Nurses, WWI, Infirmary and Books

Sr Olive Laura THOMASAdditions to the Geelong and District database are quite a mixture but it would be hard to go past the story of one of our local nurses who served during WWI – Sr Olive Laura THOMAS.  Looking at the Geelong Infirmary and Benevolent Asylum WWI Roll of Honour [Visions & Realities: A history of the Geelong Infirmary & Benevolent Asylum], the list of nurses includes Nurse M J THOMAS and Nurse O THOMAS.

It is possible that the first should be Nurse M R THOMAS as two siblings – Margaret Rosetta THOMAS and Olive Laura THOMAS – left Melbourne on 6 December 1916 on the ship Orsova.  Margaret, aged 31, enlisted 24 August 1916 and Olive, aged 25, enlisted 8 September 1916.  Both girls served in France.  Olive returned to Australia 26 November 1918 and resigned 19 December 1918 “due to family reasons” – perhaps to support her recently widowed mother.  Margaret returned 4 January 1920.  Both siblings ended up marrying.  Margaret died in 1957 and Olive in 1968.  The beautiful photo of Sr Olive Laura THOMAS is from the State Library of Victoria Collection.

We now have 1,525,764 records in the Geelong and District database.  This is what’s been added since the last major update on 14 June 2014:

  • Geelong District: Nurses from the Victoria Government Gazette 1952-1956 – 625 entries
  • Geelong Infirmary & Benevolent Asylum: Annual Report 1898 – 2,889 entries
  • Lemnos 1915 – a nursing odyssey to Gallipoli [Book] – 97 entries
  • Linton Cemetery Notes [Book] – 125 entries
  • Forever Home: a history of the Yaugher Cemetery (Forrest-Otway Region) [Book] – 782 entries
  • Forrest Region Voters: Forrest, Yaugher, Kaanglang & Henry’s No. 1 Mill (compiled from Victorian Electoral Rolls 1903-1960) [Book] – 1,743 entries

Details on these indexes can be found in the Geelong & District Potpourri pages and the Geelong & District List of Books.

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!

Peter F B Alsop

The Old Iron Bridge at ShelfordI can’t think of any image more appropriate than the Old Iron Bridge at Shelford to bring back memories of Peter Alsop.  Ss Peter & Paul’s Catholic Church at Ashby [Mercer Street, Geelong] would be up there and there were so many other buildings and structures with which Peter was involved but as an engineer bridge’s were hard to beat.

I say “bring back memories” because sadly Peter died 6 September 2014.  He was buried with his parents at a private funeral last week.  Our thoughts are with Peter’s close friends and respect his wish for privacy.

It is important however that all those researchers over the years who admired and benefitted from Peter’s knowledge are aware of this sad loss to our Geelong community.

Peter treasured his privacy even more after the death of his close friend, Ian Wynd, in 2003.  We have been so fortunate over the years with some major contributors to our history – Ian, Peter, Bill Morrow, Philip Brown, Ruth Hill, and Bill Smith – we’ve been spoilt and we miss them all.

Lots of Geelong Addies!

Old Geelong Advertiser buildingGosh I hope everyone has been following the number of Geelong Advertiser editions added on to Trove / NLA in the last couple of weeks!  I was going to post some messages on our Geelong & District and GDHA Mailing Lists but with the problems on Ancestry that means that all Rootsweb mailing lists are also out of action.  Hence this blog!

If you don’t know how to be on the notification list, go to NLA Newspapers for the Geelong Advertiser [1857-1918] and click on one of the options for Web Feeds.

Since 27 May 2014, this is the list of Addies that have been added online:

  1. From 1859-07-01 to 1859-12-31
  2. From 1860-07-02 to 1860-12-11
  3. From 1906-01-02 to 1906-12-31
  4. From 1908-07-01 to 1908-09-30
  5. From 1910-04-12 to 1910-07-30
  6. From 1910-11-17 to 1911-03-08
  7. From 1913-12-18 to 1913-12-31
  8. From 1860-01-02 to 1860-06-30
  9. From 1860-12-12 to 1861-05-31
  10. From 1864-09-12 to 1865-02-28
  11. From 1865-08-26 to 1866-02-23
  12. From 1866-08-25 to 1867-02-21
  13. From 1867-08-24 to 1868-02-19
  14. From 1871-03-01 to 1871-08-31
  15. From 1872-03-14 to 1872-10-31
  16. From 1875-01-02 to 1875-06-30
  17. From 1881-01-03 to 1881-06-30
  18. From 1884-01-01 to 1884-06-30
  19. From 1885-01-02 to 1885-06-30
  20. From 1885-07-01 to 1885-12-31
  21. From 1886-07-01 to 1886-12-31
  22. From 1902-07-01 to 1902-12-31
  23. From 1903-07-01 to 1904-06-30
  24. From 1904-07-01 to 1904-12-31

Now that’s an impressive list that will keep going for some time to come!

Images of old Ocean Grove

WilhelmsruheOK – my holidays end tonight so the output will slow down but I just wanted to get this last bit working.  Then I will have a formula to follow for the updates to the Ocean Grove land titles.  I’m concerned that things are different because it’s my blog site, so I need others to give this a try and let me know if it works for them!  Please? :-)

After a lot of experimenting I have decided to start adding old photos of places in old Ocean Grove.  The simplest option for my database is adding a URL / link to the images which I have added to this blog site.  Unfortunately, as most of you probably know, PDF files now perform quite different in different browsers, and also, as the blog owner I may be able to access more than the “ordinary” people out there – that’s why I need your help.

I’ve updated the Detailed report for Section B with some more place names as well as links for images.

What I’ve found for my setup – the links don’t work in MS Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome if I try to open the PDF file within the browser.  If I save the PDF file to my hard drive or download it, then the links work fine.  Obviously it also works if I copy and paste the image link into my browser.

Once you have the PDF file for Section B, scroll through to these Lot numbers – B155, B156, B160, B169 and B210 – all of these have images added to them.

My fingers are crossed that this works for most people – it’s certainly the easiest for my database setup.

OH – and if you have old photos of any places in the old Ocean Grove land titles – they would be most welcome to add to this database for others to enjoy.

Ocean Grove land titles

Old Ocean Grove Section ASome things are worth waiting for!  Just over 10 years ago – 10 May 2004 – I purchased and downloaded a digital copy of a Certificate of Title Vol 1946 Fol 389059.  This was the largest of several early Titles for Ocean Grove and contained 82 pages.  It, together with the other titles, was an absolute gold-mine for anyone researching early land owners in Ocean Grove.

Ocean Grove began as a private subdivision containing more than 2,263 allotments – by the time land-owner details were given to the local council for rates & valuations, unravelling the puzzle of who owned which allotment was just too hard to contemplate.

Way back in 2004 I knew these Titles were the answer to this puzzle but it just seemed too daunting.  A recent week’s holiday when it was cold and wet was the perfect environment – turning those ideas into a workable database.  And it worked!  10 years might seem a long time but when you see the end result, the wait was definitely worth it!

The names of the Sellers and Purchasers have now all been added to the Geelong & District database but the detail is what will help people with their research.   These links will take you to the Plans showing allotments from the original subdivision for Sections A, B, C, D, E & F.  Reports from the Ocean Grove land database are also available in text searchable PDF format for these six sections.  These reports will be updated periodically when more Certificates of Title have been added to the database.

Plans and allotments:

Details of address and transactions from database:

We now have 1,519,503 records in the Geelong and District database.  This is what’s been added since the last major update on 18 May 2014:

  • Old Ocean Grove land titles: sellers and purchasers – 1,180 entries
  • Names mentioned in the Geelong Advertiser – 57 entries
  • Geelong District: Nurses from the Victoria Government Gazette 1951 – 119 entries
  • Geelong Infirmary & Benevolent Asylum: Annual Report 1889 – 1,797 entries
  • Geelong and Portland Bay Immigration Society [1845-1846]: Inward migrants ex Tasmania – 769 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!

Yeah! We’ve got more Addies!

Police Court Roster July 1859Got home from work late – tired, exhausted, wet & hungry … but that all vanished when I had a quick check of my emails.  That magic email notification I’ve been waiting more than a year to spot!  Notification from the National Library of Australia … Geelong Advertiser … added on 2014-05-27      Yippee!!!!!!!!!!

Before today, we had Addies up to 1856, then 1914-1919.

At the right is the Police Court Roster for July 1859 – that’s right … 1859!

For those who remember the first lot of Addies to come online … if you did a search, there were lots of “Coming Soon” entries – searchable but not yet viewable.

CelebrateAt the moment, they’ve just loaded a full six months of 1859 – searchable AND viewable.  Then if you check some more … I’ve found heaps of searchable but not yet viewable … 1861, 1866, 1873, 1878 … it’s all happening and it’s SO EXCITING!

And don’t forget that we owe a HUGE Thank You to our own State Library of Victoria – without their support we wouldn’t have got this far, let alone the full gamut from 1840 through to 1919 that is all on its way.

We’re spoilt – we KNOW just how magnificent the Geelong Advertiser is for researchers – now the rest of the world can share that awe!

THREE CHEERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Update on Geelong Advertiser on TROVE

Geelong Advertiser 9 January 1841 p1It’s so much fun watching the progress of the Geelong Advertiser through TROVE – the anticipation is mounting!  Priority has been given to the years 1914-1918 and this is what has already been completed and available online:

  • 8 Jan 1914 – 24 May 1915
  • 17 Dec 1915 – 31 Mar 1916
  • 14 May 1917 – 31 Dec 1918

And checking the ones still to come, they’re VERY close!  They appear to have been digitised and searches during this period will find the entries marked as [Coming Soon]:

  • 26 May 1915 – 16 Dec 1915 [6,101 entries “coming soon”]
  • 1 Apr 1916 – 13 May 1917 [11,340 entries “coming soon”]

So you know what that means!  Once those ones are finished, they’ll be starting on the rest of the promised Geelong Advertisers … it is so reassuring to look at the NEW TITLES COMING list for the current year:

The following titles are intended to be made available to the public during the coming year [July 2013 to June 2014]. Multiple titles may be processed and made available at any given time. Dates of when specific issues will be available unfortunately cannot be provided.

And find this entry:

Geelong Advertiser 1857 – 1918 National Library of Australia and selected by Australian Newspaper Plan libraries

And when that’s all done we’ll have a complete run from 1840-1918.

And while we’re holding our breath with excitement, I found this reference to the Addy in a book I was indexing – oh how politically INCORRECT our newspapers used to be!


14 May 1942 – Tobacco Shortage Hits Councillors

Cigarettes will in future grace the Bannockburn Council table in place of cigars.  The supply of the latter has run out and as replacement cost is 2 pounds 8 shillings a box, no more will be purchased.  Those Councillors who do not smoke the humble cigarette can, if they so desire, provide their own cigars.  But as Bannockburn is largely composed of Scotchmen, the risk of that is not great.

And before ANYONE complains, that is a direct quote and not something I would DARE to say in mixed company!

Time Capsules and the Geelong Advertiser

Old Geelong Advertiser buildingSometimes when you’re indexing, your mind wanders in strange directions – well mine does anyway.  I index things at random – usually it’s a really good chance to clear your overloaded mind so you can work on another task or project.  It’s one of those terrific “brain-dead” tasks that you can end do while watching a movie.  The eyes read, the fingers move, you turn a page and keep repeating these tasks!

At other times, while you’re indexing it’s a chance to come up with strange ideas and questions – sometimes even rash statements.  So, while I was indexing a book this morning I came up with a rash statement …

I bet the Geelong Advertiser has been placed in more Time Capsules than any other newspaper in Victoria – maybe even Australia!

I agree – that is a VERY rash statement but there is some basis to it:

  • The Geelong Advertiser was the “local” paper for much of Western Victoria for most of the 19th century and beyond
  • The Geelong Advertiser is Victoria’s oldest morning newspaper, the first edition being published on November 21, 1840 and it’s still going

And how on earth do you prove something like that?

We start compiling a list / database – not many entries yet but you can change all of that!  Make use of the Time Capsule form.

And if we have any Addy journalists watching … well you can help even more!!!

Latest additions to database

Episcopal Chapel, Ballan - later St John's, Ballan.  Source: SLV IAN18/03/65/5/0More than 2,000 entries have been added to the Geelong and District Database since the last update.

More than three quarters of these entries came from a terrific book A Pictorial History of the Shire of Ballan – the index includes children named in school photos and names on various Honor Boards.

Those midwives keep popping up and are such a popular collection.  As I’ve mentioned before this is one of the few professions that help us track our married or unmarried female ancestors – they didn’t have to give up this role when they married.  Even better the Midwives Registers in the Victoria Government Gazette give us name changes [generally due to marriage] and address changes.  Once we’ve finished the Midwives Registers we’ll start on the Nurses Registers – another great source for our female ancestors and relatives.

Our Book indexes and Midwives indexes are the product of our wonderful volunteers in our region – some long-term volunteers and others who just pop up through Mailing Lists, Facebook, and of course this Blog.  They’re all wonderful!

This is the list of additions since 3 August making a total of 1,410,769 entries in the database:

  • Geelong District: Midwives from the Victoria Government Gazette 1931, 1945-1954 – 561 entries
  • Geelong District: Surnames of Interest – 20 entries
  • Ballan [book]: A Pictorial History of the Shire of Ballan – 1,558 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!


Excitement for Geelong

A Whirr of Many WheelsThis afternoon I was at the Victorian Community History Awards for 2013 … lots and lots of people to catch up with … Weston & Janice Bate and heaps of others.  Just as we were being mustered towards the seats I spotted another familiar face and bounded over to say hi to Rod and Anne Charles.  It must have been fate because there I was sitting beside Rod after all the Category winners and commendations had been announced …

That was when they announced the winner of the Judges’ Special Prize ……. YES !!!  It was our Rod!

Congratulations Rod from all of your mates in Geelong & District – it’s a fantastic award and a really deserving winner.

I confess that there was a bit of cheering and shouting from the back row but all for a good cause!

Now Rod just has to finish Volume 2 and Volume 3.

I know the Public Record Office sent an embargoed Press Release to the Geelong Advertiser – not sure which of our other papers – I hope you guys are all paying attention and follow up on Rod winning this prestigious State award.

Three cheers for Rod !!!

A full list of winners in each category is now available on the PROV web site.

P.S. We have a copy of Rod’s book in our Genealogical Society of Victoria library.


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