History

SYDNEY’S LOST BIRDS

SYDNEY'S LOST BIRDS

When the First Fleet arrived in Sydney in 1788 the bird life was incredibly rich and varied.  Before long  the artist John Lewin  was producing watercolours of  the colony’s unique species, such as the beautiful lyre bird pictured at left. The old Tank Stream  (which now runs […]

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A VERY LONG WAR

A VERY LONG WAR

  PRIVATE ARTHUR  WILLIAM SINGLETON – SERVICE NUMBER 301 Aged 20, Tasmanian born Arthur Singleton enlisted in the 12th Battalion, one of the first raised in Australia. He was a farmer’s son, and  had already served in the state’s volunteer military service for several years.  Like many […]

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WORLD WAR I AND THE WRIST WATCH

A TIME OF CHANGE Recently I found an unusual watch in a family jewel box. I can only assume it belonged to my husband’s grandfather, Wallace Conolly.  The band has vanished, but otherwise it is in reasonable  condition.   It has a hinged, deep case reminiscent of a […]

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THE TARRALEAH PAINTINGS

THE TARRALEAH PAINTINGS

FAMILY HEIRLOOMS During my childhood   in  Tasmania there were  two small oil paintings  hanging  beside the open fire in our farmhouse  sitting room. When the wind blew, the hessian backed  wallpaper ballooned out,  and the pictures  nearly fell off their nails.  I  was always intrigued by them, […]

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Parkes College

Parkes College

AN ENTREPRENEUR Early in 1894, schoolmaster George Ratten arrived in Parkes,  New South Wales,  from the Victorian coastal town of Port Fairy.   He was accompanied  by his wife Eliza and  the couple’s six children.   Mr Ratten set about  building a private, co-educational  college in Mitchell Street, opposite […]

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THE TWO WIVES OF HECTOR MACQUARIE…..PART TWO

THE TWO WIVES OF HECTOR MACQUARIE.....PART TWO

MARGARET MACQUARIE  (NEE GOODWIN) Recently I posted the story of  Hector Macquarie, and his marriage to the unfortunate Margaret Simson. Hector was the  dissolute nephew of  Governor Lachlan Macquarie.   You can read the first part HERE.   And now the story continues…… It had always been assumed that […]

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THE TWO WIVES OF HECTOR MACQUARIE – PART ONE

THE TWO WIVES OF HECTOR MACQUARIE - PART ONE

Hector Macquarie was born on Scotland’s Isle of Mull in 1794.  He was the illegitimate son  of Charles Macquarie, Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s younger brother. Governor Macquarie took his nephew under his wing, famously dubbing him Hero Hector…which  was to become  an ironic nickname. The young man  grew […]

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KING ALFRED AND A WHIFF OF BURNT CAKES.

KING ALFRED AND A WHIFF OF BURNT CAKES.

King Alfred’s legendary burning of the cakes was the subject of my first history lesson, delivered by my mother as she popped a tray of rock cakes in the oven. Her notion of where the incident took place was vague; ‘In the woods  somewhere’, she said…handing me […]

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JOHN RUTHERFORD AND THE PUZZLE OF THE DROMEDARY SCRIMSHAW

JOHN RUTHERFORD AND THE PUZZLE OF THE  DROMEDARY SCRIMSHAW

In 1809 Lachlan Macquarie sailed for New South Wales aboard the stores ship Dromedary, to begin his term as Governor of the colony.  In 1821 the Dromedary sailed from  Sydney  to England  carrying Commissioner John Bigge.  Ironically, Bigge was carrying his famously  adverse report on  Macquarie’s administration. […]

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THE TRAGIC LIFE OF CHARLES MACQUARIE

THE TRAGIC LIFE OF CHARLES MACQUARIE

  In July 1818 Governor Lachlan Macquarie made an inspection tour of the Paterson River in the Lower Hunter region of New South Wales.  On July 30 his diary records, ‘We then proceeded to view the rest of the Farms on both sides of the River—finding the […]

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