Friday, 26 September 2008

Australian Dictionary of Biography

The Hon. James Buchanan. M.L.C., and his wife Anne (nee Wilson) with their daughter Annie, and her two children Nancy and Effie Wilson. Annie had married her first cousin, William Wilson. Taken about 1900.
Photo from: Berwick Nostalgia published by the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society. 

One of my favourite resources is the Australian Dictionary of Biography (ADB). The ADB - which has an 18 volume  print version and an online version and covers people who died before 1990.   The ADB can be accessed online:

It's not just people who were famous on a National level who are in this Dictionary, there are many people with a local connection and I am listing just a few here. W.A.C A'Beckett of The Grange, Harkaway; James Buchanan, an early Berwick resident (pictured above); Lord Casey, after whom the City of Casey was named; Carlo Catani, the engineer who worked on the drainage of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp; Edwin Greaves of The Springs, Berwick; Joseph Hawdon, a Eumemmerring squatter; William Hill, founding President of the Victorian Farmers Union, and Parliamentarian who died at Nar Nar Goon; William Lyall of Harewood, Tooradin; Duncan MacGregor, early land owner at Dalmore; Carl Nobelius of the Gembrook Nursery at Emerald; Nettie Palmer, the writer, of Emerald and Jessie Traill, the artist, who lived at Harkaway.

The database allows you to search by name, occupation, religion, nationality and any key word. It a great resource for local and social historians.

Jessie Traill, c. 1920, proofing an etching by subdued light. 
State Library of Victoria Image H2000.63/6

The artist, Jessie Traill. Jessie was a woman of independent means who studied under Frederick McCubbin at the National Gallery School, she nursed in hospitals in France during the First World War and built a studio at Harkaway in 1924 where she worked and lived until she died in 1967. You can read more about Jessie Traill here.

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