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Now&Then 62 - June 2013

In this issue: Open Day 2013; all the latest online news; treasures found in the records; spotlight on pastoral holding files; our blog and Flickr updates and more!

We're having an Open Day in August

Mark it in your calendar! On 30 August we will be holding an Open Day

The theme of the Open Day is TRANSPORT. Talks will include convict transportation, the expansion of roads and railways through the Blue Mountains, transport for leisure, employment in transport, ferries and railway bridge construction, to name just a few. The Open Day will include tours of the facility, conservation advice, small exhibitions, and a ‘treasures of the archives’ display. There will also be a display of vintage military vehicles. A number of genealogical organisations and historical societies will be hosting information tables on the day.

Open Day Logo - 2013

We will be publicising the full program very soon, so keep an eye on our website for details and booking information!

Our last Open Day was in October 2011. See the Archives Outside blog post for a wrap up of the day.

Reading Room Closed on Monday 10 June

The Reading Room will be closed on Monday 10 June.

Reading Room limited opening hours 3 to 14 June

Also note that until Friday 14 June public access to our Western Sydney Reading Room will be limited while we complete a stock take to finalise the Collection Valuation.The opening hours will be Tuesday to Friday (9.00am to 1.00pm) and Saturday (10am to 4pm).

Online News

Additions to Digital Gallery: Westward Ho! A trip over the Blue Mountains

This digital gallery was prepared for the Blue Mountains Crossing Bicentenary celebrations of 2013. It covers  European expansion westward from Emu Plains to Bathurst. The latest installment of our digital Blue Mountains Gallery is now available: Towns Along the Highway. This section is split into three pages focussing on the Lower, Mid and Upper Mountains.

Towns Along the Highway

Lower Mountains

Included on this page: Emu Plains (at the foot of the mountains), Lapstone, Glenbrook, Blaxland (and Lennox Bridge), Warrimoo, Valley Heights, Springwood, Faulconbridge.

View the Lower Mountains
Towns in the Lower Mountains

Mid Mountains

This page includes Linden, Woodford, Hazelbrook, Lawson and Bullaburra.

View the Mid Mountains
Towns in the Mid Mountains

Upper Mountains

Included on this page: Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba, Medlow Bath, Blackheath,
Megalong Valley and Mount Victoria

View the Upper Mountains
Towns in the Upper Mountains

Previous installments in the Blue Mountains Gallery

The Great Western Railway Arrives

Travel through the Blue Mountains was difficult for many years. It took at least two days by horse and carriage to reach Bathurst along Cox’s Road. By mid-1867 the railway had been extended from Penrith to Wentworth Falls and by 1876 it reached all the way to Bathurst.

View The Great Western Railway arrives
View the next instalment

Crossing the Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains stood as a barrier to westward expansion for the colonial settlement at Port Jackson. Several explorers attempted to find a path through but it would take 25 years before the Mountains were successfully crossed.

View Crossing the Blue Mountains
View the first instalment

Beyond the Blue Mountains to Bathurst

Located approximately 200km west of Sydney on the edge of the Great Dividing Range, Bathurst was Australia’s first inland settlement. Governor Macquarie named it after the British Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lord Bathurst.

View Beyond the Blue Mountains to Bathurst
View the second instalment

Travel and adventure – Happy Days brochure

This travel brochure entices the visitor and holiday-maker to take a railway trip to the Blue Mountains Shire. It gives a brief history of the crossing of the Blue Mountains and a ‘tourist synopsis’ of interesting facts and about the towns (including distance from Sydney and height above sea-level and photos).

View the Happy Days tourist brochure

Additional entries in Index to Gaol Photographs

Photographs from the State Reformatory for Women have been recently added to the Index to Gaol Photographs. The photographs are from the five photograph description books of the Reformatory, covering the period 1910-1930. Details of inmates shown in the index include name, year of birth, birthplace, gaol, date of photo and the information required to view the photograph (photograph number, item number and reel number). Microfilm copies of the photographs may be viewed in State Records’ Western Sydney Reading Room. Copies of the images can also be ordered via the website — there is a 20 working day turnaround for copy orders.

Treasures found in the records

Reward 50 Pounds or a Conditional Pardon for information on the Barbarous murder of Thomas Crate

Whilst searching the Colonial Secretary's Correspondence, one of our regular researchers, Dr Terry Kass, came across a Reward poster dated 7 July 1836.


Reward poster

NRS 905 Main series of letters received [Colonial Secretary] [36/5683 in 4/2314.2]


On the night of Saturday 2 of July Thomas Crate per Prince of Orange, was most Barbarously MURDERED at a Hut (where he had halted for the Night when on his way to Sydney in Charge of a Flock of Sheep,) in Queen Charlotte's Vale, in the Bathurst District, by some person or persons unknown.....

The reward poster was within a letter written from the Attorney General's Office to the Colonial Secretary's Office. The letter states that an inquest was held into the death of Thomas Crate. The verdict returned was of wilful murder by person or persons unknown. The deceased was a Ticket of Leave holder in the employ of a Thomas Kite of Bathurst. It continues;

He was found barbarously murdered at the door of his hut. His skull was fractured, it is supposed with a Tomahawk. It appears that there was a Bushranger seen about the hut before the murder, but there is no evidence whatever to fix the crime upon any such persons; there is also some suspicion attached to a person of the name of Hennessey who lived in the neighbourhood and it appears owed a grudge to the deceased. I have written to the magistrates to cause further investigation.

So did they discover who was responsible for this violent crime? After checking Trove is seems there was an arrest of two men, John Hennessey and a Patrick Walsh who apparently were in the area and according to witness statements were not on good terms with the unfortunate Thomas Crate. We do hold the Supreme Court Criminal Papers (NRS 13477) for the case against John alias Patrick Walsh and John Hennessey dated 4 November 1836 reference [T44] no 17. The verdict found was Not Guilty.

Supreme Court paper [T44] no 17 - not guilty

The identity of the person/s responsible for this violent crime remains a mystery to this day.

Archives Outside blog update

The past few months have featured a series of posts from guest blogger Jenny Sloggett (Archivist, Archives Control).

Anzac Day

To mark Anzac Day this year we went for something completely different and featured a post on World War II Trench Art and Workplace Signs

…a collection of signs found in the background of images of the Aircraft Production Factory at the NSW Government Railways Chullora Workshops.  These signs vividly convey what was at stake. Did they work as a daily reminder or did they just become part of the scenery, like safety signage in our modern workplaces?"

A Degotardi album?

Our photo sleuths helped us unravel the mystery of a photo album that has long been part of our collection. The album, NRS 15344 Photographs of Sydney taken between 1860 and 1880 includes photos of Sydney Harbour and environs, major buildings in Sydney, provincial centres and rural New South Wales. Apparently bought by the Navigation Department from a J. Degotardi we wondered if they were the work of his famous photographer father John Degotardi Senior.

Valuable for other reasons: The Survival (or not) of glass negatives

Glass is generally more stable from a conservation viewpoint than film when used as the support or medium for a negative (despite the brittleness of glass) "

Which makes Sandy Barrie's essay Why no Negs or records survive? very interesting reading......

Read more »

Children at Foreshore, Speers Point, NSW, 26 January 1904

Moments in Time

Our photographic detective series Can you date? continues to go from strength to strength. The latest photos in the series are:

Customs House

Flickr update

The latest additions include:

Sydney - Pitt and Spring Streets
Sydney - corner of Pitt and Spring Streets
Wollongong Basin
Wollongong Basin
Class Z13 (CC) locomotive
Class Z13 (CC) locomotive being assembled at Glebe Island (NSW)
Third Sydney Station, 1906
Third Sydney Station 1906

If you don't have a Flickr account you can still browse these photos on Flickr, many of which are also available on Photo Investigator.

Spotlight on Pastoral holding files

Pastoral holding file - cover

In the late nineteenth century the largest areas of land in NSW taken up for pastoral purposes were held under Pastoral Lease. Under the Crown Lands Act of 1884 the large holdings of squatters were each divided into two portions, the resumed area and the leasehold area. The resumed area was leased under occupation license and renewed annually, but the land remained open for selection under conditional purchase and conditional lease. The leasehold area was returned to the lessee, who was entitled to hold the land for a fixed term of years, varying according to whether the land was in the Eastern, Central or Western divisions of the colony.

In the Eastern Division pastoral leases expired in 1890 and they could not be renewed. In the Central Division pastoral leases were terminated in 1895 and a large number were later extended for periods of between 1 and 5 years. Pastoral leases in the Western Division were initially granted for a period of 15 years from the commencement of the lease and later increased to 21 and then 28 years in 1895.

The Pastoral Holdings files, NRS 8366, NRS 8367 and NRS 8368 were part of the recordkeeping system created by the Lands Department Occupation Branch to administer the Pastoral Leases. The files contain correspondence and descriptions and plans of the holdings. Later files also contain material on resumptions.


Pastoral holding file - contents

The files are arranged by Pastoral Lease number. Pastoral Lease numbers can be found in the NSW Land and Property Information’s Historical Land Records Viewer, using the Pastoral Map Index. To find the index enter ‘Pastoral Map Index’ into the keyword search box. The Pastoral Map Index provides a list of the pastoral holdings alphabetically and numerically.

Pastoral leases are also listed in the directory published by William Hanson in 1889: The pastoral possessions of New South Wales: alphabetically arranged in the eastern, central, and western divisions, with the names of the pastoral holders of the crown, the land district and county in which each holding is situated, the area in acres, the annual rent and license fee, the rate per acre and per section for each leasehold and resumed area respectively. Properties are listed alphabetically by name. This directory is available in our Western Sydney Reading Room and at the State Library of NSW.

After being recalled by the Lands Department in 1993 for Native Title research, the Pastoral Holdings files were recently returned to State Records. The files are available once more for research in the reading room.

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Upcoming Talks and Tours

Was your ancestor in Business?

Gail Davis will be presenting this seminar which will look at State archives where you may find information on your ancestor's business.
13 June 10:30am-12:30pm
Richmond Villa 120 Kent Street Sydney
Contact: Julie Morgan

Back to basics with new online resources

Emily Hanna will be presenting this seminar which will focus on immigration records held at State Records.
17 July 10:30am-12:30pm
Richmond Villa 120 Kent Street Sydney
Contact: Julie Morgan

Researching local history

John Cann will be presenting this seminar on researching local history to the Springwood Historical Society. This talk will draw on examples from the Lower Blue Mountains area.
19 July 10:15am-12:15pm
Presbyterian Church, Macquarie Road, Springwood
Contact: Dick Moroney