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Articles From "The Crossing Place" Newsletter

                                                    Kwong Sing & Co. Casino

                                                                                                                                                            Written by Hilton Fatt

Frank Fatt came out from China in the late 1800's to work for his uncle in the department store in Glen Innes known as Kwong Sings. He could not read or write English and worked in the store till 1929. He met Laura and they were married and had four sons.

In 1929, with a growing family, he thought it time to spread his wings and so he moved to Casino, as it was the hub of the North Coast at the time because of its strong rural ties. He purchased a small fruit and vegetable store in Barker St where Westlawn is currently situated. At the time Casino had 3 major department stores. Being a keen storekeeper, business prospered even though it was the start of the Great Depression. To quell the sentiment that he was doing too well, he made light that monies were being forwarded from China, when in fact it was not.

In 1930 Oscar Fatt, Frank's eldest son, left school at 14, to assist in the growing business. As time passed all the other sons, Horrie, Aubrey, Ronnie and daughter Elaine worked in the business. They had the motto of "the noted cheap store" and "we can supply everything from a needle to an anchor". In the middle of World War 2, Oscar married Norma Wong and business prospered due to Oscar's strong networking in getting stocks in short supply.

In 1952, on land purchased at 96 Barker St, Kwong Sings was elevated to a major department store. This is where the Kwong Sings Arcade currently stands. All departments were catered for. Some of the departments were milkbar, hardware, groceries, mercery, haberdashery, manchester, ladies wear, footwear, electrical, etc.

In 1958, where DIY Hardware currently stands, Kwong Sings was expanded, with the drapery moved to the building at 98 Barker St. All ladies departments, manchester and furnishings was moved to this buildings with portals for the free movement of traffic from one store to the other. At this stage Kwong Sings employed about 60 fulltime staff. The use of "casuals" or "part time" was unheard of.

With the onslaught of self selection Kwong Sings opened Casino's first super market in 1964. The remaining brothers in the business, Oscar, Horrie and Ronnie have always been able to maintain the business due to their open outlook on trends and fashions.

In the early 70's with the advent of 4 weeks holiday pay and loading, plus the move by K Mart and more specialist retail moving into country areas, department stores were the new dinosaurs. Oscar understood that retail was becoming more specialised and in 1975 it was decided to downsize certain departments into business's, running from individual stores in an arcade which was erected down the centre of the main building at 96 Barker St. The building at 98 Barker St which housed the drapery was leased to the supermarket chain, Cut Price Stores.

During the 70's the family tried its hand at importing dry goods from China via Hong Kong. This had a moderate degree of success but was too time consuming for the ageing brothers. The family continued to run certain businesses in the arcade, whilst leasing out the other stores.

Hilton, Oscar's oldest son returned to the business in 1980 due to Horrie's pending retirement and Oscar’s relocation to Sydney to be near family. The businesses were maintained through the 80's with the introduction of video rental and photo processing. Other stores still run by the family were menswear, footwear, manchester, kidswear, ladies sleepwear and lingerie.

As time has marched on the business has changed again in the 90's with the closure of the video rental. With the death of Ronnie and a lessening demand from the family, a downsizing of the business has taken place. In 2004 after almost 30 years as a supermarket the store at 98 Barker St was leased to a Thrifty Link franchise. It is known as DIY Hardware Casino. In 2007 the Kidswear business was sold off with the space used to accommodate the expansion of the family footwear business. In the same year the menswear store, which was more like a surf store, was sold to a loyal staff member of 22 years, Tony Laarhoven.

2010 was another year of change with the ladies sleepwear and lingerie shop being moved over to the front of the arcade after the closure of the rented cafe. The surf shop was also moved to the front of the arcade.

At present Kwong Sings run business' comprise a large family footwear store and ladies lingerie, sleepwear, manchester store.

In late 2010, Hilton's youngest daughter, Sabina, was instrumental in the purchase of a specialist card and gift store in Balgowlah, Sydney. Known as Pulp Creative Paper it is Kwong Sings foray into internet selling and has established Sabina as a fourth generation shopkeeper.

Kwong Sing & Co did a lot for the charities of the area and each year ran Kwong Sings Ball.

Kwong Sing & Co. were responsible for sending 300 x £100.0.0 Christmas parcels to all the boys from the Casino District fighting all over the world and in Australia during WW2.

Did you Know? Jeffrey Wayne "Jeff" Fatt AM, is a son of Oscar Fatt. He is a Chinese Australian musician and actor and is best known as a member of the children's band The Wiggles and the 1980s and 90s band The Cockroaches. As part of the Wiggles, Fatt became one of the "most popular Asian performers in the world. As a Wiggle, Fatt wears a purple shirt. He originated the Wiggles character Henry the Octopus, and performed his voice when other actors took over the role. His gimmick is sleeping at odd times, which led to a Wiggles' catch-phrase and the title of one of their songs, "Wake Up, Jeff!" Fatt is the oldest Wiggle and is well-known for his "laid-back personality".

Life 50-60 Years Ago

Written by Leticia Wilkes after interviewing her Grandparents Barbara & Rex Wilkes for a school project. She was asked to talk to people who could remember what life was like 50 or 60 years ago, and to find out how food and our eating habits have changed over the years.

Grandpa was born in 1930 in The Great Depression. There was huge financial turmoil all over the world. In America prices of shares on the Wall Street Stock Exchange had collapsed and Banks and Governments ran out of money. Millions of people lost their jobs and the governments in those days did not pay Social Security Pensions! If you were sick or out of work you got no money. People could not pay off their homes or pay their rent so they were evicted and had to live in tents. There was one big "tent city" in Casino in the park where the BMX track is now and another out at Piora.

Grandpa's parents lived in a tent outside Kyogle and because there was no car to take his Mum to hospital (and probably no money to pay for the hospital!) the midwife came in her horse and sulky, to deliver the baby. Living in a country town like Kyogle or Casino did have advantages that people living in the slums in big cities did not have. In country towns people usually had a big back yard where they could have a garden, a place for some chooks and even room to keep a cow. For those who did not have space in their back yard there was land set aside as a "Town Common" where people could keep a cow or run their horse. Until very recent times the Casino Common was on the land that is now used for the Miniature Railway Track.

Very few people had a car . Grandpa's parents never owned one. "We had one but it was only for my father to get to his place of work. My mother like many women of her era never learnt to drive".

Not many people had a refrigerator. Most homes had an ice chest and the ice man would deliver a block of ice each day if you lived it town. One block just fitted in the top of the ice chest and on very hot days it would probably be melted away before the next delivery. You had to remember to empty the drip tray regularly or the melt water ran on to the floor! There was no way to keep icecream! If you lived in the country you might have had a coolgardie safe which kept the food inside cool by the evaporation of water from wet hessian bags draped all around it. Some times food such as a water melon or butter (in a tightly sealed tin), could be put in a hessian bag with the top tied tightly and lowered into the well. A couple of days down in the cold water worked wonders.

There were no supermarkets. There were lots of small grocery stores within easy walking distance where ever you lived. They would have had a refrigerator so you could easily walk there after you had eaten your meat and vegies, and buy a cardboard carton of ice-cream for dessert. The grocery shop was very different to the supermarket of today! You did not choose the things you wanted off the shelves. You stood on one side of the counter and the shop keeper got the items you asked for, or weighed out the amount you wanted of flour or sugar or vegetables. You put them in your basket or string bag and walked home with them. You could give the grocer an order and that would be delivered to you. In the country the cream carrier who came out to pick up the cans of milk and cream from the farms, would deliver your order to the cream box on the road side. He would also bring fresh bread two or three times a week! It was not sliced or wrapped in plastic. In town the bakers delivery man would put what he thought you might want in his big basket and bring it from his delivery van into your kitchen for you to choose what you wanted.

Lots of things we take for granted these days were not available or had not been invented. There was no such thing as a plastic bag. Some things such as tea came pre-packed in cardboard boxes or big tins. There was no such thing as a tea bag! You put the tea leaves in a teapot, added the boiling water then let it infuse before pouring it into a cup.

Flour came in fabric "flour bags" and when the bag was empty it was washed well and the material was used to make children's undies. You were lucky if the printing on the bag was removed in the washing process otherwise you might have had "Defiance Flour" where today young people think it is trendy to have a "smart remark". Larger quantities of flour came in closely woven, heavy hessian bags. These were greatly prized as they were waterproof and when folded in half like a child's pixi hood and put on your head they covered the your shoulders and back and kept you really dry but left your arms free to work. Well washed and stitched together, they were covered with some pretty curtain fabric and became a warm (but heavy!) blanket for your bed. There was a very big flour mill in the town of Wagga Wagga in southern NSW, and their bags would have had the name of the town stamped on them. This type of blanket became so common that today any hessian blanket is called a Wagga.

Sugar came to the shop in a big finely woven hessian bag and the amount you wanted was weighed into a brown paper bag by the shop keeper. The sugar bags were also prized. They could be turned into rough hand towels or used as a base through which you threaded scraps of wool or strips of cloth, to make warm bedside mats.

Before Grandpa turned ten, World War 11 started and millions of young men became soldiers and left to fight on battlefields all over the world. To make sure there was plenty of food and resources for them the government introduced laws which restricted the amount of petrol the people could purchase. Farmers and other essential services got the most but the general public was allowed only a very limited amount. The consumption of certain foods, such as butter, sugar, tea and meat was also strictly controlled. Each person was issued with ration books for those items and you could not purchase any without handing over a coupon from your book. Honey became very popular as a replacement for sugar and bartering and swapping became common. rabbits were in plague proportions and people in the country could go rabbit trapping to extend their limited meat ration. Most mothers knew lots of ways to cook rabbit or a pair of rabbits could be sold to the neighbor or the butcher to make some pocket money. Keeping a house cow or chooks in the backyard was even more popular than before and everyone had a choko vine and some fruit trees growing.

Coupons were also vital for the purchase of fabric items, such as dress materials, clothing, towels, sheets and blankets. Lollies were a rare treat and most children wore clothing that was either a "hand me down" or made from the best parts of a grown up's castoff clothing.

As a child growing up in those difficult times was just so different to the free and easy life today. You ate what you were given and in our house if I would not eat what was on my plate at the evening meal it was put in the ice-chest to be eaten before I got my next meal. I quickly learned to like whatever I was given as it tasted better first time round! You were not allowed to waste food. We did not have the huge range of choices available today. we never went to restaurants. Some of the big department shops in the city had cafeterias where you could have a meal if you were in town for the day. You could choose a meal already set on a plate and pay the cashier and take it to the table to eat. In a way it was like McDonalds is today but there was no McDonalds then.

We did not have canteens at school but one day a week the pie man would come to the school I went to in Brisbane. He had a small utility truck with a pie warmer in the back. This had a wood fire in the base which he had to keep stoking to keep the pies hot. If you were lucky and had lots of pocket money you could have mushy peas and potato too! Ordinary school lunches were usually sandwiches spread with peanut paste, vegemite or jam. They were wrapped in lunch paper and packed in a tin. There was no plastic to safely carry a drink. Glass bottles were too dangerous so we had water from the bubbler or had fruit.

"Almost everyone had a pushbike and lots of children rode home to have their lunch. Even years after the War finished people working in the shops in Casino rode their bike to work and would ride home to have lunch".

During the War, as well as the restrictions on the use of petrol and the difficulties imposed with the use of coupons, one other restriction governed people's lives. You were not allowed to have light showing. Car lights had shades over them and the windows in houses had heavy blackout curtains. You were in big trouble if you showed any light which could give the enemy a target to attack. To save money the owners of some houses painted the glass black. A house we were renting after the war still had the black paint embedded in the fancy floral pattern of glass windows. It was impossible to remove!

It was a very different world back then. Let's hope we never have to go back to times like that again!

Rev. Charles Ferdinand Brigstocke (1808-1869)

Maternal Great Grandfather of (Member) Ian Campbell

Born at Llawhaddon Vicarage, Wales, on 9th April, 1808 the ninth child and seventh son of The Reverend Thomas BRIGSTOCKE and his wife Elizabeth, nee PHELPS. He was educated for the church at St. David's College, Lampeter, and ordained by the Bishop of Worcester. His first appointment was to Bristol, and then as a curate to the Rev. Dr. Humphrey, at Tenby. With a recommendation from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the approval of the bishop of London, he was appointed a chaplain in New South Wales on 31st March, 1838 by the Colonial Office, with an allowance of £150 ($300) for outfitting and passage.

He arrived in Sydney on 5th December, 1838 on the barque "Fairlie", having for fellow passengers Major-General Sir Maurice O'Connell, Lady O'Connell and family. His stipend of £150 p.a. ($300) began on his arrival and he was appointed under the Colonial Government to the Diocese of Sydney on the 6th December, 1838. Numerour references state that he was stationed for some time at Ryde before being sent by Bishop Broughton to the new Parish of Yass as an itinerant missionary. His period at Ryde could only have been for, at the most 3 weeks, as it took four or five days to get to Yass and the first entry in the registers is the burial at Murrumbateman of Joseph Park on the 8th January, 1839.

When he arrived at Yass there was neither church nor parsonage and his stipend included £80 p.a. ($180) for forage for 2 horses and 60 p.a. ($120) for a house until he has one of his own, he lived in a hut. Although he was, in March, 1839, appointed as Secretary to the Yass Church Fund services were conducted until 1840 in the old Court House, then in a temporary church which was situated on what is locally known as Mud Island. He was also appointed as Secretary of the Yass Subscription Library

He was appointment as surrogate for granting marriage licences on 20th March 1840. Services were conducted on three Sundays a month in Yass and he visited widely scattered stations and town in a district which included Tumut, Gundagai, Binalong, Boorowa, Adelong and Tarcutta. Like other itinerant ministers at Queanbeyan and Collector he sometimes served in the 'no-man's land' outside his district, and in 1840 Bishop Broughton lamenting the lack of religious instruction in the young, the apathy of the adults and the absence of regular church services, referred to the immense size of Brigstocke's task and the need to divide his parish.

The Census of 1841 shows him living in Rossi Street, close by the site of the present parsonage, and shows 4 males aged between 21 and 45 and one boy aged between 7 and 14, one was born in the colony, one arrived free and three were in private assignment, all were anglicans. One was described as a professional person, two were domestic servants - shepherds or gardeners etc.

About the end of 1841 an anonymous letter appeared in the Sydney Herald charging Mr. Cornelius O'Brien ' with breaking the Sabbath and countenancing moral laxity in the neighbourhood by riding the hounds on the Sabbath'. Rumour attributed this letter to Brigstocke and Mr. O'Brien brought an action against him and got a verdict for £50. When the case appeared in the Herald on 1st March, 1842 the Bishop at once took action and Mr. Brigstocke was cited to appear at St. James' Church vestry, and show to the Revs. Allwood, Clarke, Turner, Bobart and Forrest that he believed the assertions made in the anonymous letter were true. These gentlemen, after examining four witnesses and hearing the depositions of three others, decided that he had grounds for so believing, and accordingly acquitted him, at the same time expressing their regret that he should have published anonymously a letter containing such grave and serious charges. This trial was declared informal.

On 19th May, 1843 his licence was suspended by Bishop Broughton 'for the period during which an investigation will be made into charges preferred against him by Richard Hardy, Esq., Justice of the Peace, in a letter to His Excellency the Governor'. On 29th May Rev. William Lisle was licensed as locum tenens at Yass and Revs. Allwood, Hassall, Forrest, Wood and Stone were appointed as commissioners of inquiry. They sat in Berrima in September to carry out a 'careful comparison between the handwriting and peculiarities of the said letter and the usual style and character of the avowed handwriting of Brigstocke'. They found that although there was considerable suspicion there also was insufficient evidence that he had written the letter, and they recommended that the Bishop take no further proceedings. Brigstocke was reinstated as incumbent at Yass in January, 1844. He won an action in the Supreme Court for malicious libel, but was awarded damages of only one farthing (about a quarter of a cent) instead of the £1000 ($2000) he claimed.

At Yass on 9th April, 1844 he was married by the Rev. Wm. Sowerby to Susan, daughter of Dr William ADYE and his wife Harriet, nee HOWELL who had arrived in Sydney in October, 1841 with their family and settled at "Boambolo", Murrumbidgee.

Although several other ministers were appointed to the southern districts, his parish remained very large. In June 1845 he was allowed £13 ($26) for religious instruction in remote districts and in April 1846 an additional £15 ($30) for the religious instruction of convicts at Yass.

Apart from his clerical calling he was involved in many other civic activities and records show:- "12th October, 1847, Signed request to Henry O'Brien to call a meeting to discuss erection of first Yass Hospital -- 14th October, 1847, Meeting re trustees and contributions to church building fund -- 21st October, 1847, Attend meeting to discuss proposed hospital -- 26th July, 1848, Signed request to Henry O'Brien to call a public meeting to discuss the claims of small agricultural settlers - 15th August, 1848, Present at meeting to discuss price of Crown Lands and to petition the Queen, also signed letter to Hamilton Hume re the request -- 20th January, 1849, Elected to Hospital Committee - 17th April, 1849, Together with Noel Chapman (Policeman), sureties for John Styles, the Clerk of Petty Sessions (The purpose of the surety not stated) - In 1850 was active in the movement to have a bridge constructed over the Yass River.

The foundation stone St. Clement's, to be built to the design of E. T. Blacket, was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald of 4th December, 1847 as having been laid. The opening being on 30th March, 1850, and Brigstocke was also responsible for the building of a rectory and school. His salary from the Government was now £200 p.a. ($400), £ 42/10/- ($85) forage allowance and a rectory.

On 17th July, 1852 he visited Gundagai after the catastrophic flood when the Murrumbidgee River completely washed away the village and buried the seventy three inhabitants who were drowned.

He was active in the Yass Mechanics' Institute in 1857, owned 9 blocks of land at what is now North Yass and although his salary was increased in 1858 to £ 266/131- p.a. ($533.30), plus the rectory, he was not well off.

His death occured at the Rectory on 11th October, 1859 aged 51 years after a lengthy illness, and having been incumbent for 20 years. His wife and five of their seven children survived him, the youngest child not being quite two years of age.

He is buried outside the vestry door of St. Clement's Church in what is termed a prismatic tomb on the side of which is inscribed: Charles Ferdinand Brigstocke, Clerk. Died Oct. X1th. A.D. MDCCCLIX, Aged L1 years.

And on the reverse side, "The Memory of the Just is Blessed".

A subscription fund was opened for Memorial Plaques, which are inside the church, his headstone and a residence for his family. Written & Submitted by Ian Campbell

Centenarian Lillian Maria Knight 1911-2011

Written & Submitted by Cherryl Mison

When I began to write this story it was to be a celebration of the fact that my husbands aunt had reached the amazing age of 100. Unfortunately within hours of speaking to her son to try and get a little more information about her life I received a phone call informing me of her death. I was then asked if I would deliver the eulogy at her funeral and so my story became a eulogy.

Aunty Lil was born Lillian Maria Knight on 22.03.1911, the 2nd child of Eli and Louisa Knight at Casino. She spent her early years on the family dairy farm at Dobies Bight. Along with her brother, Frank and sisters Hazel, Pearl, Ivy, Ruby and Myrtle (who have all pre-deceased her) she helped her parents on the farm. She attended The Bend Primary School. On the 12th September 1936 she married Ronald Thomas (who was known as Don) and moved to Tatham where she and Don share farmed with Don’s parents and later with Don’s brother Lou (who had married her sister Ruby) until Lou and Ruby moved to the farm next door. Don’s parents had moved to the beach and many weekends were spent there visiting. I am told she loved the beach. She loved farm life and the farm animals especially her ducks, chooks and turkeys.

She and Don raised 3 children Allen, Neil and Narelle. She led a busy life helping Don run their farm but still found time for family and friends, continuing to enjoy country dances and breeding and raising race horses with some success.

After the death of her husband in 1977 and her son Allen in 2005 Lil moved to the BCS Mid Richmond Services Nursing Home at Coraki. She has happily spent the last few years there and looked upon it as her home.

She saw many changes in her life time. She rode a horse to school on a gravel road. She would have learnt to cook on a wood stove, had to help milk by hand, not had a telephone and to get the 8km to town she would have had to ride a horse or take a horse and sulky. Entertainment would have been listening to the radio, playing cards or going to dances (where we believe she met Don).

Neil remembers his mother as someone who was always ready to lend a helping hand and if you turned up at meal time there was always room made at the table.

Narelle told me of the many wonderful and happy memories she and her family have of Aunty Lil going on holidays with them up the Queensland coast. She wasn’t passed hopping on a train and going to Narelle and Ross where ever they might be living and spend a week or two with them and the girls. Selena, Shannon and Nicole have been remembering these times and admit they gave their Nanna a bit of a hard time playing jokes on her during these visits. I think she would have thoroughly enjoyed the time she spent with them. She celebrated her 100th Birthday surrounded by family and friends at Coraki and on the morning of her birthday she was heard to say "I made it".

Aunty Lil is survived by her son Neil, daughter Nacelle, granddaughters Jeanette, Selena, Shannon and Nicole, 10 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren. (She will also be sadly missed by Allen’s stepchildren Graham, Bruce and families.)

A true lady she attributed her long life to the fact that she worked hard and never smoked.

Protect your Family from Identity Fraud

Written by Lorrie Barzdo for the Caloundra Clipper Newsletter Nov. 2010

This explanation of Identity Fraud is worth passing on.

Perhaps it hasn't happened to you or those you know yet, but fraudulent use of information including full names, dates and places of birth are very sensitive issues in the community today. Why make it easier for unscrupulous crooks to obtain your information?

At a recent meeting of our Family History Society, a representative of the Police Fraud Squad gave all a shakeup when explaining how the current wave of crooks don't break into your house these days to steal your plasma TV but to grab a few bills off the fridge or office desk to get your bank details, names and addresses and other identity information. He also gave severe warnings of posting full details of your family on the internet in one of many of the commercial Family History sites.

A name and birth details can often be used to apply for a birth certificate, then a driver's licence, bank account and then to full identity information. Suddenly, you have lost your identity!

I don't have any problem with people submitting perhaps the 'bare bones' of present day family, e.g. just your first and last name, country of birth and year, same for your parents and grandparents and then maybe having extra information for far older generations. However, beware if you make a Gedcom (or .ged file) from your genealogy software program and send it straight to a web page, or to a friend or distant family member, who ignores your request to not share it all with the world. It could easily be added to their tree on Ancestry, Findmypast, GenesReunited or one of many other sites, in the blink of an eye. When it's gone, it has gone.

Here are some tips on how to add some protection -

If you want to transmit data from your computer program, first temporarily "privatise" your tree, (always read the Help Section of any of these programs), select the part or branch that you want to share and then create a Gedcom or .ged file. After you have saved this type of file, you can go back to your main file and "unprivatise" to

go back to normal.

Privatising means that names and data for those who could be still alive will not be shown. For example, if your Aunty Jane was born in 1928 and you haven't included a death date in your data because she is either still alive or you don't know when she died, she will only be shown as a "living individual" attached to her parents.

The same "protection" will apply for yourself, your children and grandchildren.

An option - If you don't wish to go to the full extent of sending someone a gedcom file, which I rarely do for anyone these days, because it can be easily and simply added to another person's tree, then do the following:

You can just share small parts of your tree or information in a 'Word' document as a text file that you can copy easily from most genealogy software programs.

Copy a "text report' of part of your tree into 'MS. Word' or your text program and then "prune the tree" and take out the twigs or side branches that you don't want to send to someone. If they want to put some of that data into their tree, then they will have to type it in themselves and hopefully check that theirs matches correctly when doing so!

Remember that in many countries now, it is illegal for you to give out personal details about

anyone, unless you have their written permission.

Would you like the details of your previous marriage, other children, parents and their personal details out there for the entire world to see? This doesn't mean you can't share your information, but just a warning to be careful and vigilant about what and with whom you do share.

If you are doing your research in a sensible and correct manner, you will have spent some (or even quite a lot of) money and time on your hobby, or shall we call it your obsession?

Only pass your information along knowing how and where it will be used.


The Old Petrol Tin

Author Unknown

An item that once was so common, but today is so seldom seen

Is the four gallon tin used for petrol, and its ditto to hold kerosene

After these tins had been emptied, they were used in so many ways

How they played such a major part, back in those good old days

They were made into buckets and dishes, and household utensils galore;

For feed troughs out in the chook yard, and ornaments beside the front door

They were sat on the fence for a mailbox, out in the country towns

And made into excellent flytraps' out in the western downs

The tinkers who travelled the country, in the depression days

All made use of this grand old tin when making their gadgets and trays

You would find them along any roadway where a driver had filled up his car

Or in any pub you might visit for a slop bucket under the bar

You used them for boiling the washing, in the days before washing machines

When everything had to be scrubbed by hand and wrung by primitive means

They were made into food bins for storage of flour, sugar, dried fruits and tea

When you bought your groceries in bulk lots and for small goods whatever they be

And the cases these tins were packed in were made from the best grade of pine

These were made useful in so many ways back in the pre-war time

For furniture, cupboards and shelving and repairs to be done round the place

You were never short of timber or nails when you had an old petrol case

Now I think over these years gone by and remember the things that we did

How we managed in so many ways to get the most out of a quid

Below: Wash up dish

Right: During the Great Depression, people lost their homes and were forced to 'make

do' as best they could. Some built their own huts using saplings for the frame and flattened and folded kero tins for the walls and roof



Administrative history

The Australian Agricultural Company (AA Co.) was established in London in 1824 and, supported by an Act of Parliament and a Royal Charter, took up a million-acre grant in New South Wales to raise merino sheep. After some uncertainty, the land finally chosen was in three blocks: 464,640 acres between Port Stephens and the Manning River (Port Stephens Estate), 249,600 acres on the Liverpool Plains west of Willow Tree (Warrah), and 313,298 acres at the Peel River south of Tamworth (Goonoo Goonoo). It was established in all three locations by the early 1830s. Within a year of its formation, the company also became involved in coal mining at Newcastle, taking over the government’s operations there. After protracted negotiations, the company’s new pit was opened in 1831. In return for a promise of considerable investment, the company was to be protected by a virtual monopoly that lasted until 1847. The arrangements included a 2000-acre land grant at Newcastle, which the company added to with the purchase of Platt’s Estate (2000 acres) in 1838.


The company’s pastoral and coal-mining activities were intended to be carried on with a large complement of convicts under the supervision of officers, overseers and skilled mechanics, many of whom were recruited on contract in Britain and Germany. With the ending of assignment in 1838, general economic difficulties in the 1840s and the increasing realisation that Port Stephens was unsuited to sheep, the company had to give serious consideration to its future. The period 1849 to 1856 was marked by much internal upheaval and reorganisation, compounded by the general dislocation of the gold rushes. In the mid-1850s the company’s sheep operations were transferred to Warrah, while the northern part of the Port Stephens Estate was developed for cattle. Around Stroud, land was sold and leased for agricultural purposes and there was some timber getting.


In 1852 gold was discovered on the Peel Estate and anticipating considerable return from mining, the Estate was sold to a new company, the Peel River Land & Mineral Company (also based in London). The mineral deposits, however, came nowhere near expectations. The Peel Company’s activities remained pastoral, based at Tamworth, though a series of leaseholds were taken up (and sold) in New South Wales and Queensland to complement Goonoo Goonoo. These included Currawillinghi near Brewarrina (NSW) in 1881 and Avon Downs (NT) in 1921.


During the second half of the 19th Century, the AA Co. carried on its dual interest in coal mining at Newcastle and sheep and cattle raising at Warrah. After World War I, the company gradually withdrew from coal mining, including its interest in Hebburn Ltd, purchased in 1902. From the turn of the century, the company increased its land sales at Newcastle, concentrating its activities at Warrah and Windy (West Warrah) and other properties, notably:

Corona near Longreach (1902);

Bladensburg near Winton (1915);

James McLeish Estates: Sandy Camp, Pillawarrina and Narraway at Coonamble (1946); Northern Territory Pastoral Co.: Rockhampton Downs (1948);

Cooper River Pastoral Co.: South Galway, Qld (1948);

Ivanhoe Grazing Co., WA (1950); and

Connor, Doherty and Durack: Auvergne and Newry, NT and Argyle Downs, WA (1950).


From 1910 both Warrah and Goonoo Goonoo were greatly reduced in area by resumption and subdivision.


From 1932 the AA and Peel Companies Australian interests were managed jointly, with the General Superintendent based at Goonoo Goonoo and the Australian Secretary at Newcastle. In 1959 the Peel Company became a wholly owned subsidiary of the AA Co. In 1976 the company’s tax domicile was transferred from London to New South Wales and the Head Office was established in Tamworth. The Australian Office was moved from Newcastle to Tamworth in 1965.


The records of the AA and Peel Companies, from both the Australian and the London offices and some of the stations, occupy in excess of 315 shelf metres and 100 reels of microfilm. The records of the AA and Peel Co.’s London office include the minutes of the Court of Directors 1824 –1964 together with the minutes of its committees, the minutes and annual reports presented to the shareholders meetings 1825-1953, share registers 1874-1970, and ledgers 1825-1947. However, by far the largest and most frequently used series is that of the despatches from New South Wales, written by the Agent/ Commissioner/ General Superintendent to the Directors, at least monthly from 1825 to 1976. The despatches, with their frequently voluminous enclosures, cover a wide range of company and general matters. They are indexed except for the period to

Contd. from previous page …………..

1830 (for which other internal aids are available) and 1854-58. For the period 1899-1948 there are also ‘private despatches’ addressed to the Chairman.  The records of the London office of the Peel Company are similar – however the excellent run of despatches from 1853 is not indexed. There are large gaps in the Australian office records before 1856 although some out-letter books and an incomplete set of despatches have survived. Records of the Colonial Committee, including the minutes, are held in the Macarthur Papers at the Mitchell Library. The Committee, which existed 1824-30, was composed of James Macarthur, H H Macarthur and James Bowman.


Records concerning coal

As mentioned above, the AA Co. was involved in coal mining in Newcastle, first as the only and later as one of the biggest mining companies to 1906. The records cover all aspects of the getting and selling of coal and include the General Superintendent’s general correspondence on coal matters (1856+), detailed statistics of coal raised and sold, with the break down of costs (1883+), the Colliery Manager’s monthly reports 1862+), fortnightly pay sheets for each pit (1870+), together with minutes and other papers of the Northern Coal Sales Association (‘The Vend’) (1887+). There are also several hundred maps of the coalfield (some of the 1850s, mostly mid 1860s+).


Records concerning land

The company’s initial grant was one million acres plus two thousand acres at Newcastle. Some farms and grazing lands were leased in the 1840s. In 1847 the company finally received title to its land and began to consider its alienation. In the early 1850s townships were laid out at Stroud, Carrington and Gloucester (all at Port Stephens), (West) Tamworth, (West) Nundle and Goonoo Goonoo, and the first subdivisions were laid out at Newcastle and Pit Town (Hamilton). Tea Gardens (which the Company called ‘Coweambah’) was surveyed in 1864 and Willow Tree (on the Warrah Estate) in 1908.


In 1849 the Directors promoted an emigration scheme which included a 50-acre selection at Port Stephens, but the plan had little success. Most land at Port Stephens was sold by private contract (often through a pre-emptive lease) with the occasional auction. In 1903 the whole of the northern section of the Port Stephens Estate (about 150,000 acres) was sold to the Gloucester Estate Syndicate for subdivision.


At Newcastle and Hamilton there was a steady sale of town lots as well as the leasing of urban and agricultural land after 1850. In the early 20th century there were several major subdivisions including Hamilton Garden Suburb, which was planned in 1913 and developed during the 1920s. The records include details of lands sold (the duplicate conveyances are held in the Archives at the University of Newcastle) and leased, applications from the public to buy and lease, correspondence between the General Superintendent and the Company Surveyor, auction posters and several hundred maps.


Records concerning indentured servants and emigrants

Between 1825 and the 1860s the AA Co. brought to Australia over 600 men, almost all employees under some form of contract, many of them accompanied by their wives and children. In the 1820s the men who came were the senior officers of the company (including Robert Dawson and the company’s first Agent in New South Wales and his successor, entitled Commissioner, Sir Edward Parry), sheep overseers from Scotland, France and Germany, and skilled mechanics. Between 1838 and 1842, with the ending of assignment, the company engaged several groups of colliers, shepherds and Irish labourers, with mixed success. In 1849, as mentioned above, the company floated a short-lived emigration scheme. At the same time they sent out colliers for Newcastle. To counteract the depletions of the gold rushes, more miners were sent out from the Midlands, Lancashire, Wales, and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, and in 1854/5 several groups of shepherds and miners from Germany. The last group of miners came in 1862 in the aftermath of the 1861 Coal Strike, through the offices of the British Emigration Commissioner.


The Archives has an index to these ‘indentured servants’ together with notes on sources of information on them. It should be noted, however, that there is little information, except in a very general form, about the people employed directly in the Colony, whether convict or free, in the period before 1870.


**Additions have been made to the Australian Agricultural Company and the Peel River Land & Mineral Company collection (Australian and London Offices) since this article was published in 1985. Records received include: registration and legal documents, solicitors' files, financial papers, operational records, share records, registers of directors etc., station records, publications, maps and plans and realia.

Article taken from:  The Noel Butlin Archives Centre (Australians at Work)Website




As well as the general history of the A.A. Company “Pure Merinos” has a listing of free immigrants brought out from overseas to work for them (including Chinese and Germans).


One of my husband’s ancestors – Hezekiah Gregory was listed as arriving on the “Globe” in April 1841 with his wife and family.  I wrote to the Australian National University Archives of Business and Labour in Canberra for more details and received copies of several letters in which he is mentioned along with two carpenters and bricklayers. 


Hezekiah’s contract was rewritten and he was eventually employed as a sawyer rather than the carpenter he was originally contracted as. Over the next eight years 5 more children were born at Port Stephens and two more at Liverpool and Dungog.  All A.A. Company estates.


In 1851/2 Hezekiah was among the first to purchase farm land from the company – Lot 15 Parish of Booral for $48.


On 28th September 1841 Susannah Browning married Joshua Craven at Carrington.  Joshua had been a convict assigned to the A.A. Company but by the time of his marriage he was a free man.  Following their marriage the couple returned to Stroud and it was here in St. John’s Church of England they witnessed the wedding of Susannah’s sister Hannah to Thomas Norton who was another convict assigned to the A.A.Company.  Just two years after her marriage Susannah died and was buried in the churchyard at the Church of England section of the Stroud cemetery.  Joshua remarried but he died in 1847 and was also buried in Stroud.  The part of the inscription on his gravestone which can still be seen reads:  Valuable servant of the A.A. Company who was suddenly removed from this life into eternity ….34? years.

Article submitted by Member Barbara Wilkes




Wanting to translate a foreign language to English and visa versa.

Go to Babel Fish Translation and follow the instructions below

To translate a block of text to or from English:

1.    Either write the text directly into the given box or copy and paste text from another source into the box.

2.    Then click on “Select from and to languages” a drop down menu appears.

3.    Make a choice of what language translation is required.

4.    Next click “Translate” and it’s done.

You can also have a webpage translated by entering the webpage address and following instructions 2. 3. 4. above.

Our tangled web.

Harriet Stiles was born in 31st March 1840 at Butterwick NSW. She was the daughter of Edward Stiles and Harriet Pooley Foreman. She did not live a very average life. It would seem that she had a child born out of wed lock (Mary Stiles) to her sister’s husband, George Barnes. At 19 years old Harriet married William Clapham, they had 6 children during their marriage. The youngest child was born in 1871. Harriet is then believed to have married Christopher Roles bearing 3 more children, first child being born in 1876. Previous researchers if this line had found no record of William Clapham’s death. Recently it was uncovered in QLD he died 5th January 1904 in a Toowoomba asylum.

This leaves us with the questions did Harriet and William Divorce? Did she commit bigamy? We can’t find a marriage record for Harriet and Christopher maybe they just lived together? We can’t find any divorce records. We did find Christopher Roles first wife’s (Elizabeth) death. She died 1898 in the Toowoomba Asylum. What we do now know is that both Harriet and Christopher were together the same time as their first partners were still alive. Elizabeth is mentioned as on Christopher’s death certificate along with the children of their marriage. No mention is made of Harriet or their children. Christopher died 6th May 1887 in Glen Innes.

Harriet then remarried Henry Rummery of 21st December 1889. Her name is given on the marriage certificate as Harriet Clapham Roles. She Died in Glen Innes. 

Submitted by members Judy Caban 1 Merrigan St Kyogle 2474 and Ray Ronan 102 West St Casino 2470

Fatal Flu Outbreak

The war in Europe was over, but a new threat faced the world early in 1919, when, from Russia came an invader that proved to be very hard to repel .THE DEADLY PNEUMONIC FLU.

In January, New South Wales was declared an infectious state. Cases of the fatal flu started to crop up. First in Lismore starting in February. There would be 101 cases reported by doctors, and 57 deaths in Lismore.

Casino was one of the worst hit towns in the state. By the month of May, 26 people had died in a makeshift hospital in the showground pavilion. Emergency hospitals were also set up in the School of Arts building and The Masonic Hall.

When the epidemic had passed, 45 Casino people would have died, out of more then 600 who had contracted the virus. Those who died included Volunteer Aid Detachment members Miss N Devlin, 39, who was in charge of the girls at the show ground pavilion, Mrs A W Norton, 32, and Nurse Guieren of Casino Hospital.

Not so hard hit was Byron Bay, where in June the public school was taken over for an emergency hospital. In the following 3 months, 67 people had been hospitalised there, but no deaths were recorded. Australia’s population at that time had reached 5 million, and between January and August, 10,000 had died from the flu.

Kyogle reported about 360 cases. An emergency hospital was set up at the Drill hall. (Does anyone know which hall this is?).




Prison Hulks

Prior to transportation, convicts were often imprisoned in the hulks of many famous old warships which had been moored in the Thames Estuary or Plymouth Harbour. Conditions on board those floating gaols were appalling and the standards of hygiene were so poor that disease spread quickly. As mentioned in the section on English prisons, although there was a strong lobby movement regarding the living conditions on the hulks, the English government delayed building new gaols and preferred to search for new places to send her convicts instead. Many of the convicts sent to New South Wales in the early years were already disease ridden when they departed and a huge loss of life through typhoid and cholera epidemics was the result.

The State Archives Office of New South Wales (SAONSW) has a microfilmed collection of the English Hulk Returns dating from 1783 to 1803. They list the prisoners awaiting transportation and give their name, age, place and date of conviction, their sentence and in some cases, a record of their state of health and when and where the discharge took place. These records are also readily available elsewhere in Australia and outline the costs associated with the hulks.

The Phoenix Hulk was used as a prison ship in Sydney Harbour from 1825 to 1837 and the SAONSW also holds hulk records for that period. They give the convict's year of arrival, ship, free or bond status, place of origin, religion, trade or calling, details of admission to and disposal from the hulk, and occasionally a note about their behaviour on board the hulk. Description Books (1833-1837) and Discharge Books (1825-1833) were also kept and the Entrance Books are partially indexed. In Tasmania, an ex-naval ship called the Anson was used to accommodate female convicts. Some hulk lists are included in the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) but may not be very extensive. Several specialist books have been written about various hulks and the conditions the convicts were exposed to. Although it does not list the convicts on each hulk as such, Charles Campbell's "The Intolerable Hulks - British Shipboard Confinement 1776-1857" does list the hulks by name, the year they were placed into service, the estimated time they stayed in service, their typical prisoner count and station.