Don Grant Memorial Lecture 2016


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Grannie FERRISSince I presented the 2016 Don Grant Memorial Lecture for VAFHO (Victorian Association of Family History Organisations at the Family History Feast at the State Library of Victoria I’ve received a heap of emails.  Many saying how much they enjoyed my presentation and others asking when the presentation would be put online on the SLV web site.

  • I would like to thank everyone for their very kind emails and comments.
  • I would like to say how much of an honour it was to be invited to present the annual Don Grant Memorial Lecture
  • It was also a great honour to have Don’s widow, Lorraine, his daughter Ally, and his grand-daughter in the front row for my presentation.

My presentation titled ‘Grannie Ferris: midwife, nurse, doctor and undertaker‘ is now online on the State Library of Victoria web site.  Above is a photo of the formidable looking Grannie Ferris.

Some of my presentation related to the registers of Nurses and Midwives appearing in the Victoria Government Gazettes – this was the subject of an earlier blog I published on these registers.

During my presentation I also mentioned the two web sites from which you can download these detailed registers:

A special bonus for family history organisations who are members of VAFHO:

Send a USB to VAFHO with a stamped self-address envelope requesting a copy of the files mentioned in the presentation and the earlier blog site.  These files have been updated through Acrobat so that you can search ONCE in the folder containing all of these 70+ files – the search will search each individual file.

Enjoy!  And thank you to VAFHO and SLV for inviting me to present the 2016 Don Grant Memorial Lecture.

How old is history?


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Which bag is it in?I posted a blog a couple of weeks ago [ #sun7 ] lamenting the demise of Hobart on Sunrise in the order of weather on the info strip at the bottom of the screen.

History has been made in more ways than one!  I’m not sure if it happened earlier this week but I definitely noticed it this morning – Hobart is back in it’s rightful place.  I could be forgiven not spotting it earlier this week as Monday morning I picked up the keys to my new home [renting a lovely unit in South Geelong].  Needless to say I’ve been a tad busy but this morning I woke in my own bed in my new home and had a lazy lie-in watching Sunrise … and I nearly fell out of bed – Hobart came after Darwin and before Melbourne – exactly where it should be!  It really felt like all was right with the world … and Hobart.

BUT another bit of history is being made NOW as I type – this if the first blog I’ve posted from my new home.  I confess – the computer is all hooked up and working on my kitchen bench while I sort out the new office [spare bedroom] etc. but I can’t spend too long chatting – the list of chores is LONG.

I have separate pages on my dining room table to write on – complete with pen handy:

  • PU – OG [pick up from Ocean Grove – still emptying and cleaning out old place]
  • PU – Newcomb [while I was waiting 3 weeks to get the keys to here, every trip to Geelong meant a car loaded with boxes and items – the storage unit is only 5 minutes from here, so saving a lot of petrol and packing time]
  • FIND – I remember seeing it in … that bag or that box!  See the image at the top!
  • BUY – either essential items for the unit or perhaps some food!
  • TASKS – essential tasks here – cleaning or re-arranging before I bring in more things to trip over
  • TO-DO – essential things – like ring the Salvos for a pick-up, etc.

OK – TASKS and TO-DO items are yelling very loudly so this is enough blogging for now – I’ve created history so I must move on.

OH – and my pussy cat is yelling loudly – currently locked in the bathroom until I let him explore his new home further – probably tonight when I’ve stopped going in and out the doors every two minutes!  Best thing is that he was allowed to live with me in my new home.

Happy, tired, contented …

Victorian Schools Names and Numbers


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A major index that’s been added to the Geelong & District Database covers a little more than our region – in fact it covers all of Victoria – hence it’s reason for this appearing on my wider blog.  You can search for any Victorian school [pre 1975] by number or [part] name.  And of course if they are schools in the Geelong district you may find more than just the new entries from Vision and Realisation.  You also have a second option – rather than searching our database, you can download PDF files by name or number:

Details on these indexes can be found in the Geelong & District Potpourri pages.

And don’t forget to search again for your ancestors in the Geelong & District Database – they could have been in the last load of additions!

How old is history?


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HobartHave you ever pondered “how old is history” and then is Hobart history?  [ It’s all about #sun7 ].  If something annoyed me last year and it’s changed in the meantime does that make it history?  If we don’t record it, this history will be lost forever!

What am I babbling on about?

This might seem trivial and perhaps it’s due to my lack of sleep and a frantic period in my life – packing up all household goods after more than nine years and downsizing.  That’s why I’m having a garage sale tomorrow [Saturday 30 April] – and I’m exhausted already!

I’m even having to sell a huge part of my library – reference, local history, genealogy, architecture etc.  If I get time tonight I might update the list – there’s a HEAP more to add – but will I be up all night anyway?  I guess if there’s a particular book you want it’s always worth asking if I have it for sale – yes, it’s a BIG library!

So what has all this got to do with Hobart and what’s been driving me nuts for some time!

I think I have a personality best classified as ‘méthode Poirot’ – that’s how Poirot often solved his cases – if it was out of order then it was a clue.  I’m into order and method – I’m also a “list” person – I create lists about anything and everything.  Is that why I live and breathe databases and indexes?

Okay – back to HOBART.  If you ever watch Sunrise on Channel 7, do you pay attention to that strip across the bottom of the screen?  I’ve even researched it – an official name could be Chyron but it’s also referred to by a variety of names such as ‘info strip’ or ‘news ticker’ and so the list goes on.

During Sunrise it’s an orange strip in 3 sections – the largest section on the left has News, then there is weather info and then the time.  My angst is with the weather which itself includes three components: city, expected temperature, and a weather symbol.  It’s in alphabetic order but actually it isn’t and that’s where poor old Hobart becomes part of history.

I’m sure we all remember when Tasmania has been left off the map of Australia – not once but numerous times – just Google ‘Tasmania left off map of Australia’!

I’m fairly certain [could be wrong – it has happened on the odd occasion] that I first noticed this last year.

Let’s go through the capital cities of Australia in alphabetical order: ADE, BRI, CAN, DAR, HOB, MEL, PER, SYD.

On Sunrise [ #sun7 ] – it went like this: ADE, BRI, CAN, DAR, MEL, HOB, PER, SYD.  It drove me nuts for ages and just when it was getting too much to bear, recently it changed to: ADE, BRI, CAN, DAR, MEL, PER, HOB, SYD !

Why does this matter – I’m sure Hercule Poirot would have something to say about this.  But if you’re buzzing around doing things and just glancing at the screen now and again waiting to check on the MELBOURNE forecast – it comes after HOBART – doesn’t it?  Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo !

Should I let such a small thing bother me?  Of course not.  But it DOES !

Did someone at #sun7 suddenly realise that HOBART shouldn’t come between MELBOURNE and PERTH and fixed it?  Fixed it even worse????

OK – I’ll get off my soap box – I needed a little light relief before a HUGE day today and tomorrow and now I’m laughing VERY loudly.

Of course I now have a new problem – I have to keep watching that tricky little Chyron waiting for someone to fix it … will they???

Nurses and Midwives in Victoria


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Nurse B.P. Frankston, VictoriaI spotted a post on Facebook and was going to check my files when I realised that I should do a blog with the details for others to research their nurses or midwives.

And while we’re at it, someone might know the identity of the nurse in the photo.  The image is from the State Library of Victoria collection [H2006.188/34] and it states she is a young woman, identified only as “B.P. from – a nurse from Frankston, Victoria”.  The photo was taken in 1900.

The files I mentioned?  Some years ago I spent many hours searching for and finding these files – hence I recorded them in a couple of spreadsheets.

The Victorian Government Gazette included lists of Midwives and lists of Nurses generally annually in the 20th century – it wasn’t always easy finding them hence my reason for keeping a record of them.  The two best places for finding and downloading the relevant Victorian Government Gazette :

Most of the lists are alphabetical BUT DON’T STOP at “Z” because you may be reading the initial list of those added to the register, then there may be a list of those removed from the register, then those who changed their names [i.e. by getting married], and others who changed their address.  All wonderful information for family historians and researchers.  Now and again the Gazette will include the entire list of everyone registered and year of registration.  Some lists include their date of registration.

I haven’t had the need to search but I presume that all states would have had this type of register in their Government Gazettes.  And of course Nurses and Midwives weren’t the only lists: Railway employees being one occupation that comes to mind.  If they had to be “registered” or were Government employees, then LOOK FOR THEM!  There are Dentists, Doctors … the list goes on and on.

So back to my lists – the reason I looked for them and then downloaded them was to select [with help from some of my wonderful volunteers] any nurses or midwives and therefore add them to my Geelong & District Database.  Women aren’t easy to trace and midwives in particular were some of the women who didn’t have to give up their job when they married.

You also learn what files may contain by being observant – e.g. I included page numbers / ranges – this might give you the clue as to whether it was a yearly register or a complete register.  Have a look at the Nurses board for 31 December 1935 – page range is 2051-2135 – that’s more than 80 pages – whereas 1929 is less than 20 pages.  The 1935 list includes ALL nurses registered at that time.

As the tables didn’t transfer well into this blog, I’ve created a PDF file for each which you can download:

Enjoy researching your nurses and midwives!

Norfolk Island library


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NorfolkIslandMy library is still too large and this time I’m putting up my Norfolk Island collection of books for sale – there are 99 items available.  It is a VERY large collection that covers Norfolk Island, Pitcairn Island, HMS Bounty, Van Diemen’s Land, and convicts.  Many of the publications are very rare and not readily available.

Prices are less than, and often considerably less than, second hand online prices.

You can download the Norfolk Island list and decide if there are any that you want to move to your library!


  • If someone requests and pays for any items, they are no longer available for others – first in, best dressed.
  • Items can be collected from me on the Bellarine Peninsula [in Victoria] or posted – obviously I will need to check the weight and destination to confirm postage costs which will be added to the price of the book(s).
  • Items must be paid for before they can be posted or collected – direct Internet banking is the preferred option – other options charge too much which considerably reduces the amount I receive.
  • If you wish I can provide contacts of others who have purchased some of my books – they will vouch for me!

If you wish to get in touch and/or purchase any books, you can CONTACT ME HERE.

In case you haven’t worked it out yet, the majority of my books are for history, genealogy, and research.

Ask a librarian – it’s wonderful!


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1955cGrahamandSueatGraftonI have just had THE most exciting day and it’s really all about Social Media, Blogs, and research and this photo from about 1955 of me and my brother in Grafton, New South Wales.

I’ve used the “Ask a Librarian” service before – State Library of New South Wales, State Library of Victoria and National Library of Australia to mention a few.  I don’t over-use it but there are times when it is the right option.

It all started here when I posted the Blog yesterday about no ice cream on Sundays!  I mentioned that ice cream was part of my life.  Overnight I woke up thinking about ice cream and Grafton where my Dad worked at the Peter’s Ice Cream factory before we ended up transferring to Adelaide.

The one gap in my own life – I didn’t know where we lived in Grafton – but you can read all about that on my other blog.  Needless to say Grafton and Ice Cream were at the forefront of my mind this morning and I was determined to find the answer.

I decided that Pluto was a different angle that just might work.  Then in the process of looking for photos of Pluto I found the photo above – me and my brother in what MIGHT have been our house but with a building in the background that looked like old photos I had found of the Peter’s Ice Cream factory in Grafton.

That’s when I decided to try “Ask a librarian” at the State Library of New South Wales.  I wasn’t expecting an answer for about a week but the reply arrived this afternoon.

Why am I babbling on about it here?  Because I’m so excited I needed to share it with some of my friends and followers.  Did “Ask a librarian” work?  You bet it did – absolutely wonderful.

They found an address in the electoral roll for me – and just have a look at the Google Maps street view of the house where we lived and compare it with the photo above!

Now you understand why I’m so excited!  Yippee … thank you Pluto, Blogs, and “Ask a librarian”!

No Ice Cream on Sundays!


Peters float in paradeSome things just stop you in your tracks – especially with something so dear to my heart.  My late Dad was Production Manager at Peter’s Ice Cream and amongst other treats he was the inventor of the Drumstick.

In the Geelong Advertiser Thursday 11 February 1915 I read this disturbing news:

Authority was given to the city inspector yesterday to prevent the sale of ice cream from carts on Sundays

This council decision followed complaints from Sunday school authorities and “other people”.

I have trouble comprehending this – I grew up surrounded by ice cream!  The photo above is my Dad driving the “ice cream block” in a parade!  You can read more about him in my blog ‘History: the men in my life’.

And you’ll find even more on my Memories Pinterest board.

Where’s the postman?


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Leopold Post OfficeWe would be living under a rock if we hadn’t heard the grumbles about mail deliveries – or delays!  BUT turn the clock back 100 years and read about the mail that arrived in Geelong by train at 6.30 am AND didn’t get delivered until the AFTERNOON delivery service!

This appeared in the Geelong Advertiser, Tuesday 9 February 1915:


Mail matter arriving by the early newspaper train from Melbourne is sent out by the carriers on the first delivery, but it is complained that letters come by the 6.30 a.m. train and are not delivered till the afternoon. In 1912 the Chamber of Commerce was assured that practically all the metropolitan letters are carried by the newspaper train. A sub-committee was appointed by the Chamber to make inquiries, and it was informed that on the 27th ult. 500 letters without newspapers had arrived by the 6.30 a.m. train, and were not sorted for the first delivery. Yesterday the council of the Chamber considered the sub-committee’s report, and eventually decided to let it stand over till the next meeting in order to make further inquiries, and ascertain the public feeling. Mr. J. Blakiston said in these times employers were requested to work fell handed, but they had the spectacle of the Geelong Post Office undermanned both in respect to letter carriers and sorters. The carriers had big rounds, and had to carry heavy bags. The amount of mail matter coming into Geelong must have nearly doubled in a comparatively short period but practically the staff was the same. That was the whole trouble. People on the outskirts complained of receiving their letters late, but it was not the fault of the carriers, who were very much overworked. Most people wanted the mail service by the newspaper train to be continued.

How shocking!  Such terrible service?

Harbours around Victoria – 175 years ago!


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Bellarine Tea Gardens, Point HenryLast month [January] I started a series of blogs on my Geelong & District site feature articles from the Geelong Advertiser in 1841 – that’s 175 years ago.  If the articles are about places that might interest a wider audience then I’ll post a link here.

This particular blog covered a number of harbours around Victoria and southern New South Wales.  It’s definitely worth reading!