26 matches for themes: 'gold rush','immigrants and emigrants'Diverse state (139) Aboriginal culture (26) Built environment (36) Creative life (46) Family histories (8) Gold rush (7) Immigrants and emigrants (21) Kelly country (3) Land and ecology (23) Local stories (53) Service and sacrifice (13) Sporting life (5)
After convict William Buckley’s escape from a Victorian settlement he was discovered by the Wathaurang people who thought this pale, 198cm giant carrying a spear was the ghost of one of their leaders.
Buckley had arrived at Port Phillip from England in 1803 with about 300 soldiers, settlers and convicts after being sentenced to transportation for life. Before the Port Phillip and Sullivan Bay (Victoria’s first official European settlement) settlement was abandoned, Buckley escaped. He wandered alone for weeks before he was befriended by the Wathaurang people.
Over the next 32 years Buckley lived with the Wathaurang, learnt their language and customs, married and had a daughter. In 1835 he finally emerged to meet Batman’s colonising party and tried to work as an intermediary between settlers and aborigines, but felt he wasn’t trusted by either.
His name lives on in Australian slang with the ironic saying “you’ve got Buckley’s chance” or “Buckley’s hope”.
Further material can be found at the State Library of Victoria's Ergo site:-
William Buckley's Escape
Buckley and the Aborigines
Buckley's return to European life
Digital Stories of Immigration
Migration is a strong theme of exploration for many who take part in the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Digital Storytelling workshops.
These stories recount extraordinary journeys of courage for many have had to flee their homeland to start a new life in Australia enduring sinking boats, pirates and transit camps.
New language, new culture, new landscapes and new climates are all part of the challenges of resettlement.
Produced as part of the ACMI digital storytelling program these stories explore the waves of migration from Post war to stories from emerging communities and new arrivals. Immigration has been significant in identifying Australia’s history and culture and the ACMI stories of migration celebrate the multitude of diverse communities in Victoria.
The Unsuspected Slums
Campaigner Frederick Oswald Barnett recorded the poverty facing many in the Melbourne slums of the 1930s.
“All the houses face back-yards…The woman living in the first house…was so desperately poor that she resolved to save the maternity bonus, and so, with her last baby had neither anaesthetic nor doctor.”
So observed campaigner Frederick Oswald Barnett of the poverty facing many in the Melbourne slums of the 1930s. After touring these slums with Barnett, it’s said the Victorian Premier, Albert Dunstan, couldn’t sleep for days.
In 1936 Dunstan established the Slum Abolition Board, and Barnett became vice-chairman of the newly established Housing Commission of Victoria in 1938.
A Methodist and accountant, Barnett became determined to improve the situation for the poor, sick, elderly and unemployed after encountering a slum in the 1920s. He was an astute crusader who coordinated letter writing campaigns and lectured throughout Victoria using many of his own poignant and arresting photographs of the cramped and unsanitary housing conditions.
Rippon Lea Estate
"Do you remember the garden in which you grew up, or the part the backyard played in your family life? Imagine if you had actually grown up in one of Australia's finest gardens.
Created in the English-landscape tradition which traces its roots back to Capability Brown and Humphry Repton, Rippon Lea is one of Australia's most important historic homes, exemplifying the lifestyle of wealthy families living in 19th and 20th century Australian cities. Although its architecture and that of its outbuildings is impressive, it is the mansion’s gardens, which are truly remarkable, both for their landscape qualities and because they have survived many threats and changes in the past 130 years.
Today, the amenities offered by a typical garden are still greatly valued: a safe place for children to play, somewhere to dry the washing, a plot for vegetables and a flower garden that adds colour and produces blooms for the home. Today as then, the scale differs but the experience of owning a garden - with its balance of utility and ornament - is essentially the same.
The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) now runs Rippon Lea as a museum, conserving the architecture and the landscape, and presenting the social history of the owners and their servants. Visitors to Rippon Lea enter a mansion preserved as the Jones family lived in it after their 1938 modernisation. In the pleasure garden the Sargood era is evoked by the staging of a range of performing arts events including opera, theatre, chamber music and outdoor activities."
The text above has been abstracted from an essay Solid Joys and Lasting Treasure: families and gardens written by Richard Heathcote for the publication The Australian Family: Images and Essays. The entire text of the essay is available as part of this story.
This story is part of The Australian Family project, which involved 20 Victorian museums and galleries. The full series of essays and images are available in The Australian Family: Images and Essays published by Scribe Publications, Melbourne 1998, edited by Anna Epstein. The book comprises specially commissioned and carefully researched essays with accompanying artworks and illustrations from each participating institution.
60s & 70s waves
Since the 1960s Australia has welcomed migrants from Asia, Africa, Oceania, the Middel East and South America.
Many migrated to flee from the ravages of war, hunger, religious persecution or political repressions in their home country. Others were seeking a new beginning, a brighter future or reunification with loved ones.
These stories produced through ACMI’s Digital Storytelling program share the personal experiences of migration and settlement and are a testimony to the cultural diversity of modern Australia.
The Palais Theatre
It’s impossible for Melburnians to think about the St Kilda Esplanade without visualising the Palais Theatre standing majestically against Port Phillip Bay. Its grand Art Deco façade is as iconic to St Kilda as the Pavilion on the nearby pier, Acland Street or the theatre’s "just for fun" neighbour, Luna Park.
It’s surprising to discover, then, that the Palais wasn’t always regarded with such affection. When the original building – a dance hall called the Palais de Danse – was being constructed in 1913, over 800 locals attended a public meeting to protest it being given a license. They voiced fears that it would lower the tone of St Kilda, “have a demoralising effect on young people", and be "common with a big C”. The battle was won by the building owners, the three Phillips brothers (American immigrants who also built Luna Park), and an entertainment venue has stood on the site ever since.
The Palais Theatre is a magical place for Melburnians. It’s where generations of us have danced cheek to cheek, watched movies in the darkness, screamed lustily at the Rolling Stones, thrown roses at the feet of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev, and given standing ovations to Dame Joan Hammond’s awe-inspiring soprano. Your grandparents probably had their first date there. Ask them about the Palais and watch them smile.
The theatre is underwent restoration in 2016-17, which preserved the heritage value of the site and ensured the Palais remains a live performance venue and cultural icon in St Kilda for many generations to come. The restoration was funded by the State Government of Victoria and the City of Port Phillip.
Digital Stories of Young Adults
Being a teenage mother, expressing the power of music and defining identity and sexuality are just some of the stories shared by the young people who have taken part in the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) Digital Storytelling program.
Inside each story is a profusion of ideas and emotions that are edited together as an illuminating way for the young storytellers to evoke memories, places and events that inspire them. Digital Storytelling provides a powerful multimodal learning tool that allows young people to tap into their creativity and critical awareness while allowing for a fluid manipulation and construction of technical and storytelling knowledge.
For more information visit the Australian Centre for the Moving Image website
Mapping Great Change
This series of films and stories is centred on a beautiful and complex map with the ungainly name: Plan of the General Survey from the Town of Malmsbury to the Porcupine Inn, from the sources of Forest Creek to Golden Point, shewing the Alexandrian Range, also Sawpit Gully, Bendigo and Bullock Creeks.
In many ways, the map is a mirror of our times: the map is a record of the 'critical years' between 1835 and 1852 in which the dispossession of Aboriginal people of Victoria was allowed to occur; we contemporary people are in the "critical decade" for making the changes necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change.
If we fail to act effectively in this decade, it will be as loaded with moral and practical consequences for coming generations as the moral and policy failures of our colonial ancestors was for the Traditional Owners of the land.
The Welsh Swagman
Joseph Jenkins was a Welsh itinerant labourer in late 1800s Victoria.
Exceptional for a labourer at the time, Jenkins had a high level of literacy and kept detailed daily diaries for over 25 years, resulting in one of the most comprehensive accounts of early Victorian working life.
Itinerant labourers of the 1800s, or 'swagmen', have become mythologised in Australian cultural memory, and so these diaries provide a wonderful source of information about the life of a 'swagman'. They also provide a record of the properties and districts Jenkins travelled to, particularly around the Castlemaine and Maldon area.
The diaries were only discovered 70 years after Jenkins' death, in an attic, and were in the possession of Jenkins’s descendants in Wales until recently, when they were acquired by the State Library of Victoria in 1997.
Restoring St Nicholas
St Nicholas church in Humffray St, Ballarat East, was built in 1867. Originally named the Bible Christian Church, it was built by Cornish miners in the evenings and weekends after they had returned from their work at the diggings.
Like most buildings of its time it was built to last, constructed of solid brick with lime mortar. By the 1970s, the mortar was crumbling and the church community of the time re-mortared it with cement, a process we now know was incorrect for buildings of its age. The cement mortar, combined with rising damp, caused salt attack in many of the original bricks and the building literally began to crumble.
In 2009 the Greek Orthodox community of St Nicholas approached the City of Ballarat, Heritage Victoria and the trade school at the University of Ballarat to form a unique partnership to restore the church. This project allowed young apprentices to learn traditional trade skills and practice the technique of mixing and using lime mortar. In the process, the humble church has had its life extended, and the Greek community have a religious and cultural centre they can use for generations to come.
What is Eureka and what happened there?
In the early hours of 3 December 1854 a force of police and other troops charged a reinforced camp constructed by miners on the Eureka gold diggings. About 150 diggers were inside the stockade at the time of the attack. In the fighting, 4 soldiers and about 30 other people were killed, and another 120 people taken prisoner. Thirteen people from the stockade were charged with treason – these men were either tried and found not guilty, or charges against them were dropped.
Many people think of the Eureka Stockade as a battle between the diggers (rebellious Irish fighting for democracy) and the police and colonial militia (the forces of the British Crown in the Colony). It’s nice to have a single story to make sense of everything. Eureka, however, is not a single simple narrative. Several stories intertwine and involve many of the same people and places. Let’s look at some of them.
The Hated Gold Licences
In 1854, people mining for gold around Victoria had to pay a monthly fee of 30 shillings for the right to mine, regardless of how much gold they found. Someone who had been looking for gold unsuccessfully for months still had to pay the same fee as someone who was pulling out gold by the pound. Diggers argued that it was an unfair tax, imposed on them without their consent, as they did not have the right to vote. (After the Goldfields Royal Commission the licensing fee was changed to a tax on gold when it was being exported.)
Not only did the diggers resent the licence fee, they were angry at the way the goldfields police went about checking that miners had licences. Diggers claimed that police were beating people up or chaining them to trees if they could not produce a licence, and undertaking unnecessary inspections on people they didn’t like. Resentment of the licence fee and the conduct of police in their “licence hunts” was expressed across the Victorian goldfields.
The Unfair Treatment of Diggers by the Police and Justice System
People around the Victorian goldfields were also unhappy with the lack of thoroughness with which police had investigated a number of goldfields crimes. They were concerned about what they thought was the unfair and secretive way people were charged and convicted of crimes. There were claims by people living on the goldfields that it was necessary to bribe police and government officials in order to do business and stay safe. As the goldfields populations increased, tensions between the goldfields communities and police and other government officials rose.
In Ballarat a series of events (a murder, an arrest and a hotel burning) in late 1854 involving police and Ballarat locals led to the arrests of three men for burning down the Eureka Hotel. These arrests caused enormous disquiet in the area, adding weight to calls by the Ballarat Reform League and other organisations around the goldfields for a fundamental change to the system of government in the Colony – the next element in our Eureka story.
Demands for a Democratic Political System
Since the early 1850s people had been calling for the government to abandon the gold licensing system, remove the gold commissioners, and provide the Colony with a better policing and justice system. Despite an investigation by the Victorian parliament into the goldfields in 1853 (a Legislative Council Select Committee) the government did not make significant changes. By November 1854 an organisation called the Ballarat Reform League had formed in response to official inaction and had written a Charter of democratic rights. They organised a "monster meeting" in Ballarat on 11 November 1854, to have it accepted, and met with Governor Hotham on 27 November 1854, to demand his acceptance of the Charter, and the release of the three prisoners charged with burning down the Eureka Hotel.
The people calling for these changes to taxes, justice and political participation came from many different parts of the world, such as the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Germany. This corner of South-Eastern Australia was rapidly changing as thousands and thousands of people arrived to search for gold. Many of these people were educated and from middle-class or merchant backgrounds. The domination of squatters running sheep on large land holdings was being challenged by dense populations of people in goldrush regions generating enormous wealth in the colony, and a desire from these recent arrivals to take up land, and have a say in the making of laws.
We have looked at some parts of the Eureka story; at what unfolded around the colony as a result of this mix of people, events and system of government. There are many other stories about Eureka. To find out more, you can explore the stories through original documents at Eureka on Trial.
Goldfields Stories: Dai gum san, big gold mountain
It may come as a surprise to some that the oldest Imperial Dragon in the world, Loong, is to be found in Bendigo, Victoria.
In 1851 gold was found in the Bendigo region. News reached China and by 1853 Chinese miners started to arrive at Dai Gum San (Big Gold Mountain). By 1855 there were up to 4000 Chinese in the Bendigo goldfields, about one fifth of the population.
By the 1860s, Bendigo was becoming a wealthy and established town, and in 1869 The Bendigo Easter Fair and Procession was initiated to raise funds for the Bendigo Benevolent Asylum and Hospital. By 1871, the Chinese, keen to support the wider community, joined the procession, providing music, theatre and acrobatic displays. Their position as the main attraction at the Fair was confirmed by 1879.
All of the costumes, flags and musical instruments were imported from China, with no expense spared. For the 1882 Fair, 100 cases of processional regalia were imported. In 1892 a further 200 cases arrived, along with Loong, the Imperial five-clawed dragon, who made his first appearance that year.
The traditions established in the 1860s by the Bendigo Chinese community continue to this day. As well as providing the main attraction in the Bendigo Easter Festival, ceremonies such as the Awakening of the Dragon are conducted. These traditions reflect uniquely preserved traditions, many of which were lost or discontinued in mainland China. They also reflect traditions, such as the main celebration taking place at Easter rather than Chinese New Year, that trace the history of the Chinese in Victoria.
The remarkable collection of 19th Century processional regalia that has been preserved by the Chinese community in Bendigo is held in the Golden Dragon Museum. It is not only a collection of world significance but, importantly, it contextualises and preserves the living heritage of both Victoria and China.
Paintings Porcelain and Photography
Geelong Gallery was established in 1896 by twelve passionate citizens who believed Victoria's second largest and fastest growing city deserved an art institution befitting an aspiring metropolis. Since then, Geelong Gallery has established a collection of some 6,000 items – significant amongst these items are their holdings of paintings, porcelain and photography.
The gallery’s collection of Australian painting tells the history of the region from colonial times to the early twentieth century. Eugene von Guerard’s View of Geelong provides a sweeping panorama of Geelong seen from a vantage point near the village of Ceres in the nearby Barrabool Hills in 1856. While Arthur Streeton’s painting Ocean blue, Lorne, one of the gallery’s most recent acquisitions, depicts a shimmering summery sky, a view through slender young gum trees and down to the pristine sand and aquamarine ocean below in the 1920’s.
Geelong Gallery has a large and specialised collection of British painted porcelain spanning 1750 – 1850. It is one of the most significant holdings in Australia and is part of a bequest by well-known local citizen Dorothy McAllister. A fine example is the 'Buckingham Palace' card tray by renowned manufacturer Worcester dating to the 1840’s.
The gallery’s photographic collection is very much of the twentieth century, but not without references to earlier times and other works in the collection. Polixeni Papapetrou’s photograph In the Wimmera 1864 #1 created in 2006 examines the narrative of the ‘lost child’ and refers to Frederick McCubbin’s late nineteenth century paintings of children ‘lost’ or at least wandering absent-mindedly through the Australian bush.
History Teachers Association of Victoria / Chinese Museum
When World War One was declared, Australia issued a call to arms.
The Chinese-Australian community rallied behind the war efforts. Over two hundred Australians of Chinese descent enlisted. One hundred and seven of these were from Victoria. Of those Chinese Australians who fought, forty-one died. No Chinese-Australian nurses who served in the War have been identified to date.
The story of the Chinese Anzacs is often overlooked in the greater narratives of World War One. Their experiences during and after the war were the subject of the 'Chinese Anzacs' exhibition on display at the Chinese Museum in 2014.
Burke and Wills: Have Camels Will Travel
Dromedary camels were introduced to Australia in 1840. The first significant shipment, however, was made to service the Burke and Wills expedition, which was the first exploring party to use camels, as well as horses, for transporting supplies.
In 1858, George Landells, who had worked as a horse trader in India, wrote to the Victorian Government explaining how the camel was ideally suited to the Australian landscape. He offered to travel to India and purchase camels on behalf of the Victorian government for use in exploration, and as the basis of a breeding stud. The government’s Board of Science and Zoological Gardens Committee agreed that the camel would be useful on the Australian continent, and Landells was authorised to borrow money from the Indian Government and make the purchase.
Landells traveled through India, Pakistan and Afghanistan to source the animals, engaging eight camel drivers to assist him on the journey from Karachi to Melbourne in December 1859, arriving mid-June 1860.
He was hailed for his travels through the ‘very unsettled’ lands by the English Scindian Newspaper, and similarly lauded in Melbourne where the ‘exotic’ animals caused a sensation, as did their handlers, identified variously as Indians, Sepoys, and Malays.
Partly in response to his fame, Landells was appointed second in command of the Burke and Wills expedition. He was also appointed officer in charge of the camels.
Landells recruited John Drakeford and John King, who had helped him bring the animals from Karachi to Melbourne, and four of the eight handlers: Samla (described by Becker as a Hindu), Dost Mahomet (or Botan), from Guznee; Esau Khan (or Hissand or Isaah), Belooch, who came from Mahadpoor in the Punjab, and another man from Kelat.
The expedition party departed Melbourne with 26 camels. As the expedition progressed, Landells and Burke disagreed over their treatment and Landells resigned in Menindee.
Four of the 26 camels were left at Menindee. Dost Mahomet stayed with 16 at the Coopers Creek depot. Burke and Wills took six animals with them on their trek to the Gulf and John King, travelled with them, to care for. Some of the animals strayed or were lost, others were abandoned. Burke, Wills, Charlie Gray and John King ate the last of them, as they struggled back from the Gulf of Carpentaria.
However the Burke and Wills Expedition was not the end of the story. Camels had proved their worth in negotiating the harsh and dry Australian interior and camels became an increasingly important form of transport in the Australian inland. Between 1870 and 1900, over 15,000 camels and 2000 cameleers were brought to Australia. The cameleers were commonly known as “Afghans” although small in number, they made a vital contribution to Australia’s exploration and development.
Feral camels now roam across outback Australia. In response, markets for live camels and camel meat have developed. It is more than likely that the descendents of Landells’ camels are among those that now roam the Australian continent.
From the nuclear to the extended family, from groups of close friends, communities and neighbourhoods, to one on one relationships: family means many different things to different people.
Family describes our most cherished, and sometimes most difficult, relationships. In this collection of digital stories and videos, Victorians share their family stories.
Family stories include stories of immigration; disadvantage and survival, indigenous life, stories of sickness and health; life and death; childhood and old age.
CULTURAL WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users are warned that some of the videos in this story may contain images of deceased persons and images of places that could cause sorrow.