ITELLYA'S SOURCES AND WHY HE DOES IT.
I apologise for not listing sources in most of my journals. The reason that I do not do so is that sometimes one sentence might be an amalgam of information from four or five sources. Can you even imagine reading a journal littered with footnote numbers and with a list of sources that is longer than the actual article? One thing that irritates me about reading scholarly histories is the need for a ruler, to locate the page on which the sources are listed.
It is often the case that somebody starting family history research, or even somebody that has vaguely considered it (such as Somerville's "Local Footy Hero"), groans, "I wish I had asked mum, grandpa etc more questions." How many old photos get thrown out because the people, buildings etc in them (and the year or date!!!) have not been recorded on the back? DO IT NOW, FOLKS!
I was lucky that I started my historical research when I did. My older brother was doing our family history and wanted me to check the Broadmeadows rates to confirm that our great grandfather had farmed on Gladstone Park. I transcribed every entry for John Cock (Broombank 1867-1882, Springbank 1882-1992, Stewarton/Gladstone 1892-1911.)
Great grandfather had received great coverage in Andrew Lemon's "Broadmeadows: A Forgotten History" but I could not help noticing that almost all of the pioneers, whose names my eyes raced past, had not rated a mention.
NOT FAIR, JAN! (For the information of our American and British friends, that's a line in a bank advertisement that has become part of Aussie speech, just like "Tell him he's dreaming" from "The Castle".)
The council elections were coming up and the fantastic rates officer informed me that I could not have access to the strongroom, where the original rate books were kept, until the elections were over. Kindly, he gave me a map "to keep me occupied" until then. It was a map comprising parts of the parishes of Wiil Will Rook, Tullamarine and Bulla that was made to indicate the properties owned by Stanley Korman, a 1950's version of G.W.Taylor. His subdivision of Gladstone Park (with its innovative bullseye road layout) was thwarted by Airport plans and his Stanhill company collapsed, costing many small shareholders their life's savings.
What excited me was that a farm on the map was labelled "A.Cock". That was my great uncle, Alf. Excitedly, I raced to the Tullamarine library to find out more about Alf. I read all the available history of Tullamarine but found no mention of him; not surprising because it consisted of only 1 1/2 foolscap pages! That did it. As it was Australia's 200th year, I decided that as a bicentennial project, I would expand Tullamarine's recorded history.
Tullamarine was in the Broadmeadows, Keilor and Bulla shires, so logically, I needed to transcribe rates information for each and I needed the Tullamarine, Doutta Galla, Bulla Bulla and Will Will Rook parish maps.Later the Maribyrnong parish map joined my collection. How did I get them? The librarians were fantastic: Bev Brocchi at Niddrie, Rosemary Davidson at Tullamarine and Jenny Shugg at Gladstone Park Secondary College.They supplied the maps free because they soon learned that what they gave would be repaid tenfold.
The rest came about because of Gordon Henwood, a cleaner at the school where I taught. I was a fairly dedicated teacher and was always there when everybody else had left, so we became good mates. I mentioned my brick wall about Alf's farm. Gordon knew the Arundel Closer Settlement like the back of his hand; he was a descendant of J.D.McFarlane and had been brought up there. He told me that I was talking about John Fenton's "Dunnawalla" and that I should go and see John. I ignored the "Beware of the dog" sign and my bravery was rewarded. John came out with the usual line of "I'm not a pioneer" although he had been there before Tullamarine was a suburb. (The Drive- in at Tullamarine was called the Essendon Drive In because hardly anyone knew where Tullamarine was!)
John knew enough about Tullamarine to give me a list of about 12 descendants of pioneering families. Every time I spoke to one of these, they'd say, "I don't know much, you need to speak to so and so." They actually knew plenty and provided treasures such as the Methodist Church Centenary book, the 1926 Saleyards proposal, newspaper cuttings such as "The Clan McNab", photos of hay being loaded at Nash's Fairview, the old post office in Post Office Lane, the former Beech Tree Hotel as well as telling me property names, anecdotes and so on. Harry Heaps was funny; he'd always preface his anecdotes with: "I shouldn't tell you this, but". When conducting videotaped interviews with Gordon Connor, Jack Hoctor and Colin Williams, I had to suppress a snigger when they asked, "Are you taking my photograph?"
With the number of contacts and treasures escalating at the rate of one per day, Rosemary Davidson suggested that we have a history display at the Tullamarine Library. Anthony Rowhead, a Federal Airports inspector came, saw and acted. Within a week, he had commenced a project to rename streets in Tullamarine Airport after early settlers, aborigines and aviation pioneers.As mentioned in the airport's wikipedia entry, the project was shelved at the last moment, when all had been finalised but Anthony managed to sneak in Gowrie Park Drive. TAKE THAT BEAN-COUNTERS!
Despite that 1989 setback, the 1989 Back to Tullamarine and the writing of "Where Big Birds Soar" were ample compensation. Due to Winnie Lewis (nee Parr) and her black book of phone numbers and snowball system of communication, practically every living descendant of the Tullamarine pioneers was there. Those that weren't alive were there in spirit; I could almost sense them saying, "What was that?" every time their names were mentioned.
As most of those present had trouble reading captions etc, I raced home to get my trusty magnifying glass. Now these descendants had been well-brought up and were too well mannered to raise their voices but from 100 metres away, their quiet conversation sounded like the roar of a grand final crowd at the M.C.G. as the players run onto the ground. What a thrill! The attendees' only disappointment was that they had no written history to take home.My handwritten book, finished days before the event, which was opened by the Keilor Mayor, was only provided to the libraries.This was rectified at the 1998 reunion where every copy printed of "Tullamarine: Before the Jetport" was sold raising a good sum for Gladstone Park Primary School. At the reunions, the oldtimers provided new information during afternoon talk and a new saint was proclaimed; no lesser title would do justice to Alec Rasmussen, their former teacher, of whom they spoke in such glowing terms.
I stated earlier that I was lucky to have started my research when I did. Why was that? Here are a few reasons. Gordon Connor, Jack Hoctor and Colin Williams were all dead within a year and by now practically all of my witnesses to the past have passed on. The historic councils are no more since Jeff Kennett's municipal amalgamations. Ratebooks are no longer available and microfiche cause so much eye strain that I would have been blind with the amount of transcription that I did. (Some council employees thought I was a colleague because they saw so much of me!) If I had started after Rosemary left the Tulla library, the lack of her enthusiasm might have seen my own dedication expire.
As well as rates, parish maps, directories,the aforementioned descendants, every local history written about the area and some that weren't written as local histories (The Oaklands Hunt, The Gold The Blue, The Life and Times of John Pascoe Fawkner, Memoirs of a Stockman, Boom and Bust etc),there was, and still is, interaction with family historians referred to me by the Broadmeadows Historical Society etc, (I usually get as much as I give.)
As a sample of my sources, I will list the sources for "Tullamarine: Before the Jetport.
Keith McNab, Gordon Connor, Colin Williams, Wally Mansfield, Jack Hoctor, John Fenton, Edie Thomas, Harry Heaps, Merv Henderson, Ina Henderson, Stan Exell, Sid Lloyd, Joyce Morgan, Noel Butler, Olive Nash, Ian Henwood, Eileen Reddan, Hilda Drever, Gordon Wright, Nathan Wright, Joe Crotty, Glenn Cotchen, Winnie Lewis, Leo Dineen, Dave Hatty, Bob Blackwell, Ted Fanning, B and P. Wright, Alma Koch, Peter Anderson, Jean Schwartz and Bev Ellis, Ken Gibb, Deidre Forfar (Robertson, McCracken historian), Mrs W.V.Murphy, Ian Farrugia (last occupant of Camp Hill and Gladstone homesteads), Alf Murray, Jan Hutchinson, Tom Dunne (last teacher at Tullamarine SS 2613.)
Broadmeadows A Forgotten History, Bulla Bulla, McCracken Papers, The Gold The Blue, The Oaklands Hunt, Keilor Pioneers: Dead Men Do Tell Tales, Mickleham Road: 1920-1953, Tullamarine Methodist Church 1970, Camp Hill Title Deeds, Tullamarine Progress Association Minutes Book 1937-1954, Official Opening of Caterpillar- speeches-progress, Birthday Brings Back The Past (Lily Green), Anti-Airport pamphlet of 1959 (containing Korman's plans), 1926 Saleyards Proposal, F.A.C. aquisitions map (circa 1960, showing owners), Broadmeadows History Kit- S.O'Callaghan, Architectural thesis on Arundel (K.B.Keeley), Arundel owners etc (Tony Cockram), Keilor Centenary Souvenirs of 1950, 1961 and 1963, Victoria and Its Metropolis, Cemetery Inscriptions (Bulla, Keilor, Will Will Rook), Greenvale: Links with the Past (Annette Davis, wife of Essendon champion, Barry), The Shire That Took Off (unpublished history of Bulla Shire sourced at the Sam Merrifield Library, plus others mentioned above.
My other work includes Dictionary History of Tullamarine and Miles around (2500 pages handwritten and more on computer, with most of my information on Greenvale and Bulla), Kilts and Cow Dung Flats (Strathmore and Pascoe Vale), A Trickle or a Torrent (Moonee Ponds Creek),information provided to family historians and Bruce Barber (Strathmore),assisting heritage studies, Early Landowners (parishes of Doutta Galla and Tullamarine with extensive titles information) and more recently NEW history about the Mornington Peninsula and preserving heritage buildings such as the Boyd cottage at 62 Rosebud Pde.
Being a local historian, obviously I have belonged to historical societies but I am not really a meetings person. I was the president of the reformed Keilor Historical Society (1988?)but I was so pleased when Susan Jennison took over the reins in the next year. I am purely a research person with a passion to see the contributions of my mates, the pioneers, acknowledged. I have been pleased to see their names added to Melway at my suggestion: Hannah Pascoe, McRae, Delahey, Lavars, Corrigan, Chadwick, McKay, Johnson, Gilmore, Mitchell and their properties: Gowrie Park, Chandos, Willowbank. Unfortunately, my maternal ancestors are unlikely to have a street named afer them. Imagine the ribbing you'd get if you lived in Cock Street!
The reason that I have not published my histories (probably 4000 pages by now)is that I object to the outrageous prices people have to pay for books. That is why I provided my work to libraries and when I sold books they were printed at my schools so that they could raise funds and prices could be low.I cannot express my gratitude enough to Scott for giving me the opportunity to provide the results of my research free to family historians. Although I am still a local historian, it is for family historians that I research and write. Hopefully, nobody will say of my work, "My family was there for 50 years and he didn't even mention them!"
I admire and respect Family historians but will never become one. Why? A local historian is the explorer who embarks on adventure and finds something else if he doesn't discover what he was after but a family historian is the surveyor who deals with the nitty gritty and does the "hard yakka" (another Aussie term meaning hard work from a brand of workwear.) Keep up the good work, Scott and his disciples!
on 2011-12-05 00:28:26
Itellya is researching local history on the Mornington Peninsula and is willing to help family historians with information about the area between Somerville and Blairgowrie. He has extensive information about Henry Gomm of Somerville, Joseph Porta (Victoria's first bellows manufacturer) and Captain Adams of Rosebud.