Sneak Peek: Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison

For many years after its construction in 1850, Melbourne’s Her Majesty’s Prison Pentridge was a place of dread. Today, though it has a grim and violent history, Pentridge is an entirely different place. Inmates inside the controversial housing facility have included some of Australia’s notorious criminals – among them Ned Kelly and Chopper Read – … Read on

Fitzroy stories part 1: a First Nations history of Fitzroy

During the 1920s, many Aboriginal people moved to Fitzroy, Victoria, attracted by job prospects and cheap rent. Now replete with wine bars, bakeries and fancy restaurants, Fitzroy was once known as ‘Melbourne’s worst slum,’ but it was a thriving First Nations space with a real sense of community. By the 1940s, Fitzroy had the largest … Read on

Egyptomania in the Victorian era

In the Victorian-era, England was swept with a new craze for ancient antiquities ­– in particular, those originating from Egypt. The fascination has become known as ‘Egyptomania’, and it reveals the culture of curiosity, discovery and exploration that exemplifies the Victorian era. Egypt had entered international news in 1822, when the Rosetta Stone was translated, … Read on

The world’s first feature film

Australia’s contributions to filmmaking are significant – for example, we were the first in the world to extend films to feature-long narratives. Very few people know that Australia is also responsible for the world’s first feature-length film – The Story of the Kelly Gang. It’s also the first ever film about Ned Kelly, the first … Read on

How do I know a building’s period

There are quite a few indicators of the period of a building. In Australia, Georgian, Victorian, Federation/Edwardian and Inter-war houses can be differentiated by their facades, roof-lines, windows, building materials, veranda designs, timber joinery and so on. Some buildings have features of the preceding or following period, as there was often a gradual transition from, … Read on

The oldest pub on the Australian mainland

Built in 1815, Macquarie Arms was first built by Richard Fitzgerald in Thompson Square. He was given this allotment by Governor Lachlan Macquarie – this was given on the condition that Fitzgerald would build an inn at least two stories tall. This wasn’t just a kind gift – this would spare the government the cost … Read on

Blazing a trail

Since the settlement of this land in 1788, the traditional owners of this land have faced brutal oppression, violence and displacement. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have pushed back, shaping Australian history over the years with their strength, perseverance and defiance. These women are also responsible for educating future generations and advocating for Aboriginal … Read on

Sneak peek: Road Rage

Thanks to our friends at Wakefield Press, here is a sneak peek into: Road Rage, written by Fred Guilhaus. The Crash I am sitting in a cycling peloton of five people. Rachel is the lone woman and more than holds her own in front of me. She’s formidable. The others are behind as I wait … Read on

Sneak peek: Pictorial History of Australia’s Little Cornwall

Thanks to our friends at Wakefield Press, here is a sneak peek into Pictorial History of Australia’s Little Cornwall, written by Philip Payton. In South Australia today, there can be few long-established families who cannot point to Cornish branches somewhere in their family trees; and the mark of the ‘Cousin Jacks’ – who came in … Read on

Sneak peek: Arcadian Adelaide

Thanks to our friends at Wakefield Press, here is a sneak peek into: Arcadian Adelaide, written by Thistle Anderson. Adelaide, known to all intelligent people as the City of Juvenile Depravity, and to the less enlightened as the City of Churches, is situated on the River Torrens, and is the capital of South Australia. A … Read on

Sneak peek: A most surprising man – The life of Victor Marra Newland

Thanks to our friends at Wakefield Press, here is a sneak peek into A most surprising man – The life of Victor Marra Newland, written by Mary Anne Fitzgerald. Victor Marra Newland never met his grandfather. The reverend Ridgway William Newland was born in 1790 and brought up in Farnham, Surrey, as were five generations … Read on

Healthy curiosity: deciphering pharmacy registers

Diving into Traces edition 13, contributor Peter Hobbins explores the deciphering of pharmacy registers. There are stories in these old registers. Stories about suffering and healing. Stories about families and communities. Stories about changing neighbourhoods and our rising expectations for long and robust lives. Yet, the books themselves sit forlornly on shelves in local museums. … Read on

The true facts of Colonel John George Nathaniel Gibbes

Diving into Traces edition 13, contributor Terry Jenkins explores the life of Colonel John George Nathaniel Gibbes. Sometimes it is pure chance that unravels a genealogical mystery. And such is the case with the parentage of Colonel John George Nathaniel Gibbes (1787–1873), the colonial administrator in New South Wales. I have to admit that this … Read on

Sneak peek: Red Lead: The naval cat with nine lives

Diving into Traces edition 13, here is a sneak peek into Red Lead: The naval cat with nine lives, written by Roland Perry. The new recruit Hector Waller, the newly appointed captain of the cruiser HMAS Perth, could hardly believe his eyes. It was October 1941 and he was about to dine in a restaurant … Read on

Sneak peek: Beyond the Stage – Creative Australian stories from the Great War

Thanks to our friends at Wakefield Press, here is a sneak peek into Beyond the Stage – Creative Australian stories from the Great War – Edited by Anna Goldsworthy and Mark Carroll. A not so trivial pursuit Telsie Hague’s war Mark Carroll Born in Angaston, South Australia, circa 1886, Myrtle Ellman (Telsie) Hague was the daughter of … Read on

Trenches, trees and tributes: air-war heritage in a suburban park

Diving into Traces edition 12, contributor Dr Peter Hobbins uncovers the air-war heritage located in a Sydney suburban park. To the children playing nearby, a small relic in their local park probably seems quaint, if they notice it at all. Yet it links Allison Playground in Sydney’s Dulwich Hill with communities across Australia, England, Germany … Read on

Everyday in everyway, raisins

Diving into Traces edition 12, contributor Natasha Cantwell explores the Victorian Railways and the obsession with dried fruit. It’s 1925, and the world’s busiest passenger station is promoting raisins in a big way. If you think that might be a hard sell, you need to take a look at the beautiful kiosk that once greeted … Read on

A day in the life of a Vernon boy

Diving into Traces Edition 12, contributor Sarah Luke explores the life of schoolboys of the Nautical School Ship Vernon. In April 1880, 140 years ago, schooling became compulsory in New South Wales for six- to 14-year-olds. Out on Sydney Harbour, beside Cockatoo Island, the Nautical School Ship Vernon was not impacted by this change in … Read on

Finding your convict ancestor

Between the years of 1788 and 1868, more than 160,000 convicts were transported from Britain to Australia aboard 825 ships. With so many people sent to Australian shores over the course of 80 years, it can be a daunting task trying to locate your ancestor among the masses. In edition 13 of Traces, we provide … Read on

Tracing the fathers of illegitimate children in Scottish court records

Discovering the father of an illegitimate child can be difficult, and almost impossible. Often, only the mother’s name is shown on the birth record leaving the researcher no clue as to the father’s identity. For those of us with Scottish ancestry, however, there are some useful records that may help uncover the father’s name. For … Read on

Black Jack Anderson: terror in Middle Island

Middle Island is known for its pink lake that attracts tourists from all over the world to see its distinctive hues. Its remote beauty and rugged landscapes are also steeped in fascinating history, having once been the home of Black Jack Anderson. John ‘Black Jack’ William Anderson was an infamous whaler and Australia’s only recorded … Read on

Sneak peek: Country, Kin and Culture

Thanks to our friends at Wakefield Press, here is a sneak peek into Country, Kin and Culture – Survival of an Australian Aboriginal Community, written by Claire Smith. A subtle and sophisticated social system Indigenous Australians have always led sophisticated and culturally rich lives. The structure of Indigenous societies at contact was founded on the … Read on

Sneak peek: Out of Copley Street – A Working-Class Boyhood

Thanks to our friends at Wakefield Press, here is a sneak peek into Out of Copley Street – A Working-Class Boyhood, written by Geoff Goodfellow. I’ve always been an early riser, particularly through summer. As a young child, barely of school age, I shared a bedroom with my older sister at the front of the … Read on

Sneak peek: Thwack! The glorious sound of summer

Thanks to our friends at Wakefield Press, here is a sneak peek into Thwack! The glorious sound of summer, written by Ashley Mallett. David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd possesses a quizzical – almost comical – face, which immediately brings a smile to your face. Apologies to Rowan Atkinson – or maybe it is a compliment – for … Read on

Sneak peek: Kristen Coelho

Thanks to our friends at Wakefield Press, here is a sneak peek at a foreword about Kristen Coelho, written by Wendy Walker. Kristen Coelho typifies what it is to be a maker of thrown pots today. She is a part of a lineage of Australian artists, who draw inspiration from the English studio tradition and … Read on

Uncovering the real Christian Henry Schultz

Diving into Traces Edition 11, contributor Kelli Schultz uncovers the life of her great-uncle Christian Henry Schultz, during the first World War.    Two years ago, I was fortunate enough to be gifted several folders full of letters mostly written by my great-uncle to his parents during World War I. These had been handed down … Read on

Sneak peek: Long Flight Home

Thanks to our friends at Wakefield Press, here is a sneak peek into Long Flight Home, written by Lainie Anderson. Chapter 1 Adelaide, 1968 Beer is my friend. Everyone’s my friends at the Hilton pub on South Road. I’m 78. Old and lonely and shrinking. But when I drink, I’m young Wally Shiers again, and … Read on

Remembering the deadly Sydney–Kormoran battle

In the newest edition of Traces magazine, we revisit the Sydney–Kormoran battle – a clash between two warships that ended in huge loss and missing wrecks. Both wrecks remained missing until 2008, when a new search uncovered their final resting places – 112 nautical miles off Steep Point in Western Australia, bringing years of uncertainty … Read on

Sneak peek: Where Shadows Have Fallen – The descent of Henry Kendall

Thanks to our friends at Wakefield Press, here is a sneak peek into Where Shadows Have Fallen – The descent of Henry Kendall, written by Adrian Mitchell. When Henry Kendall, the leading Australian poet of his day, died in Sydney in 1882, obituaries appeared in papers and journals so promptly that they must have been … Read on

An estate steeped in history

Located in Longford, Tasmania, is one of the most historically important farming properties in Australia: the Woolmers Estate. Well preserved and maintained, with a wealth of artefacts, the estate remains one of Australia’s best glimpses into colonial history and life in 19th-century Tasmania. In 2010, it was one of 11 places awarded World Heritage status … Read on

A meat market with many lives

From its humble beginnings as a meat market in 1880, the Meat Market has become one of Melbourne’s main hubs for art and culture. Until 1874, the City Meat Market (where the current Queen Victoria Market is now) was where meat wholesaling took place. A group of butchers created their own Victoria Meat Market on … Read on

Birthday surprise from Gould Genealogy

If you are interested in history, you love the stories that are hidden in its depths. You love to look back over the centuries and you love the feeling when you discover old secrets, intriguing dramas, and new connections. As historians, we like to get inside the minds of our ancestors and explore what life … Read on

Sneak peek: Pendragon – The life of George Isaccs, colonial wordsmith

Thanks to our friends at Wakefield Press, here is a sneak peek into Pendragon – The life of George Isaacs, colonial wordsmith written by Anne Black. Youth and The Hesperus, 1825-1844 It may be too fanciful to presume, that every century has produced an average amount of genius, and that the superiority of one age … Read on

Need help with your family history journey?

The University of Strathclyde offers a world leading online Genealogical Studies Programme designed to help you with your family history journey, whether you are a beginner or at a more advanced level. The 8-week online genealogy classes are open for booking now, with topics including Family History Research, Genetic Genealogy and Using Technology in Your … Read on

Women Work for Victory in WWII

Discover more in ‘Women Work for Victory in WWII’, an online exhibition at Old Treasury Building from 15 August 2020. Prior to World War II, nursing was the only service role available for women. Manpower shortages, and pressure from women’s lobby groups finally brought about change in Australia. During 1941, new auxiliary services exclusive to … Read on

Remember Home: Rethinking Convict Histories

Written by Honey Dower, a PhD candidate in History at the University of Tasmania. A convict’s life did not start in the Australian colonies. Rather, this was what British authorities wanted convicts to believe: that their life in Britain was dead, and it was time to remake themselves on the other side of the world. … Read on

The Fantasy of the Past: Women’s History at the Cascade Female Factory

By Paige Gleeson, University of Tasmania. The site of the Cascade Female Factory is swamped in the cold shadows of autumn dusk long before the rest of the town. An inky blue mountain and steep hillsides lined with weatherboard houses encase what remains of the site. It was here in the early 1840s a group … Read on

The problem of anachronism – the case of Samuel Marsden

By Dr Matthew Allen, Lecturer in Historical Criminology, University of New England (UNE). In writing about the past, historians must be aware of the pitfalls of anachronism. It is impossible for historians to avoid having their judgement shaped by the times in which they write. However, historians should try to avoid judging the past by … Read on

Australia’s oldest pubs

Australia is filled with a plethora of institutions that are seeping with rich history. With the continuous growth of infrastructure, visiting an alluring old-fashioned pub holds a dear place in the hearts of Australians. But which pub is Australia’s oldest? This has been a point of contention among historians and there are some conflicting opinions. … Read on

‘I want to break free!’ – The unconventional nature of public history

By Associate Professor Nathan Wise, Public and Applied History, University of New England (UNE). Back in January 2020, I wrote about the need to foster respect for both public and scholarly history. This emphasised the different objectives of the two broad approaches to historical practice, and I briefly touched on how scholarly history is typically … Read on

Full moon in Van Diemen’s Land

In 1790, the first exclusive female fleet of convicts arrived in Australia aboard the Lady Juliana. The women who were seen as the ‘most difficult’ were sent to forced labour camps so they could be educated on the ‘value of morality’. These camps were known as female factories, where they were punished in highly public … Read on

The Titanic’s forgotten Australian hero

In Edition 10 of Traces, Michael Adams writes about the Titanic’s forgotten Australian hero, a man named Albert Nichols. The Titanic’s sinking is a tragedy that has been the subject of countless books and movies – but Albert Nichols’s heroic role has been vastly overlooked. Albert was born in July 1864 on Lord Howe Island, … Read on

Historical correspondence in research

By Associate Professor Nathan Wise, Public and Applied History, University of New England (UNE) Historical correspondence, often thought of as letters, telegrams and postcards, are among the most useful types of source material for historians. Not only do they describe events and provide personal insights, but they also reveal much about the styles and conventions … Read on

Victoria’s Ghost Towns

As discussed in Traces Edition 10 by Sandy Guy, what were once booming towns across Victoria are now considered forgotten ghost towns. Whilst lacking a flourishing population, these eerie settlements boast history waiting to be discovered. Steiglitz: Located just 37 kilometres west of Geelong, Steiglitz’s population amounted to 2000 during its glory days in 1850. … Read on

COVID-19 and Historical Teaching and Research

By Associate Professor Nathan Wise, Public and Applied History, University of New England (UNE) In my last blog, I urged people to ‘come together to talk about the past’. Despite now needing to urge people to ‘stay at home’ and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the message remains the same, while the method/mode of ‘coming … Read on

Australia’s Byzantine Trophy of War – Part 2

In Edition 9 of Traces magazine, Timothy Carnovale, a Canberra-based writer and heritage consultant, examined the discovery of the Shellal Mosaic – believed to be the remains of a Byzantine-era basilica. In Part 1, the Shellal Mosaic was uncovered, now let’s see where the artefact ended up.  William Maitland Woods, senior chaplain of the Church of … Read on

Fostering respect for public history and scholarly history

By Associate Professor Nathan Wise, Public and Applied History, University of New England (UNE). As Associate Professor of Public and Applied History at the University of New England (UNE), I’m often asked to explain the differences between public and scholarly history. In my foundation unit HINQ100: What is History? we spend the first half of the … Read on

Australia’s Byzantine Trophy of War – Part 1

As discussed in Edition 8 of Traces Magazine, Timothy Carnovale dives into the trenches of World War I and examines the discovery of the Shellal Mosaic. Christopher Hitchens, an Anglo-American author and anti-theist, once exclaimed that those with the title ‘Reverend’ would be able to get away with anything. Senior Church of England Chaplain to … Read on

Oldest churches in Australia

In comparison to the rich and vast past in other nations, Australia is still considered to have a relatively short history. In saying this, Australia houses an abundance of religious churches that represent the multiculturalism we pride ourselves on. For the last 200 years, the country has accommodated a variety of religious congregations who created their … Read on

What does history study offer for future employment?

By Associate Professor Nathan Wise, Public and Applied History, University of New England (UNE). As university study has steadily become more accessible to Australians, the requirement for courses to emphasise the specific ‘workplace skills’ they impart and ‘employability’ aspects has also increased.  My particular views on the issue of employability stem from the career uncertainties … Read on

Finding Australia’s missing soldiers

In Edition 9 of Traces Magazine, Lambis Englezos discusses his search for hundreds of missing Australian soldiers in Fromelles. On 19 July 1916, almost 2000 Australian troops were killed when attempting to attack German trenches in Fromelles, France. Encompassing all those who were killed, unaccounted for, wounded or taken as prisoner, 5533 Australians were directly … Read on

On the immeasurable value of local historical expertise

As an undergraduate student in the early 2000s, one of my first original historical research projects involved documenting the history of a local war memorial. Being new to the idea of ‘archival research’, I approached my lecturer for advice, and they suggested that I start with the local historical society. As I stepped through the … Read on

Writing a non-boring family history

Here is your sneak peek to an upcoming article from Traces Edition 9. ‘Writing a non-boring family history’ written by Hazel Edwards dives into the world of uncovering your ancestor’s history and turning it into a piece of compelling writing. Have you discovered something captivating in your family history? Have you thought about sharing it? … Read on

Victorian ‘insanity’ in the 19th century

Why did Victoria have such a high rate of insanity? A new book illuminating the world of Melbourne’s early lunatic asylums recently won the Victorian Premier’s History Award. Jill Giese, clinical psychologist and author of The Maddest Place on Earth, spoke with Tracesabout an intriguing slice of colonial history. When I stumbled on an 1876 eyewitness account of … Read on

Churchill’s strange request

During World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill reached out to Australia for a very strange request. Churchill proclaimed that he wanted platypuses to be shipped over, and what followed was a bizarre and sad story of how one platypus was used to boost Britain’s political agenda. In March 1943, at the height of … Read on

A (brief) history of Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club

Bondi Beach is arguably Australia’s most famous seaside strip – seeing more than 2.5 million visitors each year prior to the impacts of COVID-19. The beach is home to some of the nation’s most famous lifeguards from the popular TV show Bondi Rescue. Photographs, postcards and popularity aside, the Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club … Read on

The first national park in Australia

In the early years following European settlement, Australia experienced enormous infrastructure, industrial and urban development. Coupled with a fast-growing population, the new cities and settlements became overcrowded, unsanitary and hazardous. To combat these concerns, the development of a national park was proposed, and on 26 April 1879, the (now Royal) National Park in Sydney was … Read on

Sneak peek: Aviation pioneer Horrie Miller marries into the Durack Dynasty

By Fremantle PressDame Mary Durack Miller was born into a pastoral legacy that made her name famous even before she became one of Australia’s most popular literary doyennes of the 20th century. Best known for her history of the Durack family, Kings in Grass Castles, Dame Mary was married to aviation pioneer Horrie Miller. This … Read on

Share a family heirloom and you could win!

All objects have a story and Traces wants to hear them! Do you have a treasured family heirloom that you’d like to share with our readers? Traces magazine is planning a special feature called ‘Your Heirlooms’, in which we share some of our readers’ family heirlooms and the stories behind them. If you would like to … Read on

The DIY satellite

Australia’s very first satellite wasn’t built in an elaborate factory or lab – instead, it was built in student bedrooms and university facilities back in the mid 1960s. Self-described as a ‘bunch of nerds’, 20 young adults from the University of Melbourne would meet weekly as the Astronautical Society to indulge in all things space, satellites, … Read on

Dingoes: dramas, disappearances and dangers

Dingoes are some of Australia’s most recognisable animals – with their sandy-coloured coat and canine features – and they play an important role in the nation’s ecological systems, and their wild nature infamously wreaking havoc in the early 1980s. Despite their prevalence as one of the country’s top predators, dingoes also serve as Australia’s first … Read on

The wreck of Batavia and its dark secrets – part two

View part one of this story here. One officer that remained was Cornelisz, who had only left the Batavia once it eventually sank nine days after striking Morning Reef. When he departed the ship and left for Beacon Island, he would arrive to find 180 marooned survivors without any leadership. More importantly, he found that … Read on

Australia’s earliest trades

Ancient routes and sharing While we typically look at the history of trade as an exchange between two countries, or the development of a major commercial industry that provides for multiple countries (the spice trade between the East and West, for example) – trade has occurred as long as there have been communities – no matter … Read on

The wreck of Batavia and its dark secrets – part one

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Dutch East India Company –or Vereenigde Oost-indische Compagnie (VOC) as it was called by the Dutch – dominated the global trade industry. In particular, the VOC pioneered the Indian Ocean spice trade, largely around the Dutch East Indies (now known as Indonesia), and travels to Batavia (now known … Read on

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