The Randell and Robbins Family Photo Album: But Who Are They?...

It was sometime last year that I discovered an amazing family heirloom and have been wanting to share it all with you for ages, and have decided that now is the time. There’s no doubt that family historians get excited over old family photos, but can you imagine the excitement of finding a whole photo album of family photos? Well that’s what I found in my dad’s stash of family heirlooms. And trust me I was happy dancing!! Page after page of beautiful old photos – probably from around the 1850s-1860s. But one question. Who are they? I did recognise a few of them – but that’s all. The rest remain unnamed. So that’s partly why I’m writing this, in the hope that others might be able to add some names to these photo. But back to the album. It belonged to my great great grandma Phebe Randell (nee Robbins) who was the second wife of William Beavis Randell (Randle back in England), both of who lived at Gumeracha, in the Adelaide Hills. And it has been handed down through the family. I’ve written before about both William Beavis Randell and Phebe, so rather than repeat their history will link to previous posts, and have included a mini chart of both the Randell and Robbins family. Though I know the Robbins one is incomplete – it’s a family I’m still working on, but hopefully it’s enough for someone to make a connection if there is one. – Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: B is for [Family] Bible – Diaries, and the Stories They Can Tell! – Finding Hidden Gems! – William Beavis Randell: The Man Who Created a Town – Arriving on the “Rajah” in 1849 – ‘Tis the...

ANZAC Day Blog Challenge: Restyn Walter ‘Pete’ Randell...

April is here, which apart from Easter, is the month to commemorate Anzac Day (at least for us here in Australia and New Zealand) and Auckland Libraries have issued the Anzac Day Blog Challenge again. You know it was this time last year when they held the same Blog Challenge that it made me realise  just how little I knew about my military ancestors. Who of them actually went to war? Where did they go? What was their rank? … and so on. So I made it my mission over the past year to rectify that. And while I’m no expert on any of them yet, I did kept the folk at the National  Archives of Australia busy by ordering copies of a heap of my reli’s which I’ve been going through slowly. So for this year’s blog challenge I’ve chosen my great uncle Restyn Walter Randell (aka Pete Randell), one of my grandma’s brothers, because I’d seen a photo of him in his airforce uniform (as below), and it always had me intrigued. So after obtaining his military records (of which there was a heap – 72 pages in fact), it told me that he initially signed up for the army, and then transferred to the airforce a few months afterwards and from what I can tell (I’m still learning how to interpret military records jargon), he worked as a airforce mechanic for the RAAF at Laverton and Ascot Vale, both in Victoria. And as usual with military records, they contain a wealth of information – not just the military part – but also personal details as well. From Uncle Pete’s military records I found out all sorts of snippets that were news to me … – he...

Trove Tuesday: Death of an Old Colonist...

Following on from yesterday’s post that I wrote about William Beavis Randell who founded Gumeracha, is his obituary that I found in the South Australian Register on Trove. I actually found this article last week, but felt that I needed to introduce him before his giving details of his death, so I decided to make this a Trove Tuesday post. And because I know the newspaper text isn’t the most readable, even blown up in the pic above, here it is transcribed … DEATH OF AN OLD COLONIST. — Mr. W. B. Randell, of Gumeracha, who had been ill for some days, died on the evening of December 28 at his residence, Kenton Park. Gumeracha. Mr. Randell, who was born near Exeter, in Devonshire, was a very old colonist, having come out to South Australia by the Hartley, which arrived in October, 1837. Prior to leaving England he carried on a milling business, and came out to the colony under engagement to the South Australian Company. He was engaged in looking after the sheep, cattle, and land of the Company, and during the latter portion of his service was employed in discovering and selecting land for the Company. The Company’s Mill on the Torrens was built under bis directions. The land on which Gumeracha stands was formerly bis, and had been selected by him when in the Company’s service. Mr. Randell sold portions of it to form the township. He built two mills — one at Gumeracha and the other at Blumberg — the latter of which is now owned by one of his sons. His life latterly has been spent in improving his estate at Gumeracha, which is an exceedingly beautiful and valuable property. He built a chapel...

William Beavis Randell: The Man Who Created a Town...

William Beavis Randell is the man who MADE Gumeracha a town. In 1837 while living in Kenton, Devon, England he and his wife together with their 7 children packed up their belongings and boarded the ‘Hartley‘. William was initially going to work in partnership with George Fife Angas, however this didn’t work out, and instead William Beavis Randell was offered a position of overseeing the agricultural pursuits of the South Australian Company, of which Angas was a founder and chairman. He was one of a number of men who travelled on the same voyage who had been employed by the South Australian Company. The voyage commenced on 11 May 1837 when the ‘Hartley’ barque left Gravesend, London. And after five long months at sea, they disembarked at Holdfast Bay (now Glenelg) on 20 October 1837. William Beavis Randell (I always use his middle name as there’s so many William Randell’s it helps to distinguish who I’m on about) chose the land in the Adelaide Hills which was to become Gumeracha, as his land. But on arrival in South Australian the Randell family initially lived in a tent, before moving to ‘Park Cottage’ at Hackney. And by 1844 their new home ‘Kenton Park’ at Gumeracha was complete so they moved there. Once there, he set about making a house for his family, as well as establishing a church, a primary school, and in 1852 he subdivided some of his estate and laid out the town of Gumeracha on sloping ground which ‘would be above any possible flood level of Kenton Creek’. He named the primary streets he names Victoria, Albert, David and McLaren. Note: You’ll note that the Randell family came from Kenton in Devon. Obviously William Beavis Randell had...

Mannum in Flood … Again!...

The small town of Mannum, in South Australia in sits on right on the banks of the River Murray, so it’s no wonder that it gets flooded now and then. In sorting through family heirlooms, I came across a collection of old photos of Mannum in flood. Unfortunately they are undated, but going by the style of photograph, together with reading up about the floods that hit Mannum, I would suggest that these were from the 1890, 1896, or 1917 flood. If anyone can shed some more light on the specific date on them, I’d be forever grateful. My family has a connection to Mannum through the Randell’s, with William Richard Randell who without any experience decided to make a paddlesteamer. In February 1853, at Noa No Landing, just north of Mannum, William Richard Randell launched the “Mary Ann”, the first paddlesteamer on the River Murray. He later moved his operations to the present site of Mannum, which soon became a centre for shipbuilding and river transport. William Richard Randell is a half-brother to my great grandfather John Beavis “J.B.” Randell. the Lady Daly paddlesteamer on the...

‘Tis the Season for Christmas Cards...

In going through old family ephemera I found this beautiful old Christmas card … and as it’s almost Christmas I’d share it now. There’s no santa, no reindeer, no snowman, no tree or even ornaments on this card. It is simple and yet very elegant. And I know I’m right in saying “they sure don’t make ’em like they used to”. This Christmas card (postcard) was sent to my great great grandma Phebe Randell (nee Robbins), at ‘Salem Glen’, Gumeracha, from someone named Bert who lived at Woodville in South Australia … though I’m yet to discover who Bert is. Is he a family member, or just a friend? I’ve added it to the “must-check-out-one-day” list. What i find interesting on this is the spelling of Phebe here (Febe), as well as Salem (Salam with the S back-to-front). Salem Glen, for those not familiar with the town of Gumeracha is the name of a property that is on the land behind the current Gumeracha Hospital. This land was given to Phebe when her husband, William Beavis Randell died in 1876 and she built the “Salem Glen” house. The card is undated but it is likely to be in the late 1800s. Produced by J. Beagles & Co. Ltd. who started in 1881, and the business continued through until 1939. You can see that the front of the card looks like a quilt, but in fact it is embossed paper which gives that effect. But you have to agree it does look very cool, doesn’t it! Now putting this into some kind of perspective, this card is at least over 100 years old, maybe even up to 120 years. So think about the Christmas cards you send and receive. Do...

Dr Allan Elliott Randell (1871-1941)...

Now and then I have a photograph that I just want to share, and this is one of those times. I found this photo of Doctor Allan Elliott Randell in my dad’s collection – which has to be one of the coolest photos don’t you agree? He’s here in his De Dion car (note the little crank handle on the front) … anyway as he’s not a direct line ancestor I knew very little about him, so I headed to Trove, and found his death details and obituary. Allan Elliott Randell is a son of Francis Henry Randell and Sarah Ann Nickels. So he is the son of my great grandpa’s (John Beavis ‘JB’ Randell) half brother … got that? I saw you screw your face up trying to work that one out. Anyway, there is a connection of sorts to my Randell family from Gumeracha, and to the Randell’s from Mannum too....

Trove Tuesday: Rain, Football and the Police...

Trove Tuesday is here yet again. First up for those who many be new to my blog, here’s a super quick explanation of what Trove Tuesday is. Here in Australia we have the most wonderful resource in the world called “Trove”, created by the National Library of Australia. This is home to millions of records which are being put online, part of which is the historical digitised newspapers. As a way of showcasing what they have, and telling the world of our wonderful finds, Amy from the Branches Leaves and Pollen blog started doing Trove Tuesday, and since then Aussie geneabloggers have made embraced it and Tuesday has simply become Trove Tuesday. Now on to my story about rain, football and the police. Saturday 28th August 1926 was an exciting day for many, including my great uncle, Uncle Pete. In 1926 he was 12 years old, living at ‘Salem Glen’ at Gumeracha, and loved his football. August the 28th was the grand final for the local country football league, and it was being held between Woodside and Tweedvale (now known as Lobethal). Through both my Uncle Pete’s diary entry and the report of the game in The Register newspaper, we have a bit more of an idea on how the game went. I find it interesting that both sources have information that the other doesn’t, so to be able to use them in conjunction with one another to create more of a picture of the event is very useful. And just as a side note: Anyone can use Trove. It’s online. It’s free. And you’ll find everything there....

A Wedding in the Midst of War...

Both my maternal and paternal grandparents were married during World War Two. That was nothing unusual, in fact probably every family has ancestors that were married during that era. They married before the man was sent off overseas or elsewhere for training, or they married when he came home on leave. This post is about my maternal grandparents Cecil Hannaford and Evelyn Randell. Both grew up in the Adelaide Hills, Cec (as he was known) was an orchardist at Cudlee Creek, and Evelyn grew up at Gumeracha on the family farm, so no doubt knew each other through being in neighbouring towns. While my grandma, Evelyn was a brilliant diary keeper, sadly 1941, the year she got married, is one year that doesn’t seem to have survived. So without her words to tell me what her wedding was like, we simply have to rely on other sources. For that I turn to Trove for the newspaper notices, and any wedding photos. Fortunately my family were into putting notices in the newspaper, so I found an Approaching Marriage notice in The Advertiser. And I am fortunate that my family has wedding photos of my grandparents wedding too. Now I hadn’t thought of this before, but they were married at the Salem Baptist Church at Gumeracha in the Adelaide Hills, and the photos were taken by a photographer in Adelaide, which means sometime after their wedding they got redressed up in their wedding gear, headed to Adelaide, and had them done. I don’t know when this was done, as the photos aren’t dated. But Cec was on leave from the Army to get married, and was back with his battalion only 4 days later, so maybe it was at that time...

Trove Tuesday: But Who is Mrs Richard Chambers?...

Anyone who is even a semi-regular browser on Trove, will know the amazing stuff you can find. Articles, adverts, stories and photographs, as well as the family notices … and every one is an aid to someones research. I’ve been focussing on my Randell family from Gumeracha recently, finding out more about what they did. [Note: Gumeracha, for those who may not know, is a tiny town in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia]. Anyway while browsing the old newspapers on Trove, I found something astonishing, and it actually creates a whole heap of questions. Right there in an article titled DESTITUTE BOARD was my emigrant ancestor William Beavis Randell, appealing to the destitute board on behalf of Mrs Richard Chambers, to give her supplies. But just who is Mrs Richard Chambers? I’ve not heard of her before. And it says that he paid for passage to Adelaide, but where from … England or interstate, or another country? Is she a sister, who married a Chambers? Could be, as I haven’t researched the family back in England yet. Is she someone from the same town in Devon? Once again could be. This little entry has created so many questions, all of which will require further research. But I have no doubt that the answer will be an interesting...