With another act of aggression lashing out against civility in our city yesterday, I thought of the city’s motto – we gather strength as we go– and I believe we do, as we become a large, truly cosmopolitan city. I would not have known our city’s motto except that the day before I looked in on the current exhibition at the City Gallery in the Melbourne Town Hall – ‘Emblazon’: Melbourne’s coat of arms’ (7 September – 30 January 2019).
Coats of arms and heraldry are a somewhat old-fashioned part of our genealogical wanderings. But this small exhibition telling the story of Melbourne’s coat of arms is worth a visit. The City Gallery is easy to find and too easy to walk past – located on the main Town hall frontage sharing its entrance with HALF-TIX … see CITY GALLERY WEBSITE.
The exhibition includes many examples of the ‘arms’ from street signs, street bollards, documents, a cast iron roundel from the old Eastern Markets, a Sèvres vase (1880) and three quirky takes on that vase commissioned by MCC in 2018. Our official ‘arms’ includes a fleece, a cow, a whale and a ship as 1840s symbols of the city. One of the 2018 vases, Yhonnie Scarce’s memorial urn, contains ‘symbols of lives lost since the British arrived’.
Our family histories are embedded in the social history of our cities and places. City of Melbourne can be congratulated for its City Gallery, and these quarterly exhibitions, which have been showcasing our shared heritage.
You should visit.
‘Emblazon: Melbourne’s Coat of Arms’, exhibition catalogue, 2018.
Exhibition Curator: Alisa Bunbury / MCC Art and Heritage Collection team.
Sevres vase, Sevres Porcelain Factory, 1880
‘Urn with Nature Pot’, vase, Angela Brennan, 2018
‘She gathers Strength As She Goes’, vase, Gerry Wedd, 2018
The GSV is regularly adding to its Cemeteries Index with its ongoing project of transcribing records. So you need to check this to see if recent additions can help you.
This index contains nearly a million references from cemetery records mostly relating to Victoria. It includes memorial inscriptions or burial registers from our collection.
GSV has been transcribing cemetery records since the 1950s and although there are now online websites for cemeteries (with many including photographs), some of those early headstone have disappeared or become illegible or even destroyed by vandals.
Recently the GSV Writers shared their writing about topics such as ‘a skeleton in the family’. A number of interesting stories emerged, of forgers and even a murderer. How do we deal with those in our family who have become entangled with the law?
Dr Alana Piper, Research Fellow of the University of Technology Sydney researches criminal justice history and is conducting a survey on the public’s engagement with crime history. The purpose of this online survey is to find out about public interest in and understandings of criminal justice history. The online survey is run through SurveyMonkey and takes 5-10 minutes to complete. The survey is completely anonymous.
In this project Alana is using digital techniques to map the lives and criminal careers of Australian offenders across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her research interests draw together the social and cultural history of crime with criminology, legal history and the digital humanities. Her PhD thesis examined female involvement in Australian criminal subcultures across the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Dr Piper outlines the project:
A World-First Survey on Crime History and the Public
‘One of the things I love about my job as a criminal justice historian is talking to people about my research. It does not matter who they are – or even if history in general is not a particular passion for them – most people are interested in hearing the stories I’ve uncovered about nineteenth and twentieth-century crimes and criminals.
Some people like to chat about the celebrity criminals whose lives have been immortalised in fiction and film, like bushranger Ned Kelly or Sydney crime queen Tilly Devine. Others like hearing about the quirkier or more unexpected tales I have come across, such as the fact that book theft was made a special offence in Victoria in 1891 after a spate of book stealing from public libraries. Or that until relatively recently fortune-telling was a criminal offence across Australia, with police intermittently cracking down on fortune-tellers throughout the twentieth century, in particular during the World Wars when people were desperate for reassurance about their loved ones.
These are not one-way conversations either. Family historians have often encountered at least one ancestor who had an entanglement with the law. It is fascinating to hear how sometimes those actions or events ended up changing the course of the lives of the entire family. Other people have developed an interest in local cold cases, such as the unsolved murders of three adult siblings that occurred in Gatton, Queensland in 1898, but still generate frequent speculation today.
The sense that I am left with from these encounters is that crime history is a subject in which the public is highly engaged. Anecdotally I know that other crime historians – both in Australia and overseas – have similar experiences. However, to date there has been no empirical research into public attitudes and interest towards crime history.
I am trying to change that by running an anonymous online survey about community perceptions of crime history. The survey only takes 5-10 minutes to complete, but will generate data that provides insights into the sources of information that inform public understandings of crime history, and how public attitudes about crime history vary across different national contexts.
Any participation in or promotion of the survey is much appreciated. It can be found via the following link – https://criminalcharacters.com/survey/– along with more details about my research project.’
GSV is privileged to have Elizabeth Rushen presenting ‘Bounty and government emigrants 1836-1840 including Mr Marshall’s migrants‘.
Liz Rushen has written a number of books in this area and you can see more about them at her website HERE.
Her talk is on this coming Thursday 18 October 12.00pm – 1.00 pm. Bookings are essential but you can still get a place if you are quick. Bookings can be made in person at GSV, via the website HERE. Or you can book by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 9662 4455.
GSV Members $5.00, RHSV/CAV/FHC $15.00 and Non-members $20.00.
There were many emigration schemes and agents operating in the early to mid-nineteenth century and this talk by historian and author Elizabeth Rushen will give a broad overview of emigration in the 1820s and 1830s. Various emigration schemes were available until the formation of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commission in 1840 and John Marshall was the most active entrepreneur under the bounty scheme of assisted migration to Australia.
This is an area of our history with which many of us have links and this is a great opportunity to get a knowledgeable overview.
Post expires at 9:57am on Saturday 15 December 2018
GSV has purchased a wonderful new publication to help our Cornwall researchers. The 1696 Association Oath Rolls for Cornwall lists around 11,500 Cornish men who took an oath in defence of the realm following a failed assassination plot on the life of King William III. The rolls list the men by parish/town as well as two extensive lists of tinners. Some effort was made to group men by family, which may provide new insights for your research. The publication includes a comprehensive introduction to the events of 1696 and the analysis of the rolls by the editors.
The SWERD meeting on Friday 12 October (12:30 at GSV) will discuss the background to the Oath Rolls and how this new resource can be used in your research.
We will also be discussing resources to help you research ‘the times’ of your ancestors in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset. How can you find out about local events that directly impacted their lives? What are the best and/or your favourite books and other records covering the histories and events in the four south-west counties? We’ll prepare a list of the resources discussed at the meeting for future reference in your research.
SWERD is a group for GSV Members. Find out more on our website and it’s not too late to join GSV and SWERD before this interesting session on Friday.
Post expires at 8:54pm on Saturday 8 December 2018
Watching Jimmy Barnes’ personal story of his dire early days as a child migrant in Elizabeth, South Australia, (Working Class Boy) reminded me that many family histories in Australia commence with relatively recent arrivals – in the middle of last century after WW2 – rather than with early pioneers of the 18th and 19th centuries. The Bonegilla Migrant Camp in NE Victoria was where over 300,000 migrants started their Australian lives.
Next month the annual Back toBonegilla Migrant Camp Gathering is on again :
Friday 2 November and Saturday 3 November 2018 from 10.00 AM to 4.00 PM each day. Entry is free. Daily activities include:
Author and genealogy talks;
Displays and exhibitions; and,
Food and music.
You can find out more about this and make bookings to events BOOKINGS HERE
The Bonegilla Migrant Camp story
‘At the end of WW2 the Australian Government introduced a program of migration to assist millions of displaced people in Europe and, at the same time, combat a shortage of labour in Australian industry. As housing was not immediately available for the growing population, the Australian Government provided migrants with temporary accommodation like that at Bonegilla [in Victoria] until they found jobs and their own places to live.’
The Bonegilla Migrant Camp was established at a former army camp near Wodonga, Victoria. It was the first home in Australia for more than 300,000 migrants from more than 50 countries from 1947 to 1971. They had diverse arrival and settlement experiences.
‘Many migrants recall arriving lonely and confused, unsure of where they were going and what they would be doing. Others saw Bonegilla as a place of hope, symbolic of a new start. In December 2007, Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre – Block 19 was recognised as a place with powerful connections for many people in Australia and a symbol of post-war migration which transformed Australia’s economy, society and culture under the National Heritage List.Today, Block 19 is a public memory place. The site and its associated oral, written and pictorial records in the Bonegilla Collection at the Albury Library/Museum bring to light post-war immigration policies and procedures that changed the composition and size of the Australian population.’ [Bonegilla Migrant Experience website, access. 6 Oct 2018.]
How do I say it?
“Depending on your cultural connection with Bonegilla, there are a number of ways to pronounce it. To many locals, it’s strictly ‘Bone – Gilla’ but to immigrants arriving from Europe after World War II, the word was often read as ‘Bonny-Gilla’ or ‘Bon-Eg-Illa’.” Passport for Bonegilla, Bonegilla Migrant Experience website.
The GSV hosts a group which helps its members with an interest in non-British research: International Settlers Group. On 17 November their presentation is ‘Andiamo – a Celebration of my Italian Family History‘ presented by Angelo Indovina. You can find out more about this group on the GSV website http://www.gsv.org.au/activities/groups/isg
Post expires at 2:54pm on Thursday 6 December 2018
Now that we are emerging from our winter retreats, it is a great time to pick up those challenges we set ourselves this year for our family histories. Even for those who have started, it is always good to have a refresher about what we can find and how to proceed. The GSV has scheduled a short course of three sessions in October which will give you all you need to really get going.
‘Australian Family History’ – Wednesday 17, 24 and 31 October, 10.00am – 12.00pm.
This will be presented by John Bugg.
The topics to be covered include:
Where do I start? How to gather and store information.
Getting here – immigration, convicts, naturalisation and wills.
State records – Private lives and public records.
National Records – Finding families.
For BOOKING and details about this course go to the GSV website HERE. You can also book in person at GSV, by email to email@example.com or by phone (03) 9662 4455.
The presenter: John Bugg has a background in Education and is a Fellow of the Australian College of Education. He has been chasing eight family lines who arrived before 1870 and has published a small family Bugg history, before attending the family reunion in the UK. John enjoys the chase and detective work of family history and finding links to its wider historical context.
John tells us more about these planned sessions:
‘Most of us have explored the commercial data sources and probably checked the odd family tree and been subjected to the afternoon tea-party about the family. What this course aims to do is to go beyond that and build up an originaldatabase of our family and to set it in the social context of the time. How do we find Will Smith; especially if this name is Wilfred Smyth, to say nothing of the transcription error of the clerks in a foreign port who may have little knowledge of German or Spanish?
Emphasis will be placed on original documents and where to find them from little used databases that will lead often to further searching and the unlocking of additional and sometimes surprising information. What is the value of the GSV database and how we may best use it. In the last course we discovered, among other matters, why a great-grandmother had a sister six months later from her same father and mother. Often our search is limited by the commercial databases. I am following eight Australian families and only one is on the official documents of immigration in the nineteenth century and that was further complicated by their arrival in Melbourne but their registration in Freemantle. We will aim to find some other sources of data through the sharing of ideas.
Finally the sessions are designed to be fun. By allowing a broad canvas of inputs, and by adding additional information from the group, you will develop a much better understanding of your family and an accurate family tree for all to share.’
One of the pleasures of family history research is to uncover the tracks made by our ancestors at a time when travel must have needed exceptional courage and endurance. For those who are not squeamish, cemeteries can often work as important hubs in joining up these networks.
In 19th century Australia, a rumour of a new gold prospect in another state would immediately send thousands of people trekking from shore to shore. Of course, not only gold-seekers and their entrepreneurial providers trod new paths. Explorers, surveyors, naturalists and settlers also criss-crossed the land, leaving fragments for family historians to piece together.
John Flanagan (1829-1864) set out from his parents’ farm in Ennis, County Clare, arriving in Melbourne in 1858, and within three years he and his wife, Margaret O’Halloran (1832-1916), were mining in Bendigo (aka Sandhurst). Of their three children only Michael (1862-1901) survived past early childhood, and John himself succumbed to tuberculosis in 1864. His younger brother, Tom Flanagan (1832-1899), had by then arrived from Ennis, and, it was he who signed John’s death certificate. John was buried in White Hills Cemetery in Bendigo.
Hobart next became an important junction on the network of Flanagan-family travels. Michael Flannigan (as he wrote his name in adulthood) qualified as a government surveyor in 1892, and then left the Mines Department in Melbourne for the Tasmanian Lands Department in 1894.
In Hobart he gained a reputation as a highly professional surveyor and was appointed as the first District Surveyor for King Island in 1898. But, as with his father, his life was cut short by tuberculosis. He returned to Bendigo to spend his last months, in early 1901, with his mother, Margaret O’Halloran, now named Higgs and widowed for a second time. Ten years later his colleagues in the Lands Department in Hobart arranged for Big Lake on King Island to be named Lake Flannigan, in his memory.
Michael John Flannigan is buried in with his father, mother and sisters in White Hills Cemetery, but what has been little known until recently is that the biggest lake on King Island is his memorial, and further, that his uncle, Tom Flanagan, is buried in the same cemetery, but far away across the other side.
The discoverers of the first gold at what has now become the astonishing Super Pit of Kalgoorlie, were three unassuming Irishmen, Paddy Hannan, the leader; Tom Flanagan, his regular prospecting partner; and Daniel Shea, an acquaintance who joined them on the way to Kalgoorlie. Their gains from the find were modest, and, as was usual for prospectors, they stayed only a few months before moving on.
Fame would come years later, after Tom had returned to lodge with his late brother’s wife, Margaret O’Halloran, in Bendigo and had died there in 1899.
The linked stories of Tom Flanagan, and his nephew Michael John Flannigan and his friend in the Lands Department, William Nevin Tatlow Hurst, can be read in Wikipedia, and various history magazines.
In recent weeks the number of members coming into the Centre seems to have increased. Many come just to attend events but many are also taking advantage of our new computers and staying to research their ancestors. We are now an affiliate library of FamilySearch and as such have access to an ever growing number of digitised resources. If you haven’t taken advantage of the facility we strongly recommend that you search the resources available on the FamilySearch catalogue and view the images at our centre.
We are still seeking volunteers to learn our administration and membership systems so as to become a backup for Linda Farrow our Officer Administrator. We are developing a team of people who will be able to relieve Linda during the day so she can do other tasks. The job does entail handling credit cards, cheques and cash but the systems are not too complex and you would not be left as the sole administrator on duty. On-the-job training will be provided. If you would like to know more please contact Margaret McLaren on 9662 4455 during office hours.
Our blog is being well-received as a way of keeping members up to date, but also as a means to publicise ‘family history’ in the wider community. After the recent post about the survey of family historians – ‘What makes them tick’ (3 September), one of the researchers, Susan Moore advised that ‘it has been very productive so far with about 100 people already doing the survey and they keep on coming.’
We are very happy to post information about the activities of our regional societies and other groups who share our interests.
This will be my last posting to this blog as President as I will be standing down at the AGM on 6 October. I would like to thank everyone who has helped me over the last three years and I wish the incoming President and Council all the best.
David Down – President GSV
Post expires at 10:26am on Saturday 22 December 2018