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??)...

Movember Ancestors #5: William Bond...

Our #5 Movember Ancestors post features William Bond. Now let me be honest with you, I don’t know who William Bond is even though I do have this gorgeous photograph of him. My dad, who was the local historian for the Gumeracha region a number of years ago, has all sorts of photographs and ephemera that relate to people connected to the region, but who aren’t actually related to our own family. This one comes from a box of photos he has titled “Gumeracha”. As he’s not anyone that I’ve researched I can’t say a lot about him. But judging by the uniform (without any expert knowledge here), and the style of photograph I’m guessing he was in the military for the Boer War, but feel free to advise if you know of anything different. Well whoever William Bond was, he certainly looks very suave, and putting in the context of Movember, I think his ‘tache really suits...

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...

When the Coach Comes In …...

Well for something radically different to my previous posts, here is some poetry for you. But not just ANY poetry. Oh no. This one happens to be written about the tiny town of Gumeracha, in the Adelaide Hills. In amongst the letters, diaries and other ephemera of my great great grandmother Phebe Randell (nee Robbins) was a book of poems, presumably ones she liked and wrote down. One that was not in that book, but is in her handwriting is one called “When the coach comes in”.  She isn’t the author of this poem, that honour goes to L.S.M., the initials on the bottom of it. Unfortunately I do not know who L.S.M. is, but I would have to say was a local at the time, and at a guess that would be in the late 1800s, or early 1900s. While the original is quite readable, I have transcribed it here for you … When the Coach Comes In Come, all you jolly Gumerachs and listen to my rhyme, It’s all about the good old coach that rumbles in to time, The coach, my boys, that brings the mail from town and visitors. Oh you’ve been often there to see the ladies all get down. When the coach comes in, when the coach comes in. The ladies all get down, when the coach come in. When the coach comes rolling in, there stands Moffatt for the bags, And he takes them with a catch, and the coach it never flags, But it rattles down the hill for the horses know full well They are near the termination, that means a jolly spell. When the coach comes in, when the coach comes in. It means a jolly spell, when the...

Trove Tuesday: 1 March 1954, The Day the Earth Shook South Australia...

This post is about earthquakes, but let me start off by saying that South Australia is not known for its quakes. In fact it is more known for the lack of quakes, which is why it is big news if we have one. Yesterday was one of those rare days when South Australia (well parts of it) shook. I found this when I was driving home from work and heard it on the news. The report said that South Australia had had two small earthquakes (see the picture below). Remember I said we don’t get them here, so even the small ones make news! Anyway I did my usual weekday routine of getting up and off to work, then busy, busy all day. And I can confirm that I wasn’t one of the ‘hundreds’ who claim to have heard or felt the earthquakes, so I can’t say what it would be like, and don’t particularly want to go through one. Now going back a few years to when I was eight years old, my family moved into the “Springvale” property at Gumeracha in the Adelaide Hills. This is an old house, dating back to pre-1900. And from the day I moved in, till when I left, I felt the walls in my room would collapse whenever there was a big storm as there were huge cracks in the walls, which I was told was from the 1954 earthquake. Having known nothing of the ’54 earthquake as it was way before my time, I headed over to Trove, and found some amazing articles. Here’s the first one I found. It is a LOOOOONG article, so I’ve only copied a small portion of the beginning of the article here. For the...

Trove Tuesday: Don’t Drink and Drive (even in 1885)...

There’s enough crazy drivers on our road these days, let alone those that drink as well, but it would seem that it is not entirely new. When browsing around on Trove I came across this article in the South Australian Weekly Chronicle, Saturday, 19 December 1885: FATAL ACCIDENT AT GUMERACHA Gumeracha, December 16. Joseph Dugmore, a man in the employ of Mr. Rehn, of Houghton, was run over by a waggon loaded with hay near here this evening and killed. He leaves a widow and six children. No one but the driver of the waggon witnessed the accident. An inquest will be held tomorrow. Now it’s not good to hear of anyone having an accident, let alone dying as well. And even harder when you realise that this happened just a few days before Christmas. But there is actually a whole lot more to the story than this article tells. So thanks to other articles we find out a little more from the article in the South Australian Register, Friday, 18 December 1885 FATAL ACCIDENT THROUGH DRINK. [By Telegraph.] Gumeracha, December 17. An inquest was held at the Courthouse to-day by Mr. W. Hicks, J.P., to enquire into the death of Joseph Dugmore. A number of witnesses were examined, whose evidence pointed to fact that deceased   had been drinking heavily during the day, and had colonial wine with him when he was killed. The only person near when the accident occurred was the driver of the team, who says that he and deceased were walking together at the near side of the team, when deceased went behind to look at the load. The driver proceeded on for about 150 yards, when on looking back he saw deceased lying...