Friday, 9 January 2009

Australian Newspapers Beta project

The National Library of Australia commenced a four year project of digitising Australian newspapers in 2007 and ultimately aims to digitise 3 million pages. The project currently involves twenty six newspaper titles and the only Victorian one so far is The Argus which is on-line from 1915 to 1940. These newspapers are a great resource for both local and family historians. The Argus started in 1846 and closed in 1957 and covered State and National news but you can also find lots of local news. I did some searches using the names of various Casey Cardinia towns and found the following local items - a letter to the editor about the 'deplorable conditions' of the roads in Pearcedale in 1923 ; a report on the Congregational Church girls' camp at Harkaway in 1927 ; a photograph and short report on the unfurling of the Union Jack, by Miss Ada Arymtage, at the Beaconsfield Primary School. The School had sent an Australian flag to the Beaconsfield School in England in exchange ; a visit by the Governor of Victoria, Lord Somers, to the Gilwell Scout Camp at Gembrook in 1931 and a report on the official opening of the re-modelled Cora Lynn cheese factory in 1932 (see below)
The Argus, Thursday 29 September 1932, page 10.

You can search by any key words including family names which makes this project a great resource for Family historians. My great, great, great Grandfather Thomas Weatherhead, was a Sea Captain. I found a few reports in the Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen's Land Advertiser which mentioned Captain Weatherhead. On May 25th 1822 it was reported that Captain Weatherhead and the transport ship The Phoenix, carrying 182 male convicts, had arrived on the previous Monday. The Phoenix had left Portsmouth on January 5th. In the June 1st 1822 edition in the Claims and Demands column in the Classified Advertisements it tells us that Captain Weatherhead and The Phoenix was leaving the Colony and that any claims (debts etc) should be presented (see below).
Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen's Land Advertiser, Saturday 1 June 1822, page 1.

As you can see there is a wealth of information in these old newspapers and it is a fantastic project and a fabulous resource. You can find the newspapers on the National Library of Australia website at > Find > Newspapers > Digitised newspapers or click on this link


Glynis said...

I would love to hear how Captain Thomas Weatherhead is connected to Alf Weatherhead; my husband is related to this family & so far hasn't been able to prove a connection to Captain Weatherhead.

Heather said...

Hello Glynis,
Captain Thomas Weatherhead and his wife, Sarah (nee Dunn) are the parents of Henry Fortescue Weatherhead (1821-1866). Henry and his wife Ellen (nee Ramsdale) had 9 or 10 children including John Stroyan Weatherhead (1851-1909) and Horatio William Weatherhead (1853-1925). Horatio is the father of Alf Weatherhead and my grandma, Eva. You will find my email address under Heather, under Contributors (on the left of the Blog under all the Labels)if you want to email me for more information. Heather

nickandshel said...


Captain Thomas was also my Great Great Great Great Grandfather on my mothers side. My Grandfathers mother was Ethel Weatherhead and her father was John Stroyan Weatherhead. I am investigating records of Captain Thomas and Sarah Dunn. Henry Fortesque was born in 1821 and the youngest son by about 20 years to them both. He was born in East end of london with records showing this. Yet Captain Thomas was in Hobart on the Phoenix in 1822. I guess as a captain, he was at sea a lot. And then by chance Henry ends up in Launceston getting married to Ellen Ramsdale in 1847. The rest of the children of Thomas and Sarah seem to live and die in various parts of north and cornwall. Thomas himself possibly interred in Highgate Cemetery in 1855. So it seems Henry was the youngest and keen to start a new life in the colonies!

Sophie C. said...

For lots of great information on the Weatherhead family track down a copy of the book "Strong Roots Grow Deep" by Muriel E. Clampett, it was published in the 1980's & is now out of print. I am a direct decendent of Thomas & Sarah, through their son Henry Fortescue & his son John Stroyan.