Eldershaw Memorial Lecture: 'A Duty No Less Solemn': Sir John Gellibrand and the fight for returned servicemen 1923-39
Entry to Dechaineux Theatre, 37 Hunter Street, Hobart.
Note: Light refreshments served after the lecture.
Entry to Dechaineux Theatre, 37 Hunter Street, Hobart.
Note: Light refreshments served after the lecture.
Christine Goodacre and Barbara Lypka
The Backspace behind the Theatre Royal main stage was a theatre venue for over thirty years. Throughout this time it was a low cost alternative theatre space, away from the strictures of the proscenium stage and patterns of traditional theatre. The Backspace was used for experimentation, risk taking, social comment, entertainment, technical/theatre skill development and was a career stepping stone for many talented Tasmanians.
The Friends of the Theatre Royal (FOTR) sponsored this oral history of the Backspace through the recollections of individuals, giving a voice to 'theatre' development in Hobart at this time that is not readily found in documented sources. It describes the Backspace theatre story through the voices of those who worked in it, exploring related issues of financial viability, theatre company management and a time when rules were more flexible.
The project was undertaken by Christine Goodacre, Barb Lypka and John McCormick. They are oral history novices, who collaborated on this project after careers in public and university policy and management.
There once was an old man of Lyme
Who married three wives at a time,
When asked, "Why a third?"
He replied, "One's absurd!
And bigamy, sir, is a crime.
William Cosmo Monkhouse (1840-1901)
Libby Prescott trained in archaeology, law and materials conservation.
She has worked as an Interviewer and Researcher for the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Australian National University, the Australian War Memorial, the University of Tasmania, the Centre for Research and Learning in Regional Australia and the Menzies Centre for Population Health Research while raising four children and other livestock on a self-sufficient farm in NW Tasmania.
Now that she has retired, she has time to indulge her love for historical research. This paper is a product of that passion. In it, Libby presents case studies of the few women sentenced to transportation for that “rare and comical” crime, bigamy, both in England and in the Australian Colonies between 1788 and 1853.
In 1843, the British prison inspector Benjamin Horne commented that without the most basic support from Port Arthur, he could scarcely imagine “a more helpless Establishment” than Point Puer. Horne was referring to Point Puer’s location and buildings and recommended that the institution be moved to somewhere more suitable. In his view, a good system of discipline and training could never be achieved without proper buildings.
Situated on the headland across the bay from Port Arthur, the Point Puer Boys Establishment held over 2,000 male juvenile convicts between 1834 and 1849. Historians have been divided on whether it was successful in reforming the boys and preparing them for life in the colony.
Alistair Scott was General Manager of Natural and Cultural Heritage with the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment until 2015, and previously Director of Local Government. Alistair is now working and studying at the University of Tasmania and is researching the life courses of male juvenile convicts held at Point Puer. Alistair’s research is focusing on the treatment of the boys during transportation and at Point Puer, and on the later lives of Point Puer boys who stayed in Van Diemen’s Land after gaining their freedom.
From the flourishing possibly sixteen original languages spoken in lutruwita (Tasmania), to near extinguishment under post-invasion colonial pressures and sleeping for almost two hundred years, palawa kani has emerged as the language of Tasmanian Aborigines. It is now fundamental to Aboriginal community activities and family life, with two generations of children having learnt it from infancy. palawa kani is shared with the public through renaming of places, and things as varied as a newly discovered squat lobster and the next Antarctic icebreaker. How did this happen? Where does the knowledge of the language come from? And can it ever be a ‘living’ language, one that is used in daily life?
Theresa Sainty is a Pakana woman and has been Aboriginal Linguistic Consultant for the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre’s palawa kani Language Program since 1997. Theresa has also worked with the Tasmanian Department of Education, Aboriginal Education Services, developing Aboriginal Cultural Awareness training and a number of curriculum resources about Tasmanian Aborigines. Theresa is current Chair of TMAG’s Tasmanian Aboriginal Advisory Council, and has begun a Senior Indigenous Research Scholarship at UTAS.
John Dent OAM
John Dent graduated from the University of Tasmania in 1979 with a Surveying degree. He was registered as a land surveyor in 1982 and became a partner in the surveying firm Campbell Smith, Phelps, Pedley in 1985. He is currently a director in the state wide firm of PDA Surveyors and manages their Launceston office.
John also has extensive community involvement as a member of a number of historical societies, Launceston Rotary and is a past chairman and on the Board of the St Giles Society. He is President of the West Tamar Historical Society, past secretary of the Launceston Historical Society (LHS), chairman of the LHS Archaeology Group, is a founding member of the Tasmanian Family History Society, a committee member of the Friends of the Launceston Mechanics Institute and has written articles and chapters for many publications and given many talks and tours on the early history of northern Tasmania. He is a Paul Harris Fellow, an Honorary Fellow of the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute and was awarded an OAM in 2006 for service to the community, particularly through a range of historical, service and rural youth organisations and to surveying.
The Kerry Lodge Bridge and Probation Station
By John Dent OAM
The Kerry Lodge Bridge (or Strathroy or Spiky Bridge) was built by convict labour from 1834 to 1836. It is still in use as part of a public road on Hobart Road just south of Franklin Village on the outskirts of Launceston. Only the Richmond Bridge (1825) and the Ross Bridge (also 1836) are older. It is built of bluestone quarried on site just south of the bridge. The bridge station that housed the convicts is believed to be just south of the bridge. It became a Road Station, then a Probation Station then a convict hiring depot before falling out of use about 1847 giving it a life of about 13 years.
Since then the site has been cleared and ploughed and the site has become lost. Prior to 2010 it was believed a stone ruin on top of a hill about 1km south of the bridge was the site of the convict station. The Launceston Historical Society Archaeology Group was formed at this time and after clearing, research and preliminary investigation an archaeological dig under Professor Eleanor Casella was conducted at that site. After finding it was most likely a stable or barn the search continued to find the site of the probation station.
This paper will detail the history of the bridge and the probation station and follow the path to its re-discovery in 2018.
Dr. Annaliese Jacobs Claydon is an archivist at the State Library and Archive Service in Hobart. She received her PhD in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2015. Her dissertation traced how the family of Sir John Franklin engaged with networks of imperial knowledge in the nineteenth century, especially indigenous intelligence during the search for Franklin’s missing Northwest Passage Expedition. She is currently revising her dissertation for publication (while co-convening the popular “A Pint of History” and wrangling a four year old).
Anna’s talk examines how Tasmanians engaged in the search for Sir John Franklin between 1848 and 1854. Bringing together evidence from the Tasmanian Archives and several regional UK archives. She will examine how news of Franklin (or rather, the lack thereof) filtered back to the colony from the Arctic regions through correspondence networks, far-flung friendships, and print culture. Anna will also explore some of the ways in which the search for the missing Erebus and Terror came to be intertwined with some of the key Tasmanian political questions of the era.
William John Ellis Cox, AC, RFD, ED, QC, was born in Hobart, he was educated at St. Virgil’s College, Xavier College in Melbourne and the University of Tasmania.
William graduated from the University of Tasmania (BA, LLB) in 1960 and was admitted to the Bar in the Supreme Court of Tasmania in March 1960. He was appointed a magistrate in 1976, and became a Queen’s Counsel in 1978, during his term as the State's Crown Advocate (equivalent to today’s Director of Public Prosecutions).
He was appointed to the Supreme Court of Tasmania in 1982, and was the state's Chief Justice from 1995. He was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Tasmania in 1996. In 1999, Cox was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC). He already held the Reserve Force Decoration (RFD) and the Army's Efficiency Decoration (ED) for service in the Royal Tasmania Regiment, including service in Vietnam.
On 15th December 2004 he was appointed as Governor of Tasmania being only the second Tasmanian-born Governor in our state's history. A position he held until 2008.
The indefatigable zeal of Robert McNally: The memoir of a soldier in Van Diemen’s Land in the 1820s
Very occasionally a historian strikes ‘archive gold’. By chance Pam Sharpe came upon the damaged diary/memoir of Private Robert McNally in the National Library of Ireland. Documents describing Van Diemen’s Land from a non-official point of view are rare and as far as she was able to discern McNally’s account had not been known about or used by a researcher until now. In so far as this large document is comprehensible and in one piece, McNally has provided us with a very individual and candid view of being a soldier in the bush in the years that preceded the Black War.
Pam Sharpe was the first female Professor in History at the University of Tasmania and the first woman nominated to the Australian Academy of the Humanities from Tasmania. A graduate of Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities, she has a background in British social and economic history which she taught at Bristol University, UK but has recently turned her attention to Van Diemen’s Land. She has previously researched working class writing in early nineteenth-century Britain hence her interest in Robert McNally’s diary/memoir.
Rodney’s talk marking the 30th anniversary of the birth of the modern Tasmanian LGBTQI rights movement in Tasmania will reveal a little known but important side of Hobart’s history.
Rodney studied history at the University of Tasmania. He worked as an interpretation guide at the Port Arthur Historic Site before becoming leading the Tasmanian gay law reform campaign from 1988. He is a regular commentator on Tasmanian historical and social issues.
If these walls could talk: 'Mural Archaeology' & lives past.
Alan’s presentation will tell the story of how artefacts hidden within our walls (including, but not limited to, wallpaper) can tell the stories of lives lived within these houses.
These stories start with the wallpaper choices themselves, but also in some cases, the story continues through the use of documents found interlaced within the wallpaper layers.
And of course, the stories evolve by cross-referencing Tasmania's extensive archival collections of personal and government documents.
This applies not only to the marine villas of the colony's administrative class, but also to the simple timber cottages built by hands roughened from convict labour.
In some cases the walls not only talk, they won't shut up...
Alan Townsend is wallpaper obsessive and a self-taught reproducer of historic wallpapers.
His day job is working as a Heritage Projects Officer for Clarence City Council and Southern Midlands Council.
The 2018 Eldershaw Lecture will be given by Professor Geoffrey Blainey, one of Australia’s most distinguished and prolific historians. Professor Blainey’s books are too numerous to mention, but include classics like The Tyranny of Distance and Triumph of the Nomads. The Eldershaw Lecture provides a wonderful opportunity to hear Professor Blainey’s mature reflections on Australia’s past (including Tasmania!). The Eldershaw Lecture will be held at the Dechaineux Theatre, Art School, Hunter Street at 8.00 pm on Tuesday 9 October. All welcome. Please arrive no later than 7.50 pm.
Malcolm Ward is a retired geologist and is currently enrolled at the University of Tasmania on a MA on the early life of George Meredith, planned to be turned into a PhD biography of his full life.
Malcolm was educated in Hobart and was awarded a BSc (Hons) majoring in geology at UTAS in 1981. From there he worked in the mining industry in Australia, North America and elsewhere until his retirement last year, including for a 10-year stint in mining investment banking in Sydney from 1994 to 2004.
He became interested in family history in the 1990s and has published several books on his family. This led to an interest in colonial architecture and he published Built by Seabrook in 2006. This in turn led him to become co-researcher and author for the Glamorgan Spring Bay Historical Society’s recent publication Houses & Estates of Old Glamorgan, which has proved very successful. It was the research for this book that first led Malcolm to explore the life of George Meredith. What was published in Houses & Estates of Old Glamorgan only scratched the surface and he applied to do the higher degree at UTAS to fully explore the topic.
The talk on Meredith will include some history of Meredith’s large house Cambria, which has received some public attention recently.
Don Morris is a full-time Senior Member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, based in Melbourne.
Don was born and educated in Launceston and at the University of Tasmania, from where he graduated in politics and philosophy.
Apart from working at Government House as Research Assistant to General Sir Phillip Bennett, Don has also been Secretary to the Government of Norfolk Island, Regional Director of the Jervis Bay Territory, and Private Secretary to three successive Presidents of the Senate.
He has recently published a paper on the perils of defining the reserve powers of the Crown.
Don was co-author with his late father of History in Our Streets, an historical account of Launceston street names. First published in 1990, they revised it for a new edition published by the Launceston Historical Society in 2013.
Some Interesting Governors of Tasmania
A Prime Minister of Malta
A cabinet-maker trade unionist
Churchill’s Minister for Economic Warfare
The Chief Scout of the World
- Just some of those who have been Governors of Tasmania.
Don Morris, who was a member of the Governor’s Personal Staff from 1989 to 1993, will sketch out the lives of some of those who have held Tasmania’s highest public office, and the important role the Governor has played in the social and political life of our Island.
John Wadsley has been a professional planning and heritage practitioner for the past 25 years, and established his own consultancy 12 years ago. He has a particular interest in military history and has worked on a number of conservation projects for some of Australia’s most significant war memorials and military facilities. He co-authored the Bicentennial history of Anglesea Barracks, Barrack Hill, published in 2011, as well as publishing a number of articles on historical topics. He has previously worked at a number of historic sites around Tasmania and at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, where he assisted researching their Great War exhibition in 2015. He currently works part-time at the Maritime Museum of Tasmania. He has been a member of the Friends of Soldiers Memorial Avenue since 2003 and has been President for a number of years. He is currently writing a history of the Claremont Army Camp and is researching his great uncle’s battalion, the 52nd, and the men who served in it during the Great War.
Unrelenting Sadness – stories from Soldiers Memorial Avenue
The Great War had a profound effect on Australia. One physical expression of this was the construction of war memorials on an unprecedented scale. There were traditional monuments in the form of obelisks, arches, honour boards and statues. Others served a broader community purpose such as halls, gardens and civic spaces. And memorial avenues would become a significant Australian response to the war. And all forms of memorial played a key role in helping communities remember those who served and died. They provided a tangible place compensating in part for the actual grave that most families would never see.
And so, in Hobart, the Soldiers Memorial Avenue came to be such a place, where private grieving and community remembrance could be expressed together. The Avenue today provides the opportunity to uncover the layers of local memories associated with the Great War: there are stories of individual soldiers; the places so far away where they fell; the hardships faced by mothers, sisters and wives left behind; and the need for the Hobart community to express its collective identity during a time of unparalleled grief, loss and upheaval. This presentation will examine a number of these stories that give real and personal insights into the direct effect of war. It will also reflect on the role of the Avenue as a place that can sustain the memory of loss, as well as being part of our social fabric, hopefully in perpetuity. The Avenue brings tangible form to the unrelenting sadness felt across Tasmania arising from the Great War.
Raymond Arnold, a Tasmanian Life
Born in Melbourne in 1950, Raymond Arnold studied teaching and art in Victoria before developing his professional career after moving to Tasmania in 1983. Located in the Southern Ocean, its landscape has been tempered and shaped by exposure to a prevailing westerly air-stream. Large tracts of forest in the west of the state give way to more settled pastoral areas in the east. This dynamic natural environment has in turn, shaped Tasmanian identity and culture. Raymond's prints and paintings have reflected his examination in the construction of the Tasmanian landscape and the identification with a type of 'ground'. He enveloped himself deeply into this landscape by relocating to Queenstown in 2006.
As a complement to this he has also been researching the intaglio print medium in Europe, working in France and Scotland on a regular basis since 1993 to connect to the tradition of making etchings. Fashion and dress, his great-grandfather's experiences of the First World War as a soldier in the AIF and the decoration of medieval armour are concepts that have been played out in tandem with his investigation into the print and identification with the 'figure' as much as the ground!
Raymond Arnold has held over 50 solo exhibitions and participated in group shows in Australia, Europe and the US. He is represented in the collections of the Imperial War Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Bibliotheque Nationale and the Musee Courbet in France. In Australia, the National Gallery, the Australian Parliament House and various State Galleries have Raymond Arnold prints in their collection
Well known as one of Tasmania's pre-eminent printmakers Raymond is also a skilled and successful painter having twice won the Glover Prize, one of Australia's most significant awards for landscape painting.
William Fenton McCulloch developed a farm on Maria Island between the years 1904 to 1922. Today, his old farm is a key landmark and a favourite stopping place for visitors to the island, although few people would have heard of William McCulloch, let alone realise the part he played in shaping the cultural landscape. Kathy's talk will provide insight into a man who struggled to find his path in life. He was a drifter, a soldier and a Jesuit scholar before choosing to live a simple existence on Maria island where he farmed 'in the manner of Virgil'.
Inspired by an adventurous childhood in some of Tasmania’s most beautiful and remote places - including Maria Island - Kathy Gatenby is a researcher and storyteller, specialising in the area of thematic interpretation, a valuable tool that provides a deep and meaningful connection to place.
Kathy has post-graduate qualifications in Cultural Heritage and has a particular interest in stories that explore how people shape places, and in turn, places shape people. She is the author of a Tasmanian biography, Viv and Hilda: Meeting the Robeys of Maria Island (2011), has written for local and national magazines, and delivered a range of presentations on place-based interpretation.
Lions and Tigers.
Belinda Bauer will present the biographies of two zoological specimens in the TMAG collection where research has uncovered some surprising stories.
Taxidermy made for display is often considered less significant in museum research collections. This is because much of it becomes disassociated with key data and through the rigours of public display - ends up in poor physical condition.
However by tracing a specimen's biography and museum afterlife - much can be revealed about the development of natural history collections and changing attitudes towards animals.
Hear the story of John Burns the lion and a decrepit Bengal tiger.
Belinda is the Vertebrate Zoology Collection Manager at TMAG.
She has worked in many museum roles over the last 17 years, at the Queensland Museum and the Natural History Museum of Ireland and TMAG.
She has moonlighted as an archaeologist and has a Masters in Museum Studies.
A decade of delivering history in Museums.
How do you get 8 yr olds to understand what life was like in the 1820s? How do children of the digital age connect with the silent movie era? How can history help to rehabilitate prisoners? John will share some of the programs, approaches and experiences at the coal face of connecting historical research and narrative with the public. When does it work and when does it fall short and what might it look like in future?
John Retallick develops and delivers history related education and public programs at TMAG. After 4 years in the community development sector working in PNG and the UK John found himself working at Museum Victoria in 2005 and now more than a decade later thinks the museum sector might just be for him. He also thinks he may have been the last person to have been picked up from school in a horse and buggy.
Alison Alexander: The Communist Party of Tasmania
Tasmania is possibly the place where the Communist Party has received the least support anywhere, despite spirited attempts. Alison Alexander looks at Party attempts to gain influence and why it never really succeeded.
Dr Alison Alexander is a seventh-generation Australian, with convict ancestors in the first, second and third fleet. She has worked as a freelance historian and as a lecturer and tutor in history at the University of Tasmania. Alison has written some 30 books about Tasmania's history. In 2014 she won the Australian National Biography Award for The Ambitions of Jane Franklin. Her most recent book is The O’Connors of Connorville.
The Ida Bay Railway is the last operating bush tramway in Tasmania and also has the distinction of being the most southerly railway in Australia.
We will be travelling on the 12:30 train trip. The train driver will explain the history of the local area, the convicts, the early settlers and their industries, with a stop at the cemetery on the way into Deep Bay. We will spend some short time at Deep Bay to walk to the beach and examine the area before the return trip. Shelter and toilet facilities are available at Deep Bay.
Each way of the train trip, with the one stop on the way in, covers some 7kmand takes around 50 minutes. Suitable warm clothing could be necessary depending on the weather.
The cost to THRA members, because of our group booking is $25 adults, Children $12, payable at the Ida Bay Train Station on the day.
As there only two train carriages available at the moment, we will be limited to a maximum of 40 participants, thus the first 40 to apply via the following method can only be accommodated.
Average drive time from Hobart to Ida Bay is 1 hour 40 minutes. However, you should allow for you own driving abilities, the weather conditions, unexpected traffic, as well as time to purchase take away food if necessary for lunch from the variety of facilities on the way.
Otherwise bring your own picnic lunch.
Some food is available at the cafe at the Ida Bay Railway Station.
Food can be consumed on the train which does travel relatively slowly.
The journey to Ida Bay will give you a great opportunity to admire the beautiful Huon district with magnificent views of the Huon River. The drive takes you through fascination farming communities and historical towns like Franklin, Geeveston and Dover.
However, we must be at Ida Bay Railway station by at least 12:10 to allow for check in.
So if you are meeting for car pooling you will need to depart Hobart around 10:15
We should be back at the Ida Bay Station shortly before 3pm to commence our return to Hobart.