Homeopathy and the Treasures Between the Pages!...

Homeopathy: “The study of natural therapy which stimulates the body’s immune system to restore health”. It was something that my great grandpa, J.B. Randell taught himself. Ever looked through an old book and found something slotted in the pages in between? I have. Regularly. I’ve mentioned before that my mum’s side of the family weren’t one’s to throw things out. Putting it nicely “hoarders”, and for that I’m eternally grateful, as it has meant that we have SO MANY family heirlooms dating back generations, it’s truly amazing. One thing that seems to have been a ‘thing’ that’s been passed down through the generations of Randell’s, was the habit of putting things in the middle of books. I’ve always known my grandma to do that, and have often discovered random newspaper cuttings, birthday cards, flattened Easter egg wrappers and more in the pages of books of hers. Now this book of her fathers, John Beavis “JB” Randell (to my surprise) has even more bits filed in between the pages. I found a total of 25 items in amongst the pages of the book, and I have scanned each one of them, and that’s what I wanted to share with you today. Some are interesting, others not. But from there there are clues which could lead to further research … As you will see there’s a collection of all sorts, from receipts, to newspaper cuttings, to bible verses, envelopes, hair, leaves, a bookmark and other printed items. I’ve noted them below, as the caption on the slider was so tiny it wasn’t readable. 1. Gumeracha Town Hall Concert, 9 August 1924 2. Receipt from Norsworthy’s store, Gumeracha, dated 9 September 1924 3. Dried leaves 4. Hair or fur 5. More dried...

Christmas Day in Adelaide, and it’s (Another) Scorcher...

“Adelaide set for hottest Christmas Day since 1945 as heatwave conditions hit South Australia”. That’s the headline on the ABC News website, and yet it’s not even the hottest Christmas Day that Adelaide’s had. A quick check on Trove lead me to an article in The Advertiser, dated 26 December 1945, part of which is below. This says that the top temperature in Adelaide on: Christmas Eve, 24 December 1945 was 104.6F (40.3C) Christmas Day, 25 December 1945 was 105.3F (40.7C) But even these aren’t the highest. Go back further as we find even hotter Christmas Days. Christmas Day, 25 December 1941 was 106.2F (41.2C) And according to Dick Whitaker, on Dick’s Blog, the all-time top Christmas Day temperature record for an Australian capital city goes to Adelaide back in 1888, when the mercury soared to 107.9F (42.1C). So while it’s not a regular occurrence, it’s not unheard of having a 40C+ Christmas Day temperature. But it’s still not fun for those who have to travel during the day, or who had planned an outdoor Christmas do. So my advice for those who are in Adelaide for Christmas in 2016, stay inside (as much as you can), stay cool, and try not to bake, roast or fry (yourself that is, not the Christmas dinner)! Merry Christmas everyone! Save Save Save Save...

There’s History in Those Walls!...

Let me tell you the incredible history of a small town pub in the Adelaide Hills that very few know of … The tiny town of Gumeracha is currently best known for being home to the World’s Biggest Rocking Horse, the place the Medieval Fair is held each year, and of course the local wines. However up until around the mid 1900s the local pub was a tourist attraction, and not just for the beer, it was for the thousands of names written on its walls. It was so well-known that it even gained the reputation of being Australia’s largest “visiting book” hotel in the process. The town, which was founded by William Beavis Randell in the 1850s, has had a pub there almost as long. The map below is a portion of a town plan of Gumeracha dated from 1860, and shows that the corner block (where the hotel is) was owned by A Vorwerk, who is also listed as the first owner of District Hotel from 1861. Here’s an extract from the Gumeracha 1839-1939 book: “The main front walls of the District Hotel are composed of a local chalkstone, and probably on no other walls of a building in any other part of Australia are engraved so many names and initials. From ground level up to the top of the balcony roof there are a thousand or more of them, many of them representing people who in later years became very prominent in the State. As is only natural, callers at this old hostelry scrutinise the names on its walls with the very greatest interest.” And from a newspaper article on the History of Hotels dated 2 June 1951: South Australia has a hotel with the largest...

Patriotic Day, Gumeracha, 1918...

Isn’t it funny how you learn history through ‘things’? My history lesson this week has been about Patriotic Day. I admit that I hadn’t heard of such a day, but thanks to a purchase of the badge (as shown above) on ebay, I was inspired to find out more. But what’s interesting is that I found very little on it. Wikipedia and Google both let me down, so I headed to Trove, but even they didn’t have much. It doesn’t seem to have been an Australia-wide thing, or even a South Australia-wide thing, but rather something the townsfolk have decided to do for themselves. Held in 1917 and in 1918 (at  least that’s all I could find), it seems that in 1917 it was used to raise fund for the war effort, and in 1918, was used to support the returned soldiers and the families of those who didn’t. If anyone has further information about Gumeracha’s Patriotic Day, please leave a comment below, as I’d love to know more about it. And don’t you just love the image of the Gum weir on the badge … how cool is that? And for those that are unfamiliar with the region, here is a actual pic of the weir...

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”,...

Anecdotes, BDMs, Obits and Adverts – What Are These Records?...

I have come across an incredible source of information relevant to my research. One that includes local town news choc full of anecdotes relating to the locals, mentions of births, deaths, marriages and obituaries, and a heap of adverts from the local area. So just what are these records? Church Journals! Really? You bet. Let me give you some examples. Here is a page from the “Local News” section (also called “Editorial Notes”, “Miscellaneous” or “Church News” in various editions) … So you’ll see from this one page of Local News we learn of several people’s  health troubles, several people moving, the introduction of some of the new equipment in the district, election chances, local meetings, a new business venture, a prize a local business won, and a bunch more. And that’s just a page from ONE journal! You’ll also find some marriage and death notices (sorry no births afterall. But how do you write BDMs without births? DMs just doesn’t make sense) … And of course the obituaries which are just awesome! As well as anniversaries … And other newsworthy events, like town sports news and this brave deed! There’s also general history on the church, town and pioneers … And if all that wasn’t fabulous enough, then there’s the adverts. Many from local businesses – others from Adelaide. Here’s just a few examples of them. So you see, there is potentially so much you can find in Church Journals. And while my family were heavily involved in the church scene, many other researchers would say their family wasn’t, so wouldn’t think to look in Church Journals. So I hope this has opened your eyes to the possibilities of what could be out there. If you are fortunate...

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...

Australia Day in the Gumeracha District in the Early 1900s...

Australia Day as we know it, is a day to have off work, and spend time with family and friends, often having a picnic or barbecue – just having a lazy day. But it wasn’t always like this. In fact it wasn’t even a public holiday in all states until 1994. To quote from the Australia Day website … The tradition of having Australia Day as a national holiday on 26 January is a recent one. Not until 1935 did all the Australian states and territories use that name to mark that date. Not until 1994 did they begin to celebrate Australia Day consistently as a public holiday on that date. So we find that in 1915 Australia Day was in fact held July 30th. Why that particular day I don’t know, but it was, and it was used not only to have a celebration,  but also commemorate those who went to war, and used as a means for fundraising for the war. The article from South Australia’s ‘Register’ newspaper, dated 2 August 1915 describes what the Gumeracha district (which covers the town of Gumeracaha, as well as the neighbouring towns of Forreston, Kenton Valley and Cudlee Creek) did on this day. Again, we have to thank Trove newspapers for being there when we need it, and for providing information that we otherwise wouldn’t have found. The photographs below are from a collection held by local historian, Alan Phillips. Grouped together in a box titled “Cudlee Creek”, it is believed that the following photographs are taken on Australia Day 1915 (or around then). Sadly not all are captioned, but those that are, have the captions noted...

“War Memorials of the Adelaide Hills” Book...

The Adelaide Hills Council was fortunate to obtain a grant through the South Australian Government’s “Anzac Day Commemoration Fund“. For this they nominated that the funds would be used towards “research and preservation of Honour Board Memorials of Adelaide Hills”, and to “engage with schools and local groups to locate and research honour boards for inclusion in the publication War Memorials of the Adelaide Hills”. To commemorate Anzac 2015, a publication “War Memorials of the Adelaide Hills” was produced which details information about the war memorials throughout the Adelaide Hills in the towns covered by the Council, giving town name with details of the monuments. A second edition of “War Memorials of the Adelaide Hills”, that will also include additional material and corrections that have been made by the community will also be produced, and released in due course. The Council also have a separate project to research, photograph and record details on all the honour boards in the Council area.  While the majority of the honour boards can be found in local RSLs, community halls and schools, others have found their way to more obscure locations. The lack of detail of honour boards made it difficult to provide a comprehensive account of the memorials within the Council area. The aim is for this one to be released as a book as well. The Adelaide Hills Council covers a large area in the Hills region, and includes the towns: Aldgate, Aldgate Valley, Ashton, Balhannah, Basket Range, Birdwood, Bradbury, Bridgewater, Carey Gully, Castambul, Chain of Ponds, Charleston, Cherryville, Crafers, Crafers West, Cudlee Creek, Dorset Vale, Eagle on the Hill, Forest Range, Forreston, Greenhill, Gumeracha, Heathfield, Houghton, Humbug Scrub, Inglewood, Inverbrackie, Ironbank, Kenton Valley, Kersbrook, Lenswood, Lobethal, Longwood, Lower Hermitage, Marble Hill, Millbrook, Montacute,...

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...