Australians and New Zealanders in Serbia in WW1

Sadly wars produce a wealth of records of the  lives  lost and entangled in these conflicts. 2018 marks the end of the WWI Centenary. This war gave Australia and New Zealand the story of Gallipoli, but Australian and New Zealand volunteers were already in Serbia, treating wounded Serbians, before the ANZACs landed.

Because of the Gallipoli Campaign, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria invaded Serbia to secure a land supply corridor to Turkey. The Serbian Army was forced on a deadly retreat over the wintry mountains of Albania to the Adriatic coast, an event sometimes called the Albanian golgotha. Australians and New Zealanders accompanied the Serbian Army on this long march. When the fighting shifted to the Salonika or ‘Macedonian’ Front, many served there with the British Army, the Royal Flying Corps, two AIF units and six Royal Australian Navy destroyers in the Adriatic and Aegean Seas. Some died in action, others from disease.

Several hundred doctors, nurses and orderlies treated the wounded and sick in an Australian-led volunteer hospital and in British and New Zealand Army hospitals. The author Miles Franklin was a medical orderly supporting the Serbian Army; her memoir is quoted extensively in a new  book. Fifteen hundred Australians and New Zealanders served on this little known yet crucial battlefront.

There will be a commemorative presentation about the service of these Australians in WW1 and a launch of a book about them – in Melbourne on 8 September and at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra 15 September.

REMEMBRANCE EVENT NEXT SATURDAY IN MELBOURNE

On Saturday 8 September The Australian Serbian Cultural Foundation is presenting an evening of remembrance and commemoration of the Australians and Serbs who served together in The Great War. Doors open 6.30 pm (for 7 pm start) at Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church Hall, corner Nicholson St & Glenlyon Rd, Brunswick East.

This event is open to the wider Australian and Serbian community. Entry is free.

Special guests from Australia and Serbia will present remarkable accounts and experiences of these Australian and Serbian men and women, who served in that war:

  • ‘Albanian Golgotha, 100 years later’ – presented by Marko Nikolic and Nenad Mitrovic, who are part of a team which in 2015 retraced the epic withdrawal of the Serbian King, Government, Army and civilian refugees in 1915/16 across the Montenegrin and Albanian mountains,
  • Richard Cook, the grandson of an Australian Nursing Sister who served in Serbia in 1915,
  • Margaret Brown, the grandniece of an Australian soldier who fought in Serbia and on the Salonika Front in 1915-16, and
  • Bojan Pajic, the grandson of a Serbian soldier of WWI, who will present his newly-published book Forgotten Volunteers – Australians and New Zealanders with Serbs in World War One.

The GSV has been assisting Bojan Pajic to trace and contact descendants and relatives of Australians and New Zealanders who served in Serbia or alongside the Serbian Army on the Salonika Front and nearby seas in World War One. Over 100 have been identified and contacted.

Finally, after several years of research and writing, this story has now been told in a book recently published by Australian Scholarly Publishing. The book will be launched by Emeritus Professor David Horner AM at the Australian War Memorial on the 15 September 2018.

Copies of the book can be obtained from the publisher by emailing them at e: enquiry@scholarly.info or you can arrange for a copy to be brought to the event next Saturday by emailing the author at bjpiris@gmail.com

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This Serbian research is a reminder that, whereas the GSV helps Victorians, their stories and the GSV’s resources are truly international. And this is not limited to the British Isles. The GSV has a specific group for its members – the International Settlers Group – focused on non-British research. Go HERE to see when they meet and how they can help you.

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‘Resources in Ballarat’ talk at GSV

For anyone with links to 19th C Victoria, Ballarat and other goldfields will be an important part of your story, if not directly, then in providing background to the growth of the new Colony. In the coming month the GSV hosts a talk by Dr Joan Hunt on the wealth of research sources that are available in Ballarat.

‘Resources in Ballarat’

Thursday 27 September 12.00 pm – 1.00 pm at the GSV. See  HERE for details and to make a booking.

City Hall, Ballarat c.1907. (Courtesy SLV Pictures H96.200/1381)

Ballarat is rich in both history and historical research sources. Dr Hunt will share with us the many resources that can help with local and family history research, revealing both on-line and personal contact responses from the Ballarat and District Genealogical Society, the Ballarat Historical Society and other societies such as those at Sebastopol, Smythesdale, Linton, Creswick, Clunes and other surrounding areas, the Ballarat Mechanics’ Institute, the Australiana Room of Ballarat Library, the Ballarat Archives Centre of the Public Record Office Victoria, the Gold Museum, and other sites.

Dr Joan Hunt

This is a great opportunity to be guided by an historian with a deep knowledge of these local research materials. Dr Joan Hunt recently retired from her position as an Access Services Officer at Ballarat Archives Centre, Public Record Office Victoria. Dr Joan Hunt is a past president of Ballarat Historical Society, a founder and past president of the Woady Yaloak Historical Society, has served two terms chairing the Ballarat & District Genealogical Society, and is an active member of other local historical societies.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, where she served several terms on Council, partly as Vice-President, and partly as Convenor of the RHSV History Victoria Support Group.  Her work in community history spans thirty-seven years, from Dandenong Historical Society committee membership in 1974 to involvement in the Ballarat region since 1980.  She is a co-founder and inaugural secretary of the Central Highlands Historical Association.  In 1988 Joan was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study how local and family history societies in the UK organise and administer themselves.  Joan has published a history of Ross Creek, a centenary history of Scarsdale Old Boys Reunion, a history of Smythesdale Cemetery, and many articles and papers. She is currently working on a history of the Springdallah goldfields.  

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You have to be in it to win in Family History Month

August is National Family History Month.  To celebrate your family history endeavours there are opportunities for you to win prizes IF YOU ARE QUICK!

Simply enter your details in the draw for PRIZES provided by the good sponsors of National Family History Month – BUT YOU HAVE TO QUICK – closing 20 AUGUST! 

AND you can enter your writing in the GSV 2018 Writing Competition which is on now – CLOSING 31 AUGUST.

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NATIONAL HISTORY FAMILY HISTORY MONTH PRIZES – CLOSES 20 AUGUST

There are lots of events and some terrific prizes to be won including DNA kits, Ancestry and MyHeritage subscriptions, a Nikon camera and more. For details on how to enter the prize draw go to  http://familyhistorymonth.org.au/sponsors/

GSV 2018 WRITING COMPETITION – CLOSES 31 AUGUST

Our 2018 writing competition is still open but entries close soon – 31 August.  It is open to all GSV Members. We are very pleased that Ancestry™ has very generously offered a 12 months subscription to their ‘UK Heritage plus’ option as the prize.

Last year’s prize was won by Helen Pearce with her article: Thomas Owen: the skeleton in my family’s closet. This is the story of her ancestor Thomas Owen who was transported to Australia for ‘uttering’ – the passing of forged notes. Helen began her story with her memory that her mother was adamant that there were no convicts in her family, even though she was from a long line of Tasmanians. The real story was uncovered by Helen too late to let her mother know the facts – perhaps just as well – but Helen was excited with her discovery. It is interesting how a better understanding of the times has changed the way we receive this knowledge. You can read her story in Ancestorjournal December 2017 (vol 33 issue 8)

It is not too late to make your final edits to that family story you have been researching – or even to write up that material you have been promising to put in better shape for the family. And the winning article will be published in the December 2018 issue of GSV’s award-winning journal. What better way to make your story available for the family down through the generations!

For full details of conditions of entry click HERE.

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The Keyboard of the President #4 – August 2018

GSV Council has been working hard to support members in their family history endeavours.  In this post, David Down, GSV President gives us an update. There are more benefits than ever from joining GSV and many ways you can contribute to helping others. [Ed.]

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The GSV was very pleased this week that its quarterly journal Ancestor was, once again,  selected as the winner of its category in the 2018 Nick Vine Hall Awards, which were presented at the AFFHO launch of Family History Month.

Strategic Plan: Council met this week to review the Strategic Plan that we developed one year ago. We have introduced a number of new programs such as our contact with new member’s scheme, our DNA for Family Historian program and our new Discussion Circles. These efforts have resulted in an increase in new members and the slowing of the decline in our membership. We intend to reinforce those programs and introduce other initiatives such as a website Forum for members to replace the old ‘GSV-L’ Rootsweb bulletin board and new Discussion Circles.

AGM: The Society’s Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday 6 October at 2 pm in our meeting room. The GSV Council is responsible for ensuring that the human, physical, financial, and research resources are available to ensure that the Society is acting in your best interests both currently and in the future. We are seeking members prepared to serve as Councillors for the next two years. The challenges of guiding the Society’s future are exciting and fulfilling and if you are interested in learning more about how you could contribute please email me and I will contact you.

Our new computers are being installed.  I would like to thank everyone who has very kindly donated to our ongoing appeal for the renewal of our IT infrastructure – we have raised almost $9,000 of the $15,000 appeal target. The funds raised so far are sufficient to replace all the library PCs and those who have visited recently will have noticed that we have commenced installing the new PCs and monitors and a few new ergonomic chairs. After considerable hard work from our IT volunteers and librarians we are implementing a new universal menu system that enables the user to access all our resources from each PC. We are still very keen to raise the remaining balance of $6,000 as the back-room IT equipment, especially the servers, need to be replaced to ensure a stable and secure IT system.

Opportunity for people to help as Office Assistants. We have an ongoing requirement for Office Assistants to join a team who support Linda to handle the day to day running of the Office. They are the first point of contact with members, volunteers and visitors. Major responsibilities include reception duties, administrative tasks such as handling cash, processing cheques and credit card payments, and processing within our membership system. A program of training and mentoring will be provided. If you are interested in assisting in this way please contact Linda during office hours. She will explain what is involved and send you more information in the form of a position description document.

Membership System Emails: I must apologise as recently a number of regular membership emails failed to be sent out whilst follow-up emails advising that membership was overdue or had expired were distributed. The system is designed around three emails:

  • a membership renewal email sent one month in advance of the renewal date
  • a reminder email sent a few days after membership is due
  • an expired membership email sent one month after the due date

Understandably if the sequence is disrupted then it is not easy to determine if your membership is current. If you have any queries at any time please email us or phone the office during business hours. We are investigating the source of the problem with a commercial company experienced with the software and hope to resolve the matter promptly. Again, please accept my apologies for any concerns that the disruption may have caused.

All the best with your family history research.

David Down – President GSV

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GSV wins 2018 Nick Vine Hall Award for best family history journal

August is  National Family History Month and we celebrate the finding and telling of our family histories.

Barbara Beaumont (left) accepting Nick Vine Hall Award 2018.

The GSV is particularly pleased to be awarded this year’s Nick Vine Hall Award for Ancestor, our quarterly journal. This award and our previous wins in 2012 and 2015 show our continuing commitment to helping people tell their family stories. Our journal is produced wholly by a volunteer Editorial Team and special congratulations are due to our layout designer, Jay Wickham, and to our two articles sub-editors, Martin Playne and Barbara Beaumont, as well as all our contributing writers. Barbara accepted the Award on GSV’s behalf at the launch of National Family History Month this week and her report of this successful event is this week’s post. You can find out more about National Family History Month on AFFHO’s website HERE.

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The Australian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO) launched National Family History Month on Wednesday 1 August in Hobart. Vicki Montgomery, wearing her AFFHO hat, (she is Vice President of AFFHO as well as GSV Secretary), conducted the meeting. The building at 91 Murray St, Hobart is home to The National Archives of Australia and the State Library Archives Service. Short addresses by Celia Blake, Victorian and Tasmanian Director of the National Archives of Australia, and Caroline Homer, Manager of the State Library (Tasmania) Archives Service, emphasised the value of the co-location of these two organisations. Celia introduced us to some of the treasures available in the National Archives, then Caroline spoke about how Family History dovetails with the library’s aims and outlined some of the Archive Service’s current projects.

The winning issue of Ancestor, 33:7 September 2017

The Nick Vine Hall awards for the best family history journal/newsletter in Australia and New Zealand were then made. The GSV (yes us!) won the first prize in Category B, societies with a membership over five hundred. I was delighted to be able to go as a representative of our editorial team to accept the award. Look out for the beautiful plaque we were given when you next visit the Society.

The keynote address, ‘Why is Family History Important?’ was given by Dr. Dianne Snowden. Dianne’s entertaining talk drew on her own experiences of family history research and touched on several themes. Some that particularly appealed to me:

  • In her childhood her grandmother’s exercise book of recipes and names and the big family bible sparked her interest in family history, and this led on to formal study of history and a passion for conserving heritage.
  • Academic historians, once condescending about family history, were lately coming to see its value (when it is done correctly).
  • Researching one’s family enables us to make connections with family both past and present, and helps to develop one’s own sense of identity.

The afternoon concluded with a lavish afternoon tea.

Barbara Beaumont

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A treasure trove of military genealogy

Military Genealogy at the Royal United Services Institute of Victoria

On Thursday August 2 at 12.00 pm – 1.00 pm at the GSV, Major General (Ret’d) Michael  O’Brien will give an insight into the extensive collection of military genealogy that is held at the library at Victoria Barracks- a real treasure trove of information to be explored.

The RUSI library at Victoria Barracks

Mike is a committed community activist and a believer in a fair go. He is an experienced manager and company director, has run an iconic Melbourne antiquarian bookstore for 17 years and is an advocate for small business as the main engine that drives our economy. He had an extensive military career but balanced it with directorships of a listed company and a non-bank financial institution. He has tertiary qualifications in Science and Management. He has lectured around the world on cruise ships for 10 years gaining an enviable number of days at sea, an excellent remedy for a former Infantryman. He writes local history and believes our built heritage should be highly valued.

This is a great opportunity to find out about this lesser-known archive of material, that could hold just the link you need for your own research.

Bookings are essential – you can book HERE

Cost $5 GSV members, $20 non-members, $15 CAV, RHSV, FHC members.

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MELBOURNE TARTAN FESTIVAL – Genealogy Day 20 July

As part of Melbourne Tartan Festival come to GENEALOGY DAY at the GSV.

FRIDAY 20TH JULY 

An introduction to family research with guidance from experienced volunteer researchers from The Genealogical Society of Victoria Inc. (GSV)

The GSV is your best destination if you have an interest in researching your family history. Tracing your ancestry is fascinating and rewarding but can be tricky at times, so let us help. Our centrally located Research & Education Centre is in Melbourne where you can work with our experienced volunteer research assistants. With their guidance, you can efficiently organise and record the family information you already hold. Then you can investigate our many resources and background information to find new information and fill in the gaps.

On this Genealogy Day there are two morning sessions which will be repeated in the afternoon.

Morning:

Session 1 -“An introductory talk” is free. Book here
Session 2 with guidance from an experienced researcher. Ticket price $10.00 pp. Book here
 

Afternoon:
Session 3 “An introductory talk” is free. Book here
Session 4 with guidance from an experienced researcher. Ticket price $10 pp. Book here

This festival is jointly sponsored by the Victorian Scottish Heritage Cultural Foundation and the Scots of Victoria co-ordinating Group.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity.

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It’s not too late to enter the Victorian Community History Awards 2018

This year marks the 20th Victorian Community History Awards.

Your research of a family story may add considerably to our understanding of some part of Victoria’s history. You are invited to enter a work or project by 20 July.  

The Victorian Community History Awards recognise excellence in historical method. Subject matter is limited to history primarily relating to the State of Victoria or projects that encourage greater access to Victorian collections. The Victorian Community History Awards have been held since 1999, and are proudly presented by Public Record Office Victoria and the Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV). This year the $5000 award has been renamed the Victorian Premier’s History Award.

The diverse award categories acknowledge that history can be told in a variety of formats with the aim of reaching and enriching all Victorians. The awards cover apps, projects, multimedia and articles,
as well as the more regular books. One year a bridge with interpretative panels won.

Entries close 2pm Friday 20 July 2018.

Entries should have been created between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018. The conditions of entry and entry forms can be found on the RHSV website:

Find out more HERE.

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Postscript:   GSV historians win RHSV Trivia Night

Seven enthusiastic GSV representatives braved the wintry Friday night to attend the RHSV Trivia Night on 22 June.  Having been made very welcome by our RHSV hosts we took up our seats at Table No. 4 to enjoy the evening and a tasty array of snacks, and a glass or two of wine.  We got off to a good start, running second after the first round.  We fielded a wide range of topics and tricky questions and fell into fourth place.  However all stops were pulled out in the fourth and fifth round and some fine sporting knowledge had us regain a competitive position.  In the final quiz element of the night and with the combined efforts of all, but especially of Vicki and Simon, we correctly answered all questions to come up with the winning answer and the big prize.  Yes, we took FIRST PRIZE! Congratulations Vicki, David, Simon, Meg, Leonie, Stephen, and Tony. 

Our thanks to RHSV for a fun event and if RHSV decide to run the event next year, we will have a title to defend.  

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Are you from up north?

The Northern English Counties Discussion Circle will meet on Tuesday 10 July at 12.30 pm. There will be two brief presentations outlining the resources available to assist those researching ancestors who were agricultural labourers or employed in shipbuilding and allied industries. General discussion will follow. All members of GSV are welcome as part of your membership.

‘Angel of the North’. Artist: Antony Gormley, at Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, 1998

We are an enthusiastic group who meet on the 2nd Tuesday of the month (except January), to discuss research and share interests in the North of England, covering the counties of Northumberland, Westmorland, Durham, Yorkshire and Cumberland. For anyone who has ancestors in this region, whether you are just starting out or have been researching for a number of years, we can help.

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Rare Book Week at GSV

We are hosting two free talks at the GSV Research & Education Centre as part of Rare Book Week. This is a good opportunity to visit the GSV Centre and hear two interesting presentations – but you do need to book.

The first on Tuesday 3 July, 12.00 pm – 1.00 pm is: 

Preservation of books, photographs and paper-based items.

Conservator, Debra Parry will provide information on how materials deteriorate and how to handle, store and display such items to preserve them for the future.

Then on Thursday 5 July at 12.00 pm – 1.00 pm, Douglas Heywood will present: 

‘Guests of the Unspeakable’ : The letters and diary of Warrant Officer 1, William Scott Heywood, POW Thai Burma Railway and Japan 
 
WO1 William Scott Heywood, 1941. (Photo courtesy of Doug Heywood)
Doug’s talk will cover :-
The Prelude: his letters to his girlfriend/wife before his departure to Singapore.
The Journey: his letters while stationed at Malacca prior to the fall of Singapore.
A Prisoner: his diary as a POW in Burma from July 1942 – March 1944
At home: correspondence to his wife from the Defence Force and friends.
 
These previously unpublished, rare materials mention over 150 personnel names.  
 
Both these events are FREE as part of Rare Book Week and are open to all. Bookings essential, in person at GSV, email to gsv@gsv.org.au, by phone (03) 9662 4455 or register via the website  HERE.
 
 

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