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Hawkesbury Family History Group Meeting News

~12th February 2003 ~  


12 February HELEN BERSTEN Australian Jewish Historical Society
12 March MICHELLE NICHOLS Newspapers in family & local research
9 April (10am-3pm) HERITAGE FESTIVAL SEMINAR Hawkesbury waterways : history of our rivers & commercial enterprises
14 May To be advised
11 June TRIVIA QUIZ??Everyone welcome, come along & have some fun.


What do the group want……? Refresher courses on family history research, speaker topics…please contact the Hawkesbury Family History Group co-ordinator mnichols@hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au with any ideas.


The topic of the next meeting is about using newspapers in family & local research" The Sydney Gazette was the first newspaper published in Australia in March 1803, 200 years ago and was published by George Howe. A brief history of newspapers in Australia will be presented as well as information about what newspapers are available, how to access them and what information they provide.


Hawkesbury City Council Library will be holding a seminar called Hawkesbury waterways : history of our rivers & commercial enterprises. Focussing on the Hawkesbury district, this seminar will be looking at the various rivers in the area & the related commercial enterprises such as boatbuilding, milling, tanning etc. Morning & arvo tea supplied, BYO lunch. Bookings essential contact the library on 4560-4460.


Will be available in full in the Hawkesbury Crier - March 2003 and also on the internet at http://members.optushome.com.au/dianep/windsorstockholdersabc.htm (includes approx. 2,000 names and places) inlcudes : Occupier, Name of Holding & Post Town of Holding.


Hawkesbury Community College are running classes in Tracing your family tree (10am-5pm) and Using the Internet for family history research (2pm-5pm) both taught by Michelle Nichols. For more information about the classes contact 4588-5466.


U3A are running classes in family history and Australian history for persons 55 & over. For more information about the classes contact 4579-6744.


SAG have released their program of events for Jan-Jun 2003. Check it out online at http://www.sag.org.au/new/pgmdetail.htm or phone (02) 9247 3953. It is not necessary to be a member but bookings are essential.


Experience the roadshow. Gould Books have organised a roadshow that will be in Sydney on the 28th & 29th April. See demonstrations & hear presentations from leaders in their field: Bob Velke - TMG Master Genealogist computer program, Rod Neep - Archive CD Books, Robin Lamacraft - Sceya Charts. www.gould.com.au/roadshow/roadshow2003.htm for more information including registering or email alan@gould.com.au - or phone Alona or Alan at 08 8396-1110.


A Reference/Research Library has opened at the Scottish Cultural Centre in Room 3 "Willow Parl", 25 David Edgeworth David Ave, Hornsby. Hours are Tues, Weds & Thur 10am-3pm & Sat by arrangement. There is a small fee for using the facilities. For enquiries contact 9477-4619 & AH 9644-4647. On 26 April a "Genealogy for Beginners" will be held. Bookings essential.


Members with internet access should check out the following interesting sites. The Library has free access to the internet, contact 4560 4460 for bookings. Richmond also has access, for bookings phone 4578 2002.

Diary of Felton Mathew (government surveyor in NSW in 1830s) http://www.users.bigpond.com/narrabeen/feltonmathew/index.htm 

Visit Gallipoli very informative site http://www.anzacsite.gov.au/ or http://www.gallipoli.gov.au text

Guide to Aboriginal records http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/publications/aboriginalguide/aboriginalguidetoc.htm 

Newcastle Herald Index 1869 -1943 http://www.ncc.nsw.gov.au/library/resources/heraldindex/search.cfm 

Victorian Births, Deaths & Marriage Indexes http://www.maxi.com.au/devs/main.maxi?product=3&service=5&newsession=Y&refpage=home 

First Fleet Homepage http://www.gsat.edu.au/~markw/firstfleet/FirstFleetHomePage.htm 

First Fleet Online http://cedir.uow.edu.au/programs/FirstFleet/ 

Colonial Tasmanian Family Links Database http://pioneers.tased.edu.au/ 

Brandis Genealogy Links http://www.benet.net.au/~brandis/index.html 

Old occupations http://members.ozemail.com.au/~tonylangham/Occupa.htm 

~ Let us know of sites, that you have tried with (or without) success ~

We have been featuring a section called "Member's Profiles" providing details of members. More are needed. Details required include a bit about yourself, your background, and your interest in family history & importantly the names you are researching. We will keep featuring this article as long as members contribute.


From the time I lived in Ouakers Hill in the late 1970s & early 80s l felt I had an affinity with the Windsor/Richmond area, often stealing away from my four children to spend a couple of quiet hours there soaking up the atmosphere (& regaining my sanity). I often thought the ride in the old motor train seemed to transport me back in time somehow. It was much later that I found out that I was descended from good Hawkesbury stock, even though it was convict - but that was quite a buzz. Originally from Coonamble, (sheep country in the north west of NSW), I had never really thought much about family history beyond my own small family group. This consisted of mother, father, paternal grandmother, uncle & several adult cousins. All from Coonamble. It wasn't until I was invited to a Gibbs family reunion in 1987 that I discovered so many more relatives & so started a rather desultory interest, which would spark every so often, but not quite burst into flames.

I was born in 1941, in the middle of the Second World War, to Eileen (COSGROVE) & Cecil GIBBS. Not quite a 'baby boomer.' We lived in about twelve locations around Sydney & Coonamble & Orange before I had turned seven. We moved to Orange while Dad had work in the munitions factory in Lithgow during the last years of the war, where we had an old canvas tent pitched in a friend's front yard. While this was only for six months it was during the cold of winter. Luckily I was too young to 'appreciate' that. We later settled into a two bedroom home in Revesby when I was just seven, where I stayed until my marriage in 1962 & where I returned some 9 years later on the break-up of said marriage. Working full time over the ensuing years & looking after my family took up most of my time & energy & left little for extravagances like family history. Always a hoarder, like my Gibbs & Cosgrove relatives, I had inherited a collection of photos from the 1860s & some bits & pieces that were obviously important to ancestors. My grandmother's satin wedding shoes (married in 1903 & what big feet), grandfather's glasses & the receipt for his lead lined coffin plus transport from Orange to Coonamble (he died in 1928 & the cost was £28 - a huge sum in those days), a handwritten journal by my step-grandmother's brother (died 1896) when he attended the Hawkesbury Agricultural College. I found that I was loath to throw anything out & augmented my cache each year with my own memorabilia.

My connection with the Hawkesbury lies with my g-g-grandfather Henry GIBBS who was transported for life for stealing (by the records, enough timber to build half a house). He arrived in Australia on board the Royal Admiral in 1830, & was eventually assigned to John Town, the miller, in the Hawkesbury district. He was granted his Ticket of Leave & in 1843 had his Ticket of Leave Transport, which allowed him to travel between the Hawkesbury district & Sydney for the farmer who employed him at that time. This was Mr. I L. BELL of Bell's Farm on Bell's Line of Road. Mary Anne QUIGLEY also worked for Mr. Bell. She had come to Australia with her mother, brother & sister in 1838, her father being a former convict. Henry & Mary Anne married in 1840 when she was 25 & he was 42. Their cottage was in Charles Street in Enfield (later North Richmond) & they both died in this house. They had nine children who, with the exception of the youngest who died aged ten, all married the offspring of local Hawkesbury pioneers. CONLONs, SMITHs, STONEs & MERRICKs. My g-grandparents were Emma (SMITH) & Henry GIBBS. Henry & Mary Anne had 62 grandchildren - beats my poor effort of 10 !!

The flame is starting to burn quite nicely now, thank you, since it's been stoked these last few years by a distant cousin, Yvonnie ARNALL, who researched old Henry & his descendants. She discovered later that Henry had left a wife & six children back m Kent, England. I also met, quite by accident, another cousin Coral CLEARY of Pitt Town & discovered I could lay claim to many more convicts on our MERRICK side. As the direct lines of the GIBBS' & the COSGROVES have been thoroughly researched I'm now devoting my time to some of the more obscure ancestors like the g-g-grandparents of my paternal grandmother who were VASS' from New Cumnock in Scotland. And the flame is definitely burning a lot brighter !! Two and a half years ago I carted my memorabilia, photos & papers (which now fill nearly a dozen files) not to mention the thousands of photos I've taken of my own family over the years, to the other side of the continent to a suburb of Perth, Western Australia. I live with my middle daughter, her fiancée & two of my grandsons. Unfortunately she has inherited some rogue gene that forces her to throw out anything that is more than six months old, often even less. She does not hang onto anything with the morbid sentimentality of her mother. So, before I found myself a part time job, I finally had the luxury of a little time to do some serious sorting & cataloguing. I just know if, when I leave this earth, I left everything in boxes & unmarked, that they would be unceremoniously tossed into the nearest bin. Though it gladdens my heart to say that her two sons have taken after their grandmother, so perhaps all will be saved after all.

Whilst we have not set the world on fire, my little family of four have been reasonably healthy, reasonably happy, have not turned out to be drug addicts or axe murderers. (Always a worry that a gene we wouldn't like might just pop up in one of our progeny). They have given me ten wonderful grandchildren aged between 20 & 19 months & one & a half g-grandchildren. I feel I'm now in the middle of our line, able to look back to g-g-grandparents while looking ahead as a g-grandparent myself and definitely looking forward to many more years of fanning the flames of family history research.


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