Patricia Downes Chomley MBE

Miss Patricia Downes Chomley was born Dec 11, 1909, to Francis Charles Chomley and Mary Aileen Charlotte Anderson at Sale, Victoria. She trained as a nurse at the Alfred Hospital, attaining four certificates. Patricia served in World War 2 (VX17205) at the 2/4th Australian General Hospital. The number of casualties treated through that hospital: 14,000 at Tobruk, 19,000 at Redbank, 10,000 at Jerusalem, Colombo and Labaun. A plaque commemorating  the hospital can be found at the Repatriation Hospital Remembrance Garden in Heidelberg. In 1946, she was one of three Victorian nurses awarded a Florence Nightingale International Foundation scholarship, which involved a two year post graduate course in England at the Royal College of Nursing. When she arrived back in 1949, she became a director at the College of Nursing. After 15 years at the college, she retired in 1964. On Jan 1, 1968, Patricia was awarded Member of The Order of the British Empire (MBE – Civil) for service to nursing administration. In her retirement, she was Deputy Club Consultant for the Old Peoples’ Welfare Council of Victoria, advising elderly citizens clubs throughout the state. Patricia passed away at the Baxter Village Nursing Home in Frankston, on Oct 24, 2002, aged 92. If you are related to this lovely lady, a large version of the photo below, taken by photographer Spencer Shier in 1940, is available at the State Library of Victoria. Click Here (Tif, 4198 x 5481, 65.8m)

Acknowledgement: State Library of Victoria.
Copyright status: This work is out of copyright.
Terms of use: No copyright restrictions apply.

1910,06408,F,Chomley,Patricia Downes,Fran Charles,Anderson Mary Aileen Char,Sale,

Date of Service: Oct 29, 2002. Cremation. Ashes scattered. Bunurong Memorial Park, Dandenong South.

Eleanor Mary Archer (Elinor May)

This beautiful young lady is Eleanor Mary Archer. Eleanor was born in Alexandra, Victoria, on Oct 22, 1892, to Tom Palmer Archer and Laura Maude O’Farrell. She studied nursing with the Royal Children’s Hospital and the Royal Victorian Trained Nurses Association, passing her final exams in 1917. Eleanor continued to work with the Children’s hospital for some time. The photo below (a cropped version) was taken on Aug 8, 1921, by photographer, Spencer Shier, whilst she was there. She later moved up to Mildura and worked at the Red Cliffs Baby Health Centre. She married George Hamer Badger, of Red Cliffs, on Feb 18, 1928. A fruit growing gentleman that served in World War 2. His service record is available at the National Archives of Australia for download. Unfortunately, George died at Red Cliffs on May 30, 1964, the result of a fire. Eleanor passed away at Malvern, aged 90, on Sep 17, 1983. Her service was on the 20th. If you are related to Eleanor, please feel free to use my cropped and photoshopped version below (a larger version available here). The full sized double photograph is available to download from the State Library of Victoria. Click Here (Tif, 5381 x 3968, 20.3m -or-  Jpg, 1000 x 737, 290kb).

Acknowledgement: State Library of Victoria.
Copyright status: This work is out of copyright.
Terms of use: No copyright restrictions apply.

1892,28826,F,Archer,Elinor May,Tom Palmer,Ofarrell Laura Maude,Alexandra, Marriage:
1928,00682,,Archer,Elinor Mary,Badger,George Hamer,,

1983,21162,,Badger,Elinor May,Archer Thomas P,Laura,Malvern,90,

Raymond Herbert Wescott

This photograph is of a young Raymond Wescott, of the Collingwood State School, sporting a magnificent Bryant & May Crown Safety Matches costume. Taken on Aug 29, 1925. If you are related to the young lad, this photo is for you. Please use the following link to the State Library of Victoria to download a full size scan. Warning, it’s a very large file. Click here (Tif, 3090 x 5197, 45.9m).

Acknowledgement: State Library of Victoria.
Copyright status: This work is out of copyright.
Terms of use: No copyright restrictions apply.

1913,30086,M,Westcott,Herbert Raymond,Frederick Herbert,Ridley Annie,Collingwood,
1939,04609,,Wescott,Rmond Herbert,Aumont,Mary Isabella,,
1976,00085,,Wescott,Raymond Herbert,Herbert,Ridley Annie,Mord,63,

Date of Death: 1 Dec 1975 (Probate – PROV).
Date of Service: 3 Dec 1975.
Cemetery: Springvale Botanical Cemetery; Cassia, Wall ZO, Niche 467.

Newham Zion Baptist Chapel

zbchapel1The life of the Zion Baptist Chapel at Newham (behind Hanging Rock) began in 1869 when it was built. One of it’s most prominent founders and supporters was Eli Jones (1841-1916). A Reverend in its early days was Rev. Samuel Ward (1813-1885). Services were fortnightly. Its last services were held in 1940 (thanks to Woodend and District Heritage Society for that date).

Unfortunately, these days it’s fenced off on private property. Here’s a photo of my dad and my maternal grandfather standing in the doorway of the Chapel in 1967. The other photos I took recently on a road trip with my three sons.



A Piper Lassie

Love this photo. A beauty from The Australasian newspaper (16 Sep 1899, page 27) on Trove.

a piper lassie 2 Jessie Maud Low was born in Penola, South Australia on August 24, 1881. This lovely lass, of Scottish parents, was Australia’s first lady Piper. At the time, she was the only one.

a piper lassie 3

Jessie was a twin to her sister Maggie May, born to their parents, Peter Low (1844-1926) and Margaret Park (1845-1919). Margaret was quite well known from her first marriage (1862) to Adam Lindsay Gordon, the poet (1833-1870). Their only child, Annie Lindsay (1867), died at 10 months. Margaret’s marriage to Peter Low (1873) produced their first set of twins, William Park and Ellispit Joann (1874), followed by Peter Lindsay (1876), David Alexander (1878), then the next twins mentioned above, and lastly was Bradshaw Gordon (1885).

On April 24, 1911, Jessie was married to Arnold Edmund Hughes (1888-1942). They had a daughter, Eileen May (1913-1984?) and a son, Murray Edmund (1914-1973). Jessie passed away in October 1966 and is buried with her husband at the Murray Bridge Cemetery (Eighth Drive, Grave 357) in Murray Bridge, S.A.


Stillbirths in Victoria

Just a brief note on stillbirth registration in the state of Victoria.

  • Up until 1929-30, there was no legal framework to notify the government of a stillborn child.
  • In 1930, the Births Notification Act required the government to be notified of a stillbirth, but the birth was not registered.
  • In 1952, the Births, Death and Marriages Act 1928 was amended to require that all stillbirths must be registered. A birth certificate could then be issued, but not a death certificate, as the death occurred prior to the birth.

For further information on birth registration law, here is a direct link to the page on the Victorian Law Reform Commission website.

Census 2016

I thought it might be appropriate to say a few words with regards to the 2016 Census on Tuesday, August 9.

census2016Some people have privacy concerns and don’t want to lodge their name and address that identifies them with other personal information in the data. It’s a valid issue. In the digital world of today, there is a definite need for concern when it’s in the hands of the government.

If you are one that wants the census available to future family historians and genealogists in 100 years time, there are two ways to achieve this. If you don’t, we’re assured that your name and address will be destroyed from it in 4 years time.

Option 1. Fill in item 60 of the census form. This will enable your census to be kept by the National Archives of Australia, with names and address still attached, to be released in 100 years to the public. See image below.

Option 2. Fill in the paper version of the census form and photocopy it before sending. Or, do the online version while also doing the paper version to keep for yourself. This is only if you don’t want the government to hold on to your names and address after the 4 years, but want to retain the census to file away with your personal family history documents.


GMCT’s New Deceased Search

gmct0GMCT (Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust) has upgraded their deceased search with new mapping. I’d have to say that it’s quite an improvement on what it was. Especially now that it works with the Firefox browser. Even more so with the inclusion (finally!) of the Preston General Cemetery. Another new addition is the Footscray Cemetery, which the Trust recently took over.

Like the SMCT (Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust) search, GMCT also now requires you to click to confirm you have read and accept the terms and conditions. If you don’t click, you can’t search. My view is that it’s not necessary. Just the links to the terms and conditions would be adequate. I find it annoying.

gmct1The mapping itself looks good. You can even search from within the mapping system for someone else and the map is highly detailed. I had wondered why the main search results up until the upgrade had lost the service date column, but you’ll find the service date (if in the system) with the deceased details in the right side bar of the mapping page. You can also print or export the map result. Furthermore, you can also export the deceased persons details on the right side bar to an Microsoft Excel based CVS file. Click the images above or below to open full sized in a new tab.

gmct2I’d have to say that GMCT has scored very well with this upgrade. Here is the link to the GMCT search page.

Grave Damage at Preston

This was news that didn’t make the news when Reservoir and other suburbs in Melbourne were hit by a severe storm on the night of the 30 January 2016. Reservoir was one of the hardest hit in terms of the damage, but there was another area hit by what could only be described as something close to a powerful mini tornado. The Preston General Cemetery was where it struck.  It was reported on the GMCT (Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust) website on 2 February 2016. Click here for their report and photos. It turned a large metal skip upside down (that would take a lot of force), followed by the uprooting of a whole tree that fell across a number graves. Here’s some photos I took in March.