Category Archives: Occupations

A Beach Day in Autumn

March 14th  1951

A newspaper cutting from Page 3 of “The Age” the following morning

Three country Victorian girls who had spent the previous year at  Bendigo Teachers’ College .

But here they are  on a beach at St Kilda   in Melbourne on a warm Wednesday afternoon.

Where should they have been ?

Once upon a time I knew the answer to that question but now I’ve forgotten.

But girls in bathing suits, a beach and in this case an unseen newspaper photographer  bears some similarity to another 1951 photo taken  at Bondi Beach in Sydney and used as this week’s prompt by Sepia Saturday.

Further interpretations of Sepia Saturday’s photo can be seen here .

Sepia Saturday 316 Header

Sepia Saturday 316 Header


Trove Tuesday – Benoit in Mt Rowan

It’s only a baby step forward, but it is definitely something I hadn’t known until now.

Benoit at Mt Rowan

I did know that  my great-great-grandfather, Charles Gustave Benoit,  was a gardener. I also knew that at least of two of the children were born in the 1860s at Mt Rowan, just to the north of Ballarat in Central Victoria.

Benoit at Bothwell Gardens, Creswick Rd  (Mt Rowan)

But now  using Trove The Geelong Advertiser of March 21st, 1864  has provided me with my first reference  to a specific place in Mt Rowan – Bothwell Gardens on Creswick Road,

Benoit 1 Bothwell Springs

Best Collection of garden fruits – First prize £2, second do, £1.  Francis Moss, first prize; James Duncan, second do. ; G. Benoit, Bothwell Gardens, Creswick Road; and Isaac Westcott

I can also assume that Charles Gustave was known by his middle name of Gustave.  I wonder if anyone just called him Gus.

So I have this one mention of Gustave being at Bothwell Gardens but I have found other references of an estate called Bothwell Springs in the same area.

What is Bothwell Springs ?

July 6th 1865 in the Ballarat Star.

Bothwell Springs - farm 1865

Am I to assume that Bothwell Gardens and Bothwell Springs are two separate places ?

The next find was back at the beginning of 1862 when  a partnership was dissolved between Gustave Benoit and W. Henry Tissot.

This time the title is Bothwell Spring Garden.

Dissolution of partnershp benoit tissot jan 1 1862

This advertisement was placed in the Ballarat Star on 12th February 1862.

John Dalgleish

The  witness.  John Dalgleish  (pictured) lived at Bothwell Springs and was later Shire President of nearby Learmonth.

In my mind now is the question was Bothwell Gardens as gardened  by Gustave Benoit part of the Bothwell Springs estate?

Was Gustave Benoit leasing land from John Dalgleish for his market garden ?


But Gustave hadn’t paid his Shire Rates in 1865

Gustave appeared before two Justices of the Peace in Learmonth because he hadn’t paid his shire rates.  He settled his dues.  The Ballarat Star had this entry on  June 20th 1865.

Shire Rat4es at Leaarmonth 1865

But if he had to pay rates doesn’t that mean that he owned his own land and was not renting his plot.

A small step forward .  Things to ponder and investigate.  But it has opened up further possibilities.

Thanks to Trove and the digitization of Australian newspapers.



The Mobile Butcher

Sepia Saturday Header

A butcher’s shop from Sepia Saturday to inspire us this week.  Or perhaps, pigs, or shops, or white aprons, or whatever rises to the surface on viewing this image.

So I will return to an image I have used before, that of Robert Butler, farmer and butcher of Moolort then Newstead  in Central Victoria, and his mobile butcher’s cart.    He married my great aunt Eliza Fricke in 1901

PICT0152But I had never stopped to consider what the inside of the cart might have looked like until recently I saw this image of a butcher’s cart which served a similar purpose.

This is a 1920s photo of butcher Bert Fahey, with  the cart belonging  to a Mr Rettke, possibly in the Camperdown, Murchison or Shepparton districts and was posted in Lost Country Victoria by Bert’s son.  The butcher is about to sharpen his knife on a sharpening steel and has some spring scales hanging from the roof of the cart ready to weight the meat.

I have a feeling that I might turn vegetarian if I had to buy my meat in this fashion.

But I am having trouble concentrating on all things related to butchers at the moment as it seems to be that time of year when Ant School from somewhere around my place is in Work Experience week.  In summer you come to expect the occasional trail of well-organized mature little fellows going Hup, two,  three, four, Hup, two, three, four making a beeline for the kitchen.  But in Work Experience Week it is just these little groups of untested baby ants being sent out on reconnaissance missions to see how they go.  They soon come to a very unfortunate end but no-one comes looking for them,  they have failed, they are expendable. And when they don’t return another little group ventures out along a slightly different route, only to meet with the same fate.  Poor little ants.

More butchers, pigs, shops etc, but probably no ants, will be found in this week’s Sepia Saturday post.


Glaud Pender and the Naming of the Engines

In the 1860s the deep-lead mining industry flourished in Central Victoria.  The countryside was scattered with the poppet heads and the engine sheds of these mines.  And an engine shed contains an engine, one of the possible themes for this week’s Sepia Saturday.  Not having a suitable family photo for this theme I have had to look elsewhere to illustrate the connection with my famliy.

This is the Try Again mine in the gorge known as the Devils’s Kitchen as it was in the 1860s.
Try Again Mine in the devils kitchen 1860s

Image thanks to Joan Hunt  and the Public Records Office of Victoria who used it with permission from the Woady Yaloak Histtorical Society

With the mine workers coming into the area  communities grew up nearby with hotels and shops, school and  church. police station and Court House.  Such a town was Piggoreet, just near the Devil’s Kitchen, shown here as it was in 1860.

Piggoreet township in 1860

Piggoreet township in 1860 thanks to Joan Hunt and the Pubic Record Office of Victoria   who used it with permissin from the Woady Yaloak Historical Society.

This maps shows  the area I am talking about in relation to Melbourne , Geelong and Ballarat.

I have circled the major towns using a map from Joan Hunt and the Public Record Office of Victoria at

I am interested in the shaded area to the north-west, known as Springdallah.  In that area you can see Piggoreet and this is  the area in which Glaud Pender worked. I have written about Glaud (1827-1908), my great great great grandfather here and here  and here He had been  an engine worker near Fauldhouse in Scotland , midway between Glascow and Edinburgh and lying near the edge of a large coalfield, before he came to Australia    Perhaps he was familiar with going down the mine but he was an above-ground worker – the engines for pumping water from the mine and for lowering and raising the cages for transporting the miners and the ore.  So from coal mines in Scotland he progressed to being a goldmine manager in Australia.

We can partly track his progress through the birth of his children – Geelong, Egerton, Buninyong, Golden Lake and later at  Piggoreet., moving slowly through the goldfields to  the north-west of Melbourne.   By the 1860s he was mine manager at the Golden Lake mine and the birth of three of his children are also registered at Golden Lake to the west of Piggoreet.  But they were living close enough to Piggoreet for three of his children to be attending the Piggoreet Common School in the 1860s.

The miners had the interesting habit of a ceremonial naming of  their mine engines before they set them to work for the first time. With the gold mines so close together  there was a very cosy group of mine managers, mine workers and local dignitaries who would attend each other’s Mine Engine Namings.

At the Golden Lake mine in July 1864 the two engines were The Britannia and The lady of the Lake.  Glaud’s  daughter, Mrs Peter Telford, officially named The Lady of the Lake and Glaud’s brother-in-law  George Telford responded to the Health of the Contractors toast, As part of  the entertainments for the large crowd Glaud Pender  sang  The Rose of Allandale. What a versatile man  !

Glaud was also mentioned in the newspaper reports when he attended the  naming of the engines of the Golden Horn  at Piggoreet in July 1865     The Warrior and the smaller Reliance, each had a bottle of champagne smashed on its flywheel by a pretty young girl.  It was a fancy do with lots of toasts, food and liquor for the approximately 160 guests. One of the many toasts was to the neighbouring companies and Glaud responded to that toast.  Also present was his son in law Peter Telford.  At this time Glaud had three children at the Piggoreet Common School.

Then in August it was the turn of  the Emperor and Empress who were duly christened by another two ladies in a ceremony at Pitfield Plains and Glaud proposed the toast to the Success of the Golden Empire Company..  A similarly large event but the weather was bad and there was a mix-up with some of the invitations so that they didn’t arrive in time for the function.

For those with an engineering turn of mind The Ballarat Star  gives us details of the type of engines they were using at the Golden Lake Mine.

The machinery consists of a pumping and puddling engine, 20 1/4  in. cylinder, by T. M.Tennant and Co., of Leith, with a stroke of 4ft.;    and a smaller one for winding purposes, of 14 1/2 inch cylinder, 3 feet stroke, by Lockhart, of Kirkaldy. These are new, well finished, and admirably adapted to the work. They are fed by one steam pipe from two boilers, each 26ft x 6ft 6in, securely built in with bluestone masonry. The pumping and winding gear is of first-class quality, both as regards design and workmanship, and contracted for by Messrs Martin and Co , of the Black Hill Foundry, Scarsdale. The pumps are 12 in. 1n diameter, and can work to a stroke of 6 ft 8 in. if necessary. Altogether the machinery is most complete, and capable of working on an extensive scale

It was an interesting time and Glaud was fully involved.
Glaud Pender b

Somehow I don’t think Glaud would have had a guitar to accompany him singing The Rose of Allandale but this next version is lovely

For more stories with industrial connections go to the list on SEPIA SATURDAY

Dockside with the Randwick District Town Band

This week Sepia Saturday  has given us an image of a harbour, with its docks busy with ships.  And so I go to a Sydney dockside, back in  the  1960s when the big liners were a way of travelling from country to country and not just for holiday cruises, ships like the Oronsay travelling  from Sydney to England in about 3 weeks.   It was also a time when brass bands would play dockside as the liner was leaving.  In this photo from the 1960s it is the Randwick District Town Band which had formed in 1961.  Hilda Tansey. now in her sixties, is near the lower right hand corner, long after she was Bandmaster of the Sydney Ladies Brass Band.  Each departure was a big occasion

Randwick Band 1960s

Today we  don’t see aeroplanes departing for overseas being farewelled in such style.

The following quote is taken out of its original context which dealt with more creative activities,

 `There’s something to be said for following those little voices in your head that say, “Do it.”

`Because if you don’t, that moment gets lost to history.

But I feel it applies equally well to my  posts in Sepia Saturday (and to yours too).   In time there is always a reader or two who has a definite connection to what i am writing. When I link photos, facts and occasionally speculations there is always the possibility that if I don’t some little thing will be lost to history for all time . I’m not referring to momentous events but to the changing way of life over the years..

This week I started converting a box of slides from the 1960s into .jpg format for the computer.  So when browsing today I was delighted to find that the Daily Mail online has an article on slides from the 1960s which have been recovered.

There you will find a delightful snapshot of Britain in the 1960s. Most of my slides seem a bit ordinary in comparison but some might be of interest in the future.  For example, does anyone at children’s birthday parties nowadays play games like these, as in 1961.

Which brings me  to what Sepia Saturday is all about, as they state on their blog.

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind (they don’t have to be sepia) become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images.

I like that expression launch pad.  It is exactly what  we do, begin with a photo and then launch ourselves off in varying directions   Fantastic.  Thank you Sepia Saturday.

More harbours, ports, docks, coastlines at this week’s Sepia Saturday.


The Glint of Gold at Beechworth

Tom Tansey lived in Beechworth during the 1930s.  He lived in Camp St and when he walked to the end of the street it was just a hop, step and jump  to Reidy Creek where the photo shows Tom, on the left,  indulging in his hobby of sluicing for gold with his friend Rex Thompson.  His hobby might have been fishing when he lived in Traralgon but now it was the search for gold.

Tom was looking for alluvial gold in the creek bed or trapped in the fissures in the rocks.  After filling his barrow with soil and rocks he would then use water to wash away the relatively lighter soil and leave behind particles of gold. For this he  could either use a small round pan   or  a larger sluice.  They both did the same job of separating the heavier gold from the lighter soil – the sluice just coped with larger quantities.  Alas, Tom didn’t make his fortune.

These two images from the State Library of Victoria show miners using the two methods.

And finally an image of three miners  from a Beechworth History page   to complement  this week’s theme image of three miners out fishing which Sepia Saturday had used.  These three look as though they were having a fine old time.

Go to the links on  Sepia Saturday for more tall tales and true  of miners and anglers

A Cuppa on the Great Ocean Road

Food, food, always glorious food, whether it be standing up at a buffet as in this week’s Sepia Saturday theme image or sitting at a rough-hewn  table to have a cuppa and a sandwich.

The occasion was a visit by the Fricke family and a couple of others from Apollo Bay to see how the building of the Great Ocean Road was progressing and the time was about 1928.  As  yet I am not sure of the location.

So, the home grown milk  was brought in a bottle – I wouldn’t have liked the task of getting the milk into that narrow opening.  I wonder if she used a funnel.   I think it was sandwiches they were eating made from home made bread and home made butter and an unknown filling.  It could be jam. And they were wrapped in a napkin, not paper.  At first I wasn’t sure what the gentleman standing was doing but now I see he is adding sugar to his tea.  I wonder what the original purpose was of the sugar tin.


Great Ocean Road Sugar

They met a couple of the camp cooks and saw the tents where the workmen lived.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe Great Ocean Road project was started after World War 1 to provide work for some of the returning servicemen, a road from Barwon Heads to Warrnambool,  mostly  winding around the south west coast of Victoria. They had to carve it out  out of rock as it went around the cliffs and build bridges over the mouths of creeks and rivers.

It started with a group in Geelong who began lobbying the Government.  I found a list showing that Charles Fricke donated £20 to the Trust so by rights of inheritance you could possibly say that I own a few pebbles in that road.

The men worked with picks, shovels and crowbars to make a “road for motorists”.  Getting to Lorne was the first step and it was opened in 1922 with a party of 60 cars.  They left Geelong at 9 a.m. and arrived at 5.30 p.m, a distance of 40 miles and it is well reported in the newspapers. “It may be stated here that the only persons who arrived at Lorne with clean faces and clothes were the members of the vice-regal party.  That was only because they headed the line.”

The Trust then built the section from Lorne to Cape Patton while the Country Roads Board built the section from Apollo Bay to Cape Patton so my images from c1928 would be somewhere in that area. The opening of these sections was celebrated in 1932.  Remember it was really just a dirt track, not the beautiful road that it is today.  Ten years later I can remember when travelling by bus to Apollo Bay and at Mt Defiance, one of the high points of the road with rocks and sea directly below, the bus always had to do a three point turn to get around the corner on that narrow road.  I was always bus sick on that trip.

The following video gives an excellent account, once you get past the tributes.

For more examples of things connected with wining and dining, cookpots and nametags, events and non-events, go to this week’s Sepia Saturday.