My Roundup of South Australia’s History Festival...

May came, and what a insane, crazy month it was. But it’s over, and while we’re disappointed that the South Australian History Festival is over for another year, we can all now take a little rest. Admittedly I didn’t get to as many as I had hoped, but with birthdays, work, interstate visitors and hospital visits added into May as well … I didn’t do to bad, as I managed to get to 10 events. Anyway I promised you a mini-review of the activities I got up to during history month, so here goes …   ———————————- BOOK LAUNCH The Secret Art of Poisoning: The True Crimes of Martha Needle the Richmond Poisoner (by Samantha Battams) My history month began with book launch. Held at the spectacular Carclew House in North Adelaide, Author, Samantha Battams gave the very packed room a great introduction on “The Secret Art of Poisoning” with some background on how this book evolved, and why this story needed to be told. One woman, four murders (plus another attempted one), and rat poison. It’s a fascinating (and sad) but true story that happened in the late 1890s Australia. And one that I’m looking forward to reading soon. “How did a serial killer from the 19th century almost get away with murder? And what were the circumstances that led to two infamous poisoners in one family?” For more on this book, check your local bookstore, or visit Samantha’s own website. ———————————- TOUR SANFL History Centre Tour (by the SANFL History Centre) Did you know that the SANFL (South Australian National Football League,) had a history centre? No, nor did I until I saw it in the history month event program. Anyway, I saw they were having a tour of the...

The Train, the Explosion, and the Parliamentarian...

The year was 1890, and … “a most painful accident, of a character unparalleled in the annals of railway accidents in this colony, if not in Australasia, occurred on the Northern line on Friday evening, Jan. 17. The terrible calamity which befel … was so sudden, and its effects so appalling, that the harrowing details were listened to with bated breath and unconcealed sorrow.” That’s how the long article about the tragic death of well-known South Australian businessman and parliamentarian, Honorable James Garden Ramsay, M.L.C. begins. James Ramsay was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1827, did an apprenticeship as an engineer at the St Rollox Ironworks in Glasgow, and then emigrated to South Australia in 1852. He established an agricultural implement and machine manufacturing plant at Mount Barker, which represented the starting point of what later grew into the largest business of its kind in the colony. Apart from his Mount Barker business, he opened up agricultural implement manufacturing businesses in Adelaide, Clare and Laura as there was a huge demand. Anyway J.G. Ramsay’s interest in politics began in the 1860s, and in 1870 he entered Parliament for Mount Barker, and from then until his death he held various parliamentary positions. The article says … “Altogether he served over five years as a Minister of the Crown. As leader of the Legislative Council he exhibited considerable tact and ability, and possessing the confidence of his fellow members, he was eminently successful in conducting the business”. Which then brings us back to Friday evening, 17 January 1890 when James Ramsay is travelling back to Adelaide, from Saddleworth, South Australia by train. Travelling with Mr Rounsvell (a fellow M.P.), who by the time the train reached Riverton left to go to the smoking...

NFHM Blog Challenge Week 1: National...

August is National Family History Month, and fellow geneablogger, Alex issued the NFHM Blog Challenge. Using a theme of authors from the past, Alex posed an interesting challenge. It’s a great challenge, don’t get me wrong, but after thinking about it for weeks, nothing was jumping out at me, so I’ve decided to write my NFHM posts using a different theme. Week 1: something NATIONAL related Week 2: something FAMILY related Week 3: something HISTORY related Week 4: someing MONTH related ——————————————— As I’m already a little behind, I’ll get going with Week 1 now. And for this I’ve decided to take a look at Australia’s national anthem, “Advance Australia Fair“. So just how, when, and why did this song become the national anthem? Let’s find out. So let’s start at the beginning. Peter Dodds McCormick is the man behind the anthem. Born in Scotland in c1834, he emigrated to Australia in 1855. The son of a seaman, Peter himself was a teacher for most of his life, and he was the man who composed “Advanced Australia Fair”, and used the pen-name Amicus. Written and first performed in the late 1870s, it went on to become a popular patriotic song. In a letter dated 1 August 1913, McCormick described the circumstances that inspired him to write “Advance Australia Fair”: One night I attended a great concert in the Exhibition Building, when all the National Anthems of the world were to be sung by a large choir with band accompaniment. This was very nicely done, but I felt very aggravated that there was not one note for Australia. On the way home in a bus, I concocted the first verse of my song & when I got home I set it to music....

They Died in the Asylum

Parkside Lunatic Asylum is the original name for the building that was subsequently renamed to Parkside Mental Hospital, then Glenside Hospital and more recently Glenside Health Services. Situated on Fullarton Road at Glenside, it is in one of Adelaide’s leafy eastern suburbs and is by outwards appearance, a magnificent place. But the asylum was far from that for the inmates at the asylum, and sadly for so many it was their last home. The Parkside Lunatic Asylum was opened in 1870 initially housing men, but by the 1880s men, women and children were being housed there. It housed not only those suffering from mental illness, but also people with intellectual disabilities and medical conditions like epilepsy. While browsing around on Trove, I found this article in the Adelaide Advertiser, 14 January 1910, and was saddened by the fact that there was so many who even in a six month period, died without family nearby. LUNATIC ASYLUM. Return of persons who have died in the Lunatic Asylum during the half-year ended December 31 whose relatives are unknown or reside outside the State:  – Margaret Sinnott (81), died July 3 last, the cause of death being cardiac disease and senile decay – Wilhelm Heinrich Dittich (71), July 5, pulmonary disease and cardiac failure – Judy (aboriginal female), (60), July 10, gastritis and cardiac failure – Guiseppe Castagneth (58), August 8, apoplexy and cerebral disease – Rosalie Russell (63), August 20, hepatic disease and ascites – Theodosia Byrne (78), August 20, apoplexy and senile decay – Sarah Jane Hayes (35), August 29, phthisis and exhaustion – Bridget (alias Annie) Evans, (42), August 29, suicide by hanging – William Conway (36) September 1, general paralysis and apoplexy – Dora Knout (80), September 2 cardiac disease and senile decay – William Carruthers (75), September 5, diarrhoea and senile decay – Thomas...

South Australia’s History Festival 2017 in Review...

Well May came, and May went … and to say it flew by is an understatement. So that means bye, bye to South Australia’s History Festival for another year. As far as attending events, I did better this year than I have in the past, as I planned ahead and made sure I booked into things early, and I even managed to get a little time off to go to some but I had to stop looking at the program, as I was just getting annoyed at all the awesome things on, that I couldn’t get to. Anyway I promised a mini review of the events I went to, so here goes … Friday 5 May 2017 & Saturday 6 May 2017 Exploring & Writing Family & Local History seminar organised by Unlock the Past This seminar was organised by my work, so I was partly working at the event (manning the Gould Genealogy display tables). But as our tables were in the same room the talks, I got to hear them too. There was 16 talks packed into 2 days, so it was pretty full on, but the talks were great, and much was learned. There was a great turnout for the event with a number coming from country South Australia, and even a few from interstate. I’m not going to write a review of each talk, but there was many great points gained from them. House history, maps, DNA, writing your history, oral history, photos, black sheep and so much more was covered. As a bonus I got to catch up with two fellow geneabloggers, and that’s a real treat as there doesn’t seem to be too many of us in South Australia. Monday 8 May 2017 Meet...

South Australia’s History Festival 2017 is Coming!!...

May is the month that all South Australian history-lovers look forward to, as it is South Australia’s History Festival, which really is just a month-long history-fest! To say that I was excited to get a copy of the SA History Festival program guide last weekend is an understatement. I’ll admit that I’ve already gone through it all (only once so far), and have put post-in notes on a heap of events, and even printed out a calendar for the month so I can keep track of what’s on when, and hope that not too many double up. South Australia’s History Festival is presented by the History Trust of South Australia, and it began its life as South Australia’s History Week back in 2004, and changed to a month-long event in 2011. This proved to be a good move, as it has grown in popularity every year since. And with over 600 events from 340 organisers this year, the interest continues to grow. With events held not only in Adelaide city, but also Adelaide Hills, the Barossa and rural regions of the state, even Kangaroo Island, more people are learning about the history of this beautiful state of ours. There’s an absolute overload of events on for history-lovers, and even non-history lovers. From talks and seminars, to guided walks, and bus tours. There’s workshops and exhibitions, open days at various places, and more. From making jam the old way, to walks in cemeteries and Adelaide’s old buildings. From learning how to create audio and visual presentations with oral history recordings, to learning the stories of South Australia’s pioneer settlers, seriously there is something for everyone. I have so many events I hope to get to, but unless I can take...

My First Hannaford Family in Australia...

For Australia Day this year I decided to write about the Hannafords, who are one of my immigrating families. Or more specifically I should say, about  Susannah Hannaford (nee Elliott), who is truly the matriarch of the family, and her children. I admit I am in awe of Susannah,  in some ways anyway. She was a widow by age 48, not an easy thing for anyone, but then to pack up all of your belongings and move to the other side of the world, to a colony that had only been founded a few years before, with her six children, leaving her family, friends and whole life behind, to start again from scratch. I can’t even begin to think of what that would be like or how she managed it.  But she survived. So did her children, and now her descendants number the thousands. But let’s go back a little bit first. Back in Devon … Susannah Elliott was born in 1790 in the market town of Totnes, in Devon, England. Meanwhile the Hannaford family (the ones I’m writing about anyway), grew up just four miles away in the little town of Rattery. I mention that as the Hannaford name in Devon is much like Smith or Brown everywhere else. Hannafords are everywhere! When Susannah was 30 years old, she married William Hannaford (one from the neighbouring parish in Rattery), and who was actually a few years younger than her. Sadly William died at age 42, leaving Susannah with six children ranging in age from 17  down to 6. Devon at that time (actually probably England at that time) had limited employment opportunities, and with high taxes (land tax and window tax for instance), it would seem that emigrating...

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...

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...

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...