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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Using this site for research

Just recently it was particularly heartening to see that John Wycliffe Christian School included this blog among other useful sites that students might use for a recent assignment.  The in-class assignment could be structured around Places: Then, now and Tomorrow or Identity and Values as they related to Anzacs.   


The blog has been operating for just over one year and we would be interested to hear from any student or teacher that has used the blog; your comments would be valuable and enable us to structure the format around the school curriculum or include format that was useful to students.
         

Monday, March 5, 2012

Early Residents - Edmund Thornton



Lorna Doone c1920s

The Nepean Times announced in May 1892 that Mr Thornton of Sydney had commenced the erection of a commodious wood cottage on the main road and just a little west of the station. The cottage was called 'Lorna Doone' and Edmund ran it as a guesthouse.
       
George Stratton caused Mr Thornton some grief in January 1893 when he broke pot plants and threw a fence rail at one of the cottage windows. Edmund and his brother Charles caught Stratton after a chase of half a mile and Stratton was later charged with the crime.
      
In 1893 Edmund took over the position as the pound keeper after Mr Stace resigned. He involved himself in the dealings of the growing township and in April 1893 moved that a Progress Association be formed in place of the current Progress Committee. The suggestion met with success and Mr G. Larsen seconded his motion.
       
A committee was formed in June following a suggestion from Edmund regarding possible sites and costs for the erection of a Public Hall. They were to report to the next meeting of the Progress Association. The committee comprised of Messrs C. Lees, J. Tanner, Mr Honeysett and officers of the association.

Controversy arose in July 1893 after a long and animated debate about the proposed public hall. The Hon. Charles Moore had offered a suitable site if money was forthcoming or could be raised to build it. Edmund was somehow blamed for not supplying more details and the matter had to be adjourned.
      
Edmund assisted at a benefit concert given to aid the Coyle family through their loss in 1893, acting as an accompanist.  Later, in August 1893, he had a serious horse and buggy accident.
       
The Progress Association resolved in November 1893 to send Edmund and Mr A. Ferguson to a meeting at Lawson for the combined Mountain Delegate Association of which Mr G. Larsen had nothing but praise. In a complete turn about - that resulted in the resignation of Edmund from the Springwood Progress Association - Larsen wanted the matter adjourned to a later meeting, when they came back with the result. Larsen said he could not see what benefit the Mountain Delegate Association could be to Springwood and moved that the secretary write back declining their offer. Edmund said that if Larsen’s motion was supported he would resign. Mr Baxter junior seconded Mr Larsen’s motion, it was passed and so Edmund resigned on the spot.
       
Edmund became discouraged early in February 1894 because of the poor patronage of his guesthouse and decided to let the cottage to Mr De Lissa of Sydney who was a photographer. 'Lorna Doone' was let to the De Lissa family for one year.
       
Edmund married Margaret Thurston in 1891 and his brother Charles married her sister Roberta.

Edmund and Charles were two of several children born to Monaro Pioneer Henry Thornton and wife Sarah (nee Mitchell). 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dowell O'Reilly - teacher, politician, poet and author

What can we give in return
For her beauty and mystery
Of flowering forest, infinite plain
Deep sky and distant mountain chain,
And her triumphant sea,
Thundering songs of liberty.






Dowell O’Reilly, better known perhaps as the father of author Eleanor Dark, was a schoolmaster turned parliamentarian and an author and poet in his own right. Dowell, born in Sydney on 18 July 1865, was the second of four children born to Anglican clergyman, Rev. Thomas O’Reilly and second wife Rosa (nee Smith).[2] He was educated at Sydney Grammar School and took up a teaching post at ‘Hayfield’ to assist his mother after his father died in 1881.[3]  It was there that he met Eleanor McCulloch – the music teacher - who he married in a quiet, almost secretive, ceremony on 28 December 1895.[4]  The bride’s parents and close friends were absent which, according to Barbara Brooks and Judith Clark caused ‘quite a stir’ when the union became common knowledge.[5]  Albert Bathurst Piddington, who a year later married Dowell’s sister Marion Louisa, was his best man. Piddington, like Dowell, had been educated at Sydney Grammar.

Marriage to Eleanor Grace McCulloch meant that he became the son-in-law of the controversial politician, Andrew Hardie McCulloch.  McCulloch is perhaps better known in the Blue Mountains as the owner of the - now derelict - cottage ‘Eurama’ located at Linden.  The ruins of the cottage are a familiar sight to road and rail traffic as they pass by today.

O’Reilly was also related to Dr Charles Badham, Professor of Classics at Sydney University, through Badham’s first marriage to Julia, sister to O’Reilly’s mother.[6] There is some speculation that Badham may have assisted O’Reilly’s mother when she opened ‘Hayfield’ as a preparatory school for boys at Parramatta.[7] An article in the Illustrated Sydney News in 1889, suggested that ‘Hayfield,’ presided over by Mrs. O’Reilly, was an efficient and comfortable school.[8]
Dowell and Eleanor had their first child, named for his father, in 1899.  Eleanor, named for her mother, was born in 1901, while Brian arrived in 1905.[9]  Dowell junior died in 1926, Brian married Norah Wilson and died at Wentworth Falls in 1985 in the same year as sister Eleanor (then Eleanor Dark), who died in Katoomba. 

In 1886/87, Dowell played cricket for Central Cumberland against the visiting English side, and in 1888, he was commissioned second lieutenant in the Parramatta Volunteer Rifles.[10] He transferred to the reserves in 1898. Dowell was elected to the Legislative Assembly for Parramatta in 1894, on a free trade ticket.  Shortly after, he moved a motion in parliament in favour of female suffrage.[11]  Dowell’s sympathies for female suffrage endeared him to Rose Scott; they became firm friends.[12]  In 1898 he returned to Sydney Grammar where he remained a master until 1909.[13]

Although his literary career began in the 1880s, it was somewhat less than spectacular.  He is known to have destroyed volumes of A Pedlar’s Pack, because sales of the book of verse had been inadequate.[14]  By the 1890s his literary career seemed to have picked up because he regularly contributed poems and short stories to the Bulletin and other publications.[15]  Night classes at the University of Sydney in 1889 brought him into contact with scholar and writer, John Le Gay Brereton, and the equally talented poet, author and scholar, Christopher Brennan.  One-time Professor of Economics, Robert Francis Irvine, was also a mutual friend.  The men were involved in publication of the short-lived Australian Magazine and were members of the Casual Club.[16]  

In 1910 Dowell contested the seat of Parramatta as a Labour Candidate and counted W.M. Hughes among his circle of friends.[17]  His friendship with Hughes was to have long term effects and was thought to have caused a rift with his brother-in-law, A.B. Piddington.[18]  A column in the Sydney Morning Herald called ‘Sydney Day by Day’ carried a very tongue in cheek view of Dowell. The article implied that he was somewhat of the ‘Bohemian order,’ and well thought of in ‘local literary’ circles.[19] The article went on to suggest that Dowell found favour among the ‘womenfolk of the State’ although ‘not an enormous number,’ who, by that time, had won the right to vote. 

The Herald correspondent suggested that Dowell had written some ‘acceptable poetry’ and his ‘crisp and appetising’ style was reflected in a letter sent to the paper regarding his feud with Piddington.[20]   Michael Roe suggested that while Piddington was intellectually gifted, he was of a turbulent disposition and prone to recurrent ‘displays of wayward emotion.’[21]  Thus, O’Reilly’s claim (see below) may have been correct. However, over recent years a darker side to this feud has been revealed by Helen O’Reilly and Marivic Wyndham, which had little to do with politics but more to do with personal issues within the family.[22]

Years of illness preceded the death of Eleanor Grace O’Reilly, who eventually died in 1914.[23] Dowell’s second wife, Marie Rose Beatrice (Mollie) Miles, who he married in 1917, was a cousin he met in England in 1879.[24] He continued contributing to periodicals and in 1913 published Tears and Triumph, that, while fiction, sketched an ‘outline of his suffragette philosophy.’[25]  The local studies collection in Springwood library hold several of Dowell O’Reilly’s works including Tears and Triumph, Fivecorners, The prose and verse of Dowell O’Reilly and Dowell O’Reilly from his letters.

Dowell died of pneumonia and vascular disease at Leura in 1923 and was buried in the cemetery at Blackheath. 

Pamela Smith 


  


[1] Ist verse of Australia by Dowell O’Reilly.
[2] Michael Sharkey, 'O'Reilly, Dowell Philip (1865–1923)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre
  of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/oreilly-dowell-philip-
  7917/text13773, accessed 21 September 2011.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Barbara Brooks & Judith Clark, Eleanor Dark, A Writers Life, Macmillan, 1998, p. 9.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Michael Sharkey.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Illustrated Sydney News, 3.10.1889, p. 19.
[9] NSW Births, Deaths and Marriage Indexes,
[10] Michael Sharkey.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Judith A. Allen, Rose Scott, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1994, p. 254.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Michael Sharkey.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Ibid.
[17] Ibid.
[18] Sydney Morning Herald, The High Court, Identity of Mr X, Attack on Mr Piddington, 15.12.1922, p. 11; The Argus, Appearance of “X” Remarkable Statement, “Mud Nine Years Old,” 15.12.1922, p. 11.  The incident referred to questions asked by Piddington about the part O’Reilly & Hughes played in his appointment to the High Court and his subsequent resignation because he felt compromised.  O’Reilly argued back that it was Piddington’s hysterical nature that caused him to resign. 
[19] Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney Day by Day, 16.12.1922, p. 30.
[20] Ibid.
[21] Michael Roe, ‘Piddington, Albert Bathurst (1862-1945),’ Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/oreilly-dowell-philip-
  7917/text13773, accessed 21 September 2011
[22] Abuse as a muse, The Sydney Morning Herald Blogs, Entertainment, http://blogs.smh.com.au/entertainment, accessed 20.6.2011.
[23] Marivic Wyndham, ‘A world-proof life’: Eleanor Dark, a writer in her times, 1901-1985, UTSePress, Sydney, 2007, p. 26.
[24] Michael Sharkey.
[25] Ibid.

Dowell O'Reilly - teacher, politician, poet and author



What can we give in return
For her beauty and mystery
Of flowering forest, infinite plain,
Deep sky and distant mountain chain
And her triumphant sea,
Thundering old songs of liberty[1]


Dowell O’Reilly, better known perhaps as the father of author Eleanor Dark, was a schoolmaster turned parliamentarian and an author and poet in his own right. Dowell, born in Sydney on 18 July 1865, was the second of four children born to Anglican clergyman, Rev. Thomas O’Reilly and second wife Rosa (nee Smith).[2] He was educated at Sydney Grammar School and took up a teaching post at ‘Hayfield’ to assist his mother after his father died in 1881.[3]  It was there that he met Eleanor McCulloch – the music teacher - who he married in a quiet, almost secretive, ceremony on 28 December 1895.[4]  The bride’s parents and close friends were absent which, according to Barbara Brooks and Judith Clark caused ‘quite a stir’ when the union became common knowledge.[5]  Albert Bathurst Piddington, who a year later married Dowell’s sister Marion Louisa, was his best man. Piddington, like Dowell, had been educated at Sydney Grammar.

Marriage to Eleanor Grace McCulloch meant that he became the son-in-law of the controversial politician, Andrew Hardie McCulloch.  McCulloch is perhaps better known in the Blue Mountains as the owner of the - now derelict - cottage ‘Eurama’ located at Linden.  The ruins of the cottage are a familiar sight to road and rail traffic as they pass by today.
O’Reilly was also related to Dr Charles Badham, Professor of Classics at Sydney University, through Badham’s first marriage to Julia, sister to O’Reilly’s mother.[6] There is some speculation that Badham may have assisted O’Reilly’s mother when she opened ‘Hayfield’ as a preparatory school for boys at Parramatta.[7] An article in the Illustrated Sydney News in 1889, suggested that ‘Hayfield,’ presided over by Mrs. O’Reilly, was an efficient and comfortable school.[8]
Dowell and Eleanor had their first child, named for his father, in 1899.  Eleanor, named for her mother, was born in 1901, while Brian arrived in 1905.[9]  Dowell junior died in 1926, Brian married Norah Wilson and died at Wentworth Falls in 1985 in the same year as sister Eleanor (then Eleanor Dark), who died in Katoomba. 

In 1886/87, Dowell played cricket for Central Cumberland against the visiting English side, and in 1888, he was commissioned second lieutenant in the Parramatta Volunteer Rifles.[10] He transferred to the reserves in 1898. Dowell was elected to the Legislative Assembly for Parramatta in 1894, on a free trade ticket.  Shortly after, he moved a motion in parliament in favour of female suffrage.[11]  Dowell’s sympathies for female suffrage endeared him to Rose Scott; they became firm friends.[12]  In 1898 he returned to Sydney Grammar where he remained a master until 1909.[13]

Although his literary career began in the 1880s, it was somewhat less than spectacular.  He is known to have destroyed volumes of A Pedlar’s Pack, because sales of the book of verse had been inadequate.[14]  By the 1890s his literary career seemed to have picked up because he regularly contributed poems and short stories to the Bulletin and other publications.[15]  Night classes at the University of Sydney in 1889 brought him into contact with scholar and writer, John Le Gay Brereton, and the equally talented poet, author and scholar, Christopher Brennan.  One-time Professor of 
Economics, Robert Francis Irvine, was also a mutual friend.  The men were involved in publication of the short-lived Australian Magazine and were members of the Casual Club.[16]  

In 1910 Dowell contested the seat of Parramatta as a Labour Candidate and counted W.M. Hughes among his circle of friends.[17]  His friendship with Hughes was to have long term effects and was thought to have caused a rift with his brother-in-law, A.B. Piddington.[18]  A column in the Sydney Morning Herald called ‘Sydney Day by Day’ carried a very tongue in cheek view of Dowell. The article implied that he was somewhat of the ‘Bohemian order,’ and well thought of in ‘local literary’ circles.[19] The article went on to suggest that Dowell found favour among the ‘womenfolk of the State’ although ‘not an enormous number,’ who, by that time, had won the right to vote. 
The Herald correspondent suggested that Dowell had written some ‘acceptable poetry’ and his ‘crisp and appetising’ style was reflected in a letter sent to the paper regarding his feud with Piddington.[20]   Michael Roe suggested that while Piddington was intellectually gifted, he was of a turbulent disposition and prone to recurrent ‘displays of wayward emotion.’[21]  Thus, O’Reilly’s claim (see below) may have been correct. However, over recent years a darker side to this feud has been revealed by Helen O’Reilly and Marivic Wyndham, which had little to do with politics but more to do with personal issues within the family.[22]

Years of illness preceded the death of Eleanor Grace O’Reilly, who eventually died in 1914.[23] Dowell’s second wife, Marie Rose Beatrice (Mollie) Miles, who he married in 1917, was a cousin he met in England in 1879.[24] He continued contributing to periodicals and in 1913 published Tears and Triumph, that, while fiction, sketched an ‘outline of his suffragette philosophy.’[25]  The local studies collection in Springwood library hold several of Dowell O’Reilly’s works including Tears and Triumph, Fivecorners, The prose and verse of Dowell O’Reilly and Dowell O’Reilly from his letters.

Dowell died of pneumonia and vascular disease at Leura in 1923 and was buried in the cemetery at Blackheath. 
Pamela Smith



  


[1] Ist verse of Australia by Dowell O’Reilly.
[2] Michael Sharkey, 'O'Reilly, Dowell Philip (1865–1923)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre
  of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/oreilly-dowell-philip-
  7917/text13773, accessed 21 September 2011.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Barbara Brooks & Judith Clark, Eleanor Dark, A Writers Life, Macmillan, 1998, p. 9.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Michael Sharkey.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Illustrated Sydney News, 3.10.1889, p. 19.
[9] NSW Births, Deaths and Marriage Indexes,
[10] Michael Sharkey.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Judith A. Allen, Rose Scott, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1994, p. 254.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Michael Sharkey.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Ibid.
[17] Ibid.
[18] Sydney Morning Herald, The High Court, Identity of Mr X, Attack on Mr Piddington, 15.12.1922, p. 11; The Argus, Appearance of “X” Remarkable Statement, “Mud Nine Years Old,” 15.12.1922, p. 11.  The incident referred to questions asked by Piddington about the part O’Reilly & Hughes played in his appointment to the High Court and his subsequent resignation because he felt compromised.  O’Reilly argued back that it was Piddington’s hysterical nature that caused him to resign. 
[19] Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney Day by Day, 16.12.1922, p. 30.
[20] Ibid.
[21] Michael Roe, ‘Piddington, Albert Bathurst (1862-1945),’ Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/oreilly-dowell-philip-
  7917/text13773, accessed 21 September 2011
[22] Abuse as a muse, The Sydney Morning Herald Blogs, Entertainment, http://blogs.smh.com.au/entertainment, accessed 20.6.2011.
[23] Marivic Wyndham, ‘A world-proof life’: Eleanor Dark, a writer in her times, 1901-1985, UTSePress, Sydney, 2007, p. 26.
[24] Michael Sharkey.
[25] Ibid.

The Harold Kenneth Campbell Monument







Harold Kenneth Campbell, aged 19 years and 5 months, enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 29th June 1915.  His parents gave their written consent saying he had “been raised to fight for his King & Country”.  His father, James Spink Campbell, of “Beverley”, Blaxland, was named as next of kin.  Harold’s occupation was poultry farmer and James was a civil servant.
Harold fought at Pozieres as a Private in the 3rd Battalion, sustained gunshot wounds to his knee and leg and died as a result of his wounds in the General Hospital, Rouen, on 2nd August 1916.  He is buried at St Sever Cemetery, Rouen.

On 22nd October the Blaxland Progress Association requested permission to erect a Soldier’s Memorial at the intersection of Railway Parade and Station Street, Blaxland (that is on the north side of the Railway Station) opposite the station in full view of passengers in passing trains.  Permission was granted.  It was to be a stone or granite pedestal with a machine gun mounted on top.  The monument was unveiled in 1925 with about 200 people assembled. Councillor Wilson made a speech in which he said that it would “stand for ever as a beacon for the boys of the future to do their duty as the fallen hero had done his”.  The machine gun was one of a number of German guns seized in France.  The monument was unveiled by Major General Sir Charles Rosenthal, a local highly decorated soldier.  Councillor Wilson took the opportunity to collect donations to finish paying for the cost of the memorial.

In 1928 the Great Western Highway on the south side of the railway station was proclaimed as a Main Road and superseded Mitchell’s Pass as the main western road.  It was decided to move the monument to Blaxland Park, a small park opposite Blaxland Public School and between the Highway and the Railway line.  In 2001 the Blue Mountains City Council requested and received permission from the Minister for Land and Water Conservation to rename the park the Blaxland War Memorial Park.  Barbara Higginson had lobbied for this renaming and had been supported by the Blaxland and District Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc. who commented:
“The war memorial is a significant part of the history of Blaxland and the Chamber of Commerce are mindful of the importance of the memorial and the park to the township and the residents.”

In the 1980s when the Highway was widened the monument was again moved and is now stranded on a narrow strip of land between the overhead bridge on Wilson Way and the Highway where it is difficult if not impossible to access.  The park is also difficult if not impossible to access.
Over the years the plaque(s) and the gun on the monument have disappeared and the Blaxland – Glenbrook RSL Sub Branch who have assumed a de facto ownership of it have, with the help of the Blue Mountains City Council, organised restoration and refurbishment, replacing the plaque and repairing the little fence at the base.

Springwood Historians have considered the possibility of moving the memorial to Glenbrook and make the following recommendations:
1.        a move to a more accessible site would be desirable. 
2.        the move should be to another site in Blaxland as the monument is an important part of Blaxland history. An excellent position would be the Blaxland Mall which would provide easy access and space for holding memorial ceremonies
3.       a move to Glenbrook should not be made without consulting:
a.       any surviving family by advertising in the press
b.      the Blaxland Chamber of Commerce
c.       the general Blaxland community

CAMPBELL FAMILY BACKGROUND
We thought it was quite unusual for a World War I memorial to be erected for a single fallen soldier.  Honour Boards and Monuments in the Blue Mountains were erected in memory of numbers of men (and a few women).  Perhaps Harold was the only Blaxland man who enlisted.  Four other men, born in Blaxland, were located in the World War I Nominal Roll; two enlisting in Cootamundra, one in Lithgow and one in Sydney, but nothing further is known about them.   Blaxland was a very small township and Harold would have been quite well known locally.  His parents, James and Edith, and sister, Edith, lived in a house called “Beverley” which was situated where the Blaxland Arcade now is.  The house was named after James’ family home or rather property in Boorowa, NSW.

James and Edith were active community and Church workers.  James was treasurer of the Urban Area and Progress Association for many years and he and Edith were strong supporters of St Davids Church of England in Taringha Street.  They donated the block of land on which the Church Hall was built and they set up a Memorial to their son in the Church.  Unfortunately the church was destroyed in the 1968 bushfires.
James could claim a very interesting and prestigious pedigree.  His maternal grandfather was Rowland Hassall, an early colonial preacher and farmer.  His paternal great great grandfather, William Campbell, was a colourful sea captain who owned a ship called the “Harrington”.  He had trade connections with John Macarthur and settled in Australia after receiving a land grant of 2000 acres near Camden.  He named his property, “Harrington Park", and there is now a suburb with this name.  The homestead still stands and is being restored.  The Fairfax family are thought to have been the last private owners.

The Hassall and Campbell family members married into other well known colonial families including the Antills (Captain Henry Antill was Governor Macquarie’s ADC) of “Jarvisfield”, Picton. They also frequently married cousins so their family tree is scattered with the Campbell and Hassall surname.
James Spink Campbell was married twice, first to Gertrude Williams of Yass.  She gave birth to a son, William Douglas Adye Campbell in 1883 and died in the same year.  James married Edith Deacon at Ashfield in 1894 and they had two children – Harold and Edith.  Edith married John Back and they lived in Sydney for a time before moving back to live in “Beverley” in Blaxland in 1942.  They had three children, Josephine, Kenneth and Shirley. Kenneth became Vice Chancellor of James Cook University in Townsville.  He married Patricia Cummings, daughter of Regner Olaf Cummings, who was a noted tennis player during the Hopman era.  They currently reside in Queensland (see attached note).  After serving with the military forces in World War II, Josephine married Francis Clement Murray.  Shirley married veterinary surgeon Marcus Richard Edward Durand.

In the Hassall family tree on Ancestry.com James’ second marriage and children are not recorded.  William, the son of his first marriage, is noted as the family historian.  He died in 1966.  Does this indicate a family disapproval of the second marriage?  We don’t know.

With his privileged family background and his position in the tiny Blaxland community he would have been well known and respected and his loss of a son would have been felt by all – hence the erection of a community memorial.

Report by Pamela Smith and Shirley Evans