Tuesday, September 02, 2014

About Walter Withers

Art Historian Andrew Mackenzie OAM will be guest speaker at the next meeting of the Eltham District Historical Society to commemorate the death, at Eltham in October 1914 of Walter Withers, the well-known Heidelberg School artist. 
Andrew is a recognised expert on the life and paintings of Walter Withers having studied his work for over 30 years.  He will show photographs of Withers sketches of Eltham and memorabilia from the Withers collection including recently discovered photographs.
Eltham District Historical Society will meet on Wednesday 10th September at 8.00 pm at the Eltham Senior Citizen's centre, Library Place, Eltham.
Photo: Walter Withers from the Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photograph collection.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Have you discovered Trove?

If you are new to local and family history – it is your “must know” resource focusing on Australia and Australians. Trove is a free search engine managed by the National Library of Australia (NLA).  Trove searches the print catalogues of libraries around Australia but also sound and music files, digitised newspaper collections, pictures including contemporary and historical images, maps and archived websites, diaries, letters and archives, people and organisations and lists created by Trove users.
The Books category pulls in results of your search from the collections of 761 libraries.  These include the National Library, State Libraries, public, school, museum and special libraries.  Use the Advanced Search function to choose your library of choice.
NLA encourages people to register to use the site. You can then personalise your searches by selecting your local library.
Archived Websites includes the Pandora archive which NLA has been building since 1996.  Many of the significant sites such as the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games website are no longer available on the web. Other archived sites include “First Families 2001” which began life as a user-contributed database of a record of the first member of a given family to have arrived in Australia. 
In the Pictures, photos, objects category - search photographs, negatives, artworks, drawings, posters, postcards and other pictures, as well as physical objects such as puzzles, instruments and clothing. This category also includes contemporary and historical images contributed by the community via the photo sharing website Flickr.
The music, sound and video category includes records of the Hazel de berg oral history collection at NLA. Hazel was an Australian pioneer of the oral history interview recording many people in the arts community such as authors and painters.
A search in the maps category also includes links to digisited maps.
Journals, articles and data sets – includes a gateway to current Australian research.  Publications ranging from theses, to journal articles, public policy documents, and large health and ecological studies are often available for immediate download. Most of Australia’s research institutions including universities, the CSIRO, government and private research institutes, industry bodies, and some Australian peer-reviewed journals are Trove contributors.
Love craft and cookery, enjoy the Royal Family? The Australian Women’s Weekly is there from its inception in 1933 through to 1982. Browse its covers.
The digitized Australian historic newspapers are an essential tool for Australian family history research. The service offers fully indexed and digitized newspapers for all capital cities and many regional and smaller country newspapers.  At the time of writing there were 712 titles included on the service.  New South Wales and Victoria have the most titles contributed, with a concentration of the date range 1914 -1918.
Local papers include:
As a registered user, creating tags and lists make it easy to find your references again. Visit and re-visit as the site is constantly growing.  So what are you waiting for? Search your topic, place or person at Trove  today.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Exhibition recalls the Shire and City of Heidleberg

Photo: Newly opened Courthouse with lead light windows 1900 Heiidelberg Historical Society in partnership with Yarra Plenty Regional Library


When the new brick court house in Jika Street, Heidelberg opened its doors in 1901, the Shire of Heidelberg had existed for 30 years. The Shire progressed so remarkably over the next 30 years that it was conferred with the status of a City.
The old court house is now the Museum of the Heidelberg HistoricalSociety, which is currently featuring an exhibition celebrating the 80th Anniversary of the proclamation of the City of Heidelberg.
Proclaimed in 1934, the City of Heidelberg had its beginnings in 1840 in the formation of the Heidelberg Road Trust. It was the first municipality to be formed in the Port Phillip District which was then still part of the Colony of New South Wales. A decade later the Colony of Victoria was gazetted and, in 1860, the Heidelberg Road District was proclaimed, taking over from the Trust. The Shire of Heidelberg came into existence in 1871.
Heidelberg Historical Society’s exhibition, ”Heidelberg District: Shire to City – 1871 to 1934  focuses on the civic development of the Shire of Heidelberg from the 1870s through to its proclamation as a City in 1934. This is revealed through photographs, subdivision plans, objects and other material sourced mainly from the Society’s collections.
The exhibition is on until 7 December 2014.

Heidelberg Historical Society Museum is located in the old court house, Jika Street, Heidelberg near the Burgundy Street shopping area. The exhibition is open to the public on Sundays from 2pm to 5pm, or by appointment for groups of 10 or more persons. Admission is $5 per person (aged over 16 years).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Heidelberg's favourite music teacher



Mr Renn Wortley, a long-time member of the Heidelberg Historical Society, will be the guest speaker at next month's Heidelberg Historical Society Meeting. His talk is on:

MADAME MARY CONLY: A Brilliant Australian Soprano in Edwardian England

Fitzroy-born soprano Mary Conly arrived virtually unknown in London in 1902, aged 27.  Within a year she was well on the way to widespread recognition as a first rate professional concert and oratorio singer.  She was a “dramatic soprano”, her voice noted for its beauty and sweetness of tone, coupled with immense power.

For a decade she appeared regularly in London and across regional Britain as a soloist with the leading choral and orchestral societies of the day, in company with the best principal vocalists in the land.

In 1913 Mary finally returned to Australia and her house Koonung, Ivanhoe Parade, Ivanhoe.  She continued to accept engagements as solo soprano in oratorio with the principal Melbourne choral societies, including from its inception in 1920 the Heidelberg District Musical Society (later renamed Heidelberg City Choir).  Madame Conly also taught singing to private students at her home studio in Ivanhoe.

She suffered a stroke at her Ivanhoe home in August 1930 and died there a couple of days later, aged 56.   She was survived by her husband John Jarrett (died 1934), whom she married in Melbourne in 1900.  They had no children. Mary Conly’s admirers placed a monument over her grave in the Warringal Cemetery, Heidelberg in memory of “a brilliant artist and soprano of international fame”.

Renn was born in Ivanhoe in 1947, and attended Ivanhoe Grammar School.  His family were well-known in Heidelberg district business and musical circles for more than 60 years after World War 1.  He grew up hearing lively and affectionate stories of Mary Conly.  She was the singing teacher of many of his extended family.

Renn Wortley is a retired solicitor who served Monash University as its senior in-house legal counsel for 24 years until 2007.  He is an active baritone singer in music theatre and community choirs, and an enthusiastic amateur historian.  His successful pursuit of research clues was gratefully acknowledged by Ann Blainey in I am Melba (2008), her award winning biography of the legendary Australian opera diva.

When: Tuesday, 12th August 2014 at the Uniting Church Community Centre, Seddon Street, Ivanhoe at 8pm.  Ph: 9455 2130.  Free.

All welcome.