ADHS Newsletter No. 166 JANUARY, 1999

Items of interest –

  • J.H. Smith’s Adelina Orchard and Vineyard, near Redbank (1891)
  • Report on Landsborough Summer Festival
  • Kiama ‘Shearers of Australia’ project
  • A Brief History of the Avoca Masonic Lodge
  • “Cone-Work” (1880)


With this first newsletter for 1999, we send New Year greetings to all our members, near and far. May each of you be blessed with good health and happiness in the year ahead and may you have great success in your family history research.

The Society is beginning the New Year on a high note with the announcement that we have received a grant of $8,000 which will enable us to proceed with the restoration of the Court House, i.e., tuck-pointing of the brick work and painting of the doors, fascias, etc. We are grateful to Parks Victoria for this grant. The cheque was presented to our Secretary, Jill Hunter, by Local Member Stephen Elder at the Court House on Monday, 25th January.

The new signboard has been erected in the grounds of the Court House so passers-by will now quickly learn when our many resources are available for research and when our meetings are held. Our thanks to Merv. Henderson for his work erecting the sign.

Our first event for the New Year will be our Annual Garage Sale, to be held at the Court House on Saturday, 20th February, from 9 am. A General Meeting will follow at 2 pm, at the conclusion of the Garage Sale. We hope you have been busy over the holiday break cleaning out your cupboards and the garage in readiness to pass on to the Society those articles of no further use to you – remember, one person’s ‘rubbish’ is someone else’s ‘treasure’. Goods may be left at the Court House or, in Melbourne, contact Margaret and Harry Oulton on 9571 8838 to organise a pick-up point. Donations of produce are also sought. As this is our main fund-raiser for the year, your support will be greatly appreciated.

The Christmas Break-up held on 13th December, 1998, was enjoyed by all who attended and our thanks go to those who contributed the extra festive touches for the occasion to give it the Christmas atmosphere. We were pleased to see some new faces among those present whilst Roger Cleverdon and his family, from Dromana, were missed – the Cleverdon family have regularly attended our end-of-year function for some years now. A short general meeting was held during the afternoon.

Sincere thanks to our stalwart member Eulie Driscoll who has kindly donated her micro-fiche reader to the Society, knowing it will be put to very good use.

The Society is most appreciative of the time and effort Denis Strangman is making on our behalf organising and maintaining our web-site, which receives an average of six ‘visits’ a day. Denis advises that he has notified the National Library of Australia in Canberra that we are placing an electronic version of our newsletter on the Web. The NLA has a project that notes what publications are going on the Web – thus it is possible our newsletter could reach someone as they search the Library’s database.


The following useful web-sites appear in the January edition of Family Ties, the journal of the Bundaberg Genealogical Association Inc., and should be helpful to researchers with access to the Internet:

Ships’ Passenger Lists – The Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild


Diseases – A list explaining diseases that appear on death certificates


Genealogical Abbreviations and Acronyms


We have been advised that the Stawell Historical Society will soon have its own web page on the Internet. In the meantime, those wishing to contact that Society can do so by E-mail through Carmel Loats at cloats@netconnect.com.au

A warm welcome is extended by the Society to the following new members and we wish them ‘good hunting’ with their family research:

Mr. Frank ANDERSON, of Sale, Vic., who is descended from George ANDERSON and Jane DUNBAR of Amphitheatre.

Mr. Chris BOWEN, of Koondrook, Vic., who is researching the families of David and John BOWEN of Avoca.

Mrs. Jenny HARVEY, of Stuart Mill, Vic.


Our Secretary attended the Landsborough Summer Festival weekend held on 4th-6th December, which marked the return and re-opening of the old Landsborough Lock-up, built in the 1860s. It is now back in its original position on the site of the old Police Camp and was officially re-opened by Mr. Bob Jolly, a retired policeman who was stationed at Landsborough from 1957 to 1980. He also spoke about his experiences whilst at Landsborough. A brand new song was launched, The Old Landsborough Gaol, written by Mr. Malcolm Haig especially for the occasion. The Victoria Police Band “Off Beat” provided lively musical interludes during the celebrations and the Living History Unit of the Victorian Police Historical Society, ably assisted by locals, acted out some little dramas from Landsborough’s gold-mining past. Included was a story about Jane Valentine, Landsborough’s female ‘bushranger’, on trial before a visiting magistrate and sentenced to imprisonment. The Landsborough Historical Group’s next project is to remove the Barkly Room (the old Barkly School) to its new site on part of the old Police Camp, where it will be restored and used as a meeting place for the Group.


Can You Help? Any relatives of past serving members of the 46th Battalion, 1st A.I.F., with any information, i.e., photos, letters, diaries, etc., please call Ian on (07) 4773-5808. All information wanted for a biographical and historical book on this Battalion. (From ‘Connections’ in The Herald-Sun, 18th December, 1998)


Caring For Your Records. The following hints, based on a leaflet issued by the Australian Council of Libraries and Information Services, should prove helpful to members to care for the valuable records they gather as a result of family research.

Paper – It is pointed out that the paper on which letters are written, minutes are typed and books are printed will self-destruct in time. Wood pulp paper tends to be acidic, becomes discoloured and will finally crumble to dust. Air pollution, excessive light, heat and humidity are also harmful. Avoid repeated photocopying of a document as each copy gradually ‘cooks’ the original and causes deterioration.

All organisations have a responsibility to ensure the long-life of their important paper records. By using long-life quality paper with an alkaline buffer, it will last for many, many years. Long-life paper is readily available from suppliers.

Important documents which are produced on acidic paper should be micro-filmed or copied in the future or they will be lost forever. Care for your paper-based records when you first create them by using long-life paper which conforms to standards of permanence and durability.

Family Photographs – These should be stored carefully to make them last. Do not use self-adhesive plastic albums – the adhesive is highly acid and the plastic gives off a gas which will destroy the photographs. Coloured photos go orange whilst black and white photos fade. If this is the way you have stored your photos, consider having old photographs redone. If you have negatives, get new prints made, because deterioration in the self-adhesive albums will have begun and is irreversible. Photos should be stored in acid free inert commercial albums. If you need to write on the back of photos, use a soft lead pencil. Store albums and photographs away from sunlight or artificial light in a clean, dark, cool and dry place.

Family Documents – The way you store your documents determines how long they will last. Records should be stored in a clean insect-free area with a steady temperature and humidity, away from sunlight or artificial light. Do not use sticky tape, metal paper clips or ‘post it’ slips. Do not write on historic documents with a biro or ink pen – use only a soft pencil. Encase your records in transparent sleeves made from polyester, polyethylene or polypropylene as ordinary plastics give off a gas which causes rapid paper deterioration. The use of transparent sleeves enables viewing without touching the documents. Make sure your records are stored in materials that will not damage them. So many types of paper, cardboard and plastic can harm your collection. Methods of storage include acid-free folders, acid-free boxes or wrapping in acid-free tissue.


Irish Orphan Girls – To ensure that the name of your Irish Orphan Girl ancestor appears on the proposed Hyde Park Barracks memorial in Sydney, send details of name, ship of arrival, and details of later life to the Chairman, Great Irish Famine Memorial Project, P.O. Box 212, Willoughby, NSW 2068. (From Newcastle FHS Bulletin 136, Nov.-Dec. 1998)


O’Briens from Ireland – Marie Payne, 62 Mackenzie Street, Revesby, 2212, would appreciate biographies, charts, photos, shipping records, etc., for a book on the immigration to Australia of O’Briens from Ireland in the 19th century, both free and immigrant. All contributions will be acknowledged. (From Newcastle FHS Bulletin 136, Nov.-Dec. 1998)


Shearers of Australia, Past and Present – the Kiama Ancestral Research Society has undertaken to find and index the shearers of Australia for the proposed Shearers Hall of Fame to be established in the Hay district of NSW and to be opened in the year 2000. As many shearers did not register as shearers on such things as electoral rolls, and as early records of unions no longer exist, the organisers are relying on information from their descendants, and from present-day relatives, to trace these men so that they may be recognised for the part they played in the wool industry of Australia. Present-day shearers are also invited to submit their names to be recorded as well. Also wanted are the names of wool classers and shed hands and any stories which would be of interest. Information required – name of shearer, town of origin or any known address, and the year or years that they were shearing, and any interesting information about them. Mark your envelope Shearers and address to: K.A.R.S., PO Box 303, Kiama, NSW 2533, or you may contact the organisers of the project at: Mr. R. McCully, PO Box 414, Hay, NSW 2711.(From Lithgow FHS Journal, Vol. 13, No. 3, Issue 51, November, 1998)


A Brief History of the Avoca Masonic Lodge (From a Souvenir Booklet on Avoca, 1974)

The Avoca Masonic Lodge No. 213 was constituted, consecrated and dedicated by Dr. and Major the Hon. Charles Carty Salmon, D.G.M., at the Lodge Room, St. John’s Hall, Avoca, on May 12, 1911. The foundation officers were – Master, W.F. Hardy, Wardens, J.H. Peeble, P.S.E.D., and W.R. Wrigley, Chaplain, Rev. C. Reed, Treasurer, J.H. Watson, and Secretary E.C. Dotter, P.G.S. Other offices were filled by A.G. Lalor, G. Ebeling, A.V. Blackney, L. Thomas and W.M. Chellew.

The present Lodge plans were drawn by Alex Summers, and built by his brother Jim.

The Lodge is very active and has approx. 100 members from Avoca and district. It meets monthly on the 1st Wednesday of the month. Installation month is March.

The present officers are – Wor. Master, E.C. Boatman, I.P.M. R.S. Summerfield, Wardens, J.F. Beecher and M.E. Thiele, Chaplain, T.W. Hope, Treasurer, E.N. Gollop, Secretary, L. Shiell, P.G.I. WKGS; other officers are J.F. Hardy, J. Pryse, J.C. Brown, J. Howell, M. Nicholson, J. Lever and A. Merbach.

Trustees of the Lodge are D.G. Williams, N.J. Hardy and M.W. Dawson, P.G.Std.B.


The Latest Craze – “Cone-work” (From “The Avoca Mail”, June 18, 1880)

“The latest mania amongst the ladies of this district is “cone-work”, or as it is irreverently termed by some of their male friends, “rubbish-work”. This consists of all kinds of oddments gathered chiefly in the bush, sewn on to frames, and afterwards varnished, and it must be said that when the work is complete it has a very pretty effect. Mornings and evenings, and especially on Sundays, the ranges are explored, as they have never been explored before, by young people in search of “monkey-nuts”, “gall-balls”, dried blossom husks of the eucalyptus, etc., and these with pine cones from the gardens, quandong-nuts, and anything of a knobby character, are used up in the work. We have seen some very pretty picture frames, brackets, what-not baskets, etc., thus manufactured, and we believe the work will stand for many years.”

(My thanks to Denis Strangman for this interesting snippet. I recall samples of this work at my grandmother’s home; the materials were probably gathered at Amphitheatre. Ed.)

Make a New Year’s resolution to write a short article about your ancestor(s) in the Avoca area for publication in our newsletter. Your Editor would appreciate this very much.


A DAY’S OUTING (From ‘The Avoca Free Press, 2nd May, 1891)

“Tempted by the fame of a vineyard and orchard in the neighbourhood of Redbank and the delightful weather which set in after the last heavy rainfall, we took the road in order to judge for ourselves; and we may say that nothing we had heard of Mr. J.H. Smith’s charming surroundings, at Hinds, was, in the slightest degree, exaggerated. The wonder, on the contrary, was to find a profusion of vines, fruits and flowers in what is locally known as ‘the Ranges’; for picturesque as the locality is to the ordinary observer, no stranger would suspect that nestling in the gorges are homesteads surrounded with everything pleasing to the eye and gratifying the senses. Away we go from Avoca, northwards, over hill and dale, passing through the once famed goldfield of Redbank, not altogether deserted, as the appearance of its many little cottages, dotted upon the slopes of the ranges, indicates.

After a few more miles we come upon the well-known Adelina orchard and vineyard, belonging to Mr. J.H. Smith, who, on making a call, kindly invited us to refresh the inner man, which being satisfactorily accomplished we inspected and sampled the different varieties of his grapes, which, for flavour and size, were really splendid. Upon inquiry we found that the following sorts thrive well in the district, White Muscatel, Red Spanish, Olivis, Black Prince, White and Brown Frontignac, Chasseies, Black Hamburg, West’s St. Polie and last, but not least, a beautiful grape – a cross between the White Muscat and Red Spanish, large, solid, and delicately pink tinted.

Mr. Smith kindly explained the different modes of culture, also the estimated yield, the red Hermitage generally giving from 10 to 20 lb per vine of well matured grapes. The orchard was very clean, so much so indeed that a hungry goat would have some difficulty in appeasing its appetite on weeds. We also took a hurried peep into the commodious and cool fruit house, cut out from a steep bank, upon entering which one would imagine himself as being below aboard ship, with its bunks upon each side, not occupied with human beings, but bins of rosy and yellow apples, stored, like the farmer with his wheat, waiting for a rise in the market. The house is well adapted for storing fruit, the temperature upon the hottest day, as stated by Mr. Smith, rarely exceeding 50 degrees [F]. This is mainly due to the construction of the roof, which is thatched, with an iron covering, three inches being left between, while the walls have a stone lining inside.

At Mr Smith’s invitation we inspected the upper garden, upon the southern slope of the range, truly a splendid sight, the heavily laden trees showing their golden and scarlet colors. There are about 100 varieties in the orchard, the whole numbering about 1,700 trees, not including 15 to 1600 of nursery stock.

We could not but notice the healthy and pretty site of the capacious homestead of 8 rooms situated upon a spur of the main range, with a road running the whole length of the orchard, between 30 to 40 chains in length, the dwelling house having a southern aspect, being situated in the centre.

After sampling some wine of the red Hermitage, good bodied, sparkling and partly of the claret flavour, we took the road, and, with a hearty shake of the hand, were homeward bound much pleased and recruited in mind and body by our day’s outing.”

(My thanks to Helen Harris for this wonderful pen-picture of a pleasant visit to Redbank in 1891, written so colourfully in the manner of the times. Your Editor is ever grateful to Helen for providing so many articles for the newsletter which she finds in the course of the many hours she puts into research in Melbourne and at the Public Record Office, Laverton. Ed.)


Genealogy Tag Line – Old genealogists never die – they just lose their census.