Major Mitchell and his trail

If you drive into mid-western Victoria in Australia it is impossible to escape the references to Major Thomas Mitchell and his trail

mitchell-front

http://www.majormitchellexpedition.com/

Major Mitchell was born in 1792 in Stirlingshire Scotland. He was a surveyor and in 1827 he took up the position of Surveyor-General of NSW. In 1836 Major Mitchell became the first European to travel across the plains of Western Victoria.

IMG_7565Just out of Dunkeld

The purpose his mission was to follow the Darling River to discover if it flowed into sea or into the Murray. He was then instructed to follow the most promising stream from the Murray and see in which direction it went. This resulted in him crossing Victoria’s western plains. Which is described in his diary thus:

“The scene was different from any I had seen in New South Wales or elsewhere. A land so inviting, and still without inhabitants. As I stood, the first European intruder of the sublime solitude of these verdant plains, as yet untouched by flocks and herds; I felt conscious of being the harbinger of mighty changes; and that our steps would soon be followed by the men and animals for which it seemed to have been prepared.” In fact he thought the land was so good he called it the Australian Felix

I would like to take this moment to point out that the land was far from uninhabited as it was home to several groups of indigenous Australians.  In fact Mitchell certainly encountered some of them because in “December 1836 the Executive Council conducted an inquiry into the killing of Aborigines near Mount Dispersion. It regretted that Mitchell had not made sufficient efforts to conciliate the natives, but in view of their numbers and threatening aspect the council could not severely blame ‘a want of coolness and presence of mind which it is the lot of few men to possess’.”[1] From records it seems that Major Mitchell’s group was followed by a group of Aboriginal people and they felt threatened so they planned an ambush in which 7Aboriginal people were killed. While he was acquitted by an enquiry, as explained above, the incident tarnished his reputation for the rest of his career.

Mitchell’s names for many of the places in the area are still used today and many of them still carry a certain Scottish flavour.

The Grampians

IMG_7542IMG_7596IMG_7588Grampians from a distance

IMG_7853IMG_7851Half way up one of The Grampians

Lake Linlithgow

IMG_7593IMG_7605IMG_7612IMG_7610A very dry Lake Linlithgow

Mount Rouse

IMG_7590The side of Mount Rouse
IMG_7570Mount Rouse from the road

Mount Abrupt

IMG_7552Mount Sturgeon and Mount Abrupt

Mitchell was also the first European to truly explore the Glenelg river.

IMG_7688IMG_7687The Glenelg in mid western Victoria near Harrow.

IMGP1460IMGP1461The Glenelg much further down stream near Nelson on the Sth Australian border

 

Mitchell surveyed the area as he went and this resulted in what was known as Major Mitchell’s trail. You can still follow the trail today, there are marked points and a map.

IMG_7562Monument just out of Dunkeld

IMG_7700Monument just out of Harrow

Other settlers soon followed Mitchell and the European colonisation of western Victoria had begun. Today it is still very much farming country with small towns often bearing very European names, as is true of much of Australia.IMG_7647Balmoral

IMG_7682Harrow

IMG_7793Avoca

IMG_7631Rail bridge over the Wannon in Cavendish

While Major Mitchell’s trek heralded the influx of European settlement to this part of Victoria, he was a skilled surveyor and his diaries give an extraordinary glimpse into what the country would have been like in the mid 1800s.

Resources

Australian Dictionary of Biography

http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mitchell-sir-thomas-livingstone-2463

Major Mitchell Expedition

http://www.majormitchellexpedition.com/

Penshurst Portraits. ISBN: 9780646515939

The photos are all mine

 

[1] Major Mitchell ADB http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mitchell-sir-thomas-livingstone-2463

 

Vida Goldstein

I recently saw the movie Suffragette and while I did enjoy it and applaud the important story it is telling I couldn’t help but think that I wanted to write about some of the non violent members of the women’s suffrage movement. This idea crystallised when I talked to a few people and realised that even the leaders in Australia’s women’s suffrage movement remain largely unknown. As I began to look I found that Suffragette had prompted many others to write about the people involved with the women’s suffrage movement, which is one of the best outcomes the movie could possibly have had. An example is the Guardian article below about the fascinating Adela Pankhurst. She was one of the daughters of the celebrated Emmeline Pankhurst, who is played by Meryl Streep in the movie.

http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/dec/24/wayward-suffragette-adela-pankhurst-and-her-remarkable-australian-life

I decided that I wanted to write about someone I knew a little about already and as I’d done some work on Vida Goldstein at high school, and too many people still haven’t heard of her, I thought she’d be a good place to start. I was intending to write a short biography of her role in the women’s suffrage movement but as I began to have a careful look I determined that this has been well and truly done. While I don’t belive that all writing has to be treading new ground I truly didn’t see the point in rehashing the Australian Dictionary of Biography article, which covers all the salient points.

http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/goldstein-vida-jane-6418

It is absolutely worth reading though.

So I headed into the State Library of Victoria, not that I ever really need an excuse, and did some work using their manuscripts collection. With the information I found here I decided that I am going to focus on Vida’s first attempt at entering parliament in 1903.

First though, a very brief background on Vida and a look at the progression of women’s suffrage in Australia.

vida

Vida Goldstein

http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-136682563/view

Vida Goldstein was born in 1869 in Portland in Victoria and she was one of the leaders of Australia’s women’s suffrage movement. She died in Melbourne in South Yarra in 1949 and a lot more should be known about her by the general population. In other words read the ADB article.

703017194

A young Vida Goldstein

http://goo.gl/5xcNik

Vida was also very much a part of the international suffrage movement as can be seen by the notes below from Susan B Anthony, who most people will have heard of. Susan B Anthony gave Vida the three volumes of her book called A History of Women’s Suffrage

In each volume she wrote an inscription to Vida and they are all dated to the 4th of July 1902.

To Miss Vida Goldstein

Melbourne Australia

From her disenfranchised friend, the city of Rochester, County of Monroe, State of New York, Country of the United States of America- the land of the free who has worked to the best of her ability, for fifty years and more to the get the right for women to vote- and will continue to battle for it to the end of her life-

affectionately.

Susan B Anthony

 

To Vida Goldstein

Melbourne Australia

Rejoicing that you have gained the national franchise- and hoping your other states will soon grant the local suffrage- while we of the United States of America struggle on-no one can tell how long to the the right to vote.

Sincerely yours

Susan B Anthony

 

Miss Vida Goldstein

(to be given to the public library- when she is done with it)

With the congratulations that the new world of Australia has given to her women all the rights of citizenship- equally with her men- and with love and esteem of her friend

Susan B Anthony.[1]

Vida also travelled to speak at suffrage events and meet other members of the suffrage movement, especially those who were still fighting for women’s suffrage. The photo below shows her with other women’s suffrage supporters at the Great Suffragette Demonstration in London in 1911. Vida is on the far right

vida london

Great Suffragette Demonstration

http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-136683161/view?searchTerm=vida+goldstein#search/vida%20goldstein

Australia was one of the first countries to give the vote to women. It is complicated though by the fact that each state allowed women the vote at a different time and that it occurred federally as well, independent of the individual states. The result of a separate Federal right to vote, which was granted in 1902,  was that there were women from several states who could vote in federal elections but not in their state elections.

Below you can see when the vote was granted state by state

1894 South Australia

1899 Western Australia

1902 Federal

1902 New South Wales

1903 Tasmania

1905 Queensland

1908 Victoria[2]

Vida also described the mood in Australia which made it possible for the vote for women to become a reality far earlier than in countries like the UK.

The Broad Mindedness of Australian Men

One feature of the Suffrage Campaign in Australia makes it radically different from that in any other country- the readiness of our men to admit that our cause was a just one, and entitled to immediate recognition. We never had any difficulty in winning over the men of Australia to our side. Our real battle ground was the Upper House in each colony. The Lower Houses were elected practically on as basis of One Man One Vote and in the Lower Houses it was easy to get a suffrage bill through, but the Upper Houses, which represented only the propertied classes, who in Australia are always against reform, stood solid against us, and it was only when we got a strong Premier in each state that we could get a Suffrage Bill through the Upper Houses.[3]

Vida also described the hard work that went on to not only try to achieve the vote, but also to get male MPs to take notice of specific issues.

Through not having women in Parliament energy and valuable time have to be spent on the often Herculean task of educating members up to the point of seeing the injustice in certain measures affecting women, e.g the Federal Public Services Act. It bristled with discrepancies in pay for men and women doing exactly the same work. To get the principles of equal pay embodied in the bill some of us had to spend days at the House lobbying members, always hateful work- showing them the many injustices in the bill from the women’s point of view, and trying to get them to see them as we saw them. We had to tramp round getting petitions signed and write to the press. Had there been women in the House there would have been no need for such tactics because the injustices were so obvious they only had to be pointed out and most members promised to get them removed. Another example was the Naturalisation Bill which completely merged the individuality of a married woman with that of her husband. [4]

Even before she ran for parliament Vida herself had become vehemently against the two party system because she considered that parties sacrificed  principle to expediency and put their own interests before all else. She came to this conclusion in 1902 when, after women were allowed the vote federally, she started the group Women’s Federal Political Association. Unfortunately male politicians quickly began to use the Association for party purposes and when Vida reacted by moving the Association away from one party and to a non political basis the majority of the male members left.

So this was the background to Vida running for parliament in 1903. The election was in December of 1903 and she launched her campaign in October in her home town of Portland. But she began signalling she would be running earlier. Part of her campaign was a letter published in Reviews of Review in August entitled Should Women Enter Parliament?

She opened by, with what The Advertiser described as “a delightful touch of femininity”, immediately answering her own question

“Of course why not?”

She then went on to defend her supposition laying forth the usual key arguments against women’s suffrage, beginning with the idea that there was a lack of precedent. She refutes this by providing several examples from history and going on to discuss the disparity between men who happily accepted a female sovereign, Queen Victoria had died quite recently, but couldn’t accept women in parliament.[5] As her niece LM Henderson wrote Vida “never indulged in empty rhetoric, she always supported her arguments with facts, and could answer almost any question.”[6] Vida was the first woman to stand for parliament in the Empire and naturally enough there was both comment and opposition. The rural papers tended to be more sympathetic than the Melbourne papers.  For example The Avoca Standard ran this piece in November 1903.

“Miss Goldstein presented a very pleasing appearance on the platform at Avoca. She was graceful, pretilly gowned and wore a most becoming hat. During her address she toyed prettily with a beautiful La France rose- a move that added much to the effect. The lady became a favourite with all present almost at once. Her easy delivery of speech, charming voice, modest manner, and the absence of anything masculine, being the chief factors in her favour.”

This piece might be very condescending, but it isn’t hostile.

The Age and The Argus were generally dismissive, but not always. There was also extensive argument as to the legality of women in parliament. But it quickly became clear that even constitutionally there was no argument barring them running. [7]

The press commentary wasn’t limited to articles, there were also cartoons and poetry. An example of the cartoons can be seen below. In which Vida has to be accompanied to the Senate by a chaperone, and all the men dare not disobey her for fear of being seen as discourteous.

vida cartoon

Vida Goldstein Cartoon

from Punch http://goo.gl/wN04hH

There were headlines like “Sweet Skirted Senators” from the Sunday Times and this really quite interesting poem, also in the Sunday Times, on 9/08/1903

Vidi!-Vida!-Vinci!

What a theme

for the scheme

of a beautiful dream

to be there in the Senate with Vida!

What a foretaste of heaven

the Senate would seem

to the Senator sitting beside her.

They say tis a right which can not be denied her!

Let us give her a vote, for we’d gloat

and we’d dote

on a note 

from the throat

of Miss Vida!

You can see it would be very simple; 

for she wouldn’t want advisors to guide her!

And to all her proposals, of course they’d agree

it would be very rude to deride her!

All the House would have nous

to be meek as a mouse!

They would catch it if any defied her!

And it’s certain soft soap

couldn’t hope

to enrope

or to cope

with the scope

of Miss Vida. 

And I can’t

and I shan’t

see the reason we aren’t

to be ruled by good ladies like Vida.

If you vote for your Uncle

why not vote for you Aunt

if the requisite sense is supplied her.

And she

like a he

should be perfectly free

to engage in a sphere that is wider.

If the matter’s discussed,

then we must,

to be just,

give a thrust

to our trust

in Miss Vida.

Ah! but then

gentlemen

when it comes to the ken

of a Senator’s wife, could he chide her

if she kicked up a row with her tongue and a pen

on the boldness of brainy Miss Vida.

For a lass

is a lass

but alas, should it pass

there are ladies who’d call her a spider!

And although we may cheer

still I fear it is clear

we must bid you “Good Morning”

Miss Vida

W.T Goodge[8]

You can make of that what you will of the poem. I can’t decide if it’s derogatory, celebratory or both.

Media aside, Vida campaigned assiduously, but it is unlikely she ever expected to win. She chose to run for the Senate rather than the House of Representatives probably because it would allow her to campaign throughout Victoria rather than just for one seat. Thus spreading her message further. The election took place in December 1903 and Vida polled 51 497 which was surprisingly good considering voting wasn’t compulsory. It was not, however, enough to win the seat. She took defeat well, commenting on the process in January 1904 in Review of Reviews.

I found political sentiment best developed in the labour ranks, among women earning their own living, and among the country women in the leisure classes. Melbourne women are notoriously ignorant of politics. This difference between city and country was the only new fact my campaign taught me. The chief value of suffrage at present is its educational value, I would sooner see women educated in views diametrically opposed to mine than not educated at all… I had against me the combined power of the Morning and Labour papers, deliberate misrepresentation by two of them, lack of finance, and the prejudice of sex. I stood for the cause of women and children, as a protest against the dictation of the press, and against the creation of the ticket system of voting. From men I had most courteous treatment… The chief lesson to be learnt from this campaign was the need for organisation. The Labour Party had the best organisation and their success shows this. Labour seeks to reach its goal mainly by material means; women place a higher value on the spiritual, but (word missing, LMH) will someday see that is righteous alone that exalteth a nation.

She commented later to her niece Leslie M. Henderson that she was terrified of mice and was always afraid that some of her opponents would discover it and let loose some mice on the platform when she was speaking. Thankfully this never happened. [9]

And that was the end of Vida’s first attempt to join Australia’s parliament. She tried another four times to gain office but was ultimately never successful. This was most likely to do with the fact that she always ran as an Independent Woman Candidate. Despite her lack of electoral success Vida Goldstein was a pioneer for women’s rights around the world and she deserves to be as well know internationally as some of the other larger than life figures in the woman’s suffrage movement.

vida older

Vida Goldstein painted by Waterhouse

http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/26335720?q=vida+goldstein&c=picture&versionId=46453732

[1] State Library of VictoriaMS BOX 3097/5(a-c)

[2] From Vida Goldstein’s papers: State Library of Victoria MS MSM 118

[3] From Vida Goldstein’s papers: State Library of Victoria MS MSM 118

[4] From Vida Goldstein 1869-1949: Biographical notes by her niece, Leslie M. Henderson, 1966 January. MS BOX 332/14

[5] From Press cutting book presented to Edith How Morlyn for Women’s Service Library London by Vida Goldstein State Library of Victoria MS BOX 2493/ 5

[6] From Vida Goldstein 1869-1949: Biographical notes by her niece, Leslie M. Henderson, 1966 January. MS BOX 332/14

[7] From Press cutting book presented to Edith How Morlyn for Women’s Service Library London by Vida Goldstein

[8] From Press cutting book presented to Edith How Morlyn for Women’s Service Library London by Vida Goldstein

[9] From Vida Goldstein 1869-1949: Biographical notes by her niece, Leslie M. Henderson, 1966 January. MS BOX 332/14

 

St Mary of the Angels Basilica Geelong

I found this church by accident on a recent trip to Geelong and it’s a really lovely example of Victorian Gothic.

IMG_1291

Geelong is in Victoria Australia about an hour out of Melbourne. It was founded in 1838 when it was laid out and officially proclaimed. Its existence is due to the need for a depot for all the squatters who were pouring into Victoria. The first land sales were held in 1839 with the Wollpack Inn opened in the same year.

The current Basilica stands on what was known as Church Hill and commands the highpoint of Geelong.

The church that can be seen today has humble origins. To begin with Catholics in Geelong, or Corio as it was often known, did not even have a priest. Father Bonaventure Geoghegan became the first priest for the St Benedict’s District, of which Geelong was part, in 1839.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 4.43.18 pm

Father Bonaventure Geoghegan

http://goo.gl/XbtQJJ

Geoghegan was born in Dublin and celebrated his first Mass in an open roofed building in Melbourne on May 19 1839. He baptised the children who had been born in the four years of Melbourne’s existence. He was the only priest to care for Catholics in the whole of the existing area of Victoria. As this was such a significant task Geoghegan was given an assistant, curate Richard Walsh. Then after 12 months, when Walsh was moved to Norfolk Island, Michael Ryan was assigned. He was described by Vicar General Murphy from Sydney as “a very well disposed young man although at times a little hasty & inclined to have too much of his own way.”

It was Ryan who was assigned officially to Geelong in September 1841. Two days after his arrival, on the 8th of September 1841, Ryan celebrated what would have been the first Mass in Geelong. Under Ryan’s watch a foundation stone was laid for the beginnings of a church for the Catholics, but it wasn’t to be for Ryan and Geelong as Ryan was recalled to Sydney in October. Even without Ryan there Geoghegan continued with the plans for a church for Geelong. However progress was slow especially because it wasn’t until 1842 that Geelong again had the benefit of the resident priest. On April 13 Father Michael Stephens celebrated the first catholic marriage in Geelong. Later in 1842 the first catholic chapel was finally completed. It was a modest building made of paling about 30 feet by 20 feet and covered by a shingle roof. A far cry from the current church.

By 1846 the need for a new church had become very apparent. The census of that year showed 1003 catholics in the County of Grant which the small church serviced. The priest at the time, Richard Walsh again, set out on a campaign for the building of a permanent church. After fundraising and other efforts the foundation stone was laid on the 19th of August 1856 by Father Geoghegan.This church was opened on October 6th 1847  it was called St Mary’s and was later described…

“It was a  pretty little church built of very bad Barrabool stone. It soon began to show signs of decay, and the weather side had to get three coats of thick paint in ’53 to preserve it from the effects of frost and rain”

By 1854 the capacity of St Mary’s was very strained,the census of that year showed 3797 catholics in Geelong, and it was resolved that a new church was needed.

The first stone of the present church was laid by the Most Reverend James Alipius Goold 1st Bishop of Melbourne on the 15th of June 1854.

A040300_246x550

Most Reverend James Alipius Goold

http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/goold-james-alipius-3633

The nave was completed and  opened for worship, again by Bishop Goold,  on the 4th of February 1872. IMG_1299

The Nave

Daniel Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne,  consecrated the completed church including spire, on the 16th of June 1937.

IMG_9718

Statue of Daniel Mannix outside St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne.

Even before the spire was completed the church was eliciting extravagant praise.

“It exhibits an edifice of colossal cathedral proportions, such as one might expect to find in the episcopal city of some ancient Catholic continental nation, but which excites astonishment when associated with an antipodean town of yesterday… Even in this incomplete condition, the building is the most conspicuous, commodious and elegant ecclesiastical edifice in the town.”

The church was based on the 13th century gothic style. The central tower rose to a height of 100 feet above the ground and was capped with 8 crocketed pinnacles. These formed the base of the spire which rose another 98 feet into the air before terminating with a 12 foot high cross. The top of the cross was 210 feet above ground. The spire was built from inside without the use of external scaffolding.

IMG_1297

Ceiling below the spire.

IMG_1292

The Spire, you can see the cross up the top.

The total length of the church was 220 feet, the distance between the transepts was 126 feet and the nave with side aisles was 14 feet 6 inches wide. The high altar was made of Verona marble. IMG_1298

The high altar, although this is modified from the original version.

Although it was without doubt a magnificent building the church ran into problems in the 1960s as it was already beginning to age. The foundations on the western end had to be underpinned to stop subsidence and 560 stone crockets had to be removed from the spire because they kept breaking off, damaging the slate roof, causing leaks and threatening anyone walking too close to the church. Major restoration work was also undertaken in the 1980s.

In 2004 the 150th anniversary of the church was celebrated and at the anniversary Mass Archbishop Dennis Hart of Melbourne announced that the Vatican had designated St Mary’s as a Minor Basilica. One of only five in Australia.

These are the conditions for the granting of Minor Basilica status according to The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“1. A church for which the title of basilica is proposed must have been dedicated to God by a liturgical rite and must stand out as a center of active and pastoral liturgy, especially through celebrations of the Most Holy Eucharist, of penance, and of the other sacraments, which celebrations set an example for others on account of their preparation and realization according to liturgical norms and with the active participation of the people of God.

2. To further the possibility of truly carrying out worthy and exemplary celebrations, the aforesaid church should be of an appropriate size and with a sufficiently large sanctuary. The various elements required for the liturgical celebration (altar, ambo [lectern], celebrant’s chair) must be placed according to the requirements of the restored liturgy (cf. General Instruction of the Roman Missal, nos. 288-318).

3. The church may enjoy a certain renown throughout the diocese, for example, because it has been constructed and dedicated to God on the occasion of some particular historical and religious event, or because the body or significant relics of a saint are reserved in it, or because some sacred image is there venerated in a special way.

The historical value or importance of the church and the worthiness of its art are also be considered.

4. So that, as the liturgical year progresses, the celebrations of the various seasons may be carried out in a praiseworthy manner, a fitting number of priests is necessary; they are to be assigned to the liturgical and pastoral care of the church, especially for the celebration of the Eucharist and penance (there should also be an appropriate number of confessors who at stated hours are available to the faithful).

In addition, a sufficient number of ministers is required as well as an adequate schola cantorum, which is to encourage the participation of the faithful with sacred music and singing.”

So the awarding of this title to St Mary’s is very much an acknowledgement of its importance both to the history of Victoria and to the people of Geelong.

It is a really beautiful church. Even if you are completely non religious as I am, the majesty of St Mary’s must be appreciated.

IMG_1294

St Mary’s from the front.

References

Ian Wynd. St Mary of the Angels Basilica. ISBN: 9780975840702

Unless otherwise stated by links the photos are mine.

Surprising Horse Troughs

During a recent trip out to Western Victoria in the Wimmera region, to do some unrelated research, I noticed two horse troughs in separate towns that had the same inscription. It read that they had been donated by Annis and George Bills. I was intrigued so I did some research on Trove and I found there is actually a very interesting story behind them.

IMG_7645

Horse trough in Balmoral Victoria

IMG_7807

Horse trough in Edenhope Victoria

These horse troughs are the result of an interesting will and testament and can be found all over Victoria and New South Wales. George Bills made his money out of mattresses, first in making them and then in creating and patenting machinery to weave them. His father, who was a naturalist, came to Australia in the 1800s and, as the Horsham Times described it in 1935, “his heart ached to see the sufferings of dumb animals.” This was a concern that he passed on to his son George who also associated himself with the society for the protection of animals in England, New Zealand and Australia. George’s wife died before him and they had no children so he decided to make provision in his will for the future welfare of animals. The residue of his estate, after several personal bequests, was set aside to provide free memorial horse troughs the length and breadth of the British Empire. Towns applied for them to the trust and many such as Horsham actually have more than one. George died in 1927 and approximately 86 000 pounds was left for the provision of horse troughs. Each was made to the same design and carried the inscription ‘Donated by Annis and George Bills Australia.” By 1937, according the the Adelaide Advertiser, the trust had set up more than 400 horse troughs in Victoria and were expanding to New South Wales.

Sometimes they were for more than horses though and issues could arise, as Dubbo found in 1946. In this particular case dogs and humans were catered for as well as horses. Unfortunately the position of the human’s drinking fountain was problematic. As the Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate said.

“Unfortunately, lack of foresight was shown in the placing of the adjunct for the public. It is immediately over the small concrete basin for dogs, and at the end of the horse-trough. After drinking, horses have been seen slobbering over the faucet, and dogs licking it.”

The drinking faucet was thankfully moved.

The Dubbo paper also adds the interesting detail that the activities of the trust lapsed during the war period, but began again afterwards, which was when Dubbo applied for its second horse trough with the subsequent problems.

I just think this is a fascinating little piece of history. So far I’ve only found two of the troughs, as I wasn’t really looking for them, but if anyone else happens to see one that has survived in their town I’d love to know. I’d also be fascinated to find out if they are only present in Australia or whether George’s bequest did indeed cover the length and breadth of the British Empire.

The photos are mine.

Information from:

Horsham Times: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/72616702?searchTerm=annis%20and%20george%20bills&searchLimits=

Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate:

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/132963328?searchTerm=annis%20and%20george%20bills&searchLimits=

The Adelaide Advertiser: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/74356258?searchTerm=annis%20and%20george%20bills&searchLimits=

 

 

An update.

After a little more investigation I have found this wonderful blog that has lists of the horse troughs. These obviously aren’t as obscure as I thought.

https://billswatertroughs.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

An Illumination

Melbourne University has been running a fascinating exhibition on the history of illuminated manuscripts and it is now in its final weeks. As part of the exhibition the university has also been running lectures and workshops and I was lucky enough to attend one on parchment.

Both this talk and the exhibition itself gave me a fascinating insight into the world of illuminated texts. If you are in Melbourne it is absolutely worth a visit and will be running until the 15th of November.

The books in this particular exhibition are in the codex form. This form began in the the 1st century CE and by the 4th century had mainly replaced the papyrus scroll. Codexes are usually made from parchment, a fascinating material in and of itself. Parchment was made from the skin of animals, usually goats, lambs or calves although there were exceptions.

Parchment replaced papyrus for a number of reasons, one of the main ones was that production of parchment could be decentralised. It could be done anywhere where there were animals, whereas papyrus could only be made in a handful of places, such as Alexandria, where the materials were available. Parchment can also be wiped clean and re-used. Parchment was the mainstay of the codex also because it is really durable. Unless it gets wet parchment will last for centuries. Which is why many illuminated manuscripts survive today, despite the fact that they are hundreds of years old. Which is not something that can be said for even reasonably modern paper.

Codexes were not made up of one animal skin. Multiple animals were used and it is possible for researchers to discover an amazing amount from the skins in an individual codex. Everything from how many animals were used, to what type of animals, the age of the animals, the health of the animals, the tools used to do the work and even the region the codex was made in.

Parchment was made by first treating the skin of the animal with lime to remove blood, dung and organic material and to loosen the fat. The skin was then stretched over a wooden frame, kept under tension and scraped repeatedly with a curved blade as it dried to create a smooth writing surface. Finally it was treated with chalk to remove any excess oils and fats.

There were two more key processes to the creation of an illuminated book. The writing and the illumination itself. The text was written in iron gall ink, usually, a fascinating substance that was made with the galls created by one type of wasp on oak trees. This ink was responsible for pretty much all recorded western history for 1400 years. The fascinating video from the BBC below explains where these galls come from and how they were used.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p033dbrb/player

Aside from the text the other important part of these codexes is the illumination. The word comes from the latin illuminare and refers to the glow that comes from the decorations, especially the gold leaf.The tools and processes for illumination are actually quite similar to the process and tools for creating icons, something which I’ve written about before.

The illuminations were begun by drawing the outline with lead or ink, then the areas for the gold were painted with bole, a red clay, or with gum, then the gold leaf was applied to the surface and burnished. Finally other colours were added. The colours were made from a wide range of materials for example lapis lazuli for blue and madder for a reddish colour. The lapis lazuli largely came from Afghanistan and was highly prized. The materials were ground up and mixed with a binding material like egg white to give it viscosity and make it stick to the page.

Examples of some of the materials and tools can be seen below.

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The works created using these methods are stunningly beautiful.

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A leaf probably from part of a choir book, the illumination has been attributed to Joannes Zmilely de Pisek

Prague c. 1500

The exhibition holds a variety of codexes which cover the different purposes for which they were used. The use for codexes was largely religious in nature, not always but mostly, and this is what is represented in the the exhibition.

The codex has been part of church life for centuries, used both by clergy and parishioners. It wasn’t until around the 11th century though that codexes for specific services came together.  Around the 11th century the different texts used by the priest during Mass were compiled into the Missal.  An example of which can be seen below.

Missal

Missal, Use of Rome

Catalonia Spain c. 1450

The other codex that came into being at a similar time is the Breviary. This codex held a compilation of the texts for the Divine Office. An example can be seen below

Breviary

Breviary, Use of Rome.

Associate of the Jouvenel Master (illuminator)

Bourges France 1460-1470

Codexes were not only for the use of clergy. Books for private devotion were also reasonably common. One of the earlier examples is the Psalter. As Psalter is one of the books of the Bible produced as an independent manuscript. It contains 150 songs of praise, thanksgiving and petitions to God and was used for private prayer. It wasn’t uncommon for Psalters to be personalised, with heraldry and often references to their owners. They were to an extent symbols of status. They also were often signposted with illuminations to allow the user to follow along, so to speak, with public worship. A leaf from a Psalter can be seen below.

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Leaf from a Choir Psalter (King David in Prayer)

Italy or Spain c. 1430

In the late 13th century a new type of personal prayer book began to become more popular than the Psalter. The Book of Hours was made up of devotions based on the Offices of the Breviary primarily the Hours of the Virgin. While the content of the Book of Hours varied according to the preference of the owner the Book of Hours commonly contained, along with the Hours of the Virgin, some of: the Office of the Dead, the Hours of the Cross, the Seven Penitential Psalms, the Litany of the Saints, short excerpts from the four Gospels, and prayers for particular saints. The Book of Hours usually opened with a calendar of the feasts of the Church year. Like the Psalter the Book of Hours was a status symbol and was thus richly illuminated and often contained references to their owners.  An example can be see below

Book of Hours

The Mildmay Master (Illuminator)

Book of Hours, Use of Rome.

Bruges, Southern Netherlands, c. 1460s

The centrepiece of the exhibition is the Rothschild Prayer Book. The Rothschild was created primarily in Ghent, but some pages were probably created by other artists in other Flemish centres and inserted into the manuscript in the main workshop in Ghent. As such it is a beautiful example of a coordinated undertaking from the hands of several masters. It dates to c.1505-1510 and is the culmination of centuries of development of the Book of Hours. Unfortunately it was the one thing I was not allowed to photograph. But the digital copy below can at least give an approximation of this work of art.

Rothschild

This by no means covers the entirety of the exhibit, but I hope it has given a taste of the truly beautiful books displayed there and the complex and intriguing world of the illuminated manuscript.

Reference: Visit to the exhibition and talk on parchment by Libby Melzer and Grace Pundyk.

For more information on the exhibition

https://events.unimelb.edu.au/illumination

ANZAC Day

I know ANZAC day has come and gone, but it represents something interesting in Australia and I thought it was worth a post.

There has been so much written about ANZAC day I’m not going to retread old ground.

You can see from the list of articles at both New Matilda and The Conversation that it is in many ways a controversial topic. Especially when it comes it Australia’s indigenous population, both in the lack of recognition of their contribution to Australian war efforts and whether the the white occupation of Australia can be considered a war. I am not offering a personal opinion in this second matter because political opinion is not the purpose of this blog.

https://theconversation.com/search?q=anzac

https://newmatilda.com/?s=anzac+day

This year was the centenary of ANZAC. I thought it was worth having a very quick background of what ANZAC day actually is.

ANZAC to start with stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. ANZAC day began originally to commemorate the Gallipoli Landings on the 25th of April 1915.

The purpose of the Gallipoli landings was to draw the Turks away and to stop them over running the Russians in the Caucasus. Russia had suffered a terrible defeat at the hands of Germany and Turkish forces in the Caucasus were pushing them hard. So Russia appealed to its ally Great Britain to launch an attack against the Turks. The British were in favour partly because they saw it as part of protecting the Suez Cannel.

Several tactics were somewhat cautiously tried but ultimately it was decided that attacking the Dardanelles with troops was the preferred option. The ANZACs were training in Egypt and were thus perfectly placed to serve in the attacking force.

For more information and a map of the Gallipoli peninsula see

http://www.gallipoli.gov.au/why-gallipoli/events-leading-up-to-the-landing.php

So on the 25th of April 1915 a mixture of nationalities, it wasn’t all ANZACs, tried to land on the Gallipoli Peninsula.  Many died before they even made it to the beach. There is debate over whether they were sent to the correct position or not, but regardless they were faced with hilly, sandy and scrubby terrain with little cover. The attack on Gallipoli lasted until the 3rd of May 1915 and was a failure for pretty much everyone. The Turks lost a lot of men, more than the allies, and the allies retreated defeated.

The numbers that died at Gallipoli are debatable but a rough estimate is

Gallipoli dead
Ottoman Empire 86000
Australia 8700
New Zealand 2700
British Empire (apart from A & NZ) 27000
France and French colonial troops 9000

 http://www.gallipoli.gov.au/frequently-asked-questions/faq-the-gallipoli-campaign.php

Overall roughly 134 000 died at Gallipoli which is approximately 600 a day.

There weren’t really any winners here.

I think one of the most moving depictions of Gallipoli I have ever seen is Eric Bogle’s song And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. I learnt it in Primary School and it has stuck with me ever since. A picture story book has been created of it with Illustrations by Bruce Whatley. You can see some of the book here. And the video below shows Eric Bogle singing the song.

The final verse of the song is I think an interesting look at how ANZAC day is seen now.

And now every April I sit on me porch

And I watch the parade pass before me

I see my old comrades, how proudly they march,

Reviving old dreams of past glories.

But the old men march slowly, old bones stiff and sore.

They’re tired old heroes from a forgotten old war

And young people ask, what are they marching for?

And I ask myself the same question.

http://ericbogle.net/lyrics/lyricspdf/andbandplayedwaltzingm.pdf

What ANZAC day has come to mean for Australia is a tricky one. It seems to be all about mateship and Australian identity. Despite the fact that it is based on a defeat, it has somehow come to be seen as the forging of an Australian identity. You have to remember federation was only 14 years before the battle so there isn’t much else that can be seen as a turning point to Australia seeing itself as a nation in it own right rather than an outpost of Great Britain.

ANZAC day has come to be commemoration of those who have fallen in all wars that Australia has fought in, though again some are possibly excluded. It certainly means a lot to a lot of people.

Leading up to ANZAC day it was everywhere from biscuits

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To historical displays. Like this one at the Prahran Mechanic’s Institute.

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To full installations of replica trenches such as those at the Caufield RSL

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There were also installations of knitted poppies across the CBD

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If it is possible to be hagiographic about an event then that is how Australians are about ANZAC day. It is somehow sacred, the holy day for a largely irreligious country. Criticism is not permitted. But even though school children learn the basics of the history the realities are forgotten in the push to canonise the ANZACs. I am not for a moment saying that they weren’t very brave, that what they did shouldn’t be commemorated. I just think the reality of the situation which was in many ways remarkable is being lost in this canonisation. I think in putting the ANZACs on a jingoistic pedestal we are losing their humanity. Two works from Leunig sum it up beautifully.

truth-is-the-first-casualty-of-war-commemorationjpg

http://jasongoroncy.com/2015/04/22/on-war-commemorations/

1429596254834http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-letters/anzac-commemorations-jingoistic-element-is-deeply-alienating-20150421-1mpytk.html

As this year was the 100th anniversary I went along to the dawn service at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance. I was there by about 5:10 am and there were already thousands and thousands of people. It obviously really means something to Australians.

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The weather was horrific, it rained the whole time and it was cold and everyone was standing there for nearly two hours, packed into the crowd. I couldn’t even get close enough to see the speeches. They had screens up everywhere to make sure people could see something.

There was no issues and no loud complaining.

Below you can hear the Ode for Remembrance and the last post as well as the minute’s silence. You have to remember that there were thousand’s of people there and despite this the silence was still absolute.

The Ode to Remembrance that is read out at most war commemoration services is part of a longer poem.

For the Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

http://www.greatwar.co.uk/poems/laurence-binyon-for-the-fallen.htm

I think the stanzas that are read out are by far the best part of the poem. It was written by Robert Laurence Binyon and was published in the Times on the 21st of September 1914, months before Gallipoli and it was written only a few weeks into World War One, so well before the true extent of WWI was really known.

Personally I prefer the war poetry of Wilfrid Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. I’d like to finish on my favourite of Sassoon’s poems.  One I think that sums up the horror of war, better than anything I’ve ever seen or anything I could say. It isn’t a poem about sacrifice, or bravery, or heroism. It’s a poem about the reality.

http://www.eecs.harvard.edu/~keith/poems/suicide.html

Suicide in the Trenches

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.

I think I’ll leave it at that.

Churches of Melbourne: St Joseph’s

Having lived in and around Melbourne for many years I’ve noticed that Melbourne has some truly beautiful churches and that individual areas seem to have common qualities when it comes to their churches. So I thought it might be interesting to have a look at a few. I wanted to begin with St Joseph’s Catholic Church on Orrong Road in Elsternwick because this was where my grandparents were married in 1944.

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My grandparents are, obviously, in the middle of the photo and my great grandmother is on the left.

St Joseph’s was founded in November 1897.

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The first priest of St Joseph’s was Rev. Fr Carey, but he was Dean of St Mary’s Church in West Melbourne rather than a priest for St Joseph’s alone.The second priest was Rev Fr. Gough, he was the parish priest for St James’ Church in North road to which St Joseph’s was attached to at the time.

The first priest of the combined parishes of St Joseph’s and Holy Angels was Rev. Fr.  John Barry.[2]Barry was born in Cork in 1875 the eldest of ten children. He arrived in Australia shortly after his ordination in 1899. He was a parish priest in Mansfield before St Joseph’s and after his time at St Joseph’s he went on to be an administrator of St Patrick’s Cathedral and was appointed Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Melbourne by Archbishop Carr of Melbourne. Archbishop Carr died shortly after this appointment, but it was confirmed by Archbishop Mannix and Barry was in charge of the Archdiocese of Melbourne during Mannix’s absence overseas in 1920. In 1924 Barry was appointed Archbishop of Goulburn and was immensely influential in establishing catholic institutions in Canberra. He died in 1938 and his obituary described him as “Always practical and with his skilled fingers forever on the spiritual pulse of his Diocese”. [3]

He can be seen in the photo below second from the left.

barry

 

Barry’s boss while he was administrator of the Melbourne Archdiocese was Archbishop Daniel Mannix, a towering figure in Melbourne history. Another Irishman from Cork, he was born in 1864 and was Archbishop from 1917 until his death in 1963. The magnificent St Patrick’s Cathedral was the heart of the diocese. IMG_9694IMG_9693

Archbishop Mannix’s statue can be seen outside the Cathedral. I will probably write more about Mannix at a later date, but for more information now see http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mannix-daniel-7478

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Mannix also solemnly blessed St Joseph’s in 1918 and a stone was laid in the church to commemorate the occasion.

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Rev. Fr. John Collins was priest when St Joseph’s was blessed, but he was still priest of a combined parish. The first priest appointed parish priest of St Joseph’s alone was Rev. Father Michael Dolan who died in 1936 aged 69. He was the first Melbourne priest to be ordained in St Patrick’s College in Manly, the primary Australian Catholic Seminary founded in 1889, in 1895.[4]

The clergyman at St Joseph’s at the time of my grandparent’s marriage was Walter P Walsh. Walsh died in 1951 and is buried in Melbourne General Cemetery[1]

The interior of St Joseph is interesting. IMG_1259
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There are several memorial windows and as far as I have been able to establish most relate to the Cross family. One window is dedicated to Margaret Pape, the wife of Max Pape. Margaret was the daughter of William John Cross, who is commemorated in another window. She died in 1901 at the age of 39 and her husband predeceased her. [5] IMG_1251IMG_1254

William John Cross is commemorated in another window with his wife Catherine Mary. IMG_1253IMG_1252

William John and Catherine probably had a son John who is possibly the John commemorated in another window. Catherine probably died in 1865 at 40 years of age so the window must have been put in some time after her death. [6]  William John probably died in 1889 in his St Kilda Road home called Cintra.[7]  William John and Catherine were probably married in 1854 and were both from Ireland. William John was from Country Kilkenny and Catherine was from Carrick on Suir. [8] IMG_5665

The main bridge in Carrick on Suir.

There is also another William John Cross, called WJ in his window and his profession is listed as gentleman. He too lived in St Kilda road, but he was married to Margaret Cross who died some time before 1883 when William John was appointed an executor of her will. [9]

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Margaret’s Cross’ window is on the right.

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There is also quite a lovely window donated by the group the Children of Mary.

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St Joseph’s is typical of many Melbourne churches in that it reflects the local community and the people involved with the church. It is by no means the most beautiful of the churches but it is still lovely in its own way and is firmly part of the evolution of Melbourne as a city. Also its red brick exterior is typical of churches in the area. You can see the similarities in the Uniting Church just down the road. I am hoping to find out for about this church in the future.

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[1] Obituary of Walter P Walsh. The Argus 1951. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/23091500

[2] Details of St Joseph’s Church obtained from the manuscript: Historical notes on schools, churches, etc. in Elsternwick and Caulfield. Available from the State Library of Victoria. Accession number: MS 9308

[3] Obituary of John Barry. Canberra Times 1938. http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/barry-john-67

[4]  Obituary of Michael Dolan. Trove. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/11930493

[5] Obituary of Margaret Pape. Trove. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/printArticlePdf/9620132/3?print=n.

Deceased details from St Kilda Cemetery. http://stk.smct.org.au/deceasedsearch/result/42604S

[6] Obituary of Catherine Mary Cross. Trove. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/printArticlePdf/5771864/4?print=n

Division of estate of Catherine Mary Cross to her son John Cross. Trove http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/printArticlePdf/8452440/5?print=n

[7] Death notice of William John Cross. Trove. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/printArticlePdf/170503498/3?print=n

[8] Marriage notice of William John Cross and Catherine Mary Dynan. Trove. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/printArticlePdf/4796762/3?print=n

[9] Division of the estate of Margaret Cross. Trove. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/printArticlePdf/8498070/5?print=n

 

 

 

The photos are either mine or my family’s apart from the photo of Barry which can be seen at: http://www.cg.catholic.org.au/news/newsletterarticle_display.cfm?loadref=70&id=582

Historic Buildings, Modern Art.

In many cases historic buildings are finding a new meaning in an increasingly technological world as canvases for modern art. Whether it is as a cinema, or a projection space or as a place for installations. This sort of repurposing brings new life and new significance to historic buildings.

There are many examples, but I thought I’d just discuss a few. I’d like to begin with some I have previously mentioned in an earlier post.

Fontevraud is an abbey in France that was founded in the 11th century. Various parts of it have been used for artistic installations. Font art The Cloister. You can walk on this sculpture, creating whole new ways of seeing an ancient building.Font DormThe dormitory. You are able to lie in these boats, simulating the experience of the sleeping monks.

The two installations in Fontevraud both work with the history of the building to give alternative ways of experiencing it.

Another example from France is Foix Castle not that far from Toulouse.  You can see the castle below. It is perched on a a lump of carboniferous limestone and parts of the castle itself date from the 11th century. It was involved in the Albigensian Crusade and was part of an area of known Cathar sympathisers.

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The installations below could be found inside and were both representations of people at prayer. Again repurposing an old building and using its own history for art.

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IMG_9103Fontevraud and Foix notwithstanding, probably the best known historic building repurposed for art is The Louvre itself in Paris. IMG_7023It is an ancient palace and castle and now one of the most famous art galleries in the world.  As you can see from its foundations, incidentally one of my favourite parts of The Louvre, it has been there for a long time. In fact it began its life as a fortress commissioned by Phillip Augustus to protect Paris in c. 1190. This fortress was large even for its time, with a keep measuring roughly 15m diameter and 30m in height. IMG_6997Within the Louvre itself you also have the repurposing of rooms, such as Napoleon III’s apartments, for the display of modern art. In this particular case they were integrated to simultaneously blend in with the overt opulence and to reflect it. IMG_6944 IMG_6939 IMG_6937IMG_6929

Historic buildings are not just used for static art. They are also used for performances, such as the Vivaldi concert in the stunning Sainte Chapel you can see below.  Sainte Chapel was commissioned by Louis IX, later Saint Louis, and was originally built to house his collection of holy relics. It is one of the few survivors of the full colour that would have been present in many of the larger churches and cathedrals. It also has one of the largest collections of 13th century stained glass. IMG_7918IMG_7930 IMG_7922

Aside from music and art installations historic buildings are becoming canvasses in their own right. This often happens in festivals such as the recent Melbourne White Night. Melbourne has many historic buildings, by historic in Melbourne I mean 1800s and early 1900s not medieval, and on White Night several come alive with astounding light and sound displays.

The State Library of Victoria is one of my favourite buildings in Melbourne. The SLV has been on its site, though in a smaller building, since it opened in 1856. The founders wanted to create a place of learning for all Victorians and a place to preserve Victoria’s heritage. It is not one building. It is actually made up of 23 individual buildings that have been repurposed and integrated over the years. In the SLV my favourite room is the Latrobe domed reading room which was opened in 1913. The dome itself is 114 feet in diameter and 114 feet high. It is a wonderful place to study or write. During a normal day it looks like this. lobBut on White Night this year, this happened.

Other buildings were illuminated externally. Such as the Forum Theatre. The Forum opened in 1929 and is slightly insane in its own right even without illumination.  It was built as an immersive theater and the interior has a large number of greek and roman statues as well as a blue sky with stars. This is what is looks like normally.

Interior

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And this is what it and its surrounding buildings look like when they’re lit up. IMG_1186

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The final building I wanted to look at is in some ways the most spectacular and the most important historically. The Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens was completed in 1880 for Melbourne’s first international exhibition. It is one of the world’s oldest examples of exhibition pavilions. It was also the site of Australia’s first parliament in 1901.  The Argus described the event as.

The atmosphere was radiant and illuminated the vast spaces of the building and the great sea of faces with a bright Australian glow. A sight never to be forgotten was the assemblage which, in perfect order but with exalted feeling, awaited the arrival of the Duke and Duchess in the great avenues which branch out from beneath the vast dome of the Exhibition Building. (Argus 10 May 1901)

And it was depicted in the famous Tom Roberts painting below.

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This is what the Exhibition Building looks like during the day, a beautiful example of exhibition architecture. promo-reb-thebuilding

Below is the truly stunning work of moving modern art it became on White Night. Sorry about any talking in the background.

Historic buildings have their own story and their importance and purpose is fundamental to what they are. Integrating modern art allows whole new interpretations of the past, new ways of viewing history and art and the ability to bring these buildings to brand new audiences.

For more information see…

http://museumvictoria.com.au/reb/

http://www.aph.gov.au/Visit_Parliament/Parliament_House_Art_Collection/Tom_Roberts_Big_Picture

http://www.forummelbourne.com.au/history.php

http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/search-discover/history-our-building

http://guides.slv.vic.gov.au/content.php?pid=405532&sid=3319092

http://www.grands-sites-ariege.fr/fr/chateau-de-foix/detail/34/presentation-2

http://www.louvre.fr/en/history-louvre

The photos and videos are all mine apart from:

The inside of the Forum, which can be found at http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g255100-d258068-i46387954-Forum_Melbourne-Melbourne_Victoria.html#85255678

The Exhibition Building which can be found at http://museumvictoria.com.au/reb/

The Tom Roberts painting which can be found at http://www.aph.gov.au/Visit_Parliament/Parliament_House_Art_Collection/Tom_Roberts_Big_Picture

Cemeteries: Melbourne General Cemetery.

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Cemeteries are always a really interesting lens through which to view the history of a city. In the case of Melbourne is has several old cemeteries as well as the more modern ones. I thought I’d start with the Melbourne General Cemetery as it is one of the oldest and I believe the biggest.

I first went to the Melbourne General Cemetery a year or so ago when I found that my great great great grandfather Robert Henry Woodward was buried there. He was one of the first of my ancestors to come to Australia so I was interested to see where his grave was. Unfortunately it is no longer marked. You can see where he is buried in between the two other graves in the photo below. IMG_9755

Robert Henry’s is not the only grave that is unmarked in the cemetery because, while the records of those buried survive not all the headstones do. Robert Henry is only one of the approximately 300 000 people buried in the Cemetery since 1853 and their graves can be seen covering a staggering 106 acres. The Cemetery is truly vast. IMG_1115 IMG_1116IMG_1108 IMG_1107Some  burials date even earlier than 1853 though, as a portion of the burials removed from the Old Melbourne Cemetery were re-interred in the Melbourne General Cemetery. The Old Melbourne Cemetery is an interesting story in itself because it stood on the land that now houses the Queen Victoria Market.

IMG_1133The Old Melbourne Cemetery was closed in the 1850s and many of the red gum headstones were stolen for firewood. An estimated 10 000 people were buried there, including many indigenous burials and John Batman the ‘founder’ of Melbourne. When the Queen Victoria Market expanded in 1917, 914 bodies were re-interred in other cemeteries including the Melbourne General Cemetery. However there are still thousands of bodies beneath the Queen Victoria Market and its car park today. IMG_1144 IMG_1143 IMG_1142The market does not have a multi story car park because, due to all the bodies buried there, you can’t go underground. Unfortunately there is no record of those interred in the Old Melbourne Cemetery as the official records were destroyed during a fire in the Melbourne Town Hall. The only sign of the thousands still beneath the earth is a memorial to John Batman, in the car park, and a memorial called Passage, dedicated to those still buried beneath the market and its car park. IMG_1146 IMG_1147 IMG_1151Passage

Many of the burials in The Melbourne General Cemetery have interesting origins as well. The cemetery itself is quite varied. As you can see below it is divided into a number of sections.

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The Cemetery was also designed specially like a public park with winding roads, separate religious rotundas and a large number of evergreen trees and shrubs.

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There are a number of buildings on site as well, including the heritage listed gatehouse that was rebuilt in the 1930s. The oldest building is the Jewish Chapel which dates to 1854.

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The Gatehouse.

There are also a number of significant people buried there. Including several Prime Ministers.

IMG_1068John Gorton

IMG_1067Robert Menzies and Pattie Menzies

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A memorial to Harold Holt who disappeared while swimming at Cheviot Beach on Point Nepean.

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This is a memorial wall to Australia’s Prime Ministers, not everyone listed in dead.

There are some very interesting individual memorials as well. Including the monument below which is dedicated to indigenous man Derrimut whose timely action saved early settlers from a massacre. IMG_1119 IMG_1120

Other memorial monuments include:

A memorial dedicated to Elvis.

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A memorial dedicated to Burke and Wills and their expedition force.

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And a memorial dedicated to Hungarian Freedom Fighters.

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 There is also a wide range of funerary monuments such as:

Unmarked graves.

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Whole families in one place.IMG_1105

Decorative towers.

IMG_1103 IMG_1102Small buildings.

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Towering plinths.

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 High Crosses.

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Angels and angel like figures.
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Simple grave stones.

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Modern mortuary chapels.

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And plaques in the rose garden.

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The Melbourne General Cemetery is a fascinating, if overwhelming and slightly haphazard, look into Melbourne’s past. It is also a working cemetery so it will continue to be part of Melbourne’s heritage in years to come. It is well worth visiting not only as a place with a fascinating history, but also somewhere that is surprisingly beautiful and very peaceful.

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Also if you make it there during Melbourne Open House, you might get to see the vintage hearse.

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For more information

http://mgc.smct.org.au/about-our-cemetery/

http://www.qvm.com.au/about/history/

All the photos are mine apart from the plan of the cemetery which can be found at.

http://mgc.smct.org.au/Assets/Files/Melbourne%20Cemetry_V3_DPMG%20-%20FINAL.pdf