Geelong Advertiser … can’t research without it!

Geelong Advertiser 9 January 1841 p1Just 175 years and 3 days ago the first edition of the Geelong Advertiser was published – November 21, 1840 in fact.  It is Victoria’s OLDEST morning newspaper.  The banner for the Geelong Advertiser includes the words “Fortis est veritas” or THE TRUTH IS STRONG.

Map of Corio from the Geelong Advertiser 9 Jan 1841On Saturday January 9, 1841, a supplement to the (then) standard 4-page issue was this amazing “Map of the Town of Corio (or Geelong) including the Suburbs, the Bay, and the River, 1841 … printed and published for John Pascoe Fawkner by Harrison & Watkins, Corio”.

And what a huge amount of history is in the map and the names associated with it – not least of which is James Harrison a true pioneer of our region.  [Do yourself a favour and actually click on the link to read the Australian Dictionary of Biography entry for this truly amazing man!]

We’re celebrating the 175th birthday of this wonderful paper and as a researcher and historian [local and family], I am so fortunate to be able to search and access the digitised version of the Geelong Advertiser from 1840 to 1926.  Of course researchers are greedy and we want more and more to appear online.  Hopefully funds will become available to continue the digitising.

ANYONE with an ounce of history running through their veins knows how much history exists in our region.  I have given presentations all over Victoria and also in New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory.  Many have been on Geelong and Point Henry (the place of arrival of so many ships bringing immigrants to our shores) but the majority have been on other local and family history subjects.  Without fail the majority of the audience had ancestors who arrived in Geelong / Point Henry.  In June 2011 I gave four presentations to the Genealogical Society of the Northern Territory [GSNT] – almost 100% of the audience had Geelong connections!

Being the LONGEST RUNNING morning newspaper in Victoria AND the newspaper covering not just Geelong but all of the western district of Victoria [and across the border into South Australia] the paper is so important to many researchers.

Did you know that the Geelong Advertiser published lists of people who shipped gold from the gold-fields to the port of Geelong in 1851-54?  We have 6,624 entries in our Geelong & District database for the gold shipments.  In fact our database includes 29,413 entries transcribed from various editions of the Geelong Advertiser on a variety of subjects.

It is full of people and local history – an absolute goldmine for researchers.  If you are researching past 1926, in Victoria the Addy is on microfilm at the State Library of Victoria and the Geelong Heritage Centre.

From all of us … “Happy Birthday to the Geelong Advertiser“!


Really, really, really important news!

Geelong Library & Heritage Centre - new buildingThis has been confirmed by the Geelong Heritage Centre – SPECIAL opening hours to celebrate the opening of the new building.

The centre will be open the SAME times as the library on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd November AND on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th November.

That means 10.00 am to 5.00 pm BOTH days and BOTH weekends.

IMPORTANT : on those two weekends you will NOT be able to order items from the archives repository, however during the week – Tuesday to Friday – you can order items as usual.

From Saturday 5th December, you will be able to order items from the archives repository and opening hours will be 10.00 am to 1.00 pm.

We hope to see lots of familiar faces at the celebratory opening weekends!

Keep your eye out for a new web site coming VERY soon for the Heritage Centre.  There should be announcements in the press and on the Geelong Regional Libraries site.

3 Cheers for Vic BDMs

1894 Victorian Death CertificateI’m supposed to be working on an assignment for my Diploma but this news is SO IMPORTANT that I had to give myself a 5 minute break to share it with everyone.  This wonderful news is already out there on various genie Facebook pages but I know a lot of people don’t use Facebook so I thought it was worthwhile adding it to my Blogs .

The initial screen is dated 10 November 2015 so this is very new.

Victorian BDMs are now FREE to search online!

Last night I was reading my journal from the Birdwood & District Family History Society – it included a lot of notes on the NSW & ACT Conference in Port Macquarie. Amanda Ianna from NSW BDMs announced that Lifelink (their BDM Search Software) had been “purchased by Victoria and NZ and other states have shown interest. More money could then be thrown at putting records online.” So I didn’t dream it – it works beautifully. One disappointment – NSW version of deaths doesn’t show age – that would be a good ‘new feature’ if it’s a possibility. BUT really good option not in NSW – you can search ALL types of events at once!

Victoria is probably now the leader in family history search for BDMs – free online searching and instant digital downloads at one of the best prices in Australia – $24.00.

Congratulations to the Victorian Registry of BDMs – some years back they stated they wanted to put BDM searches online for free but their software couldn’t handle it and they didn’t have a budget for new software.  We complained at the years NSW spent trying to get their online BDM software to work but thankfully they persevered and Victoria is the beneficiary.

Celebrate and pass on the good news.  I first saw this online on Australian Genealogy – a great Facebook page.  It’s closed so you have to request to be added – it is a well-moderated Facebook page that keeps on-topic and is a joy to be on.

Happy searching! :-)

Geelong Library and Heritage Centre confirmed opening

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard

It’s excitement plus in Geelong!  The City of Greater Geelong have just announced the public opening of the new Geelong Library and Heritage Centre … Saturday 21 November 2015.

Colac Cemetery fire

Colac Cemetery hedge fireWhat a horrible sight – the magnificent hedge around Colac Cemetery on fire – I’m amazed how quickly they got onto it and stopped it spreading even further.  They got the bulldozers into action and that probably saved the rest of the hedge.

Geelong database – latest additions

Otways At WarIt’s well overdue – a blog showing the entries added to the Geelong and District Database – especially as the last one was back in December 2014!  That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been adding lots of entries – I just haven’t done a blog on the additions.

Since the last major update last December, there are now 1,646,239 entries in the Geelong and District Database.  Latest additions include:

  • Surnames of Interest entries – 18 new entries [1,143 submitters in total]
  • 1970 Electoral Roll, Division of Corangamite: Subdivisions of Rokewood, Bannockburn, Beech Forest, Cobden, and Belmont North [part] – 8,605 entries
  • Winchelsea Presbyterian Church 1869 – 1871 – 1971 [Book] – 313 Entries
  • Leopold & District 1914-1918: commemorating Leopold Red Cross, 100 years of community service [Book] – 589 entries
  • Vixens & Vagabonds: Geelong Police Court Reports 1880 & 1881 [Book] – 2,139 entries
  • Alexander Webb 1813 – 1892 [Book] – 132 entries
  • Mount Hesse: History, humour and hazards on a sheep station 1837-1985 [Book] – 758 entries
  • Otways at war: World War 1 Barramunga, Barwon Downs, Forrest, Gerangamete, Murroon & Pennyroyal [Book] – 1,070 entries
  • Deputy Registrars of BDMs in Victoria 1853-1901 – 3,805 entries

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!

Reminder – Geelong Heritage Centre closes TOMORROW

New Geelong Library & Heritage CentreTomorrow = Wednesday 23rd September 2015 at 5.00 pm – that’s the last chance you’ll have for a month or two to access the services, library, microform, and archives of the Geelong Heritage Centre.  The next access you’ll have will be in the wonderful new Geelong Library & Heritage Centre in Little Malop Street.

Don’t sit back and think you can email the centre to order copies – it won’t be happening as they have a massive job moving the collection [and items currently stored remotely] into the wonderful new building.

And if there’s something you just must have – why not visit some of the local history and family history societies?  They have wonderful collections – documents, manuscripts, images, oral histories – an absolute treasure trove and you probably have no idea of their extensive collections!

Have a look at these societies – you might be surprised at just how many there are!  And they’re open at different times on different days.  For example – you can visit the Bellarine Historical Society on Sunday 4th October and search their wonderful collection or just browse and absorb the terrific museum collection.

And of course don’t forget the Geelong & District Database – more than 1.63 million entries for people and places in our region.  There may be page references in local books that you can access through your local library or inter-library loan.

And while we’re talking about the library – if you use the new Geelong Library Catalogue you can search through the 2,471 Heritage Centre images online!

Original Sands & McDougall’s Directories

The time has come, the walrus said … to make some room in my place.  Consequently I’ve made the huge decision to move on some of my research library starting with my collection of hardback Sands & McDougall’s Victorian Directories.  Needless to say they take up a lot of space!

I can’t find any of these digitised – and we all know that the 20th Century is often the hardest for us to research so these are ideal.

You’ll find them on Gumtree – just search for:

Keyword: Directory

Location: Ocean Grove

Any purchasers can collect them from Ocean Grove but they can also be posted – details provided on request.  Three were posted in one box up to Melbourne recently so anything is possible.

Another option – if you finalise arrangements in time, they could be collected from the Geelong & District stand at the 2015 VAFHO Expo in Seymour on 17th October, 2015.  Obviously that would save all postage costs.


Geelong Heritage Centre temporary closure

NewGLHCI initially posted this on my Just Love History blog as the impact is a much greater area than Geelong and District.

Mark Beasley has confirmed that they will shut down at 5.00 pm on Wednesday 23rd September 2015.

Also take not of the message about the new library catalogue on the same blog!

If you haven’t seen them before, at this stage these are the new opening hours for the Geelong Heritage Centre when it opens in the new building:

  • Monday closed
  • Tuesday 9am-8pm
  • Wednesday to Friday 9am-5pm
  • Saturday 10am-1pm

Please spread this message far and wide!

Can U help identify these photos – people and places?

The Farmer boysA collection of 27 small black and white photos was passed on from the Apollo Bay area in Victoria.  They have been scanned and made available on my Flickr Album and also my Pinterest Board.  Any details on the reverse of the images have been included in the text / description, as well as actual print sizes.  Have a look and see if you can help.  The Pinterest Board is especially useful as it displays all images and the text in the one view.

Many had information on the back but not all and not always useful information!  A couple had a date – 1923 and a few others were narrowed down to between 1927 and 1936 as they included the Ocean Grove – Barwon Heads bridge [built in 1927] and the Barwon Heads Boathouses [removed in 1936].

Some had stamps on the back – Kodak print and sometimes Velox.  According to a web site this dated them 1940s-50s or 1960s-70s.  From the images it is possible that these were reprints from negatives as some were obviously earlier than the suggested dates.

Some images were crisp, others not so – some have been enhanced a little to improve the clarity of the subjects.

One tantalisingly includes the words the Farmer boys.  The “F” definitely looks like a capital “F”.  So is Farmer the surname or were all the boys farmers by occupation?

There are three Christian names – perhaps three brothers:

  • Charlie
  • Teddie
  • George

There are a couple of locations mentioned :

  • Barwon Heads
  • Barwon River
  • Mount Duneed
  • Queenscliff
  • Geelong

The obvious ones – the Geelong Art Gallery and Eastern Beach – have been included in the scanned group as they may provide context or dates.

Can you help unravel this collection of photos?


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