Monday, August 25, 2014

Local Treasures 1233ABC Radio- MISS PORTERS HOUSE Collection

Local Treasures 1233ABC Radio-   Miss Porters House Collection             26 August 2014
Presenter: Carol Duncan
Interviewee: Ann Hardy

Miss Porter's House is a National Trust property in Newcastle built in 1909.  The house, grounds, interiors and contents are all intact and the property was continuously occupied by the Porter family for over ninety years. The house retains many original features and represents the Edwardian era and example of urban lifestyle in what was otherwise the early business of Newcastle. Other ephemera include accounts and invoices that tell a story of paper based finance keeping. There are two layers of interior decoration, firstly the original 1909 fit out, and secondly furnishing of the 1930s. The stencilled timber ceilings, fine Queensland maple staircase, art deco rugs, linoleum, and art deco light fittings are all historic features.
In the early 1860s, the seventeen year old James Porter travelled from his native England, emigrated first to New Zealand, then a few months later to Newcastle where he, according to his obituary in 1919,  ‘took up his residence in the islands of the Hunter River, where he engaged in farming pursuits.’  Here he married a local woman, and together they set up a business in Blane (Hunter) street opposite the Carrington Bridge.  He married Eliza Lintott and, by the early 1880s, was ready to set himself up as a general storekeeper and carrier in Blane Street (now Hunter Street West). Here he and Eliza reared their family, while James became a well-known figure in local business and social life of the community.

FIRST SHOP Blane st near Carrington bridge (no longer there) -(Probably 483 Hunter St)

SECOND SHOP late 19th century - Back: " This photo is the property James / Porter purchased in 1879" Possibly near 609 Hunter Street

Source: University of Newcastle's Cultural Collections. Mr Blewett the Saddler & Mr Porter the Grocer at Hunter Street Store. Eight Hour Procession
After 1879 they moved  to a terrace shop in Hunter Street, fronting Honeysuckle Station (no longer there), which would have been directly behind Miss Porter’s House. A photo of the house found in the Miss Porter’s House collection, shows the store probably c.1890. The photo from the MPH collection had the notation, ‘James Porter’s Store is now Thorpe & Co, 483 Hunter St. Newcastle The photo shows James Porter as ‘Fruiterer and Grocer.’ The family lived in the house.
From the images we can see goods for sale including jugs, vegetables and a parrot in a cage. The shop next to it was leased to various businesses over the years. Around 1890 the lessee was E Banfield, Draper, and later James Blewett Saddlers.
When James Porter died in 1912, the business was valued at £6200 plus £319-5-0 for horses and wagons and was passed onto his son, Herbert, who ran the carrier business.
This photo is of the cart and men near Islington Park. They’re ready for a May Day procession, date unknown but probably after 1912.
Herbert's cart near Islington Park

In 1906, James Porter purchased from the Australian Agricultural Company an allotment of land facing Langford Street and at the rear of his shop for 350 pounds. This was conveyed in 1909 to his second son, Herbert Porter and his new wife, Florence Evelyn Jolley, of Singleton who establish their own home and family. In 1910, Herbert contracted J T Orpen to build his house for 498 Pounds. The final payment in December 1909 included 14 Pounds for extra gas fittings. A few early photographs tell us about Herbert Porter (the father of the Porters sisters) and the family business.

Porter House, King Street Newcastle, 1920s
Miss Porters House 2010s

'Miss Porter's House' has always been a distinctive Edwardian home in an otherwise non-residential area. It stands on land known prior to its subdivision as 'Lock's Paddock', a stonemason's yard. The extensive buildings of the Gas Company occupied most of the land opposite while the Steel Street produce markets and homes of the Chinese market gardeners were in nearby Devonshire Street. As the century progressed, the industrial nature of the area gave way to commerce and administration. However Miss Porter's house remains as the sole residential building.
In the aftermath of World War 1, a serious epidemic of influenza swept the world. Australia was not excluded and among the Newcastle victims was Herbert Porter, aged only 41 Years (in 1919). Florence Porter and her two daughters Ella and Hazel, the latter only five years old, were left on their own. These were sad years for the family. Eliza, Herbert's mother died in July 1919 and his sister, Elsie May followed in September 1921.

Florence Porter

Florence and Herbert Porter with daughter

The Porter sisters went to Cooks Hill Public School, then Hazel to Cooks Hill intermediate school, and Ella to Wickham Domestic Science High School. Hazel Porter worked as a secretary/clerk most of her life. She received typing and Pitmans shorthand certificates in 1931. Early casual jobs included the Melbourne Steamship Company (relieving typist for 2 weeks at a pound a week), United Referendum Campaign (1933), Merchants and Traders Association for 16 years then for a debt recovery agency - Commercial Protection Services, most of her life. She retired in the mid 80s.
Ella Porter worked for an accountant, Australian General Electric Company, Miss Johnson's Doll Shop and a hat shop. Miss Porter's House became the lifelong home of the two daughters, neither of whom married. Here the Porter siters, Ella Baldwin and Hazel Mildred Porter would live until their deaths. Florence Porter died in August 1970 at the age of 91, after a long widowhood of almost 50 years. Ella and Hazel continued to live at 434 King Street where, in 1975, they renewed the bush house.  Ella died in 1995, aged 84 years leaving Hazel to continue alone in the house until her own death in 1997, and aged 83.
Ella and Hazel Porter and friends

Ella and Hazel Porter

Ella, Florence and Hazel Porter c. late 1940s

Prior to her death, Hazel contemplated the future of the family home. The inner-city site had been long sought for redevelopment; however Hazel decided to bequeath the house, its contents and an endowment to the National Trust of Australia (NSW).
Since 1997 National Trust of Australia (NSW) Volunteers have maintained the building itself, the gardens and valuable collection of artefacts houses there, raising money towards its upkeep.
Nearly all the objects and documents in the house are now safe and secure. It’s taken 16 years, with a particular effort the last four years to categorise about 8000 items. Each have been tagged and labelled, scanned or photographed and protected in archival quality sleeves. Each object or document has been described, measured, a condition report carried out, and information documented.  Two grants from the Museums NSW has allowed the National Trust to buy archival quality materials.

This detailed inventory of the house will eventually be uploaded to the National Trust database and made available to the public.  Other important information about objects is documented on a computer program to further understand the Porter family, the local area including businesses, and other changes to the local area.
A small part of the collection is photograph and postcard albums dating back to 1903. Postcards were a quick way of communicating, and many were hand painted on celluloid.

The photos in the collection are for the large part, family snaps. The sisters didn’t travel widely, but did take photographs of the local areas, and their trips to Sydney and Katoomba.
Hazel Porter Newcastle Beach 1930s

Hazel Porter kept a detailed record of their trips around Newcastle and the Hunter Valley during the 1950s. Other photos provide significant information about the history of the family.
Speers Point


Customs House

Speers Point

The photographs in the collection document big and small events from the 1927 flood of King Street to birthday parties in the back yard.
Flooding Steel Street, Newcastle West 1920s

Flooding, King Street Newcastle West, 1920s

Rescue Boat, Steel Street Newcastle West, 1920s

Miss Porters House is happy to share digital copies of photographs from the collection.  They occasionally post to the Lost Newcastle Facebook page, particularly when they are trying to date or identify a landmark.

Thank you to all the volunteers at Miss Porters House for their contributions in caring for this collection, special thanks to Pam Marley for providing images and information for this story.

Opening Times for Miss Porter House
1pm-4pm second Sunday of each month.
434 King Street
Newcastle West 2302 NSW
(02) 4927 0202
Adults - $8
Concession -$6

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Newcastle East End Project- Submission

23 May, 2014
The General Manager,
The City of Newcastle.

Dear Sir,
SUBJECT: (Staged) DA 2014/323; Newcastle East End Project.
The Hunter Regional Committee of the National Trust of Australia (NSW) would like to make the following submission:

Please note: The subject area is referred to by the applicants as “Newcastle East End”.
This area has never been known by that name and this is confusing. The “East End” or “Newcastle East” is the area of the city (mainly residential) from Watt Street eastward. The CBD area east of Darby Street has been referred to in planning documents in the past as the City East precinct.
The Trust strongly endorses the heritage buildings identified in the HIS for conservation, both individual NLEP 2012 heritage schedule items and contributory buildings within Council’s City Centre Heritage Conservation Area.
We believe that many of the identified contributory buildings are worthy of individual LEP item status. It is noteworthy that the only CBD Heritage Study (by Suters Architects in 1988) has never been updated. It was meant to be a preliminary document only. The Trust has on numerous occasions advocated that Newcastle City Council (NCC) comprehensively review the document with a view to adding further items to its LEP heritage schedule. However, this never occurred. The “City-Wide Heritage Study”, produced in 1996 was focused on the suburbs of Newcastle LGA.
We strongly endorse the recommendations on pages 70-71 (HIS) and the methodologies outlined on pp 52-55. We are pleased that the consultants have not recommended a mere facadism approach to conservation.

However, matters not raised in terms of heritage impact include:
• The negative impact of the 3 tower buildings (between 15 and 20 storeys) on the urban cultural landscape defined by The Hill east of Darby Street. The Hill area rises along a sloping ridge along both easterly and westerly directions to Christ Church Cathedral at its central apex.

While the SEE claims these towers would “frame the cathedral”, and “maintain the visual prominence of the cathedral in the city skyline” (SEE, p12) they would in fact visually compete with the cathedral as the dominant structure and would be visually intrusive elements within the fine-grained , low- rise building form of The Hill area south of Hunter Street. This includes views from the east, such as from Fort Scratchley and Nobbys.
• While the HIS lists listed heritage items “in the near vicinity”, there is no mention of the cultural significance of the 1858 rail corridor and the two heritage listed  National trust, LEP and Railcorp s.170 registers) railway stations (Newcastle and Civic).
There are no statements of positive and negative impact, presumably because there are no detailed proposals to comment on. This raises the issue about whether further impact statements will be written and published  once more detailed proposals are drawn up; and whether there will be further opportunities for public comment, if the HIS is approved as part of the this DA.
For instance, the Trust would like to suggest that reinstatement of the ornate, above parapet line decoration in the Menkens –designed Charleston Studio, later “Washington House” (167 Hunter St, asset 37) should be considered. It may be worthwhile to conserve at least some of the 1960 David Jones shopfront with its travertine facade and large chrome-framed shopwindows. Will there be opportunities to comment on such fine-tuned, heritage related matters in future staged DAs?

“Conclusion” (HIS, p 73).The Trust does not agree with some claims made in the various dot points:
1. It is claimed that all items including conservation area contributory items will be retained. However, 22 Newcomen St (asset 10) and 14 Morgan St (asset 30) appear to be earmarked for demolition, apparently for pedestrian links that may not be necessary.
2.   It is claimed that the proposed new building envelopes (height, massing and scale) comply “in principle” with NLEP 2012, NDCP 2012 and Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy 2012.This is completely incorrect. Under the Draft SEPP 2014, there will be major, negative in urban design terms, changes to the development standards including height and FSR.
3. It is claimed that that the proposed building envelopes will minimise negative impacts on adjacent heritage items and heritage items in the “immediate vicinity” (N.B there is no reference to contributory items). This is also incorrect.
4.  Comments about diversity of uses and improved amenity for residents and visitors are not heritage impact issues.
5.  High rise towers in this area will not “reinforce significant architecture and urban design”.
6.  Issues such as “providing improved amenity for an increased number of residents and visitors”, whether correct or not, are not heritage impact issues.
7. “The potential to regain and reinforce significant views to and from the cathedral by locating additional height outside the primary view corridors”. Comment: These views while important are not the only ones to consider. High rise towers will have a massive negative effect on views to many significant parts of this low-scale heritage significant urban topography and cannot be justified.

“Building conservation, Retention and demolition” (3.3.10)
While it is stated that the DA “does not seek consent for the demolition of any buildings across the site”, this is  contradicted by seeking consent for “the approach to 3.3.10 which identifies the extent of buildings to be conserved and retained  on site , and the buildings on site to be demolished”. The “approach” would not guarantee that the provisions of 3.3.10 would be implemented. Further, two contributory buildings appear to be identified for demolition.
Further, while the draft DCP provisions call for “4. Protect heritage items and contributor (sic) buildings”, the applicants’ response/comment to this is to “protect heritage items and contributory buildings where appropriate” (SEE, p 84. Comment on DCP provisions). The word appropriate is subjective and not defined by the applicants.
Height Controls;
The proposed building heights contravene the existing and only legal statutory planning instrument, Newcastle LEP 2012, which contains a height limit (a development standard, not a guideline) of 24 m. The height limits are a product of planning instruments and development control plans (DCP) that have sensitively assessed over more than two decades.  These planning guidelines, development standards and urban design considerations respect the CBD’s historic topography and heritage issues. Their genesis is the landmark DCP 30 (c 1990) authored by Professor Barry Maitland, an urban designer with an international reputation. The DCP received national acclaim at the time. The principles that underpin that document have not changed. The recent Draft SEPP (Newcastle City Centre) and Draft DCP allow massive increases in height, FSR and other controls which cannot be justified in planning and urban design terms and don’t respect the community-endorsed principles  of previous planning instruments. Indeed, they mock these sound principles and past community endorsement of them.

We call on Council to reject the application and to inform the applicants that Council might look more favourably on a resubmitted proposal that complies with the current Newcastle LEP 2012, including its maximum building height development standard of 24 metres.
We are aware that under certain circumstances a development may exceed the 24m metres in this area. However, it must not be more than 40m AHD and satisfy the consent authority that it does not impede or detract from views to and from the Cathedral to the Hunter River foreshore.
The DA proposes a maximum height of more than 60 m and clearly does not comply with requirements about views.
It also doesn’t comply with heights indicated in Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy 2012.
• This DA should not be assessed using the provisions of the Draft SEPP and Draft DCP (City Centre) as they have no legal status.
• Given that the Draft SEPP and DCP were prepared by the NSW Government (Planning NSW) and that one of the applicants (Urban Growth) is a public sector property developer, the Government has a clear conflict of interest if it considers approval of these documents. This is a matter of great concern to the Trust.

Yours sincerely,
Keith Parsons.
Hunter Regional Committee,
National Trust of Australia (NSW).
Phone: 0249265301.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Objection to the Draft LEP for a change to the building heights in Newcastle East

New South Wales Department of Planning

SUBJECT:  Draft Revised LEP Clause 7.9(4)
The extreme number of documents issued for public comment, including a mere two week exhibition period for the City Centre SEPP, by the Department of Planning & Infrastructure is outrageous to the degree that the department appears to have arranged this in an effort to minimise sound and reasoned comment from the general public and organised interest groups.
  It appears from an initial reading that the department has been successfully swayed by the GPT submission to change the Newcastle LEP (2012) by radically increasing heights on properties owned by GPT and NSW Urban Growth, who have a financial interest in these sites.
The SEPP and proposed amendments to the City Centre DCP appear simply to mirror the “renewal” proposal by GPT and Urban Growth. Both these bodies are property developers with a clear conflict of interest, including a pecuniary interest in redevelopment of the CBD. Urban Growth is a public sector entity. Therefore, the NSW government should have taken an arms- length approach to the new planning instruments. They should have been subject to a genuine independent review.
Further, Newcastle City Council’s planning staff and its independent Urban Design Consultative Group appear to have had no role in oversight of the draft SEPP or the GPT/Urban Growth plan.
The GPT/Urban Growth plan and the draft SEPP fly in the face of sound and still relevant principles of planning documents produced by Newcastle City Council, some with ministerial approval, over almost two decades, including its 1998 Urban Strategy, the c1990 DCP 30, LEP 2003, City Centre LEP 2008, LEP 2012 and even the 2013 Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy produced by Hunter Development Corporation, notionally for the Department of Planning.

Newcastle - An urban historic city
Newcastle's "Old Town" area below the Cathedral is rich with heritage buildings, lanes and interesting shopfronts on a human scale without the need for additional heights to further overshadow the spaces.  The area has been protected by a heritage conservation area for many decades.
Further, views of the CBD’s eastern precinct from Nobbys or Stockton reveal a highly significant urban cultural landscape with relatively low, human scale built development that respects the topography of The Hill (east of Darby Street) with Christ Church Cathedral at its apex. The proposed   high rise towers would constitutes a gross and crude visual intrusion into this historic urban landscape. There are plenty of opportunities for redevelopment that respect this urban character. The SEPP, however, does not. It is interesting to note that even the 2007 GPT proposal paid far more respect to the principles of previous planning instruments and largely respected the historic urban character of the eastern CBD.
The influx of a nineteen storey tower block on the former David Jones car park site has an unacceptable impact on the heritage significance of the conservation area and surrounding heritage items.  Similarly, the fourteen storey tower on Wolf Street presents an unacceptable intrusion on this sensitive area.  Both sites should be substantially scaled back to twelve and eight storeys respectively (or fewer) to reduce impact.
The Newcastle LEP 2012 encouraged high-rise to occur in the west end of the city where there is a greater opportunity for redevelopment incorporating views over the city and the harbour. 
The Hunter Regional Committee of the National Trust (NSW) objects to the removal of Clause 7.9(4) of the Newcastle LEP (2012) as this clause specifically protects view corridors to and from the Cathedral, an iconic building in Newcastle.  The deletion of this clause removes all legal protection of views to and from the Cathedral.
This draft LEP should be reconsidered and re-written to delete the potential of high rise development impacting on this portion of the Newcastle "Old Town" from interfering with view corridors to and from the Cathedral.
We also oppose the proposed maximum height increase on the Hunter Street block between Darby and Auckland Street from 30n to 45m.The rationale for this appears to be to allow for the University’s ambitious plan to redevelop the western (Auckland Street) end. The 30 m maximum height was partly designed to visually protect the nearby, State Heritage Register listed City Hall. In the past the University have argued that existing buildings on the northern side of Hunter Street opposite the university site already exceed the 30 m height development standard. However, it needs to be recognised that the LEP is a strategic instrument and any future new development on the northern side would be expected to comply with the maximum 30m height.
In conclusion:
The SEPP claims to be driven by claims about “economic” revitalisation. This is at the expense of sound, accepted urban design and heritage considerations.” Economic” appears to be a euphemism for GPT and NSW Urban Growth’s desire for maximum development and profit opportunities. Further, there appears to be no genuine independent oversight by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure of the urban design implications of GPT/Urban Growth’s proposals.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Newcastle’s Almoners - Grace Parbery & Rosemary Ramsey

Broadcast Notes
ABC1233 Local Treasures
March 2014
By Ann Hardy

To understand people we need to understand the place in which they live. This was a motto of Grace Parbery, respected former Newcastle social worker.  When she came to Newcastle she was interested in the city’s history and how it had shaped the people who lived there.
One of her keenest interests at the moment is the history of Newcastle. She likes this for its own sake, but also feels that it is difficult to understand people in relation to their background unless you understand also the growth and development of the place in which they live. (Grace Parbery) Newcastle Morning Herald 1947
Stories about people contribute to the culture of the city of the Hunter. There is often much emphasis on built environment, but not on social history and the contributions and legacy left by individuals. Two Hunter women that certainly left a legacy were the late Grace Parbery (1913-1993) and Rosemary Ramsey (1925-2012) both were ‘almoners’, known today as ‘social workers’ and made a significant contribution to field of Social Work. They helped established healthcare practices in Newcastle that influenced new caring cultures to develop in NSW.

Grace started work at the ‘Almony Department’ at Royal Newcastle Hospital in 1943. Five years earlier she had completed a Certificate of Social Studies in Sydney and after completion of her studies gained experienced in the mental health setting working for the Red Cross at the Army General Hospital at Goulburn, NSW. At this time the Army General Hospital was the main psychiatric hospital in NSW and provided care for soldiers who had returned from New Guinea.

When Grace arrived at the Royal in Newcastle she was one of three almoners at Newcastle and worked across many different areas of medicine. The Almony department at Newcastle was the first outside Sydney (at a public hospital), they would do ‘rounds’ every Friday with the medical staff and visiting all 278 patients.  Medical issues and the patient’s social situation were noted and if social work support was required, the almoner would take a ‘social history’. This was a story about the person’s life, their social supports, interests, employment etc. The gathering of personal information was an integral part of the medical assessment.

The almoner’s role at Newcastle also involved visiting patients at other locations. The Newcastle Hospital Almoners undertook home visits when a patient left hospital, they visited the Waratah convalescent home, as well as the Rankin Park ‘Chest’ Hospital where patients with Tuberculosis were treated. Almoners also worked extensively with mental health patients. Two psychiatrists visited Newcastle Hospital on a regular basis and social work intervention was part of patient care.

Source: Hospital at Rankin Park. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.
Grace believed that an Almoners job was to “see that any problem- financial, emotional or environmental that would prevent a patient from deriving full benefit from prescribed treatment” (Parbery : Newcastle Morning Herald 1947)

In 1955 Grace was instrumental in establishing a Domiciliary Care Service and Retraining Unit for the elderly at the Royal Newcastle Hospital, a scheme which launched Home Care Service of NSW. What originally started as a service proving housekeeping services, branched out over the decades to support other groups including mothers and the aged in the 1960s, to families of children with a disability in the 1970s, to a focus on care of young people with a disability in the 1980s. In 1986 Grace received Australia Day Honours and was awarded an OAM for her contribution to health care. 

Rosemary Ramsey is another important figure in NSW's health history.  Born in Salisbury in the county of Wiltshire in England she came to Australia with her family when she was 4. At the age of 16, Rosemary moved to Perth to undertake a degree in psychology at the University of Western Australia. As part of her final year in the degree, she worked at a children’s home in Perth. Her son Steve advised that whilst she was there “she was so appalled by the treatment of the children that she was moved to write a letter to the responsible Minister.” Rosemary received a response from the minister and interestingly was offered a scholarship to study social work, a new course, at the University of Melbourne. When in Melbourne she worked at Royal Park and Mont Park Hospitals and is believed she was the only social worker working in a mental hospital in Australia. It was in Melbourne she met her husband Jake and had her first son Steve, and two years later another son Richard. During the 1950s they family moved to Lake Macquarie where their third son Michael was born.

Rosemary Ramsey in Perth 1945. Photograph courtesy Steve Ramsey

In 1965 Rosemary got a job as an almoner at Royal Newcastle Hospital where she worked for several years before becoming social worker at Newcastle Psychiatric Centre, or Watt St as it was more commonly known, a position she held until her retirement. She was certainly the first non-medical unit director at Watt Street where she headed up the addiction unit. She was the only social worker at this mental hospital when she started there. Social workers assisted mental health patients find appropriate accommodation, and seeing there was a need in this area Rosemary helped set up Trelowarren one of the first residential facilities for this group.  The location of Trelowarren was to the right as you entered the main hospital grounds. Today this is the area of the Thwaites Building. This building provided short term residential accommodation until more permanent accommodation could be found.  Rosemary also provided care to patients at Shortland Clinic at Newcastle.

Children playing at school house at Newcastle Mental Hospital. 1957. Later become Trelowarren.
Source:  Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

Shortland Clinic. Source: University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

While working at the hospital, she started the Newcastle branch of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (PRA) in Newcastle an organisation with which she continued to work with for many years after her retirement in 1985.  PRA is organisation that was first established at Callan Park Hospital in 1955. The Newcastle service was established in 1961, and in 1981 a program that provided social support, this came as a result of the Richmond Report that recommended the closing of some mental health institutions in NSW.   Rosemary received an award from PRA for her lifetime contribution to that organisation. Apparently on her retirement, she was described by the then Medical Superintendent, the late Brian Thwaites, as the conscience of the mental hospital. 
In 1993 the Australian Association of Social Workers established an Award in Grace Parbery’s honour. Each year this goes to an outstanding social worker who has made a contribution to the field social work. A year after Grace’s death, the inaugural award went to Rosemary Ramsey, fellow Novocastrian who had also made a significant contribution as a social worker and to health care, primarily to mental health care.  In 1995 Rosemary was presented with the Premier’s Award for outstanding service to the Community, “Rosemary Ramsey was a contemporary of Grace Parbery and similarly has been at the forefront of innovative service development. Her work exemplifies social work values, ethics and practice principles, and has been of enormous benefit to people within the Hunter.” Her contributions are warmly remembered by those whose lives she touched.

Rosemary Ramsey in 2011 Photograph courtesy of Steve Ramsey.

Rosemary Ramsey on her 80th birthday. Photograph courtesy of Steve Ramsey.
The contribution Grace and Rosemary have made to the well-being of individuals and the wider community is significant because health practices they helped to establish are part of NSW’s ‘health history’, something that today and in the future we will be able to reflect on and learn. There was a strong sense of connection, and a certain relationship between the ‘hospital’ workers and the Newcastle community.
The attitude of the community to the Hospital is different from in a larger city. The Hospital is the Hospital of the People; it is supported by the people and serves a greater cross section of the community. People know more about the Hospital and consequently more is known about the function of the Almoner Department, both within the community and within the Hospital. Grace Parbery

Many Thanks to Rosemary's son Steve Ramsey for sharing his mum's story and beautiful photographs.

Parbery, Grace Australian Journal of Social Work; Mar1950, Vol. 3 Issue 4, p1-4, 4p
Publication Year: 1950.

Parbery, Grace Mary Australian Social Work; Jun1994, Vol. 47 Issue 2, p16-16, 1p 1994.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Newcastle- Photographs of the 1870s

Local Treasures - Newcastle- Photographs of the 1870s              28 January 2014
Presenter: Carol Duncan
Interviewees: Ann Hardy

The Holtermann Collection featured in The Greatest Wonder of the World exhibition at the State Library of NSW in 2013. The Holtermann Collection contains photographs of NSW between 1873 and 1875, the American and Australian Photographic Company involved in taking photographs for this collection may have visited Newcastle in the early 1870s.
Bernhardt Holtermann commissioned photographers from the American and Australian Photographic Company to take images of the expanding townships of NSW. Holtermann had made his fortune in the goldfields at Hill End in 1872 when miners of his company found the 'Holtermann Nugget', this helped him finance the photographic project. Beaufoy Merlin and Charles Bayliss were partners in the American and Australian Photographic Company and the primary photographers of images in the Holtermann Collection.
The photographers took glass negatives of high quality capturing much development in early NSW rural towns. The majority of the photographs are of rural NSW including Hill End, Gulgong, Mudgee and Bathurst, and Sydney and Melbourne. Unfortunately it does not seem scenes of Newcastle were part of the collection. 
The recent exhibition of the Holtermann Collection was held at the State Library of NSW, many taken by the American and Australian Photographic Company. In a separate album held at the library there are some photographs of Newcastle from the early 1870s. These photographs are not available on the library’s website, and have been tucked away not in general public view. The State Library of NSW have kindly given permission for these images to be publicly available on-line.
In September 2013 I visited the library to look at some of these "Newcastle" photographs, with no further description of what was available I was interested in which parts of Newcastle were shown. What I found were images taken from the usual aspects, from Nobbys Road towards Nobbys, from Christ Church overlooking the harbour, Gaol Hill across Newcastle Beach, and a view looking east towards the city. What I didn't expect and took me by surprise were how early the photographs were taken, most likely some time between 1870 and 1874. I decided to digitally photograph images as they appeared in the album because I knew they were historically significant and contained important information for future research. I also knew there would be of interest to some in the local Newcastle community.
These Newcastle photographs were taken by the American and Australian Photographic Company, and although not part of the Holtermann Collection have a close association because of the same photographers involved. This company flourished as there was extensive interest in documenting the growth of the State of NSW and progress of industry and manufacturing, the philosophy of the American and Australia Company is reflected in the following newspaper article:-
"The A. and A. Photographic Company desire further to remind the public that these negatives are not taken for the mere immediate object of sale, but that being registered, copies can at a all times be had by or of those parties residing in any part of the colonies wherever the company's operations have extended, thus forming a novel means of social and commercial intercourse. Sydney Morning Herald, 5 September 1870."

 The company's photographs of Newcastle are of landscapes and city views, much different to those in the Holtermann Collection that show individual shop fronts, residential houses and men at work. These ones of Newcastle document what was there at the time in terms of rail, other infrastructure, housing density and the general landscape before it become more heavily built on.
The most startling image in the album is that of the Sand Hills seperating Nobby's road and the main town. There were significant problems with sand drift, probably because much of the vegetation had been taken out. The sand appears to be encroaching on the former Lumber Yard and the area towards where Customs House was later built. Houses at Newcastle East have not yet been built and there is a pathway across the sand dune. Fences are erected possibly to stabilise the sand.
The photograph of Newcastle Beach is also a fascinating one, as it shows the area before any beach amenities, there is dilapidated fencing and an interesting fenced in area.
Enlarged sections of the images show a lot more detail of built environment to be seen in the photographs. Such as the coal company offices that were located at lower Watt Street where the Newcastle Railway Station now exists.  Some of these were the ‘Lambton Colliery Office’, ‘Waratah Coal Company’ and the ‘Co-operative Colliery Office’. This detail can help date images, for example the photograph showing the rail yards at the bottom Watt Street does not show Customs House that was built in 1877, or Newcastle Railway Station constructed in 1878.

Many thanks to the State Library of NSW for kindly giving permission to have these photographs publicly available.

Source: State Library of New South Wales, (PXA 365 / vols. 1-4PXA 365 VOL 4)
Title: Photographs of Sydney, Melbourne and regional New South Wales and miscellaneous personal photographs from B. O. Holtermann , ca 1870- ca 1880
Date of Work ca 1870- ca 1880

 Source: State Library of New South Wales- 'View of Newcastle, N.S.W Looking N.E'

Source: State Library of New South Wales- 'View of Newcastle, N.S.W Looking West from Captain Allan's Hill'

Enlarged section of above photograph

Enlarged section of 'View of Newcastle, N.S.W Looking West from Captain Allan's Hill'

Source: State Library of New South Wales- 'View of Newcastle, N.S.W Looking West from the Old Gaol'

Enlarged Section of  'View of Newcastle, N.S.W Looking West from the Old Gaol'

Source: State Library of New South Wales- 'View of lighthouse "Nobby's" Newcastle, N.S.W

Enlarged Section - 'View of lighthouse "Nobby's" Newcastle, N.S.W

Enlarged section of Continuation of 'View of Newcastle, N.S.W Looking West from the Old Gaol'

Source: State Library of New South Wales- continuation of  'View of Newcastle, N.S.W Looking West from the Old Gaol' caption

Source: State Library of New South Wales- 'View of Newcastle, N.S.W. Looking S.E. from Queen's Wharf'

Enlarged Section - 'View of Newcastle, N.S.W. Looking S.E. from Queen's Wharf'

Enlarged Section - 'View of Newcastle, N.S.W. Looking S.E. from Queen's Wharf'

Source: State Library of New South Wales- 'View of Lake Macquarie Road, Newcastle, N.S.W. Looking S.S.W. from Church Street'

Source: State Library of New South Wales- 'View of  Newcastle, N.S.W. Looking N.W.'

Enlarged Section- 'View of  Newcastle, N.S.W. Looking N.W

Enlarged Section- 'View of  Newcastle, N.S.W. Looking N.W

Enlarged Section- 'View of  Newcastle, N.S.W. Looking N.W