Friday, May 1, 2015

READ ALL ABOUT IT - YOUR ANCESTORS WERE IN THE NEWS

READ ALL ABOUT IT!
Class C Tram constructed by J. Morrison Sydney. Image Sharn White ©©


Newspapers can be a truly amazing source of information about ancestors. There is no better way to 'fill the gaps' in an ancestor's life story, than from the wealth of information waiting to be discovered in advertisements, personal column, obituaries, births, marriages and the many stories chronicled in newspapers. Many of our more notable ancestors, simply couldn't stay out of the news but for most of my ancestors I have found particular details from newspapers which I would never otherwise have know. 

The nature of news has changed considerably over time. Newspapers in past times published far more personal accounts of people's lives than the information contained in news reports today. You may find items of minutiae such as where your ancestors holidayed, their mode of transport to such destinations, what cakes and crafts they entered in local agricultural exhibitions, particulars of functions they attended, sports they participated in and reference to their places of employment. It is these intimate gems of information which makes newspapers such an invaluable resource for family history research. Newspapers can indulge a wonderful timeline of events, in an ancestor's life. 

I have written previously about my two times great grandfather, John Morrison, builder and rail carriage maker, and the way in which I was able to construct a timeline of his career through the illuminationg information I found in newspapers. Increasingly as more newspapers are digitised by The National Library of Australia, and made available on its  TROVE   website, I have been able to expand my awareness of John Morrison as my great great grandfather,  to a considerably more detailed understanding of his life and that of his family members' lives. Significantly, newspapers have enabled me to fill in gaps in information which other genealogical research sources could not possibly provide. Without the information I discovered in newspapers, I would have had little more than the bare skeleton of a story about my ancestor. Finding my forebears in the news has enabled me to construct colourful life narratives, enriched with fascinating and credible anecdotes, enhanced by authenticity. 

My two times great grandfather, John Morrison was born in 1847 in Aberdeen, Scotland. After marrying in Newcastle Upon Tyne, John worked as a house carpenter, before he and his Northumberland born wife, Hannah Tait Gair, (born 1846), emigrated to Melbourne, Australia  on board the ship Kent as unassisted passengers in 1878.  Travelling with them were their four children, Martha Ann, 8, Alice Jane, 6, Elizabeth, 4, and John William aged  2.

John Morrison and his family journeyed from England to Australia in the age of steam. Although I have not found a news article relating directly to the Morrison's arrival in December on board  the SS Kent in 1878,  a report which appeared in the Hobart Mercury, on January 7, regarding a voyage of the Kent earlier same year, conveys the tremendous  public excitement generated by the speed  at which the Kent travelled. This very fast steam ship considerably shortened the journey from England to Australia and must have been viewed as a great advance in technology. I imagine that for at least the two eldest children,  aged 8 and 6 years, the voyage on  the SS Kent would have caused great excitement. The January 1877 article, below, provides me with some understanding of the voyage that my great great grandparents made later the same year, in what would have been simliar weather conditions.

The Argus of Friday last, in referring to the arrival of the SS Kent in Melbourne on Thursday says:- 
" The present is the third trip of this favourite passenger steamship to Melbourne, and the performance has been somewhat of a surprise, as well as a most unqualified success. It has also the additional distinction of being the quickest ever yet made by an auxiliary screw boat.The 40- day steamers via the Cape and the mail boats, have a monopoly almost in furnishing the latest home newspapers and periodicals, but the 'Kent' by her arrival yesterday, has forestalled everything in this respect, and brings 17 days' later papers. Very little help was received from the canvas sail, having been set for only three days, and the voyage which has been accomplished in  45  1/2 days from Plymouth to Port Phillip, may be regarded almost as one of pure steaming. The engines have done their work well, and as proof of their fitness, it may be mentioned that the average rate of speed from the Channel to the Line was 258 knots; thence to the meridian of the Cape, a fraction over 228 knots, and afterwards to Cape Ottway, a fraction over 285 knots, and for nine days the runs were over 300 knots... the distance run was 11,906 miles and the average daily run was 260.... the weather generally was pleasant and the passengers... enjoyed themselves very much on board."

On some  passenger ships, newspapers were published and circulated as a means of communicating with passengers. Should they so wish to, passengers could place advertisements in ships' newspapers. Young women might have offered their services as governesses during the voyage and more than one man was even known to apply for a wife through a ship's newspaper.  The imortance of these papers is that they chronicled events throughout voyages. Among ships' newspapers with fascinating titles such as The Port Hacking Cough, and The Kangaroo out of his Element, I discovered the existence of the Kent Argus. This was a newspaper published on board the ship Kent, the very ship  on which my great great grandparents journeyed from England to Australia. I have been unable to find evidence of surviving copies of The Kent Argus, for the December 1878 voyage of the Kent, however, The National Library of Australia holds copies of this publication for 1877. The Bibliography of Australia, Volume VI: 1851-1900, by John Alexander Ferguson, says the following of the Kent Argus,


The Kent Argus. A Weekly Journal. " Pour passer le Temps". A Chronicle of the Voyage of the S.S "Kent", Captain G.F.  Gibbs, from London to Melbourne. [Vignette - S.S. "Kent".] Melbourne; [Stillwell and Knight, Printers, 78 Collins Street East. 1877.... Contains the seven numbers circulated during the voyage. There are original articles dealing with the Eureka Stockade Riots, Hunting Reminiscences,( by a Very Old Bushman), the ports and islands passed on the voyage, and other subjects.

Even if there are no surviving publicaions of a ship's newspaper for the exact year you are researching, it is well worth reading accounts of voyages of ships your ancestors journeyed on. If the publications are within a year or two of the voyage you are researching, the information contained within may still be very relevant. Certainly the 1877 copies of the Kent Argus will be a valuable resource for me in my quest to understand the voyage which my two times great grandparents made to Australia.


I have not yet discovered why John Morrison chose to settle in the own of Mortlake, situated in the Western District of Victoria, more than 230 km from Melbourne. I have found no family connections to explain the family's first choice of residence and  so have turned to researching the town itself for clues to explain John Morrison's choice of place to reside. There is a wealth of information one can discover through newspaper advertisements and articles. Newspapers contain first hand and eye witeness accounts of  historical and personal events which occurred in the places one is investigating. Newspapers tell me when and how my ancestors received meil, report on fundraising events which took place, crime that occured and give an excellent synopsis of daily life in Mortlake from 1878 onward. Mortlake was a bustling and growing township following the Victorian Gold Rushes. A testament to Mortlake's past wealth, are the significant bluestone and timber buildings that this town boasts. These, now heritage listed buildings, were constructed from around 1853 onward.  Australian newspapers dating from 1878 and 1879, offer possible clues as to why a carpenter/builder might have chosen to journey with his family by Cobb and Co coach, a distance of more than 200 km, from Melbourne to Mortlake to establish his first home in Australia.  In July of 1879, a notice appeared in the Geelong Advertiser calling for tenders for the erection of a Roman Catholic Church at Mortlake. 

Given that John Morrison constructed numerous significant churches in Sydney during the 1880's, it is not inconceivable that he may have answered this or a similar  advertisement for building tenders. He certainly made a career in Sydney, as the builder of significant and now heritage listed buildings, including a number of fine Gothic style churches. Below is pictured the beautiful Gothic style St. Enoch's Presbyterian Church, which John Morrison built and  completed in 1887. It was designed by the same Blackett Brothers Architects who designed Chapter House.


St Enoch's Presbyterian Church, Newtown, built by John Morrison in Newtown. 

I am able to follow the family's movements from birth notices in newspapers in Victoria firstly, and later in Sydney, New South Wales. In 1879, in the town of Mortlake, Victoria,  the Morrison family welcomed  to their family a daughter, and fifth child, a daughter, whom they named named Alexandra.

John Morrison did not settle permanently in Mortlake and by 1881 he had moved his family to live in Sydney where that same year, a son named George was born and registered in the Canterbury district.

John Morrison quickly built up a successful life for himself and his family as a builder in Sydney and life must have felt blessed for the Morrison family. until in 1882, tragedy struck the family, when their one year old baby son, George, died.

By the mid 1880's John Morrison had earned a considerable reputation as a master builder, with works such as Chapter House adjoining St Andrew's Cathedral, in George Street, Sydney, large homes and villas, Strathfield Council Chambers and a number of splendid Churches to attest to his talent and tenacity. Much of the work completed by John Morrison, was designed by the reknowned architects, the Blackett brothers, the sons of colonial architect, Edmund Blackett. An article in the Goulburn Herald, Saturday, October 30, 1886, describes the opening ceremony for Chapter House as follows:

The Chapter House which has been erected in connection with St Andrew's Cathedral, in memory of the late Bishop Barker, was opened on Monday, by His Excellency, Lord Carrington...... the building is described as of very handsome ecclesiastical design, and comprisies a commodious synod hall and gallery, and a number of offices and rooms. Messrs Blackett brothers are the architects and Mr John Morrrison of Burwood carried out the architects' designs.....

Advertisements calling for tenders and delivery of building materials, which John Morrison placed in the Sydney Morning Herald during the 1880's  provide a wonderful timeline of his career as a builder in Sydney and a wonderful window through which to view his work. I have been fortunate to have located and in many cases visited the beautiful buildings he constructed in Sydney in the 1880's.

The Strathfield Council Chambers built by John Morrison Image Sharn White ©©



Throughout the 1880's John Morrison called for building tenders by way of advertisemenst placed in the Sydney Morning Herald.

October,5, 1881
TENDER wanted for Brickwork - labour only, for two Houses at Homebush.
Also Plastering four houses at Burwood, and large Villa at Ashfield.
Plans seen at JOHN MORRISON'S, Burwood Street, Burwood.


October 18,1887
Tenders are invited for Quarrying a Quantity of Stone and Tank Sinking, at Woolich, Lane Cove. Apply John Morriosn, Contractor, Burwood.


In the 1870's and early 1880's, a hot topic of debate in the news was whether steam or horse power was the better mode of power for trams.  John Morrison would most certainly have read with interest, news articles such as the following:

June 28, 1883, Sydney Morning Herald
...The proposed car may be described as a combination of an ordinary tramcar, with a motor of somewhat novel design, the consequence of which, and the principle of engine adopted, an increased number of passengers are conveyed at a minimum expenditure of steam power....

The first steam powered tramcar was introduced in Sydney in 1879 and the tramways expanded quickly. 1898 saw the electrification of Sydney's trams, the first of these being the C Class Saloon cars.

John Morrison, clearly a man of vision, had envisioned a future for himself, in the construction of  trams and from newspapers advertsiements I know that by 1890, John Morrison was building trams to fill Government contacts. Below is pictured one of John Morrison's  C Class tram. Number 290 is the oldest preserved electric tram and is housed at the Sydney Tramway Museum at Loftus.


C Class Tram c 1890 built by John Morrison, Carriage builder. Image Sharn White ©©

The railway in New South Wales was also rapidly expanding and I discovered through an advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald that John Morrison was not a man to miss an opportunity. In 1887 he called for tenders in the SMH, which   invited offers to advertise on a ' large railway frontage at Strathfield Junction'.  

I now knew that John Morrison had acquired a large portion of land fronting the railway at Strathfield. The reason he purchased this land soon became apparent, via information found in an advertisement the news. 

The Sydney Morning Herald carried the following notice on April 19, 1890,

'The Railway Commissioners yesterday took delivery of the second chain of railway carriages built by Mr John Morrison of Strathfield ...',  The article mentions John Morrison'srailway carriage factory, Strathfield'.

By 1890, in addition to building trams, it was obvious that John Morrison heavily involved in the construction of rail carriages.

I have been privileged to be able to follow my great great grandfather's successful career as one of New South Wales' most prominent rail carriage builders in the 1890's, through tender advertisements, notices, and news items. John Morrison was well established, in the 1890's, as a trusted builder of rail carriages, receiving large contracts from the New South Wales Government. All looked to be going extremely well for my two times great grandfather indeed, until I realised that the devastating economic crisis of the 1890's in Australia, had a devastating consquence for John Morrison and his family. By 1891 small  banks and societies were collapsing, however in 1893, when the Federal Bank crashed, there was widespread panic and the country was plunged into depression.

The following notice, published in the Sydney Moring Herald in 1894, demonstrated how John Morrison's business was affected by the economic times in which he lived.

 'Favoured with instructions from Mrs John Morrison.... the auctioneers will sell the whole of her exceedingly Handsome, modern and substantial furniture and household effects...Dining, Drawing, Breakfast and bedroom suites... Seven grand carpets, all bordered...Magnificent Overmantel and mirrors, Really splendid water colours by Huddlestone, Fletcher Watson and other artists of great ability....two pianofortes ... Expensive jewelery, designed by well known craftsmen, Ladies riding equipment...now for sale owing to the terrible losses sustained by Mr John Morrison and family, owing to the cancellation of Government contracts and consequent closing of the carriage-building shops at Strathfield station.'

In another adcertisement, an apology that my greta great grandparents beautiful furniture and paintings were not shown off to their greatest advantage, due to the fact they had been forced to leave their large home and sell their possessions in the small house which they were now renting, greatly saddened me. I could not fail to understand how much this family had lost. 

The story that was unfolding before my eyes, through newspapers, explained why John Morrison had relocated the family to Ipswich, in Queensland in 1900. 

I had known that both John and Hannah Morrison died in the same year, 1927, in Cooroy, a town inland from Noosa on the Sunshine Coast, however, I had never known why they had moved from Sydney to Queensland. An article entitled 'Overland Passengers' which appeared in the Brisbane Courier Mail, on Saturday January 27, 1900 informed me that: 

Hannah Morrison, wife of John, and several of their daughters had left Sydney bound for Ipswich by rail, the previous day on January, 26.

I discovered that John Morrison had left Sydney prior to late January of 1900 and it wasn't long before a search of newspapers explained the reason for his move.

On Saturday, September, 3 1910, a story appeared in the Brisbane Courier Mail under the heading; 'Carriage and Wagon Shop - XII, by W.B.D', in which John Morrison was mentioned as the carriage works foreman  for the Ipswich Rail Carriage Shop.

One can only imagine what a huge blow the loss of the business he had built up in Sydney must have meant to John Morrison and his family. As foreman of the Ipswich Rail Carriage Workshop, John Morrison's wage was good, although his son John William earned far less than his father as a general employee. At least John senior's experience and expertise allowed him to provide for his large family. Five more children had been born to John and Hannah Morrison  while living in Sydney, including my great grandmother Florence who was born in 1885, as well as Minnie 1883, Jessie 1887, and Wallace Dalkeith in 1892. In Ipswich, the family lived in a house in Harlin Road and John worked hard to rebuild a life for them. 

Ipswich Rail Carriage Workshop employees. John Morriosn is in this photograph. 

John Morrison was part of a new era of train carriages to be built in Queensland. The Courier Mail, Monday, June 9, carried a story entitled  NEW RAILWAY CARRIAGES, Trial Trip on Saturday. 
Reading this story, I can't help but wonder if John Morrison's expertise as a prominent carriage builder in Sydney contributed to some of the improvements to rail carriages constructed at the Ipswich Rail Carriage Workshop.

Two new carriages have recently been built at Ipswich shops for the suburban traffic, and they possess many features about them which are distinctly new in the construction of rolling stock for the Queensland railways... 

John Morrison had applied for quite a number of patents for new design mechanisms to improve the performance of rail carriages before departing Sydney. I am hopeful that some of his ideas may have been implemented at the Ipswich Rail Carriage Workshop.

Life was not as easy for John Morrison's wife, Hannah as it had been in Sydney. Living in Sydney, as the wife of a prominent business owner, she lived a life in luxurious surroundings and with ne shortage of money. In 1907, according to a notice in the Queensland Times (Ipswich), Hannah took over as Licensee of the Glamorgan Vale Hotel. In 1909 an article appeared in the same newspaper on June 9, stating:

At the Ipswich Police Court yesterday, before the Police Magistrate, Hannah Morrison, licensee of the Glamorgan Vale Hotel, was charged with having commited a breach of the Licencing Act, for keeping her premises open for the sale of liquor on Thursday, the 25th of March....

I felt most saddened for Hannah Morrison's circumstances. Far from her previous lifestyle, she was operating a hotel in a country town. Before I could think too badly of her, I discovered that it was through no fault of her own that she had fallen ill of the law.

Seargent Nagel, of Marburg staed that the licensee conducted the hotel very well, but so far as he could judge, she appeared to have no control over the young men. 

Hannah's circumstances were taken into consideration and although it was suggested that the offending young men be brought to justice, my two times great grandmother received a fine of £2.
Notices in The Queensland Times informed me that John's daughter Alexandra, was the licensee of the Royal Post Office Hotel by 1909 and daughter Jessie's husband Colin Garson held the licence for the nearby Kirkheim Hotel (Kirkheim is now known as Haighslea). John Morrison and his family undoubtedly worked hard to rebuild their lives. From a 1911 article in The Queensland Times (Ipswich), I realised that not only was Hannah Morrison the licencee of the Glamorga Vale Hotel, but in fact, John Morrison was the owner. In 1911 he sold the hotel:

Ernest Cole and Co., Auctioneers, by instruction from Mr J Morrison, will sell by auction in Glamorgan Vale, on Wednesday, on the 29th instance, at noon, the freehold of the above hotel with 4 acres of land etc.... this house has and still retains the reputation of being classed as a first rate business hotel.

The two older Morrison daughters, Martha Ann and Elizabeth had trained as nurses in Sydney when the family's circumstances were more properous and were employed in Queensland hospitals. The Courier Mail, April 4, 1908 tells me that Nurse Morrison was an overland passenger, her destination, Laidley. I know from electoral rolls that this was Martha Ann Morrison. Perhaps she had been holidaying in or near Brisbane and was returning to her hospital. I imagine this because Margate, north of Brisbane became a favourite holiday place for the Morrison family with the later purchase of a magnificent holiday home there named 'Orkney'.


Scarborough near Margate on Moreton Bay Qld Image Wikipedia ©©

Life is shaped by significant events. I am certain that John Morrison would have planned to educate all of his son and daughters, however, the loss of his business interests in the mid 1890's changed the course of the lives of  members of the Morrison family. Florence, my great grandmother was only nine years of age when her father's fortune changed because of an economic downturn and the cancellation of a contract of 180 rail carriages already under construction. She was 15 years of age when she moved to Ipswich in Queensland. As good as were her father's wages as Foreman of the Rail Carriage Workshop, I doubt that the family's situation extended to paying for further education  of any kind. Florence was not destined to be trained as a nurse like her older sisters. She worked with her mother and sister Jessie in the hotels they owned and held publican's licences for.

 In 1909, The Queensland Times, published an item about the enchanting Miss F Morrison singing at the Royal Post Office Hotel in Marburg, accompanied by a famous New Zealand tenor, Mr Leo Reece. Mr Reece, it was reported, was on tour with the Fisk Jubilee Singers who, while touring the country, had stopped in Marburg on their way to perform in Warwick on the Darling Downs.

Mr Leo Reece must have been quite taken with Florence Morrison's singing, and she with him, since they again appeared in the news performing together in 1910, at a fundraising event in aid of the Marburg State School. The event was recorded by the Queensland Times, on April 26.

Miss Florence Morrison, accompanied by Mr Leo Reece (piano) sang with much acceptance, 'A Little Child Shall lead Them'. 

Since their son, and my grandfather, Ian Cuthbert Reece-Hoyes was born in September of that year, Florence Morrison, my great grandmother would have been around 4 months pregnant when she sang with Mr Reece. Mr Leo Reece was mygreat grandfather, Leonard Cuthbert Hoyes, born in Auckland, New Zealand. I might have been inclined to believe that he used the name Reece as a stage name, however, the news alerted me to the true reason for his name change.

When my great grandfather first arrived in Australia in 1907, he sang under the surname of Hoyes. Sydney newspapers, including The Catholic Press, October 12, 1905,  tell me that his singing career as an opera tenor began with him described as a new tenor from New Zealand, Mr Leo HOYES...who  possesses a light voice of beautiful quality. 

In some newspapers, he was described as a famous American tenor. Either he was intent on furthering his singing career and felt a touch of embellishment would not do him harm, or the press misquoted him. I found a likely explanation for my great grandfather's change of name and nationality, however, when I read a notice which was placed in newspapers all around Australia, in 1911, by Leonard Hoyes'  wife in Auckland. Muriel Hoyes was searching for her 'missing' husband, Leonard Cuthbert Hoyes, who she had decided to divorce on the grounds of desertion, having had no word from him for several years. Bu this time, Leo REECE and Florence Morrison were living together as 'husband and wife'. Following the divorce and the birth of a second child, the couple married in 1913, and my great grandfather added HOYES and a hyphen to his adopted name of REECE. Needless to say all the family stories of Welsh fencibles and castles in Wales belonging to our Reece ancestors came from the imaginative mind og my great grandfather himself.

Leonard Cuthbert Hoyes aka Reece-Hoyes, was by all accounts a talented tenor, and I have been able to follow his singing career through newspapers all around Australia and in New Zealand.



My great grandmother Florence Reece-Hoyes nee Morrison

In February of 1914, misfortune once again struck the Morrison family. A headline in the Queensland Times printed on February 2, 1914 caught my attention with the following headline:

DESTRUCTIVE FIRES - HOUSE ON HARLIN ROAD - OWNED BY MR JOHN MORRISON- BURNED TO THE GROUND - EARLY YESTERDAY MORNING - AN EARLY CONFLAGRATION

At about 1.15 am yesterday morning, a nine roomed house, situated on Harlin Road, and owned by Mr John Morrison, was burnt to the ground. The house was unoccupied at the time as the Misses Jessie and Inez Morison ( who were the only persons tenanting it) were staying with their married sister mrs Shannon of Woodend, for the night.....with the exception of two canvas chairs, none of the contents of the house were saved. The dwelling was, with the exception of the brick chimney, constructed entirely of wood. it was an attractive looking and superior buidling and consisted of nine rooms. It was owned by Mr John Morrison, who for some time was the foreman in the wagon shop at the railway workshops at North Ipswich. During the last 6 months, however, Mr and Mrs Morrison have lived in Dorrigo, New South Wales, where Mr Morrison holds a position in the Leigh Sawmills. The building was used by Nurse Morrison (a daughter) as a maternity home, and was as stated occupied lately by the misses Morrison.....it is understood that the building and the furniture in it were insured. Nurse Morrison, who is on a trip to England, and is expected toreturn in a couple of months, had intended resuming business in the house as a maternity home when she returned.

This particular story in the newspaper held important information about my Morrison family. I knew that John Morrison had lived in Harlin Street, Ipswich in 1913 but had no knowledge of where he had gone between then and 1925, when he was living in Cooroy. In 1920, John's daughter Martha Ann, referred to in the above news item as Nurse Morrison, was a Matron, was running her own private hospital with her sister Nurse Elizabeth Morrison at 50 Maple Street. The article filled in those missing years and I now knew that John Morrison had been living and working in Dorrigo, New South Wales at the Leigh Sawmills.

The Morrison sisters on the verandah of their private hospital in Cooroy. Image used with permission Pomona Historical Museum.
A further news item in the Personal column of the Queensland Times on  August 12, 1912, placed John Morrison in Dorrigo two years earlier 1914. 

A pleasing ceremony took place in the machine shop, North Ipswich railway workshops, before starting time on Saturday morning last, when Mr John Morrison jnr, who has severed his connection with the department to join his father in a saw milling business, was made the recipient of a few appropriate and useful presents....

As is often wont to happen, when you discover one piece of information, it connects to another. The news of John and Hannah Morrison's move to Leigh, makes it clear why John Morrison sold his hotel in Glamorgan Vale Queensland, in 1911, (where his wife Hannah had been the licencee). The sale was directly associated with his plans to move in 1912 to take up a position and possibly invest in the timber industry in the Dorrigo area.

Searching for information about the Leigh sawmill, I found that  The Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton), had printed regular articles with the then current news of Leigh and the town's happenings. An item on November 19, 1912 read as follows:

LEIGH.
The new sawmill at Leigh has started operations and has had a very satisfactory trial run.....

In 1912, the town of Leigh, just over 300 kilometres south of Brisbane, and almost 6 km from the neareast town of Dorrigo, was an exciting and pioneering part of New South Wales. According to the Clarence and Richmond Examiner, on November 2, 1912:

LEIGH
Our new saw mill is starting work next week and will prove a great boon to the settler, on account of the large quantity of pine growing here.
The tramway from here to Bellingen is almost completed, which will be used for conveting logs down the mountain.
A deputation is to be sent to Sydney to urge an immediate start of the Dorrigo-Glenreagh Railway.

With the mention of the construction of both a new tramway and railway in the Leigh area, it is possible to gauge John Morrison's enthusiasm for a new venture. Here was a man who had proved he could look towards the future and envision possibilities. The small growing town of Leigh must have ignited the flame which had driven him two decades earlier, when he had seen a future for himself in construction of trams and rail carriages. John Morrison was 66 years old in 1912, when he embarked on this new adventure, and though he had seen difficult times he had obviously not lost his pioneering spirit.

On Saturday, 28th of  February 1914, the Clarence and Richmond Examiner, reported that;

Mr John Morrison, local mill manager, has returned from a trip to Queensland.

Since John Morrison's home in Harlin Street, Ipswich had burned to the ground on February 2nd, 1914, the purpose of the above mentioned trip, undoubtedly would have been to deal with the distressing fire which destroyed his home. The Harlin Street house was reported in the news to be insured, however, he had lost many of his possessions in the fire. How greatly relieved he and his wife Hannah must have been however, to have received news that his two daughters had not been in the house on the night of the fire.

John Morrison seems to have slipped out of the news until he had an accident in Cooroy in April of 1927. In the Brisbane Courier an item of news appeared on April, 25th which reported that:

Mr J Morrison, a resident of Redcliffe,...when cutting a bunch of bananas at his daughters residence, on Saturday morning, fell and sustained a fracture of the right thigh.

This story corroborates an oral account by a local resident of Cooroy, who as an elderly resident recalled the fruit trees at the side of the Morrison's Private Hospital attracting fruit bats. He attested that the patients in the hospital had not been able to sleep for the noise made by the nocturnal creatures and so the fruit of the banana trees and date palms had henceforth been regularly cut. John Morrison was aged 80 years when he fell from a ladder whilst cutting bananas from the trees at his daughter's hospital in Cooroy. He never really recovered from that fall and  he died in June of the same year.

From The Chronicle and North Coast Adviser, 18th June, 1920, I was able to establish when the Morrison sisters, Martha Ann and Elizabeth first opened their private hospital in Cooroy.

The private hospital Cooroy, formerly known as Camgnore, which was vacated some considerable time ago, and has since been occupied as a private residence, is again being utilized in its former capacity, and has been opened recently as a private hospital, by two sisters, Nurses Morrison.

In July 1922,  the following article appeared in The Brisbane Courier;

Bed For returned Soldier Patients
The Ladies Red Cross Society met on Wednesday to consider ways and means  raisingfunds for the support of a bed for the use of returned soldiers at Nurse Morrison's Private Hospital...it was decided to hold a concert and dance on July 28.

A later news report tell me that younger sister, Mabel, also nursed at the hospital in Cooroy up until 1925, when according to the Nambour Chronicle which stated on February13, 1925, that:

Matron Morrison, of the Hospital, is spending a holiday in Sydney. Her sister (Nurse Mabel Morrison) had left to reside in Cobar, (NSW).

With five of their daughters trained as nurses, (Martha Ann. Alice Jane, Elizabeth, Jessie and Mabel), sons John and Wallace living in Townsville and Brisbane, and with most of their daughters, (including my great grandmother, Florence)  married, in around 1920, John and Hannah Morrison retired to the seaside village of Redcliffe, north of Brisbane. John and Hannah were aged 76 and 75 at this time.  It is possible that they chose to live with their married daughter Jessie and her husband Colin Garson, who had made their home at Redcliffe.  John and Hannah must have been closely involved with the Cooroy district as they are named on the Pioneers of Cooroy Roll. I know from news accounts that John had interests in the Cooroy Butter Factory and that he helped his daughters with maintenance at their private hospital in Cooroy.

The Morrison family continued to be an integral part of the Cooroy community. Various newspapers, give accounts of their participation in local fundraising events and agricultural shows with many prizes won for fine exhibits of knitting, sewing and cooking. The Morrison sisters must have been excellent cooks since they regularly won first prize for their coconut ice and jellies. I have my mother's recipe for both of these delicious sweets and it is the very same recipe which won prizes for the Morrison sisters.

Many letters were printed in local newspapers from patients expressing their gratitude for the great care rceived from the Nurses Morrison and in particular Matron Martha Ann. Parents especially gave thanks for the safe arrival of babies under the expert care of the Morrison sisters and others expressed sincere gratitude in time of loss.

Bereavements The Brisbane Courier, 29 May, 1928
Mr and Mrs EG Nugent,and Daughter, of  "Fairy Dell", Cooroy, tender their sincerest THANKS to Dr Davidson and Matron Morrison and staff and neighbours for their untiring efforts during our Late Son's and brother's illness.

Holidays that were taken by the Morrison sisters were reported in the news and when family members visited Cooroy, the family reunions were given much attention in the newspapers. The Brisbane Courier reported on one occasion that:

Nurse Morrison, of Cooroy, is spending a short holiday at her seaside home 'Orkney' at Margate.

On February7, 1925, The Queenslander, reported the following:

Miss Morrison (Matron of the Cooroy Private Hospital) and Miss Mabel Morrison  have left on an extended holiday for Sydney and Cobar.


I learned, from reports of Country Sports matches, in the Brisbane Courier, that the all of Morriosn girls were excellent lawn tennis players, regularly competing in tennis tournaments. My mother passed her inherited love of tennis on to my sisters and myself.

Little more mention is made of John and Hannah Morrison in the news until the death of John Morrison on July 5, 1927 and Hannah the same year on September 7, in Cooroy.

I found Hannah's obituary first in the Brisbane Courier, dated September 8, 1927. It contains a wealth of information.

DEATH OF MRS H. MORRISON

Mrs Hannah Morrison, relict of the late John Morrison, died at Cooroy this morning, at the age of 81 years. Born at Cramlington, Northumberland, England,the deceased whose husband passed away only last July, came to Australia in the steamer Kent, 42 years ago. She first settled with her family in Victoria, and then moved to Strathfield, Sydney, remaining there until 1901, when she moved to Ipswich. About 8 years ago, Mrs Morrison took up her abode in Cooroy, where she had abided almost continuously. She is survived by two sons, Messrs J. Morrison (Townsville), and W.D. Morrison (Sydney), and eight daughters, Matron and Nurse Morrison (Cooroy), Mesdames C Garson ( Redcliffe), R Wilson (South Brisbane), L Rees, H. S. Shannon (Bundaberg), D. Floyd and Miss I Morrison (Cobar, New South Wales). There are 13 grandchildren. 


On the 7th of July, 1927, The Brisbane Courier, printed the following Obituary for John Morrison:

The death occurred in Cooroy on July 5th, of Mr John Morrison, a very old and esteemed resident of the Southern part of the State, at the age of 80 years. A native of Aberdeen in Scotland, Mr Morrison arrived in Queensland 42 years ago. For a long period he was Foreman of the carriage workshops at Ipswich, but retired about nine years ago, and since then had lived mostly at Redcliffe and Cooroy...

This is but some of the information I have discovered about my Morrison family in newspapers dating from the 1880's onward. This family it seems really could not stay out of the news! The more i have learned about my family through newspapers, the better I have been able to weave together the threads of John Morrisons life story in Australia. Incredibly, his story has evolved almost exclusively from information found in newspapers. With each piece of information I found, I unearthed clues which led me to find more about the Morrisons. I have also followed the opera singing career of my great grandfather, Leo (Leonard Cuthbert) Hoyes aka Reece as he toured the country with the Fisk Jubilee Singers and searching the PapersPast,  website for digitised New Zealand newspapers, I uncovered many news items about my great grandfather, Leo Hoyes singing in venues in Auckland before came to Australia. There is much more in newspapers about the Morrison sisters who were nurses, in the years after John and Hannah Morrison died. I look forward to constructing a story of my nursing Morrison great aunts with the assistance of newspaper records.

Newspapers are one of the most valuable  historical and genealogical resources that we, as family historians, have at our easy disposal. Our ancestors, I am sure, thought that they safely took their secrets to the grave with them. I wonder if they realised just how often significant fragments of their lives appeared in the news for us the READ ALL ABOUT IT!


NOTE
On my 'to do in the future' list since conducting this research, is a trip to Leigh, inland from Coffs Harbour in New South Wales, to research locally, John Morrison's involvement with the Leigh Saw Mill.  I also plan to visit to Mortlake in Victoria, where I hope the Mortlake Historical Society  might be able to help me in finding whether John Morrison left a legacy there in the way of a building.



MAIN SOURCES

Trove

PapersPast

The National Library of Australia

Cobb & Co Coach, Melbourne Museum

















Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Anzac Box

MY 100 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF ANZAC DAY POST - AN ANZAC BOX

John Clarke White with his father Hugh Eston and brothers William Thomas and Andrew Hugh Thompson White
[Samuel] John Clarke White was born in Brookend, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland on the 7th of April, 1900. In 1913, he immigrated with his family to Queensland, Australia. The family settled in Kaimkillenbun on the Darling Downs where they farmed sheep. This was a far cry from the flax farming that the were familiar with in Northern Ireland however, John's father's ailing health had prescribed a move to a warmer climate. 

In the 1920's the White family purchased a number of parcels of land at Seventeen Mile Rocks near Brisbane and John and his brothers. William, Andrew (known as Thompson), Jemima (my paternal grandmother) and Violet enjoyed life in the small but close community on the banks of the Brisbane River.

When war was declared in September 1939, John  Ckarke White enlisted in the Australian Army. He was 38 years and 9 months old, single, and determined to do his duty for his new homeland and his country of birth, Britain.

I know little yet of John Clarke White's wartime service, however, I have a box which belonged to my Anzac great uncle, which given to me after my father passed away.  I examined the contents of the box for the first time yesterday, and discovered a tangle of wartime memorabilia waiting to be identified. That is going to be a project for 2015 and my findings, will  become  a blog post for Anzac Day 2016. Today for my Anzac post, I will post the photographs I have taken of the box and its contents, in memory of my great uncle. As you will see from the photographs, I have a lot of research ahead of me!

CORPORAL JOHN CLARKE WHITE.
SERVICE NUMBER: QX8682 
ARMY NUMBER: 420439
POSTING ON DISCHARGE: 2 AUST RSD

                                                       LEST WE FORGET

NOTE: The images shown here are subject to copyright  © and can not be reproduced without permission from myself. 
The Anzac Box  Image Sharn White ©

Wright's Aircraft Engineer on the box.... research to come! ©

Contents of the box Image Sharn White ©

John Clarke White's war medals Image Sharn White ©


Image Sharn White ©


Christmas 1914 is written on the tin...Image Sharn White ©

Contents of the small tin Image Sharn White ©


Image Sharn White ©


Image Sharn White ©


A second small tin from in the box Image Sharn White ©

Contents of the blue tin Image Sharn White ©


Image Sharn White ©


Items in the box Image Sharn White ©

Items I need to identify Image Sharn White ©

I will have fun researching all of these items! Image Sharn White ©

Image Sharn White ©

An Anzac badge in my Anzac box Image Sharn White ©


Friday, March 27, 2015

Congress 2015 in Canberrra is well underway!

The 14th Australasian Congress of Genealogy and Heraldry  #AFFHO

Keen Genealogists enjoying the Congress Welcome Function at the Australian War Memorial
Congress 2015, is well underway and so far, for me it had been a whirlwind of meeting up with old friends, putting faces to  internet genea-friends,  enjoying the fabulous talks and attempting to make my way around the terrific variety of exhibits in the hall. 

After registration and collecting our Congress badges, lanyards, timetables and of course, the very special blogger beads which Jill Ball so kindly purchased while in Salt Lake City at Rootstech.

My Congress 'goodies'. Image Sharn White



Congress attendees were welcomed on Thursday evening, 26th of March, by means of a function held at the Australian War Memorial. With so much happening aound us with regard to World War One anniversaries, a more poignant venue could not have been chosen. Standing  with wine in hand, in the presence of G for George a huge Lancaster, with a string quartet adding to the ambience of the evening, nothing could have been more perfect.  A special treat was a wonderful large screen film about World War One Pilots which could not have failed to leave anyone watching unmoved. 


G for George WW2 Lancaster Image Sharn White


Felloe Bloggers Jill Ball and Jackie Van Bergen Image Sharn White

Congress welcome at The Australian War Memorial Image Sharn White
Canberra has put on its finest Autumn weather to greet Congress 2015 attendees and the Congress is well underway now after one day of fascinating talks and an exhibition hall filled with interesting exhibitors. 

NEXT POST: Day 1 of the Congress

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

When Places Change... The Search for a Hotel in Sussex Street.

When Places and Place-Names Change - Finding the Homes of ancestors.



I have been very fortunate when looking for ancestral places. Most of the places my ancestors came from have not changed enough to prevent me from finding the place where they lived. Buildings may have changed but the streets and street numbers have remained relatively the same. If you visit Main Street in Cumbernauld, Glasgow, where my paternal grandfather was born, you will find it much the same as it was when he left Scotland in 1923. My paternal great grandfather's flax farm in Brookend, County Tyrone remains quite undeveloped and so I can see it much as it was when the family lived and farmed there until 1911.  My Swiss ancestors who arrived in Australia in 1873, came from Ottenbach near Zurich. In 1850, the population of Ottenbach was 1,169 and by the year 2000 the number had only increased to 2164 and the town hasn't changed much since my Häberling family  lived there.

Main Street, Cumbernauld. Copyright Texas Radio and the Big Beat. Licensed for reuse under ©©
Brookend, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Photo courtesy Pat Grimes ©

The tiny town of Ottenbach has not changed much. Image ©©.

When places change significantly, and when land, buildings and entire areas are resumed for new use, whether it be for redevelopment for industrial purpuses or for the construction of new housing, or office developments, or for freeways to be built, when houses, buildings and streets disappear, it can present a significant challenge to family historians when attempting to locate the places where ancestors lived. 

Darling Harbour 1900. Image licensed for reuse under ©©

Darling Harbour 2015 Image SharnWhite ©©

I was confrontedwith a situation of this kind last week when I set off in search of the location of a hotel owned in the mid nineteenth century, by the ancestors of Linda Seaver, wife of my genea-friend Randy Seaver (author of the well known blog Genea Musings ). 

I met fellow blogger and american genealogist, Randy Seaver and his wife Linda in person for the first time, while attending the Rootstech 2015 Conference in Salt Lake City in February this year, although we had known each other through social media for some time. Randy mentioned to me that Linda's ancestor, Alexander Whittle, had been the licencee of a hotel in Sussex Street, Sydney, prior to his departing Australia and heading to the Californian Gold Rush. On hearing this, and having a particular interest in early Australian history, I offered to take photographs of the location of the hotel, which had been known as the Lancashire Arms.

I knew that much of the land in this part of Sydney had been resumed yearsago for  redevelopment, for the construction of the exciting Darling Harbour precinct, so I did not expect that the original building would be still standing, however, I did not realise that the significant changes to the streets and general area surrounding Sussex Street near Darling Harbour, would proffer such an enthralling challenge when it came to finding the mid 19th century location of the Lancashire Arms. I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey on which this search has taken me. I have learned much more about life in this wharfside area of Sydney and crucially this excercise has encouraged me look at alternative ways to find an address when an entire precinct has been altered and streets completely vanished. I have written a number of house histories, so I am very familiar with tracking down altered street numbers,  but this was my first intriguing case of a missing street.

Sussex Street shown on Google Maps
Below is a description of the location of Sussex Street in Sydney's CBD.
  1. Sussex Street, Sydney
  2. Sussex Street is a street in the CBD of Sydney, Australia. It runs north-south along the western side of the city, between Hickson Road and Hay Street. It is in the local government area of the City of Sydney. The street is 1.7 km long. Wikipedia


Sussex Street runs right behind Darling Harbour, Sydney,  to the left of this photo. Image SharnWhite ©©

From information given to me by Randy Seaver, I knew that Alexander Whittle was granted  his Publican's Licence for the Lancashire Arms hotel, on June 21, 1848. The document shows the address of the hotel to be Sussex Street and Union Lane, Sydney. Finding the location of the hotel at first looked to be a simple matter ... until I struck a problem...  when I searched Google maps, no Union Lane existed anywhere near Sussex Street. When I went into the city and walked along Sussex Street, my walk confirmed that indeed Union Lane no longer exists. I realised that if the information on the Publican's Licence record was correct and if in the mid 1800's a Union Lane had run off Sussex Street I needed to find where it had been in order to pinpoint the location of the Lancashire Arms.

Darling Harbour as it exists now, is a busy waterfront leisure area and a popular place for tourists to visit, with its many restaurants, the Maritime Museum, Sydney Aquarium and Chinese Gardens among its attractions. In the 1800's, Darling Harbour (first named by English settlers as Cockle Bay for its abundant source of seafood) was the main wharf and port for shipping in Sydney. Market Street Wharf (on which the Sydney Aquarium now sits), was built in 1826 and the harbour flourished and grew to be a bustling convergence of industry, trade and shipping. 

Darling Harbour in the vicinity of the Lancashire Arms. Image SharnWhite ©©

Randy Seaver's information showed that amidst the hive of wharfside acitivity around Sussex Street in June of 1848 Alexander Whittle was granted the Publican's Licence for the Lancashire Arms. This hotel was one of a number of hotels in Sussex and surrounding streets which were an important hub of social life for the workers, sailors and inhabitants of Sydney's wharf area.

A list of Publican's licences in 1849, published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Monday April 9, shows the names of licencees for 26 hotels in Sussex Street, including Alexander Whittle and the Lancashire Arms with the address given as Sussex Street but with no number.

Darling Harbour Wharves c 1900 looking across Darling Harbour from Pyrmont. North to South is from left to right. Image Wikipedia ©©

THE SEARCH FOR THE LOCATION OF THE HOTEL

In order to compile as much information as possible about the location of all hotels in Sussex Street, I decided to look at the lists of all Publicans' Licences granted for hotels in Sussex Street in the years before and after 1849 to see if this provided any information about the locations of the hotels. State Records NSW has a searchable online index of Publican's Licences, 1830-61. The citation for finding this record at State Records is NRS 14401 [4/82]; Reel 5062. An image of the 1849 Publican's Licence for Alexander Whittle can be found on Ancestry.com cited as Butts of publicans’ licences, 1830-1849. NRS 14401, reels 5049-5062, 1236. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.


In the nineteenth century, The Sydney Morning Herald and other newspapers, were in the practice of publishing lists of Publicans' Licences. I was familiar with  this because I had discovered that one of my convict ancestors was granted a publican's licence in Singleton in 1864, through newspaper searches. As I searched available lists of Publicans' Licences  around the time that Alexander Whittle had the Lancashire Armsa distinct pattern began to emerge. Comparing the 1849, 1851 and 1853 list of Publicans' Licences in the Sydney Morning Herald on the Trove website I noted excitedly, that the hotels were listed in the same particular order in each year in Sussex Street. The street names in the lists were oredered alphabetically but no street numbers were provided. Interestingly,  I observed that the hotels were listed in the exact same order on each list, give or take a few hotels appearing or disappearing. Hotels which were located on the corners of two main streets were listed under both streets as, for example, Darling Harbour Inn - Sussex Street and Market Street (1849 list). It became apparent as I perused the lists, that although no street numbers were given, the hotels were listed in order of their location in each street.

In Sussex Street, the hotels that were listed on corner addresses of streets adjoining Sussex, were listed from Erskine Street through King Street, Market Street, Market Wharf, Liverpool Street, Druitt, Bathurst, Dickson, to Goulbourne. In every list despite hotel and licencee names changing and new hotels appearing, this street order was the same. By following the corner streets on a map, I was able to see that the hotels in Sussex Street were listed from the Nothern end to the Southern end. This was  a significant breakthrough in determining the location of the Lancashire Arms by looking at where it was placed in the list of Sussex Street hotels in the Publicans' Licence lists published in the Sydney Morning Herald. 

Following the hotels that were listed on corner streets.. a pattern emerged.
 In the 1849 Publicans' Licence List, the Lancashire Arms hotel was the sixteenth hotel recorded on Sussex Street and was shown to be between the Governor Bourke hotel on the corner of Market Street, and The Hope and Anchor hotel  on the corner of Sussex and Druitt Street. This suggested that to me, that the hotel was possibly situated between Market Street and Druitt Street. Taking into account that odd and even numbers are not necessarily opposite each other in any street, I still had a hunch that the hotel would be not far from my pinpointed bearing.

Dragon boat racing on Darling Habour, now a recreational area, near the location of the Lancashire Arms hotel. Image Sharn White

RESEARCHING THE WIDER COMMUNITY

Whenever I am looking for information regarding ancestors or the community in which they lived, I always to look beyond my own family and investigate the community they were a social, religious and economic part of, for clues about them or their lives. Following this same procedure, I looked for information regarding the hotels and other  notable buildings which had been close to the Lancashire Arms hotel on the 1849, 1851 and 1853 list of Publicans' Licences. Searching newspapers of the time, I discovered street numbers for some of these hotels. Numbers for some of the hotels confirmed my theory that the hotels were recorded by name from the northern end of Sussex Street to the southern end in the Publicans' Licences Lists. Charlton's Hotel on the corner of Sussex and Market Wharf was number 116 Sussex Street. The Labour In Vain hotel (possibly the best hotel name ever!) was number 181/189 (both numbers appeared in news accounts). The Lancashire Arms hotel had appeared in the Publicans's Licences List between these two hotels, so I felt that I was getting closer to finding a more accurate location.


One of the last surviving old sandstone hotels in Sussex Street, The Dundee Arms, 171 Sussex Street ( c1860) Image Sadarka ©©

I searched for information in newspapers about Sussex Street hotel owners themselves. Family notices such as obituaries and marriages can often include addresses and other evidence relevant to a search for ancestors. I unearthed fascinating anecdotes about political getherings and coronial inquests that were held in hotels in Sussex Street, and discovered murders that were committed outside several others. Some of the news items, however were most helpful in providing me with street addresses and I began to map out where a number of the Sussex Street hotels and other buildings had been situated. Unfortunately (or fortunately) there appeared to be little in the way of grizzly murders, coronial inquests or political happenings at the Lancashire Arms, however, I did allow myself to think that I was getting closer to finding out where Alexander Whittle's hotel would have been. 

Further confirming my theory that the Lancashire Arms was on the southern end of Sussex Street was information included in a news article in an 1849 edition of the  Sydney Morning Herald, which stated that the Draper's Hall hotel was 'situated in Sussex Street south". Drapers Hall was listed immediately after the Lancashire Arms hotel in the 1849 list of Publicans' Licences.

I found that the former Commercial Stores, now heritage listed, which still exist in Sussex Street today, were numbered 121-127 in the 1850's. These buildings are located at the northern end of Sussex Street close to King Street and so at the opposite end to where I placed the Lancashire Arms.


 'Sussex Street at Grafton Wharf', original image produced by Kerry and Co studios, Sydney, c. 1884-1917. Powerhouse Museum Collection, No Known Copyright.




I consulted a number of websites, which I will list at the end of this blog, to research changes to street names in this area. A significant discovery was that in 1875, a street named Union Street had been changed to the name of Fowler Street. Now, at last, I had found evidence of the existence of a Union Street (not Lane). No reference was made regarding its location, other than it ran between Sussex and Kent Streets. I believed this to be a significant find, however, as the address was given in 1849 for the Lancashire Arms as Sussex Street and Union Lane.  Since most hotels which graced the corner of two streets at the time Alexander Whittle and his family were at the Lancashire Arms  gave their address using two streets, I felt that the Union Lane in the 1849 Licence document was very likely to have been Union Street. Now I just needed to find out where Union Street was located before the Darling Harbour Resumption of land began in 1900, which transformed, over time, a busy working wharfside area into an iconic leisure precinct which attracts many tourists to Sydney.

My research into the Darling Harbour resumption of land led me to a website where I found maps of the area from 1900. This was  an exciting find, because right there on Map K was Union Street running off Sussex Street just near Druitt Street. This was almost exactly where I had thought the hotel to be located, albeit it slightly further south than I had imagined. The map actually shows the location of the Hope and Anchor hotel which I had established as being near the Lancashire Arms.


Sussex Street in 1900 

The Hope and Anchor Hotel  on the corner of Sussex and Druitt Streets and Union Street off Sussex Street 

The conclusion I have reached, in the lack of any further evidence, and reliant upon the address of Sussex Street and Union Street being correct on the 1849 Publican's Licence, is that the Lancashire Arms was located in the block on Sussex Street between Druitt Street and Bathurst Street which puts its original location at around number 270-284 Sussex Street, or close to those numbers.  If you walk along Sussex Street just past the intersection of Sussex and Druitt Street and after number 284 Sussex you will find a lane called Druitt Lane. Druitt Lane is not registered as an historically significant laneway in the City of Sydney Management of Laneways Policy  , and there are no buildings historical consequence nearby so I have not been able to ascertain whether this may have been Union Lane originally. Certainly. I am convinced that it is very near the location of the Union Street or Union Lane mentioned in Alexander Whittle's Publican's Licence of June 21, 1848. 

On my next visit to NSW State Records, I plan to see if I can find more information with regard to the Lancashire Arms through a search of old maps or records, now that I have narrowed the paramiters for my search. 

A google search of the numbers 270-284 Sussex Street will allow you to 'walk' the section of Sussex Street where I believe Alexander Whittle's hotel was located.  On my next visit to the CBD in Sydney I will photograph the buildings in the area. Alexander Whittle and his family left Sydney for the lure of the Californian Gold Rush. In doing so his descendants, who might have continued to live in or around Sussex Street, avoided the outbreak of bubonic plague in the wharfside Sussex Street area in 1900. 

223-225 Sussex Street  and Druitt Lane during the bubonic plague outbreak 1900 Image ©©

Places change for a a variety of reasons. Buildings are transformed through change of ownership, entire precincts may be redeveloped and adapted for new use. Change can be instagated for economic or political reasons, as they were after WW1, when many German street and placenames were replaced by non German names. Change inevitably impacts present day searches into the past and family historians often need to think outside of the box when researching places where ancestors lived. Researching the community your ancestors lived in, investigating the lives of the people who lived near your ancestors, and exploring the history of change in the community can all help in your search for places where your forebears lived.

Below are some resources for assisting you to locate places in Sydney in precincts or streets which have changed or been redeveloped. I am certain that similar websites and sources are available for other cities, towns, suburbs and rural areas. Local history groups and libraries are an excellent place of reference for information about localities and the change that has taken place in them.

SPECIAL THANKS TO RANDY AND LINDA SEAVER FOR  GIVING ME PERMISSION TO WRITE ABOUT LINDA'S ANCESTOR ALEXANDER WHITTLE IN THIS BLOG. 

USEFUL SOURCES FOR RESEARCH IN SYDNEY

www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/learn/sydneys-history/people-and-places.streets
www.photosau.com.au/cosmaps/scripts/displayindex.asp?Index=AS  (Atlas of the suburbs of Sydney)
www.utube.com/watch?v=9ZFKkK2fw      (History of Sydney Street)
www.trove.nla.gov.au
www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/roads
www.rta.nsw.gov.au/environment/downloads/heritage/rta_thematic_history.pdf
www.ga.gov.au/place-names/index.html       ( Geoscience Australia - Placename Search)
www.coraweb.com.au/mapsland.htm
www.records.nsw.gov.au/