175 years ago – Retreat Inn

Retreat InnThe Retreat Inn was opened in 1840 in the “first” Geelong which is now South Geelong on the Barwon River.  Newspaper reports then referred to North Geelong which is NOT today’s North Geelong but today’s Geelong!  Confused?  Just think this through logically – most new towns were located on a river providing a source of fresh water.  So Geelong was initially created on the Barwon River.  It’s port was actually on the bay which was to the north of Geelong [now South Geelong] and hence was referred to as North Geelong.  North Geelong grew to become the centre of the thriving city, hence it was then called Geelong and not North Geelong.  So if you find a reference to North Geelong in newspapers and local records, be aware that it could mean Geelong and not the North Geelong we know today.  Some important buildings have been referred to in the Geelong Advertiser as being in North Geelong, and the SAME building has been referred to as being in Geelong.  An example of this is the Immigration Depot.  It was always in Geelong and not North Geelong (now, not then!).  But, I digress, albeit with interesting snippets – be prepared for more of these digressions in this 175 years ago series.

The Retreat Inn was located on the south west corner of Fyans Street and Bellerine Street in South Geelong … errrr … Geelong but now South Geelong … understand?

As with many hotels in Geelong / South Geelong / North Geelong [understand?] it had more than one name.  The name change sometimes coincided with a new licensee.  The Retreat Inn / Hotel was also known as the Valley Inn and the Factory Inn / Hotel.

On 30 December 1840 a preliminary meeting was held at the Retreat Inn to form a Cricket Club – this was formed in 1841.  There was no official oval – any large open space would do.  And these were “exhibition” matches held during the 1840s – such as one between the bricklayers and the carpenters of the district.

The photo above is a recent one of the Retreat Inn.  Over the years the Retreat Inn has been extended, renovated, rebuilt and everything in between, however it has continually operated on the same site since 1840 when the first licensee was Joseph GRIFFIN.  Other early licensees included Patrick McKEEVER, William PERREN, James Henry KNIGHT, Francis BALFOUR, James McINNIS, William McGUINNESS and Robert McPHERSON.  The latter had an interesting notation in Geelong Hotels and their Licensees – in 1855 Robert McPHERSON was granted a license with caution to abstain from fiddling and dancing!  How outrageous!

Another digression – the book Geelong Hotels and their Licensees by Bill Morrow and Ian Wynd is just one of hundreds of local books indexed in the Geelong & District database – why not search for your names or places?  It’s free and there are more than 1.89 million entries!

Enough digressing – from the Geelong Advertiser, Saturday 30 January 1841, page 3 …

J GRIFFIN, Geelong Retreat Inn, Is happy to have it in his power to inform the Settlers of this district, that he has secured the services of one of the best FARRIERS in the Colony, so that he can now undertake orders of every description, either in Farriery or general Smith Work ; and he is confident of giving complete satisfaction to all who may honor him with their commands.

Don’t you just love the words and phrases used?

175 years ago!

Old Geelong Advertiser buildingAnyone researching in our Geelong & District region who doesn’t know that the Geelong Advertiser is THE paper to use must have been hiding under a rock!

You can read some of the history of this wonderful newspaper or visit the paper’s current web site.  This newspaper has been published continuously since 1840 and still going strong today.  In the earlier years the Geelong Advertiser was the newspaper for ALL areas of Western Victoria and south east South Australia.  It carried important news and VERY personal news – some that they wouldn’t be allowed to publish today for fear of being sued!

It’s full of wonderful articles and snippets for local and family history researchers so it’s a wonderful candidate for “On This Day”.  BUT it wasn’t published every day in the early years and I’m certainly not up to doing a daily blog.  Instead I’ve decided to do a semi-regular blog with entries from the newspaper 175 years ago.  Not on a specific date but sometime during the year 175 years ago – so this year that means 1841.

And of course you can do your own research as the Geelong Advertiser is searchable on TROVE – currently up to 1926.

So this is the beginning of a series of blogs for “175 years ago!”

Demanding? Fresh bread!

BANT's Bakery, cnr Moorabool StreetThe Investigator, the Geelong Historical Society’s magazine, has been published since 1965.  It is always full of great articles, regular features, and wonderful snippets.

A delightful snippet originally published in the Geelong Advertiser, appeared in the September 2014 issue of the Investigator.

Geelong bread carters are finding a considerable percentage of unreasonable housewives who want fresh bread, must have it, and won’t take any other.  The objection would not be so bad if it were not supplemented by absurd reproof and argument directed against the offending carter.  Generally, the men are not working any later through the change in hauling, but they are chaffing under the tongue-wagging of some of their clients.  The remarkable part of it is that the bulk of the offenders are the wives of unionists, who should be glad to see the conditions of fellow-unionists improved.  The system of day baking is on its trial and already it is admitted by sympathizers that it will never be satisfactory till made compulsory by Act of Parliament.

 

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“!

 

Geelong Advertiser – get involved in the Poll

Man's best friendWe’re looking for ideas and trying to get a feel for the amount of interest out there – have a look at the summary of our past blogs on the ditigising of the Geelong Advertiser and participate in the online Poll we’ve set up.

Spread the word and the link to this important blog where you can participate in the Poll.

Geelong Advertiser – even more!

CelebrateHave you caught up with what Father Christmas has been up to with the Geelong Advertiser?  If you’ve registered with TROVE / NLA to be notified via email then you’ll know what I’m talking about but you probably don’t know who was hiding in the Santa suit!

You might remember how much we celebrated with the Geelong Advertiser online editions taking us all the way up to the end of World War One.  But have you noticed the change to the dates?

Those dates might continue on from the previous group but the source of funding has changed.  Unfortunately this is not [yet] reflected online and this omission needs to be rectified.

The Alfred Deakin Prime Ministerial Library / Deakin University Library provided funds to take the digital collection of the Geelong Advertiser from 1919 to 1924.

Thank YouOn behalf of all researchers in our region [in fact most of Western Victoria covered by the Geelong Advertiser] we say a huge Thank You.

We have a few ideas for extending that funding and therefore the years covered but this blog should stand on its own as a sincere and heartfelt THANK YOU.

See further updates and Poll.

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!

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!!!

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