Reading, Writing & Arithmetic: The Public School Curriculum 150 Years Ago

What would you have learned at a Tasmanian public school in 1869? Mostly, just reading, writing and arithmetic, from a teacher not much older than yourself, in a class of 40-60 students, and in a textbook that your grandfather might have read in Ireland thirty years earlier. The texts might have been boring and out of date, but the reasons why are fascinating. That’s because the public school curriculum in 1869 was deliberately designed to be bland and uninteresting, in order to avoid social conflict. What follows is the story of a journey – from the idea that education needed to reform and contain children, to the radical idea that children in public schools should be inspired to learn, and to become curious and informed citizens. Read on to discover more!

For an audio introduction to this story, check out our interview with ABC Radio!

Continue reading “Reading, Writing & Arithmetic: The Public School Curriculum 150 Years Ago”

Soldier Land Settlement Scheme

The Soldier Land Settlement Scheme was created to help settle returned soldiers on the land after the First and Second World Wars.

“The Returned Soldiers’ Settlement Act, 1916,” and the amending Acts of 1917 and 1918, make provision for the Settlement on land in the State of Tasmania of any returned soldiers with satisfactory discharges, and who have had previous farming experience, desirous of following this occupation. – Government Printer 1919

Libraries Tasmania has a variety of historical records about soldier settlement, many of these available online.

By entering a person’s name you can search the Tasmanian Names Index  for applications to lease land under the act from 1917 until 1929 as well as applications for selections of free crown land from 1917 to the 1940s.

Many of these records also contain links to the soldier’s service record through the National Archives of Australia’s Discovering Anzacs portal.  If one exists, there may also be a photograph from the Weekly Courier or the Tasmanian Mail.

The Closer Settlement Board was responsible for implementing the Soldier Settlement Scheme and their records are a rich source of information about it.

One soldier who applied for land as part of this act was William Albert Graham, and his descendants still live on the land today.

William enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force at Claremont on the 19/01/1916.

On his return from the war he applied for the Soldier Settlement Scheme on the 15/03/1919.

On William’s application he mentions that he was “wounded with shrapnel but am getting alright”

William’s grandson David Graham talks about when his grandfather enlisted, and the time that he was wounded near the Hindenburg line.
The date on the lease for William’s land was the 1st of May 1919.

His grandson David talks about William and the land where his family still live.

Bibliography

Beresford, Quentin. The World War One soldier settlement scheme in Tasmania [online]. Papers and Proceedings: Tasmanian Historical Research Association, Vol. 30, No. 3, Sept 1983: 90-100. Availability:<http://search.informit.com.au.instance1.ezproxy.education.tas.gov.au/documentSummary;dn=840404145;res=IELAPA>ISSN: 0039-9809. [cited 19 Apr 17] (Log in with your LINC Tasmania membership details)

Richardson, Andrew. Soldier Land Settlement Scheme [online]. The companion to Tasmanian History. Availability: http://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/S/Soldier%20settlement.htm accessed 19/04/17

Government Printer (1919) Information for returned soldiers desirous of obtaining land under “The Returned Soldiers’ Settlement Act, 1916”

A Peek Inside the Cascades Female Factory, 1833-1834, and a New Digital Volunteer Expedition

 

At the foot of Mount Wellington stands the remains of a forbidding institution.  Nearly two centuries ago, the walls of the Cascades Female Factory housed hundreds of women, children and babies. Some of these convict women were waiting to go to new masters, others were being punished. Now you can help to tell their stories through our newest digital volunteering project, transcribing the Register of Female Convicts at the Cascades Female Factory, 1833-1834.

 

Continue reading “A Peek Inside the Cascades Female Factory, 1833-1834, and a New Digital Volunteer Expedition”

The Southern Tasmanian Volunteer Artillery

Have you ever driven past the Alexandra Battery in Sandy Bay and wondered what it was for? Have you ever heard rumours of a planned Russian invasion of Tasmania in the 19th century? As Anzac Day approaches, we’d like to share the story of the Southern Volunteer Artillery Regiment with you. Thanks to our new corps of online volunteers, we can now tell this amazing story in a new way, preserve it for future generations, and maybe even link it to your own family history. Intrigued? Want to get involved? Read on!

Continue reading “The Southern Tasmanian Volunteer Artillery”

The convict letters of George Bramwell: Convicted felon, yeoman, farmer, horse dealer and adulterer

Re boxing a series of old legal documents is not my idea of a fun few months. It usually involves simply pulling out the paper clips and pins that damage the old paper and re housing them into crisp white archival folders.

However, whilst re boxing our intestate wills (documents related to people who have died without a will) I discovered three letters written by George Bramwell to his then wife in England.

Still not overly exciting….until I realised George was a convict, and in amongst the polite greetings and formalities he mentions details of his life as a convict. This provides us with a different insight into Van Diemen’s Land than that of the privileged free settler or gentleman farmer.

Continue reading “The convict letters of George Bramwell: Convicted felon, yeoman, farmer, horse dealer and adulterer”

Where the paupers went to die…

Hospital records are like the holy grail of archives. Because medical histories are so personal, they are carefully controlled. In the busy world of a hospital, not every slip of paper could be kept, particularly before computers. By the time 19th and early 20th century records reached the archives, many volumes had gone missing or been destroyed, and only intriguing clues have survived.

Some of the surviving records from the General Hospital in Hobart are the hospital’s registers of deaths (HSD145, 1864-1884) and orders for coffins ‘required for pauper interments’ (HSD146, 1864-1876). These records have now been digitised and added to the Tasmanian Names Index, under the record type ‘deaths’.

Continue reading “Where the paupers went to die…”

Daisy Picken in the weeds: Prisoner records in the Tasmanian Names Index

‘Daisy Picken’. It sounded to me like a circus stage name, and conjured up images of an energetic teenage girl with pigtails, like a long-lost cousin of Pippi Longstocking.

We have recently added volumes of prisoner files to the Tasmanian Names Index, and many of them have photographs. Some of them are quite comical – old lags suppressing smirks, stern mouths covered by generous moustaches, looks of surprise…or malice. So, when I looked up Daisy Picken, I was almost surprised to see despair and desperation, and the glistening of tears.  Continue reading “Daisy Picken in the weeds: Prisoner records in the Tasmanian Names Index”

Tasmanians in World War 1: Private Reginald Allan Biggs (Private Ashmead)

Reginald Allan Biggs was a jounalist, musician and soldier. His journal of his time as a signaller in the First World War is a fascinating insight into his experiences in the war.

Continue reading “Tasmanians in World War 1: Private Reginald Allan Biggs (Private Ashmead)”