Thursday, February 04, 2010

Inverell District Family History Group reorganises after fire disaster

On 25 January in Fire guts Inverell's historic Byron Arcade I provided a report on this huge fire. I have updated this post a little to include later Inverell Times stories on the aftermath.

One of the things that I focused on in my original story given my interest in history was the loss inflicted by the fire on the Inverell District Family History Group. Fortunately, the Group has taken quick recovery steps. In a comment on the original story, Ann Hodgens wrote:

On behalf of the Inverell District Family History Group I'm pleased to report that we have new premises and plan to re-open on Monday 8th February upstairs at 129Otho Street, opposite the Centrelink offices. Whilst we've lost our library,we've managed to salvage most of the material the wonderful fire brigade men were able to obtain from the building after the fire. Our insurance will cover furniture, computers etc. and we've had offers of replacement books. Information regarding several of our current projects was offsite,and the Pioneer Register will continue but may be delayed. Forms are available on our website
Our members are determined to continue and we are working hard to rebuild as soon as possible. The support we've received from the family history and history world has been wonderful.
Ann Hodgens

Notice of meeting Oakwood FSA The work that societies like the Group do in preserving the history of families and districts makes a huge contribution to the retention of knowledge about our own past.

In my original post, I mentioned that in 1912 my grandfather, David Drummond, came to Inverell to manage Maxwelton, a wheat block created out of the newly subdivided Bannockburn Station. Mum was born while they were living there, so I could claim a personal Inverell connection.

While living at Inverell, my grandfather became an active member of the Oakwood Branch of the Farmers and Settlers Association. This meeting notice is from cousin Jamie's collection. Eight year's later, this active involvement would lead to his entry to the NSW State Parliament.

The back of this photo also from cousin Jamie's collection is inscribed in my grandfather's handwriting "a squatter goes to town"! A squatter goes to town

While my grandfather was proud of the fact that at twenty two he was in charge of Maxwelton, managing a wheat block on a share farm basis was hardly a sure course to wealth. Still it did provide sufficient certainty for his marriage in 1913.

The photo itself is not a very good one. Still it's interesting. The young Drummond is quite dressed up, especially for the sometimes hot Inverell climate. You did get dressed up to go to town!

I know far less than I should about various horse drawn vehicles. It remains a gap in my knowledge. However, I think that this is a spider sulky,a light weight vehicle that allowed easy carriage. This was also probably the vehicle in which my grandfather drove his bride to her new home at Maxwelton. 

The last photo from cousin Jamie's collection shows Pearl and David Drummond with daughters Edna (mum, left) and Phyllis. The photo would have been taken about 1915 or early 1916 not long before Phyllis's sudden death in July 1916 from flue.  

Phyllis was an attractive and much loved child, you can actually see this from the phInverell, Edna and Phyliis with Fa and Granoto, and her death was a tragic blow.  We forget today just what a constant presence death was.

This short family story may seem to have wandered a little from the Inverell District Family History Group. However, all families have stories that reveal something about life. Their preservation plays a role in the preservation of history.

I would argue that this is especially important today many Australians - and I suspect others in other countries too - are more cut off from their past simply because fashions in history have changed towards the current and general thematic.

Certainly in my work in trying to write a history of New England, as well my writings on my own family, I depend upon the work of local and family history groups.

Congratulations to the Inverell District Family History Group on their courage and strength in responding to disaster.               


Le Loup said...

Good post Jim, very interesting.
Le Loup.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, LL. Much appreciated.