Monday, September 16, 2013

It made me realise just how much I do not know...

...was a comment an attendee made in an email she sent after the first meeting of the Technology Special Interest Group in the Society Rooms on Thursday last.

Some of the group at our TechSIG meeting

The purpose of this first meeting was to set some ground rules for the group and brainstorm some topics for discussion over the coming months. Although we did not have a formal program for the meeting a lot of incidental learning and sharing took place. We agreed that the purpose of the group was "To learn from each other about how to use technology to enhance our research."

Portable Wifi
We took a look at a portable wifi hotspot/router brought along by Jenny. These devices can be purchased from Telstra and Optus, electronics shops like JB Hifi or Dick Smith, online vendors and similar outlets. We also discussed tethering a mobile phone to a computer to provide a wifi hotspot.

Members were reminded to look at our Society blog, and were told that one didn't need a Facebook account to view the Society Page on Facebook.
A couple of members asked just what is a Smartphone and what are its uses apart from making phone calls. A lively discussion ensued with a couple of smartphone enthusiasts waving their devices around and discussing their features. We were asked if one could print from a smartphone. The short answer was yes. We discussed the benefits of purchasing an unlocked device that could be used with different service providers especially when travelling overseas. Unlocked phones can be purchased from BigW, Dick Smith, The Good Guys etc. and a horde of online retailers.the

Jackie mentioned the free Hightail app that is useful for sharing/transferring large files over the internet. She also told us about iTunesU that allows one to access audio and video podcasts from a range of educational institutions around the globe. Tunesviewer is the app that allows Android users to access programs from iTunesU.

A member asked about screen capture options for Windows;  the inbuilt Windows Snipping tool for Windows 7 and 8 was recommended and Jo demonstrated how to use Alt and PrntScr to capture a screenshot in Windows XP.

Hack Genealogy a blog from Thomas McEntee in the US provides a daily list of links to technology resources for family historians,

For those who missed Open Day 2013 at SRNSW the staff presentations can be viewed online at

The RAHS also has a good set of podcasts for online listening 

Brotherhood Books is the online bookshop of the Brotherhood of St Lawrence and is a site worth searching when seeking a particular title

Off the topic of technology members also discussed the best options for good parking spots when visiting the Society. 

Since the meeting a group member has passed on this message re antivirus " make sure that it is installed on your computer.  It says to make sure that your smartphone is protected as well.  For example, only download apps from official sources such as Google Play, iTunes and the App Store."

In a roundtable discussion members identified the following topics for discussion at future meetings. We will endeavour to cover as many of these topics as we can over the course of the next 12 months.

  • Basics - connecting devices
  • Backup and security, Antivirus
  • Chrome Browser
  • The Cloud
  • Completing a pdf form online
  • Desktop publishing (Word)
  • Dropbox
  • eBooks
  • eBook Readers  and software
  • Evernote
  • Facebook Help Day
  • Folders and files - file naming and organisation
  • Free websites
  • Gadgets
  • Genealogy Software Packages
  • Setting up  blog with Blogger workshop (for travel and other things)
  • Fixing Old photos with Picasa
  • Global roaming, SIM cards etc
  • Google Tools
  • Google Docs
  • Google searching
  • Google+
  • Syncing between devices
  • Windows7 and Windows 8
As the initiator of the group I was delighted with the response and enthusiasm of those who attended. Thank you all for your support.

The next meeting of our group will be a combined meeting with the Mac group on Thursday October 10 at 1:30pm where we will have a show and tell of Tech Toys or Gadgets. 

All Society members are welcome to join our fledgling group. If you would like to be included on our email list please let me know by email,

Jill Ball

Friday, September 13, 2013

Built Heritage - Ku-ring-gai Court

Reprint of an article from the April 2013 Newsletter

 Ku-ring-gai Court and the Mysterious Mr Miller

Anyone who drives along Boundary Street, Roseville will know that it is to be widened and the
Boundary and Hill Streets Roseville (
sooner the better, we all hope. A new railway overbridge, to span 6 lanes of traffic, was erected in April 2012. There was talk of closing Hill Street where it enters Boundary Street but community resistance has scotched that idea. Roads and Maritime Services are still seeking community feedback on the Boundary Street upgrade.

I wonder what will happen to Ku-ring-gai Court on the corner of Boundary and Hill streets? It will certainly lose much of its front garden. Listed on Council’s LEP for its historic, social and municipal significance, it is noted as ‘substantially intact’. Completed in July 1929, it was advertised as ‘exclusive modern flats’, each with entrance hall, living room 19 x 13, main bedroom 17 x 13, a second bedroom, sun porch, large kitchen with built-in cupboards, refrigerator, electric hot water service to kitchen and bathroom, each ‘tiled and equipped with every modern convenience’. Rooms were ‘tastefully papered, well lit, airy …with superb views’.

At the time, title to the Court was in the name of Roseville builder Robert Wallace Miller, whose purchase of the site had been finalised on 3 April 1929 and who, in December 1927, had applied to Council to build a block of flats costing £10,000. Approval was not given until May 1928, delayed,
no doubt, by much heated debate. The contentious issues surrounding the building of flats are not new. In the 1920s it was associated with an expected influx of undesirables, a decline in living standards and property values. Miller must have been confident of approval, for in late 1927 four separate notices were published advising that he was to build a block of ten flats in Roseville designed by architect C L Rounding. A fifth notice, however, published in January 1928, advised that Rounding had let the contract to Robert Park of Roseville.

Rounding ran his practice during the 1920s from Chatswood, removing to the Central Coast during the early 1930s (probably riding out the Depression), after which he returned to Sydney, working from offices in Pitt Street before relocating once again to Chatswood. Between 1914 and 1940 he had a formidable number and variety of projects throughout Sydney – bungalows, five-storey flats, factories and shops. The most intriguing project was in January 1929: ‘plans being prepared in relays for 21 bungalows at Pymble’. Their location is not otherwise specified. Frustrating!

Contracts awarded by Rounding to Miller include a bungalow in Ku-ring-gai Chase Road, Wahroonga and two in Fern Street, Pymble (1925), one in Killara Avenue, Killara (1927) and a large bungalow in Warrawee (1928).

Rounding projects built by various members of the Park family of builders include the large picture theatre at Ryde (1925), three blocks of flats in the eastern suburbs (1927,1929), seven shops and dwellings in Gladesville (1928) and a bungalow in Killara (1935).

Robert Wallace Park was a son of James Wallace Park (1850–1931), ‘The Boss’, a Scottish stonemason who settled in Gladesville in the early 1880s and who built there the Presbyterian Church of St Andrew. Four other sons of The Boss became builders: James, Gavin, David and
John. My article on one of James Park’s developments, Nos 2 to 10 Nelson Street, Gordon,
appeared in The Historian of 2007, and another on one of R W Park’s developments, Bloomsbury Avenue, Pymble, in The Historian of 2008. One of John’s projects was the development of the Maclaurin, Pockley and Larkin Streets precinct behind Roseville RSL, in which, at its start, R W
Park also had an interest.

As for Robert Wallace Miller, despite searches in vital records, electoral rolls and such, his origin and demise remain a mystery. He pops up in September 1920, advertising for sale a four-bedroom bungalow in Killara ‘just completed, Gloria-st, off Springdale-rd … £1850.’ Between then and
the end of 1927 most of his projects were in Roseville, but there were others throughout Ku-ring-gai. The only architect associated with these was Rounding. The last reference to Miller that I’ve found (to date) is in November 1935, when, ‘formerly of 67 Stanhope Road, Killara’, he and his business partner Lionel Wingrove were taken to court by their mortgagee wanting to exercise her power of sale of a house in Chatswood.

I thought it remarkable that Miller and Park had identical forenames, and were somehow involved in the same project. On the hunt, I found tender notices for numerous projects, generated separately by Miller and Park, but which gave the same address for each man: Massey Road Gladesville (1920–21), Dalton Road Chatswood (1922–24) and Bancroft Road Roseville (1926–27). Then, when I came across a 1930 ad for the sale of ‘new bungalows’ in Pymble, the vendor being ‘R W Park (trading as R W Miller)’ it seemed obvious that Park was using Miller’s name to disguise the extent of his developments.

Robert Wallace Park, however, does not appear on the title of Ku-ring-gai Court. Can property be registered under a fictitious name? In August 1935 an ad appeared: ‘Roseville. Kuring-gai Court. Unfurnished Flats, appointment and value best on line. RW Park, Proprietor, JX 2962’ which
infers Park was the owner. Not as per the documentation! Title to the flats was in Miller’s name until 1936, when he sold to auctioneer Henry Little. The only member of the Park family mentioned in the title was Park’s brother David, who for five years held a mortgage.

Whoever built the Court – Miller or Park – it certainly deserves its listing. Over 80 years old, within a year or so it will be surrounded by new developments, book-ended stylistically and historically, enhancing its landmark significance. It definitely has architectural, social and municipal significance – designed by a Chatswood architect and erected by a Roseville builder, we have an early purpose built block of flats representing a radical shift in thinking that recognised the need for a different type of accommodation in our area.

Kathie Rieth with advice from Allan Rost

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On its Way to a New Home

We are delighted that the resource we blogged about two days ago is already on its way to a new home.

Today we packed up the General Muster and Land and Stock Muster of New South Wales: 1822 that was superfluous to our needs and posted it off to The Moruya and District Historical Society which was very prompt in replying to our offer.

The use of our blog to tell other societies of the availability of this resource was efficient and effective and demonstrates what excellent tools social media are for organisations.

Like our Society The Moruya and District Historical Society has embraced social media with a blog and Facebook Page.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Resource - Free to a Library or Society

Last week we received a generous donation of books some of which will be added to our collection.

There is one title that is superfluous to our needs as our copy is in very good condition. The donor is happy for us to offer this book General Muster and Land and Stock Muster of New South Wales: 1822 (pictured below) to a family history or historical society or a public library geographically close to Ku-ring-gai that does not have a copy in its collection.

We ask for a contribution towards postage from the successful organisation. Please forward expressions of interest to with the Subject Line "General Muster".

Title Page
Verso of Title Page

"Picture This" at Ku-ring-gai

In recognition of this year's History Week theme "Picture This" we are posting some photos from the Ku-ring-gai area on our blog this week.

The following photos are from a collection donated to the Society. It is thought that they were taken near the West Pymble shops around 25 years ago. The collection is made up of photos of individual and groups of children sitting in a vintage red car with Queensland number plates, that appears to be an Alfa Romeo.

If you are able to help with details of the event, the cars or the children pictured please respond by making a comment on this blog post or by email to There are 75 photos in the collection; if you know that your children were photographed at this event please contact us so and we will arrange for you to view the remainder of the collection.

The Society has more than 10,000 images catalogued on its Perfect Pictures database. These imagaes can be accessed during opening hours in the Society rooms.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

History Week 7 – 15 September 2013 – Picture This

The theme for the 16th annual History Week 2013 is Picture This.
The History Council of NSW website shares the rationale for this year's theme:

"Driving humanity; reflecting change; imagining reality. In the image conscious 21st Century photographs shape the world. How has the development of the visual changed, informed and sculpted society? How do historians use art and photography to inform their research? Who were the original mad men of the advertising industry? Who were our image makers? People have long manipulated their images and all cultures have created their view of the world through visual representations. History Week 2013 will bring the past into view through the frame of images."

There are numerous talks and exhibitions planned to celebrate this occasion. A visit to the History Week 2013 webpage provides details of many events.

Technology Special Interest Group

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 members are welcome, bookings are not necessary. Feel free to BYOD (Bring your own device).

We will meet on a regular basis in collaborative sessions to learn from each other about how to use technology to enhance our research. Although our focus will be on Windows and Android devices we will also cover resources and hardware of interest to all technology users. Please consider coming along to share your technology tips and troubles.

At this first meeting we will discuss guidelines for the group, identify needs and expertise within the group, share a few tips, tricks and resources and have a mighty good time. 

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

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Happy Birthday Hazel!

Ku-ring-gai Historical Society Life Member, Hazel Perdriau turns 100 today!

Here is a mini biography from our newsletter in 2008:

Hazel Perdriau remembers Armistice Day and joining in celebratory bell ringing. She also remembers Sir Ross and Keith Smith’s plane flying overhead at the end of their epic flight from England, and that the 1919 flu epidemic nearly made her and her young brother orphans.

In 1920 her parents moved to a house in Roseville where she attended the Roseville Infants School and continued there when it became a full primary school and she later attended PLC Pymble. She left school in 1928 because of her mother’s illness and the transfer of the family to a new house in Nelson Street, Gordon. She then enrolled at the East Sydney Technical College to study commercial art, however after three years she abandoned art on being invited by a friend at Sydney University to join the University Choir. 

Realizing that she had a good singing voice, she commenced the study of voice and piano at the State Conservatorium of Music. Following the outbreak of WW2 Hazel assisted her mother who was president of the Gordon Red Cross and then joined the Red Cross herself to serve in military hospitals, visiting the sick and teaching crafts. She worked as an Occupational Therapist and was sent to the 113 AGH at Concord West. After about a year of part time work, she was posted full time to 104 AGH Bathurst and then to114 AGH at Kenmore with a staff of local volunteers, which enabled her to expand her activities with music therapy and pottery.

Remaining with the Red Cross after the war, Hazel gained experience with treadle looms and weaving and was sent back to113 AGH in charge of the weaving room and later the handcraft centre. When the 113 AGH was turned over to the Repatriation Department, Hazel transferred to the Occupational Therapy Department, taking charge of the pottery and art room. She also took part, with the Hurlstone Choral Society, in performances with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. In addition she attended night classes at the East Sydney Technical College to further her skills in clay modeling and pottery.

On her retirement in 1976, Hazel joined the Turramurra Garden Club and the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, serving as secretary and president at various times in both organizations. She has been a Life Member of the Society for a number of years. She also found time to photograph every house in Nelson St, Gordon and donated to the Society a copy of the 1788-1820 Pioneer Association Register and a paper knife reputed to be made of wood from HMS Sirius. In addition she is an active member of the St. Ives Music Study Group. A very busy lady!

We all wish Hazel a very happy birthday.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Family History Meeting this Saturday

The program for the Family History Meeting on next Saturday, 7th September, commences at 11:00am with a “Family Search” Workshop + Q&A.

After a break for lunch we will reconvene at 2:00pm for the General Meeting.  Three members from the The Arthur Phillip Chapter of The Fellowship of First Fleeters will address the meeting.

Alan Beresford will discuss “John Beresford”, Nan Boslet – “Frederick Meredith” and Wilma Townsend – “Edwin Goodwin”.

Afternoon Tea will be available. Visitors welcome.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Trove Tuesday - The State of the Roads

Here is an article about Roseville from 101 years ago this month.

Residents with complaints about the state of the roads and footpaths, and the increasing traffic.

Things never really change do they?

I wonder what result or impact such a resolution / agreement could have - expressing disapprobation!