Open House Adelaide 2015...

Back in 2012 and 2013 Open House Adelaide was a part of the About Time History Month celebrations, with one weekend in May being when all the “Open House” events were on. I noted that they were not part of this year’s History Month celebrations, so I have been keeping an eye out for when they were on, and have discovered that Open House Adelaide will be a part of the Festival and Architecture and Design (FAD) which runs from 8-13 October 2015. This Festival is said to … “… deliver a fun, engaging and informative program of architecture and design talks, forums, exhibitions, performing arts, children’s activities, guided walking tours and the return of Open House Adelaide program”. For those not familiar with what Open House Adelaide is, it is a weekend where businesses, buildings and historical places around the city open their doors for you to wander through, look at the history and architecture and enjoy seeing parts of Adelaide you may not have seen before. If you visit the FAD website, you can find details of all 40 or so events, tours, talks, workshops and more including all the Open House Adelaide ones too. Adelaide is just one of four Australian cities that have taken on the”Open House” idea, which is actually a global idea, and continues to grow each year. Adelaide – http://www.fad.org.au/ Brisbane – http://brisbaneopenhouse.com.au/ Melbourne – http://www.openhousemelbourne.org/ Perth – http://www.openhouseperth.net/ To see what other cities around the world that are taking part, visit the Open House Worldwide website http://www.openhouseworldwide.org/. Do yourself a favour, and explore the buildings in your city. You’ll be surprised what you don’t know, and how cool they really...

Adelaide’s “Old Treasury” Building and the Underground Tunnels...

In Australia National Family History Month is held during August, so it was timely that a historical place I’d been wanting to check out had another open day during the month. Not that they had planned it as far as I know, but hey I’m counting it towards my National Family History Month (NFHM) activities. Adelaide’s old Treasury Building (which is now hotel apartments, “the Adina Apartments Hotel“) on Flinders Street in the heart of Adelaide, has a history dating back to the early years of the colony. This former Treasury Building was built in stages from 1839 to 1907, and is a building that has been at the centre of South Australia’s administrative and governmental affairs for more 130 years. And one of the original walls still stands. It housed the Cabinet Room from 1876 until 1968, before that moved to another building. For more on this history of this magnificent building you can read about it here. Anyway it’s been a long, cold winter, so I was pleased that Adelaide put on a blue sky, sunny day (still cold, but sunny) for my day trip to the city with Mr Lonetester to check out this building. Booked in for the 11.00am tour, we were joined by about 60 other people keen to explore the history of this place. Divided into two groups for the actual tour, the group I was with was led by Grant who’s a volunteer at the National Trust, and clearly loves what he does, knows his history, and shares it with enthusiasm. Firstly Grant showed us the “Records Room” that was made as a fire proof room …  which originally had with slate floor, and arched brick ceiling – and held together without any...

More Free Websites for South Australia Genealogy and History...

Back in 2011 I compiled my 33 Free Websites for South Australia Genealogy post, and despite having written it almost 4 years ago, it is still one of the most looked at posts on my blog. Since then a lot of new South Australian records and sites have gone online, so I felt it was time for an update. 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. Although I haven’t titled this “Discovering Links”, I’m putting in that series of posts since it contains a whole bunch of links. These are I have discovered, or found useful, and want to share with others. You can see my previous Discovering Links posts here. It’s not intended to be an exhaustive collection of links, but simply ones that many will find useful, and it may include some that you may not have known about. === SOUTH AUSTRALIA === GENERAL HISTORY South Australian Historical Archaeology Database The Historical Archaeology of Adelaide Project is based in the Department of Archaeology, Flinders University. It is a long term project to record and document archaeological data from three key site types throughout South Australia: cemeteries, standing structures (buildings), and monuments/memorials. The project data has been compiled by second and third year undergraduate archaeology students as part of their work in the topic. These databases are available as a public resource for heritage research. History As it Happens History is not only about things that happened long ago. It is happening here and now and we are all part...

The ‘Unique’ Family Reunion...

Family reunions seem to be the talk of the town at present. Well, on social media anyway. And why wouldn’t they be, with A.J. Jacobs’ Global Family Reunion which was held this weekend, proving to be a huge hit. So on the topic of reunions, I wanted to share with you, one of my family’s family reunions. This one was held in December 1938 at “Sulby Glen”(the Kelly family homestead) at the tiny town of Cudlee Creek in the Adelaide Hills. This date marked not only 100 years since the arrival of William Kelly and his second wife Jane (nee Caley) to South Australia, pioneers to South Australia from the Isle of Man, but also 50 years since the death of William. My connection to this family, other than the fact that they settled at Cudlee Creek, which is where I grew up, is that William is my 4x great grandfather. Various newspaper articles tell the story of the Kelly reunion, but I’ve chosen just two to share with you. This first one was before the event … And this second one was afterwards. It is a long article, and what I’ve shown below is only about 1/3rd of it. To see the full article, click on the link in the caption. Relatives came from around Australia to attend this event. The newspaper says that this type of reunion was unique for not only South Australia, but with very few of this kind of reunion held throughout the Commonwealth. Approximately 300 people attended the Kelly family reunion, and we know who at least 277 of them were, thanks to an autograph book which was signed by those who attended this reunion … and has SURVIVED! Below are a few pages from this...

The Castle, the Gatekeeper and the Inn Keeper!...

This story starts back in 1829 in Lancashire (England), but my introduction to it was actually less than year ago. When I was over in England in August 2014 with some of my family, one thing that my dad really wanted to do, was to visit Lancaster Castle in Lancashire, as his great great grandpa (William Todd Hayhurst) worked there as a warden. This was a story I’d vaguely heard before, but not followed up. Afterall there’s only so many families that you can trace at once. But on going to the castle, I thought I’d better do some digging. After all, a ancestor who worked at a castle is kinda cool, eh? My first surprise when researching this family was to find out that Lancaster Castle, which is most certainly is a castle, wasn’t actually used as one. Well, not for the past 900 years or so anyway. In fact it’s been used as a jail, housing many thousands of people who were debtors, petty criminals, murderers and witches. The tour of the castle was amazing, even if we weren’t allowed to go in ALL parts. It was incredible to think that this 1000 or so year old mega-structure is even still standing. And that people lived and died in this prison – including many hangings – which by the way, were a public attraction of the day, even in the late 1800s. Now back to 1829. William TODD, born to Margaret TODD was christened  on 25 October 1829 at Cockerham, Lancashire. Note: no father mentioned. However less than a year after that, I find that Margaret Todd was living at Quernmore in Lancashire … as was Thomas Hayhurst, whose wife had died a little while before, leaving him...

21 December 1860 – The Date Water Was Turned on in Adelaide...

The date 21 December 1860 was a Friday, and this was a big day for the city of Adelaide, as that is the day that the water from the pipeline in the Adelaide Hills was turned on, and water came through. The time was 3.00pm, and a small group of people surrounded the fire hydrant on the corner of Flinders and Pulteney Streets, and then it was time. They turned in on … and …  the water didn’t just come, it GUSHED! In fact it gushed 7o feet into the air!! It sounds spectacular doesn’t it. And in fact the water coming to Adelaide, changed Adelaide’s history. It was obviously mighty useful for the local fire service of the time. It meant the city could have drinking fountains, and water was also used to power the first non-passenger lift to be installed in Adelaide which allowed goods up and down several floors, which by the way was Harris Scarfes. And thanks to the vast reach and power of the water, it was used to clean multi-storey buildings in the city as well. I got all of these interesting, useful tid-bits of history from the South Australian Engineers Heritage Conference that I attended last week. Being an Engineering history conference, of course the history of water supply and pipelines fall into the category! Anyway back to Adelaide’s water … all didn’t go smoothly with the work on the pipeline and reservoir, but then again does anything? Here’s an article from the beginning of 1860 which mentions a few of the problems. This is just a portion of the article, so if you want to read the full entry just click on the hyperlink in the caption. Work obviously continued throughout...

Escape Cliffs: Almost Northern Territory’s Capital...

Hands up if you think you know the history of the Northern Territory at least in basic form? OK, now hands up who knows what the Capital of the Northern Territory is? Darwin of course … and I’m sure you all got that one right.  Now hands up who knows what the Northern Territory’s FIRST capital was (or should I say “was going to be”)? No? No-one? Well nor did I, until yesterday. It was Escape Cliffs! And I doubt that many have even heard of it, right? I made this discovery when reading up about a voyage that the brother of my great great grandma, Phebe Randell (nee Robbins) was on. In the ‘tin of treasures’ (the one mentioned in my EVACUATE! post) that I’ve been going through, I found a letter that Abner Mark Robbins of Findon, South Australia (sometimes known as Abner, sometimes known as Mark) wrote to his sister Phebe Robbins in 1864, detailing the voyage he was about to embark upon to look for a suitable place for the “capital” in the Northern Territory. You can click on the images above to enlarge them, but to make life easier I have transcribed it for you. Just a note, I have kept the out-of-place upper and lowercasing and spelling just as Abner himself did, but have added in some fullstops to help it make sense. Sunday 6 Mar 1864 6 March Dear Sifter, I now take the opportunity of sending a few lines to you hoping they will finde you in good health as it leaves me at present[.] Mother is quite well and has been to Hindmarsh this morning[.] Mary Ann and Richard and family are all quite well[.] I am still in town...

28 December 1876, RIP William Beavis Randell...

Today is a special day. Maybe “special” isn’t the right word. Maybe “remembrance” would be more suitable. As it was on this day 138 years ago … (28 December 1876) that my great great grandpa William Beavis Randell passed away. He was not only my emigrating Randell ancestor, and the patriarch of the entire huge Randell clan in Australia, he was also an employee of the Adelaide Company, a miller, founder of the town of Gumeracha, JP, councillor and parliamentarian amongst other things … I’m going to share with you an entry from the diary of his second wife Phebe Randell (nee Robbins) about his passing, together with an obituary I found on Trove.                           I know Phebe’s handwriting is quite readable considering what some handwriting was like back then (and even many nowdays), but whatever she wrote this entry in, is really really faint, so I know you’ll have trouble reading it, even enlarged, so I’ll transcribe it for you … This entry is undated, but the entry prior to this was dated 2 July 1876, and she seemed to be writing details of a number of days or weeks happenings in one entry. Page 19 … What a changing world is this on the 17th of August 1876 I became a wife though in the Sight of God a wife before I fully believe we haveing Pledged ourselves each to other before God without the worldly form but the ceremony was by Mr Jacob Abbott on the day afore said and by my dear husband and I lived very happly together for four Short months after the ceremony and then failing health laid him aside. He...

Movember Ancestors #6: The Randell Brothers...

For today’s Movember picture we hit the jackpot with three of four Randell brothers having impressive moustaches. Anyone who had followed my blog for any length of time will know that I have written oodles of posts that relate to the Randell family from Berry Pomeroy in Devon and Gumeracha, South Australia. However I have tended to focus on my direct line, my great grandpa John Beavis “JB” Randell, and his father William Beavis Randell rather than branch off onto many of William’s other children – those from his first marriage (he had nine). Francis Henry “Frank” Randell was one of William Beavis’ sons, and these handsome boys are his sons. From left we have: Gerald, Allan, Horace, and Francis “Frank Jnr”. This photo isn’t dated, but Gerald was born in 1881, so I would say that this photo was taken early...

My First Job

Today I was catching up on some blog reading, and found one by Jane Taubman (aka Family Historian extraordinaire) in which details her “First Job”. She came to write this after seeing a tweet from Geneabloggers  saying: “November 14: Do you remember your first job? Where was it and what type of work did you do?” And I thought I should do the same. Afterall as historians and genealogists sometimes we get so caught up in researching and recording the past, that we forget to write about the current. Not to mention our OWN history. Now to answer the question “What was my first job?”. As usual I don’t have a definitive answer, because growing up in a family business which worked from home, it meant that there was always work going on, and often I helped out. So I’ll actually tell you about my family job, as well as my first non-family job. First up the family job. My parents started Gould Genealogy & History (which was originally known as Gould Books) when I was about 3. This was a mail order genealogy bookstore which they ran from their house. My dad did the buying and promoting of books etc. via catalogues, and mum did the mailing of orders. Fast forward, a heap of years … and this is the company I work for today. I officially started working for my parents when I left school at age 16. But prior to that, maybe from about the age of 10 or so I did do paid work for them. I remember coming home and typing up family trees for people’s family history books that we were working on at the time. I remember using the microfilm reader/printer that we had at home (doesn’t everyone??)...