Launch of Birdwood Flag Restoration Project

Patricia-Dean

Very Reverend Stephen Williams, Dean of Newcastle giving speech at the launch ceremony

On a Friday morning, 22 April 2016, a nationally significant cultural initiative, The Birdwood Flag Restoration Project, was launched at Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle.

The Birdwood Flag in its original condition. [Courtesy of The University of Newcastle's Anglican Diocese Archives in Cultural Collections A6137(iv)]

The Birdwood Flag in its original condition. [Courtesy of The University of Newcastle’s Anglican Diocese Archives in Cultural Collections A6137(iv)]

Named in honour of General William Riddell Birdwood, the commander of the Australian forces on the western front, the Birdwood Flag Restoration Project aims to piece back together, and restore this highly significant Australian flag that served as the Australian ensign in World War 1. The Birdwood flag is of high national historic significance as it was the first recorded, and officially sanctioned presentation of an Australian flag in the field of war, created by a local community. Moreover, the Birdwood Flag is of outstanding social and historical significance for people of Newcastle since the funds raised for the flag’s creation and manufacture came from a public appeal organised by Miss Dora Sparke and the Newcastle Field Force Fund.

 Planning War Work

The story of the Birdwood Flag dates back a century ago, when a group of women in the Hunter, led by Dora Sparke, gathered the resources to send an Australian flag to fly over the ANZAC troops in Europe. These women took it upon themselves to make the lives of Australian troops a little better. For instance, they didn’t believe the standard issue socks that were provided to troops were of sufficient quality, so they set about knitting their own, that would be of superior quality and comfort. They also decided that it wasn’t good enough that our troops didn’t have a real Australian Flag to fight under, and so they set about manufacturing one, that ensured it was officially sanctioned. The work of the Newcastle community was presented at the General’s headquarters on a battlefield in Belgium, in September 1917, and served as the emblem of Australian soldiers during the war. It was to be passionately guarded until the time of victory.

ART03339
General Birdwood (Image Courtesy of Australian War Memorial )

It was during his national tour of Australia in 1920, that General Birdwood took the opportunity to offically hand back the Flag to Miss Dora Sparke, at a civic reception held on the 28 April 1920, and with it The Birdwood Flag returned to its cultural home, the city of Newcastle. It was perceived as a “memento of a glorious cause, and we would do all in our power to see that it was placed where no other enemy but Time could destroy it”. Beyond the intentions in its production, the flag is also an interesting symbol of the formation of Australian nationhood. Its use signifies the distinct identity of the Australian soldiers as a significant collective. What makes the flag even more significant is that such a declaration of national identity occurs about a decade after the Federation in 1901 and many years before recognition of the Australian national flag in 1954 under the “Flags Act 1953“.

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Fragment from the Birdwood flag, Image Courtesy ABC Newcastle

Following the Birdwood Flag’s rediscovery in 2013 lying in pieces within a shoebox inside a safe in the Cathedral, a meeting was held between the University of Newcastle’s Vice Chancellor, Caroline McMillen  and the Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, The Very Reverend Stephen Williams, to see what could be done to restore what was probably the most important cultural relic of the Great War in Australia, in anticipation of the Centenary of ANZAC commemorations. Inspired by the local community’s spirit, an action plan was formulated for the restoration of the rediscovered fragments of the Birdwood flag.

The Birdwood Heritage Committee (Birdwood Flag Committee) was formed under the leadership of Dr Patricia Gillard, and initial funding secured through the National Library’s Community Heritage Grants to complete the significance assessment phase.  In 2015, a funding application to the Copland Foundation was also successful. As a result of the committee’s efforts the restoration phase of the Birdwood Flag has offically begun since April 22, 2016.

Birdwood Group

From left: Major Roland Millbank, Birdwood Committee; Dr.Rosemary Barnard, Birdwood Comittee; Dr. Amir Mogadam, Conservator, UON; Mr. Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist, UON; Dr. Patricia Gillard, Birdwood Committee; Mr.Julian Bickersteth, Managing Director, ICS.

In this project, the Copland Foundation, Melbourne, International Conservation Services, Sydney, University of Newcastle (Australia) and Anglican Diocese of Newcastle’s Christ Church Cathedral, are collaborating to put the pieces of the flag back together again and tell the story of the community who enabled an official Red Australian Ensign to represent their troops during World War 1. As part of the ceremony a time lapse movie was screened showing the beginnings of conservation work being carried out by International Conservation Services in Sydney. It was quite an emotional moment to see the original stars of the Southern Cross begin to re-emerge within the fragments of the original flag.

Over many years our communities have become fraught with divisions and fragmentation, with people generally striving to seek their points of difference, rather than what they hold in common. It is hoped that this project is a small step towards bringing Australian communities closer together, as, in reconstructing this fragmented symbol of a local community’s care for its troops, so too it is hoped that the nation will rediscover its fragmented heart, and understand the forces that have shaped Australian national identity and the makeup of its culture and character.

Dr Amir Mogadam, Conservator and Mr Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist.

Donation Honours Memory of Griffith Duncan

I Look Ahead - Towards A Better World (University of Newcastle and Newcastle Teachers' College, later Newcastle College of Advanced Education Mottos)

I Look Ahead – Towards A Better World (University of Newcastle and Newcastle Teachers’ College, later Newcastle College of Advanced Education Mottos)

A small ceremony held in the University’s Auchmuty Library to mark the donation of a book to Cultural Collections has conjured memories of the legacy of one of the Hunter Region’s educational giants.

Griffith Duncan

The book was a presentation copy of the Poems and Plays of Oliver Goldsmith (1930) awarded as the Charles Oliver Prize to a 16 year-old Griffith Duncan, “for Magazine Articles”  by the Headmaster of Maitland High School (Mr Charles H. Chrismas) on the 16th December 1930.

The poems and plays of Oliver Goldsmith (1930)

The poems and plays of Oliver Goldsmith (1930)

The poems and plays of Oliver Goldsmith (1930)

The poems and plays of Oliver Goldsmith (1930)

Charles Oliver Prize plate within The poems and plays of Oliver Goldsmith (1930)

Charles Oliver Prize plate within The poems and plays of Oliver Goldsmith (1930)

This young man would go on to become foundation Principal of the Newcastle Teachers’ College, later incorporated as the Newcastle College of Advanced Education and Hunter Institute of Higher Education before it amalgamated with the University of Newcastle 1989. The book was donated by Mrs Pat Wilson, who along with her daughter Amanda, and friends Emeritus Professor John Hamilton and wife Alison handed the book over to Special Collections Librarian Lyn Keily and Mark Sutherland Associate Librarian (Research and Information Services).

Mrs Pat Wilson (in red) with daughter Amanda, presenting the book to Lyn Keily and Mark Sutherland (centre). Photo: Gregg Heathcote

Mrs Pat Wilson (in red) with daughter Amanda, presenting the book to Lyn Keily and Mark Sutherland (centre). Photo: Gregg Heathcote

The book had been passed on to Mrs Wilson by Griffith Duncan’s aunt, Annie Robson, now deceased. Mrs Wilson discussed the possibility to donate the book to the University’s Collections with her friends Emeritus Professor John Hamilton and wife Alison, which was accepted.

(l-r) Emeritus Professor John Hamilton, Alison Hamilton, Pat Wilson with daughter Amanda, Lyn Keily, Gionni Di Gravio)

(l-r) Emeritus Professor John Hamilton, Alison Hamilton, Pat Wilson with daughter Amanda, Lyn Keily, Gionni Di Gravio) Photo: Gregg Heathcote

As part of the occassion, a display of Newcastle Teachers’ College photo albums, as well as a recording of Huldha Turner speaking about the College days was played over a slide show of images of the 1949 Pioneer Session. This helped bring back memories of Griffith Duncan and his ongoing legacy and leadership in education to the Hunter Region and beyond.

Griffith Duncan Presentation and Slide Show of 1949 Pioneer Session Photographs

Griffith Duncan Presentation and Slide Show of 1949 Pioneer Session Photographs. Photo: Gregg Heathcote

 

The lasting impression he left on his students and staff has shaped their lives and the lives of all that followed. Huldah Turner summed it up in her parting address to Dr Douglas Huxley on the 4th March 1992:

 

“When I left the college in early 1967, we were still dreaming of our “permanent campus” and wondering if it was, after all, an unattainable pipe dream. However, in spite of our primitive campus those who knew the Union Street Experience claimed that it had camaraderie and a warm fierce loyalty unique in similar institutions. It had to be experienced to be understood.

This spirit was initiated and engendered by its Foundation Principal, Grif Duncan, a man of massive intellect, wide ranging cultural interests and infinite compassion.

He put students and staff before self and all who worked with him came to know his stature; unfaltering integrity, dedication to his college and profound understanding.

He loved his college. He was fiercely proud of it and he fought all the way for his better world.

The college motto of course was his:

“AD MELIOREM MUNDUM”
Towards a Better World

 

We thank Mrs Pat Wilson and family, as well as Emeritus Professor John Hamilton and wife Alison, for enabling this donation to the University of Newcastle. It has provided a humble reminder of what we are all here to achieve. In these times when the University of Newcastle is seeking to find its distinctive path in a new and challenging global environment, we cannot think of a better and more simple goal for the University, combining its motto with that of  Griff Duncan’s Newcastle Teachers’ College, igniting the powerful Promethian myth that knowledge and education can break the bonds of an enslaved mind, and ignite an eternal flame of ongoing freedom and progress for the good:

“I Look Ahead Towards A Better World”

Gionni Di Gravio
University Archivist
12 August 2015

Local Treasures: Greg Heys (1945-2007) Unfinished Doctoral Thesis Launch

The Late Greg Heys (1945-2007)

The Late Greg Heys (1945-2007)

Day Shift – 21/10/2014 – 02:10 PM
Presenter: Carol Duncan
Interviewees: Wendy Heys, Dr Bernie Curran and Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist, University of Newcastle (Australia)

Wendy Heys, wife of former Lord Mayor and University of Newcastle academic Greg Heys, Dr Bernie Curran and Gionni Di Gravio (Archivist) discuss the launch of Greg Heys unpublished and unfinished doctoral thesis on Democratic Governance and Sustainable Regional Development through the University of Newcastle Libraries.

Broadcast Notes:

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD GREG HEYS’ THESIS

FREE DOWNLOAD – Democratic Governance for Sustainable Regional Development. Theorising Regional Development Governance Processes for Achieving Ecologically Sustainable Development Objectives in the Hunter Region of New South Wales. By Greg Heys BSW (UNSW) MUrbStud (Macquarie) June 2007. (921KB PDF File)

From Wendy Heys and the Heys Family on behalf of the Editorial Team of Judy Conway, Dr Bernie Curran, Professor Brian English, Dr Moira Gordon AM and Len Regan. 

You are invited to the launch of the unfinished doctoral thesis of former Lord Mayor of Newcastle and University academic Greg Heys entitled ‘Democratic Governance for Sustainable Regional Development’.

By the time of his death in 2007, Greg had conducted a unique set of interviews with ‘champions for the Hunter’ and commenced writing his analysis based upon these.

Greg’s vision for regional development governance in the Hunter, together with the diverse understandings and motivations of the interviewees, underpins the thesis and justifies the decision to edit and publish Greg’s work in order to make it available for others.

The work will be launched by Professor Brian English, long-time friend and academic colleague of Greg at 5.30 PM, Wednesday 29th October 2014 in the Friends of the University Reading Room, Cultural Collections, Auchmuty Library at the University of Newcastle, Callaghan. ALL WELCOME.

Please RSVP to Dr Bernie Curran on (02) 49217453 or email bernard.curran@newcastle.edu.au

 

Editorial Team (l-r) Judy Conway, Dr Moira Gordon AM, Wendy Heys, Dr Bernie Curran, Len Regan and Professor Brian English at Launch of Greg Heys Unfinished Thesis on Democratic Governance 29th October 2014.

Editorial Team (l-r) Judy Conway, Dr Moira Gordon AM, Wendy Heys, Dr Bernie Curran, Len Regan and Professor Brian English at Launch of Greg Heys Unfinished Thesis on Democratic Governance 29th October 2014.

Professor Brian English addresses crowd which Wendy Heys with grand child and Dr Bernard Curran look on at Launch of Greg Heys Unfinished Thesis on Democratic Governance 29th October 2014.

Professor Brian English addresses crowd which Wendy Heys with grand child and Dr Bernard Curran look on at Launch of Greg Heys Unfinished Thesis on Democratic Governance 29th October 2014.

For further images from the Heys Family Collection please see our flickr site:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/uon/sets/72157648992815155/


Personal Profile – Greg Heys

Greg Heys was born on the 28th February 1945 in Sydney Australia. He married Wendy and had two children Sarah and Matthew, as well as two grandchildren. The family moved to Newcastle in 1982, and Greg lived there with his family until his death in 2007.

Greg matriculated from the Christian Brothers High School, Lewisham in 1962 and undertook theological studies for six years.

In 1972, Greg graduated from the University of New South Wales with a Bachelor of Social Work Degree.

Greg Heys Graduation as Bachelor of Social Work (UNSW) with wife Wendy and baby Sarah, May 1973. (Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Heys)

Greg Heys Graduation as Bachelor of Social Work (UNSW) with wife Wendy and baby Sarah, May 1973. (Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Heys)

In 1990 he completed a Masters of Urban Studies from Macquarie University. His thesis analysed regional development policy in the Hunter Region from the 1970s through the 1980s.

From 1973 to 1976 Greg worked as the first appointed Community Development Officer with Orange City Council where he established and managed a range of services such as neighborhood centers and child and youth facilities in new suburbs. From 1976 to 1980 he became Social Planner with the Bathurst-Orange Development Corporation, providing advice and identifying where social and community facilities needed to be established for the new population areas. From 1981 to 1982 he worked as a Regional Social Work Advisor for the heath Commission of New South Wales Central Western Region, Orange establishing social working networks, planning and facilities across health and related social welfare issues.

The family then moved to Newcastle, and from 1982 to 1988 Greg worked for the NSW Department of Community Services. He managed the Hunter Social Development Program for three years where he also provided advice on establishing and funding community services such as children’s services, transport and services for the elderly and women and youth refuges. Later he set up and managed the Home and Community Care program throughout the Hunter Region.

In 1988 Greg joined the staff of the Hunter Institute of Higher Education (HIHE) as a lecturer, where he taught students in the Bachelor of Social Science (Welfare). After the HIHE amalgamated with the University of Newcastle in 1989, he held a lecturer position in the Social Work Department at the University until his retirement in March 2000.

Greg Heys standing for Newcastle as Australian Labor Party candidate (Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Heys)

Greg Heys standing for Newcastle as Australian Labor Party candidate (Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Heys)

From 1991 to 1999, Greg entered local politics and was elected as a Labor councillor on Newcastle City Council. From 1995 to 1999 he was the popularly elected Lord Mayor of Newcastle.

Greg Heys as Lord Mayor of Newcastle circa 1995 (Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Heys)

Greg Heys as Lord Mayor of Newcastle circa 1995 (Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Heys)

Greg with former Lord Mayor Joy Cummings and wife Wendy, c1995 (Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Heys)

Greg with former Lord Mayor Joy Cummings and wife Wendy, c1995 (Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Heys)

In this capacity he was a director on the Honeysuckle Development Corporation and the Chairman of the Hunter Waste Planning and Management Board as well as serving on many committees. His leadership as Lord Mayor saw the hugely successful and groundbreaking Pathways to Sustainability Conference here in 1997, positioned Newcastle to be head of the pack of all other Australian cities in pursuing ecologically sustainable development policies and practices in the late 1990s.

Greenhouse Challenge 1997 (Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Heys)

Greenhouse Challenge 1997 (Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Heys)

Pathways to Sustainability Conference 1997 (Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Heys)

Greenhouse Challenge 1997 (Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Heys)

The Newcastle Declaration Endorsed at the International Conference Pathways to Sustainability 1-5 June 1997.

The Newcastle Declaration Endorsed at the International Conference Pathways to Sustainability 1-5 June 1997.

Commitment by Newcastle City Council to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of the City of Newcastle. 14th April 1998.

Commitment by Newcastle City Council to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of the City of Newcastle. 14th April 1998.

Greg with Prime Minister John Howard, circa 1998.

Greg with Prime Minister John Howard, circa 1998.

 

Greg lost the election in 1999 to incoming Lord Mayor John Tate. He was missed by many people who are reported to have said that he was “the best Lord Mayor of Newcastle ever”, as the following letter from a young Jonathan Moylan says:

Letter from Jonathan Moylan to Mr Heys 15th September 1999 (Courtesy of Wendy Heys)

Letter from Jonathan Moylan to Mr Heys 15th September 1999 (Courtesy of Wendy Heys)

Following his retirement from the University in March 2000, Greg then enrolled in a PhD researching governance models for sustainable regional development.

On the 29th August 2002 he was honored with being awarded The Newcastle Medal

Newcastle Medal awarded to Greg Heys in 2002

Newcastle Medal awarded to Greg Heys in 2002

While researching and writing his PhD, Greg worked in the Premiers Department of NSW as the senior project manager for the Hunter Community Renewal Scheme where he focussed on collaborating with 28 government not-for-profit organizations and community groups in delivering an eight pronged strategy to “improve the quality of life in Windale”.

Windale community thanks Greg Heys with honor board at Tree of Gratitude August 2007.

Windale community thanks Greg Heys with honor board at Tree of Gratitude August 2007.

Following this project he worked for Mission Australia between August 2004 to November 2005 to assess the feasibility of and to set up the Hunter Community Foundation over an 18 month contract. In 2006 he founded the Friends of the Regal Group to campaign to restore the community cinema that faced hard times.

Greg with Bruce Avard out the front of the Regal Cinema Birmingham Gardens in 2006.

Greg with Bruce Avard out the front of the Regal Cinema Birmingham Gardens in 2006.

From January 2007 and just prior to his death Greg was the Community Development and Planning Officer with Port Stephens Council implementing Council’s community and sustainable planning program.

Greg died aged 62 years on the 5th June 2007 at the Calvary Mater Hospital, after suffering a massive heart attack days before. The funeral was held on the 13th June 2007 at Our Lady of Victories Church in Shortland.

"Heys' talent for helping people" Daily Telegraph 6 June 2007

“Heys’ talent for helping people” Daily Telegraph 6 June 2007

"Farewell to Greg Heys" Newcastle Herald Editorial June 6th 2007

“Farewell to Greg Heys” Newcastle Herald Editorial June 6th 2007

"Death saddens city"Newcastle herald June 6the 2007 p.13

“Death saddens city”Newcastle herald June 6the 2007 p.13

Peter Lewis Cartoon published Newcastle Herald 11th June 2007 (With permission of Peter Lewis)

Peter Lewis Cartoon published Newcastle Herald 11th June 2007 (With permission of Peter Lewis)

"He sparked Newcastle's recovery" Sydney Morning Herald 17th June 2007

“He sparked Newcastle’s recovery” Sydney Morning Herald 17th June 2007

"Short, rich life an inspiration. Hundreds farewell man of integrity" Newcastle Herald 14th June 2007

“Short, rich life an inspiration. Hundreds farewell man of integrity” Newcastle Herald 14th June 2007

It was during the funeral service that his son Matthew lamented that his father had not finished his PhD on regional development, the final chapter was near completion when he died.

Wendy and Greg Heys circa 1997 (Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Heys)

Wendy and Greg Heys circa 1997 (Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Heys)

And it was to this end that a committed group of Greg’s friends and academic colleagues, led by his dedicated wife, Wendy, applied their minds and skills to editing and bringing the incomplete doctoral thesis to a point where it could be made available to the wider academic and regional communities of the Hunter and beyond.

The work can be downloaded directly from the link at the top of this post. It has also been uploaded into the University Libraries Encore database here:

http://encore.newcastle.edu.au/iii/cpro/DigitalItemViewPage.external?sp=1012409&sp=T

and shortly be also available in the NOVA Digital Repository here:

http://nova.newcastle.edu.au/vital/access/manager/Index

Greg Heys left a great legacy of service to the communities he served both as a committed social worker, University academic and political representative, please join us in celebrating the life and work of this remarkable man.

Greg photographed at his 60th birthday in 2005. (Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Heys)

Greg photographed at his 60th birthday in 2005. (Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Heys)

WHEN: 5.30 PM, Wednesday 29th October 2014

WHERE: Friends of the University Reading Room, Cultural Collections, Auchmuty Library at the University of Newcastle, Callaghan.

ALL WELCOME.

Please RSVP to Dr Bernie Curran on (02) 49217453 or email bernard.curran@newcastle.edu.au

Greg Heys in the Kimberley 2003 (Photo courtesy of Wendy Heys)

Greg Heys in the Kimberley 2003 (Photo courtesy of Wendy Heys)

 

For further research into the professional research work of Greg Heys please consult the Greg Heys Planning Collection held in Local Studies, Newcastle Public Library, Laman Street Newcastle.

A link to the holdings is here: https://nrpl.ent.sirsidynix.net.au/client/en_AU/newcastle/search/results?qu=greg+heys+planning+collection&te=&rt=false%7C%7C%7CSERIES%7C%7C%7CSeries

Local Treasures: The George Freeman Album

Front cover of George Freeman Album "Scraps"

Front cover of George Freeman Album “Scraps”

Day Shift – 18/03/2014 – 02:10 PM
Presenter: Carol Duncan
Interviewees: Mr Andrew Dodd and Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist, University of Newcastle (Australia)

Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist of the University of Newcastle introduces Mr Andrew Dodd, great grand son of photographer George Freeman. Andrew kindly provided an album of photographs held by the family to the University of Newcastle (Australia) so that selected images could be digitised. A number of these images are highly significant photographs of the town of Newcastle and surrounding coastal areas, and were taken around 1884, as he was certainly there photographing the wreck of the Susan Gilmore which occurred in July 1884.  It is reasonable to assume that while here he also photographed the city and surrounding areas, as The Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners’ Advocate reported on the 19th July 1884 (Ref:http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article135857993 ) that “Mr. Freeman, photographer, has shown us some excellent picturesque views of the marine scenery around Newcastle. They are well taken, and the photographs would adorn any album.”

Broadcast Notes:

The following information regarding George Freeman was prepared by Pamela Goodhart Dodd and Andrew Dodd from copies of original documents, photographs and newspaper cuttings held by the family. The accompanying images were digitised by Gionni Di Gravio. Clicking on the images below will take you to the high resolution images that are in the 2-6MB size range for closer examination.

The album contains around 66 photographs, along with a number of inserts, which are images, a letter, printed documents and posters. The album is in poor condition due to the acidic and brittle quality of the paper. We photographed the entire album for contextual purposes, and digitised the Newcastle related images in high resolution on an Epson Perfection V700 Scanner at the highest resolutions possible. Since the album was on loan, we did not digitise all the images in high resolution due to the time constraints and post processing.

To provide context for the images below, the whole album is available to be viewed as a PDF here: The George Freeman Album (25MB PDF File)

On behalf of the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections we wish to thank Andrew Dodd, Pamela Goodhart Dodd and family for allowing us to share this family treasure with the wider research community, and warmly welcome any feedback or information relating to any of the images or the photographer who captured them, George John Freeman.

GEORGE JOHN FREEMAN
b: 17 January 1843   d: 5 April 1895

Only known photograph of George Freeman (Courtesy of Pamela Goodhart Dodd)

Only known photograph of George Freeman (Courtesy of Pamela Goodhart Dodd)

A BRIEF HISTORY – Developing Australia

George was London born, raised, and well educated at the Bayswater Grammar, and in a letter he wrote to his father in 1857 he thanked him for buying  ‘ a set of apparatus for photography ‘. – this was his start to the interesting life that was in store for him choosing photography as a profession when he arrived in Australia.

George John Freeman arrived in Adelaide on the ship ‘Countess of Fife’, with his father George Freeman and step mother, leaving London on September 28, 1860. They arrived in the port of Adelaide, January 4th 1861. George  was 19 years of age, his diary of the voyage records, weather, land sightings, ports and events ,even when there were none to mention, the people he spoke with and ‘printed some photography’ to pass the time, then the excitement of sighting Kangaroo Island off the coast  of South Australia and the long awaited docking in Port Adelaide.

Street scene of King William Street Adelaide late 1870s. (Photograph by George Freeman)

Street scene of King William Street Adelaide circa 1870s. (Photograph by George Freeman)

He established a studio soon after arriving, renting properties in various locations and ran his studio from Rundle & Hindley Street premises.  George traveled the state photographing the growing townships and was fast becoming a photographer of some note and a character, traveling to Heathcote, Victoria, the Gold Fields in 1865,  in a guise of ‘a man in tatterd rags’ he sent photos home to England to an uncle for a monetary hand. In Melbourne and took photographs of the public gardens and buildings, is no know when he started using the name of the Melbourne Photographic Company – Wivell and Johnstone worked with him.

He was the sole agent for the Art Union of Victoria, exhibited paintings of Johnstone’s at the co-gallery. In the 1870s George was the leading fine  art entrepreneur. In 1873 he presented ‘dissolving views of oxhydrogen light’ – showing morally uplifting scenes from the ‘ Illustrated life of Christ, The bottle and the Drunkards children and the Pilgrims Progress’.  Newspapers reported – ‘Innovative and up to-date photography’, the press reported every novelty- ‘like   the Athenians of old, he is always looking for something new’. He experimented with luminous paint to make photos glow in the dark, glass transparencies, coloured sunsets and moonrise with ‘green moon tint observable in the moons rays’  – In 1874  recently dry plates assisted by flash powder, to make ‘instantaneous action photographs’.  Around this time he debunked  the new craze of spirit photographs demonstrating how they could be faked by partially exposing a plate to form light patches – ‘spirits’.

In 1874 presented an exhibition of British and Colonial paintings and photographs in Adelaide Town Hall. He also opened a picture gallery and ‘encouraged colonial artists to send their productions for exhibition.’ In 1875 he was commissioned to take Adelaide views, a panorama 11 feet long, form the top of the Advertiser Building, and one from Montifore Hill 6 feet long , for the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, USA, in 1876. George married Mary Sarah Goodhart in 1876, an Artist, they lived at the Hindley Street premises.

In 1877 he used the new  22×18 inch camera to take views that won him a bronze medal at The Paris Expo Universelle International, France, 1878, for his views -11′ x8′- of Adelaide from Montifore Hill, Adelaide Oval and Public Buildings. In 1879 his views of  Victor Harbour, Goolwa, Mount Gambier gained a third prize in the Sydney International 1880 ?, and for views of Adelaide again in the Melbourne International Exhibiton 1880 -‘ well calculated to give clear conception of our progress in architecture and the character of some of our scenery’.  His local work of portraits of the Governors of the State and family were highly acclaimed, also photographs of the opening of the Art Gallery with HRH Prince Albert and other noted persons. George was also the ‘first bearer of the Grand sword of the Order of the Grand Lodge of Ancient and Free and Accepted Masons of South Australia in 1884’.

Two unidentified Aboriginal Children (Photograph by George Freeman)

Two unidentified Aboriginal Children (Photograph by George Freeman)

Unidentified Aboriginal Child (Photograph by George Freeman)

Unidentified Aboriginal Child (Photograph by George Freeman)

Unidentified Aboriginal Children (Photograph by George Freeman)

Unidentified Aboriginal Children (Photograph by George Freeman)

He was not only a photographer but a ‘showman, entrepreneur’, he organised Art Unions with prize money both in South Australia and Melbourne, sold views of prominent buildings and sent to London as promotion of Adelaide, he also worked with Belcher in Adelaide. He produced the first double photo portraits known to be taken in the colony – ‘two portraits of a gentleman sitting and standing – ‘Ingenious’ – the South Australian Advertiser, and to top that he did a triple headed portrait of the Emperor of Prussia, the late French Emperor and Prince Bismark all in one bust ‘- dubbed the three headed monster by the press.

Mrs Macquarie's Chair, Sydney circa 1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, Sydney circa 1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

On the 26th February 1879 a devastating fire destroyed his premises in Hindley Street, they were then living in North Adelaide and was alerted by his apprentice, much of his work and photographic plates  and negatives were destroyed. In 1880 he patented an application for an ‘automatic fast holding door handle ‘, photographed shipwrecks , the Sorata at Cape Jervios , 7th September 1880.  In 1884, styling himself under the name of The Melbourne Photographic Company, his high profile in the South Australian press, George Freeman and Sarah decided to move to Sydney and worked in Newcastle. He possibly lived in Paramatta, Reynolds Street, Balmain, and in Newcastle.  ‘George Freeman  would set up business,  as soon as he finds suitable premises,’ July 10, 1884 –  reported by the Newcastle Register.

Two vessels in unidentified location (Sydney?) (Photograph by George Freeman)

Two vessels in unidentified location (Sydney?) (Photograph by George Freeman)

Photographing another shipwreck the Susan Gilmore, 3/7/1884, his work was noted – ‘the rocks and headlands are shown in the photograph and therefore accurate’ – The Newcastle Morning Herald- his photos were used for auction of the wreck.

Unattributed photograph of the Wreck of the Susan Gilmore (Slide C917-0504 in the John Turner Collection University of Newcastle) Could this be Freeman's image?

Unattributed photograph of the Wreck of the Susan Gilmore (Slide C917-0504 in the John Turner Collection University of Newcastle) Could this be Freeman’s image?

The image above was recently unearthed among the research slides of the late Dr John Turner, held in the University of Newcastle Cultural Collections. It is taken from a different perspective to the more popular image circulating of the wreck taken from the beach. Dr Turner does not provide a source for the above image, but compare it with another recently located by Dr Ann Hardy in the Hyde Family Album at the NSW State Library. The image appears to have been taken at the same time, from the position of the people in the photograph.

Photograph of Wreck of Susan Gilmore, 1884, from Hyde Family Album PXA-1445-Box5 taken by Dr Ann Hardy 2012 (Courtesy of NSW State Library)

Photograph of Wreck of Susan Gilmore, 1884, from Hyde Family Album PXA-1445-Box5 taken by Dr Ann Hardy 2012 (Courtesy of NSW State Library)

The photograph taken below from the beach does appear to match the Freeman photograph description description from The Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners’ Advocate story published on the 14th July 1884 p.3 showing what appears to be Rocket Brigades’ life lines in the sand extending to the waterline. : http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article135857067

Wreck of the Susan Gilmore (Courtesy of the State Library of NSW) http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemPopLarger.aspx?itemid=393087

Wreck of the Susan Gilmore (Courtesy of the State Library of NSW) http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemPopLarger.aspx?itemid=393087

Wreck of the Susan Gilmore.

IN addition to the usual attractive contents of the Sydney Mail, the issue of Saturday last contains a very spirited three quarter-page engraving of the above disaster. The artist has very ably depicted the most exciting event in connection with the wreck – viz., that in which the captain’s wife is being rescued by the aid of the life lines at the hands of the gallant Newcastle Rocket Brigade. The engraving is taken from a photographic view of the wreck by Mr. G. Freeman, of this city, and forms a capital souvenir of the loss of the Susan Gilmore.

He photographed public buildings in Newcastle and Sydney, including the Town Hall, Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour and streets of the city.

Hunter Street Newcastle near current Lockup Museum and Post Office. Circa 1880s. (Photograph by George Freeman)

Hunter Street Newcastle near current Lockup Museum and Post Office. Circa 1880s. (Photograph by George Freeman)

Bolton Street Newcastle, circa 1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

Bolton Street Newcastle, circa 1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

Newcastle Harbour taken from Stockton, circa 1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

Newcastle Harbour taken from Stockton, circa 1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

Newcastle wharves circa 1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

Newcastle wharves circa 1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

Unidentified man on Newcastle coastline circa 1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

Unidentified man on Newcastle coastline circa 1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

Decorative arrangement of shells, and marine ornamental art in Newcastle (Photograph by George Freeman)

Decorative arrangement of shells, and marine ornamental art in Newcastle (Photograph by George Freeman)

The Horse-Shoe, (now King Edward Park) circa 1880s. (Photograph by George Freeman)

The Horse-Shoe, (now King Edward Park) circa 1880s. (Photograph by George Freeman)

Cliff overlooking Bogey Hole, circa 1880s. (Photograph by George Freeman)

Cliff overlooking Bogey Hole, circa 1880s. (Photograph by George Freeman)

Newcastle Breakwater (Macquarie Pier) taken from Nobbys circa 1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

Newcastle Breakwater (Macquarie Pier) taken from Nobbys circa post 1894 (Photograph by George Freeman)

The Pilgrim Boston coal loading in Newcastle Harbour circa 1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

The Pilgrim Boston coal loading in Newcastle Harbour circa 1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

Coaling ships at Newcastle Wharf, Nobbys in distance circa 1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

Coaling ships at Newcastle Wharf, Nobbys in distance circa 1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

Two horses on shoreline, possibly near present day Newcastle Ocean Baths site c.1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

Two horses on shoreline, rock platform possibly near present day Newcastle Ocean Baths site c.1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

Closeup of ocean rock platform and crashing waves (Photograph by George Freeman)

Closeup of ocean rock platform and crashing waves (Photograph by George Freeman)

Closeup of Newcastle coastline with clashing waves. (Photograph by George Freeman)

Closeup of Newcastle coastline with clashing waves. (Photograph by George Freeman)

Closeup of Newcastle coastline (Photograph by George Freeman)

Closeup of Newcastle coastline (Photograph by George Freeman)

Newcastle coastline circa 1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

Newcastle coastline circa 1880s (Photograph by George Freeman)

His beloved wife Sarah died of typhoid in 1885, (Newcastle or Sydney) leaving a young family for George and the older children to care for. George continued to photograph buildings and scenes in Parramatta, Sydney and Newcastle. He was also an interpreter of languages for the Sydney and Adelaide courts. In 1890 his health suffering he returned to Adelaide with his family and set up another photographic business promoting photography exhibitions, he bought the camera obscura to Australia with a tent show at Genelg Beach.

George John Freeman died on 5th April 1895.

In the 1870’s there were known to be 700 photographers in Australia – it was big business !

George John Freeman studios out did Duryea, Townshend and Robert Hall. George Freeman’s 34 year photographic  career encompassed skill and showmanship along with an ingenious entrepreneurial style that recorded the early years of Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle, country towns and views and bought new and exciting innovations to the colony as  a ‘photographer of some note’ to which we are proud to uncover more of his work, and learn more about the man who was our great-grandfather and the legacy he left behind.

The National Library of Australia, Canberra (Trove collection – of 21 photographs he exhibited for the Philadelphia Exhibition )

The Adelaide State Library has a collection of photographs including a family history , a scrap-book and memorabilia.
Author : Pamela Goodhart Dodd – Great Grand Daughter of George John Freeman
( Information from family history copies of document,photographs and newspaper cuttings )
Copyright 2014 Andrew Dodd

Street lamp on bridge over unidentified river. (Photograph by George Freeman)

Street lamp on bridge over unidentified river. (Photograph by George Freeman)

University of Newcastle Libraries awarded federal Community Heritage Grant

UoN Conservator Amir Mogadam receiving Certificate from National Library representative.

Anne McLean National Archives of Australia presenting certificate to UoN Conservator Amir Rezapourmogadammiyandabi

Cultural Collections in the Auchmuty Library, University of Newcastle (Australia) has been awarded a $4,000 federal Community Heritage Grant to fund a Significance Assessment of the Margaret Senior illustration collection.

The grant was announced at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, on Tuesday, 29 October, 2013.

This year, grants worth $426,000 have been distributed to 77 community groups and organisations from around Australia to assist in the identification and preservation of community owned but nationally significant heritage collections. In addition, University Conservator Amir Rezapourmoghadammiyandabi from the Auchmuty Library’s Cultural Collections attended a three-day intensive preservation and collection management workshop held at the National Library, the National Archives of Australia, the National Museum of Australia and the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra.

Community Heritage Grants 2013 Recipents, National Library of Australia 29th October 2013

Community Heritage Grants 2013 Recipients, National Library of Australia 29th October 2013

Dr Anne Llewellyn Head of School of Design Communication and IT said the grant was important in supporting the effort to preserve the Margaret Senior Collection at the grassroots level. “While the grant provides the funds, the workshop offers the expertise to help us protect our collection and make it accessible while it remains in the local context,” she said. “This grant will enable a professional assessment to be conducted for the Collection, in order to plan its ongoing preservation and conservation needs into the long term”.

Director-General of the National Library of Australia, Ms Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, said the CHG program showed the commitment by the National Library, along with its partner institutions and the Federal Government, in encouraging communities to care for the nation’s heritage, be it in small country towns or capital cities.

“It is all about working together to help spread the message that if we don’t preserve our history now, it could be lost forever,” she said. “Through sharing this knowledge, the information can be taken back to the communities where it is most needed to ensure that local heritage collections are still there for future generations.”

The grant money is used for significance assessments, preservation needs assessments, conservation treatments, preservation training, digitisation, and purchasing quality storage materials or environmental monitoring equipment.

The Community Heritage Grants Program is funded by the Australian Government through the National Library of Australia; Ministry for the Arts, Attorney-General’s Department; the National Archives of Australia; the National Film and Sound Archive; and the National Museum of Australia.

The Joan Bowden Collection

The Joan Bowden Collection

Recently Cultural Collections in the University Library was privileged to receive a collection of sheet music, photographs, news clippings and theatre programs which had belonged to a local identity, Joan Bowden (1935-2013). We are very pleased to have been entrusted with this material by her family, especially her cousin, Gayle Brown. Here is Joan’s story, provided by her family.

joan - redThe Joan Bowden Story

Joan Bowden was the elder, by twenty minutes of a set of twins born to Maud and Walter Bowden on June 11th 1935, in Hillcrest Salvation Army Hospital at Merewether. Joan’s mother Maud was unaware that she was having twins, so preparation had only been made for one baby – not two, what a surprise!

Warren James – Joan’s twin was very sickly, so he was given the proper baby’s cot whilst Joan’s bed was the washing basket. Warren died 6 months before his 21st birthday so Joan celebrated their 21st birthday alone.

Joan cutting her 21st birthday cake

Joan cutting her 21st birthday cake

Joan and Warren had an older sister – Gladys June, who died at 7 years of age during the Diphtheria epidemic of the 1930s when she was mistakenly given a

n adult injection instead of a child’s dose.

Joan and Warren were born 12 months later. Joan also had health problems because, at birth her eyelids refused to open, and it wasn’t until a relative – Mrs Walton of Lambton suggested heating lump Alum in boiling milk then bathing the eyelids in the “whey” it produced so that the eyes eventually opened.

Joan’s grandmother ran outside shouting with excitement, “Quick Maud, Joan’s eyes are open and they are blue”.

Joan lived in May Street, Islington till she was 5 years of age. During WWII the family moved to Northumberland Street, Maryville. Joan attended Islington and Tighes Hill Primary then finished her education at Wickham Home Science School.

Joan’s first job was as cashier and window dresser at McGavin’s Butcher shop in Hunter Street Newcastle and she worked there 13 years.

Joan’s musical talents were encouraged at an early age by her grandmother Walton, who was once organist at The Tabernacle Church in Sheldon England. Her grandmother taught her the scales on the piano.

Joan on stage

Joan on stage

At 17 years Joan entered a Talent Show on Radio 2KO mimicking Johnny Ray singing “Broken Hearted”, Hazel Evans accompanied her on the piano. As Joan left the studio Matthew Tapp said “You have a great voice, why don’t you get it trained?”. “How could I do that?” Joan asked, his reply was “Colin Chapman Studios”.

Joan joined Colin Chapman and over the next 30 years was part of many productions and excelled in “Look Back in

My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady

Anger” by J.B. Priestley when, due to her performance she was recommended for a Dramatic Arts Award. Another production “They Came To A City” by J.B. Priestley was reported in the newspaper as follows……”The night’s best performance was that of Joan Bowden who played the titled woman’s daughter, assuredly”.

June 1962 saw Joan sailing for England on a 2½ year working holiday, which gave her the opportunity to study singing under the famous teacher Gwen Cately.

Joan’s love of singing and performing continued right through her life.

She  regularly entertained in nursing homes and church meetings with the “Le Belle Dancers”.

From 1975 Joan became an Amway Distributor, becoming a very successful business woman marketing their products and left The Store in 1978 to do Amway full time going for the first of many trips with that company.

After a courageous, hard fought battle with illness, Joan passed away on 6 February 2013.

The following slide show features some photos which were kindly supplied by her family.

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Newcastle Civic Precinct and Ancient Architecture

Dr Marguerite Johnson presented her paper entitled “What to look for in a mayor: Newcastle Civic Precinct and Ancient Architecture” on the 15th March 2013 in Cultural Collections (Auchmuty Library) University of Newcastle (Australia)

The Seminar was organised by the Discipline of Ancient History and the Classical Languages. The video was filmed by Gregg Heathcote, and produced by Gionni Di Gravio.

Her published paper entitled ‘What to Look for in a Mayor; or Classical Reception in the Coalopolis’ is available here:

http://theamphoraissue.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/preview-of-mhj-40-2-the-amphora-issue/

or here:

Dr Marguerite Johnson – What to Look for in a Mayor; or Classical Reception in the Coalopolis (619KB PDF File)

It was in part inspired by our previous post on Mayor Morris Light entitled: What to look for in a Mayor? The Life and Legacy of Morris Light (1859- 1929)

https://uoncc.wordpress.com/2008/09/11/what-to-look-for-in-a-mayor/

For further information:

Here are the details from the NSW Heritage site regarding the listing of the Newcastle Town Hall, along with detail on the building and its architect:

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/ViewHeritageItemDetails.aspx?ID=5055746

and Civic Theatre

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/ViewHeritageItemDetails.aspx?ID=5060931

The original photographs of the plans of the Newcastle Town Hall on the blog page (by Allan Chawner):
https://uoncc.wordpress.com/2008/09/11/what-to-look-for-in-a-mayor/

High resolution images from our plan scanner are on our flickr site here (just remember to right mouse click and select original size:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uon/6047538211/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uon/6048088154/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uon/6048089410/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uon/6048087486/

The film of the announcement of NSW heritage Listing for both buildings is here:
http://youtu.be/7XvSp1d4oFE

Gionni Di Gravio
University Archivist

The Derkenne Courtyard

Warren Derkenne (Image Courtesy of Mrs Beverley Derkenne)

On the 14th August 2012 the newly re-designed and refurbished Derkenne Courtyard was re-opened to the University community.

The Derkenne Courtyard was originally named in 1990 in honour of Warren Derkenne (1933-1999), the former President of the University Union (1964-1966) and Warden of Convocation.

Warren Gerard Derkenne LLB (Syd), BA (Hons) (New) was educated at Newcastle Boys’ High School and majored in English at the University of Newcastle, from which he graduated with honours, second class first division, in 1968.

While he studied, he was President of the University’s Union and was involved in the planning of the Shortland Building, within which this very courtyard stands.

After graduating, Mr Derkenne remained active and involved with his alma mater, and made a significant contribution through his role as an alumnus. He became a convocation member of University Council in 1966 and on the 7 May 1971 was elected Warden of Convocation, succeeding Joe Talty. He was Warden until May 1974.

Through the Council and University committees, Mr Derkenne lent his expertise across the University on a number of important issues ranging from advocating for the establishment of a law school to overseeing the fundraising by Convocation to purchase the doors to our Great Hall. He retired from Council in 1983, and was awarded an honorary Master of Arts by the University in 1990.

Mrs Beverley Derkenne and family (Photograph by Gionni Di Gravio)

The Derkenne Courtyard was officially unveiled and re-opened by the University of Newcastle’s Vice Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen and Mrs Beverley Derkenne.

Given his contribution and passion for the University, it is apt that one of the most recognised and vital spaces on the Callaghan campus for the University community is named the Derkenne courtyard. It has long been a favourite spot for staff and students to relax, catch up with friends, listen to live music, or according to history, stage a few protests!

[We acknowledge the research assistance of Scott Brewer of the UoN50 Project and Kate Robinson in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor in the preparation of this post]

Local Treasures: The Athel D’Ombrain Archive

Athel D’Ombrain

Day Shift – 15/11/2011 – 02:10 PM – forthcoming
Presenter: Carol Duncan
Interviewee: Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist, Newcastle University

University of Newcastle Archivist Gionni Di Gravio discusses the recent digitisation of the Athel D’Ombrain Archive comprising of over 2,500 negatives, and talks about his life and extraordinary contribution to the Hunter Region.

Broadcast Notes:

The Athel D’Ombrain Archive was donated with the University of Newcastle Archives in 1982.

The following notes are from an 1981 article in the University News entitled “University Post” (Vol. 7 No. 12 July 1981 p.[3]) supplemented with further notes from a variety of websites. He left an incredible and varied legacy in the wider Regional community. These photographs are an outstanding document of his life’s work and contribution to the natural world,  history, architecture, science and art. They document many historical buildings throughout the Hunter Region, prior to restoration. They also document buildings and structures no longer extant.

The negatives were digitised by Sharon Mee and Michael Sherriff, and both should be congratulated for scanning the two and a half thousand odd negatives that are very challenging to handle. Sharon is currently uploading the negatives to our flickr site here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uon/sets/72157627892125061/

Here is a selection:

Rear view of Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Mr. Sam McKeachie looking through upstairs window, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Well and shutters, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24 1961Bats in cellar, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Wire winding wheel in cellar, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Wire winding wheel in cellar, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Wire winding wheel in cellar, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Steps to cellar, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Roof showing storm damage, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Peg Bartlett in 100 year old period dress looking out of top window (coloured negative), Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Rear view, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Rear view, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Side view, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Front doorway, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961
Colonnades and front verandah, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961From across the river, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Wallpaper, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Relative of Captain Cromarty with punt shotgun, Bob's Farm - September, 1973Peg Bartlett in 100 year old period dress looking out top window, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Front verandah showing front door, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Stairway with cedar doors, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961
Front and side view with Mr. McKeachie standing in front, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Fireplace, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1977]Picture frame, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1977]Western aspect, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1977]Ground floor rooms, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1977]Ground floor rooms, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1977]Showing damage to walls and general condition, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1977]
Showing damage to walls and general condition, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1977]Cedar doors, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Damage to ceilings, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Corner of Room, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Fireplace, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Corner of Room, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Damage above doorways, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]
Dome, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Damage to walls, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Fireplace, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Damage above fireplace, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Living room, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Fireplace, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Swallows nest in one of the smaller rooms, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]

Pre-Restoration, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Windows - pre-restoration, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]White-ant damage, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Damage to rear chimney, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Damage to rear chimney, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Columns and water tanks, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Columns and water tanks, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]

Pre-Restoration, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Stages of interior restoration, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Stages of interior restoration, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Stages of interior restoration, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Stages of interior restoration, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia [1978]Exterior photographs, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building (for the National Trust), Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - August, 1981Exterior photographs, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building (for the National Trust), Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - August 1981
Exterior photographs, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building (for the National Trust), Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - August, 1981Western end, Exterior photographs, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building (for the National Trust), Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - August, 1981Western end, Exterior photographs, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building (for the National Trust), Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - August, 1981Front, Exterior photographs, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building (for the National Trust), Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - August, 1981Front and side, Exterior photographs, Pre-Restoration photographs to record the condition of the building (for the National Trust), Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - August, 1981Armstrong Galleries, Morpeth with Campbell's Store in the background, NSW, AustraliaArmstrong Galleries, Morpeth with Campbell's Store in the background, NSW, AustraliaAnlaby's InnAnlaby's InnAnlaby's InnAnambah, Maitland, NSW, Australia [1964]Statue on stairway, Anambah, Maitland, NSW, Australia [1964]Ironwork from the roof, Anambah, Maitland, NSW, Australia [1964]Angel Inn, Maitland, NSW, Australia - July 1, 1966
Angel Inn, Maitland, NSW, Australia - July 1, 1966Proprietors and crowd having the last drink, Angel Inn, Maitland, NSW, Australia - July 1, 1966Proprietors and crowd having the last drink, Angel Inn, Maitland, NSW, Australia - July 1, 1966Australian Agricultural Company - remains of stone wharf at Booral, NSW, Australia - August 17, 1976Australian Agricultural Company - remains of stone wharf at Booral, NSW, Australia - August 17, 1976Australian Agricultural Company - remains of stone wharf at Booral, NSW, Australia - August 17, 1976Australian Agricultural Company - remains of stone wharf at Booral, NSW, Australia - August 17, 1976
Booral House, NSW, Australia - July, 1975Boydells Caegwrle, Allynbrook, NSW, Australia - September, 1976Boydells Caegwrle, Allynbrook, NSW, Australia - September, 1976Boundary stones, Maitland, NSW, AustraliaBoundary stones, Maitland, NSW, AustraliaBoundary stones, Maitland, NSW, AustraliaBoydells Caegwrle, Allynbrook, NSW, Australia - September, 1976
North East boundary stone, Colinson St. Tenambit (Mr. and Mrs. Crisps property), NSW, AustraliaBoundary stone (location not specified)Boundary stone at St. Johns College, Morpeth, NSW, AustraliaPeter Buntings house, Cnr of Lawes and William Street, East Maitland, NSW, AustraliaPeter Buntings house, Cnr of Lawes and William Street, East Maitland, NSW, AustraliaBrough House, Church, West Maitland [as it was when it was the Girls' High School Hostel, before alteration], NSW, Australia - May [1979?]Staircase of Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961
Staircase of Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Staircase of Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Staircase of Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Staircase of Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961Staircase of Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961
Athel D’Ombrain A.M. (1901-1985) was a photographer, optician, naturalist, author, cricketer, pioneer angler, game fisherman and historian.

He was born in Casterton in the Western District of Victoria in 1901. His father, a general practitioner, was one of the pioneer ornithologists of Australia, and had helped in the formation of the Royal Australian Ornithologists’ Union. It was through his father, and the excursions they shared together, that Athel learnt about the natural world. His interest was further developed by living on the north shore in Sydney at a time when the suburb was sparsly settled and a fine place in which to study birds and animals.

He attended Shore College, Sydney between 1913-18. After being educated at Shore, and realising that his interests were not academic,  he later studied agriculture at Hawkesbury Agricultural College, and worked on the land at Somersby, garnering much success as a citrus-grower. He was part winner of a Wembly Medal and winner of several prizes in local citrus shows.

Athel had also studied optometry and when his brother, Arthur, an opthalmic surgeon, said he should move to Maitland and work with him as a manufacturing optician he said he would. In 1929 he moved to Maitland to work as an optical dispenser at his brother’s practice, and for over 20 years was associated with his brother in Maitland, and later for some years in Newcastle.

Athel was a well respected cricketer with the Northern Suburbs Cricket Club. Known as ‘Dorn’ to his fellow cricketers, his first A Grade season (1929-1930) marked the beginning of an association with the Club that would last over fifty years.

Besides playing, he was also served as Secretary from 1930-36, and later conducted Coaching Classes. In recognition of his long playing and administrative services, he was made a Life Member of the Club in the early sixties and Patron from 1968.

In 1934 he, along with Wallace Fitness, approached the secretary of the Hunter River Agricultural and Horticultural Association Show Society, asking whether they could display some local photographs in the Fine Arts Pavilion at the 1934 annual Maitland Show. The request was accepted, and so was founded the Maitland Salon of Photography.  In 1946 Maitland Salon became an Australian Photographic Society approved Salon and then in 1958 became an International Salon with approval from the Photographic Society of America and finally in 1982 the federation International De L’ Art Photographique granted its patronage.

In February 1936, he married Esma Drew, of Clarencetown, by whom he had a son, Robin, who later became a Technical Officer in Chemical Engineering. Esma died in May 1980.

Around 1950 Athel retired from optometry and became a photographer for The Maitland Mercury. After the 1955 flood hit his home he left the newspaper and established a commercial photographic business in Maitland. Concurrent with these activities he was a “photo-finish operator” at the Maitland Showground and a stringer cameraman.

Through the efforts of Athel and Newman Silverthorne, the Newcastle and Port Stephens Game Fish Club was formed with Headquarters at Bundabah on the northern side of the Port. In 1935 the fishing enthusiasts built a clubhouse at Shoal Bay. “There was not one house at the bay at this time – nothing but bush”, he says. The Fish Club was taken over by the Army in the Second World War, following which it was incorporated into the Country Club Hotel. He was renown as a pioneer angler who adopted a scientific approach to the sport and who was very successful in the post war years. He is credited with devising the now widely accepted tag and release concept for big game fishes, commencing his first experiments in 1938.

Athel was an expert naturalist especially on Port Stephens and its flora and fauna. For example, he visited Cabbage Tree Island regularly for 44 years observing and banding the sea bird called Gould’s Petrel. The island is the only known nesting place of the species.

He also enjoyed looking at the birds in the wetlands at Hexham as he travelled between Maitland and Newcastle in the train. Previously he had contributed several articles to the Newcastle Morning Herald. In 1965 he wrote a piece about the birds at Hexham, which came under the notice of the Herald’s Editor at the time, Mr E.K. Lingard, who liked the story so much he asked Athel to write a weekly column. For some time he became a Saturday correspondent for The Herald. He also authored a number of published books, ‘Game Fishing Off the Australian Coast’ and ‘Fish Tales’, and an unpublished account of Gould’s Petrel, called ‘North East of Toomaree’, and an unpublished autobiography

His newspaper articles and books contributed a great deal to the unfolding of the wonders of nature. Moreover, he was continually identifying specimens found in the bush and backyards for individuals.

On the 9 June 1975, in recognition of his service to photography and the study of nature, he was awarded Member of the Order of Australia.

In 1981 he was invited to become a Convocation Visiting Scholar at the University of Newcastle, the third to hold the position since its inception in 1977.

As a result of his photographic work over many years, he amassed a monumental collection of photographs relating to the Hunter Valley. One of his roles as Convocation Visiting Scholar was to work in association with Denis Rowe (University Archivist) in the Archives in the Auchmuty Library, cataloguing his photographs and organising the articles about nature that he had written for the Newcastle Herald.

He continued to write his columns up until a few months prior to his death at age 83 in 1985. According to his son, Mr Robin D’Ombrain, he wrote a total of 995 articles for the Newcastle Herald.

He was a member of the Royal Australian Orthnologist’s Union, an Associate of the Australian Museum and a Member of the Order of Australia.

Welcoming the Scott Sisters Home to Newcastle

Plate 1 from the Australian Lepidoptera (1864)

To celebrate the recent purchases of three original Scott Sisters works through the University’s Reta Light Memorial Trust and Vera Deacon Regional History Fund Cultural Collections in the Auchuty Library is launching a Welcoming the Scott Sisters back to Newcastle Exhibition dedicated to their legacy in the service of science and art.

When: Tuesday 20 September 2011, 10am – 12pm
Where: Cultural Collections Auchmuty Library, University of Newcastle (Under the Mirror Ball)
Guest Speaker: Dr Anne Llewellyn
Cost: Free

The Exhibition will feature the three recently purchased Scott Sisters works, and printed illustrations from the books. In addition we will display the work of the University’s Nature Illustration students, along with life size models, and the ongoing restorative work of the Kooragang Wetland Rehabilitation Project that have been working on Ash Island, the original home of the Scott Sisters, over the past 18 years.

View the set of plates on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/uon/sets/72157627585881887/

In so bringing the Scott Sisters back the Newcastle the University of Newcastle:

– brings into its custody the exceptional scientific achievements of the entomologist and entrepreneur Alexander Walker Scott (1800-1883), and his talented daughters Harriet (1830-1907) and Helena (1832-1910), artists and naturalists, who were educated and worked on Ash Island documenting Australian plants, animals and insects. This is of immense Local, National and International significance.

Scott's Australian Lepidoptera Plate 4

– actively supports the historical legacy of this environmental and scientific education in our students, especially those particularly enrolled in Dr Anne Llewellyn’s Natural History Illustration Course, the only course of its kind in an Australian University, and one of a handful worldwide, as well as those in environmental sciences and history. This interdisciplinary course is testament to the continuing legacy of the superb work of the Scott Sisters.

Plate 11 - Scott's Australian Lepidoptera (1864)

– promotes and supports the work of the Kooragang Wetland Rehabilitation Project and their University partners and volunteers, such as the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment, that is actively rehabilitating natural landscapes and ecosystems that have been destroyed over the past 200 years of industrial development.

– promotes our Region’s story and place in the context of the ‘Beauty from Nature’ National Exhibition currently underway in the Australian Museum highlighting the work of the Scott Sisters, where all their original plates, archives, manuscripts and scientific and artistic tools and specimens are held. See http://australianmuseum.net.au/Scott-Sisters-Butterfly-and-Moth-Drawings

Plate 19 - Scott's Australian Lepidoptera (1864)

– promotes a greater respect and awareness for the pre-colonial, indigenous natural environment and the knowledge and sustainable practices of the Aboriginal people who lived on the Islands for thousands of years prior to the arrival of European peoples.

Frontispiece - Scott's Australian Lepidoptera Volume 2 showing the original pier and entrance to Scott's house and farm from the River

In addition copies of the (hot of the press) Butterflies and Bushland The illustrated guide to Ash Island Butterflies by Rosie Heritage and Julian Brougham will also be available for sale with a selection of twenty three (23) beautiful original paintings by Rosie Heritage, the illustrations used in the book ‘Butterflies and Bushland’, on display.

The book was made possible through a Department of Environment and Sustainability and Climate Change Caring for Our Country Grant, and continues the legacy of the work of Alexander Walker Scott and his two talented daughters Helena and Harriet, who, through their mastery of science and art, captured the flora and Lepidoptera of Ash Island, transforming it “into a place of scientific interest world wide.” Ash Island is gradually re-establishing its former splendor, after years of industrial degradation, through the work of the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority and the volunteers of the Kooragang Wetland Rehabilitation Project.  This book is the field guide to the environmental re-birth of this magical place and its butterflies.

I hope you can join us in welcoming the Scott Sisters back to Newcastle and celebrating their continuing legacy through the University and community.

Gionni Di Gravio
University Archivist

The Scott Sisters on Ash Island.

Text of the speech delivered by Dr Anne Llewellyn on the occasion of the Launch of the Exhibition

Harriet and Helena Scott are currently being celebrated in an exhibition at the Australian Museum.  Their work has remained largely unrecognized for 150 years since they lived and worked on Ash Island researching and illustrating the plants, insects and animals that inspired them.  Marion Ord’s 1988 publication that included reproductions of the plants and butterflies of the island reintroduced the world to the work of the Scott’s and reminded us of a world on Ash Island that has been largely lost as a result of heavy industry that used the Island as a dumping ground.

Tutored and guided by their father Alexander Walker Scott, a noted entrepreneur and entomologist, Harriet and Helena enjoyed the beautiful natural environment of Ash Island for a period of twenty years faithfully recording and documenting the wildlife around them.  The 2560 acres of land on the island was originally granted to AW Scott in 1829 but it wasn’t until 1846 after his marriage to Harriet Calcott that the family took up residency on Ash Island.  The home they moved into was modest described as being ‘ a simple house with a verandah, sheltered by pines and a huge Moreton Bay fig tree, with a plantation of orange trees behind a modest garden’.  The Scott’s oranges were reputed to be the best in the colony and were sent to the Sydney market.
Harriet and Helena then aged 16 and 14 mixed with prominent scientists and artists and the Island was often visited by memorable guests such as, Ludwig Leichhardt, the artist Conrad Martens and the ornithologist John Gould likely also visited.  Walker Scott is acknowledged by Gould in the 1865 publication of Birds of Australia as having shown him a brood of Grey Goshawks. The Scotts welcomed and entertained the colonies and visiting rich, famous and most interesting characters.

As a member of the Entomology Society of New South Wales and as a trustee of the Australian Museum, AW Scott was in a good position to introduce his talented daughters to the scientific elite. Harriet and Helena had some obvious advantages over their contemporaries in having this close contact with the scientific community that enabled them to seek advice and close scrutiny of their artwork.  As a result of their work on Lepidoptera, the sisters were made honorary members of the Entomological Society of NSW, a rare tribute for women of their day.

The Australian Museum collection of Scott papers, which largely covers the Lepidoptera, indicates that their research was meticulous and included written descriptions, notes and illustrations of each species.  Two notebooks contain numbered observations that align to numbers on the field sketches and when viewed together, each provides a comprehensive description of the colour, patterns and size of each specimen and their associated chrysalis. The notes also include descriptions of transparency and how the insect moves. The Scotts also collected and bred specimens to inform their work.  This collection, which includes a number of type specimens, has been dispersed across the Australian Museum collection but they remain excellent examples of scientifically significant colonial collecting.

Unfortunately the idyllic lifestyle on Ash Island did not last indefinitely and AW Scott was declared bankrupt in 1866. His wife died earlier in the same year and the remaining family moved back to Sydney.  Helena had married Edward Forde in 1864 but Edward also died in 1866 as a result of fever while conducting a survey of the Darling River.  Helena had planned a publication on Flora of the Darling based on specimens she had collected while accompanying her husband on the Darling trip.  His death saw the collection passed onto Rev William Woolls who included them in his 1867 publication Contribution to the flora of Australia.

The sisters continued to draw and paint commercially for the rest of their lives. Harriet drew botanical illustrations for the 1879, 1884 and 1886 editions of the Railway Guide to New South Wales, and they both executed designs for Australian Christmas cards. Her embarrassment at being forced into being paid for her illustration work led Helena to write in a letter to Edward Ramsay:

‘above all … let nobody know you are paying me for doing them for you … I should be sorry that anybody else should know and Papa would be mad’.

The illustrations of Harriet and Helena are represented in a number of notable publications including the landmark 1864 Australian Lepidoptera and Their Transformations,  J C Cox’s 1868 Monograph of Australian Land Shells, Gerard Kreft’s 1869 Snakes of Australia and 1871 Mammals of Australia.

The University of Newcastle has generously brought home to Newcastle some of this important cultural heritage in the books we see today.  As is the case with much of the natural and cultural history of Newcastle and the Hunter region, our ability to research and enjoy it is limited to museums and galleries out of the region.  Though some of this information is being reproduced electronically, the opportunities for Novocastrians to turn the pages and be delighted by the original published work of Harriet and Helena and the many other artists who have documented the rich history of the region has been limited to major national or international libraries or museums.  I am delighted that the University through funding from the Rita Light memorial trust and also the Vera Deacon regional history fund recognizes the important and significant contribution of the Scott family in recording the natural wealth of this area.

Over the last 20 years, the legacy of the Scott’s research and illustrations has informed the rehabilitation of Ash Island.  Peggy Svoboda and a team of volunteers have established thousands of plants including orchids catalogued in the Scott collection.  Hopefully it won’t be too long before the Island will again boast the sentiment expressed by Ludwig Leichhardt whilst a guest of AW Scott in 1842:

..it is a remarkably fine place, not only to enjoy the beauty of nature, a broad shining river, a luxuriant vegetation, a tasteful comfortable cottage with a plantation of orange trees, but to collect a great number of plants which I have never seen before.
(M. Aurousseau (ed. And translation) Letters of F.W. Leichhardt, Vol. 2, Cambridge 1968

The accompanying exhibition of Natural history illustration, is the work of current research higher degree students from the University’s school of Design Communication and Information Technology who are carrying on the tradition of Harriet and Helena.  As their work demonstrates, the Hunter remains a focal point for the observation and visual interpretation of nature some 145 years after the Scotts left Ash Island.  The physical natural environment of the area remains a rich resource for staff and students of the Natural History Illustration program unique in Australia to Newcastle. Through meticulous field observation, recording and research, this exhibition exemplifies the best practice established and executed by the Scotts on Ash Island and puts Newcastle and the University on the map internationally as a focus for excellence in this field of endeavour.  I thank the RHD candidates represented in this exhibition for contributing work for the exhibition and congratulate them on their commitment to the elucidation of science and contribution to knowledge. The world sorely needs such advocates at this time of global warming, habitat destruction and projected sea level change.

To read more on the work of the Scott family the following link to Beauty from Nature: art of the Scott Sisters exhibition currently on show at the Australian Museum
http://australianmuseum.net.au/Beauty-from-Nature-art-of-the-Scott-Sisters/

Media Links

Great Scott’s Ash Island home restored (Newcastle Star 21 September 2011)

Live: Talented Newcastle sisters celebrated (Newcastle Star 21 September 2011)

Sisters’ 1840s botanical paintings open gallery (Newcastle Herald 27 August 2011)

Butterflies of Ash Island (ABC 1233 Interview with Julia Brougham and Rosie Heritage)