Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Sister Haultain

Recently I became aware of the name Helen Frances Jane Cynthia Haultain. Ingleburn RSL has a memorial park and plaque dedicated to her, and I was asked by them to see if I could find out some further details of her life. I was able to find out the following information.
Helen Frances Jane Cynthia Haultain, was born to parents Henry Graham Haultain (a New Zealander) and Helen Caroline Hill. Henry and Helen were married in Bengal, India where Henry was an Inspector of Police.
Eldest child Charles was born in 1896, Helen in 1904, and sister Sybil in 1905. They were all born in Calcutta. Helen was mostly known as Cynthia, so I’ll refer to her as Cynthia for the rest of this article.
Helen and the three children arrived in Australia on June 14th 1920, from Calcutta, aboard the ship “James”.  I could find no record of father Henry Graham Haultain coming to Australia, and he died in India in 1937.
The Haultains settled at Ingleburn, with the earliest record of them living there I could find was 1926. Cynthia’s brother Charles, who became a mariner before joining the Navy, married Ruby Olive Cust, an Ingleburn girl. Mother Helen lived with second daughter Sybil at “Oranmore” on Cumberland Road.
Cynthia passed her nursing exams in 1929 and her application was accepted by the Nurses Registration Board the same year. In 1930 she became engaged to Leslie Palmer but they did not end up marrying.
Cynthia trained at the Coast Hospital which later became Prince Henry Hospital, during which time she lived at Maroubra. She went on to nurse in the Blue Mountains and was living at Wentworth Falls, in 1932, and then in 1933 was living at Auburn whilst working at Newington State Hospital where she remained until joining up. She was experienced in respiratory nursing and operating theatre techniques.
Sister Haultain
(Photo: 2/3 A.H.S. Centaur Association, May 2013 Newsletter)
Cynthia served at Hay Camp Hospital as well as on board the hospital ship Oranje. She then served on board Australian Hospital Ship Centaur which was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine on May 14th 1943 and Sister Haultain was reported 'missing', which was then changed to 'drowned due to enemy action'.  Of 332 persons on board the Centaur only 64 survived. In a strange twist of fate, the HMAS Lithgow, called on to search for survivors, was captained by Sister Haultain’s brother, Captain Charles Graham Theodore Haultain.
In addition to the park and plaque honoring Sister Haultain, there is also a stained glass window in her memory in St Barnabas’ Church, Ingleburn, her family’s place of worship.
In 2009, a search led by David Mearns, discovered Centaur’s wreck. Centaur was located about 30 nautical miles off the southern tip of Moreton Island, off Queensland’s south-east coast. The site is now a memorial to the lives that were lost.

Written by Claire Lynch
2/3 A.H.S. Centaur Association (Inc.)

Friday, 10 May 2019

More Then and Nows

Three out of the four comparisons below were taken around the area where Dumaresq Street intersects with Queen Street in Campbelltown. The other one is taken from Hollylea Road in Leumeah.

Corner of Moore-Oxley Bypass and Dumaresq Street. The above image of Tripp's Cottage was taken in the early 1980s. Today's car park below has obliterated virtually everything from the photo above.
Almost 100 years later this scene is so different. This was taken at the corner of Dumaresq and Queen Streets. Behind the trees is the Old CBC Bank that can just be seen in the above image.
The iconic Tripps Garage can be seen in the above image shortly before it was demolished around 1966. Behind it is the house where the family lived. Below is the same site today with Ralph's Chemist on the corner.
Much has altered since the above shot was taken, probably in the 1950s or early sixties. This part of what was then Campbelltown Road is now Hollylea Road. The old road now ends here. The site of Keighran's Mill would have been on the extreme right of the photograph. Not far behind the cars is the creek that can be seen in the old photograph.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Mystery Solved...possibly!

A few weeks ago I posted about the very difficult task of identifying more (actually anything) about the above photograph. I knew my chances of finding anything were remote. However, after some intense detective work, I think I'm on to something!

Very few details about this photograph in our collection existed. There was no date, location or names of the people. All we have is that it was taken in Campbelltown. We do however, have the name of the photographer. The image was taken by Boag and Milligan, Sydney. Research by the State Library of Queensland reveals that these two operated a photography business. The early part of William Boag's career was spent in Sydney where he was in partnership with portrait photographer Joseph Charles Milligan. Boag then went to Queensland in November 1871.

The library was fortunate enough to have two other images of Campbelltown in its collection by William Boag. Both these images were taken in 1871. It can be fairly certain then that this particular photograph therefore dates to 1871. Both the other photographs are of buildings located at the southern end of Queen Street: Mrs Hickey's shop and Bugden's blacksmith shop. In fact both buildings, from the records we hold at the library, appear to have been located virtually side-by-side to each other.

I decided I would search all the 1156 images we held of Queen Street for a building at the southern end of the street that looked like the one above. After trawling through hundreds, there was one that caught my attention. It was taken in the 1950s. It shows what appears to be a very old house and to the left of it, another house. A closer inspection of it however, reveals that it is two houses very close to each other. At first glance the building or buildings don't appear to resemble our building. However, if you imagine looking at them from a different angle, you get a different picture.

Below is the house taken in the 1950s.

If you examine the 1871 house, you will notice a building adjoining it that has a verandah  and roofline elevated from its verandah. The house, like the one in the 1950s photograph, is very close and almost attached to it. Other similarities include the chimneys and the verandah posts. There is also a similar gap where gates can be found at the side of both houses. About 80 years separates both photographs, so changes will obviously have occurred in that time.

It's a shame we don't get a decent shot of the 1950s house from the other angle, as this would probably show where the windows are located and therefore prove one way or another if it is our house.

If we can be sure this is the same house we are looking at, maybe we can then go close to identifying the people in it. Norm Campbell, who is now in his mid 90s, remembers the houses that were taken in the 1950s. He said that Mears family lived in the smaller one on the left (same house as the 1871 one) and the Reynolds family in the larger house on the right.

Norm also confirmed that Bugden's also lived in the house to the left of the other houses in the 1950s photograph. This is of course a much later house and would've replaced Bugden's old blacksmith shop. Mrs Hickey's shop was located 50 metres to the south of the Queen Street and Bradbury Avenue intersection. I measured this and it is exactly where you drive in to the car wash today. Therefore I believe it would've been in the same vicinity as the above buildings, possibly even between Bugden's and the 1871 house. Norm also said that the post in the extreme right of the 1950s image was part of Dredge's cottage.

So, I believe I could possibly have solved this. I can't be certain of course. However, it would make sense that Boag took the three buildings next to each other on that day in 1871.

I welcome your thoughts on this.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

The Railway Harmons

In the Campbelltown Ingleburn News of April 30th, 1968, it was reported that Frederick Harmon of Campbelltown would drive the inaugural electric train to Campbelltown on May 4th. It was also reported that he was a grandson of William Harmon, a crew member of the first train to run to Campbelltown in 1858. Whilst this is a great story, some research revealed it was not entirely true!
William Henry Harmon was born in 1853. He married wife Jessie Maria Lovett in Sydney in 1878 before settling in Liverpool. They had a large family of seven children. William joined the Railway Department and became a locomotive engine driver. He retired in 1913, and died in 1933 at the age of 80. It would seem that Mr Harmon would have been far too young to drive or crew the first train to Campbelltown, and indeed it was reported in the SMH that the Chief Engineer, Mr Whitton, drove the train in 1858.

Percy Harmon was born to William and Jessie Harmon in 1887. He played football as a youngster. Percy volunteered for the Navy at the age of eighteen for five years. After his stint in the Navy, Percy joined the Railways Department as a cleaner, but when war broke out, he resigned and rejoined the Navy from 3rd July 1915 til March 1919, serving as a Captain’s valet on the HMAS Fantome. During this time he married Maria Baskerville. On his return he rejoined the railways, where he became a locomotive fireman. Percy and Maria had 8 children. Percy was a locomotive fireman until his retirement. He died in 1972.

Frederick Harmon was born to Percy and Maria in 1926. He married Betty Gloria Lidden of Campbelltown, a graduate of the Conservatorium of Music, in 1951. They lived in Sturt Street Campbelltown. Frederick was the driver of the inaugural electric train to Campbelltown on Saturday May 4th.  The most recent information I could find out about Fred Harmon was that he was still living in Campbelltown in 1980 and was still a locomotive driver. Apparently he was a bit of a character, and when he and Betty divorced, he stayed on in Sturt Street.
Fred Harmon at left (in white shirt and hat) at the accident at
 Menangle Station in 1963. Photo - Norm Campbell Collection
Whilst the idea that a grandfather and grandson drove the first train and the first electric train into Campbelltown was a great one, the real story of the train driving Harmons is equally interesting.
Written by Claire Lynch
“Parramatta District Soldiers in the Great War”

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

A Near Impossible Challenge


I like a challenge. Particularly when it comes to old photographs. This one however, might prove beyond my capabilities. It's really frustrating when you come across a photo in your collection that you know nothing about. The photographs above fit this category. Both of the above are the same photograph, but with one showing more detail using a close up shot. There is no date, no location and no names for the people posing for the photographer. All we know is that it was taken in Campbelltown. It was snapped so long ago. So long that the people are long gone from this world, their life stories likely to have been lost forever. The house has almost certainly been demolished and its location lost to history. As I explained though, I do welcome a challenge!

In the next week or so and before my next blog post, I will examine what we little we do know about this photo and, using the available clues, put together a profile of the photograph. I do know the photography company, so this might help date the photograph, along with the clues in the photo. The other tool I have at my disposal is assistance from our blog subscribers and readers. There are also various social media sites I will use that can help get the word out there and get people to contribute their thoughts and ideas.

I welcome your help. Let's see what we can do!

Thursday, 28 March 2019

"The Escaped Nun"

In 1886 a controversial lecture was given at Campbelltown’s Town Hall. It was well attended by a respectable and appreciative audience including the Presbyterian minister Rev. David Moore, the Congregational minister Rev. G. Rutherford and the Mayor of Campbelltown Mr Alex Munro.
The speaker was Edith O’Gorman – the “Escaped Nun” who spoke for nearly two hours, keeping her audience keenly interested and repeatedly eliciting vociferous applause.
The story of Edith O’Gorman is indeed a fascinating one. Born at Roscommon in Ireland on 20 August 1842, Edith O’Gorman emigrated to America in 1848 where she joined the Sisters of Charity in 1862, becoming Sister Teresa de Chantal and residing for the next six years at St Joseph's Convent in Hudson City, New Jersey. In January 1868 she left – or as she later claimed ‘escaped’ from - the convent and the following year she converted to Protestantism.
On August 18th 1870 she married William Charles Auffray, a Frenchman who had emigrated to New York. A son, William John Charles Auffray, was born in New York about 1876. In 1871 Edith published Convent Life Unveiled: The Trials and Persecutions of Miss Edith O’Gorman, which ran to numerous editions and was translated into several languages. In it, Edith recounted the many cruelties which she had allegedly endured during her time as a nun. These included being forced to eat worms for minor infractions of the rules and her attempted rape by a priest. Soon afterwards she began a series of Anti-Catholic lectures in which she detailed her blood-curdling experiences and railed against the horrors of convent life. She was billed as ‘The Escaped Nun’.

Edith took her lecture tour to New Zealand during the last few months of 1885. She arrived in Australia in March 1886 and embarked upon a lecture tour here.
On Friday 2nd July 1886, Edith gave her lecture at the Campbelltown Town Hall. It was reported that “a number of Roman Catholics were present at the lecture; and one man who was thought, by those who knew him, to be a bigoted Roman Catholic, was overheard to say – “every word she has said is the truth, for I know it”. * Her tour of Australia continued until December 1887. In many places her life was threatened, riots occurred, stones and eggs thrown and general disruption between Protestants and Catholics occurred. Edith and her husband then travelled to England where she continued lecturing. In England her tour attracted large audiences and mixed responses. While British Anti-Catholics applauded her condemnation of convents, small Roman Catholic minorities protested violently at her lectures and even threatened her with violence.

Edith’s husband William died, aged 50, in Dulwich on 25 June 1893. Edith herself died on 25 May 1929, aged 86, and was buried alongside her husband in London’s West Norwood Cemetery. An imposing but now semi-derelict monument still marks their grave.

Written by Claire Lynch

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Cliff Mallam

It's State election time, so I thought I would look back at the life of a former New South Wales politician that served Campbelltown. I chose Heathcote Clifford (Cliff) Mallam. Cliff was the Member for Campbelltown from 1971 to 1981.

A search of the material related to Cliff Mallam in our archives left me staggered at the amount of work he got through during his three terms. His face became so well recognized by local people, due to the fact that he was featured in the local newspaper almost every week. I thought I could discuss some of his achievements, but it was difficult to know where to start as there were so many.

Cliff was born at Backwater near Glen Innes and was the son of a farmer. He worked on dairy farms after leaving school at a young age, before moving on to be a shearer and drover. On moving to the city, he became a taxi and bus driver. He was a long term member of the Transport Workers Union and joined the labor Party in 1926.

Former NSW Premier Jack Lang played an important part in Cliff's life. Between 1946 and 1976 he was an editorial assistant on Lang's paper, The Century. It was Jack Lang that made the decision for Cliff that he was to serve Campbelltown in 1971. On his retirement Cliff told the local media "I was reluctant to come here- but Jack Lang said 'go to Campbelltown where the Labor Party was formed'". Cliff told the story about how Lang and Henry Lawson would sit on the hill overlooking Campbelltown and sit there and discuss politics. This was in the days before he became New South Wales Premier in 1927. He would escape the bear pit of Parliament, boil a billy, and sit down with Henry Lawson for hours on the hill discussing politics. This hill is now the park on the corner of Macquarie Avenue and Broughton Streets.

The move to the seat of Campbelltown was far removed from his previous seat of Cook in Sydney's south. In 1971 he defeated the sitting Liberal member Max Dunbier. He retained the seat for the next three elections and retired in 1981.

As I previously discussed, Cliff had a reputation as a hard worker for Campbelltown. There are too many to list but one topic that kept coming up was his work to improve Appin Road. He was active in having the road improved, speed limits reduced and alternative roads re-opened, such as an old army road to Bulli, to ease the congestion on Appin Road.

Cliff said he was privileged to serve Campbelltown. "I hope you will remember me as one who gave good judgement" he said.  Barbara Fetterplace, wife of former mayor Gordon Fetterplace and good friend of Cliff and his wife Alice, said of Cliff "...he was a true blue Campbelltown man, he would do anything for Campbelltown, that's my take on him". She continued "he always made a fuss of my kids, well our youngest was a baby, and he'd always make a beeline for her if I had her with me, and Gordon said to me sometime later, what do you make of Cliff Mallam, and I said, well I know politicians often make a point of talking to babies and being seen holding babies, but Cliff has kept doing it, so I think he might be for real!".

Cliff Mallam passed away aged 96 on 18 February 2006.


Macarthur Advertiser September 16 1981 p1


Barbara Fetterplace Oral History December 2017, held at Campbelltown Library