Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Talking Tarlee - Beach picnic

The weather was hot.

Harvest was over.

Time for some fun.

A visit to the beach.

In 1918 motorised transport was still a luxury, but train travel was available through the mid-north region of South Australia. The Midland District Committee met in Tarlee to plan such an outing for their local communities.
A meeting of the committee of the Midlands Beach Picnic was held at Tarlee —that town being geographically the nearest for all concerned. Representatives from Hamley Bridge, Stockport, Linwood, Giles Corner, Tarlee, Riverton, Rhynie, Marrabel, Saddleworth, Auburn, Steelton, and Waterloo were present. Dr. Glynn occupied the chair. The hon. secretary of the picnic committee (Mr. J. Oswald Tayler, Tarlee,) submitted information relating to the last outing, and said the feeling regarding a continuance of the picnics was unanimous and enthusiastic. In view of the fact that 1,200 persons availed themselves of the opportunity to have a trip to the seaside last March, it was felt that no risk would be run in arranging a similar day this year. It was decided to carry on the fixture, and the date chosen was Thursday, February 21, the rendezvous to be Glenelg. A movement has begun to proclaim that date a close holiday for banks, stores, and all business places possible throughout the towns and communities participating in the picnic, and it is hoped no obstacle will occur to prevent this being accomplished. (1)

Much excitement ensued as tickets were purchased for the day out and food and drinks prepared. A large crowd was expected and tickets on the trains sold out quickly.

Glenelg Guardian (2)

The Midland beach picnic at Glenelg to-day promises to be a great success. About 2,000 tickets have been sold. At Riverton every available ticket was sold, .and the railway-stationmaster has had to apply for more. Clare, Auburn, and Watervale are also booking for these excursion trains. A launch has been chartered for sea trips. On Saturday a similar excursion train is to be run from Burra. (3)
Reports of the train journey and number of passengers appeared in several papers. It was a long day out for those with small children, a 6.45 am departure from the train station meant a very early start by horse and buggy to reach the town. By the time the trains arrived home at about 11 pm that night, weary beach goers then faced the long trip back home.

Blyth Agriculturist (4)
Our trips to the beach are easy and uncomplicated compared to the effort required by our ancestors. We hope they enjoyed the train trip with their friends and neighbours.

  1. 1918 'RIVERTON.', Kapunda Herald (SA : 1878 - 1951), 25 January, p. 3. , viewed 23 Jan 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108279615 
  2. 1918 'Advertising', Glenelg Guardian (SA : 1914 - 1936), 7 February, p. 1. , viewed 23 Jan 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article214714823
  3. 1918 'GENERAL NEWS.', The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), 21 February, p. 4. , viewed 23 Jan 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5599018
  4. 1918 'Advertising', Blyth Agriculturist (SA : 1908 - 1954), 1 March, p. 3. , viewed 23 Jan 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article215156229

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Merciful Trove

Searching Trove for the religious

Where is that elusive nun, brother or priest? In preparation for a series of posts on the relatives who entered Catholic religious life, I’ve been trawling through Trove once more.
Name searches sometimes come up trumps but without dates to narrow the field, some more creative searches are  needed to find the required information.

Two female relatives entered the religious order of the Sisters of Mercy, Western Australia in the beginning of the last century but I was uncertain of dates of their commitment to religious life. Many religious orders have archives and some may hold the information sought, but some creative searching in Trove often yields results. Once I had some key dates from a helpful archivist, I set to work searching to see if I could any find further details. When I had located my two candidates, I thought it may be useful for others to have access to a list of those who had joined this order of nuns.

To make such a list in Trove, I decided to concentrate on finding  the women of the order rather than information about their convents or the work they undertook. Background information and the history of this order in Australia is available from the archives of the  Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea.

To become a member of the order the young women usually joined a convent novitiate as postulants. The next step in the membership was the formal reception into the order where the young lady dressed as a bride and was presented to the church as a suitable candidate, a bride of Christ.

After committing herself to the service of God, she was given a religious name, as well as a nun’s habit and veil. In the case of the Mercy order of nuns, this was a white veil. Two or more years later when the Mother Superior adjudged her suitability, the final profession of vows was made and the black veil donned. A professed Sister obtained the title Mother through a variety of circumstances usually those of position, responsibility and expertise.

Key words, terminology to use when searching for female religious

novice, novitiate, postulant, reception, profession, vows, convent, religion, sister mary [name], mother mary [name], and the name of the religious order.

A wide variety of combinations of the above terms yield results. Results also vary according to styles of reporting over time.

The two most successful advanced searches : Mercy convent reception, profession vows Mercy,  LIMIT articles, to exclude all advertising LIMIT Western Australia, to focus on this particular branch of members.
Once names had been located and identified, I was then able to search using
sister mary [name] OR mother mary [name] OR sister m [name] OR mother m [name] to find extensive obituaries and in some cases death or funeral notices.
Another effective search I used for death and funeral notices: Digitised newspapers - Advanced Search - The phrase - Convent of Mercy - Limit - Western Australia - Limit - Family Notices.

To complete the task I had set myself, I then checked the burial records by surname and year at the  Metropolitan Cemeteries Board of Western Australia.

Here are the results of my searches in the form of a chronological list on Trove about the Sisters of Mercy – Western Australia from 1846 - 1954.

Novices, profession ceremonies and jubilee celebrations of the Sisters of Mercy in Western Australia. This list deals with women's personal details, the ceremonies that celebrated their entrance into the order, their profession of vows, some appointments and celebrations of jubilees in their religious lives. Death and funeral notices as well as obituaries are included. Brief notes detailing given and religious names where available have been extracted and included in the comments.

1913 'The Woman of the Hour in Western Australia! And Her Life's Work of 60 Years !', The W.A. Record (Perth, WA : 1888 - 1922), 27 September, p. 3. , viewed 21 Nov 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article212627100

If you have "lost" a Catholic female relative in your family history, this may be one way to find her. To search this list from a computer use CTRL-F (Win) or CMD-F (Mac) and on a mobile device use Find in Page from the browser's menu.

UPDATE - Additional lists of religious on Trove

This list pertains to the nuns of the Dominican order - Cabra and Franklin Street and associated convents. It lists receptions into the order, professions, some death and funeral notices and obituaries. The same notices may appear in more than one paper, so a selection for each event has been made. 

Additional personal details taken from SA, BMD indices and from http://religiousorders.gravesecrets.net/cabra-dominican-nuns.html have been added in brackets [ ]. 

This list pertains to the nuns of the Dominican order - Molesworth Street, North Adelaide and associated convents. It lists receptions into the order, professions, some death and funeral notices and obituaries. 

Additional personal details taken from SA, BMD indices and from http://religiousorders.gravesecrets.net/dominican-sisters-of-north-adelaide.html have been added in brackets [ ]. 

This post first appeared on https://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2017/11/merciful-trove.htm

Monday, 2 October 2017

The joys of travel

Unexpected delights and tribulations have always been the lot of the traveller. so too has been our experience in the last two weeks of touring England and Wales as an add on to a planned family visit to our daughter, son-in-law and their delightful 18 month old.

Revisiting the Cotswolds after forty two years renewed our acquaintance with this charming area. Our travel through to North Wales reminded us of how intensely the UK is farmed and we saw a wide variety of agricultural pursuits throughout these regions. The driving on very narrow roads can be challenging but the Brits are very polite drivers and are accustomed to pulling over in the narrowest of spaces.


The rich fields of Wales support more sheep to the acre than one can ever imagine to see. The mountain area of Snowdonia and its glacial valleys were a treat to see. Somewhere in Wales with the unpronounceable name (for me) of Gwernymynydd we mananged to collect a parking fine. Wow £60, a king's ransom, despite our assiduous search for the pay and park sign. The hillsides of slate and abandoned mines in Wales are reminders of times past whereas the ubiquitous blue P, a sign of the present day, has had us digging deep for many pound coins in all the places we have visited across the UK. After a three day stay in Llandudno, from where we explored as far afield as Anglesey and Holyhead as well as the nearby beautiful National Trust Bodnant Garden  we moved to Chirk to begin our narrow boat adventure.

Bodnant Garden near Conwy, Wales

At Chirk marina we boarded our narrow boat 'Ruby' for four days. This was a novel experience and thanks to my husband's persistence and skill in manoeuvring the beast we conquered the curves, tunnels, locks and aqueducts. Our route towards Ellesmere revealed a twisty tree lined canal where we were amused by all the cows canal side, along with hundreds of ducks and sheep wandering down for a drink. Two locks conquered and rest breaks for morning tea and lunch and soon the day was gone. Passing through overhanging trees and viewing the attractive countryside from the walking pace of the boat, this was a magical experience.

One of the many bridges to be negotiated along the canal

Next day on our journey back past Chirk there was another challenging tunnel. Light on, power up against the current and through we went. Once past that we approached a swing bridge, another new experience. Once wound up and we were through, the famous aqueduct of Pontyscillite was only a short distance from there so we decide to cross and find a turning place at Trevor.

Entering the aqueduct high above the Dee River

What an experience, 38 metres high above the Dee river with a sheer drop and no fence on the left hand side approaching from this direction. I stepped off on to the walking path on the right to take photos. With a phone camera it is difficult to get perspective but the valley was far below. Across the aqueduct lies the small basin and settlement of Trevor. We had decided not to progress to Llangollen township taking into account the time it had taken us to get this far and the rapidly deteriorating weather conditions. Chris threaded the boat through the narrowest of spaces and managed a five point turn. This led us back to the aqueduct where two boats were slowly progressing towards us. The rain was now steady as we recrossed in the other direction. No photos this time as the weather closed in. The narrow canals near the aqueduct provide no mooring space so about half an hour later we were relieved to tie up for the night. The next morning dawned sunny and bright so we walked back and crossed the aqueduct again, this time on foot and we marvelled once again at this amazing engineering wonder. On Friday morning we returned the boat well before the 9 am deadline and left the marina to head north.

'Ruby' our home away from home for 4 nights

We arrived in Chester to once again be charmed by its buildings and general ambience and set out in somewhat drizzly weather to explore. Chester boasts a magnificent collection of 'black and white' buildings incorporating 'the rows' where the covered walkway is above street level with shops below. After enjoying a croissant and coffee we visited the ancient but well endowed cathedral where modern sculpture was on display in the enclosed cloisters and side passageways.

At the corner of Bridge Street and Eastgate Street, Chester

Next to Liverpool where we marvelled at the size of the municipal and civic buildings from earlier times. Walked down to the pier area where we saw and photographed the famous Royal Liver building and next to it the huge square block of the Cunard headquarters. More than 9 million British and Irish immigrants left for the USA, Canada and Australia from the port here. A sculpture of a family of immigrants commemorates their departure. The history of the Cunard line is engraved on large stone tablets near the front of that building. 

The size of many of Liverpool's buildings reminded me of the immense buildings in both Washington and Delhi. St. George's Hall is a huge structure atop the hill, incorporating concert halls and courts. Nearby are the museum and library. The walkway leading into the library has book titles and authors' names engraved into large pavers. There are many signs of renovation and renewal in the city centre.

The Royal Liver building

Onwards to Blackpool in heavy Friday afternoon motorway traffic. Loathe it or like it, it is a cultural phenomenon like no other. The old central pier stretches well out to sea and is crowded with sideshow alley stalls and rides. Pinball parlours are prominent and the whole length of the promenade must be the world's longest sideshow. After dark the Blackpool tower flashes its neon glow as thousands of people crowd the pavements. About thirty Cinderella style carriages await passengers to transport them in their blue, pink or white glass bubbles along the length of the promenade and back. It was a cold windy night but thousands were out with children twirling every imaginable shape of neon lit baubles. 

I write now from the comfort of Toll Cottage in Cockermouth where we arrived yesterday after a day touring some villages of the Lakes District and venturing over the Cumbrian hills. Until now we've had relatively good weather and will venture out again tomorrow after a day of rest and recuperation, essential for the traveller.