation in 1901, but I’m not going to debate that here. New South Wales 1828 Census As you would expect, the aim of the 1828 census was to “record all inhabitants of the colony” (both convict and free). We are not only fortunate that this incredible record has survived, but we also get to see images of it online on both the Ancestry and Findmypast websites. Listing people alphabetically by surname, the questions asked for this census were: 1. Name of inhabitant 2. Age 3. Free or bond 4. Ship name on which arrived 5. Year arrived 6. Sentence 7. Religion 8. Employment 9. Residence 10. District 11. Total number of acres 12. Number of acres cleared 13. Number of acres cultivated 14. Number...

South Australia’s First Motor Car and Early Registrations...

What was the first car in South Australia? Or why not make that Australia? If your answer was anything to do with Henry Ford, you’d actually be wrong. In fact the honour of the first car in Australia actually is an Australian built one and goes to a gent from Mannum, which is a small country town along the River Murray … Below is a portion of an article from Adelaide’s ‘The Mail’ newspaper, dated 10 July 1926. You can read the full article on the Trove website. AUSTRALIA’S FIRST MOTOR CAR Mannum Manufacturer’s Invention VEHICLE THAT WAS ON THE ROADS 30 YEARS AGO Well known in South Australia as a manufacturer of farm implements, Mr. David Shearer, of Mannum, River Murray,can claim to be Australia’s first inventor of a motor car. In the early nineties he designed and built a power-propelled vehicle, which, a few years later, astonished all Adelaide as it chugged its way through the streets at 15 miles an hour. Special permission from the Mayor had to be obtained before the car could be driven through the streets. Designed 10 years before Henry Ford’s first models, little is known today of the South Australian’s invention, but farmers, who lived a quarter of a century ago in and around Mannum remember how Mr. Shearer worked day and night on his “automobile,” and they relate today to the younger generation, how Mannum might have been the Detroit of Australia. England’s first car, which made its appearance two years after Mr. Shearer’s, had a speed of 10 to 12 miles an hour, while the South Australian car actually travelled at 15 miles an hour. Anyway this post isn’t going into the deep history of “Australia’s first motor car”,...

Heaven in a Bookshop

I admit it, I’m a bibliophile. Yes, I’m a book lover. And by that I mean I love the “paper-hold-in-your-hand-and-turn-pages” type book, not the ebooks … I’ve never really got into those. Anyway being a book lover, when I went on a holiday to the Gold Coast recently, I decided to suss out all the secondhand bookstores that were nearby, as you do, right? And boy did I find the best secondhand bookshop ever!! It was seriously jaw-dropping. “Antique and Collectors Books” is the name of the place, and it’s at Southport, just north of Surfers Paradise. The spiel about the store says … “Situated in Australia’s premier tourist area – the Gold Coast – our shop stocks over 100,000 books ranging from antiquarian to modern day literature. We specialise in “out of print” and antiquarian books and have 24 years experience in bookselling.” I don’t really need to say much about it as the photos below tell the story. [Click on each for a larger picture.] But I was than I was truly in heaven, and could have spent a whole day there. I think they must have every topic imaginable, including a section on genealogy (I was impressed). I should also mention that Antique and Collectors Books is a two storey place … I know, it just got better, eh? Anyway despite the size of the place, everything was very well labelled, so finding various categories/topics was quite easy, and that’s truly a credit to the store managing the vast number of books that they do. And for those that are wondering, yes Mr Lonetester and I did find a heap of books, and so as to not exceed our luggage allowance on the plane, we actually...

In May’s Gone By …...

Believe it or not May is here. Which means that June is almost here. Which means the middle of the year. Already! But we won’t dwell on that. Apart from a couple of birthday’s, and Mother’s Day of course, May is a pretty quiet month for me. So I thought I’d take a look back through the history books and see happened in May … and as you’ll see there’s a heap a fascinating events that occurred during May. 1770 (17 May) – Lieutenant James Cook discovers and names Queenland’s Glass House Mountains 1813 (11 May) – Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth set out to cross the Blue Mountains in Australia’s first major exploration venture 1829 (2 May) – The city of Fremantle, Western Australia, is founded as Captain Fremantle hoists the Union Jack 1837 (23 May) – Streets and squares in Adelaide, capital of South Australia, are first named 1838 (24 May) – The first in what was to become a chain of David Jones Department stores opens 1840 (22 May) – New South Wales ceases to be a convict colony as the Order-in-Council ending transportation of convicts is issued 1852 (4 May) – The Second Gold Escort arrives in Adelaide, returning wealth from the Victorian goldfields to the colony of South Australia 1854 (18 May) – Australia’s first horse-drawn railway line commences operations in South Australia 1861 (30 May) – Wills returns to the Dig tree to see whether a rescue party has arrived 1870 (25 Mar) –  Notorious Australian bushranger ‘Captain Thunderbolt’ is shot dead 1884 (31 May) – Kellogg patents the cornflake 1894 (5 May) – The Australian slang term ‘fair dinkum’ appears in print for the first time 1900 (15 May) – Women win the...

Facebook and Genealogy: 151 More Links for Australian Researchers...

The link between Facebook and genealogy just seems to keep getting stronger, with more groups, societies, history pages and so on popping up all the time. It really is THE way to keep up to date with numerous places these days. Afterall you can join a group for the area you are researching, and post queries to it. Follow a page for the town your ancestors came from and see what it was like “in the olden days”. Reminisce what life was like when you were young. Follow various state archives and societies to keep up with their latest news … and more. Back in late 2012 I created a list of 100 Facebook links for Australian researchers, and since then I have created a list with 54 links for local history. Things change quickly online, so it seemed that it was timely to create another list with even more Facebook links for Australian researchers. Grouped by Australia, Australian state, and then topics, hopefully this makes it easier for you to find groups and/or pages you might wish to follow. Please note I don’t claim that this is all the groups/pages out there for Australian researchers. In fact it’s far from it, as I know for a fact there are plenty more. But it is a good list, and hopefully you find this (and my earlier lists) useful. == AUSTRALIA == Aussie & UK Angels – Reuniting lost family https://www.facebook.com/groups/1669732293272781/ Aussie Help for all Genealogy https://www.facebook.com/groups/1424411964495247/ Australia Genealogy Research https://www.facebook.com/AustraliaGenealogy/ Australia Old Pioneer Photos https://www.facebook.com/groups/australiaoldpioneerphotos/ Australia Remember When https://www.facebook.com/AustraliaRememberWhen/ Australian Family History and Genealogy https://www.facebook.com/groups/141114082690049/ Australian Historic Photographers for Genealogical Research https://www.facebook.com/groups/1447633032180173/ Australian History Bloggers Fan Page https://www.facebook.com/groups/AussieHistoryBloggers/ British-Australian Ancestry https://www.facebook.com/groups/1691451644416442/ Genealogy ~ Resources ~ Help https://www.facebook.com/FamilyHistoryResousesHelp/ Genealogy My Ancestors Came to Australia https://www.facebook.com/groups/107640276041406/ Old Service Station Photographs – Australia https://www.facebook.com/groups/567854296691889/ Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness – RAOGK Australia https://www.facebook.com/groups/169770909883489/ Using DNA for Genealogy – Australia & NZ https://www.facebook.com/groups/400009620157960/ Vintage Memories-Australia through time https://www.facebook.com/groups/old.australiana.album/ Vintage Rural Australia https://www.facebook.com/Vintage-Rural-Australia-839951842687685/   ==...