Category Archives: True Stories

Trove Tuesday – from Pettavel to Snitterfield

Until now when using Trove I have mostly searched for family names and places.  I hadn’t even considered the possibility that small English villages might be mentioned in an Australian newspaper.  That was until I read Jennifer Jones’s post on “Playing with Edged Tools

After that I was to find that Trove had many mentions of the village of Snitterfield where my grandfather Tom Tansey was born.    One small entry mentioned two places of interest to me – Pettavel, a vineyard to the south of Geelong,  and a cupboard, supposedly with a carved inscription done by Shakespeare, being auctioned in Snitterfield.

From the Geelong Advertiser, March 2nd 1903

Geel Addy 2-3-1903 Sale of Shakespeare chair at

These are two unrelated notices sitting together on the page.

The first concerns the Pettavel vineyard just south of Geelong where a sale of items was to be held.  David Pettavel from Switzerland established the vineyard in 1842.  It is now called the Mt Duneed Estate and has been  in the news this week because of the annual Falls Festival, a three day music festival ending on New Years Day   Normally it is held just outside Lorne on the Great Ocean Road but bushfires made it necessary to either cancel or re-locate the festival. There is an excellent article on the ABC about the mammoth task of shifting to a different venue.  What would David Pettavel think about the hordes of people and the noise on his estate ?

The second notice from the Auctioneers concerned both Snitterfield and Shakespeare.  Shakespeare’s family had connections with this village.  Did Will really make and inscribe this cupboard which was up for auction ?   By switching from the freely available Australian Trove newspapers to the British Newspaper Archive  I read that on Jan 9th 1903, two months before being mentioned in the Geelong Advertiser, the auction was also reported in the Leamington Spa Courier, a town near Snitterfield.

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But was it all one big con ?  Back in 1891 there  were many articles and letters about this same piece of furniture claiming that it could not have been inscribed by Shakespeare.  One such article was published in The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser on September 5th, 1891

Cupboard discredited

Shakespeare pops up everywhere in connection with Snitterfield, which is just to the north of Stratford on Avon, such as in my post on A Parting Gift.

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Sportsmen for the Front Line

At the tail end of the suggested themes from Sepia Saturday this week was “posters”. And so I’ll start my ramble this week with a poster.

Poster WW1 b

When recruiting for the Australian Imperial Forces during the First World War  a theme was often used to appeal to certain members of the public.  And this time in 1917 it was the sportsmen who were targeted.  As the war progressed taking part in sport became frowned on so why shouldn’t one thousand of these fit and healthy young men go and help the soldiers at the front.  The promise was that they would be kept together from the day they enlisted until the day they came home again, at least for those able to come home.

The theme usually included a well known person as an added attraction.  This time it was Albert Jacka VC, the first Australian to win this honour in this conflict for his bravery at Gallipoli.    In the poster he is surrounded by men taking part in a variety of sports.

It was said that one of the reasons he was such a good soldier, and had such a fighting attitude, was that he had been a boxer before the war. The campaign to enlist sportsmen was fuelled by a strong belief that by playing sport young men developed specific skills and qualities that could be used on the battlefield –     The Age, March 10th, 1917

The Sportsmen’s Thousand Band played  regularly at recruiting rallies around the state,  In towns large and small the band members were billeted by local residents and then the local newspaper would report on the number of recruits.  One such visit on August 10th 1917 was to Castlemaine, which was later  to be the town where I grew up and  the visit was reported the next day in the Bendigo Advertiser.

Last night the Town Hall was packed on the occasion of the recruiting rally.   Stirring addresses were delivered by Mr. D. Mackinnon, Ex-Senator St. Leger. Lieutenant Bolton and Miss Martyn. The Mayor   (Cr. Cornish) presided and introduced the speakers, while the splendid band of the Sportsmen’s Thousand rendered valuable aid. Vocal items were contributed by Miss   Marjorie Eadie and Miss Macoboy, of Bendigo, the meeting was marked by great  enthusiasm.

This is the band .  They had only just been presented with their new instruments in July, according to  The Broadmeadows Camp Sentry. a weekly news publication  for the servicemen training at the Broadmeadows camp.

Sportsmen's Thousand AIF Band

Sportsmen’s Thousand AIF Band

It was this Sportsmen’s Thousand band photo on a postcard which brought me to the poster which introduced this post.  Some time ago  a friend in Geelong  allowed me to copy his postcard  which he had because  his grandfather was a member of the Band.  And there he is, H.E. Monk,  the big chap, seated second from the left.

By October 12th 1917 the soldiers were ready for a lunch time march through the city of Melbourne followed by lunch at the YMCA in St Kilda Rd.  A few days later  a detachment of them  were photographed marching along Alexandra Avenue as reported in “The Winner” on October 17th, 1917.

Sp thous Alexandra Pde March The Winner Oct 17 1917The Winner was a small sporting paper, published weekly. Then on November 14th it  showed some of the “boys”  on board  on their way to England.  This was the winning Tug of War team.   Boys of the Sp Thous 1917

The Australian TV mini-series “Anzacs” in 1985 gave us a fictional taste of how a recruiting rally may have been conducted

And perhaps for more posters, or carting coal , or horses and carts or anything vaguely connected with the afore-mentioned, then go to this week’s Sepia Saturday .

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At Home in Newland St, Coleford

This week I begin with an  postcard which is showing its age at 111 years  and which has some identifying printing on the front, though no message has been written in the conveniently placed blank space.

postcard of newland stIt tells us that it is a photo of Newland St in Coleford, on the edge of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire.

The printing at the end  also tells us that it is one of The Wrench Series of postcards and also has the name  Arthur J. Bright,  Coleford.  Arthur Bright was the Editor of The Dean Forest Guardian.

The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney tells us about the Wrench Series.

One of the first picture postcard companies which offered British views was set up by a 17 year old teenager Evelyn Wrench. His idea for the company, Messrs. Wrench and Co., began while on holiday in Germany with his parents in 1900.

On the left is the Baptist Church  and at the far end of the street you can get a glimpse of the clock tower standing in the Market Place at the crossroads at the centre of the town. Originally it was part of an octagonal church.  These can be seen on this section of an 1840 tithe map of Coleford

map newland stThe postcard was in the possession of my great aunt whose mother Eliza Bosley  had come to Australia from Coleford in 1863 and the image was provided to me by a second cousin.  The card had been posted in Coleford in 1904 to a Mrs Ambery  in Williamstown.  Friend or relation, I do not know at this stage, but with the help of some clues from Mark  Dodd I now have a reasonable explanation of  how it came to shift from Williamstown, a suburb of Melbourne, to Eliza Fricke in the mid-Victorian town  of Carisbrook.

postcard of newland st 1904 - bqackWhen Eliza was young and living in Coleford her maternal aunt Amelia Baynham and her husband Stephen Aston, living at Five Acres, just to the north of Coleford, had a lodger.   It was 1851 and the lodger was William Ambery, a year younger than their son Edward Aston.  Eliza would have known these two young men. After all Edward Aston was her cousin.  Both boys were to marry and together with their wives emigrated to Adelaide in 1855 on the John Banks.  Then both families either together or separately moved over to Carisbrook in Victoria. Edward Aston was to remain in Carisbrook but William and Mary moved on after a while. 

Meanwhile Eliza grew up, lost both her parents and with two younger sisters came out to Carisbrook  in 1863 to be reunited with  Edward and his wife Ann, and William and his wife Mary.  And so  it stands to reason that Mary, later on living  in Williamstown, would  pass on to Eliza a picture of “the street where you lived” which had been sent to Mary – Newland St, Coleford. There is still the question in my mind as to whether or not William Ambery could have been related to his hosts, Stephen and Amelia Aston.

Here is a  similar view of Newland St  taken by my sister in 1986 with someone sitting on the front fence of the Baptist Church, taken before I knew of the postcard’s existence.NewlandSt1986And why is this particular view of Newland St of interest to me ?  It is because of this next photo which is the house where  Eliza Bosley lived  in Coleford before coming to Australia and it was somewhere opposite the Baptist Church.   Presumably that is Eliza or one of her sisters in front of the house.

ColefordHouseTwo vertical groups of three windows, with the uppermost being slightly smaller.  Could this building  possibly be the same white  house, in the centre of the 1986 photo, with a single doorway replacing the original two doors.  It is opposite the Baptist Church,   Or is it just my imagination.

As for William and Mary Ambery, William had joined the Victorian Railways and was a train examiner at Castlemaine, then after an illness moved to Williamstown and opened a woodyard,  in Douglas Parade. He was also elected a Councillor on the Williamstown Council. (Trove)

And so my story comes full circle beginning with a postcard arriving for Mrs Ambery in Douglas Parade,  Williamstown.

Meanwhile, over at Sepia Saturday   people are posting about courtrooms and all things legal, or anything else which takes their fancy.

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An Interesting Marriage

My father’s Uncle Albert was born in Carisbrook in Central Victoria. I have long known he had married a pretty young woman, Isadora Levy, who always wore beautiful Edwardian  clothes in her photos.

This week Sepia Saturday has shown us a photo of a man carrying a woman across a stream.

So take that fact of a man carrying a woman and imagine Albert carrying his new bride over the threshold of their marital home. That’s my connection to this week’s theme and an excuse for having a look at Uncle Albert’s choice of a bride.

Albert & Dora-1898

It wasn’t until Trove and its digitized newspapers revealed an account of the wedding that a little story began to evolve.

Albert Fricke was descended from a Protestant German family whereas Dora, as she was known, was the daughter of a prominent Melbourne Jewish businessman, Joseph Levy. As I understand it a non-Jew cannot have a Jewish wedding and I find it hard to believe that a girl brought up in the Jewish faith would agree to be married in front of a Christian cross. So the compromise was what I assume was a civil wedding, at home, by Mr Tracy, the Registrar-General .

The Australasian of June 4th, 1898 reported …..

The marriage of Mr. F. T. Albert Fricke, East Melbourne, and Miss Isadora Eugenie Levy, youngest daughter of the late Mr. Joseph Levy, 50 George St, Fitzroy, took place in the drawingroom at Brooklyn, on Wednesday, April 27, by the Registrar General. The bride was given away by her mother, and was in white satin, with long square train. A cascade of Honiton lace fell from waist to foot on one side of the skirt front. The corsage was Russian blouse shaped, and had a yoke of pearl passementerie, while the front below was composed of rows of ribbon, alternated with pearl trimming; the back was treated in a similar fashion, but without the pearl trimming. The rucked sleeve had a row of passementerie from wrist to shoulder, and a tabbed Medici collar, softened by Honiton lace; veil arranged over a coronet spray of orange blossom; shower posy, and diamond bird and butterfly brooch (gift of the bride groom).

Corsage = bodice of dress
Passementerie = an ornamental edging or trimming made of braid, cord, beading etc.

 

Isadora levy fricke wedding dress 1898

The report continues …..

Miss Beatrice Levy, sister of the bride) was bridesmaid, and wore yellow silk with overskirt of fine figured net, with a design of graduated satin bands round the bottom. The Russian corsage was of yellow brocade, with vest of alternate tucks of brocade and striped armure silk, with cascade of lace down the left side. The waist belt was fastened With a pansy buckle, and the sleeves were of armure striped silk: picture hat, shower posy, and a gold shepherd’s crook and bell, -with initials of the bride and bridegroom {gift of the latter). The bridegroom was supported by his father, and Mr. J. Raphael acted as groomsman. At the conclusion of the ceremony breakfast was served and a reception held by the bride’s mother. Wedding tea and light refreshments were served in the dining-room. The travelling dress was of peacock blue cloth. The presents included:-The bridegroom to bride, diamond bird and butterfly brooch; bride to bridegroom, sapphire and pearl sleeve-links; mother of bride, cheque, drawing and dining room suites, and piano; father pf bridegroom, cheque; mother of bridegroom, over mantel and mantel drape; Miss B. Levy (sister of bride), tea service and point lace handkerchief.

Armure = a woollen or silk fabric woven with a small, raised pattern.

It is interesting to note that the bridegroom was “supported by his father”. These days we might call that position “the best man” but I was wondering if they were incorporating a little bit of Jewish tradition where often the groom was led under the chuppah by the two fathers and the bride by the two mothers. I had trouble envisaging this German immigrant who worked a small farm being transported into a Melbourne drawing room. There is a strong possibility that this is a photo of Freidrich Fricke. The photo belonged to his daughter and was taken by the same photographer as used by other family members.

Freidrich Eberhard Fricke  - possbily

We are told the wedding took place at the home of the bride’s mother ( her father had died the previous year). The home was ”Brooklyn” in Fitzroy . It is now a hotel.

We know a little bit more about this Jewish family where Albert found his wife because on the year that Isadore was born, 1875, her father built Ensor House at 172 Victoria St, East Melbourne and this is where she spent her early years. They left  there in 1878.

Ensor House

Levy sold Ensor to  Benjamin Fink, a Victorian member of parliament, in 1878.   Fink was also notorious  as a land speculator in  the 1880s  in Melbourne until he went bust in 1892 and fled the country.  Strangely much had been transferred to his wife’s name.  But for any Melbournians wanting to know  what Fink owned in Melbourne see here.   You will be surprised.  Ensor later became a private hospital, in 1907 it became a boarding house and as far as I know is now  the Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital Nurses` Home.

I have since found a more detailed report of the wedding in Table Talk and  apart from listing which of Albert’s siblings were present it also says that the wedding was conducted “quietly” and that it was a morning wedding.  Eight months later Dora’s older sister Beatrice was to marry, but this time the wedding was at the Synagogue in Bourke St.

More carrying, over land and water, in the links of this weeks’ Sepia Saturday.

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Wheels, mostly of the Pedal Power kind – Transport, Freedom, Sport

This week’s image from Sepia Saturday  suggests motor bike, pillion passenger, courier, turban.  towel, camp, lots of things as an inspiration in searching through our photos. But none of them sent me scuttling to the family albums for a match.  Instead it was the wheels in the photo which interested me so I’ll go with some family wheels, but ones without the motor, just pedal power wheels.

George Francis ForseyMeet George Francis Forsey (1870 – 1954).   His wife Wilhemina was my grandfather’s cousin.  He was a miner at Clunes in Central Victoria.  Later, as a widower, he shifted to Birchip and is buried there. His bike was his trusted  form of transport in a typical Victorian country town,

Down the years wheels  have been important as a means of transport from place to place, firstly in 1945 then in 1950.

Wheels again  in 1969 in a home made billy cart for a bit of gravity fueled speed

Lachlan winter 1969 billy cart

Freedom to roam in 1972 and 1978

At last in 1979   ……….. an exciting ride on a visitor’s  motor bike

A visiting -motorbike 1979But in recent years,  for the next generation, wheels have become less of a means of transport and more of a sport – BMX racing – as in this Slideshow of No 39 and No 43,

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And just occasionally a little running repair is needed.

Running Repair

Have a look at the links on the Sepia Saturday page for more interpretations of this motor bike photo.  I only looked at the wheels.2014.09W.03

Andrew Pender and the Tinker’s Tent

 

This is a group of tinkers photographed in Fife early in the 20th Century.

The dictionary tells us that a tinker is

1.  A travelling mender of metal household utensils

2. Chiefly British    A member of any of various traditionally itinerant groups of people living especially in Scotland and Ireland; a traveller

And as itinerant is the key word for this week’s Sepia Sautrday the definition of tinker allows me to segue into a letter written by William Pender to his son Glaud in Australia in 1855.

We met Glaud Pender when he was proposing a toast to the Duke of Edinburgh  But Glaud had been in Australia since 1852.  Many years ago a distant cousin allowed me to transcribe this letter  from Glaud’s father which  at times is  difficult to follow as you will see.

William Pender lived at Knowes Farm near Fauldhouse in Linlithgow  (West Lothian) which is south of the road from Edinburgh to Glascow.  The letter  begins with a description of an accident involving a tinker suffered by Glaud’s younger brother, Andrew.

__________________________________________________________________Knowes  Janry 12th 1855

Dear Glaud,
I Embrace the opertunity of sending A letter with Euphimia Brown in hope of you Receiving it This is the 6 I have  sent    I am Sorry to inform you Andrew has met with an accident
but I am Glad to Say that he is geting better He went away to go to Airdrie on the 6th of Janry and the mare shyed at A tynkers tent west from leadloch Cntry  wheeled round and upset the Cart right on his throat The tinkers had Come and taking him from under it laid him down for dead ran off and left all    They met 2 Engineers and told them there was A man lying on the roadside nearby kiled to run and give the Alarm   They ran East to the den and A great many Came west but he was so disfigured they Could not know him til Wm Greenhorn came up with his Carts put him in one of his Carts and brought him home He lay About an hour in it Cold wet morning before any person Came to his Asistance the mare lying all the while under the Cart He has A Cut in one of his Cheeks 1 of his teeth brock and 2 loosed but had the tinkers not Come direct to his Asistance he could not  have lived 10 minutes.

***  Note :    Leadloch and Airdrie are to the west of Fauldhouse.  Andrew was sixteen years old and apparently still living at home.  Not all tinkers had the covered wagons to live in.  For some their tent was separate to their cart and this may have been the case in Andrew’s accident.   The cart referred to in the letter was Andrew’s cart which fell on him as his horse shied.

The letter then goes on to talk of Glaud’s other brothers and some local people.

David was here and went Away the day before Andw got hirt     he has been working at Muselburgh  this 4 months.      Robt has got married on Jane Forrest    he has got A daughter.  Yur cousin Wm Storry (of) Northfield died of fever in Septr last.   Sir W Bailee is dead .    John Bishops Son (at) halfway house  dropt down dead at his breakfast on Wednesday the 10th Janry       Mr Griffin is very poorly      he is not keeping the School      John Thomson has left him     he is keeping A School at Lesmahagow  he is geting A good School and Mr Griffin has A young man from Harthill  keeping the school for him

***  Note:  David and Robert as well as Andrew are also younger brothers of Glaud. David also migrated to Australia later on.    The letter mentions Sir W. Baillie and John Bishop.  John Bishop was farm overseer to the Baillie family on their nearby  Polkemmet estate     It is of  interest to the Pender family as John Bishop’s daughter Helen was married to Glaud’s cousin James Pender, and Helen’s mother was Elizabeth Burns, the eldest and illegitmate child of the poet Robert Burns.  Burns called Elizabeth his “dear bocht Bess “

 “Lord grant that thou may ay inherit
Thy mither’s looks an’ gracefu’ merit;
An’ thy poor, worthless daddy’s spirit,
Without his failins, “

William continues –

Trade has been very good this some time here and wages pretty high T   he farm has paid well this 2 years but I had the misfortune to lose A good horse last year of lockjaw I have not seen any of your friends in Whitburn this 2 weeks but they are all in good health Robert Bayton has been out of work this some time but he is back to Mrs Smith Again     Whitburn is A sturing place now there is a great deal of work going on About Capers       they have got A  Railway in to it from Bathgate    They have got an Exelint cheam of Ironston  East from Whitburn on Sir Wm’s land at Burnbrae and also plenty of good Coal.   James McCulloch is very poorly he has not wrought any this 10 months     Your mothers neck is A great deal more Swoln Since you left Scotland      We ar all very Anxious to hear from you      I think there has been 6 or 7 letters Sent away Since July last       Dr Mitchell is often Enquiring about you

I Supose you will hear as much about the  war in the East as we do here    T hey ar in A bad State It is reported here that word has Come to Edinburgh on the 11 that Nicoles had given in .   If you have the good fortune to Receive this be Sure and write Soon after I am still in the hope of Seeing you in Scotland yet         I had a letter from Jas lately.   They ar all well     our friends are all in health as far as I know.  Hoping this will find you all Enjoying the Same blessing.  Give our kind love to Grace and Mary Ann

I Remain Dear Glaud
Your Affectionate father
Wm Pender

*** Note :  Crimean War. This is about 6 weeks after the famous Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. He is possibly refering to Nicholas I, emperor of Russia .  Grace is Glaud’s wife and Mary Ann his daughter.    Glaud’s father was to live for another 22 years but he never saw his son again.

William’s writing may lack punctuation and he has a creative way of placing capital letters,  In this transcript I have added a few more capitals for some of the place names.   He certainly manages to  touch on a wide range of topics – – Andrew’s accident, family and local news, economic and international news.  I doubt that I could do as well today even using a laptop in place of  a steel nib pen and a container of ink.  Thank you gggg grandpa William.

Further connections with the word itinerant can be found on Sepia Saturday

 
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Away from the Madding Crowd

Let’s have a look at this week’s suggestions from Sepia Saturday-

Running Away – in a nice sort of way           √ Check

Escaping the Crowd                                        √ Check

Off to the Beach – well, some of the time    √ Check

And to these add

Married for four months

What better reason for saddling up a pack horse, running away, escaping the crowd and heading off into the bush in the Otway Ranges of south west Victoria.

D8 Walking trip with horseFour months ago they were honeymooning in the snow at Mt Buffalo and now in January 1930 Charles and Vera Fricke are at the Fricke farm on Barham River Road at Apollo Bay ready for a few days bushwalking.

Mill- 1930 Walking trip Apollo Bay toPortCampbell

Timber Mill in the Otways, 1930

At one stage on their trip they  passed this timber  mill. Timber had long been a natural resource of the Otways.

Farmhouse Jan 1930 on Charles and Vera;s walking trip

In the Otways, 1930

They camped one night near this farmhouse and were able to buy meat and milk there.

D7  Jan 1930 walking trip

We have seen  Charles and Vera before boiling the billy for a cuppa on the beach  during this trip.

The extensive network of sealed roads had still to be developed so much of the trip would had been done on unsealed roads.

Aire River

Looking down on the Aire River valley

Overlooking the Aire River, and then a bridge over the Aire River. It is just a short river with good river flats for farming.

Aire River Jan 1930

A bridge over the Aire River

Getting closer to the ocean at Princeton, a small town a little further along the coast from the Aire River.

Princeton Jan 1930

Princeton 1930

And finally Port Campbell, another tiny coastal town.   The story is that they put the horse in the Police Paddock that night.   Unfortunately the paddock was only fenced on three sides, a swamp forming the fourth side.  The horse managed to make its way through the swamp during the night and disappeared and they had to ring home to Apollo Bay for someone to come and get them.

Port Campbell  1930 Walking trip Apollo Bay toPortCampbell

Port Campbell 1930

Port Campbell 1930 from Peterborough Road b

Port Campbell 1930

So  ended the bushwalking holiday in the Otway Ranges.  And nine months later ——————

More running away and escaping from crowds

in the links on this weeks Sepia Saturday

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