Tuesday, December 29, 2020

South Australian History: Who was William Finke and John 'Goog' Denton?

A number of significant and stunningly beautiful outback landforms have been named after William Finke. But just who was this enigmatic German and what was his connection to early South Australian exploration?  Colin Judkins delves into some dusty drawers.

Born in Germany around 1814, he arrived in South Australia aboard the vessel “Tom O’Shanter” in 1836 (part of that state's so-called first fleet). The only name that resembled his on the ships' books was Johann Wilhelm Finke, so it appears he anglicised his name on arrival.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Venice: A City Rising From the Sea

Venice image.jpg

Reminding us of the birth of Venus. 

Venice... a town founded on a love of freedom, growing gradually in the silence of her lagoon, thanks to the determination and wisdom of its citizens. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Lonely Planet celebrates decades of award-winning travel photography

And reveals the stories behind the images in “The Perfect Shot”

Discover the determination and persistence required to take the perfect travel photograph.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

24 hours in Gerringong: The perfect weekend getaway from Sydney

If you’re looking for a quick weekend escape from Sydney and surrounds, a night or two in the beautiful beachside town of Gerringong will leave you feeling relaxed, reset and back at one with nature. Just a two-hour drive south from the city CBD along the winding coastal roads, the golden sands, deep blue rolling surf and undulating green pastures will transport you away from the hustle and bustle, offering a mental break from daily life. 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Goodbye to classic old picture theatres

The often sad demise of the world's picture theatres brings a tear to the eye of many, myself included.

During the 1970s and '80s, my mother worked for a small cinema and drive-in company which later was subsumed into the Greater Union group. I remember with great fondness spending school holidays rummaging through the piles of old movie posters which were used as wrapping paper. I know!

I later had a job as an assistant projectionist at one of the Starline Drive-Ins at Adelaide's Hectorville. The site is now housing, as is so often the case.


See Holden’s heritage collection at Australia's best motoring museums


The entire collection of more than 80 vehicles and 30 engines will be made available to car museums around the country for public display.   

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Maitland Culture Trip - What’s New in Hunter’s Creative Hub


This month sees Maitland abuzz with new exhibitions, public art installations, activations and hands-on cultural experiences. Located within the popular Hunter Region, a short drive from Sydney, Maitland leaves travellers seeking a weekend culture trip spoilt for choice. 

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Pub with no beer: The Temperance Hotel of Keyneton


At this crossroad in 1883 Sarah Lindsay Evans (nee Angas) of Evandale built a hotel to operate as an inn providing overnight accommodation and stabling for travellers by horse or conch. The hotel served meals and only non-alcoholic beverages.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Hidden Italy Weekend: exploring Syracuse,the Baroque towns and beaches of southern Sicily

 “To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the key to everything.” So wrote Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, after visiting the island in 1787. 


by Simon Tancred - Hidden Italy

With its history, art, natural beauty, people and food (especially the food) Sicily is a fabulous place to visit any time of the year, however, it particularly great in the autumn when the crowds have gone; the temperatures are mild and the days are long and lazy. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Jandamarra and the Bunuba armed resistance

Indigenous warrior, Jandamarra, led the armed resistance of his Bunuba people

At Windjana Gorge on November 7, 1894 Jandamarra appeared on top of a rock and shot drovers Burke and Gibbs, Bunuba warriors seized the weapons and ammunition from their wagon.

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Curious Tale of Signor Bernacchi and Tasmania's Maria Island

The following story is taken from the pages of PARADE Magazine (#186 May 1966), a popular Australian 'pulp' magazine published from 1946 to 1981 featuring a mix of historical, sensational and 'unbelievable' stories.

Dept. of Paradise 

Signor Bernacchi on Maria Island

by Margaret 'Maggie' Weidenhofer

ABOUT 80 years ago a politician entreated the Tasmanian Parliament not to lease Maria Island to an Italian investor. It would inevitably lead to war between Italy and Great Britain, he declared. 

The wealthy migrant who caused such suspicion and partisan feeling in Tasmania was 29-year-old Signor Diego Bernacchi. He arrived in Tasmania in 884, looking for a place to cultivate grapes and mulberries. Maria Island is on the East Coast, near Swansea. 

Arriving in Tasmania, Diego Bernacchi inspected various properties. In England, he had grown rich in the silk trade. 

He decided to look at land near Swansea and left Hobart by light chaise with a Survey Department official. Near their destination the horse became lame, so the two men arranged to stop a few days at Swansea. To kill time they took a boat to the 24,000-acre, hourglass-shaped island, where the shooting was said to be excellent. 

The wealthy merchant had no idea that this pleasure trip would start a chain of events destined to lead to a new phase in the island's up-and-down history, and a "love affair" between him and the alluring Maria that was to last more than 40 years. 

By the time Bernacchi stepped ashore, his companion had told him of Maria Island's colourful past. It was discovered in 1642 by Abel Tasman and named by him after the wife of Anthony van Diemen, Governor of Batavia Sealing and whaling ships operated in the area from 1803, and these activities attracted the attention of the penal authorities.

In 1825 Lt. Peter Murdoch established Darlington (named after Sir Ralph Darling, Governor of New South Wales) and before long hundreds of convicts lived in tiny, squalid cells, producing rough cloth (about 100 yards a week) and boots (about 5/-a pair). 

The penal settlement was abandoned in 1832, reopened in 1842 and finally closed in 1851. From 1852 Maria Island slept quietly while lessee after lessee tried unsuccessfully to pasture sheep and grow wheat or hops. 

Bernacchi was intensely interested in all he heard and enchanted with the island's similarity to wine-growing districts of Italy and France. He hurried hack to Hobart and leased the island. In the following two years, he spent more than £5000 in improving it. 

Later that year the island came to life when Signor Bernacchi moved there with his wife Barbara, who was willing to follow him to the world's end.

With them went their three children, cook, housekeeper and secretary, and a boatload of dogs, pigs, horses, bullocks, cows, sheep fowls, ducks, geese and turkey.

It is easy to picture the elegant Barbara Bernacchi, a lady of Belgian-Dutch extraction, picking up her long skirts and shepherding the children away from the beach, towards the former penal settlement. The children were Louis Charles, 7, Roderick Caesar, 5, and Helena, 3. Three more, Blanche, Vegan and Diego Maria Tasman, were born in Tasmania.

The Bernacchi family on the verandah of their house on Maria Island, c 1890 (ALMFA, SLT)

The Bernacchis had grandiose plans, plans that were far removed from the grim days of transportation. The present and the future were the Italian's concern. Nevertheless, the past gave him a good start, for many of the convict buildings were suitable for renovation. Temporarily, the family slept on gum-leaf beds. 

Soon nearly 30 acres of vines, mostly bought at the de Castella vineyards in Victoria, were planted. Bernacchi obtained a further 30,000 plants in 1887. After a search through the colonies 400 silk plants were selected.

At this stage 100 people were dependent on the island's activities. By 1888 the population had doubled. A 520-foot jetty was built to enable steamers to call weekly, and "a small and handy screw steamer" was purchased to ply be. tween the island and the East Coast.

The Tasmanian Mail (August 10, 1884) predicted that Maria Island would become the Ceylon of Australasia," and visitors were already arriving on excursions. 

At Darlington (renamed San Diego by Bernacchi) a butcher, baker, storekeeper and shoemaker flourished, and a State school, club, reading room and coffee palace were opened. Up to 40 people could be accommodated in the Swiss-chalet-style hotel building that contained drawing, dining, billiards and other rooms furnished regardless of expense. 

The convict burial ground next to the site of the hotel was moved to another area, and the Bernacchi children sometimes played in and around the empty graves. One night Signora Bernacchi believed she saw the ghost of a convict on the village green, and soon afterwards it was discovered that all but one of the convicts had been moved from the graveyard. He too was moved, and his ghost did not walk again.

The Bernacchis had a pleasant house on a hill over looking the bay. The convict-built reservoir was repaired, and rows of neat cottages sprang up in no time at all. The long rows of convict cells were partly demolished, and the materials were used for road-making. Each resi dent contributed 6d. a week to a medical fund, and about 50 men volunteered to form a rifle corps to assist the Tasmanian defence force.

In 1886, the year the Bernacchis were naturalised (prob ably one of the earliest colonial naturalisations), some 13 nationalities were represented at San Diego. A journalist wrote:

Here is a hint for General Booth: why not send a few shiploads of his reformed colonists to Maria Island to tend the vineyards and shepherd the silkworms He (Bernacchi) already possesses a goodly company of Parthians, Medes, Persians, dwellers from Mesopo tamia, with a fair sprinkling of Calabrian brigands, Italian Mafias, Greek pirates and pretty French grisettes. A few shiploads from darkest London would just make a delightful "blend." 

A visitor to the township remarked: 

"This is one of the dolce far niente spots, distributed by nature at favored portions of the earth, where it is always afternoon."

Orchards of cherry, peach, apricot, nectarine, lemon, fig, almond and pear trees were laid out. Pretty gardens, a willow lined creek, a village green, windmill and pigeon loft, not to mention a marvellous climate, blue seas, sandy beaches, craggy mountains and fine fishing and hunting, combined to make Maria Island an Isle of Eden. 

The Launceston Daily Telegraph reported: "A beautiful reserve, set apart for recreation, and planted with shade trees, will be the favorite resort of the residents in the long summer evenings, when the band, already beginning to organise concerts, will complete the resemblance to an Italian open air resort. 

In 1886 (and again in 1888). Bernacchi invited parties of parliamentarians and other dignitaries to inspect improvements. These invitations provoked various reports in the Press, including the following:

King Diego, it appears, has issued invitations to the Ministry... to join a monster picnic, which he intends giving for the ostensible purpose of enabling honorable members to view for themselves the enormous im improvements made by His Majesty in his newly acquired Dominion The Ministry would, of course, sign anything to effect their own escape... but King Diego is too deep a diplomat for that and will probably retain the Attorney-General and the honorable member for Sorell as hostages for the due fulfilment of arrangements made. Failing compliance, there will probably be an exceedingly large funeral.... 

Nevertheless, the visitors all left safely. The Launceston Daily Telegraph (October 19, 1886) reported that Dr.W. Crowther, a prominent identity, had described the island as "the future sanatorium of the Pacific." 

The Tasmanian News (October 18, 1886) said: "In the evening Signor and Signora Bernacchi entertained the guests to a sumptuous banquet. The veranda was brilliantly lighted with Venetian and Chinese lanterns, and sweet music was discoursed by the Brothers Croccia.

Having done so much so soon as a guarantee of good faith, Bernacchi asked Parliament to grant him a freehold right.

In November 1886 the House of Assembly almost unanimously passed the Maria Island Bill. Bernacchi was promised State bonuses of £2000 if his plans were success ful, and he was to pay a nominal rent of 1/. a year for 10 years. Later a further lease of 40 years at £300 a year would be granted, subject to certain conditions.

In 1887 Bernacchi and Mr. M. H. Davies, the Speaker of the Victorian House of Assembly, floated the Maria Island Company Limited. They enlisted the support of a number of prominent Victorians and Tasmanians. The com pany's main objects were wine-making, orchards, timber, and limestone exporting, sheep and cattle farming, real estate, and the establishment of a health chalet.

Many colonists still suspected that the polished Italian gentleman of the magnetic personality was hatching a scandalous plot. The Melbourne Argus (May 5, 1888) re ported: "One Member of Parliament, in an impassioned harangue, entreated his fellow members not to pass an act ..must inevitably lead to war between Great which.. Britain and the Kingdom of Italy. To him, Maria assumed the shape of an invading army, which was to descend upon, ravage, and overrun the fair domain of sunny Tasmania." 

Maria Island's exhibits attracted considerable attention during the Melbourne Centennial Exhibition (1888-89). The display included ornamental woodwork (indigenous woods), wine, silk, skins, fossils and gold. In 1889 Signor Bernacchi was appointed an honorary commissioner to the Paris Exhibition and took with him to Europe a cask of the island's claret, which he placed in the Colonial Institute in England.

While in Europe he brought Tasmanian affairs to the notice of many influential friends and took samples of Maria Island stone to be analysed at the cement factories of Germany, France and England.

Despite rosy predictions for its future, the Maria Island Company was not a success and it was wound up at a meeting of shareholders in 1892. The 20 kilns for cement making were not fired. The financial crisis and depression of the 1890s, when the banks failed, sent the Bernacchi family back to England. They left their second house furnished as it was at Louisville, near Triabunna, and took only their luggage.

The eldest son, Louis, became a prominent scientist, and in 1898-99 was the first Australian to work and winter on the Antarctic continent. Roderick went into the importing business in Melbourne and later turned to art dealing. Signora Bernacchi died in 1914. Only one Bernacchi, Mrs. Vega McRae, now lives in Australia. Her brothers are dead, but her two sisters, Blanche and Helena, are married and living in England.

Today there is an appealing story that Signor Bernacchi, determined to impress his parliamentary visitors, imported bunches of grapes and tied them to the vines to make the industry look prosperous. But a family friend, Miss Isabella Macdonald, who inherited Mr. and Mrs. Roderick Bernacchi's old home at Kew, Melbourne, disputes this story. 

In 1919 Bernacchi returned to Maria Island to exploit its vast limestone deposits. A company was formed which later became the National Portland Cement Co. The population shot up to more than 500. Prosperity seemed sure. Excursions went to see the boom town. But this was not to last, for Bernacchi was plagued by technical and financial problems. He fell ill, departed for Melbourne in 1923 and was buried in Brighton Cemetery two years later,

Recently Miss Macdonald had a headstone of red granite erected at his grave. She had the slab shipped from Tas. mania's Coles Bay because it was not possible to bring it from Maria Island. However, during a sentimental journey to the island, she gathered sand and shells to sprinkle over the grave.

The year 1929 saw the completion of the most recent phase of Maria Island's history. The company was sold and the Australian Cement Co. of Geelong took over, San Diego was known again as Darlington.

Restored Darlington village on Maria Island (R Eime 2013)

By the early 1930s Darlington was a ghost town. It still is. Four people live there permanently. A farmer and his two sisters (one of whom did domestic work for Bernacchi) own and lease between 2000 and 3000 acres, including the township, cement works, jetty, and most of the convict ruins. An elderly widow who once rented a house for 11/6 a week from Bernacchi, now lives in a small cottage on a lonely, exposed hill. 

On South Maria a 78-year-old farmer runs a 7000-acre property alone. All these people knew San Diego in its heyday.

Maria Island sleeps once more, disturbed only by occasional campers and the sheep that tenant the tumbledown buildings and are shorn in the 136-year-old penitentiary. 

On a hill overlooking the distant blue Schouten Island and the Pacific Ocean is the neglected graveyard where the Bernacchi infant son, Diego Maria Tasman, was buried. Some of the graves date to 1825. 

On a day similar to the one that Diego Bernacchi had for his hunting expedition 82 years ago, a mesmeric quietness enfolds tranquil Maria Island, which is, perhaps, wait. ing for someone else with foresight, determination and wealth and a little bit of luck. 

== + ==

Margaret ('Maggie') Weidenhofer was born in Queensland in 1941 and in 1946 at the age of five moved with her parents, Joan and Reay, to Madang in Papua New Guinea. From 1952 to 1958 she lived in Port Moresby, before returning to Australia to complete her education in Brisbane. An author, journalist and publisher's editor, she began her career as a reporter with the Hobart 'Mercury.' After moving to Melbourne she became a sub-editor and feature writer on 'New Idea' magazine. Maggie is the author of several books on Australian history including "Maria Island: a Tasmanian Eden " (1977) and "Port Arthur: a place of misery" (1981).

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

101 Ways To Holiday in Australia

With just over 100 days until the end of the year, there’s never been a better time to reclaim our optimism and find enjoyment in these uncertain times. That’s why I’m excited to share that Tourism Australia has released a list of 101 Ways To Holiday in Australia.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Grandma's General Store: a time for retail nostalgia

Published by Rigby Ltd. ISBN 0 7270 0714 9
by Brenda Marshall, Len Moore
Hardcover, 111 Pages, Published 1978 

TO LOOK BACK with nostalgia on days gone by is a pastime for everyone who likes to dream. The memories contained within Grandma's General Store are a charming, whimsical source of a fast-fading part of Australia's past that will be enjoyed by everyone who reads them

In this book the authors have gathered reminders of the time when the general store was the centre of family life, the centre of gossip, the centre of all one's earthly needs. Remember Holloway's Ointment and Edison phonographs? Remember button boots and Mrs Potts irons and white peppermints in glass jars? It was at the store that you bought freshly-made pats of homemade butter the best of flannel for winter underwear the strongest of wooden washing tubs and glass scrubbing boards With its tallow pans and brass bedsteads, the general store was a place of dim and dusty chaos, finding room on its shelves to house Amgoorie tea, Pink Pills for Pale People Kewpie Kleanser, Monkey Brand soap and the Magneto Electric Machine

The contents of the general store encapsulated the habits and tastes of past generations of Australians, and this book spreads out on its pages colourful reminders of the curiosities of that slower, less congested time when horses' hooves set the pace and a halfpenny was never discarded.

The ornate money till was worked by turning the handle at the side;
in front of it is the coloured glass inkwell and quill pen which recorded in
fine handwriting in the leather ledger the customer's purchases. Often the
storekeeper acted as the local letter writer

Interspersed throughout the book are the reminiscences of people who worked in, or bought at their' general store and they speak with humour and nostalgia of the times they used to know. Brenda Marshall's text allows you to wander back through those shadowy rooms lit by the light of a kerosene lamp. and Len Moore's photographs vividly recreate an atmosphere which, sadly, the supermarkets can no longer provide

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The story of Messrs. Berkelouw, Antiquarian Booksellers

Berkelouw books 114 king st sydney

The story of Berkelouw Books began in Kipstraat, Rotterdam, Holland in 1812 with Solomon Berkelouw, a now misty figure, who traded in vellum-bound Theology books on the Rotterdam Quay.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Festivals in Bhutan

Each and every festival in Bhutan is the most sought after form of entertainment. The Royal Academy of Performing Arts (RAPA) in Thimphu works to preserve the unique folk dancing heritage in the country and its dancers are expert in all forms of this unique art.

Fiona McIntosh: A Spy's Wife in Berlin

The photo shows the original Reichstag of the Weimar Republic...where Parliament sat in Berlin. This is how it looked in August 1932.  By the end of January 1933, Adolf Hitler was the Chancellor of Germany and once the infamous burning of the Reichstag occurred, he began to seize full power and no one was being left in doubt that there was anything democratic about Germany or anything outward-looking and free about the once fabulously liberally-minded Berlin where the seat of power was for the Weimar Republic.  The rise of the Nazis changed everything and that magnificent, gothic building you see there was burned until the glass of its exquisite cupola exploded and shattered, just like the lives of the people who were about to be traumatised in the new age Reich.

Lake Macquarie NSW : #HolidayHereThisYear

There has never been a better time to spread your wings and visit one of New South Wales’ weekend getaway gems. Many of us have had to kiss our overseas travels goodbye and are now seeking local holiday options that don’t carry a ritzy price tag or the hassle of long-haul flights. Located just an hour and a half north of Sydney, you can find some sensational swaps for the world’s most stunning tourist hotspots in Lake Macquarie.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Introduction to New South Wales (1988)

The continent was first named 'Austrialia del Espiritu Santo' by Quiros in 1606, renamed 'New Holland' by Tasman in 1644 and finally Cook, in 1770, initially called the eastern half 'New Wales' and later New South Wales. Although the name 'New Holland' was used in British documents up to 1849, Macquarie officially adopted the name 'Australia' in 1817 as it was already commonly used.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

History on the Hume: Holbrook, the submarine town

Gundula Holbrook from a 1921 painting
Gundula Holbrook: I was born in Austria m the widow of the late Commander Norman Holbrook VC, the man after whom this Town of Holbrook was named. He was not an Australian, but an officer in Britain's Royal Navy.

You may not find that curious today so many of Australia's beautiful cities and towns are named after British people and places: Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, and many more - all have British origins. Most were named after senior bureaucrats, Lords, Governors and even a Queen - Britain's Queen Adelaide.

So, how did an ordinary Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, a submariner commanding an obsolete boat, get to have an Australian inland town named in his honour? The story beggars belief, as we say back home, and probably here as well.

Friday, July 17, 2020

History on the Hume: Ettamogah Pub - from cartoon to reality.

Ettamogah Pub, Tabletop NSW. (c) Roderick Eime 2020

It was as a child in the Albury district that cartoonist Ken Maynard came to love the Ettamogah countryside, and he later immortalised Ettamogah in his "Australian Post" cartoons of the "Ettamogah Pub".

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

History in the Hunter: The historic Arnotts bakehouse, Morpeth

This historic Bakehouse was built by Richard Chapman (1827-1887) In about 1851, Chapman was a property owner, butcher and businessman of Morpeth whose residency extended from at least 1850 to his death in 1887. His butchery business and residence was next door to this site but has since been demolished.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Mario Morgano: Capri hotel pioneer

Mario Morgano was born on Capri in 1919. He moved to Genoa, where he graduated with a degree in law. Even during his university years, he was engaged in the Morgano family's hotel business. His first job was at the Hotel Miramare in Sanremo, run by his father. He moved back to Capri after the war, working first at the Hotel Morgano Tiberio, and then setting up on his own in 1959, building the Hotel 'A Pazziella. This was the island's first meuble.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Farewell to Sydney's Menzies Hotel

Sydney's Menzies Hotel was opened on 17th October 1963, by Premier R.J. Heffron and named after Sir Archibald Menzies, a pioneer in Australian hotels.

Visiting Cowangie VIC


Clarke's general store at the corner of Dayman and Lewis Streets is a large masonry building with splayed corner. It is a landmark building for the township. Dating from 1912 it represents the earliest stage of development in Cowangie and is a fine example of a commercial building. Of particular interest are the original timber-framed windows (R Eime)
One of the first Bush Nursing Centres in Victoria opened in Cowangie in 1918. It operated from a small stone cottage, still standing beside the Uniting Church, and brought medical help, although this might still involve a fearful wagon trip of an hour or more into town.

Former Commercial Bank, Cowangie

To the north of Cowangie, a gypsum mine was begun in the 1920s. The mineral was carted to a washing plant near the town then railed to Geelong for use in the manufacture of plasters and cement. (source: Readers Digest) Since closed.

The post office opened in 1912 when the rail link was completed but closed in 1994.
Postcode: 3506

Kow Plains Homestead (R Eime 2017)
Nearby is the historic Kow Plains Homestead, restored and able to be visited on a self-guided tour.

Cowangie Precinct is of historical, aesthetic, social and architectural significance to the Rural City of Mildura.

Cowangie forms part of the Mildura City Heritage Report (2013) 

Visiting Gawler, SA

Gawler Main Street 1928

In the early days, settlements were often named after governors and their relatives and South Australia was particularly punctilious in this practice; Gawler honoured George Gawler who led the colony from 1838–41. The town began in 1839 and is bounded by the South and North Para rivers and backed by hills. It was on the miners' route to the Yorke Peninsula, Burra and Kapunda, and bullock waggons and coaches rested there overnight.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Visiting Narooma NSW


Source: Narooma Real Estate


Text source:
Discover Australia by Road.
Ron & Viv Moon.
Popularly called 'Narooma' for many years, it was not until 1972 that the name was officially altered from 'Noorooma' (meaning 'blue water'), the name of an early cattle station. Narooma is a tourist resort, renowned for its big-game fishing. Sawmilling and oyster farming are important industries.

Tuross Lake and Lake Corunna are major attractions, particularly for fishing, and there are many great surfing beaches including Blackfellows Point, Mystery Bay and Bar Beach. Eight kilometres offshore is Montague Island, a flora and fauna reserve.

ACCOMMODATION: Lynch's Hotel, ph (02) 4476 2001%; Motel Narooma, ph 0244764270 ; Narooma Golfers Lodge (units), ph (02) 4476 2428; Amooran Court (B&B), ph (02) 4476 2198; Island View Beach Resort (camping/caravanning), ph 0244764600

ACTIVITIES: Fishing, scenic drives, water sports


Sunday, July 5, 2020

Discover Adelaide and the Secrets of South Australia

South Australia is a State of remarkable contrasts. Its elegant capital, Adelaide, is a city of innovation and culture. Home to one of the world’s great arts festivals, it is also a gateway to the Australian Outback and a vast array of unique tourism experiences. South Australia has grown from its traditional rural and manufacturing base into a diverse trading and advanced manufacturing region, specialising in food, wine, information technology and high-tech industries. It shines as one of the best places in the world to visit and in which to live, work, learn and do business.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

History on the Hume: The Garrison of Goulburn

Goulburn was gazetted in 1833 as a garrison town with two main purposes: to guard the convicts in the stockade at nearby Towrang and to act as a centre for police action against bushrangers in the southern region of the state. By 1836 the town of Goulburn had 'a courthouse of slabs covered with bark, a lock-up house, a few huts occupied by the mounted police and constables, a cottage of roughly cut timber and a small inn affording tolerable accommodation'.

History on the Hume: A peek at Picton

Picton NSW today (https://www.wollondilly.nsw.gov.au/)

The first land grant at Stonequarry (Picton) was made in 1822 to Major Henry Antill whose property was named Jarvisfield' after Jane Jarvis, Governor Macquarie's first wife. The homestead on the property has been recycled' and is now the clubhouse for the Antill Park Golf Club.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Cobb & Co: Getting the mail through

Hooves drumming in perfect unison, whip cracks, clattering Wheels - out of the dust cloud over the rise comes a Cobb & Co coach - surely one of the most romantic sights of the last century and one of the most welcome to news-starved inland Australians before the days of electronic communication.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

India: The birthplace of civilisation

Ganges at Haridwar (c) Roderick Eime

Like a peerless jewel, Uttaranchal nestles in the Himalaya with unmatched majesty, glorying in its title of 'dev bhumi', or the mythological abode of gods, with its icy mantle, verdant forests, sylvan valleys, perennial rivers and breathtakingly beautiful shrines. Here nature is divine and ecology mythology and spiritualism go hand in hand

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Famous Meat Pies of Fiction

 Dana Ellyn www.danaellyn.com

Pies have had leading and cameo roles in all sorts of works of fiction. Nursery rhymes, such as those illustrated here, and others such as Simple Simon, refer to pies. Pies have also made numerous appearances in novels. The ingredients and the method of procurement of Mrs Lovett's pies in Sweeney Todd has probably done more damage to the image of the meat pie than any other work of fiction to date.

Friday, June 19, 2020

History on the Hume: Berrima snapshot (1984)

The busy Hume Highway winds like a black ribbon through the very heart of this small Georgian village, but so forceful is the town's character that it scarcely impairs Berrima's charm.

(Ed: Berrima was subsequently bypassed in 1989)

Official parties, including explorer Dr Charles Throsby. sent by Governor Macquarie to explore the land south of Sydney in 1818 reported in glowing terms on the excellence of the land and the quality of the pastures. Throsby and nine other Free Persons were granted permission to take up land in the district, and when Macquarie toured the southern counties in 1820 he found the countryside 'particularly beautiful and rich-resembling a fine extensive pleasure ground in England'.

Surveyor General Inn: Although substantially altered, the basic form of this inn (1835) survives, and it has the distinction of being the oldest continuously licensed inn within the same walls in Australia. It was built by William Harper, who had been Assistant Surveyor to Major Thomas Mitchell, the Surveyor-General, in whose honour he named the hotel. The inn remained in the Harper family for almost a century. The observant eye will see where the sandstone blocks ran out and sand stock bricks were used to complete the walls. Hume Hwy. (Pic: DNSW)

Sunday, June 14, 2020

History on the Harbour: The great Lennox Bridge debate

Source: Parramatta City Council

[The text below is derived from interpretive panels installed inside the bridge's pedestrian walkways, (portals) themselves a source of some controversy. Links are my own]


Darug people crossed the river using stepping stones or canoes. After 1788, a wooden bridge was built from bank to bank. Later, a stronger crossing was built from stone and wood. In 1836 it was agreed that the growing town needed a strong, reliable bridge

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Parramatta: The second oldest settlement in Australia

Two months after the First Fleet landed in Sydney Cove in 1788, it became obvious that the soil in the area would not produce sufficient crops to feed the infant settlement. Governor Arthur Phillip decided that it would be necessary to search for more suitable land if the colony were to survive.

Parramatta History: Harrisford House

The building was originally a two-storey house one room deep. Exactly when it was built is unclear, but it seems to have been 1820s. Parramatta was a government town, and all land was leased until grants were made in the 1850s. The lease of the land, which runs down to the river, was acquired by the Methodist clergyman, the Reverend William Walker (1800-55), in 1829, by which time the house was certainly there.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Mallee History: Manangatang at the crossroads

Manangatang in the Victorian Mallee region (pop. about 500) comes from 'manang', an Aboriginal word for 'land and 'kaatin', meaning 'water', possibly referring to a waterhole to the north of the present township. A Mr A.T. Creswick of the Bumbang Station had a hut built near the waterhole for his stockmen. The waterhole lies on the line of an old track, one of many used by wild animals, the Aborigines and perhaps the squatter's men, as these tracks are recorded on maps of the time.

Settlers first took up land in the Manangatang district around 1911. The 'bush' of mallee eucalypts was tamed with the 'mallee roller', a large round log or old boiler drawing by horse or bullock teams, which flattened everything in its path. The best time to roll the mallee was during the winter, in June or July, as the trees invariably grew back when rolled in the warmer months. Any scrub remaining after rolling was burned off before the first crops of wheat were planted.

Scrub rollers like these were used throughout the Victorian mallee around 100 years ago (State Library of VIC) 

Rolling started around 1908 in the Manangatang district in expectation of the settlers' arrival, and surveyed blocks were available by 1911. Town allotments were sold for between fif teen and thirty pounds sterling. The first wheat grown in Manangatang was delivered to Chillingollah Station after the 1911-12 harvest. The waggon drivers carried metal tanks on top of the wheat and brought back water on their return trip.

Former Langley's service station on the highway. 2016.

Many returned soldiers from the First World War took land north up of Manangatang under the Soldier Resettlement Scheme and, like the early pioneers, found the going tough, particularly in the dry years. But by the 1920s, Manangatang had changed from a canvas town to a busy commercial centre with general stores, bakers, butchers, greengrocers and an auctioneer.

Empty shop in the main street, Wattle Street. 2020.

A succession of bad seasons and falling world prices resulted in the establishment of the Farmers' Debt Adjustment Board in 1935. The board gave cash to creditors to the value of the farmers' assets. The farmer then had to pay over an extended period of time the amount funded by the board. Another cruel run of bad seasons, from 1938 to 1941, prompted many struggling farmers to leave the land for good, despite these assistance programs.

The butcher shop is a reminder of the former commercial activities on Wattle Street, Manangatang.
In the 1920s, soldier settlers were establishing small farms nearby and the township was expanding. Constructed in 1926 close to the station, this building was originally a haberdashery and dressmaker's shop run by the seamstress, Ethel Thompson (nee Wilkinson). After that, it was owned by Maher, a saddle repairer and bootmaker. Now it's a private residence. Known butchers: Gil Sutherland and family 1947 - 1967 Bill Carroll and family 1967 - 1981 Daryl Devereaux and family 1981 - 1991

About this time, the Victorian government contemplated declaring the district closed to agriculture, such were the difficulties encountered by farmers over the years in what was considered by many experts to be 'marginal' land. It was finally decided under the West Mallee Settlement Areas Act to lease land to farmers north of the Manangatang-Ouyen road, and wipe all other debts to the government. Today, Manangatang is still a wheat-growing area.

Built in 1924, the bakery is typical of commercial shops constructed between World War I and World War II. Bread was baked in a wood-fired oven, which occupied a large portion of the west wall. The rooms at the rear were used for bread preparation and flour storage. For a time, the shop to the left of the bakery was originally the National Bank, then a barbershop rented by Bill Anthony, Bertie Tom, Al Smith and Michael Picos. Known bakers: J. Andrews c1935-44 Charlie McInnes, Billy Rice and N James 1951-1959 D Hildebrandt 1959-1979

Today there is a self-guided heritage walk that visitors can undertake which highlights the remaining historic buildings and sites in the town.  

Text sources: Readers Digest 'Australian Places'
Photographs: Roderick Eime

History on the Hume: Marulan NSW: Marble Town

UPDATED: 26 July 2020

Old shops, George St Marulan. The red-fronted shop is the Coronation Store opened in 
1902 in the year of the coronation of Edward VII. Now an antiques store. 

Originally laid out as a private township called Mooroobool, the name Marulan was adopted, almost by default, in 1878. The local postmaster st Mooroobool applied for a date stamp for his post office and was told to use the old one from Marulan Camp post office, which originally operated four kilometres south of Mooroowoolen but had since closed.

Marulan Post Office, NSW 2579. The present building was erected in 1884 and called Mooroowoollen Post Office and replaced an office in the Marulan Railway Station. The name was changed to Marulan in 1878.

Baldock's Store: The group of buildings that make up this general store and residence shows classic Australian style with the galvanised shed complementing the shop and residence while Mrs Smith and her five sons ran the shop. Later the shop was bought by Baldock and Crighton. The business was carried on by the Baldock family for over half a century.It was built in the 1870s by Mr J Cunningham who was described on his letterhead as "Grocer, Ironmonger and General Provider'. A well at the back of the Baldock's was one of only three that constituted Marulan's main water supply until the early 1900s. A second was behind the nearby Royal HotelThe store was run by Mr Cunningham for quite a few years and then was taken over by Tom and Bill Smith. Bill Smith was a bachelor, but Tom had a wife and six children. The men ran a 1000 acre property called Mt Otway, Since the 1990s the complex has been progressively restored.

From its early days, Marulan was a staging post for bullock teams and coaches on the road from Sydney to Goulburn. Joe Peters, one of the first ticket-of-leave men to be granted land in the County of Argyle, as the district around Goulburn was called, succeeded in holding up progress on the building of this main road to allow him to establish a new hotel at Marulan when it became apparent that his old hotel would be bypassed by the road.

The Butcher Shop, now run by the Hughes family. This Victorian shop was built in 1878 and once had an old bakehouse at the rear. A Federation style house has since been added, and as far as can be ascertained, this site has always been a butcher's shop Even before the present facade of the shop was built, it was Feltham's Butchery and customers queued up outside to be served through the window. Everyone who can remember says that Granny Feltham, whose ghost haunts the store, was still a good butcher at 93 years of age. (RE)

The Royal Hotel was built in 1872 by Mary Carrigan. Mary Carrigan's two deceased former husbands had owned The Whitehorse Inn at Wingello and the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel at Marulan. After Edward Carrigan died in 1871, his wife Mary Carrigan purchased land opposite the Terminus Hotel and built the Royal Hotel the same year. The two-storey brick section at the front of the building was completed by 1880 and the original wooden section at the back became a billiard room. The new Royal was by far the most opulent of all the inns in the town with plush velvet curtains and beautiful furnishings. In 1884 Mary Carrigan died, followed a few weeks later by her daughter Mary Houm. The eldest daughter, Annie Kelly and her husband then took charge of the hotel. At about the turn of the century, all hotel licences were recalled by the Government and the Royal Hotel was not re-issued with a licence. Since then, the building has had many varied uses, including as a boarding house, a shop, and as a private residence. (from interpretive panel)

The Old Hume Highway heading north along George St (RE)

Although the country around Marulan was not ideal grazing land, it had other assets. Limestone and marble have long been quarried there. Marulan marble varies in colour from pure white to jet black was used for flooring in the early Sydney University buildings.

Did you know? there is a sign which reads "You are standing in the exact middle of the Eastern Standard Time Zone."

Text sources: Readers Digest, Aussie Towns

Photographs: Roderick Eime

MORE: History on the Hume series

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