ADHS Newsletter No. 175 OCTOBER, 1999

Items of interest –

  • Nosological index talk
  • Petanque Festival
  • Fashion Parade 18 March 2000
    Warrenmang tree planting – Names mentioned: Miles, Farnsworth, Jardine and Barnes families
  • Boer War – Names mentioned: Gus Ebeling and Thomas Firns, Lieut Kelly (Ballarat)
  • Incident (1872). Names mentioned: Charles Field, William Rodgers
  • Landsborough selections (1866) – Names mentioned: Edmund Langley, Edward Millington, Thomas Edmund Langley, John Birch, George Coates, John Giles, Thomas Cooper, Ambrose Williamson, David Dow, Hugh Doherty, Henry Wileman, William McMillan, Alexander Ross, Richard Pomeroy, Alexander McRae, Thomas Hanley, William Whiting, George Youle, Allan Lang, James White, Thomas Alexander Rich, John Smith, Charles Gibson, William Stone, David North, Alexander Washington Lamont, William Harlow, George Bryce, Reynell Eveleigh Johns, Thomas Foyster, George Bryce junr., and Thomas Owen Surridge.
  • Census dates in the U.K.

November Activities – Our Society will be represented at the Central Highlands Historical Association’s Historic Homes and Gardens Family Expo which is to be held at the Ranger Barracks, Curtis Street, Ballarat (behind Bridge Mall, and just down from McDonald’s, Bakery Hill) on 6th and 7th November, 10 am to 4.30 pm. There will be over 40 participating societies and specialist groups. A series of lectures will include an introduction to family history research, oral history, Internet for family and local history, and conserving your memorabilia. Admission $3 adult and $2 lectures.

Our next meeting will be on Sunday, 21st November, at the Court House, commencing at 1.30 pm. The guest speaker will be Lis Allan who will talk on the meaning of old medical terms which puzzle family historians at times. Here is your opportunity to have that puzzle answered by an expert so go through the death certificates in your collection and bring along any you have where the cause of death remains a mystery to you. We will hear about the Nosological Index of 1863, which gave guidelines for the Registrar-General and Deputy Registrars in Victoria for the classification of causes of death. Learn what “Visitation of God” means. Lis, a trained nurse, is well-known for her work indexing hospital records and is a member of the council of the Genealogical Society of Victoria. Come to the talk and find out more!

The Pétanque Festival will take place at Avoca on 27th and 28th November. We have been asked to be part of this Festival and the Court House will be open on both days from 10 am, with our display based on the theme Historic Homes and Gardens. Admission is a gold coin. We will conduct tours of the Avoca Cemetery on the Sunday at 11 am and 2 pm. Those wishing to participate should meet our Society representative at the cemetery gates.

Pétanque is the name given in the south of France to the game which is actually of Provincial origin and was devised in 1910. Steel balls are rolled along rough ground towards a wooden marker ball. In other areas of France, the game is known as boules. This interesting snippet appeared in The People’s Friend, a Scottish magazine, of 7 August, 1999.

Courthouse Restoration – The outside painting of the Courthouse is now finished, thus completing this part of the restoration programme under a grant from Parks Victoria for the re-pointing of the brickwork and painting of the exterior woodwork. It has given the building a tremendous lift.

Fashion Parade on 18th March, 2000 – The Society is planning this parade of fashions through the century as our contribution to next year’s Heritage Festival. Do you have a ‘period piece’ folded away in a trunk from the early days of this century which you would lend for the occasion? Or perhaps you have a complete outfit worn on a special occasion some years ago? We would be delighted to hear from you if you can assist by contacting one of the committee members – Lily Mills, Jill Hunter, Dorothy Robinson, Wendy Taylor, Edna Jarvis or Marj. Partridge.

Raffle – We are currently raffling a beautiful Heritage Cook Book, kindly donated by Margaret Oulton. This is no ordinary cook book and the lucky winner will not be storing it in the kitchen – there is only one place for this lovely book – on the coffee table! It is a very big book and contains beautiful photos taken throughout Australia. and there are simple recipes as well as the more elaborate type. Your Editor has had a quick look through this book and was reminded of the ABC TV programme, Stephanie Alexander’s A Shared Table. So do support this raffle, with tickets at $1 each. Our thanks to Margaret for this thoughtful gesture.

Personal Pars – Colleen Allan is delighted to be an auntie again. The new arrival is Felicity Louise Amanda Allan, a daughter for Heath and Samantha. Our congratulations to all.

Members’ Interests Directory – An up-dated Members’ Interests Directory can now be found on our web page. For those without access to the Internet, we have had some copies of this latest Directory printed and these can be obtained by sending a long, stamped, self-addressed envelope, plus another 45 cent stamp (to cover printing costs) with your request to Wendy Taylor, RMB 267, Redbank, Vic. 3478.

Can you help with these projects? The Armidale Family History Group, PO Box 1378, Armidale, NSW, would appreciate information on burials in the old Armidale cemetery for which no official records have survived. The site is now occupied by the Armidale Public School, once known as the Demonstration School.

The Research Officer, Joskeleigh Community Association Inc., PO Box 5237, Rockhampton Mail Centre, Qld. 4702, would like information for a Pioneer Register (1863-1920) of all Queensland South Sea Islanders and their descendants.

Dubbo Family History Society intends to publish a book on the Founding/Pioneering Families of Dubbo and District in celebration of the Dubbo Sesquicentenary celebrations in November and requests information from descendants, who may also apply for a certificate acknowledging their ancestry.

The Camden Area Family History Society is seeking information about burials for a proposed book on St. Thomas’s Cemetery, Narellan. They would also welcome copies of death certificates, funeral notices, obituaries and photographs. The Society’s address is PO Box 679, Camden, NSW 2570.

Will this project help you? If you cannot find a Queensland death, Mrs. Alison Rogers, 9 Foreshore Parade, Bargara, Qld. 4670 might be able to help from her card index of statewide cemetery information. Send a ssae plus four 45 cent stamps per name.

(These preceding five items were taken from the Newcastle FHS Inc. BulletinNo. 141 – Sept.-Oct. 1999)

Soldiers Remembered at Warrenmang Tree Planting (as reported in the Pyrenees Advocate of 10th September, 1999) – Members of the Miles, Farnsworth, Jardine and Barnes families gathered together on Sunday, 5th September, at the avenue of trees at the old Warrenmang school site.

The families gathered to plant nine sugar gum trees in honour of Jack, Eric and Oscar Miles, Harold, Colin and Albert Farnsworth, Harry and Hughie Jardine, and Frank Barnes, nine soldiers who served in the Second World War.

Mrs. Isobel Miles said her late husband, Walter, had an ambition to propagate and plant a sugar gum at the site where his father, the late Ted Miles, had planted a sugar gum after World War I. That tree had died after being struck by lightning.

That ambition was realized when family members joined together to re-plant a newly-struck sugar gum in the place of the one that died.

Mr. Ross Smith and Mr. Neil Jamieson, of the Avoca RSL, attended the tree planting, also planting a pine tree that was propagated by Mr. Jamieson from a seed taken from the Lone Pine tree in Avoca.

The story is told that after the capture of the Lone Pine position on 6th August, 1915, an Australian soldier, who had taken part in the attack in which his brother was killed, removed a cone from one of the branches used by the Turks as overhead cover for their trenches. He sent it home to his mother who grew three seedlings from the seeds shed.

Boer War, 1899-1902 – The 11th October, 1999, marked the centenary of the declaration of the Boer War between Britain and the two South African Republics – the Traansvaal and the Orange Free State. When the Boer republics were found to be rich in diamonds and gold, there was a great influx of immigrants, mainly British, all anxious to stake claims. The Boers (Dutch farmers, descendants of Dutch settlers) resented the intrusion of these people, which they called uitlanders (outlanders). Resentment simmered from 1895 and the Boers began to arm themselves for an uprising which took place in 1899 when a British force was besieged at Ladysmith, then at Kimberley and Mafeking. Reinforcements for the British came from Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Although Australia, at that time, was moving towards federation, it was still six separate states with a common allegiance to England. However, it was a joint contingent of Australian volunteers which arrived in South Africa and they soon proved themselves to be the equal of the British Army regulars. During this war, Australia sent a total of 16,175 men to South Africa, as well as Australian women who served in nursing units. This was the first time our women had served overseas. Australian casualties were 518 killed and 882 wounded or afflicted with disease. All Australians who served in South Africa received the Queen’s South Africa Medal, and some also received the King’s South Africa Medal. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Pretoria on 31st May, 1902, when the Transvaal and the Orange Free State became British colonies.

Among the men of the Avoca district who enlisted to play their part in this conflict were Gus Ebeling and Thomas Firns, both of whom served with distinction.

On 22nd May, 1900, the Avoca Mail reported “Trooper Gus Ebeling has forwarded from Bloemfontain to Mr. W. Brown, of Avoca, a three penny piece of South African coinage. On one side it bears the letters Z.A.R., and on the other a portrait of President Kruger. As it is not likely that any more coins will be issued from the South African Republic, these coins will serve not only as remembrances of the war, but will prove to be valuable as relics, especially to coin collectors.”

On 9th November, 1901, the Avoca Free Press announced that a Welcome Home from the Boer War was being planned in honour of Private Ebeling, of the Mounted Rifles.

On 20th September, 1902, the Avoca Mail reported that Lieut. Ebeling had arrived home from South Africa the previous day.

The Avoca Mail published the following report on 3rd September, 1901 – “The many friends of Mr. Thomas Firns who is a native of Amphitheatre and was for some time a member of the J Company (Avoca Detachment) V.M.R. [Victorian Mounted Rifles], will be pleased to learn that he has been made a lieutenant for exceptional ability on the field. Tom went to South Africa with the first West Australian Contingent and was wounded somewhat severely, but on recovery rejoined his Regiment. Later on, when it was ordered home, he stayed behind and joined Tullarbardine’s Scottish Horse, as he was desirous of seeing some more of the ‘fun’. A few weeks back, his new regiment had the misfortune to have some men killed in a skirmish with the Boers, and on the day this happened, Tom so distinguished himself that he was promoted to his present position. We have received a photo of the new lieutenant taken on the field and forwarded by Lieut. Ebeling.”

The next report was published on 12th November, 1901, in the Avoca Mail: “The bad news that reached Avoca on Saturday to the effect that Lieut. Thomas Firns, of the Scottish Horse, had been dangerously wounded in South Africa was received with heartfelt regret. Tom was a general favourite when here, and has for two years shown his valour in the field. The meagre news available will be found in another column. We sincerely hope to ere long report Lieut. Firns as out of danger. We notice that Lieut. Kelly, of Ballarat, lost his life in the same engagement.”

In fact, Tom had been dangerously wounded in three places in the battle at Baakenlaagte, in the Transvaal, on 30th October, 1901, and was invalided home, sailing from Cape Town on 6th February, 1902. He apparently made a good recovery from his wounds and settled on the land at Amphitheatre.

(My thanks to Dorothy Robinson for her assistance in compiling this report. Ed.)

Web SitesSouth African War Virtual Library – http://www.uq.net.au/~zzrwotto/

On this site, you will find almost everything you ever wanted to know about the Boer War. You can download a compressed text file of the complete list of Australians who served in the South African War.

Victorian Heritage Register On-line – www.heritage.vic.gov.au

This lists places and objects of statewide cultural heritage significance. It provides up-to-date information and pictures of registered heritage buildings and associated objects; gardens and trees; cemeteries; archaeological places and relics; and shipwrecks, relics and protected zones.

Convicts in Australia – http://carmen.murdoch.edu.au/community/dps/convicts

Australian Geographic Place Names (Gazetteer) (also supplies a map and location details) –


Central Queensland Family History Association Inc., Rockhampton, Qld.


Local Snippets – (From the Victoria Police Gazette, 11th June, 1872) –

“Stolen from the dwelling of Charles Field, Avoca River, near Natte Yallock, on 24th ult., a cheese about 7lb. weight, 20lbs. apples, a knife and fork with rough bone handles, a butcher’s knife, a spring-balance, a silver chain, a £1 note, 2 shillings and other sundries. William Rodgers, an old offender, residing in the locality, suspected.”

The following item appeared in the Avoca Mail of 21st April, 1866 :

“We are glad to perceive, by the Gazette of April 13, that no less than 31 selectors of lands at the late Landsborough land scramble, have been disallowed their applications. The ground of disallowance is, that they were acting as agents for others. As that list of law breakers includes many names familiar as ‘household words’ within the district, we deem it advisable to publish the same. Our readers will recollect our calling attention to one Edmund Langley, a superintendent of police at Ararat as one of the most fortunate selectors. Having now the authority of the Government Gazette in charging him with acting in the capacity of agent for another, contrary to law, we trust that the Government will mark its sense of the impropriety by a penalty worthy of the offence. The names are as follows:- Edward Millington, Thomas Edmund Langley, John Birch, George Coates, John Giles, Thomas Cooper, Ambrose Williamson, David Dow, Hugh Doherty, Henry Wileman, William McMillan, Alexander Ross, Richard Pomeroy, Alexander McRae, Thomas Hanley, William Whiting, George Youle, Allan Lang, James White, Thomas Alexander Rich, John Smith, Charles Gibson, William Stone, David North, Alexander Washington Lamont, William Harlow, George Bryce, Reynell Eveleigh Johns, Thomas Foyster, George Bryce junr., and Thomas Owen Surridge. The above list although including the names of the most prominent dummies, is most deficient as to number, as we consider scarcely a third are there represented.”

Census Dates in the U.K. – From time to time questions are raised on ages recorded in the 1841 Census. The following extract from the GENUKI pages on the Internet might help:

“The 1841 Census was the first meaningful one to help family researchers because this is the earliest to list personal names. From then onwards, the records show the names of each person at the address at which he or she spent the night of the census date. Returns become available for public inspection on the first working day of the year following the year in which they become one hundred years old. Researchers should be aware that there is much evidence to suggest that people did not always state their ages correctly. Parishes of birth were not recorded in the 1841 Census, although an indication ‘Y’ or ‘N’ was given as to whether they were born within the county. For those under the age of 14, the exact age is given, but the ages of those aged 15 or more are rounded down to the nearest 5 years below. So someone who stated he was 19 would have been recorded as 15. From the 1851 Census, the information is more meaningful. The most recent Census available is that for 1891, although Ireland has made later ones available.”

The U.K. Census dates are as follows:

1841 – 7 June 1891 – 5 April

1851 – 30 March 1901 – 31 March

1861 – 7 April 1911 – 2 April

1871 – 2 April 1921 – 19 June

1881 – 3 April 1931 – 16 April

(This article appeared in Quondam, Newsletter No. 37, of the Toora and District Family History Group Inc., September, 1999)