Who built the Great Ocean Road?

Building the Great Ocean RoadWhat an important project and one that YOU can get involved in!  Iain Grant and the Portland Family History Group have been compiling a list of anyone who had a connection with building the Great Ocean Road between 1919 and 1932.  Unfortunately the “official” records were destroyed during WWII so the only way to compile a comprehensive list is with help from you – the descendants, families, or friends of those workers.

And we’re not just talking about the actual road workers – there are so many others who should be on this list.  Local farmers and land owners who helped with provisions.  Suppliers, carters, engineers, surveyors, pastoral care workers, medical and health workers, wives and families who supported their husbands, fathers and relatives.

Who provided the tents and supplies for the various camps along the length of the road?  There were 2,400 ex-servicemen and 500 civilians working on this project.  And how many more were associated with the project?

The 2013 Press Release gives so much more information – it is worth reading and may give you some ideas on how you can contribute – photos, information, names …  It also includes contact details for Iain and the Portland Family History Group.

Have a look at the Great Ocean Road Workers facebook page – the photos are definitely worth seeing.

And if you can help with this terrific project it will help everyone.

United Service Home

United Service Home, DrysdaleMajor-General TULLOCH opened the United Service Home at Drysdale on Wednesday 2 July 1891.  When he arrived in Victoria as commander of the Victorian military forces in 1890, he was appalled to discover that a number of old soldiers and sailors of the Imperial forces were homeless and destitute in Melbourne.  Funds were raised to build the Home which was to be used for two classes of pensioners: those requiring a little financial assistance [sustenance] and those requiring somewhere to live.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the United Service Home, Eric Hourn published “A Drysdale Romance” featuring “United Services [sic] Home”.

This publication is still available from the Bellarine Historical Society and includes lists of residents and sustenance recipients.  Since this list was compiled, further research has enabled the Society to update some details of names and dates.  A new research project commenced to properly identify these men from the updated alphabetical list.

The first soldier selected was Jeremiah BROWN – one of the first eight residents of the Home.  We certainly didn’t expect to uncover the details that emerged from this research!  The story of Jeremiah appears in the June 2013 issue of Ancestor, the quarterly journal of the Genealogical Society of Victoria.  This edition of Ancestor is on its way to members and subscribing libraries and will shortly be available for purchase through the GSV Online Shop.

Jeremiah BROWNJeremiah may not have been what he said he was, but you just can’t help developing a soft spot for him!  And the old saying “you learn something new every day” was so relevant for Jeremiah BROWN.  The Waterloo Cyclorama in Melbourne was as fascinating as the story of Jeremiah.

What will we find when we research some of the other residents of the United Service Home?  Perhaps one of your ancestors or relatives appears in the list – why not check and see?

Latest additions to database

Augustus BOSTOCKThe latest additions to the Geelong and District database and web site include a very special file donated by Thelma Birrell.  It is from the diaries of Augusta BOSTOCK [1833-1920].  The diaries have not yet been indexed in the Geelong and District database but are fully text searchable as a .pdf file.

We now have 1,398,026 records in the Geelong and District database.

This is what’s been added since the last major update on 27 January:

  • Geelong District: Names mentioned in the Geelong Advertiser 1865 – 40 entries
  • Colac District: Names mentioned in the Colac Herald 1887 & 1901 – 76 entries
  • Birregurra District: Names mentioned – various sources 1867 & 1897 - 88 entries
  • Geelong District: Entries from the Investigator journal - 78,182 entries
  • Geelong District: Midwives from the Victoria Government Gazette 1918-19, 1921, 1923, 1926-30, 1932 - 588 entries
  • Geelong District: Surnames of Interest – 24 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!

THE biggest news for Geelong and district

CelebrateI confess – I screamed, I laughed, I shouted for joy, and yes … I was close to tears!  I had just heard the most fantastic news for all local and family history researchers in our region – and I have permission to do this blog.

Some of you who have followed this blog and our mailing list over the years will know how hard we have worked, grovelled and pleaded to get the Geelong Advertiser digitised and available through TROVE.  We eventually succeeded in November last year with the Addy online up to 1856.  We were warned not to expect many more years in a hurry.

At this very moment I’m sitting at the VAFHO State Family History Conference in Ballarat – about to give my talk titled Regional Victoria: a goldfields experience.  At the same time Jenny Higgins from National Library Australia is presenting her paper More than Gold: Treasure from TROVE.  Jenny had asked for an “Announcement” to include in her presentation.  And I had THE most exciting chat with Jenny and I have her permission to post this blog as soon as we’ve both finished our presentations.

You MUST have guessed by now that the exciting news is about the Geelong Advertiser but it’s even better than that!  The Addy will be included in the 1914-1918 papers digitised in the next financial year [July 2013 - June 2014] … AND …

In the same group, the Addy will be digitised from 1857 to 1913.  You heard me!  NOW you understand why I’m so excited!

The Addy will be online from 1840-1918 .. that warrants a BIG celebration!!!!!!!!!!

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