Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Bank of Victoria in Collins Street

I had a few minutes spare in Melbourne before the train home so I went to the library of the Genealogical Society of Victoria. The GSV is in the Emirates building on Collins Street midway between Elizabeth and Swanston street.

As a quick genealogical task to make use of the library's resources, I thought I would look up an old street directory to see where my great great grandfather, Philip de Crespigny (the bank manager), worked. I had always looked out the tram window when travelling along Collins Street and wondered which of the marvellous buildings had been the headquarters of the Bank of Victoria in the early twentieth century.

Collins Street from Elizabeth Street, Melbourne 1916 Taken By: Kerr Brothers; Original image from The State Library of Victoria. This Image restored by Foto Supplies, Albury, NSW, Australia and retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/oakleystudios/6662752687/in/set-72157628707506273/

"Southside of Collins Street between Elizabeth and Queen Streets, only the Former Mercantile Bank (345 Collins Street) remains mostly intact." retrieved from http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=229272&page=6

Philip de Crespigny (1850-1927) was the son of Philip Robert Champion Crespigny (1817-1889) who I refer to as Philip the gold warden, and Charlotte Frances née Dana (1820-1904). Philip worked for the Bank of Victoria for most of his life.

Philip's obituary in the Argus mentions he became general manager of the Bank in 1916.

MR. P. C. DE CRESPIGNY. (1927, March 12). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 34. Retrieved October 30, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3843151
The quickest source of information was a Sands and McDougall directory for 1919.




In 1919 the headquarters of the Bank of Victoria was at 257 Collins Street.  With the aid of a Google maps I worked out it was less than a minute walk; in fact it was the building I was in. I could have looked at my GSV membership card!

257 Collins Street July 2014 from Google Street view

The building was redeveloped by the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney in the early 1970s. It was refurbished in 2000. The building my great great grandfather worked in does not survive.

Photo from Annual Report 1973 which included a major feature on 257 Collins Street, Melbourne to celebrate its completion during 1973. Retrieved from http://www.cbcbank.com.au/images/branches/vic/VIC%20Melb%20Office.htm


This is a picture of the building in 1918. The building was designed by Joseph Reed in 1862. An article in The Age of 21 May 1985 by John D Keating states that the building's facade was inspired by the Palazzo Pesaro in Venice. The interior of the building was renovated in the 1930s.

7th war loan poster on the Bank of Victoria, Collins Street, Melbourne, 1918. Retrieved from National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.pic-vn6388721

I wonder if my great great grandfather went to the Hopetoun Tea Rooms across the street in the Block Arcade and liked the cakes as much as I do.

Hopetoun Tea Rooms in June 2013. I cannot find a picture from the early twentieth century. They have been in the Block Arcade off Collins Street since the 1890s.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Sepia Saturday: coach rides






Lady Sarah Champion de Crespigny (1763-1825) was the wife of my 1st cousin six times removed, Sir William Champion de Crespigny (1765 - 1829), the second baronet. She was the daughter of Other Lewis Windsor, fourth Earl of Plymouth.

This week's Sepia Saturday prompt reminded me of a newspaper report of an attack by the London mob on Lady Sarah and her child while they were travelling in her carriage. The incident was reported in the London Morning Post of 20 April 1801.

In 1801 Sarah had seven children. There had also been an eighth child who had died in infancy. The oldest child was 14 and the youngest was one year old. I do not know which child was travelling with her. Lady Sarah had two more children after this incident.

Charing Cross and Northumberland House from Spring Gardens: 18th century. View shows Northumberland House in the centre with its turrets with lead cupolas and Percy Lion above parapet of frontispiece. The monument on the right is the bronze equestrian statue of Charles I. Among the shops seen are: jewellers, instrument makers, hosiers, trunkmakers and saddlers. The sign of the Golden Cross Inn appears on the left. Its yard was one of the principal starting points for mail coach services. Painted c. 1776-1800. Image retrieved from http://www.museumoflondonprints.com/image/139509/british-school-charing-cross-and-northumberland-house-from-spring-gardens-18th-century


I am not quite sure what Lady Sarah's coach would have looked like.

A stage coach in 1801 was painted by John Cordrey. The passengers in this picture include a wedding party. The milestone apparently shows this coach is eight miles from London.

(Picture from http://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_London_to_Birmingham_Stage_Coach,_1801.jpg )


The attack on the coach must have been a terrifying experience for Sarah and her child. There are reports of other attacks on coaches in the period including the murder of the occupants and highway robbery by gangs of 40 men. (Carlow County 1801  http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~irlcar2/PPP_Doc_1801.htm) The King's coach had been attacked several times in the 1790s. (William TOPLIS (1814). A Genealogical History of the English Sovereigns, from William I. to George III. inclusive ... With ... biographical notices of the families connected with the Royal Houses, etc. p. 79.) 

In 1838, some 37 years later, Lady Sarah's youngest son Herbert had an accident when his gig collided with a donkey cart on Paddington street.  He was thrown from the gig and broke his leg.

London Standard 10 September 1838 page 4. An almost identical article also appeared in the Morning Post of the same day.




Thursday, 9 October 2014

Limerick fact and fiction


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - At this the whole pack rose up into the air and came flying down upon her. Illustration by Arthur Rackham 1907. Like Alice I feel a bit overwhelmed by the information.
One of the sources of information about the Nihill branch of my family is the reminiscences of Sarah Jane Nihill who died 1 September 1915 aged 89 years and six months. Her recollections were dictated to Mary E. Hennessy nee Brooks (c. 1878 - 1926). Mary was not a blood relative but Sarah's adopted niece. Sarah Nihill is my 3rd great grand aunt, the sister of my 3rd great grandmother.

Niall Sarah Chronicle 1915 09 11 pg 16
Obituary of Sarah Nihill from the Adelaide Chronicle of 11 September 1915


Sarah Nihill's reminiscences are held by the State Library of Victoria as a typed manuscript (MS 9228 ). I have a copy through my 3rd cousin once removed, Rob Niall. There are also excerpts in the history of the Cudmore family, For the Love of the Land, compiled by Elsie Ritchie in 2000, at pages 67 - 70.

Sarah Nihill, as reported by Mary Hennessy, remembered
Daniel Joseph James Nihill, of Rockville, County Adare, Limerick, Ireland, who died at the age of 90 years, who could read without glasses and retained his perfect set of teeth until his death, had two sons, Paul the eldest and Daniel James, all Roman Catholics.
Paul married Lady Anna Maria Quin, daughter of Lord Dunraven, of Dunraven Castle, Adare and had one daughter, the Lady Anna Maria Dunraven Nihill, whose mother died at her birth and who was reared by her grandparents, the Dunravens.
Sarah then remembers that Paul became
a renegade, deserting his faith and embracing the church by law established, which gave the eldest son the power to take all his own father possessed if he remained a Catholic, even to the coat off his back if he so desired. Hence the reason for the family coming out to Australia. [ ... ] About the time of his father's death, remorse overtook Paul Nihill, he repented his act of deserting his faith, wrote a pamphlet of treason against the King and to save his life had to fly across the country. He had in his possession a small red Cornelian Cross, carrying a legend of a talisman against evil, which had been in the Nihill family for generations. It is surmised some time afterwards he returned and lived the life clad as a fisherman, amongst the village folk who knew him as a boy and man. At any rate a very sad silent fisherman appeared one day and lived at Larry and nancy O'Connor's wee home.
One night a fire broke out at Dunraven Castle and the motherless infant's life was in danger, with little hope of saving her, when a man clad as a fisherman rushed into the burning building and after a time appeared at an upper window.   All hope of helping him was out of the question.He leaped from the upper story.When they rushed to him the child was alive, but he was dead and inside where it had been hurriedly thrust, was the red cross against the child's breast. Then his identity became known. The cross passed on to Daniel James Nihill and at last to Sarah Jane, the last of that branch of the family. and is now in my (M. E. Hennessy's) possession, having been hung around my neck by my dear adopted aunt's hands on my 18th birthday as a talisman against evil. So this is how the Rockville Estate passed from the family, having been willed by Paul to his child.
I can find no evidence for the existence of a Paul Nihill. The entry for Lord Dunraven in an 1828 Debrett makes no mention of a daughter Anne who married Paul Nihill (John Debrett (1828). Debrett's Peerage of England, Scotland, and Ireland. [Another]. pp. 743–4.)

I have also found no written account of this fire at Dunraven castle.

Daniel James Nihill did have an older brother Patrick. Perhaps Sarah Nihill was confusing Paul with Patrick

Notices in the Limerick Chronicle have been indexed and digitised by the Limerick City Library.

I have confirmed the death of the father of Daniel James Nihill died in 1835. The Limerick Chronicle of 29 July 1835 reported:
At Rockville, near Adare, James Nihill, Esq. at the advanced age of 84 years.
His death at age 84 means he was born about 1751. On the 1840 South Australian census, James's  son Daniel stated that he was born in 1761. The age on one or the other document must be incorrectly stated.

My second cousin twice removed, James Mansfield Niall (1915-1986),  wrote an article on the Nihill family history published in "The Irish Genealogist", Vol.4, No.5, 1972, pp 496-505 titled Nihell of Co. Clare and Co. Limerick. I have a copy through his nephew, my 3rd cousin once removed, Rob Niall. The article states that Patrick died at his residence Ash Hill, Co. Clare, about 4th May 1822

Ancestry.com member nmurp1708 wrote in 2009:
Barnalick House ... was built shortly after 1784 when a James Nihill leased all 272 acres of "Baurnalicka" from Mary St. Leger. Nihill was a wealthy man who had leases for over 900 acres in Co. Limerick and Co. Clare. He built the house in the shape of a letter "T". He called the house "Rockville House". His eldest son Patrick lived on some family land in Co. Clare with his wife Prudence Dickson and their two daughters, Anne and Jane. Patrick died before his father in 1822 and when James died in 1831 the two daughters became heirs to all the lands including Barnalick. Anne married in 1814 a William Dodd and Jane married in 1829 a Thomas Davenport. Patrick had a younger brother, Daniel, who married in 1810 a Dymphna Gardener. He lived with his father James and no doubt looked after him in his old age. However when James died, Daniel had to move out of Barnalick and he and his family departed to Australia in 1835.
A survey done in 1840 gives an Anthony St. Leger as the owner of Barnalick estate with a Thomas Davenport and a Mrs. Dodd as the leaseholders under a Col. John Dickson as middleman.

There is a marriage notice for Patrick who married Prudence Dickson in the Waterford Herald of Tuesday 27 Sept 1791 (From http://www.limerickcity.ie/media/limerick%20families%2071.pdf)
Married on Thursday morning in Limerick Mr Patrick Nihill to Miss Dickson, daughter of Mr Daniel Dickson, Woolen Draper. (Miss Prudence Dickson)

 Prudence died in 1847. Her death notice appeared in the Limerick Chronicle of 25 August 1847:

retrieved from http://www.limerickcity.ie/Library/LocalStudies/ObituariesdeathnoticesetcfromtheLimerickChronicle/1847/
from Ireland Births and Baptisms (through familysearch.org):
Name: Anne Nihill
Christening Date: 17 Feb 1793
Christening Place: SAINT JOHN,LIMERICK,LIMERICK,IRELAND
Birth Date: 12 Feb 1793
Father's Name: Patrick Nihill
Mother's Name: Prudence
The baptism record of Jane Nihill, Anne's sister, does not appear on Family Search indexes. Jane Nihill married Thomas Evans Davenport and it was at the Davenport's house that Prudence died in 1847.

In the 1972 article published in "The Irish Genealogist" which I mentioned earlier, the following excerpt mentions Patrick and Daniel Nihill:

In August 1817 Daniel petitioned the Viceroy, the Earl of Whitworth, to remove the threat of a legal process for £50 to cover his guarantee for the appearance in Ennis of his brother Patrick to answer an unspecified charge. At the Summer Assizes in 1815 the case was adjourned for want of evidence, and finally at the Spring Assizes Patrick had not appeared (note 54). I do not know the result of this petition.
Note 54:  Limited family sources suggest that Patrick wrote an indiscreet letter possibly relating to the current state of relations between France and England.

I want to follow up on some of the items mentioned and try to find the original sources.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Beginning to look at my Irish family history

Until this week I had put my Irish research pretty much in the too-hard basket. Yesterday I started a four-week course at the Genealogical Society of Victoria on Irish family history. I have had a bit of a tinker in the past but I thought I would try to come to grips with the area with some guidance from experienced researchers.

Relatives I will be looking at:
Her  parents were William Smyth, a farmer, and Mary Cox according to her marriage certificate but Joseph Smyth and Ann according to her death certificate.

Her death certificate states she was born in Bailieborough, a town in the townland of Tanderagee in County Cavan in the province of Ulster and part of the Border Region.

In 1855 Margaret married John Plowright in Victoria. She died in 1897. I have a copy of her marriage and death certificates.

I have done some searching on Roots Ireland for Margaret's parents and family but without success.

When she arrived in Australia, Margaret went to stay with a cousin called John Hente. At least the surname looks like 'Hente' on the Assisted Migrant record; but the writing is hard to read and I have no other information about him.

  •  Ellen Murray, my husband's great great grandmother, born 1837 in Dublin Ireland. She also arrived on the Persian in 1854 with Margaret Smyth. It appears that the two became friends. Also on board was Bridget Murray age 24, also from Dublin, perhaps a sister.
Ellen's parents were George Murray, a glass blower, and Ellen Dony (writing hard to transcribe, perhaps Dory).

In 1856 Ellen married James Cross in Victoria. She died in 1901. I have a copy of her marriage and death certificates.

I have done some searching on Roots Ireland for Ellen's family without success. I have not been able to find out what happened to Bridget.
  • James Gordon Cavenagh is my third great grandfather. He was born 1766 in Innishannon, County Cork. He died in 1844 in Castle House, Wexford. In fact he lived mostly in Hythe, Kent, England. I have inherited quite a lot of family history information but have never looked at it properly.
  • Daniel Michael Paul Cudmore (1811 - 1891) and his wife Mary Cudmore née Nihill (1811 - 1893) were my great great great grandparents.

Daniel and Mary married on 15 January 1835 in County Limerick, not long before embarking for Australia on the John Dennison which left Liverpool on 12 February. Daniel was a Quaker but they married in the Church of Ireland at Drehidtarsna Church, County Limerick, two miles south-west of Adare.


Members of the Nihill family, including Mary's mother, Dymphna Nihill née Gardiner (1790 - 1866), were also aboard the John Dennison. 

Classified Advertising. (1835, June 12). The Hobart Town Courier (Tas. : 1827 - 1839), p. 3. Retrieved December 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4180594

Other members of the family emigrated about six months later including Mary's father Daniel James Nihill (1761 - 1846) with three of his daughters. They came on the James Pattison arriving in Sydney 7 February 1836 after a 91 day voyage from Cork, Ireland.. They then sailed on the Integrity which sailed from Sydney on 22 March 1836 and took 15 days to reach Hobart.

I have previously written about the re-interment of Daniel Nihill from the Protestant to the Catholic section of West Terrace cemetery.

The Nihill family came from Rockville House, Adare Parish in County Limerick.

Ritchie, Elsie B. (Elsie Barbara) (2000). For the love of the land : the history of the Cudmore family. E. Ritchie, [Ermington, N.S.W.] Page 54


Other members of the family have researched the Cudmores and the Nihills and most of it is included in the book For the love of the land: the history of the Cudmore family compiled by Elsie Ritchie in 2000. I haven't reviewed and understood the research as it concerns our Irish background.

I need to follow up the following obituaries that have been indexed by the Limerick City Library from the Limerick Chronicle:
  • Nihill Daniel Australia 29/05/1847 late of Barnalickey, near Adare
  • Nihill James Rockville, Adare. 29/07/1835
I also need to follow up the following information about Rockville House retrieved from a 2009 posting to an ancestry.com message board concerning the Vokes family:
Barnalick House ... was built shortly after 1784 when a James Nihill leased all 272 acres of "Baurnalicka" from Mary St. Leger. Nihill was a wealthy man who had leases for over 900 acres in Co. Limerick and Co. Clare. He built the house in the shape of a letter "T". He called the house "Rockville House". His eldest son Patrick lived on some family land in Co. Clare with his wife Prudence Dickson and their two daughters, Anne and Jane. Patrick died before his father in 1822 and when James died in 1831 the two daughters became heirs to all the lands including Barnalick. Anne married in 1814 a William Dodd and Jane married in 1829 a Thomas Davenport. Patrick had a younger brother, Daniel, who married in 1810 a Dymphna Gardener. He lived with his father James and no doubt looked after him in his old age. However when James died, Daniel had to move out of Barnalick and he and his family departed to Australia in 1835.
A survey done in 1840 gives an Anthony St. Leger as the owner of Barnalick estate with a Thomas Davenport and a Mrs. Dodd as the leaseholders under a Col. John Dickson as middleman.
Samuel Dickson is the middleman in 1850 in Griffith's Valuation and it must have been Samuel Dickson who employed Simon Vokes as Land Steward and placed Simon in residence in Barnalick House.


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Sunday, 5 October 2014

"The Cub" by Ethel Turner

I recently rediscovered a book on our shelves called The Cub by Ethel Turner. It had belonged to my great aunt Rosemary Cudmore (1904 - 1987),  given to her for Christmas 1915 by her godmother, Florence T. Davies.

Ethel Turner is best remembered for her children's book Seven Little Australians. She was a successful author, who produced a book a year. The Cub, published in 1915, is a war story about two Australian families. It begins with the invasion of Belgium and the enthusiasm to enlist and fight the Germans, as well as discussing doubts about participation in the war.






My mother remembers that Rosemary, an avid reader, always had a stack of books nearby. She particularly enjoyed biographies.

In 1915 Rosemary was eleven. Her father, Arthur Murray Cudmore, and her uncle, Wentworth Cavenagh-Mainwaring, both doctors, had enlisted. Her cousins Frederick Andrews (1895-1975) and Edward Gordon Gedge (1895-1991) had also enlisted.

The girls in Ethel Turner's story had been in Europe and were returning to Australia. Rosemary too had been in England just before the war.  Here she is at Southsea in 1914. 



On 25 June 1914 the Cudmores left England sailing for Australia on the P&O steamship Malwa, arriving in Adelaide at the beginning of August just a few days before war was declared.

PERSONAL. (1914, August 1). The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 - 1954), p. 5 Section: SATURDAY'S NEWS SECTION.. Retrieved October 5, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59739789 . I suspect he did not visit all the surgical clinics in England and America!
One of their fellow passengers was Henry Balfour, a British archaeologist, who wrote a diary of their passage. It is transcribed at http://www.pandosnco.co.uk/malwa1914.html .

Malwa off Colombo retrieved from http://www.pandosnco.co.uk/malwa1914.html


Below is an article from the Adelaide Advertiser of 30 October 1915 about Ethel Turner's book The Cub. Florence Davies might have been inspired by this to buy the book as a present for her god daughter.



Two children's books dealing with the war, both published in time for Christmas 1915, Ethel Turner's book The Cub and a book by Mary Grant Bruce in the Billabong series, are discussed by David Walker in a 1978 article in the Journal of Historical Studies. Walker contends that Ethel Turner and Mary Grant Bruce responded quickly to the war. He suggest that these children's books "reveal the responses of articulate, patriotic women to an event [the war] of undisputed importance to Australian society". He also notes that analyses of World War I literature tend to overlook children's books but in fact these books can be very revealing about "views on women's obligations [and] the qualities they expected to find in young men during a national crisis". (Walker, David R. "War, Women And The Bush: The Novels Of Mary Grant Bruce And Ethel Turner." Historical Studies 18.71 (1978): 297-315. Austlit Full Text Articles For The Children's Literature Digital Resources Project (Cldr). AustLit: The Australian Literature Resource, 9 Apr. 2009. Web. 5 Oct. 2014. <http://www.austlit.edu.au/common/fulltext-content/pdfs/brn575749/brn575749.pdf>.)

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