Children in Hobart during WWII

September 2, 1939 and  Hobart newspaper ‘The Mercury’ had this headline on page 1.

World poised perilously on brink of war

Would lives of children living in Hobart over 10,000 miles away change or remain the same? My parents, Robert (Bob) and Phyllis Wyatt had already written about their experiences during war time, so I interviewed Phyllis’ sister, Margaret Phillips, to get her memories on how war affected her.

By September 8, the Tasmanian government had compiled a booklet for householders  including mention of air raid shelters.[1] Margaret said:

We had a trench in the backyard. Dad built one for us. …… Dear old mum, she packed a basket full of food and we took that into the air raid shelter with us. But we never had to go.  …..  Dad had built this hole in the ground, lined it out with apple cases from uncle Arthur Stirling’s market. After the war was over, he just left it as it was. ….. Later in life, when someone bought the house, they filled it in.[2]

Source: SLQ Image 42866

Children digging trenches Source: SLQ Image 42866

Margaret couldn’t remember any practice trench drills at her high school but Bob said:

 I remember that at Goulburn Street School we had trenches dug in the school yard. We occasionally had practice runs and you had to have a rubber to put between your teeth and a sugar bag folded over your head.[3]

Phyllis remembers what happened at the school she attended.

Dad helped the fathers from the school to dig trenches in the now Albuera Street School. It had been a cemetery and when we had air raid shelter drill, you could pick bones out while you were in the trench.[4]

Ration card, image owned by author.

Ration card, image owned by author.

Each person, including children, was given ration cards for buying clothing. Phyllis cried all the time when having her first hair cut at age 7 in 1941.

I thought she would cut off my neck. I was promised a new overcoat and some of Margaret’s coupons had to be used and she wasn’t very happy.[5]

There were ration coupons for food as well but families were asked to grow their own vegetables. Margaret remembers:

Whenever Eileen or the cousins came down for a visit, they would bring rabbits and dad was great at fishing so we had plenty of food. ….. Dad grew a lot of vegetables, we had fruit trees in the back yard and grapes down the side lane.  If we wanted any more, we would go down to Wise and Stirling markets and uncle Arthur would  give us some different ones.[6]

Bob mentioned:

Some people gave the US marines a home cooked meal. I asked mum if I could invite some in. We didn’t have much meat or butter but we had plenty of fresh vegetables. The three marines enjoyed their time with us and signed my autograph book.[7]

Children were asked to help with the war effort. Families would have War Savings Certificates. Mothers and daughters would knit for the troops using khaki coloured wool. They would make scarves with balaclavas in the end  to keep soldiers warmer during winter in Europe.

My father was a member of a scout troop.

We had a camp at Gardeners Bay to pick fruit for the war effort; I was homesick as it was the first time I had ever been away from home. I only earned five shillings for picking raspberries. I gave it to mum who kept it in her purse as the first money I had ever earned.[8]

According to educators at this time, war improved the geography skills of children and they learnt to ask lots of questions about what was happening in Europe.[9]

Relatives serving in Europe would send cards home. Bob remembers:

Uncle Jack (Bomber) occasionally sent a card to my mother, it was always censored and no mention of where he was. After he came home, he was one of the Rats of Tobruk.[10]

Family life in Hobart carried on as normal but perhaps with some rationing of what you could buy. Children had to learn to be more resourceful to help their family.

Footnotes

[1]  ‘PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS IN TASMANIA’, Advocate, 8 September 1939, p. 2.

[2] Margaret Phillips, interview by Suzanne Wyatt, digital recording, Hobart, 18 November 2016, in author’s possession.

[3] Robert Wyatt to Suzanne Wyatt, letter, 1 December 2016, original held in author’s possession.

[4] Phyllis Wyatt to Suzanne Wyatt, letter, 1 December 2016, original held in author’s possession.

[5] P.Wyatt to Wyatt, letter, 1 December 2016.

[6] Margaret Phillips, interview by author.

[7] R.Wyatt to Wyatt, letter, 1 December 2016.

[8] R.Wyatt to Wyatt, letter, 1 December 2016.

[9] ‘Strange Contrast In Australian Outlook’, The Mercury , 2 April 1940, p. 3.

[10]  R.Wyatt to  Wyatt, letter, 1 December 2016.

Bibliography

Advocate

Phillips Margaret, interview by Suzanne Wyatt, digital recording, Hobart, 18 November              2016, in author’s possession.

SLQ Image 42866, Children digging trenches at Ascot State School, Brisbane, 1942.

The Mercury

Wyatt, Suzanne, Ration card, 2015. Personal collection.

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Readers: Do you have any memories as a child during war in 1939-1945? Please comment below.

 

Annotated map

As part of the Place, Image and Object course we had to create an annotated map relating to our family history. It could be a town, a house or even a room in a house. The idea was to build layers on your map.

As I am not an arty person, I decided to go with technology and used Prezi. It was a few years since I had used this tool so had to do a bit of a run through first to make sure I was using it well.

Here is the final result:

 

I decided to look at the homes around Hobart that were important to us as a family. So began with the grandparents in Sandy Bay and West Hobart, then our family homes in Glenorchy and Lindisfarne and finally my home as an adult in Seven Mile Beach.

It wasn’t until I did the evaluation and reflection that I realised so much of it related to travelling and how the homes were there to come back to after spending time overseas or on holidays.

 

Another new unit – Oral History

About six weeks since my last post and in that time I have finished the Convicts and their Legacy course which was a lot about statistical data with convicts. I have also finished my role as tutor with the Introduction to Family History unit – only have to close down the discussions on Wednesday.

So today I started on my 5th unit in the UTAS Diploma of Family History course. It is all about Oral History.

As this is going to involve recording and transcribing an interview, I have given some thought as to who I will interview and what type of questions I will ask. Then I thought about who in my family is interested in family history and decided Taylia my 1st cousin twice removed who lives in Western Australia. Her great grandma, who she doesn’t see very often, is my aunt. So I decided to ask her were there any questions she would like me to ask her great grandma when I interview her.

Hopefully Taylia will leave the questions in the comments on this post.

Family history bloggers

As part of the Diploma of Family History course at the University of Tasmania (UTAS) I am again showing my video about using your blog to present your family history. This is in the unit called ‘Introduction to Family History.’ The original version had many clicking sounds whenever I turned my head and spoke, so I have now created version 3. (Version 2 had too many blank spaces)

I was also going to include lots of links to other bloggers but felt the students might think they had to visit and read every post on every blog. So instead I am going to mention the bloggers here in this post.

Visit some other blogs written by students from previous Introduction to Family History units. Some have been blogging for a while, others are very new to this way of presenting their research. Many are also mentioned on my sidebar as links.

Some of the more well known Australian bloggers

Links to international bloggers from the Rockstars created by John Reid in Canada

Canada, Gold superstars 2015, Silver/bronze superstars 2015,

Readers: Did you find an interesting post in one of the blogs? Whose blog and what was the post about?

Where is Isabella in the census?

August is National Family History Month and Tuesday I head to the local library for an hour and a half session on resources in the Tasmanian library setup and perhaps more in just the Sorell library.

But Tuesday is an important night in Australia. It only comes once every five years. We the citizens have the chance to fill in our census form and become part of the statistics of people in Australia. We mention names and addresses, numbers in family, religion, wages and many other bits of info that will help the government plan better for education, health, transport etc in Australia.

Alex Daw has set up a challenge for Aussie family history bloggers during the month of August. Our first post is due this week and relates to a census.

As most of my English ancestors arrived in Australia pre 1851 census, I am trying to find more info about their families by using the 1841 census.

My one problem person so far is Isabella Watkins. If you have been reading my blog recently, you will know I am doing the University of Tasmania Diploma of Family History course and one unit was on a convict ancestor. I chose Isabella.

According to convict records, Isabella was tried on 29 March 1841 at Surrey Assizes and sentenced to seven years transportation. She arrived in Hobart Town on 10 October 1841. My problem was when did she actually leave England?

According to one website the ship left England on 14 June 1841. Another website says 23 June 1841.

My first task was to find out when the actual census night was in England that year. Found that – 6 June 1841. So she should still be in England according to the dates when the ship supposedly sailed. So why can’t I find Isabella in the 1841 census? Why were there two different sailing dates?

If she was convicted in March and the ship sailed in June, where was she held in between those dates?

Next step was newspaper records trying to find where and when the ship docked in London. I have not been able to find her on any prison records for that time so maybe the ship was at anchor from March to June until all the female convicts were finally on board. She might have gone directly to the ship after being sentenced. The county of Surrey borders on the river Thames and the Custom’s House, where the ships would need to come in to pay customs and duties, was about a kilometre from the main Surrey Assizes.

  • First record is entering outward for loading at the Customs House in London on April 12. [1]
  • Second record is of a Dorothy Woodhead being delivered to the ship at Woolwich from her prison in Derby. This meant the ship was in Woolwich on the 2nd June or earlier. [2]
  • Third record was vessel cleared outwards with cargo (presumably the convict women) from the Customs House on June 4. [3]
  • Fourth record was the ship sailing from Gravesend on June 18. [4]
  • Fifth record was arriving from the river (Thames) at Deal on June 23. [5]

From these reports the ship was docked in Woolwich by 2nd June with female convicts arriving at any time after April 12. So on the night of the census, Isabella was sailing down the Thames on her way to Gravesend.

More questions to find answers for:

  1. Would she now be considered not an English person as she had left its shores on her way to Van Diemen’s Land and Australia?
  2. Would they have filled in the census on the boat and delivered it at their first port of call eg Gravesend?

Newspaper sources

[1]  The Standard (London, England), Tuesday, April 13, 1841; Issue 5247. British Library Newspapers, Part II: 1800-1900.

[2] The Derby Mercury (Derby, England), Wednesday, June 2, 1841; Issue 5682. British Library Newspapers, Part I: 1800-1900.

[3] The Morning Chronicle (London, England), Saturday, June 5, 1841; Issue 22317. British Library Newspapers, Part I: 1800-1900.

[4] The Morning Chronicle (London, England), Saturday, June 19, 1841; Issue 22329. British Library Newspapers, Part I: 1800-1900.

[5] The Standard (London, England), Thursday, June 24, 1841; Issue 5309. British Library Newspapers, Part II: 1800-1900.

Martha Virco – trial record

This story has been created by Wendy Westgate as part of the University of Tasmania’s HAA007 Convict Ancestors unit

The Trial of Martha VICO at the Old Bailey

457. MARTHA VICO was indicted for stealing, on the 12th of December, 1 watch,. value 1l. 5s.; 1 purse, value 6d.; and 2 shillings; the goods and monies of William Leighton, from his person.

WILLIAM LEIGHTON . I am a private in the 45th regiment of foot. I was out on furlough, and was at Edgware, on the 12th of December—I was going to Watford, to my friends—I got to Edgware about eight or nine o’clock at night—I went into the White Lion public-house, and found the prisoner there, in company with another woman—I got into conversation with them, and treated them—I paid about 2s. for what I had—I took out my purse to pay—I had 5s. or 7s. in it—I was rather under the influence of drink, but I knew what I was about—about eleven o’clock the prisoner and I went out together, and the other woman left us—I went into the fields with the prisoner, and laid down and went to sleep—I do not know whether I paid her any thing—I had a watch, fastened to a guard round my neck—the purse was in my right-hand pocket—I awoke between four and five o’clock in the morning, and she was gone—I missed my watch directly I awoke—the guard-chain was broken—I went into a public-house immediately, and then missed my purse—the prisoner was taken next evening—this is my watch—(looking at it)—I did not give either the watch or purse to her.

JOHN BLEUMAN . I am shopman to Mr. Marchant, a pawnbroker in Edgware-road. I took this watch in pawn between ten and eleven o’clock, on the morning of the 13th of December, for 12s., from a woman—I cannot positively swear to the prisoner, but I believe she is the person—I did not see her face, but I can swear to the bonnet she had on—I saw her before the Magistrate on the 19th, and believed her to be the person.

THOMAS BUTLER . I am a policeman. On the 13th of December I apprehended the prisoner, from the prosecutor’s description—she denied having the watch—I took her to the Magistrate, who remanded her for a week—on our road to Clerkenwell she became lame, and we got on a coach, with Susan Burr—she told Burr, in my presence, on the coach, that the was sorry to see her in trouble, for she had nothing to do with it, that she had taken the watch herself, and pawned it at Paddington—Burr was discharged at the next examination.

SUSAN BURR . I was in company with the prisoner and prosecutor at the public-house—I left them—I was taken up on this charge—the prisoner told me what the officer has stated, on the roof of the coach.

GUILTY .+ Aged 22.— Transported for Ten Years.

 

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 13 June 2016), December 1838, trial of MARTHA VICO (t18381231-457).

Martha Virco – breakouts

This story has been created by Wendy Westgate as part of the University of Tasmania’s HAA007 Convict Ancestors unit

THE HINDOSTAN

Martha was transported to Van Diemen’s Land on the Hindostan; the ship was carrying 179 female convicts. The ship’s Master was George LAMBE, and the Ship surgeon was Thomas W. MCDONALD.[1]

This journey was the second the Hindostan had made as a Convict ship; in July 1821, the ship sailed to New South Wales with 152 male convicts, arriving in Port Macquarie on 24th November of that year.

The Hindostan subsequently made one more trip as a Convict ship; it left London on 7th October 1840 with 209 male convicts on board, arriving in Hobart on 19th January 1841.[2]

[1] http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/hindostan

[2] http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~austashs/convicts/conships_h.htm

John Boyd

When Martha married John BOYD, he is described as a Free Man[1]. I have tried to find out more information about John, but there are at least three men of that name who arrive in Van Diemen’s Land in the 1830s; with more research, I’m sure the correct one could be identified.

John was a carpenter, a valuable trade to have in those times. The children of Martha and John were born in a number of places, which suggests John moved his family around in stay in employment; many of the places are in the north of Tasmania, south of Launceston.

John died on 9th October 1862:[2]

 

JB, death

Entry for death of John BOYD; TAHO, RGD35/1/31, Morven, 1862/309

[1] Ancestry.com. Australia, Marriage Index, 1788-1950 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Compiled from publicly available sources; John BOYD and Martha VICO

[2] TAHO, RGD35/1/31, Morven, 1862/309, John BOYD

 

Martha Virco – main story

This story has been created by Wendy Westgate as part of the University of Tasmania’s HAA007 Convict Ancestors unit

Martha VICO was a housemaid; she was 5 feet 1 inch tall, and had a broad head and oval ‘visage’ with a high forehead and long chin. Her hair was brown, her eyes hazel and she had a ruddy complexion. [1]

vico14

Description, Martha VICO; TAHO, CON19-1-13, pg. 318

 

On 8th December 1833, Martha, nee HEARNE, married William VERCOE at the Parish church of Little Stanmore, Harrow[2];  she would have been 16 or 17 years of age.

MV, marriage cert_0

Entry of marriage of William VERCOE and Martha HEARNE; Ancestry.com. London, England,

Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921  

According to her Indent record, she had two brothers, Thomas and Henry, and a sister, Elizabeth, who lived in St Albans, Hertfordshire; the record also states that William was a blacksmith.[3] In addition, it notes that William is in Newgate Prison, and that Martha had spent ‘12 months on the Town’. This would suggest that, due to William’s imprisonment, Martha had nowhere to live and was finding it difficult to survive without his income… which was perhaps what led to her offence.

vico16

Entry for Martha VICO; TAHO, CON15-1-9, pg. 10, Hindostan 12 Sep 1839

Martha was found guilty of her crime at the Old Bailey on 31st December 1838; her sentence was transportation for ten years.[4]

MV, verdict

Entry for Martha VICO; findmypast.co.uk; England & Wales, Crime, Prisons and Punishment, 1770-1935, Institutions & organisations, Prison registers

After sentencing, due to overcrowding in Newgate Prison, Martha was moved to Millbank[5], and then to the Hindostan; this ship left London on 6th May 1839.

MV, newspaper

Morning Advertiser, London, England, 05 February 1839

On 12th September 1839, the ship arrived at Van Diemen’s Land; the Surgeon reported that during the voyage Martha had been ‘extremely insolent’. On arrival, Martha was sent into the employ of Mr W Learmouth of Ross[6].

However, the first years that Martha was in Van Diemen’s Land did not run smoothly for her; just two weeks after her arrival, Martha was found guilty of Gross Misconduct after going into the men’s’ berths on the Government brig Tamar whilst on her way to Launceston, for which she received the sentence of 14 days Solitary Confinement on bread and water at Launceston Female Factory. [7]

In 26 December 1839, now in the employment of Mr Atkinson, Martha sentenced to two months’ hard labour in the Launceston Female Factory (having been found guilty of being ‘drunk and disorderly and in the company of a man in the back of a house in York Street’), and was back in the Female Factory again in April 1840 after being Absent without leave from her master – this time for 14 days, on bread and water.

December 1840 saw Martha with another ‘Master’ – Mr Rodgers. On the 31st, she was found guilty of Gross insolence to the Chief District Constable, and sentenced to a year’s Hard labour, again in Launceston Female Factory.

Perhaps this term of Hard labour was her ‘turning point’ which finally made Martha settle down and ‘toe the line’, as there are no further records of misdemeanours. In fact, the 1842, she applied for permission to marry John BOYD[8], with the clergyman being satisfied with the evidence:

 

vico5

Entry for John BOYD and Martha VICO; TAHO, CON52/1/2 Page 016; NAME_INDEXES:1267689; June 1842, RGD37/2: 1842/1739

They were married on 8th September of that year, in Ross, Avoca[9]. Obviously the fact that Martha had been married in England was ‘overlooked’, as to Martha it would have been obvious that she was never going to see William, or return to England, ever again, and she would have had to have made the best she could of her new life.

John and Martha went on to have at least seven children, born between 1842 and 1858:

Anne, born on 19th October 1842 in Evandale[10]

Susan, born on 29th May 1844 in Launceston[11]

Catherine, born on 13th September 1846 in Rogan Falls[12]

Robert, born 1st July 1848 in Mary Vale, Morven[13]

Martha, born on 18th November 1850 in Mary Vale, Morven [14]

Frederick, born on 16th December 1855 in Evandale[15]

Harriet, born on 21st June 1858 in Evandale[16]

During this time, Martha’s Ticket of Leave was granted in November 1845, and her Certificate of Freedom was issued in February 1849.[17]

John died on 9th October 1862 in the Morven district[18]; Martha died on 25th January 1880[19], again, in the Morven district.

Martha Virco references

[1] TAHO, CON19-1-13, pg. 318, Martha VICO. Retrieved on 4 June 2016

[2]Ancestry.com. London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

Original data: Church of England Parish Registers, 1754-1921. London Metropolitan Archives, London. Retrieved on 11 June 2016

[3] TAHO, CON15-1-9, pg. 10, Hindostan 12 Sep 1839, Martha VICO

[4] findmypast.co.uk; England & Wales, Crime, Prisons and Punishment, 1770-1935, Institutions & organisations, Prison registers. Retrieved on 4 June 2016

[5] findmypast.co.uk; British Newspapers; Morning Advertiser, London, England, 05 February 1839. Retrieved on 4 June 2016

[6] Ancestry.com. New South Wales and Tasmania, Australia Convict Musters, 1806-1849 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.

Original data: Home Office: Settlers and Convicts, New South Wales and Tasmania; (The National Archives Microfilm Publication HO10, Pieces 5, 19-20, 32-51); The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England. Retrieved on 4 June 2016

[7] TAHO, CON40-1-10, pg. 149, Martha VICO

[8] TAHO, CON52/1/2 Page 016; NAME_INDEXES:1267689; June 1842, RGD37/2: 1842/1739, John BOYD and Martha VICO

[9] Ancestry.com. Australia, Marriage Index, 1788-1950 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Compiled from publicly available sources; John BOYD and Martha VICO

[10]  TAHO, RGD32/1/3/ Evandale 1852/1954 Anne BOYD

[11] TAHO, RGD 33/1/23 Launceston 1844/242 Susan BOYD

[12] TAHO, RGD32/1/3/ Evandale 1846/2986 Catherine BOYD

[13] TAHO, RGD33/1/27/ Morven 1848/1203 Robert Boyd

[14] TAHO, RGD33/1/27/ Morven 1850/1330 Martha BOYD

[15] TAHO, RGD33/1/33 Morven 1855/1152 Frederick BOYD

[16] TAHO, RGD33/1/36 Morven 1858/1505 Harriet BOYD

[17] TAHO, CON40-1-10, pg. 149, Martha VICO

[18] Ancestry.com. Australia, Death Index, 1787-1985 [database on-line] Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Compiled from publicly available sources; John BOYD

[19] Ancestry.com. Australia, Death Index, 1787-1985 [database on-line] Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Compiled from publicly available sources; Martha BOYD

Martha Virco – intro

This story has been created by Wendy Westgate as part of the University of Tasmania’s HAA007 Convict Ancestors unit

Martha VICO was 22 years old when she was arrested for pickpocketing. She had gone to the pub – the White Lion in Edgeware, Middlesex – with her friend Susan BURR when they had met up with a soldier who was on furlough. The soldier, William LEIGHTON, got chatting to the two women and bought them drinks; at about 11o’clock, he left the pub and spent the night with Martha, sleeping in a field. When he woke up the next morning, Martha, his purse and his watch were all gone…[1]

This act of pickpocketing changed Martha’s life completely – here is the story of what happened to her.

Martha VICO – a Convict’s Story

[1] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 13 June 2016), December 1838, trial of MARTHA VICO (t18381231-457).

John Boyd – breakout 2

This story has been created by Peter Gray as part of the University of Tasmania’s HAA007 Convict Ancestors unit

REGISTER_0
DEATH REGISTER

 

EMAIL
EMAIL REPLY

While researching john I found out that when he died he was living and working in the Evandale area which he seems to have settled in once he became free. So i went looking for his grave, but because of the distance problem manly me in Sydney, NSW him in Tasmania I contacted the Evandale history society who are very help ful people, they have given me some great information .The area cemetery  have plenty of boyds to research and I am sure that a lot of them would be some of john’s and matha decendants. Please see above