History Week – did you know?

2000 - close finish.  Image source: downunder exposuresEven a lot of Ocean Grove people don’t know this part of our history!  It was unique in Australia and therefore unique in Victoria AND our region – the Ocean Grove Races featuring the Ocean Grove Cup.

As the photo shows – it was a close thing at the finish line with the horses – it was also a close call to see if they finished the race before the tide came in much further.

Read ALL about the famous Ocean Grove Races as well as seeing all the of race books – fully digitised and available for download.

RootsWeb alternative for Geelong and District

Red British post boxI know many of you will be frustrated with the technical problems that RootsWeb are having with their Mailing Lists although some of you may just think that Mailing Lists have lost their appeal and aren’t being used any more!  Just like the old fashioned letter box has lost its popularity and falling into decline.

Well, I can assure you that a number of people are missing the assistance they used to get from the Geelong and District Mailing List and the Bellarine Peninsula Mailing List.

I came to the conclusion that you could:

  • read all the complaints and contradictory suggestions on the RootsWeb Listowners Mailing List (for admins of RootsWeb Mailing Lists)
  • get cross
  • join the tirade – unfortunately many of us couldn’t as a HUGE number of email addresses / domains were not getting through to the list so that wasn’t an option for many
  • do nothing
  • do SOMETHING !

I opted for the latter as subscribers from my Mailing Lists were contacting me directly and asking what was happening and what could be done.

I know I could create a new Yahoo Mailing List but I didn’t want to “replace” the existing ones – just offer an alternative until the Mailing Lists were fixed.  The Alternative could continue with a life of its own if users wished (although I intend to post “new messages” to the old list once it recovers).

I know many people are not comfortable with Facebook and I wanted something relatively easy – so I’ve created a pseudo Blog Mailing List.

It’s called the Geelong and District Mailing List and although you can click on that link it’s really easy to remember because you just need to type in:


and you’ll find it!  Although its called the Geelong and District Mailing List it also caters for the Bellarine Peninsula.

Make sure you read the tabs: About, and Guidelines for some more information but basically:

  • Follow the instructions to enter your email address etc.

That means you’ll get an email when a new Message / Post is added.  The email will include a COMMENT button – click on that and you’ll be taken to the Comments area for THAT Message.  Type in your comment.

That’s as hard as it gets!

Now, a brief word of warning – I’ve tested it as much as I can and I’m 99.999% certain that’s how it will work.  I may need to do a little more tweaking as people post messages but it should be good.

A couple of important things / benefits of this pseudo Mailing List:

  • Your email address does NOT appear anywhere on the Blog / Mailing List
  • I can add photos to Posts / Messages

How do you post a message?  Just click on the POST A MESSAGE tab near the top right and fill in the fields.

Initially ALL Messages Posted and Comments on Messages will be held for approval – just to make sure you are legitimate – once someone has been approved to Comment on a Message they will be able to Comment without waiting for another round of approvals.  BUT if anyone thinks this is a way to get in and cause problems, I can suspend / remove you so you don’t annoy our legitimate Mailing List users – the same sort of option the List Admin had on our RootsWeb Mailing Lists.

Posted Messages at this stage will require me to copy and paste to the Mailing List Blog – again making sure things are legitimate.  Once things have started moving, I will invite Posters to become Authors on the Mailing List Blog – ONLY if you’re comfortable to do that.  Becoming an Author will allow you to create your own Mailing List Blog on this site, edit it and add photos however it won’t allow you to edit or change anyone else’s Mailing List Blog.  It means you can post a Message without using the Post a Message form.

Confused?  Don’t worry – you can sit back and read other messages and comments just like you did on the RootsWeb Mailing List and do nothing more.  Then if you feel the urge to get involved you just need to click on the comment button in the email you received with each message.  Remember you do have to click on FOLLOW BLOG / FOLLOW THIS MAILING LIST VIA EMAIL to get the messages as emails from the list.

Let’s give it a try and see how it goes.

If you want to comment to me privately, just you the CONTACT US button in the menu at the top of this blog, or use the POST A MESSAGE button on the Mailing List Blog – both options ONLY come to me and I will get back to you personally to answer your questions.

I hope this all works – it depends on YOU – it’s frustrating not being able to use our normal Geelong and District Mailing List and the Bellarine Peninsula Mailing List, so in the meantime try the new GEELONG AND DISTRICT MAILING LIST.

DIFFERENT free Victorian records to search!

Australia DayBy now everyone knows that Findmypast and Ancestry have offered free access to some of their Australian records in celebration of Australia Day.

More than 40,000 entries from a myriad of different sources have just been added to the Geelong & District Database.

Big bonus:

  • You DON’T have to give any credit card details
  • It’s ALWAYS free to search
  • That offer doesn’t end after Australia Day!

The Geelong & District Database now contains more than 1,689,267 entries from more than 9,811 sources!

Have fun!

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!

Hotels of Geelong and District

Bay View Hotel Portarlington [courtesy Naomi Henry]New lists and images for Hotels of Geelong and District.  They are also available on one of my Pinterest Boards. This has been a huge project and still has a long way to go, but rather than making you wait until I’ve finished adding all the photos and details I thought I’d let you enjoy it sooner.  Why are old hotel photos so enjoyable? There is now a Pinterest Board for a number of Geelong and District categories. Of course there are plenty more entries that could be added for the different categories and I encourage you to help me find images for them – please let me know!

Schools of Geelong and District

Winchelsea Wesleyan Mission SchoolNew lists and images for Schools of Geelong and District.  They are also available on one of my Pinterest Boards.

Things have been very quiet on my blogs due to intense study and assignments for my Diploma of Library and Information Services but I haven’t been quiet on my web site.  Pinterest was part of one of my assignments and when you HAVE to use something, you learn more about it and appropriate uses.  In fact Pinterest made me realise some of the work I had to do on my web site!

I’ve updated lists and images on my web site for:

There is a Pinterest Board for each of those as well as extra ones for Geelong & District Architecture and Old Geelong & District.

Of course there are plenty more entries that could be added for the different categories and I encourage you to help me find images for them – please let me know!


Superfluous hair removal added to Geelong and District DB

Madame FROKJARSometimes things stop you in your tracks and this was one entry in the Geelong & District database that did just that!  There I was quietly indexing the four issues of Investigator from 2013 [the journal of the Geelong Historical Society].

One of my favourite regular articles in Investigator is the Chronology from the Geelong Advertiser 100 years earlier.

The entry from Saturday 31 May 1913 …

Madame Frokjar, expert in the destruction of superfluous hairs, is to be in Geelong on Saturday 8th June, when she may be consulted free at the Town and Country Club in Ryrie-street.

I challenge anyone with an iota of curiosity in their body to ignore a statement like this without asking themselves a heap of questions?  And who could not start researching Madame FROKJAR?  She was a lot easier to research than I anticipated and certainly was not what I expected!  From The Cyclopedia of Victoria, published in 1903 [Vol III, pp.153-4]:

Madame FROKJAR, Medical Masseuse (Diploma College of Copenhagen, pupil of Dr Claud Hansen, masseuse to the Danish Royal Family), Method of Royal Gymnastic Central Institution, Stockholm.  Madame Frokjar was born in Zulland, Denmark, in 1862, and came out to Victoria possessed of independent means, but vicissitudes overtaking her, she resolved to embark in an enterprise such as would afford a living for herself and children.  With this laudable object in view, Madame visited Copenhagen in the year 1896, and there diligently applied herself to study, and distinguished herself by passing successfully all the necessary examinations in connection with her profession, and gaining her diploma.  Madame then spent some time at the Garrison Hospital, Copenhagen, under the well-known and celebrated Dr Claud Hansen, and when fully qualified returned to Victoria in 1901, and commenced practice in Melbourne.  Here her connection very rapidly expanded, and it soon became necessary to acquire more commodious premises in order to carry out the treatment of her numerous patients, recommended to her by the leading members of the medical profession throughout the State, whose confidence and good opinion Madame has gained.  The present premises in Scourfield Chambers, Collins Street, opposite Messrs. George and George’s, have been fitted up on the most resplendent lines, and combine beauty, comfort, and relief in their arrangement.  Madame is assisted by a well-trained and capable assistant, and her establishment is recognised as the leading one of its kind in the city.

A later report in 1905 in the Adelaide Advertiser clearly showed the esteem with which she was held:


A preliminary meeting of medical practitioners has been held in Melbourne for the purpose of forming an association of masseurs and masseuses.  Dr J W Springthorne presided. After letters from medical men throughout the Commonwealth expressing sympathy with the movement had been read it was unanimously decided to form an association, to be the recognised association of the profession throughout the Commonwealth.  The objects are to establish a system of registration of acknowledged medical masseurs and masseuses; to establish a uniform system of training and examination – to be of such standard as may be decided on by the medical profession and the executive of the association, and to promote the interests of the massage profession in all matters appertaining to its work.  The following provisional committee to frame a constitution was appointed:- Chairman, Dr Springthorpe, and Drs MacGillicuddy and MacGibbon, Messrs. Grundt, Best, Pascal, Peters, Robertson, Doyle, Kyte and Moody, Mesdames Frokjar, Hacke, and Vahland, with Misses McCauley, Robertson, Meares, and Martyn, together with the following interstate representatives:- Messrs Schuch (New South Wales), A Semmens and Hugo Leschen (South Australia), Alexander Peters (Western Australia), and Peterson (Tasmania).  Mr Best, of the Alfred Hospital, was elected treasurer pro tem., and Mr Teepoo Hall (Melbourne Hospital) secretary.

Anna Marie SKRIVER was born in 1862 and married Andra FROKJAR in Denmark in 1891.  They arrived in Melbourne in 1892 when their first son Henry Andrew was born with a second son born in early 1895.  In September 1894 her husband was admitted to the Yarra Bend Asylum and remained in mental asylums until his death in 1932.

Between 1912 and 1922, Anna Marie travelled to Western Australia, New Zealand, USA and England.  As a “foreigner” she was identified as an Alien passenger during her travels.  Her son, Henry Andrew adopted the anglicised name of FAULKNER prior to qualifying as a Veterinary Surgeon in Melbourne in 1913.  He died in Surrey, England in 1990.  To-date the death place or date for Anna Marie has not been found.

I certainly didn’t expect to find the above when I started on this journey of researching the lady who removed superfluous hair!

We now have 1,515,142 records in the Geelong and District database.  This is what’s been added since the last major update on 30 April 2014:

  • Investigator, journal of the Geelong Historical Society: volume 48 for 2013 – 1,042 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!

Shelford School No. 379 and lots more!

Shelford State School No.379The school register for Shelford State School No. 379 features in the latest group of updates to the Geelong & District database.

From Vision and Realisation, published by the Education Department of Victoria in 1973:

Probably a Presbyterian School operated at Shelford before the 1850s.  Certainly a Denominational School was established from 1st of July 1853 on the present site, in a wooden building that survived more than thirty years.  Shelford then was called Leigh.  The HT in 1853, Patrick Collins, stayed until the end of 1854.  The longest serving HT, George Hunt, stayed from 1861 until 1885.  In his time, the present bluestone building was erected in 1866.  When the school was taken over by the Department, Hunt remained in charge.  The Church sold the site (originally given by Russell and Bell) to the Department at the end of 1873.  Hunt’s successor, John H Betheras had a notable career in the Department retiring as Assistant Chief Inspector of Schools in the 1920s.  Betheras had charge until 1891.  He was the last teacher to use the original wooden building which was demolished in 1887, after serving as an infants room.  Although the township was by this time known as Shelford the school’s name was not changed to Shelford until 1908, when Thomas Spowart was HT.  The close association of the school with the Presbyterian Church is indicated by the names of the Committee Chairman after 1911: the first Chairman was the Rev. J Higginbotham who served twice, to 1918; then the Rev D Jones to 1921; and the Rev R Parry three terms to 1942.  After the second World War closer settlement caused such a rise in population as to warrant a second classroom.  This was built in 1966; but population fell from 47 pupils to an enrolment in the 20s.  This gave rise to concern for the future of the bluestone building which, because of its obvious beginnings as a church structure, is of no little interest, and steps are being taken to preserve it.  John Coffey took charge in 1967.

We now have 1,514,097 records in the Geelong and District database.  This is what’s been added since the last major update on 24 February 2014:

  • Geelong District: Nurses from the Victoria Government Gazette 1940-1950 – 1,272 entries
  • Geelong District: Surnames of Interest – 14 entries
  • Geelong Infirmary & Benevolent Asylum: Annual Report 1885 & 1915 – 4,693 entries
  • Geelong: Index to Deaths Books for Geelong Infirmary & Benevolent Asylum 1852-1925 – 5,996 entries
  • Shelford: School register for State School No. 379: 1901-1954 – 275 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!

Clergy, Hospital, Street names, Nurses and more!

Rev Thomas QUINTONThe Reverend Thomas QUINTON is one of our local Church of England ministers extracted from the Cable Clergy Index.  This terrific index has on average about half a page of biographical details for each entry – definitely worth checking and going back to the details in the original index.

The Bye-Laws of the Geelong Infirmary & Benevolent Asylum contain some interesting items!

1879: Bye-Law number 61: PERSONS NOT ADMISSABLE

No pregnant female for the purpose of confinement; no insane person, except on remand for medical examination in the Lunatic Ward; no one having a contagious or infectious disease; no one subject to epilepsy; nor any one who, in the opinion of the Surgeon, might receive equal benefit as an out-patient, shall be admitted; and no child under five years of age shall be admitted, except in case of accident or for a surgical operation; nor, except under special circumstances shall patients be admitted from other districts where hospitals exist.  Provided that the House Committee or Officers of the Institution, shall have discretionary power to admit such prohibited cases, and shall report upon the exercise of such power to the next general meeting of the Committee of Management.

It was the 58th Annual Report for 1909-1910 before Bye-Law number 61 had been changed and pregnant females were no longer classed as “Persons not Admissible”.

We now have 1,501,852 records in the Geelong and District database.  This is what’s been added since the last major update on 9 February 2014:

  • Geelong District: Nurses from the Victoria Government Gazette 1935-1939 – 865 entries
  • Geelong District: Surnames of Interest – 18 entries
  • Geelong Infirmary & Benevolent Asylum: Annual Report 1879 & 1905 – 4,225 entries
  • Geelong District: Street Names [history of] – 4,654 entries
  • St Augustine’s and the Christian Brothers [book] – 1,018 entries
  • Geelong District: Anglican Clergy – 496 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!

1.5 million records in Geelong District database!

CelebrateThat’s right – 1,500,000 records in the Geelong and District database.  There’s sure to be something there for your family!  And yes, that WAS the target for December 2014 – now I’m going to have to come up with a new target!

The details of the latest additions will be in a separate blog – this one has to stand on it’s own. 🙂