Wool staplers and wool classers

Dunmore wool shed

The 1891 shearers’ strike is just one consequence of the many pressures applied to the wool industry which has been in decline since Hargreave’s invention of the spinning jenny. some of these pressures include:

  • the mechanisation of weaving through the use of power looms,
  • the mechanisation of shearing through the introduction of powered hand pieces and the introduction of wide combs,
  • the decline in the demand for wool to cloth armies against severe winters,
  • the introduction of alternative clothes made of cotton and synthetic fibres and
  • the periodic government regulations applicable to the selling of wool.

Continue reading “Wool staplers and wool classers”

Trove Tuesday: Simpsons at Squattleseamere

Outside the Squattleseamere dining room door
Outside the Squattleseamere dining room door

My first home was on a Squattleseamere Closer Settlement block. Squattleseamere had initially been taken up by Thomas Browne but the second owners of the licence, George Simpson and his younger brother Crawford, are the subject of this article.
Although the Crawfords’ purchase of the pastoral licence and their sale later on are not officially recorded in the surviving pastoral run archives I have known for many years that the Simpsons were definitely on Squattleseamere. This is because a story has been passed down of how Crawford was gored by the imported bull Exhibition and subsequently died of his injuries.
Charles Macknight, one of the partners on Dunmore, regarded the Simpsons as proprietors of Squattleseamere. Furthermore, whenever Macknight writes of the Simpsons he writes of them as equals, as fellow squatters. Indeed whenever one of the Simpsons visited Dunmore it was generally in the company of other nearby squatters as such Medley (formerly of Snakey Creek), McGregor (of Ardonachie) or Phillips (of Tarrone).
When Dunmore mustered cattle for market in March each year those belonging to neighbouring squatters, including the Simpsons, were drafted out. Later in the year mares were accepted from neighbours and Dunmore mares were sent to horses owned by other squatters, including the Simpsons at Squattleseamere.
George Simpson was born in Old Deer, Aberdeenshire in 1830. In 1853, five young men, including a George Simpson, emigrated from the nearby port of Peterhead to Port Phillip. Two years later, George’s younger brother, Crawford, arrived in Melbourne aboard the Marco Polo. It’s not only the official passenger lists that confirm these voyages but associated newspaper entries at the time.
It seems that the Crawford brothers initially worked on Cato’s run where Crawford’s misfortunes started. In 1858 Crawford fell from his horse but his foot was caught in a stirrup and he was dragged. One of Cato’s shepherds found him unconscious. Crawford was so severely injured he wasn’t expected to live.
So perhaps the brothers were taken in by the claim in the sale notice for Squattleseamere and Snakey Creek stations that the cattle were quiet. Thomas Brown had first advertised the sale of his runs in 1857 but it wasn’t until June 1859 that J H Clough and Co finally reported the sale. Unfortunately, the purchaser wasn’t mentioned.
In October 1859 George Simpson married Jane Lyell, a sister of John Cato’s wife Margaret. On the same day another sister, Alison, married a John Simpson.
Then tragedy struck. On 10 Nov 1859 Macknight recorded that Mr Simpson was nearly killed by the bull. George was also injured. George recovered but Crawford died of his injuries three days later.
The runs were sold in 1862, presumably by George Simpson although no mention of the vendor is reported. He had been on Squattleseamere and Snakey Creek runs for just over three years.

NEWSPAPER SOURCES ACCESSED FROM TROVE NEWSPAPERS INCLUDED:
The Age (Melbourne) 17 Nov 1859 p3
The Argus (Melbourne) 12 Jul 1855 p8
The Argus (Melbourne) 5 OCT 1858 p4 c3 Fearful Accident
The Argus (Melbourne) 30 July 1857 p8
Ballarat Star (Ballarat) 24 Jun 1859
OTHER SOURCES ACCESSED INCLUDED:
R V Billis and A S Kenyon, Pastoral Pioneers of Port Phillip, Second Edition (Melbourne, Victoria: Stockland Press, 1974)
Charles Hamilton Macknight, “Dunmore Journals” (MS, Melbourne, Victoria, 1840 – 1873); State Library of Victoria. (Copy of Macknight sisters transcript 1929 held privately).
FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org)
Find My Past (http://www.findmypast.com.au/)
Public Record Office of Victoria “Index to Unassisted Immigrants from the United Kingdom 1852-1923” (www.prov.vic.gov.au)
Scotlandspeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk)

Land – Laverton

At the corner of Landers Lane
At the corner of Landers Lane

My methodology for researching land ownership is not necessarily the only way to do land research.
Where and when we start with our research depends on the information we have or don’t have.
For our current home that is easy. We have the date. We have a place.
There is always an element of truth in family stories but often the truth is sufficiently different to make research difficult. Have I said that with enough feeling? For example, there is a story in our family that my great grandfather Samuel Baulch owned a hotel in Cavendish – some distance from his home in Kirkstall. A visit last year to the Hamilton History Centre confirmed Samuel was indeed a publican in Cavendish for a short while after the previous publican, his brother-in-law, had died. I found extra information recently when some of the Hamilton Spectator was added to Trove. Information I had missed when I visited the Spec office some thirty years ago!
If your family was here in Victoria very early on then another place to start may be at the Registrar of Titles General Law Library at Cherry Lane, Laverton. Susie Zada has written an excellent blog about using this resource. You will note, as I didn’t, that the indexes to the first series of vendor books are at the END of those books. Down the bottom.
Also, if you are going out to Laverton, think about taking the opportunity to look at aerial photographs. It may be worth looking at the University of Melbourne Map Collection first though.
I haven’t personally looked at aerial photographs. Because, until the hot rock geothermal pilot went in nearby, there was nothing to indicate that Landers’ block was hotly disputed over by the occupying squatter and the family of selectors when it was opened for selection under the 1869 Land Act.

Victoria Land Titles – Introduction

An old Broadwater home
An old Broadwater home

Almost always I have found family stories in Victorian land titles.
So where should one start looking?
Certainly not by searching current online databases for family historians. Most of the interesting family stories remain buried in files, memorials and research notes in either the Registrar General of Titles’ General Law Library of land titles at Laverton or at the Public Record Office of Victoria (PROV) in North Melbourne or maps at the State Library of Victoria.
In this blog I outline my personal methodology to search Victorian land titles for my family stories.

I generally start by purchasing the current land titles for the parcel of land I am researching. But before that I start finding what the current title may be with a Google search. But before I go further the following is a brief outline of my methodology:

  • Search for the address of the land on Google Maps (I am currently boycotting Bing Maps as they include Fitzroy North in their database but not the more important and relevant Fitzroy)
  • Using the Google Maps information, search for the address of the land on Landata’s Lassi map
  • Search the original parish map
  • Purchase the current computer title online
  • Purchase earlier computer titles back to the first computerised title
  • Search for earlier cancelled Torrens titles at the Public Record Office of Victoria
  • Search for the Application Note relating to the conversion of the old title to the Torrens Title at the General Law Library
  • Search for when and how the Crown Grant was acquired (remembering for some very early grants this information will be in NSW records)
  • Having started with the current title and worked backwards to the Crown Grant, start with the Crown Grant and work to the current title
  • Confirm information found by searching other sources alluded to in the land records. These may include probates, insolvencies and BMD information but may also include less common sources such as those for divorces, neighbouring landholders and dowers.

Now this methodology hasn’t been applicable for each piece of land I have ever searched but it is where I start out. Nevertheless, I shall use two parcels of land to illustrate how my methodology works.

GOOGLE MAPS

Not all land information is offline. Indeed the best place to start a Victorian land search is online with a Google search for the location of the property I am researching.
For example, one of my homes was at Broadwater in South West Victoria. Now, but not for a long time, I can see a Google Earth view of my old home.

Satellite View My Old Home
Satellite View My Old Home

A property in a town or city is a little simpler to locate on Google Maps. For example, the Genealogical Society of Victoria (GSV) is at 257 Collins Street, Melbourne.

Satellite GSV
Satellite GSV

LASSI MAPS

Finding my parcels land on Google Maps often makes it easier to find them on Landata’s Land & Survey Spatial Info (Lassi) map. This map can be accessed directly http://maps.land.vic.gov.au/lassi/ or from the link under Other Access at the bottom of Landata’s home page at https://www.landata.vic.gov.au/.
Now, be warned, this map pre existed Google Maps so behaves in its own manner and for its own peculiar requirements. That is, the Lassi map doesn’t always work in the same way as Google Maps do.
For my old home I first searched for Dunmore Lane, Broadwater and then refined this to 503 Dunmore Lane. By building, refining and refreshing the map I can display the parishes and allotments that are relevant to the parcel of land. The current title covers several allotments across three parishes

Lassi My Old Home
Lassi My Old Home

Similarly, I searched Lassi for 257 Collins Street, Melbourne. This time I built the map to include the Application Note numbers as well.

Lassi GSV
Lassi GSV

PARISH MAPS

There is another map collection that is always useful in my land research. This is a map of the parish that shows the parcel of land at the time the Crown Grant was granted. In this case I was able to download the parish maps from PROV by searching within VPRS 16171 for the name of the parishes concerned.

Search within VPRS 16171
Search within VPRS 16171

For my old home I downloaded Banangal, Broadwater and Clonleigh parishes.

Parish Plan My Old Home
Parish Plan My Old Home

For the GSV I downloaded Melbourne South parish.

Parish GSV
Parish GSV

Parish plans are also generally available online from the State Library of Victoria.
I now have two parcels of land for which I can order the current titles. How I do this I shall describe this is a further blog.

Genealogy Do Over – To-Do Items

doing-research

Yesterday I wrote about using Legacy’s To-Do Lists as a research log for my genealogy research. Thank you for your requests that I give you some screen shots of how I created my To-do Items that shall now make up my research log. So here goes.

In all, I have so far created 12 To-Do Items.

GenealogyDoOver-0

At the top level I have one Item for my Genealogy Do Over Research Goals. This To-Do Item for my Research Goals shows that my Research Goals consist of four elements – George Watts, John Bourke Ryan, Scrapbook of Chart examples and Squattleseamere Pastoral Run.

GenealogyDoOver-7

I haven’t really started as yet on three items. The fourth is for my three greats grandfather George Watts. The To-Do Item for George Watts sits between my overall Research Goals and Individual To-Do Items for a particular piece of research. This To-Do Item explains, in general terms, what I hope to achieve with respect to George Watts over the course of the Genealogy Do Over. The first part is to confirm my connection to George Watts through, for the moment at least, using evidence found on birth, marriage and death certificates.

GenealogyDoOver-6

From George’s To-Do Item I have raised several To-Do Items for specific pieces of research. These Items aren’t necessarily connected to George Watts’s record. For example, to establish my connection to my three greats grandfather, George Watts  I used my Grandpa Baulch’s birth, marriage and death certificates to substantiate his relationship to his mother, Eliza Ann Porter.

GenealogyDoOver-2

Now I expect to have many, many of these specific types of To-Do Items. A bit like rows in a spreadsheet based research log I suppose. So I created a template just to remind myself what matters should be considered here and what issues belong elsewhere in my genealogy database. This is what my template looks like:

GenealogyDoOver-1

One of my goals for Genealogy Do Over is to get into the practice of doing Sources First. So I then added the Sources I would look at for this To-Do Item.

GenealogyDoOver-3 Finally, I have recorded my results under the Results tab. In this instance I simply referred to the Media files of the Sources used.

GenealogyDoOver-4While I was creating my to-Do Items I noticed that the Categories roughly matched the folders the main folders under my Media folder so I have done a little tweaking to get these to match.

I do hope that this helps a little to explain what I have decided to do.

Genealogy Do Over – Week 2

In my interviews for Genealogy Do Over Week 2 I returned to when I started collecting my family stories.  I went back to my first official family history visit which, coincidentally, involved going back to my first home, Squattleseamere. For my second interview I went back to the time of big shearing teams at Dunmore. I looked again at the transcript of an interview about shearing at the Dunmore shed when the shed was run by my Grandpa Baulch.

In setting my research goals I have tried to select some goals which should be achievable in the time of the Do Over while, at the same time, giving me time to test my new research process as set out in my Genealogy Golden Rules.

CONDUCTING SELF INTERVIEW

For my self interview I reflected upon my first family interview. This interview marks the time when I changed from just listening and absorbing family stories to consciously setting out to answer the question I am always asked but could rarely answer before this visit – You’re a Baulch are you?

CONDUCTING FAMILY INTERVIEW

As a child I absorbed the atmosphere in the Dunmore shed at shearing time and listened, engrossed, to the many stories Grandpa Baulch told me about the men who shore there. This interview is not with my grandfather but with one of the shearers, Bill Meade. It was to be about Grandpa in the Dunmore shed. Or that is what I thought on my way to Port Fairy for an afternoon’s chat.

FAMILY GROUP SHEETS

I rarely use Family Group Sheets. Rather I use Legacy’s Family Group Report in the List Style format. Why I do so means I need to add another rule to my Genealogy Golden Rules:

Keep it simple. I have ONE place, my Legacy database, which contains ALL the information I have gathered about my family.

SETTING RESEARCH GOALS

In setting my research goals I have looked at what reports and/or output I hope to produce by the completion of the Genealogy Do Over, how I plan to go about this and the limitations that might prevent me achieving my research goals. Consequently, I have tried to keep my goals simple and achievable within the duration of the Do Over.

My focus on output will be confined to:

  • Reviewing a Family Group Report for my three greats grandfather Private George Watts (1792-1845).
  • Reviewing my Family Group Report for my four greats grandfather John Bourke Ryan Esquire (1760 – 1835).
  • Creating a timeline for Squattleseamere Pastoral Run.
  • Substantiating my connection to John Bourke Ryan and George Watts. After all, this is a genealogical Do Over.
  • Creating some charts as I go.
  • Maintaining a weekly blog for at least the duration of the Genealogy Do Over.

My research process, or how I am I going to achieve my research goals, is as follows:

  • I shall start each piece of research by creating a To-Do Item.
  • The completed To-Do Item will then become part of my Research Log.
  • To comply with my Golden Rule of Sources First Sources will be attached to my To-Do Item in the first instance.
  • I shall set aside some time each day in order to achieve my research goals.

Of course, because family history is my hobby there are many things that may prevent me from achieving my research goals. These are my boundary fences:

  • My research should be confined to producing the output given above. In particular my research goals will set aside for the duration of the Do Over for those Individuals who sparkle and say come hither. This applies in particular to two of my great grandfathers, Samuel Baulch and J R Learmonth.
  • I have a time limit. I plan to have completed my research by Congress 2015 (to be held in Canberra 26-30 March). This ties in quite nicely with the duration of the Do Over.
  • I shall remain involved and committed to my genealogical and computer groups.
  • I shall take time out. Often.

Self Interview – a Baulch are you?

[wpgmza id=”6″]

In 1969 Victor Hallett gave me his Baulch family tree papers. Fifteen years earlier he had started gathering information needed to build the family tree for Francis and Enoch Baulch. Making sense of all the information he had gathered had become just too difficult for him. No wonder. Victor Hallett’s mother and my Grandpa Baulch were two of more than 180 of Francis Baulch’s grandchildren and while Enoch Baulch had several grandchildren their number was not nearly as many as Francis Baulch’s grandchildren.
Many of Francis and Enoch’s descendants lived, as I did, not far from Kirkstall where both

Francis and Enoch lived in later life. So it is any wonder that I was often asked “You’re a Baulch are you?” Then there generally there is a pause. “Related to the ones at Mount Koroite?” or “The school bus driver’s mother is a Baulch” or something similar.

Indeed, my very first family history visit was taken with my father to Norman Broadwood. Both men had farmed on blocks which were part of the Squattleseamere Closer Settlement Estate. Norman had his father William Broadwood’s block and when I was a small child my father had Jeremiah Gleeson’s block. Jeremiah had previously worked at Dunmore (but I think this refers to the Parish of Dunmore – not my father’s childhood home).

Norman’s grandmother was Mary Ann Baulch. What’s more she had been born at sea. Her parents, Norman said, had emigrated because Mary Ann’s father, Enoch, only received 2/6 a week wages when he could find work in Somerset.

Here were some clues about why and when Enoch decided to emigrate. These clues helped me research the story further.

Since that visit other information I have gathered has substantiated and enriched the stories Norman Broadwood told us at my very first family history visit to another family member.

Family Interview – Shearing at Dunmore

Dunmore Tally Board 1917
Dunmore Tally Board 1917

For a few short years as a child I was able to observe and absorb the romance, the noise of the machines and the hustle and bustle of the shed hands in a big shed. And, if I believed Grandpa Baulch, everyone at some stage shore at Dunmore.

So it was, some 20 years after my grandfather died, I went to Port Fairy to have an afternoon’s chat with Bill Meade. Bill had started picking up wool in the sheds in 1923. As it still did when I was a child, shearing started in the Riverina in July and the teams worked their way south until Christmas. Then the work was processing the potato and onion harvest until it was time to head north again the following July.

My interview with Bill nearly came fell apart right at the beginning. Bill said that he hadn’t worked in the Dunmore shed. That’s confirmed by the records I have for Bill Meade isn’t listed.  Rather, Bill said, he worked in the Alanvale shed for Art Baulch. This can’t have happened until at least the 1925 shearing season as both Art at Alanvale and Stan Baulch at Rose Park and, to a lesser extent, Frank Baulch all used the Dunmore shed before then. This meant around 20,000 sheep a year were shorn at Dunmore.

Nevertheless, it was a most interesting afternoon with many insights into the shearing conditions at the time. Also Bill was able to mention many who had worked in the Dunmore Shed.

He also talked about the gun shearers – of Arthur Turner from Ararat and George Young of Orford as two men who could shear 200 sheep a day without much trouble. And of course Bill Edwards. Someone had said that it was impossible to shear that 200 sheep a day. Bill Edwards is reported to have said “Oh I don’t know whether it would be impossible or not but you can see them shorn tomorrow”.

It is certainly true that Bill Edwards shore more than 200 sheep in the Dunmore shed for I have been able to identify the following as his top tallies in the shed:

  • 211 shearing from Pen 8 on 14 Nov 1919
  • 185 shearing from Pen 7 on 20 Nov 1923
  • 183 shearing from Pen 9 on 16 Nov 1922
  • 182 shearing from Pen 2 on 4 Nov 1924
  • 182 shearing from Pen 2 on 3 Nov 1924

However, I haven’t, as yet, been able to identify who was shearing from Pen 9 in 1917. Perhaps Bill Edwards as he was shearing at Dunmore that year. Perhaps not. These are the top tallies for that pen that year:

  • 200 on 21 Nov 1917
  • 198 on 5 Dec 1917
  • 192 on 20 Nov 1917
  • 187 on 19 Nov 1917
  • 184 on 4 Dec 1917

Bill Meade was a life time member of the Australian Workers Union (AWU). Which reminds me of the shearer’s strike on 25 Nov 1887 when my great grandfather Samuel Baulch was at Glengleeson. But that’s a story for another day.

And of course the sheep were held in the Woolly Paddock before going into the shed and counted out on their way to the Shorn Paddock afterwards.