ADHS Newsletter No. 204 JULY, 2002

Items of interest -

July Meeting - The words "overdrive" and "overtime" came to mind as Murray Little coped with the mammoth task of scanning the many photos which were presented at the Court House on Sunday, 21st July, in response to the Society’s Photo Call day. Murray scarcely had time for a lunch or afternoon-tea break and worked quite late that afternoon until the task was completed. As a result, the Society’s photographic collection of the people and activities of the Avoca area over many years has been greatly increased and enhanced. We are grateful to Murray for this great effort, especially as he had to return to Melbourne that night after putting in such a long day on our behalf. Our thanks, too, to those folk who brought along their family photos and snapshots to be scanned. This project created much interest and it was pleasing to have representatives of the local newspapers in attendance, and then to see the photos and reports of the Society’s work in those papers later in the week.

At our monthly meeting held in the afternoon, a vote of thanks was passed to Dorothy Robinson for the many hours of work she puts in for the Society. Not only has she been busy putting newspaper cuttings into books in recent weeks, but she has also done much clearing up in the magistrate’s room at the Court House, making a big and much needed improvement to that area. Dorothy is a quiet worker and contributes so much to the Society apart from being Treasurer and being in attendance at the Court House each Sunday to assist researchers. A big thankyou from us all, Dorothy.

We were delighted to have Heather Ellett with us that day. Heather is a long-time member of the Society and spent the morning doing family research before joining us for our meeting after lunch, and then returning to Melbourne.

Next Meeting Day - Our next meeting day is Sunday, 18th August. On this occasion, we are to meet at the home of Len and Betty Fleming at 52 Scandinavian Crescent, Talbot, from 11.30 am. After a barbecue lunch, Len will take us on another interesting tour of the Talbot-Amherst area, which he knows so well. As Len and Betty are generously providing the meat for the barbecue, those wishing to attend should let us know by contacting Edna Jarvis on (03) 5461 4080 or Colleen Allan on (03) 5465 3296 (only after 5 p.m.) no later than Wednesday, 14th August. This will assist with catering arrangements. Those attending are asked to bring a salad or a sweet to share, to complete the lunch.

Family History Fair - The Maryborough Family History Group will hold a Family History Fair on Sunday, 1st September, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Maryborough Resource Centre, corner of Alma and Nolan Streets, Maryborough. Some refreshments will be available at the venue or can be obtained at two nearby cafes. Other groups are invited to set up a table. For further details, contact Elaine Murphy on (03) 5464 2453 or e-mail

Eucharist at Barkly Church - Members with an interest in the Barkly area may be interested to attend an event at the Church of St. Mary and St. John at Barkly on Sunday, 18th August, at 2 p.m., when the Patronal Festival Eucharist will be celebrated. There will be a blessing of the newly renovated memorial gates, with afternoon tea to follow. This church recently obtained a grant to enable them to rejuvenate the memorial gates.

Two Leaves Have Gently Fallen - The Society has learned indirectly in recent weeks of the passing of two of our members. Long-time member Syd. Bannister died on 10th March, 2002, after a lengthy illness. Syd was born and grew up at Moonambel, later moving to Melbourne, from where he maintained an enthusiastic interest in the Society. He looked forward eagerly to the monthly newsletter and enjoyed long chats with your Editor from time to time, especially if he thought the newsletter was late!

The date and details of the death of Mrs. Alison Heath, of Whakatane, New Zealand, are not known, save that two recent newsletters have been returned, marked "deceased". As Alison kindly offered, when she joined the Society in 1997, to do New Zealand research for members, there may be those among our readers who have had contact with her and now wonder why it has ceased.

The Society extends condolences to those nearest and dearest to both Syd and Alison.

Can You Help? - Telegrams and Telegraph - Peter Nelson, of Bendigo, is seeking sources and information about Samuel McGowan and his family, and the telegraph system other than that which appears in biographical extracts, summaries, etc. These might be letters, diaries, reports, and so on. He is also looking for examples of telegrams that highlight – (1) the importance of the telegraph; (2) important events; and (3) interesting personal or other situations, humorous, serious or otherwise. If you can help, contact Peter Nelson, 23 Palm Avenue, Bendigo, Vic. 3550, phone (03) 5443 3655 or e-mail

(From the quarterly newsletter of the C.H.H.A., No. 51 of March, 2002)

Roman Numerals - As many old documents use the Roman system for writing numerals, the following table, which compares Arabic with Roman notations, may be of use to those whose notation skills have become a little rusty.

Arabic - Roman Numeral (apologies for the way the numerals run together in the Web version)

1 I 11 XI 30 XXX

2 II 12 XII 40 XL

3 III 13 XIII 50 L

4 IV 14 XIV 60 LX

5 V 15 XV 70 LXX

6 VI 16 XVI 80 LXXX

7 VII 17 XVII 90 XC

8 VIII 18 XVIII 100 C

9 IX 19 XIX 200 CC

10 X 20 XX 300 CCC


  1. 1. A Roman Numeral or letter preceding a letter of greater value subtracts from it.
  2. Example - V = 5 and IV = 4; L = 50 and XL = 40; C = 100 and XC = 90.
  3. A letter preceding a letter of equal or lesser value, adds to it.

Example – V= 5 and VI = 6; L = 50 and LXX = 70 ; C = 100 and CXII = 112

(From an article published in "Family Ties", Bundaberg Genealogical Assocn. Inc.)

AN OVERVIEW OF THE CONVICT ERA - by Margaret Oulton (contd.)

In this issue, we conclude Margaret Oulton’s interesting talk on the convict era which she gave at our A.G.M. in May. In our last newsletter, we looked at the preparations for the First Fleet and subsequent Fleets and the trials and tribulations of the early days in the new colony. In conclusion, we look at the cessation of transportation :-

From 22nd May, 1840, much to the concern of the squatters, who had made good use of convict labour, an Order-in-Council announced the cessation of transportation to New South Wales, but not to Van Diemen’s Land.

In Van Diemen’s Land, the first convicts and expirees came across from the mainland with the first settlers on the Derwent River in 1803. It was about 8 years later before convicts arrived directly from England. Transportation to Tasmania ceased in 1853, by which time 57,909 male convicts had been transported, along with 13,392 female convicts.

In Victoria, ex-convicts were not welcome and a law was passed in 1851 to try and stop the Van Demonians from making the crossing into Victoria. However, this measure was not very successful and there was a steady flow of expirees into Victoria.

Western Australia, experiencing a shortage of labourers, applied to the British Government to have convicts sent to their state and, between 1850 and 1868, 9,270 male convicts arrived in Western Australia.

For many years, Australia acted as a dumping ground for the surplus criminal population of England and Ireland. The British Government hoped that transportation would benefit the convicts; it was hoped that they would reform and become productive members of society, and many did.

From 1788 until 1868, a period of 80 years, 160,023 convicts (25,000 of whom were women) arrived in Australia. This is a very impressive figure, especially when you take into account that an even greater number embarked on the voyage but died before they reached Australia.

Some of the convicts" characteristics would have had an impact on moulding the typical Aussie personality - features such as hostility towards authority, aggressive independence, resourcefulness, mateship, etc.

Many political prisoners, who had wished to see greater democracy in their own country, brought to the new colony their principles, idealism and enthusiasm, which helped to develop a sense of nationalism in Australia.

Much of the back-breaking work that went into the establishment of the colony, and which helped it to survive and ultimately prosper, was done by these unwilling migrants – the convicts of the First Fleet and those who came after them.

Bibliography for Talk on Transportation -

The Convict Ships 1787-1868 by Charles Bateson A.H. and A.W. Reed 1974 A History of Australia by C.M.H. Clark Melbourne University Press 1968-1978 Volumes 1 – 4

Select Documents in Australian History 1788-1850 by C.M.H. Clark Angus and Robertson 1970

Convicts and the Colonies by A.G.L. Shaw Faber and Faber Ltd. 1971

Historical Records of Victoria, Foundation Series edited by Michael Cannon and Ian Macfarlane Melbourne University Press 1991

Two Classic Tales of Australian Exploration 1788 by Watkin Tench and Life and Adventures by John Nicol edited by Tim Flannery Text Publishing 2000

Notorious Strumpets and Dangerous Girls, Convict Women in Van Diemen’s Land 1803-1829 by Phillip Tardiff Angus and Robertson 1990

Transported to Van Diemen’s Land by Judith O’Neill Cambridge University Press 1977

The Convict Days of Port Arthur by J.W. Beattie Beattie’s Studio, Hobart, Tas. 1990 Photographs with text

Convicts and Commandants of Norfolk Island 1788-1855 by Margaret Hazzard Photopress International 1978

The Floating Brothel by Sian Rees Hodder Headline Aust. Pty. Ltd. 2001

The First Fleet by Jonathan King The Macmillan Co. of Aust. 1988 Pty. Ltd.

(Those readers who have convict ancestry will find these books most informative and interesting and will broaden their understanding of those times. We thank Margaret Oulton once again for her fascinating talk on the subject and for providing this list of the books she read whilst preparing her talk. Ed.)

INFANTILE PARALYSIS - Maryborough and Leviathan Reef Cases (from the "Maryborough Advertiser", Friday, 14th January, 1938)

"On Wednesday afternoon, a boy aged six years, residing with his parents at Leviathan Reef, was admitted to the infectious diseases ward of the Maryborough Hospital suffering from infantile paralysis.

Yesterday morning a boy aged nine years, of South Maryborough, residing in close proximity to an earlier case, was also officially reported as suffering from the disease. This boy had been regarded as a suspect for the past week, and was admitted for observation on Saturday last.

All patients in the hospital are reported to be making satisfactory progress, the respirator case still being allowed short daily periods of natural breathing.

AFTER-CARE FUND – Additional Collections by Mrs. Doverston. Donations: Mrs. Bert Wills, 5/-; Mrs. C. Hendrickson, 3/-; Mrs. Chadwick, 2/-; Mrs. J. White, 2/-; L.J. Rowland, 2/-; J.T. Cloke, 2/-; Mrs. B. Clark, 2/-; Mr. S. Murley, 2/-; Mrs. I. Chadwick, 2/-; Mrs. Dewhurst, 2/-; Mrs. A.H. Leitch, 2/-; Mrs. J. Thomson, 1/-; Mrs. F. Smith, 1/-. Weekly contribution: Mrs. J.H. Stevens, 6d.

Total: 1.10.6. . . . . . . . . . . . The general committee fund now totals 85.18.3d. . . . . . . .

Mr. R. S. Guthrie donated the paper bags for the lollies which Mrs. Doverston provided.

"ADVERTISER" FUND - Previously acknowledged 11.10. 0

Railway Employees – Transportation, Ways and Works, Signals … … … … … … __1.11. 0__

Total … … … 13. 1. 0

Railway Employees: R. Cardell, 2/-; D. McPhie, 2/-; R. T. Rowland, A. J. Holden, T. L. Humphries, G. Skene, H. L. Chappell, B. Lowday, E.F., C. Gay, E. H. Gilbert, H. Wills, R.Thomson, M. E. Egan, D. Roche, J. C. Ross, F. Pascoe, W. Fisher, A. Johnson, L. Stapleton, H.Drew, C. P. Stoneham, E. Woolman, J. Morrison, T. B. Elliott, J. Pascoe, J. Durbridge, H. R. Jones, A. H. Clarke, 1/- each."

(This article brings back many memories to your Editor of the terrible polio epidemic of the years 1937-38 when many of the schools in Melbourne were closed for months. There were only two cases of polio at the Coburg High School and we had the option of attending school or staying home. I chose to go to school. I recall one family near us where the parents and all their children were affected, some more severely than others. Rehabilitation took a long time, hence the after-care funds to assist families just recovering from the Depression of the 1930s. Thanks to the oral polio vaccines of today, we no longer have to endure such terrible epidemics. Ed.)


FEDERATION - We continue the listing of names shown on the Electoral Roll in the wider Avoca area who voted at the Victorian Federal Election in 1899 :-


ARGALL John Labourer HALL Joseph Constable

ARGALL Richard Labourer HIPWELL William Miner

ARGALL William Farmer JENKINS John Miner

BALLOCK Robert Farmer LUSCOMBE William Farmer

BROBEN Alfred Miner McNEIL Alexander jnr. Farmer

BROBEN James Miner MEAGHER Cornelius Storekeeper

BURGE Alfred A. (Hinds) Farmer MORRISS Joseph Miner

BUSH George Chemist MURNANE John Miner

CLARK William J. Miner MURNANE Patrick Farmer

CLIFF John Butcher PARK Archibald Dealer

CLOVER John Publican ROE George Miner

COATES Henry B. Farmer ROMEY George Farmer

DAVIES James A. Carpenter RYAN Patrick Farmer

DARGRAVES James Miner RYAN Thomas Farmer

EGAN John Farmer RYAN William Labourer

FLEMING Lwithin Farmer SLATER Samuel D. Farmer

FRANCIS Ernest O. Grazier TAYLOR James E. Teacher

GARLAND James Miner VINEY Samuel Miner

GRANT Alexander Farmer WHEELAN Michael Farmer

GRANT James Storekeeper

GRANT John Miner

GRANT William Storekeeper


DERRICK Charles Miner RAYNER Ernest A. Carpenter

DERRICK George Miner ROMANO Charles Butcher

DERRICK William Miner ROMANO Charles A. Butcher

DERRICK William No. 2 Miner ROMANO William Farmer

ERWIN Robert Smith SALMON Edward G. Watchmaker

FREER Thomas Labourer SCHULZ Frederick Gardener

HARLOW Richard Farmer SWANTON Arthur Farmer

HARROWFIELD Robert Miner SWANTON Edward Farmer

HARVEY Henry Miner SWANTON Godfrey H. Manager

HARVEY Thomas Miner SWANTON William Farmer

HAYES John G. Farmer WALSH James Farmer

HAYES Timothy Farmer WALSH Thomas Publican

LAMB Joseph Miner WALSH Thomas jnr. Farmer

MILLER George Miner WESTCOTT George Farmer

NEVILL John Miner

NEVILLE Edwin Farmer


FIELD Arthur Butcher RAE David A. Farmer

FIELD James R. Farmer WILSON Allan Farmer

FIELD Joseph Farmer WILSON Allan H.L. Labourer

FIELD Lister Fellmonger WILSON William Miner

FIELD Richard Farmer (Lower/Moonambel)

(To be continued)