Tasmanian Family History Society Inc. Hobart Branch

News - October 2021

Editor: Judith Crossin

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Tuesday 19 October – 7:30pm General Meeting

VENUE: Old Sunday School, St Johns Park Precinct, New Town

GUEST SPEAKER: Jeff Schneider

TOPIC: Hobart Synagogue Digital Archive – A look at a collection telling the story of Judaism in Hobart – 1828 to present

The Jewish history of Hobart is long and remarkable. It is a curious story of survival that is reflected in the Hobart Synagogue, Australia's oldest synagogue still in use (1845). How did the free settlers and convicts form this community? Who are the personalities that have kept it going? In the 180 years of the Hobart Hebrew Congregation, what triumphs (and lowlights) occurred? Most importantly how has this tiny group of Hobart Jews managed to keep an unbroken existence? Many of these answers can now be found on the internet with the Hobart Synagogue digital archive, an accessible collection of approximately 1800 documents dating back to 1828. This talk will explore the stories found in the collection and examine how an online collection functions as a history resource.

Jeff Schneider is a Collections Analyst who works with cultural institutions to build and share digital collections. He is president of the Hobart Hebrew Congregation.

More for Your Diary

Thu 21 October – 10.00am Branch Committee Meeting

VENUE: Branch Library, Bellerive

Thu 21 October – 1.30pm DNA Group Meeting

VENUE: Church Hall at St Marks Anglican Church, Bellerive

Thu 28 October - 2pm Library Committee

VENUE: Branch Library, Bellerive

Tue 16 November -7:30pm General Meeting

VENUE: Old Sunday School, St Johns Park Precinct, New Town

SPEAKER: Ruth Binny

TOPIC: “J R Butler … First Fleeter”

Library Accessions September 2021

Library Logo

The following items were accessioned during the month of September 2021.


* Denotes complimentary or donated item

Comprehensive Subject Index - CSI On The Web 

The Comprehensive Subject Index (CSI) is a searchable database of references to named people, objects, places, or events. The data has been compiled by TFHS Inc. volunteers over many years from the contents of publications in TFHS Inc. Branch Libraries.

For several years it was only available through an application running on a PC in the Hobart branch library. Thanks to some clever development work it is now also available through our web site. This web version does not yet include every function available on the PC but all data is available here.

CSI is a work in progress. Indexing carries on and data is regularly added to the database. The database certainly does not yet cover every publication. So even if you search CSI and get no results, that does not necessarily mean that we cannot help you. We have many other resources to assist you with your research. We also have volunteers willing to assist - check here for more details.

Each item of information can take two forms, either:

While most sources can be found at the Hobart branch in Bellerive, many can also be found in other branches. So, contact this branch first when trying to locate a source or book.

Tasmanian Parliamentary Papers  1856 - 1901

The Tasmanian Family History Society partnered the Tasmanian Parliamentary Library in digitising the Tasmanian Parliamentary Papers for the years 1856 to 1901.The Parliamentary Papers are mainly reports to parliament by various government agencies and should not be confused with Hansard which records the proceedings of the parliament. Examples of such papers are the ‘Charitable Grants Department Report for 1900’ or ‘Main Line Railway: petition from Bothwell as to route (1873).’

During 2019 a member of the Tasmanian Parliamentary Library staff suggested that the valuable paper copies of Tasmanian colonial-era (1856-1901) Parliamentary Papers be digitised in order to better preserve them and, at the same time, to allow the Tasmanian Parliament to make the digitised copies available to the wider community for research purposes. Subsequently a project steering committee was formed, which included Robert Tanner (then Vice-president, TFHS Inc.).

The Tasmanian Family History Society Inc. (TFHS Inc.) became a major partner in this project, being aware that it would provide a very valuable resource for family historians, as well as other historians and other interested researchers.

That project is now complete, and the digital papers are now available via the Parliament of Tasmania website (under Library & Resources). The papers may be read and searched here.

TFHS Inc. and the Tasmanian Parliamentary Library acknowledge the generosity of the Tasmanian Community Fund who made it possible to employ the services of Acrodata to undertake the task of digitisation. More details of the project can be found here.

The papers are readily searched using the search function included with the papers. Individual papers may be downloaded in PDF format. The web site is very user friendly and well worth exploring.

Cascades Female Factory - Project Update - 17 August 2021 

Cascades Female Factory is closed while construction begins. Proud and the Punished performances are available on request in the Cascade Gardens.

The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority is developing a new History and Interpretation Centre in Yard 3 of Cascades Female Factory. This development will provide a purpose-built centre to introduce visitors to the Cascades Female Factory and will provide dedicated spaces for exhibitions and for education activities. Funding for the project has been provided by the Tasmanian Government and the Commonwealth Government.

Demolition of the former Fish Processing Factory that served as the visitor centre and administration building for Cascades Female Factory for many years was completed mid-July by Reardon Demolition as sub-contractors to Hansen Yuncken. PAHSMA’s archaeological team observed the demolition and were pleased to report that no archaeological material was uncovered by the demolition.

The footings of the Separate Apartments that had been displayed to the public have been covered over. Being protected from the weather and potential vandalism will ensure their long-term conservation for future research better than if they are exposed to the weather. It will also allow the construction of the History and Interpretation Centre on the alignment of the western block of the former Separate Apartments.

With the pouring of the ground floor slab now completed, it is expected that the building will start to take shape very quickly. Reinforcing the enclosure of Yard 3 with the construction of the gabion wall on Syme Street is progressing well and work on increasing the height of the Degraves Street gabion wall has started.

PAHSMA has worked with Curio Projects to finalise the landscape and interpretation plan. We are very excited about the proposed new displays and installations which will include interpretation of the second block of Separate Apartments and the former Constables Quarters that were located in Yard 3.

Friends Of The Orphan Schools - Public Meetings and Excursions for 2021

Sunday 28 November 2021 – 2pm - Precinct Tour

Group walking tour of the Orphan Schools and St. John's Park Precinct. The tour includes a visit to St. John's Church. Learn about the site and its history from one of our tour guides. $20 donation ($15 for financial members) on the day includes notes and 'tea and biscuits' afterwards. Bookings are necessary; please register online here.

Sunday 27 February 2022 - Fox's Feast

Fox's Feast was an annual picnic from 1863-1879 for the Orphan School children paid for from the legacy of John Fox, an ex-convict who had been in an orphanage in England. His legacy also rewarded the best boy and girl each year with 10 pounds and a silver medal, known as the Fox's Medal. Each year the Friends of the Orphan Schools remember this highlight of the children's year by holding our own Fox’s Feast. Full details to come. All members and friends are very welcome.

Library Volunteers Required

With the 'retirement' of long serving Library Assistants Anne Hay, Inga Shelverton and Maureen O’Toole, the Librarian Jude Mudaliar is seeking members to manage the front desk and / or assist researchers visiting our Library. On-the-job training will be provided. The commitment can be as little as a single 3-hour visit per month. To put your name forward please phone the Library (6245 9351) or email the Secretary.

Libraries Tasmania – What’s New in the Tasmanian Names Index

Putting convicts in their places

The Names Index can now tell you all the convicts that have been identified at Port Arthur, Point Puer or the Tasman Peninsula Probation Stations. These convict sites are mentioned in the convict's records, but in some cases this information is very hard to read or interpret. This data was generously given to us by the Port Arthur Historic Site, whose researchers have spent many years poring over the records identifying the convicts that spent time at these sites.

You can find this information in individual convict records, and by selecting from the Property facet of the Names Index. Convicts who were at multiple properties have each of these listed on their record.

Births in the 1920s

We have started the lengthy process of indexing Tasmania's birth records beyond 1900. Now accessible through the Tasmanian Names Index are births in the year 1920 from Launceston and,

alphabetically, Beaconsfield through to King Island. More years and regions will become available as Births, Deaths and Marriages releases the records to the custody of the Tasmanian Archives. Volunteers can help us index these records using the DigiVol crowdsourcing platform.

Inquest findings

Nearly 5000 records of inquests into death and fire have been added to the Names Index. There are now 24,364 inquests in the Tasmanian Names Index, from 1828 until 1973. The digitised statements of findings from the coroner are linked to the entries and provide a summary of events. From this summary we have taken the cause of death and provided a summary of the verdict in the index entry. This data has been indexed by volunteers using DigiVol and validated by the State Library and Archive Service team.

Royal Historical Society of Victoria – History Month

History Month

Indulge your history mania in October

The gargantuan History Month program can be found here: There are events from around Australia, mostly they are digital and mostly free.
So go wild. There is something for everyone.

Contributors To Tasmanian Ancestry 

Are you disappointed that there are no articles in Tasmanian Ancestry that relate to your family and your family research? There is a simple solution to this. Write something yourself!

The stock of articles for future editions of Tasmanian Ancestry is quite small so members are urged to make that contribution that you have been planning to write. A single page of Tasmanian Ancestry consists of no more than 500 words, or less with a photograph.

It is known that several of our members have undertaken UTAS units in the Diploma of Family History course so there must be some assignments waiting to be converted to articles for our Journal.

It was interesting to hear a comment made by Malcolm Ward in the March meeting that he believed a multi-generational brick wall was knocked down when he published a small booklet on an ancestor. The publication attracted a response from a relative who was able to provide the missing piece of the jigsaw!

Please contribute!