Thursday, 30 August 2012

Melbourne's Birthday

August 30 is Melbourne’s birthday – the day the city was founded when settlers sailed from Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) and landed on the north bank of the Yarra River from the schooner Enterprize in 1835. Here is (one of) my link(s) with early Melbourne.

Henry Condell c1860
from Libraries Australia collection
Henry CONDELL (1797-1871) was Melbourne’s first mayor, serving from 9 Dec 1842 to Nov 1844. He is my 4great grandfather.
He arrived in Hobart on 24 Dec 1822 leaving his wife Marion and daughter Jane behind in Edinburgh. Marion Condell nee VALLANGE (1789-1866) came to Van Diemen’s Land three years later and Jane CONDELL (c1821-1904) was raised by her grandparents, not coming to Australia until 1840. 
Jane was my 3great grandmother - she married a convict and was disowned by her father. That’s a story for another blog post.

Henry worked for some time on Maria Island as Commissariat Clerk and left in controversial circumstances (again another future blog post), and built the very successful Bevley Bank Brewery in North Hobart, billed in the mid-1830s as having the best pale ale in the colony.

Henry moved to Port Phillip in 1839 and set up a successful brewery in Little Collins Street.
From what I read, as a mayor he made a great brewer – his 'term of office was a time of financial distress, constant bickering and turmoil'. It is said in articles in The Argus that his ale had played a ‘conspicuous part in the riotous election campaign’.
Edward Long, Henry's great grandson, and
my great grandfather

When he left Melbourne for England in 1853 he was a very wealthy man - I wonder if all of his wealth was profit from his brewery.

His son, William Vallange CONDELL presented the Melbourne City Council with a clock for the Town Hall tower in memory of his father. That clock remains today.
There is a street in Fitzroy, a lane in Melbourne city, and a lane in North Hobart that all bear his name. The lane in North Hobart is all that remains to mark his house and brewery there.

Jane Brooks nee Condell,
Henry's daughter, and mother of Frances

Frances Eliza Long nee Brooks,
Henry's grandaughter, and mother of Edward

The plaque in North Hobart

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Trove Tuesday - Lifesaver Hero

Page 3 of The Argus,
Monday 28 January 1946
I’m taking up the geneablogger challenge of writing a Tuesday blog post from info gleaned from Trove. For some of my family who don’t know what Trove is – it is the National Library of Australia’s wonderful search resource, and not just for digitised newspapers.

My great grandfather Leo James GRENFELL died while an on-duty lifesaver at Brighton Beach on 27 January 1946. 
He was aged 59 and from what I read, was filling in while the younger members were away at an annual surf lifesaver carnival.

We hadn’t known much about him because his son Keith Leo GRENFELL, my grandfather had died in 1944 when my dad was just a young boy.

My dad always called him ‘gas-producer grandad’ and as kids we used to giggle about what that meant. It actually meant that he had an early car with a gas producer on the back of it.

Leo Grenfell (right) at his son's wedding in 1936.
Keith Grenfell, my grandfather is on the left.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Garrett Family Bible?

Exciting news!
A little while ago, when preparing one of my Garrett blog posts, I was googling the names and found a family tree that appeared to be related to mine. It had sources and when I clicked on some of them, they referred to a Garrett Family Bible.
I had never heard of a Garrett Family Bible before so emailed the contact person for the website. I wasn’t sure if I’d hear anything because the last time the page was updated was in 2001!
I didn’t have long to wait at all. I got an email from the man who said:
The Garrett part of my family tree is a side branch leading to a distant cousin who did all the research….... She is now in her 90s and does not have e-mail, but I will write to her and give her your details.

Within another day or so, I got another email from this man and this was quickly followed by an email from the possible holder of the bible (not the lady in her 90s but another relation). From the internet, around the UK, over to New Zealand, and back to me, all in about a week. 
Aren’t genealogists great people – happily helping others?

The lady in New Zealand is almost certainly related. Her great great grandfather, Robert Birch GARRETT (1811-1857) is the youngest brother of my great great great grandfather, John Thomas GARRETT (1802-1852).
Both are sons of Vice Admiral Henry GARRETT (1774-1846) and his wife Mary RAIKES (1773-1812).
She emailed that her Garrett information is at her holiday house and she isn’t going there until November, so I’ll just have to be patient. 

Friday, 10 August 2012

Shared Birthdays

William Francis and my Dad

Lots of families have members who share a birthday. In my grandmother’s younger brother’s family, there are shared birthdays all over the place.

It seems the only ones in our family, skip a generation:

My Uncle Bill, William Edward LONG (1902-1983) and his grandfather William LONG (1838-1909) on the 11 August.

My Dad, and his grandfather William Collier FRANCIS (1864-1946) on the 27 April.

My nephew, and his great grandmother Mary Kathleen Waveney GRENFELL, nee FRANCIS (1910-1998) on 14 July.

Interestingly, and unfortunately, all of these grandparents died before their birthday-sharing grandchild reached the age of 10.
Makes me glad I didn’t share a birthday with any of my grandparents.
I do share mine but with my great grandmother’s brother – Alfred TERRY (1873-1896).

William Long

Uncle Bill Long

my nephew
Kath Grenfell

Sunday, 5 August 2012

A Musical Lesson

Last night I found something I had been looking for for years! Some music written by my great great grandfather – the Frederick Augustus Pearson (1848-1884) written about in my last blog post.
And, not just one piece – two pieces.

I found them on Trove , not in the digitised newspapers where I normally focus my searches, but on a general search – they came up in the (new)  Music Australia section.
This section was only integrated into Trove in June 2012 (something I only just found out). 

In this section, you can search for printed music, sheet music, musical sound recordings, interviews with significant people, audio books, movies and other videos, including the digitised copies of early Australian music, held in various libraries, archives and cultural institutions across Australia.

The two pieces of music are both Mazurkas for piano – even better as if they had been for violin I couldn’t have played them – not sure I can play these either but that is why you have talented nieces and nephews isn’t it!?

Thursday, 2 August 2012

I hope it's not hereditary!

Frederick A Pearson,
my great great grandfather

My Gren had told us that her grandfather drowned in Geelong, Victoria at a young age, that her grandmother had died a few years later and the children (including her mother) were then brought up by their grandfather.

Frederick Augustus PEARSON (1848-1884) did drown but in interesting circumstances, all documented in Trove, in a number of different papers, Australia-wide.
In summary: On Thursday morning [30 Oct 1884] the body of Mr F. A. Pearson, professor of music, was found in the bay in 10 foot of water, face downwards, with the hands clasped.
It came to light that for some time past he had been in the habit of taking large doses of ammonia, sal volatile, and other chemical stimulants, and had been cautioned some months since as to the probable bad effects the use of such would have on the brain.

Frederick was only 36 years old and left his wife Emma Laura nee ROWDEN (1853-1889) and five children: Florence May (my great grandmother) aged nine and a half years, Frederick Charles Rowden aged eight years, Leslie Montague aged six years, Emma Laura aged four and a half years and Mervyn Theodore aged 11 months. Frederick was a professor of music, had composed several musical pieces, and had organised a brass and string band of 20 members – what a waste of a life.
His wife died less than five years later and her father, Frederick Augustus ROWDEN (1826-1919) then raised the children and lived to the amazing age of 93 years.

Frederick's widow, Emma Laura nee Rowden with
my great grandmother Florence May Pearson and her
little brother, Leslie Montague Pearson
What Gren hadn’t talked about, and probably didn’t know about, were the circumstances of her great grandmother’s death. Eliza MASON (1824-1869) was the wife of Charles Kelvey PEARSON (c1827-1909). Her death, and inquest, was also tragically documented in Trove, also in a number of different papers.
In summary: The inquest on the body of Mrs C. K. Pearson, who died on Wednesday afternoon (1 July 1869) from the effects of poison she had taken, disclosed some very painful circumstances, showing that she took the poison wilfully. The evidence was to the effect that Mrs Pearson, who is forty-five years of age, has had 14 children, 10 of whom are still alive. Being now just on the turn of life, she has for some time been subject to periodical fits of despondency, and even temporary madness, and it appears that while suffering from one of these fits, she took the drugs. While her husband was at work she claimed to have taken strychnine, which her husband had in a secret drawer in the bedroom [he says he was unaware that she knew of its existence – although why he would have it!?]. Her little son ran to get his father, who administered emetics, and then sent for the doctor. But Mrs Pearson had also taken some liniment composed principally of belladonna, chloroform, and ammonia. She died soon afterwards.
The jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased committed suicide by taking poison while in a state of temporary insanity.

Eliza was only 45 and left 10 surviving children between the ages of three and 21. Her husband remarried five years later and had four more children. Poor lady, she had had 14 pregnancies, in Avoca in country Victoria, by the age of 45 and her ‘insanity’ was blamed on menopause!

Scary similarities between the two! Hope it’s not hereditary – and this one is on my Dad’s side.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

No wonder they left Cornwall

Four sets of my 3g grandparents left Cornwall for Australia:
James GRENFELL (c1833-1896) and Nanny HATTAM (c1836-1915), emigrated 1866 from St Just in Penwith to Victoria.
Theophilus Francis OLD (c1820-1873) and Mary Ann SPEAR (c1819-1852), emigrated 1844 from Padstow area to Tasmania.
Phillip BLUETT (c1839-1899) and Mary Jane HUNN (c1837-1897), emigrated 1871 from St Austell area to Victoria.
William Harris LAITY (c1826-1889) and Elizabeth Ann FRANCIS (c1824-1917), emigrated 1852 and 1868 from Redruth area to Victoria.

I was lucky (or clever) enough to talk my non-Geni husband into visiting West Cornwall when we were in the UK. Usually his eyes glaze over at the mere mention of family history but he had lived in the UK and never got to Cornwall. Luckily for me, he is very interested in general history and food.
So this trip: St Just in Penwith - a medieval town, and Padstow - a foodie town.
The centre of St Just looking down towards the Wesleyan
Church (behind the yellow car)

St Just Churchtown is the most westerly town in Cornwall and has been inhabited since prehistory. The present layout of the town dates from the establishment of the first church by Saint Just sometime around 428AD. There are ‘spokes’ of streets and cottages radiating out from the village green, the ‘plen-an-gwary’ and the church.
The St Just parish church dates from 1334 and what little of remains of this is incorporated into the 14th and 15th century additions.
the St Just Parish Church
The town boomed in the first half of the 19th century when tin and copper were mined on a massive scale. Most of my Grenfell, Hattam, Warren, Eddy, and more, ancestors left the area to come to Australia. This proved to be a wise move as by the 1870s, mining in the St Just area had started its rapid decline, leaving great poverty in its wake.

We also visited the Wesleyan Methodist church. This was built in the boom time 19th century, and at its peak would hold almost 2000 people – a strong indication of the size of the town back then.
The road into St Just, narrow and lined with stone cottages
Both graveyards held many graves of those sharing names in my family but I didn’t see any that I could confirm were direct ancestors. Many were very hard to read probably partly due to the proximity to the sea and the (frequent) driving wind and rain.
One of the highlights was my husband wading through knee high grass and calling out “I found one”! He almost took as many photos as me.

Inside the St Just Parish Church - note the beautiful stonework
Some of the mines became world famous with the workings of one, the Botallack mine, extending about a mile out beneath the ocean bed and up to 250 fathoms below sea level. The surrounding area is dotted with the ‘ghosts of old mines’, remnants of engine houses and stacks, a very eerie landscape. The footings and some ‘arsenic’ tunnels of the Botallack mine are still there. In its heyday, this mine had 11 steam engines and employed 500 people.
Standing on the edge of the cliff amongst the remains of this huge mine, we could start to imagine the miners having to walk home across the rugged terrain in the low cloud, rain and freezing temperatures to their little cottages full of children, and not just in winter. Records of mining accidents are common.

Inside the huge Wesleyan Church with historic organ
We weren’t so lucky on our visit to Padstow – an amber storm rolled in and we could only venture out occasionally, mainly to eat. Marquees at the nearby Royal Cornwall Show were flattened and sheep had to be evacuated, for hypothermia!

And, although it is a beautiful place, this weather did make it even easier to understand why they left– we were there in summer!

Now I have to find an excuse to visit the other parts of Cornwall on our next trip.

See also my earlier (June) blog posts: Arrgh me hearties! and Western Cornish Discoveries and Padstorm

Looking across the fields at the mine stacks - in the distance
is the huge mansion at Cape Cornwall
Remnants of the workings of the huge Botallack mine