Sunday, 30 March 2014

Sepia Saturday – Floods in Yallourn, 1934-5

The Sepia Saturday prompt for this week shows a barge crossing a flooded river or lake.

I didn’t have any flood photos in my massive sepia collection, so turned to Trove, the wonderful National Library of Australia search engine.
Floods at Yallourn 1934-5

I found a large number of articles and some great photos of the 1934 flood that filled the open cut brown coal mine at Yallourn in Victoria’s Gippsland.

The first three photos are from the JP Campbell collection of glass negatives documenting industrial enterprise at Yallourn, ca 1920-1940 (and held by the State Library of Victoria).

On 1 Dec 1934, flood waters burst the banks of the Latrobe River and 65 million gallons poured into the vast open cut mine at Yallourn.
Floods in the open cut c1934-5

The coal, dredgers, and other equipment (valued at more than £500,000) were all submerged and this left Victoria with electricity for only a week.

The plant supplying drinking water to the town was also under water, creating further problems. 

A special train had to be chartered to bring milk, bread and meat to the town as all roads were cut.

The rains that caused the floods were unprecedented and broke the 71 year records held by the Weather Bureau – in three days, the Gippsland region had around 1100 points (about 11 inches, or around 280mm).
Yallourn Power Station c1940

This was followed closely by another flood at Easter 1935. 
But this time, the emergency levees quickly built after the Dec 1934 floods were able to prevent further flooding in the open cut. 
Pumping was still proceeding following the 1934 floods – by February, the open cut still contained 3.65 million gallons.
The pumps were set up on pontoons and drew off 1 million gallons an hour.

This all happened just before my newly-married grandparents moved to Yallourn. My grandfather, Keith Leo GRENFELL (1911-1944) was an electrical engineer (on his marriage certificate) and a mechanic / fitter (on the electoral rolls). 
I’ve written a little about him before.

You can read some personal accounts of the floods on the wonderful Virtual Yallourn website – brought to my attention by another regular Sepia Saturday blogger, Sharon of Strong Foundations.

Front page news 
Keith Leo Grenfell
Sgt K L Grenfell

Monday, 24 March 2014

Sepia Saturday – Robert Raikes

A bit late this week due to a big birthday in the family and a trip interstate to all get together and celebrate it.
The Sepia Saturday prompt this week is a statue. I can only think of one statue linked to my family:

This is a statue of my 5x great grandfather, Robert RAIKES (1736-1811).

In 1880, a statue of him was erected on the Victoria Embankment (between the River Thames and the Savoy Hotel, London) to celebrate the centenary of the Sunday School movement. There is a copy of the statue in Gloucester and I think another in Canada.

Robert Raikes inherited the business of the Gloucester Journal from his father but is best known for establishing the Sunday School Movement.

We grew up with stories from our grandfather John Raikes GARRETT (1908-1992) about all this. 
Pa was quite a storyteller so we didn’t really believe him, especially as he never seemed to go to church himself.
Much later when I started my family history research, I learned that this story was true.

Robert Raikes started school on Sundays when he realised that crime was connected to lack of education. He opened the first school in 1780 with the aim of providing (initially) boys with the chance to learn to read when most of those from lower social classes worked six days a week. He used his own paper, the Gloucester Journal to promote the idea, and just 20 years after his death (in 1811) about 1.25 million boys and girls were regularly attending school on Sunday.

Robert had married Anne TRIGGE in 1767 and they had 10 children, (two dying by the age of two). My 4x great grandmother Mary RAIKES (1773-1812) was the second daughter to survive infancy.

Mary Raikes married Henry GARRETT (1774-1846) who went on to become Vice Admiral of the White. They also had 10 children who all survived childhood.
My 3x great grandfather, John Thomas GARRETT (1802-1852) was their second son. I have written about him and the family before, here.
It was John’s son, Henry Raikes GARRETT (1838-1876) who came to Australia in 1858.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Trove Tuesday - Finding John Williams

In a continuation of my blog yesterday, trying to find out more about John Williams, father of John Brooks / Brookes, ancestor of my new cousin Barry, I turned to Trove.

John Williams is really not an easy name to search – so common, both names can be surnames or first names, and both names can be street names.

But, narrowing down year and state by using filters helped a bit.

I wonder if these articles could be referring to ‘my’ John Williams. 
It would sort of make sense if he had been convicted and jailed for something and that is why he was out of Jane’s life. 

Both these offences occurred in 1841, the year young John was born.

I also think maybe Jane and John weren’t married.
When Jane and Thomas Brook/Brooke/Brookes were to be married, they had to complete an Application to Marry (a convict). 
On this, Jane listed herself as Jane Cundell, not as Jane Williams. This was 21 September 1843.
Their daughter Mary Anne was born in July the following year, 1844.

I also found the death notice for John Brookes (son of John Williams) and so now know he died in Glenormiston and was buried in Terang - both in the Western District of Victoria where so many of the Brooks / Brookes family lived (and died).

Another couple of pieces in the puzzle.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Mystery Monday - Who was John Williams, blacksmith?

I’ve had contact from yet another new cousin.

Jane Brookes nee Condell
Barry is descended from the first child of my 3x great grandmother, Jane CONDELL / CUNDELL (1821-1904).

Jane had a child before she married my 3x great grandfather, convict Thomas BROOK / BROOKE / BROOKS (1810-1894) in New Norfolk, Tasmania in 1844.

This child was born on 16 June 1841 and baptised on 25 June 1841 as John WILLIAMS, son of John WILLIAMS, blacksmith.

After the marriage of Jane and Thomas, young John was raised as John BROOKS / BROOKES.

I have not been able to find any further mention of ‘the’ John Williams.
It’s a difficult name to search – being so common, and with the surname closely approximating a first name too.

After Thomas’ conditional pardon in 1845, he moved to Mt Shadwell, near Mortlake in Victoria’s Western District.
Jane and the children followed after the birth of my great great grandmother Frances Eliza BROOKS in 1846.

John Brookes married Angelina SANDERS (1855-1952) in Mortlake on 25 April 1877 and they had three daughters and two sons:

Angelina Elizabeth, born 1878 in Ballarat, married Jeremiah Thomas SINCLAIR and died in 1943.

Emma Jane, born 1880 in Ballarat, married Henry LONG (son of Frances Eliza BROOKS, see above) and died in 1953.

Ernest John Thomas, born 1884 in Mortlake, married Ruth SHARROCK and died in 1971.

Albert Arthur, born 1888 and was Killed In Action at Pozieres in WWI in 1916.

Vida May, born 1898 in Terang, and married first Stanley BAXTER, then Percy BENNETT.

John Brooks died in Noorat on 16 January 1915 age 73 years and was buried in Terang cemetery.

Angelina, his wife, lived to the remarkable age of 96 years, dying in 1952.

I've previously written about Jane and her family here, and here.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Sepia Saturday – Memories of the Polio epidemic

My Dad (left) and his mate Brian,
up on the back trellis fence.
This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt photo is from a series of images showing the areas in Sydney affected by the outbreak of bubonic plague in 1900.
The suggestion is fences, backyards and bubonic plague.

I have fences, a big backyard and a polio epidemic.

Australia’s first polio epidemic was between July 1937 and July 1938. In 1947-48 and 1951-2 Australia had its 2nd and 3rd polio epidemics. 

Most of those affected were children under the age of 14.

My parents remember a little about these epidemics.

During one of these epidemics, my Mum’s parents sent her and her little sister to her grandparents farm in the Western District of Victoria for a month or so. 
Mum thinks her mother was with them for most if not all of this time. 

She can remember helping around the farm, feeding turkeys and lambs, and also having picnics.
Mum (right) and her sister on the farm with
some kittens (paling fence around backyard)
Mum said they went for a very long time but it may have only been a month – everything seems longer when you are a kid!

My Dad was still living in country Victoria, in Yallourn at the time of the 1947-48 epidemic. 
He thinks they were probably a bit isolated down there so wasn’t aware of much.

Both of my parents were living in Melbourne at the time of the 1951-52 epidemic. 
They can remember, “kids just disappeared from school, never to be seen again”. 
Dad says he remembers friends (young people) in iron lungs.

They then reminded me of the fuss I made when taken to get my polio vaccine. Seems I was a source of amusement for my brothers!
Time to stop the questions :)

Mum (right) and her sister feeding lambs, and keeping an eye on their
cousin Tony and his mate (barbed wire fence - very big backyard)
Mum (right), her sister and Nanna (Sarah Long) feeding turkeys on the farm
with a post and rail fence
Mum (left) with her sister and cousin Tony on the farm
(fence in background and big backyard)

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Sepia Saturday – A Family on the Rocks

This week’s Sepia Saturday photo prompt is a photo of three men on rocks with a telescope.

When I saw this it reminded me of two sets of photos in my collection – so this is the second two blogs I’ve done for this prompt.

The first blog was a day or two ago, and was of my Nanna and her family (and dog) in their ‘back paddock’.

This one is of my Pa and his family.

Strangely both these sets of quite similar photos were taken well before they met and married!

Pa, John Raikes GARRETT (1908-1992), used to tell my Mum (his daughter) about how he used to go on weekend drives.

Sometimes he would go by car with his father, brother and sisters, and other times on his motorbike.

They certainly look like they were having some fun clowning around and striking poses on the rocks – but again, look at the clothes – men in three piece suits and ties, ladies in court shoes...

Pa also told Mum he used to ride his motorbike out past the property where his future wife lived, not knowing her at the time.

Most of these photos are taken on rocks by the beach but I wonder whether some of these photos were taken in a different part of the same Stony Rises that my Nanna and her family also posed in.

My Pa is on the left, then his sister Shirl. Brother Noel is on right 
Pa is in the front with all the ladies, his brother Noel is back left.

Uncle Noel is on the lookout - without a telescope