This blog provides information, stories, links and events relating to and promoting the history of the Wimmera district.
Any additional information, via Comments, is welcomed.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Honour inductee

New hot off the presses, or straight from the website of the Department of the Premier & Cabinet.
Local Wotjobaluk Elder Aunty Nancy Harrison has been inducted to the Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll. Aunty Nancy joins other Wimmera inductees - Lester Marks, Johnny Mullagh and Kevin Coombs.Her great-great-grandfather was King Richard who helped track the lost Duff children.
Aunty Nancy at the launch of the Honour Roll at Horsham, 2015
Aunty Nancy was born in Horsham in 1941 and grew up with her 7 brothers and sisters on the Reserve at Antwerp . The children attended the Antwerp State School, till the family moved to Burrumbeet near Ballarat, when Nancy then attended the Ballarat West High School. She worked in the Ballarat offices of the Royal Insurance Company, then the SEC (State Electricity Commission) in accounting & secretarial roles. In the 1950s joined the Department of Defence with the RAAF then the Army tilll she retired.

In 2003 Nancy returned to her traditional home at Dimboola and became involved in the Native Title negotiations for parts of the Little Desert & Wyperfeld lands, culminating with its recognition in 2005.
In the community Nancy has volunteered her time and talents to school children talking on cultural language, history and heritage. She has been involved in archaeological digs at Ebenezer. Nancy was an Ambassador for the Library during the International Year of Reading in 2012. She also worked on the Possum Skin Clock Project (the cloak represented stories of the traditional owners, past & present).
 So congratulations Aunty Nancy Harrrison - Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll inductee for 2015. 

<< Aunty Nancy in the possum cloak delivering the Welcome to Country speech at the Library's 'Footprints' display in Dimboola 

Thursday, 19 November 2015

From Horsham to see the King

At the National Archives of Australia in Canberra, to view the “Life interrupted -Gallipoli Moments : stories of our soldiers at Gallipoli – in their own words".
The exhibition allowed you to embark on a journey with the soldiers at Gallipoli. From the excitement of enlisting, to the reality and terror of battle. Original diaries, photos and personal letters, give a glimpse of the Gallipoli campaign through the eyes, and in the words, of those who were there.
The material from the State Library of New South Wales reveals captivating personal experiences of servicemen and nurses. Service records from the National Archives remind us that everyone was a volunteer, and they came from all walks of life to serve their country. 
King's Threatre poster (NAA exhibition)
Amongst all the photos and extracts was a threate poster >> and staring out from it was the word Horsham.
One of the members of the Anzac Coves was J.Davey a baritone from Horsham, Vic.
Jack Leslie Davey was a member of the Hospital Transport Corps from May 1915 to September 1918. He embarked on 17 July 1915 on the HMAT Orsova from Melbourne. Aged 24 he had been a storekeeper, his father John lived in Baillie Street in Horsham.
The “Anzac Coves” was an Australian Pierrot entertainment troupe, consisting entirely of soldiers. Established after the Gallipoli Campaign, they performed in many places on the Western Front – in barns and sheds, often just behind the trenches.
With a lively sense of humour, the troupe satirised military life. The Coves were so popular they toured Britain in 1918.
The Coves had played in the King's, Court and Ambassadors theatres, and at Buckingham Palace before the King and Queen and the Prince of Wales.
An informal photo of the troupe in uniform (NAA exhibition)
Below is a studio group portrait photograph of the troupe taken in London, from April 1918 "'The Anzac Coves', 1st Australian Headquarters Pierrot Troupe. Direct from the firing line ‘Somewhere in France’”. This concert party was to perform from 29 April 1918 at King's Theatre, Hammersmith, with proceeds to go to the Australian Repatriation Fund for Discharged Soldiers.

Third row, left to right: unidentified; unidentified; Harry Ross (tenor); unidentified; 7461 Private (Pte) Benjamin Joseph Davies (second tenor); unidentified. Second row: 6313 Pte Frank Harold Crossley (comedian and raconteur); 4027 Driver Frank James Donovan (pianist); 1992 Lance Corporal Harold Frederick Shaw (comedian); 9619 Pte Ralph Lyn Sawyer (female impersonator and dancer); probably 9129 Staff Sergeant Rannall Carlsile (manager); A Roberts (comedian); 1955 Pte Hugh Gannon (ragtime and light comedian); 264 Sergeant Jack Leslie Davey (baritone). Front row: Fred Reade (light comedian and dancer); J Gibb (monologist); 2664 Pte Leslie Herbert Williams (bass). Also identified is W J Smith (mechanic) position unknown.
Biographical information on Jack Davey from "Strewth" -  Jack was a draper, who had lived all his life in Horshjam, with previous military experience with the Horsham Cadets. In November 1916 Jack was sent to France and attached to the 7th Field Ambulance. In January 1917 he was detached to the Theatre Corps. He returned to Australia in May 1919. He married Mary Stoddart Fenton. Jack had an excellent singing voice and frequently performed in Australia. Jack died in Hamilton in 1970.
This photograph was part of "Our boys at the Front" series of postcards, no. 19. From a set of official photographs by special permission of the Department of Defence, proceeds from sales went to the Australian Comforts Fund. It was taken on 23 November 1917 from an unknown Australian Official Photographer, taken in Nord Pas de Calais, Nord, Steenwerck, France. It was titled - 'Anzac Coves' Concert Party in a theatre erected in a French village. Identified left to right, standing: (Pte) Reade; (Pte) Ross; (Pte) Gibb; Gunner Williams; (Sgt) Davey; (LCpl) Crossley. Sitting: (LCpl) Shaw; (Pt)e Roberts; (Sgt) Cannon; (Driver) Donovan (at the piano).

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Searching for ancestors

The culmination of 'History is a story' month, will be the "Searching for Ancestors : family history seminar" which is a unique opportunity to have renowned presenters speaking to local audiences.
The seminar will provide practical information and guidance to use in your current or future family history and local history projects.

The presenters are:
Eric Kopittke has been researching his family history in Australia, Germany, England and Wales since 1985. Eric joined the Queensland Family History Society in 1985, and has been convenor of its Central European Group for over 20 years. He is also President of the Baptist Historical Society of Queensland.
Academically, he studied at the University of Queensland where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science (Physics and Mathematics), a Bachelor of Arts (Geography and Computer Science) and a Diploma of Education. He recently retired from teaching Physics and Mathematics at St Peters Lutheran College, Indooroopilly.
Eric regularly speaks at family history societies and at other events as his teaching commitments allow. 
At the ‘Searching for Ancestors family history seminar’ Eric will be presenting:

Emigration from Germany to Australia - How to use records from Australia and elsewhere to determine your German ancestor’s place of origin, and an overview of the Hamburg Emigration lists – direct and indirect – why these are useful for researching your European ancestors.
Researching German civil & church records - Prior to the introduction of civil registration, church records provided details of baptisms, marriages and burials. German records often give far more detail than their English equivalents. Discover how to locate and use German civil registration records, unlike Australian and British records, German civil registration was not centrally located nor did all regions begin at the same time.

Rosemary Kopittke has been researching her families in Australia, England and Scotland since 1985. That year she joined the Queensland Family History Society and has held many positions within the society.
Her academic qualifications include a Bachelor of Science (Mathematics) and Bachelor of Arts (Computer Science) at the University of Queensland and she has completed the Certificate of Genealogical Studies (English Records) with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Though trained as a statistician, she currently works as a part-time consultant for Gould Genealogy & History and Unlock the Past. 

Rosemary’s topics at the ‘Searching for Ancestors family history seminar’ are:
Using Directories & Almanacs for family history - A look at the wide range of directories and almanacs available and why you should use them when compiling your family history.
Tracing your ancestors in England - An overview of basic resources – civil registration, church records, census, cemetery records, directories, elector registers, maps, newspapers and wills - including many examples and covers a variety of ways of accessing the data – free and subscription.

Alan Phillips has been a publisher and re-seller of a wide range of historical and genealogical resources since 1976, trading now as Gould Genealogy & History. Gould Genealogy brought leading publishers from the UK and US to Australia in 2003 for a national roadshow to 6 cities around the country. One result was the establishment of Archive Digital Books Australia, part of an international network of Archive CD Books publishers bringing a wide range of historical resources to researchers, societies and libraries. Alan has spoken widely around Australia and here will be speaking on:
Getting the most from Gould Genealogy and Unlock the Past – Gould & Unlock the Past resources and services for family and local historians.

There will be an exhibition by Gould Genealogy & History, and Unlock the Past, with special offers & prizes, along with opportunities to purchase discounted Gould books and materials.
The seminar is intended for those interested in family or local history - or any form of history; and those who might be encouraged to research and record their personal or family/local history; and writers who are interested in developing more skills and ideas for historical writing.
The Shire of Wimmera honour board in the Conference Room
It will be held on Saturday 31st October 2015 from 9:30am to 4:30pm at the Horsham RSL Conference Room (next to the Horsham Library) 36 McLachlan Street, Horsham. 
Parking is available in the RSL and Mibus Centre carparks. 
The cost will be $20:00 for Advance bookings and $25:00 for bookings made on the day. For the price you get a 2 course lunch at the RSL’s ‘Bistro on McLachlan’, with morning and afternoon tea and a day full of inspiring talks. 
Bookings are essential and need to be made at the Horsham Library, Mibus Centre, 28 McLachlan Street in Horsham. Inquiries: Phone 03 5382 5707.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Archival film launch

The library has been involved in the creation of ‘The Farmer’s Cinematheque’ for some time, and now finally the film is born.
John and Relvy Teasdale were farmers in the Wimmera region of north-western Victoria. Over more than fifty years they created a rich and evocative filmic record of working and community life in their particular dry-land farming district of Rupanyup. For John and Relvy, farming and film-making were an inter-related devotional practice. 
Upon his death ten years ago, John Teasdale left a cupboard full of films that reveal and evoke a rich and nourishing terrain. Spanning five decades from the late 1930s to the late 1980s, the Teasdale films offer views into the psychological, social and economic complexities of a wondrous and sophisticated rural world that on the one hand seems to be disappearing but on the other continues to sustain, adapt and recreate itself. 'The Farmer's Cinematheque' exhumes the Teasdale films from the archive and explores their resonance in the context of a world rapidly changing but connected still to a profound legacy of ideas, desires and rituals.
Set against contemporary footage and embellished with story-telling from members of the Teasdale family and the Wimmera community, the film stimulates thinking about the power of memory and the nature of our attachment to particular country, drawing parallels between Indigenous and settler modes of country-keeping and providing elements of revelation and affirmation about rural life. A meditation on the power of country and also a demonstration, quite literally, of the power of film, Combining sequences from the archive with contemporary footage and voices 'The Farmer's Cinematheque' teases out important questions about our custodianship of places and communities in the context of a rapidly changing global environment. It is a lyrical film about the power of memory, the nature of our attachment to country and the ways in which communities strive to balance change and tradition.
‘The Farmer’s Cinematheque’ has its own website, where you can get a sneak peek at the film trailer. The film is a Reckless Eye Production, written and directed by Malcolm McKinnon and Ross Gibson, with cinematography by Ben Speth, produced by Annie Venables, and music by Chris Abrahams.
The world premiere will be at the 2015 Adelaide Film Festival, on 19th October, and importantly its local screening is a free event on 1st November, in Natimuk, part of the Nati Frinj Biennale.
'Combine Nation' 2004 Space and Place
The Nati Frinj Festival is a bi-annual event with an eclectic mix of programs and performances (one of the most notable has been the pictures and lights projected onto the exterior walls of Natimuk’s railway grain silos).

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

HIstory is a story

Welcome to October (at least it is here in Australia), and welcome to our 'History is a story' themed month.
This month we are celebrating history, with a variety of events and displays - more in following posts.
And thanks to author Jackie French for the idea.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Only in the Wimmera

“The Dressmaker” film, based on Rosalie Ham’s novel, is scheduled for general theatre release on the 29th October. But prior to the general release there will be a special sneak peek screening of “The Dressmaker” film on Thursday 22nd October 2015 as a fund raiser for the Wimmera Health Care Group Friends of the Foundation. 
 The evening begins with a complimentary drink, finger food and entry to the event at 6.30 pm in the Masonic Hall, Urquhart Street, Horsham then, at 7.30 pm, it will be Question and Answer time with the film’s producer Sue Maslin and the author Rosalie Ham, followed by the movie screening at Horsham Centre Cinema in Pynsent Street.

Limited allocated seating tickets for the event at $45 per person, go on sale first thing on Wednesday 30th September at the Wimmera Mail Times Office in Wilson Street.  
the film trailer
Horsham is fortunate to secure the advance screening, as the film’s producer Sue Maslin was committed to screening the movie in Horsham, as the region supported the film-making process - it was partially shot in the Wimmera, and several Wimmera residents scored roles as extras in the film. 
So get set to journey back to the 50s.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Crafting history

October 2015 is 'History is a story' month at the Library.

We have adopted the theme (thanks Jackie French for the idea) to publicise History Week, by undertaking a number of activities throughout the entire month.

The first activity will be "Crafting your book" using bits n' pieces, scrap, memory objects, etc to create a unique look for your book, journal or album. 
This will be a chance for everyone to think up the perfect cover/holder to showcase your creation, and to get ideas to portray your theme and individualise your project.

The session will be conducted by Christine Gerdtz who has a whole portfolio of crafty items she has created.
"Crafting your book" will be held in the Horsham Library on Thursday 8th October at 1:30pm. Bookings are essential and can be made at the Library.

"Crafting your book" will also be an introduction to the following session "Crafting your story".
"Crafting your story" is about finding sources and inspiration to write your story, journal or book. How to construct the elements of a personable story.
Or if you are uncomfortable actually authoring a story, you may wish to tell a story in pictures, photographs or anecdotes. This is the chance to get ideas on different styles of story creation - maybe your story is a house history or a recipe book?

"Crafting your story" will be held in the Horsham Library on Thursday 15th October at 1:30pm. Bookings are essential and can be made at the Library.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Footy facts

A great entry on the Boyles Football Photos website on local footballer Eric Zschech.
Charles Boyles was a professional photographer in Melbourne who took football photographs - player portraits and team photos, from the 1920s through to the 1960s. Many of these then appeared as collectible cigarette cards.
Eric Zschech was born in Minyip. His parents - Paul Zschech and Laura Peucker - were part of the wave of German migration from South Australia when the Wimmera was opened up for selection. His father was a produce merchant in town.
Eric attended Minyip Primary School till he was 15 years old when he began work at the Minyip Post Office. A keen sportsman, he played football, cricket and tennis for Minyip, during this time he played with and was coached by Roy Cazaly of 'Up there' fame.
After winning the Best & Fairest in 1928, Eric left to work in the telegraph branch of the GPO in Melbourne, and began playing for the Post & Telegraph XVIII, and the Richmond Football Club in 1929.
With Richmond he was part of their Premiership side in 1932 and 1934, he played in the Victorian state side. 
In 1936 Eric moved to Tasmania to become coach for Lefroy Football Club . He played and coached the club till 1939, with a premiership in 1937. He was Best & Fairest in 1936, 1937 and 1939, and played in 2 interstate and 7 inter-league matches.
During World War II Eric joined the R.A.A.F. and was based in Northern Australia. He married Dorothy Anderson in 1945.
In 1946 Eric was playing for Sandy Bay when they won their inaugural premiership. The next year he transferred to Snug as coach. Eric was inducted into the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame in 2005. 
Eric Zschech died in 1981 and is buried in the Fawkner Cemetery. The full story is in "Eric Zschech : the Minyip Tiger".

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Lost in the Bush - Weekend in the Wimmera

On the weekend of 15th-16th August, the Lost in the Bush Weekend in the Wimmera will celebrate the unique collaboration between the early settlers and the three Aboriginal trackers who found the Cooper-Duff children. 
 Visitors are invited to participate in a heritage based pilgrimage following the extensions of the story as it draws people deep into the heart of the Wotjobaluk country.  
Some of the activities include:
A Winter Campfire & Acoustic Night with local musicians and poets entertaining campers & visitors at the Jane Duff Memorial site on Saturday evening  from 6pm (bring your own sausages & marshmallows)  
The inaugural 'McCartney's Ride' re-enactment. A small group of riders are celebrating Peter McCartney's overnight ride to fetch the trackers from Mt Elgin. The riders will reach the Jane Duff Memorial site in time for the Sepia Picnic on Sunday at 12:30pm. 
The Sepia Picnic & Bush Activities involves billy tea ,stew and damper around a campfire in the scrub where the Duff children were lost (period dress is optional) on Sunday from 12:30-3:30pm.  
The Duffholme Museum and replica Duff hut will be open from 10am-4pm on Saturday & Sunday.    

The Horsham & District Historical Society will be open on Saturday 10am-1pm with a visual display of photos & museum pieces, the new 'Horsham's Then & Now' exhibition, and  Lost in the Bush items. 
A Wudjubalug Survival in the Bush experience - Barengi Gadjin Land Council guides will conduct a bush tucker & medicine walk, based on age old traditions, at Mt Arapiles on Saturday 1:30-3:30pm.
Full details and registration forms at the Lost in the Bush website.
 A weekend to truly lose yourself in the beauty and stories of the Wimmera region.