Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Amcor Paper Mill

Fairfield - Alphington, though no longer in the service area of Yarra Plenty Regional Library, is still of interest to us historically as it falls in the past boundary of the City of Heidelberg.  Local historian and keen photographer Kevin Patterson has some knowledge of the workings of the former Amcor Paper mill and was able to get special access to document the factory before its demise.
The former factory site at Alphington is set for a development into a new mini suburb across the 16 hectare site near the Yarra River.
An album of his photos has been added to the Yarra Plenty Local History Flickr site.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Book review: Mietta's Italian Family Recipes

Mietta's Italian Family Recipes by Mietta O'Donnell is a lovely tribute to the late journalist and restauranteur who died before this book came to its fruition.
First published in 2000, with a new edition published in 2015, it is first and foremost a book of recipes. It includes Italian recipes made for Australian conditions, beautifully presented with the context of the family stories as Tony Knox writes in the foreword ".. it needed context. What better way to look at Italian food in Australia than to interview those who introduced it: the descendants of the people whose families, like her grandparents, had come to Australia and started restaurants, serving spaghetti that was'nt tinned".
Mietta's family was the Vigano family of Sth Morang whose story is related at the beginning of the book.
This book is beautifully presented sprinkled with black and white photos of people - not food - and arranged under various categories including antipasto, broths and minestrone, pasta, fish, chicken, deserts and more.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Signed by hand

Mollie King - [passport photograph] [picture] / Australian Immigration Office. State Library Victoria
The National Library of Australia’s recent publication Signed by Hand is a lovely snapshot of Australian history highlighting the handwriting and signatures of famous Australians and others who we know from the past such as authors Jane Austen and Charles Dickins.
Personal papers including official documents,  letters and cards of our ancestors add a real personal connection with our ancestors.  Barry Jones writes in his introduction: “Objects, including autographs, can concentrate the mind wonderfully – they take me a different time and space, as I reflect on human history and our struggle for meaning.”
Some researchers have been inspired to have their ancestors handwriting samples analysed 

There are quite a few tips online for deciphering old handwriting if you are lucky enough to have more than just a signature.
To be further inspired by other signatures and autographs visit the Internet Archive which has digitised Portraits and autographs by W.T. Stead which was published in 1890.  It includes photographs and hand writing samples from famous people of the day starting with Queen Victoria.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Fay Thomas Collection

The Fay Thomas Collection provides an insight into the lives of the local pioneering Thomas family, extended family and the broader community of the City of Whittlesea. The collection includes photographs, books, correspondence, manuscript material and ephemera dating from about the 1830's through to the present.

Thomas Moses with 2 adult women and 2 babies ca.1875


The late Fay Thomas, great-granddaughter of Moses Thomas, was the custodian of the Thomas Family collection and keeper and collector of much of the family lore. In 2015, after her death, Fay Thomas' Executors kindly loaned the collection to the City of Whittlesea prior to its transfer to State Library Victoria. During this time the collection was digitised.

Fay was the eldest daughter of Charles and Jean Thomas, and a descendant of Moses Thomas. Following in the footsteps of three great aunts who had been teachers, and a great uncle who has been a school inspector, she graduated from teachers college in 1961. In the 1980s Fay was one of the first locally appointed women principals in Victoria, an acknowledgement of her outstanding achievements and leadership skills. Throughout Fay's career as a teacher, principal, and education consultant she influenced the lives of thousands of Victorians.

Moses Thomas was a significant figure in the history of the area now known as the City of Whittlesea. Fay had a strong connection with her ancestry and she recognised that accumulating and maintaining a comprehensive collection of historical photographs, documents and objects relating to Moses and his family, his businesses, his involvement with the Church and School at Mernda, and the social milieu of early Whittlesea was an effort that had far-reaching implications.

The digital collection was passed on to Yarra Plenty Regional Library in March 2017. Images are progressively being made available via the Fay Thomas Collection album on Yarra Plenty Regional Library's Local History Flickr   with selected local images via our website.  Search the catalogue with keyword "Fay Thomas Collection".

This post also appears on Yarra Plenty Genealogy