150 Years – thank you Peter BEGG

Geelong First 150 YearsOn behalf of all local and family history researchers in our region I’d like to say a huge Thank You to Peter BEGG who has retired as a full time journalist at the Geelong Advertiser.  Peter was responsible for the magnificent publication Geelong~The First 150 Years.  The book was the culmination of Peter’s daily column celebrating 150 years of the Geelong Advertiser.

This publication is fully indexed in the Geelong & District database and covers a fantastic range of topics.

There was a great article in today’s Addy by Danny Lannen titled ‘Home is where a journo’s heart is’. [Geelong Advertiser. Saturday 20 February 2016, p. 37.]

There was also a tweet from his peers – fare-welling and thanking Peter for his time at the Addy.

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Now that Peter has so much spare time on his hands, I just hope he can remember and find the source of the photo of Anne Drysdale which appeared in the May 11 column – relating back to 1853.  The Bellarine Historical Society would love to find a copy of that photo for their Coriyule / Anne Drysdale / Caroline Newcomb display later this year!

Thank you Peter and all the best for the future.

175 years ago – Geelong Harbour and Corio Bay

Hotel at Point HenryFrom the Geelong Advertiser Saturday 26 June 1841 [175 years ago] …

About 15 miles up the bay [Port Phillip], the high shores of Indented Head bend towards the westward, and the arm of Port Phillip which stretches inland nearly 20 miles, is deep, capacious, and well sheltered.  The whole of this extent is available as a shipping port, and between Indented Head and Point Henry bears the name of

GEELONG HARBOUR

The anchorage at present frequented by merchantmen is near Point Henry, about 4 miles from the town of Corio.  It is there that the wool ships take in their cargoes.  Point Henry is a peninsula about two miles long and half a mile broad, which separates Outer Geelong Harbour from the Inner, or

CORIO BAY,

across the entrance to which a bar exists, which cannot be passed by any vessel drawing more than eleven feet; the mud and shells, however, which choak [sic] up the channel could be very easily cleared away; the mud, in fact, can be sounded to the depth of eighteen feet: if the channel were deepened for about a hundred yards, the largest class of merchantmen could enter the compact basin of Corio Bay, and anchor within a ship’s length of the Jetty at the township.  The bay is nearly land-locked from the outer harbour, and is about 3 miles in diameter, the area of the anchorage (the depth varying from 3 to 6 fathoms) is about four square miles.  At present, the largest of the Van Diemen’s Land traders can cross the bar, discharge their cargoes of timber at the township, and return with a cargo of fat wethers for the Launceston and Hobart Town markets.  The rise and fall of the tide is less than in any other part of Port Phillip.

Of course history shows us that for some decades the Geelong Town Council had the channel dredged however each episode took so long that by the time the dredging was “completed” the overseas ships had doubled or trebled in size and could not fit through the newly deepened channel!  Back to the drawing board!  It was 1893 before the Hopetoun Channel was completed and opened – more than 50 years after this article!  More can be read about the history of Point Henry.

This article in the Geelong Advertiser is even more interesting as it is a LONG article titled “Descriptive remarks on the harbours of Australia Felix” and in addition to Geelong Harbour and Corio Bay it includes:

  • Moruya Bay
  • Twofold Bay
  • Corner Inlet, Port Albert and Shallow Inlet
  • Sealers’ Cove
  • Western Port
  • Port Phillip
  • Port King
  • Hobson’s Bay
  • Melbourne
  • Port Fairy
  • Portland Bay

… a truly wonderful group of descriptions of the harbours around Victoria.

The sketch above is from The Building and Engineering Journal, December 27, 1890 and shows ‘Sketches at the new summer resort: Bellarine Gardens, Point Henry’.

Another great article from 175 years ago.

Victorian Equity Case Files

Old Supreme Court of VictoriaMany people won’t know of or understand Supreme Court of Victoria Equity Case Files, BUT once they do, they will definitely want to access them!  The old Supreme Court can be seen in the photo – it was on the corner of La Trobe and Russell Streets and was built in 1842.  The image is from the LaTrobe Collection, State Library of Victoria Ref H8305.  It was replaced by the current complex known as the Melbourne Law Courts in William Street, Melbourne.  The “new” building was built between 1874 and 1882.

So why am I writing about the Victorian Equity Case Files on my Geelong & District Blog?  Because they are part of a number of indexes which will be added to the Geelong & District Database shortly.

We are indebted to Ada Ackerly for making a number of her important indexes available for all to search free online.  Obviously these are relevant to all of Victoria and not just Geelong & District but that shouldn’t stop me from making them available for everyone.  And I can reassure those researching in Geelong & District that many of these entries relate to our region.  Some refer to a location but many do not.

An example: I hesitated when I was checking some (future) entries – there was a surname of SICHLAN.  I recognised the name so checked the Geelong & District Database and confirmed that it was a “local” family variously spelt SICHLAN and SICHLAU.

You’ll have to wait before those entries are online but in the meantime I have just uploaded:

  • Supreme Court of Victoria Equity Case Files 1852-1886 Index – 569 entries.

To understand the value of these records and the files at PROV they will lead you to, read the information provided by Ada for these entries which include Companies, Property and Trustees Statutes with MANY relating to children and their guardianship.

Another gem: the BECK infants – Guardian appointed father John in New Zealand !  How useful is that for researchers?

And what about: Jane DONALDSON – nee GUTHRIE of Falkirk UK ?

And for a real local: Queenscliff Fishing Co Ltd – winding up petition in 1874.

Enjoy!