Monday, 21 September 2020

British Newspaper Archive

Casey Cardinia Libraries subscribe to the Find My Past database. It is usually in-library access only, but they have generously allowed our Library members access from home during this Covid-19 lockdown period. You must access the database through our website here, click on Find My Past (or Ancestry, who have also generously extended their access) and follow the instructions.

The British Newspaper Archive (BNA) is part of Find My Past and can also be accessed from home during this time. The BNA contains 37,000,000 plus pages of newspapers and so you can search hundreds of millions of articles by keyword, name, location, date or title. This is a valuable resource for historians and family historians. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to explore the rich resources of Find My Past and the British Newspaper Archive.

I decided to look at what local, as in Casey Cardinia, news that you could find in the BNA. I put in Koo Wee Rup as a search term and found a number of articles, including the following three. In the Shepton Mallet Journal of July 9, 1926 there was a letter published from Chris Walker about the death of his great uncle, Charles Moody, who had lived at Koo Wee Rup and Pakenham.

Sheptonian dies in Australia at the age of 91 years from the Shepton Mallet Journal July 9, 1926.

To the editor of the Shepton Mallet Journal and City of Wells Reporter.

Dear Sir, - Mr Charles Moody, formerly of Somersetshire – he came from Shepton Mallet – has died at Pakenham, Victoria at the age of 91 years.

His son, Mr William Moody, has asked me to mention this, as land was held in his father’s name in Somersetshire, under the copyhold lease system, and notification of his death will probably be wanted by the parties concerned.

Mr Charles Moody came to Australia in the ‘90s, and took up land on the Koo-wee-rup swamp in Gippsland. He was the brother of my grandfather, Mr Christopher Moody, who died at Shepton, Koo-wee-rup, in 1920. His “Who’s who” is given in “Victoria and its Metropolis’ as follows: -
“Mr Christopher Moody was born in Somersetshire, where he learned farming. Coming to Victoria in 8154 on the ship Morning Star, he went to Rokewood and rented a farm of 200 acres, which he made pay well. He built a flour mill, and carried it on for 12 years successfully; then, selling out, he went to Tooradin on the Koo-wee-rup swamp, which was then under water. He paid £1/10/- an acre for the land, and went to great expense in draining it. He has now 2,100 acres drained and worth £10 an acre. Mr Moody keeps 170 head of cattle, and does a good butter business. He has been a member of the Cranbourne Shire Council for three years, and a Councillor for Leigh Shire for six years, and was offered the chair in the former, but declined it.”

Mr Moody’s estate, most of which has since been sub-divided and sold, is now worth between £50 and £60 an acre, and is some of the richest in the State.

Mr William Moody is the only son of the late Charles Moody, who, with his brother, were  relatives of Mr Christopher Moody, now of Evercreech. Both did very well in Australia.

Hoping you will find these facts of interest,
Yours faithfully, Charles Y. Walker
Melbourne, Australia, May 31st, 1926.

The Clarion of March 10, 1894
The Clarion was a Socialist newspaper, established from 1891 by Robert Blatchford, whose  gift was to be able to write movingly about injustice and inequality and to present a Socialist argument clearly*. It published the following snippet about the Koo Wee Rup Swamp in 1894.

The Victorian Public Works Department has taken the initiative in State Socialism. The village settlers at Koo-wee-rup  - a recently reclaimed swamp - having complained of the exorbitant prices charged for provisions by the local storekeepers, the Department promptly established a government store, selling at only a shade over wholesale prices. At latest, the settlers were highly delighted at the change.

A Biblical Incident Illustrated from the Leominster News and North West Herefordshire & Radnorshire Advertiser July 17, 1896
This was an interesting story about a swarm of bees found in an unusual location by a Tooradin farmer at Koo Wee Rup West or Dalmore as it is now called.

Recently, in Victoria, a farmer residing in Tooradin has taken  a swarm of bees and a kerosene-tin full of honey from inside the skeleton of a bullock, near the Great Southern Railway line, at Koo-wee-rup West. The animal about a year ago became entangled in some barbed wire, and died there, and a swarm of bees came along and made their hive in the carcase. This suggests a similar incident alluded to in the Bible (14th chapter of Judges), where the bees built a hive in the carcase of a lion slain by Samson.

Take advantage of this offer to explore the British Newspaper Archive and see what you can find.


* The information about Robert Blatchford of The Clarion comes from the WCML Working Class Movement Library website

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