Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Winiam State School Roll of Honour

Can you imagine how it must feel to have sons fighting in a war on the other side of the world?  Or the feeling of relief  and happiness when the war finished and your son would be returning home soon?  Or how about the feeling of sadness that your son would not be coming home, but feeling proud of his courage?

I cannot even begin to imagine.

About a week after the official end of World War 1, the following appeared in the Nhill Free Press on 19th November 1918;

"In accordance with the declaration by His Excellency the Governor (Sir Arthur Stanley) Sunday was observed in the local Methodist Church as a day of thanksgiving for the victory that has [crowned] Allied arms in the war, and a day of remembrance of those who gave their lives in the great cause of righteousness, justice, truth and freedom.

Mr W Barber officiated at the morning service, and Rev. W.M. Cannam in the evening.  The sacred edifice was crowded in the evening, and a large assemblage of country members and adherents was in evidence.  The honor roll, on which are the names of our gallant heroes, was entwined with the Union Jack, and there was an excellent display of red, white, and blue in the front portion of the church.  Thanks was offered to God for His Majesty the King and his statesmen, together with Kings and Presidents of Allied nations; for our gallant dead; for our doctors, nurses, chaplains, and other workers; prayers for the enemy.

Source: www. trove.nla.gov.au
Nhill Free Press (Vic.:1914-1918)
Friday 3rd May - page 3
The names of our fallen heroes which appear on the Methodist honor roll in this circuit were then read, and are as follows:- Privates A.R. and L. Anderson*, C Day, A.H. Dean,
H. Hales, H. Muller, T Stevens, F Argall, C.C. Collins, L Parker, E Taylor, - Baker, T. Dickinson, A. Munro, A.G. Warner*, G.J. Blythman, J.W Gniel*, A.J. and F.W. Weir*, Lance-Corporal F.E. Clark, and Sargeant L.J.G. Clark, after which the Dead March was played, the congregation standing with bowed heads.  Miss Davis officiated at the organ."1

Many of the above boys (marked *) also attended Winiam State School, who remembered the valiant efforts of their prior students by unveiling a Roll of Honour on Anzac Day (25th April) 1918.

Several of the young men listed are related to me.  All of them would have been well known to family members in the small farming community of Winiam.

I have previously paid tribute to the following relatives listed on the Honour Roll;

As we commemorate 100 years since Australia's involvement in World War 1 , please join me in the following weeks and months when I shall remember each of those listed on the Winiam State School Roll of Honour.

"They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them"

Lest We Forget

1 Trove - Nhill Free Press, Tuesday 19 November 1918, page 3

Side note: This post was written in advance and scheduled for automatic uploading @ 11am on Remembrance Day, 11th November 2014.  We will be on a cruise (refer prior post) and will be in Turkey on Remembrance Day but will still stop for a minute of silence to remember those who lost their lives and fought for their country.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Six Generations of Cruisers

Have you been on a cruise?  Where did you cruise to?  Or would you prefer to stay on Terra Firma?

Until now, I hadn't really thought about it but I have today counted six generations of cruise passengers in the family!

Firstly, John Walker and Sarah Walker, who together with their children Alexander (my Great Great Grandfather), John and Elizabeth sailed (cruised?) aboard the American ship James Brown from Liverpool, England in September 1852 to arrive at Port Henry, Geelong,  Australia in January 1853.

I haven't been able to locate a picture of the ship but it was not a happy journey as poor little John Walker died from diarrhea only 6 weeks into the journey.  The ship  was placed in quarantine when it arrived in Australia as there was whooping cough on board.

I am uncertain if Alexander's son, Ambrose Walker, went on a cruise but his son, my grandfather Gordon Walker, definitely went on a cruise with my grandmother. My Uncle provided me with the following photos from their cruise.  I am uncertain of the date but it was prior to September 1973, when my grandmother died.

My Grandmother, Rita Walker, is pictured fourth in in the queue.  She hasn't put much on her plate!

Nanna and Granddad relaxing.  My Grandfather has the raised glass and is wearing glasses.

My grandparents, Rita and Gordon Walker.
Nanna didn't drink much but I remember her having a small shandy, as I remember trying it.

My grandmother, Rita Walker.
I would love to know what is happening as no one else appears to be dressed up .   Nanna looks very happy.
Mum and Dad's first cruise was in 1984.  I was in Year 12 and asked a few friends over while they were away, which turned into most the teenagers in town.  I sure was in trouble when they came home!

Mum and Dad in 1984
Cruised to the Pacific Islands
Mum and Dad
In 1997 my husband, kids and I went on the Fair Princess to the Pacific Islands

The kids and I about to leave Sydney.  They hated the horn!

In Vanuatu
In 2013, my cousin and I went on a Genealogy Cruise, which was terrific.  The first of many I hope!

In less than a week, my husband and I leave to go on another cruise.   The first holiday without kids in 22 years!  So you wont see any posts from me for a few weeks!

This post was prompted by Sepia Saturday
Please click for more posts

Friday, October 17, 2014

A farmer and barber

My grandmother wrote about her cousin "Roy was the barber at Winiam.  He cut everyone’s hair – male and female.  He only shaved when he went anywhere.  The rest of the time he ran the clippers over his face".

I assume that it was Roy who cut my grandmothers plaits off, which I wrote about here previously.

My grandmother's cousins: Roy Pilgrim and Ray Muller
October 1929

Ararat Chronicle
Friday 14 January 1916 - page 2
Source:  www.trove.nla.gov.au

Roy, like most of the men in his family, was a very successful farmer.

Roy's son told me proudly that his father was a life member of Davey's barber shop and never had to pay for a hair cut.

Friday was the day that everyone from Winiam went in town - Nhill - and when Mr Davey's son Max was away as a RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) pilot in the war, Roy helped out by cutting hair, which enabled Mr Davey to keep the business going until Max returned.  Roy's reward was the life membership and free haircuts.

Mr Davey's Barbers must have been  a long term institution in Nhill.  I found a newspaper article  that shows that the Barbers shop was destroyed by a large fire in 1916.  

However the Barbers shop must have been rebuilt as I found on the National Archives of Australia website that son Max was a fighter pilot in World War II from 1943 - 1946.  However the enlistment papers show his occupation as a Bank Clerk rather than Barber.

This post was inspired by Sepia Saturday.  Please click for more posts.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Grace Pilgrim dies in "Sensational Buggy Accident"

Grace Edith Pilgrim
27 Nov 1882 - 4 Jun 1914

Source: www.trove.gov.au




A painful sensation was caused at Winiam on Thursday last when the news was circulated that Grace Edith Pilgrim, wife of Mr Albert James Pilgrim, a well-known and popular farmer, had been thrown out of a buggy and killed as a result of the horses bolting and the vehicle colliding with a stump.  About 1pm Mr Pilgrim, accompanied by his wife and little child, left home in a buggy and were driving one horse which was quiet and another that was a spirited animal and known to have bolted on a previous occasion.  After driving for half a mile the horses for some reason bolted and got completely out of control.  After galloping a good distance they got off the road and, before negotiating a deep rut, Mr Pilgrim made a desperate attempt to turn the animals, when he was violently participated over the side of the buggy on to the road, but beyond a sprained ankle and some minor abrasions did not sustain serious injury.
The little boy, aged 4, was thrown out a couple of chains (a chain = about 20 metres) further on and fortunately sustained no serious injury, thus leaving Mrs Pilgrim the sole occupant of the vehicle.  The terrified horses were now galloping at a great pace and, swerving off the road, the vehicle was dashed against a stump and Mrs Pilgrim, who was crouching in the buggy, was in an instant thrown over the splash board on to the pole and appeared to become entangled in the turntable and after being dragged for a chain, fell to the ground.  The bolting horses, with the buggy, of which one wheel was smashed, still kept on and did not come to a standstill until they reached the paddock gate.
Mr Pilgrim by this time had picked up the child, ran up to where his wife lay, and found her unconscious and bleeding from the ears and mouth.  After taking the little boy to his sister's place he informed Mr Charles J Wholers of the occurrence, and the latter dispatched his son post haste to Nhill for Dr Shanasy.
Mr Wholers quickly drove to the scene of the accident and found Mrs Pilgrim still breathing.  She was lifted into the buggy, driven to her home, and put to bed.  Mrs Pilgrim never spoke after being thrown out of the vehicle.
Dr Shanasy rapidly motored out and, upon making an examinations, found no sign of life.  The doctor ascertained that the bones in the neck were fractured and dislocated and there were also wounds on the scalp.
It is surmised that the fracture and dislocation of the bones in the neck, which caused death, was caused through the head coming in contact with the spokes of the wheel.
A Coroner's inquiry was held before Mr John Young, JP, deputy coroner, on Friday, when a verdict was returned that the death of Grace Edith Pilgrim was caused by horses bolting in a buggy and throwing the deceased out on to the road.
The late Mrs Pilgrim was the second daughter of Mr and Mrs F.W. Day, of Nhill, and was born at Dow Well in 1883.  Her kind, lovable disposition made her a general favorite with all.  Deceased was greatly attached to her children and husband, and was in every way a model wife.  Deceased leaves four children, namely;-
Linda Florence 10, Roy Frederick 9, Myrtle Grace 7 and Albert Clarence, 4.  The greatest sympathy is felt right through the district for the motherless children and bereaved husband.
The remains were interred in the Winiam cemetery on Saturday afternoon when the funeral was very largely attended.  The Rev L Walton, of the Methodist Church, conducted an impressive service at the graveside.  Messrs John Allen and Son and had charge of the mortuary arrangements.

Grace Pilgrim: My Grandmother left me detailed notes on the back of her cards and photos

Winiam Cemetery

This post was prompted by Sepia Saturday.  Please click for more posts

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Book Review; Life and death in the Age of Sail

Life and death in the Age of Sail:  The passage to Australia
Written By Robin Haines.

A Paperback book, originally published in 2003.  This edition was published in 2006 by the University of New South Wales Press Ltd. 
ISBN 0 86840 898 0
SAG Reference: A3/21/43
365 pages in total, including Introductory Pages, Contents, Acknowledgements, Abbreviations, Preface, Introduction, Body, Endnotes, Bibliography and Index
The book includes some Illustrations and a Map of emigrant routes
Have you even wondered about your ancestors’ journeys from England to Australia? Would you like to know what it was really like?  Then you will enjoy reading the numerous accounts of voyages from emigrant’s letters, which are contained in this social history.

Robin Haines aims to examine the “health and mortality outcomes of voyages to Australia” and to also determine how the authorities made changes “to improve the comfort and reduce the risk of death on board government-chartered ships”.  She brings the journeys to life through the letters and journals of numerous migrants “who speak to us across the centuries”. 

The book begins dramatically with the heart felt grief of a mother, Sarah Brunskill, who writes to her parents back home about the loss of her two young children within a fortnight of each other, during the long journey from Plymouth to South Australia.    As the book continues, we find out more about Sarah’s despair, faith, courage and future expectations, through her emotional writings.  She was one of many to record accounts of children who were “thrown into the deep” through portholes.  

Robin Haines has uncovered a large number of informative and poignant letters, which tell moving tales of the settlers’ experiences, to family back home.   In addition, the author has also located and analysed many diaries relating to the migrants’ journeys. 

These letters and diaries give us a rare insight into the conditions, thoughts, dreams, illnesses, heartache, despair, activities and social interactions encountered on many voyages from UK to Australia.  The words, thoughts and emotions of the emigrants transport us to another era.   Little did they realise that their words would be read my many and have an impact on complete strangers over 150 years later.   As a family historian, I found the letters to be enthralling and they evoked a range of emotions, including sadness, happiness, surprise, understanding and anticipation.  I could visualise the on-board scenes on many occasions.

It is evident to the reader that Robin has researched the content of this book thoroughly, which is also supported by the extensive list of sources contained in the Endnotes and Bibliography.   These sources, perhaps unintentionally, provide a large number of new potential research avenues for family historians.

At times, Robin has also provided us with a further insight into the lives of the emigrants and their family once they were established in the Colony. 

When the book was written, Robin Haines was a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of History at Flinders University, South Australia.  It is likely that it was her association with this State, which resulted in the large majority of the letters relating to immigrants to South Australia.  Personally, I would have preferred to see a more balanced approach to the other States but understand that many records in other States were not as extensive or may not have survived.

The statistical analysis, facts and figures are a necessary addition to support the emotional opinions and layperson perspective of the letter writers.   However at times, I found that the book was written for a more scholastic audience than the average family historian, especially the Preface and Introduction.   Periodically, I found it necessary to consult with a dictionary to determine the meaning of words (eg miasmatical, nomenclature and victualling), which could have been written in alternative words more suitable to a non-academic. 

After the initial high impact enticement, of the opening paragraph of the Preface, I was left waiting for numerous pages until I again became enthralled in reading about the experiences on voyages.   Therefore I was left wondering as to Robin’s intended audience.  Was the book written for research academics, students or family history researchers?    I came to the conclusion that different aspects of the book would appeal to a diverse range of readers.

The index is thorough so the reader can easily determine if your family or a particular ship is included.   However the index does not include details of the (limited) pictures, which are primarily from the Illustrated London News. 

This book gives us a greater understanding about the conditions and experiences of migrants from UK to Australia in the 1800s and early 1900s, including mortality rates and their changes over the decades, which are discussed in detail.  The letters and subsequent analysis also provide an interesting insight into the social differences between the various “classes” on-board.   The reader will also find that the letters provide a different perspective about some common beliefs and disprove some common misconceptions. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in finding out more about the migration of UK residents to Australia and the health and social issues that they faced.  However, I also provide a warning to “keep reading” as I compare the book to their voyages; there are times when it is fast paced and very interesting but then other times where it is becalmed and you want to get off.  Overall, you will be glad that you stayed on for the entire trip!

So I am left wondering; why didn’t the emigrants catch and eat more fresh fish?  Surely this could have reduced illness and potentially mortality rates on-board?


This book review was an assignment for the Society of Australian Genealogists Certificate Course in Genealogical Research 2014