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.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Hallam - Part 3 - Hallam School, No.244

Aerial shot of Hallam, December 1963. The first stages of suburbanisation had commenced with the establishment of Princess Domain Drive, Windsor Street and Edinborough Street, ending in Regal Avenue. You can also see Spring Square and seven houses in Alexander Street. the new Primary School is surrounded by trees in Harmers Road (on the left of the picture). Click on image to enlarge it.

In our last two blog posts we have looked at the early landowners and settlers of Hallam. (Click here and here to read the previous two posts) In this post we present a short history of Hallam School, No.244. This School was established in 1858 and was known as the Eumemmerring Denominational School, it then became a State School, changed its name to Hallam’s Road in 1906 and to Hallam in 1923. In 1894 the School became an adjunct to the Dandenong State School. It wasn't until 1902 that the Education Department recommended that the School be separated from Dandenong. A new school building was erected and opened in November 1904. The original school was located next to the Hallam Hotel, on Andrew's family land.

Hallam School, No. 244 taken in 1924. Photograph from the collection of Jim Alexander, a copy of which has been donated to our Archive.

Due to increasing enrolments in the early 1960s, the Hallam Public Hall was used for classes. Unfortunately this involved children crossing the Princes Highway and a tragic accident resulted in a student losing his life in a car accident in October 1962. Community agitation saw the construction of a new school on its existing site in Harmers Road and this opened in November 1963. The earliest available Pupils registers for the School date from 1905 and early names appearing on the roll include Burton, Kane, Wyman, Battersby, Higgins, Watson, Savage, Johnstone, Hicks, Byron Moncrief, Kirkham, Knights, Kane , Lynn and Graham. All were from farming families except two and their parents worked on the Railways. The railway line from Oakleigh to Bunyip opened October 1877 and the Hallam Railway Station was opened in 1880.

Hallam School, February 1921, on the occasion of the opening of the second room. Photograph from the collection of Jim Alexander, a copy of which has been donated to our Archive.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Hallam - Part 2 - Community builders

In our second post on Hallam, we will look at some of the earliest settlers in the area who lived and worked in the town and helped build the Hallam community (to read the other two posts, click here and here) These families included the Andrews family, the Hallam family and the Frawley family. John and Bridget Andrews settled on 118 acres (about 48 hectares) of the south side of what is now the Princes Highway, in 1854. John and his brother James had been sentenced to transportation and seven years hard labour for stealing two sacks of wheat, two hives of bees and owning a dog, thought to be used for poaching. They served their time in Tasmania and then arrived in Melbourne, where they had a market garden at Brighton. John married Bridget Tracy in 1841. They had eight children. After John died in 1879 the farm passed to his eldest son Thomas, who sold it to his siblings Elizabeth and Frank. Bridget lived with her daughter Elizabeth until her death in 1890 at 75 years of age. Elizabeth run the farm operating a dairy and sold her butter and eggs at the Dandenong market, which she transported on her cart, pulled by Tim, her black pony (pictured below). She died in 1934, aged 85, ending the eighty year Andrews connection to Hallam. Elizabeth is pictured in 1924, above left, with her great-niece Marie Dempsey. Frank and his wife Margaret also had a house on the farm, which is pictured below. Frank was only 39 when he died in 1893.

Elizabeth Andrew's cart, pulled by Old Tim.

John and Bridget Andrews sold land to the Education Board for School No.244, which began as Eumemmering Denominational School, then became a State School, changed its name to Hallam’s Road in 1906 and to Hallam in 1923.Which brings us to the Hallam family, after whom the suburb was named. William and Mary Hallam purchased the 50 acres (20 hectares) in 1856 between the Andrews farm and Hallam Road.They established a store and a Post Office and eventually operated a 'licensed house' which they sold, with their land to Edmund U'ren, in 1885. Edmund operated the premises as a Hotel until his death in 1892, when his wife Elizabeth took over. This Hotel has also being known as Hallam's Road Hotel, Uren's Hotel, Hallam's Eumemmering Hotel and various other combinations of those names which once again reflects the fluidity of the early place names. You can read about the Hallam Hotel, here.

An early photograph of the Hallam Hotel, taken sometime before 1931 when it was modernised and extended.

Another early family was the Frawley family, remembered in the area by Frawley Road. Mary Frawley acquired 60 acres (about 24 hectares) in 1857 on the north side of the Highway. It then passed to her son James, who died in 1906 aged 76. James was married to Roseanna Cosgrave (though she is sometimes listed as Rose) and they had eleven children. After the death of James, the Shire of Berwick Rate Books list the land as being owned by his widow and their son Jeremiah. Jeremiah farmed with his sister Rose and they both remained unmarried. In 1909 the land is listed as being owned by William (another son) and Jeremiah. Rosanna died in 1914, aged 76. Jeremiah retained his ten acres (4 hectares) until 1934 and William sold his remaining land in 1943, 86 years after the Frawley family first arrived in the area.

The house owned by Frank and Margaret Andrews.

Sources :
A small farm at Hallam : the Andrews 1854-1934, complied by Deborah Stephan, from information written and provided by Marie Carson (nee Dempsey). (City of Casey Historical pamphlet 1) Marie is pictured at top with her great aunt. The photographs are from this booklet.
Hallam 1830-1930  by Deborah Stephan. (City of Casey Historical Pamphlet 2)
Call back yesterday: Eumemmering Parish by Jean Uhl (Lowden Publishing 1972).

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Hallam - Part 1 - Early land owners

Over the next few blog posts we will be looking at the history of Hallam. Hallam is a relatively new name for the area, dating from 1905. Before that, the district was known as Hallam's Road after William and Mary Hallam (you can read about them here) and earlier on it was sometimes referred to as Dandenong or Eumemmering, which covered the area basically from the Dandenong Creek to what is now Hallam Road, on both sides of the Princes Highway.

 Hallam formed part of the 14 square mile Eumemmering Squatting Run, first taken up by Dr Farquhar McCrae (1807 - 1850)  in 1839 and transferred to John Vesey Fitzgerald Leslie Foster (1818 - 1900)  in the same year. He was apparently known as “alphabetical Foster’ and was amongst other things a first cousin of Sir William Stawell after whom Stawell Street in Cranbourne was named, as well as the town. He also, in 1843, challenged Dr McCrae to a piston duel over a land sale, when McCrae refused Foster whipped him and his horse with a horse whip. He was later fined £10 and had to pay £250 in damages. Foster went on to help draft Victoria’s constitution, acted as the administrator of the Colony between La Trobe and the arrival of Hotham and suggested that the licence be abolished and replaced by a gold export tax, this was not accepted by Governor Hotham and he actually more strictly enforced the fee, which as we know led to the Eureka uprising at Ballarat.

Back to the Eumemmerring Run -  Foster held the run until 1842 when it was taken up by Edward Wilson and James Stewart Johnson until 1846 when Thomas Herbert Power (1801-1873) took it on. The property then went from around the Dandenong Creek/Power Road all the way to Berwick.

 The large squatting runs were gradually broken up into smaller farms in the 1850s and early land owners included George Darley Boursiquot, the proprietor of an early Melbourne newspaper, The Port Phillip Patriot. This paper was started by John Pascoe Fawkner in 1839, taken over by Boursiquot in 1845 and renamed the Melbourne Daily News in 1848. Another early landowner was the Reverend Hussey Burgh Macartney, the first Dean of Melbourne.

Reverend Hussey Burgh Macartney (1799 - 1894)

The grandly named  Reverend Hussey Burgh Macartney was born in Ireland in 1799 and went to University and became an Anglican Priest.  He married Jane Hardman in 1833 and they had five daughters and three sons. His children were Jane, Frances, Henrietta, Charlotte, John, Hussey and Edward. The family arrived in Melbourne in 1848. He was at various churches then he became Dean of Melbourne in 1852.  The Macartney’s first bought land in the Hallam area in 1852 and in the end they had 417 hectares of land.  You can read his biography here on the Australian Dictionary of Biography website

Another ‘famous’ family connected to the area was the Gunn family after whom Gunns Road was named. Robert Gunn, was an auctioneer and stock agent in the area. His brother Aeneas, was married to Jeannie Taylor, the author of We of the Never Never. Aeneas and Jeannie met in the Hallam area in romantic circumstances.
Jeannie was staying with friends near Narre Warren and driving into the township to attend a
concert one night, the horses in the buggy became restless … Jeannie suggested that she climb down and hold their heads…..She was about to take the last step over the wheel and the horses suddenly backed and Jeannie was thrown into the arm of a man who had gallantly rushed forward to assist. That man was Aeneas Gunn who “having had a woman thrown at him in such a manner, felt it his duty to hold on to her”. They married in 1901 and moved to Elsey Station on the Roper River in the Northern Territory. Unfortunately, their married life was cut short by the death of Aeneas in March 1903. You can read more about Jeannie Gunn here, in the on-line version of the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

In our next post we will look at other early land owners in Hallam, who may not have been famous, but settled in the area and built the community. In the third post we will look at the history of the Hallam State School, No. 244.

The picture of the Reverend Macartney comes from the National Library of Australia collection (nla.pic-an9653347). It is an engraving by H.S.Sadd from a daguerrotype by Batchelder.
The account of the meeting between Jeannie Taylor and Aeneas Gunn comes from Call back yesterday : Eumemmering Parish by Jean Uhl. (Lowden Publishing, 1972)

Thursday, 11 September 2008

The Old Bailey Proceedings

The Old Bailey is the nickname of the Central Criminal Court in London and the Proceedings of the Court, from 1674 to 1913, are available on-line at It is a fabulous site and contains the details of over 210,000 criminal trials and the biographical details of approximately 3,000 men and women executed at Tyburn. The Proceedings, which contain accounts of the trials, were published on a regular basis from 1674 until 1913 and were initially targeted at a popular audience. These Proceedings are now digitised and are fully searchable.

You can search by Crime e.g. Theft by pocket picking (there are 13, 656 of those) or by punishment e.g. Transportation (there are 41,515 of those) or you can combine the punishment and the crime and the you will discover that 4,942 people were transported for Theft by pocket picking.

You can also search by name so you might find an ancestor listed as either a defendant, a witness or an official. One simple trial from April 1832 lists John Roach, as the defendant, Edward Grubb, as the victim, and John Jefford and George Robins who are members of the Police force or the Watch. John Roach was 20 at the time of his offence and sentenced to 14 years of transportation. There are also accounts of high profile trials such as the trial of Oscar Wilde for 'gross indency' in 1895. Some of the more interesting punishments include Death - death and dissection and Death - Drawn and Quartered.

They are a fascinating resource for both social and family historians.
A trial in the Old Bailey in 1773. The Old Bailey sentenced over 41,000 people to transportation, firstly to British colonies in America, which stopped after the American Declaration of Independence in 1776. From 1787 they were sent to Australia with the first convicts (736 in all) arriving at Botany Bay with the First Fleet on January 18th, 1788. The First Fleet is pictured above.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Ash Wednesday Bushfire Photographs

Over the past year we have been involved with a State Library of Victoria initiative, the Memory Victoria Project. This has been a three part project with the aim of better management of the Local History collections in Victorian Public Libraries. History Collections in our Library and other public Libraries were assessed by professional historians. Library staff were then given training to help conserve these collections. Thirdly ‘treasures’ were selected from the collections and toured 12 Libraries in Regional Victoria in a Memory Victoria Roadshow.

The material selected for the Roadshow told the unique story of a local area and all the material displayed was linked to the themes of life on the land and community connections. Photographs taken immediately after the Ash Wednesday fires at Cockatoo, by Shire of Pakenham Officers, were chosen from our collection. These photographs documented the aftermath of the fires and the devastation that they caused to the town of Cockatoo. They also show how the Community came together after the Fires.

The Memory Victoria project had a number of benefits for us – our collection was assessed by a professional historian and expert advice was given to help conserve the collection. Secondly, the Roadshow display gave many people a chance to view a part of our collection not normally on public display. Finally, material was displayed from only five public libraries, so it was a privilege to be part of the Roadshow. It is also an honour that Casey Cardinia Library Corporation has a collection of photographs considered to be of State significance, some of which are shown here.