Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The History Sector in NSW

The Society has received notification via email of results of a recent survey.

"In April 2013 the History Council of NSW (HCNSW) conducted an online survey of the history sector in NSW. The purpose of the HCNSW History Sector State of Play Survey was to take a snapshot of the history sector today in order to better understand who it involves, how it is functioning and inform planning for how to make improvements and address key issues. We had an overwhelming response to the survey and are pleased to announce the results are now published on our website. Please follow the link below to access the results."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Trove Tuesday - Release of Golden Carp

One of our WWI researchers emailed an article they came across while 'troving away for information' on Private George Campbell of Turramurra.

The George Campbell the researcher was looking for enlisted with the 1st Light Horse Regiment in Sydney on 18 October 1914, earning himself the enviably low service number of 43.  Private Campbell departed from Australia two days after enlisting aboard the HMAT Star of Victoria.   
He served in the Middle East and eventually returned to Australia in December 1918 having attained the rank of Lieutenant.  Born in Cowra, NSW, in 1890, Campbell was the son of John Gavin Campbell, a local pastoralist.  
George was named for his grandfather, the first Mayor of Cowra, a former MLA and MLC, who had held extensive squatting runs in the area.  

Post-war the younger George changed his occupations and moved frequently, though maintaining links with the family property at Cowra.  
He resided in various regions of Sydney’s North Shore from about 1937 to 1963, including 51 Bobbin Head Road, Turramurra in 1949.

The George Campbell of Duntroon mentioned in the 1876 article has no apparent familial link to Lt Campbell but he did provide us with an amusing diversion.

I wonder if this George Campbell ever envisaged what a scourge of our river systems this fish would become!

Monday, August 26, 2013

World War 1 Project Writers' Workshop

Around twenty members of our World War 1 Project Writers' Group gathered at the Society rooms for a workshop with Cassie Mercer the Editor of Inside History Magazine last Saturday.

Cassie delivered a general talk about writing for magazines and newspapers then, after a break for a cuppa and a chat, gave us tips for writing up the biographies for the men and women from the Ku-ring-gai area who served in the conflict. It was pleasing to get feedback from Cassie on the work samples that writers had submitted to her before the talk. Cassie commended our writers on the research that had been done and the quality of the biographies submitted. Those who were present went away inspired to continue with their writing tasks.

Thank you, Cassie, for taking time out of your busy schedule and for the door prizes. Your passion and enthusiasm for family history and writing are infectious.

If you would like to join our group of researchers and writers for this project please contact Kathie Rieth,

Following are a few happy snaps from the event.
Cassie Mercer

Inside History Magazine 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A New Cousin

Exciting news for my co-blogger here at KHS, Jackie van Bergen. Jackie tells the story on her personal blog, Jax Trax, of how she found a new cousin through Facebook.

You can read the story here.

Have you had any similar successes?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Men at work

Family History is often thought of as a female pursuit. This morning when I looked around at the people who were working on the Society computers I noted that they were mostly male. I dived into my handbag and took a couple of snaps of them beavering away. Most of the chaps were completing their homework assignments for the Family History Course that is being conducted at the Society by Jo Harris.

Men at work at KHS today

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

50th Anniversary Dinner


Members and friends are invited to join us for our 50th anniversary celebration dinner at 6.30 pm on Thursday 7 November 2013 at the Roseville Golf Club, 4 Links Avenue, Roseville.

Enjoy a complimentary drink on arrival as canapes are served.  This will be followed by a two-course meal.  Drinks will be available at bar prices.  Please advise any dietary restrictions when you book.
Our guest speaker is Dr Anne-Maree Whitaker, President of the Royal Australian Historical Society. We will be launching our latest publication Ku-ring-gai Historical Society – the first 50 years 1963-2013.
Tickets are $50 per person and bookings are now open.

Bookings can only be made in the Rooms with payment to a room volunteer (see the specially labelled folder in the Rooms). Cash or cheques are acceptable.  If you wish to pay by EFT, please contact our Treasurer, Peter Stehn in the KHS Rooms on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday between 10.00 am and 2.00 pm on 9499 4568, or email him at Enquiries to Don Nicholson at or 9144 6948.

You may book as an individual, a couple, or a group of people.  You may ask to be seated with other people or you may book a whole table (8 or 10).  Numbers are limited to 150, so book early to ensure that you don’t miss out.

Bookings close on Thursday 10 October and your booking will only be confirmed once you have paid.

Let us know if you will have trouble getting to the dinner and we will arrange transport for you.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Inside History Editor coming to Ku-ring-gai

Cassie Mercer
Ku-ring-gai Historical Society's writers are excited about next Saturday's activity.

Cassie Mercer, Editor of Inside History Magazine, will be conducting a workshop for those who are writing for our World War 1 Project; additional places for the workshop have already been filled. Cassie will be giving us a talk and then workshopping samples of writing we have prepared for the books we will be publishing to commemorate those from the Ku-ring-gai area who served in World War 1

Cassie has worked in publishing since 1999 after completing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at the University of Queensland. Companies she has worked for include UNSW Press, Pacific Magazines and ACP Magazines in Sydney, and Edward Elgar, IPC Media and the National Magazine Company in London.

We look forward to welcoming Cassie to Ku-ring-gai Historical Society.

Scanning Days at KHS

As a National Family Month activity at Ku-ring-gai Historical Society we have invited Society Members and members of the community to bring in photos of people and places in the community. We are keen to preserve photographs of the local area.

Volunteers are scanning the photos and giving back to those who bring them in a digital copy of the photos we have scanned. Today we have scanned photos under glass and photos encased in plastic. We will be having another scanning day on Friday 23 August.

If you have photos of events, homes or school activities in the area please consider joining us on Friday between 10:30 am and 1:30pm. We will scan your photos and, if you wish, give you a digital copy for your records.

Society members looking at the first photo to be scanned
Scanned image from today: Coonanbarra Road, Wahroonga

Monday, August 19, 2013

2013-2014 Committee

The Annual Election of Office Bearers was held last Saturday. The following members were elected to the committee.

President: Jennifer Harvey

Vice President: Jo Harris

Vice President: Lorna Watt

Treasurer: Peter Stehn

Secretary:  Patricia Thomson

Committee Members:

Graham Lewis

Jill Ball

Helen Davies

Annet Latham

Ann Barry

Immediate Past President: Jackie van Bergen

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Technology Users Special Interest Group

The Mac Users SIG at the Society is a very successful initiative in which Mac users gather to pass on tips, solve issues, share news of new resources and help each other. For those who are not Mac users we are setting up a Technology Special Interest Group that will cover topics of general interest and provide some help in using hardware and software. 

The initial meeting of our new Technology Users' SIG will be held in the Society Rooms on Thursday 12 September from 1:30-3:00pm. All welcome, bookings are not necessary.

We will meet on a regular basis in collaborative sessions to learn from each other about how to use technology to enhance our research. Please consider coming along to share your technology tips and troubles.

Should you have any ideas, questions or topics for discussion please contact me by email at

Jill Ball

Thursday, August 15, 2013


The Society’s Annual General Meeting and Election of Officers will be held after the General Meeting on Saturday 17 August.

The Guest Speaker will be Jo Harris, Society Vice-President and Family History Group Leader, will  discuss the influential roles of Hughes, Marconi and Fisk in the development of early wireless transmissions.

Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 12 November 1935

Sunday, August 11, 2013

International Famine Commemoration - Sydney, 25-28 August 2013

In the FEDERATION OF AUSTRALIAN HISTORICAL SOCIETIES INC e-BULLETIN No. 113 – 28 July 2013 recently received at the Society was this notice about The International Famine Commemoration this month.

The Australian Monument to the Great Irish Famine (1845-1848) is located at the Hyde Park Barracks, on Macquarie Street, Sydney, Australia. The monument was inspired by the arrival in Australia of over 4,000 single young women, most of whom were teenaged orphans. They arrived under a special emigration scheme designed to resettle destitute girls from the workhouses of Ireland during the Great Famine. 

The Great Irish Famine Commemoration Committee (GIFCC) have broadened their activities to commemorate all who left their homes seeking a new life in the colonies and States of Australia but these workhouse orphan girls and the historical links back to Ireland remain the focus of this project.

Over the weekend of 25-28 August, the GIFCC is hosting the International Famine Commemoration in Sydney.
  • Friday 23 August 2013 - Dinner in NSW Parliament House
  • Saturday 24 August 2013 - Seminar in NSW Parliament Theatrette
  • Sunday 25 August 2013 - 14th Annual Gathering at the Famine Memorial at Hyde Park Barracks 

For further information, visit the website: 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Built Heritage - Pymble Hill

Reprint of an article by Kathie Rieth from the August 2010 KHS Newsletter

Does anyone know when the first purpose-built service station appeared in Ku-ring-gai? 

I’ve been searching off and on for the past few years and the earliest mention I can find is late 1927, when architects Ross & Rowe engaged AS Kirton to build a service station and residence on the Pacific Highway, Killara. I think this would be Killara Sales & Service Station at 544 Pacific Highway, listed in Sands from 1928. Killara Garage still operates from this address.

But - until then - where did residents go to fill up with petrol?

I have heard that some kept a supply at home, one complete with bowser. For how long was this allowed?

By the late 1930s service stations had been built in every suburb of Ku-ring-gai. Most incorporated a residence. Some have survived, others not. For many years Roseville had two: Waters now sells Subarus, the other is a branch of O’Briens Glass. Another that has retained its form, but changed its function, is on the corner of the Pacific Highway and Telegraph Road, Pymble: it appears to be in almost original condition with its drive-through intact. 

Built in late 1931, its owners were Edward McGee of Parkes, dentist and Charles Ramage of Sydney, literary secretary. And yes, I did ask Our Mr Wahroonga, Ian Ramage, whether he was related and he assured me he was not. Charles Ramage was born in Victoria and by the end of 1927 was a teacher at Knox, living at 1 Bundarra Avenue, Wahroonga with his widowed mother Mary and sister Florence. McGee, born in Parkes, lived and practised there until the early 1940s when he moved to Bondi. A third person was involved, Walter Ross of  Bannockburn Road, the applicant to council for permission to build. 

Ross was later associated with McGee in a company called Bricks & Mortar Ltd, registered in 1936, its aim “to acquire a considerable holding of rent producing property and generally deal in real estate”. Was the Pymble garage the first of their investments?

A further reference to Ramage can be found in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1953, with a notice of the winding up of The Telegraph Road Syndicate. Ross had died in 1946 and McGee in 1950. Were the three the Syndicate and is this why it was wound up? The Pymble garage certainly produced rent: from 1934 to 1936 it was leased by William Cawte, by Sydney Dwyer (1936-1939) and then James Emerson (1939-1950). A month after McGee’s death it was sold to Clement, Owen, Ivo and Bruce Wenborn. No longer a service station, for some years it has housed House

Friday, August 9, 2013

Packed House

Yesterday's wet weather did not dampen the enthusiasm of the members who came out for the
Picasa workshop in the rooms yesterday. Our rooms were packed to capacity with those eager to hear abut Picasa from two member enthusiasts, Tony Prince and Jill Ball.

It appears that many of us share a love of photos but are at sea when faced with digitising, preserving, organising and editing our collections. Thank you to all who attended, Tony and I enjoyed showing you what we know. Your questions and comments made this an enjoyable collaborative session for us.

We were unable to cover many functions of the software in depth and on reflection gathered that members would be interested in a future session on using Picasa to apply minor fixes to old photos. We will schedule this as a topic for one of the meetings of the new Technology Special Interest Group that will be meeting in the rooms on the second Thursday of the month from 1:30pm - 3:00pm commencing on Thursday 12th September. Should you have a topic that you would like covered in one of these meetings please email me and we will endeavour to cover it.

Jill Ball

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Trove Tuesday - The Late Major Jenkins

One of the distinguished servicemen that the KHS World War 1 Project Group is researching is Major Richard Lewis Blake Hay Jenkins. Trove is proving to be an invaluable source as the writers research service personnel from the Ku-ring-gai area.

While researching another soldier this evening I happened across this article from The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate about Major Jenkins

The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 - 1950), Wednesday 19 January 1916

We would warmly welcome to the group anyone who is able to assist with researching and writing up biographies for the publications we have planned to commemorate our fighting men.  

If you can help please contact Kathie Rieth at the Society or via email at

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Our First Blogiversary

In the blogging world we celebrate blogiversaries, the anniversaries of the day our first post was published. Today we have reached a milestone, our First Blogiversary.

In that first post we indicated that we would endeavour "to provide details about Society events and information and education resources for Society members and the community." Hopefully we have achieved this in some small measure.

According to Blogger statistics there have been 10,149 pageviews of our blog in its first year with 1,366 visits last month. Our target had been to have 1,000 pager views per month by the end of our first year and we have achieved that. Many of our visitors come from outside the Ku-ring-gai area with 32% of our visitors coming from the United States!

My co-blogger Jackie van Bergen and I are pleased with the results from our first year of blogging and look forward to continuing success in our second year. We hope that we have demonstrated that blogging is a useful communication channel for historical and genealogical societies.

Thank you to all those wonderful people who have supported and encouraged us in our blogging efforts.

Jill Ball