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Written by John Prickard

Regarding fencing wire:

About the most wires can usually tell you is that it is post-1788. And you knew that anyway! The earliest Australian record for wire in rural fences I now know of is 1840. A few years earlier than what I published several years ago. (Yes, even I engage in the "my site is older than yours" race.) Galvanised wire was advertised in mid-1850s. Barbed wire may give a more precise date, depending on the type. In general, barbed wire is post mid-1870s, but specific types were patented later, and may help you put brackets on a date of occupation.

Iron and steel fence posts, and steel droppers may also help because most (but certainly not all) were patented. But you must be aware of later re-use of older scavenged components.

Send me some images of your wire / post / dropper, and I may be able to help you. (This sort of advice and help is really expensive: a coffee when I next see you.)

BTW: all of my fence-related papers including my 2010 PhD are on Dropbox as freebies. Help yourselves:  HERE

Copies of the diagrams, images, etc. are available from me, please don't just screen-dump them.

Fencing wire references:

I guess that most of you are aware of Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/texts), but if you aren't, then you should be.

Internet Archive is a treasure trove of FREE downloadable scanned books on everything from A to Z and beyond. These include hundreds of early mechanical, technological and agricultural encyclopaedias and books that will certainly help you better understand how things were done in 19th and early 20th centuries. If you want to know about just about any form of technology, this is the place to start. Any historical archaeologist worth her salt should have at least some of the zillion books from Internet Archive in her digital bookshelf. However, be warned: Internet Archive can be seriously addictive!

There are also hundreds of early Australian books, and if you are looking for some historical account that is only held in the Rare Books section of some library, then you should always start with Internet Archive. It is truly surprising what you will find.

Many of the titles were scanned by Google, and some appear to require payment to download them. If it looks like this is going to happen, you can bypass it by clicking on the "All files HTTPS" or similar button. This will get you to a page with options of downloading in a range of formats including PDF.

The search function is a bit clunky, and the way the items are described is painful to say the least. You can't distinguish between the same item from different libraries.

Here is one my favourite sources, Holtzapffel. A series of five volumes from mid-19th C. with extensive discussion of materials, and how things were done. The titles are not truly indicative of the encyclopaedic contents, there is considerably more than you might think from the titles. The URLs are to the PDFs (mostly 40 - 70 MB), there are other formats available. Other historical archaeologists will have their own lists of useful titles.

Holtzapffel, C. (1852). Turning and mechanical manipulation. Volume I. Materials; their differences, choice, and preparation; various modes of working them, generally without cutting tools. London, Holtzapffel & Co.

http://www.archive.org/details/turningmechanica01holtuoft  

Holtzapffel, C. (1856). Turning and mechanical manipulation. Intended as a work of general reference and practical instruction on the lathe, and the various mechanical pursuits followed by amateurs. Volume II: The principles of construction, action, and application, of cutting tools used by hand; and also of machines derived from the hand tools. London, Holtzapffel & Co.

http://www.archive.org/details/turningmechanica02holtuoft         

Holtzapffel, C. (1850). Turning and mechanical manipulation. Intended as a work of general reference and practical instruction on the lathe, and the various mechanical pursuits followed by amateurs. Volume III: Abrasive and miscellaneous processes, which cannot be accomplished with cutting tools. London, Holtzapffel & Co.

http://www.archive.org/details/turningmechanica03holtuoft         

Holtzapffel, C. (1881). Turning and mechanical manipulation. Intended as a work of general reference and practical instruction on the lathe, and the various mechanical pursuits followed by amateurs. Volume IV: The principles and practice of hand or simple turning. London, Holtzapffel & Co.

http://www.archive.org/details/turningmechanica04holtuoft

Holtzapffel, J. J. (1884). Turning and mechanical manipulation. Intended as a work of general reference and practical instruction on the lathe, and the various mechanical pursuits followed by amateurs. Volume V: The principles and practice of ornamental or complex turning. London, Holtzapffel & Co.

https://archive.org/details/HoltzapffelVol5_1884
(Unfortunately this is the only version available and it is a really poor scan, and the PDF is 1.2 GB. Yes, GB, not MB)

Please contact: blog@asha.org.au for John's email address

Written by The Dry Stone Wall Association of Australia

The Dry Stone Walls Association of Australia (DSWAA) are holding a weekend away at Bathurst, NSW that  ASHA members may be interested in:

Weekend away at Bathurst, NSW, May 11-13 2018
Planning is well underway for a fabulous weekend of heritage and discovery in and around Bathurst. We start with drinks at the magnificent Abercrombie House; built in the 1870s by the Stewarts - pioneers of Bathurst. On the Bridle Track you can imagine yourself as a drover on horseback heading up the narrow track to the village at Hill End, the beautiful Turon River below.

It's also a rare trades weekend at Bathurst where we could see violin making, photo restoration, shingle splitting, lace and whip making, and much more - and of course our own dry stone wallers; Wayne Fox and Emma Knowles will be in action.

If you stay for Monday you will see Cox's Road - the original track across the Blue Mountains - and the historic Mayfield Gardens - a lovely property and garden rich in dsw.

For more information, please see: http://dswaa.org.au/bathurst-heritage-weekend-11-13-may/

Compiled by Blog Editor

Members may be interested to hear that a young man from South Australia, Josh Corke, has challenged himself to photograph every heritage-listed place in the state. So far has taken photos in and around Adelaide, the Murrarylands and the Fleurieu. As yet Mr Corke is unsure what he will do with the compilation of images when the project is complete.

For more information, see: www.murrayvalleystandard.com.au
And Mr Corke's flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jorcoga/



Dr Iain Stuart, JCIS Consultants

In 1884 the Crown Lands Act divided New South Wales into three divisions; Eastern, Central and Western. This was not some whimsical classical elusion to the Gallic Wars but the outcome of deliberation on the results of Free Selection since its introduction in 1861. Free selection was established in the various states throughout Australia as a way of establishing a class of “Yeoman farmers” to form a solid buttress against the squatters and to bring land considered underutilised into production.

In New South Wales the legislation introduced in 1861 clarified the tenure of the Squatters, who held most of their land as leasehold and allowed free selection of up to 640 acres before survey. The farm size of 640 acres was deemed as suitable for a small farm.

In 1883, a major review of the working of the Lands Acts in New South Wales, the so-called Morris Rankin report, recognised that it was difficult to apply one size of holding over land that varied in quality, environment and distance to markets, all critical factors in making a farm viable. They proposed the split into three divisions across NSW with varying regulations applying in each division.

The Crown Lands Act (1884) followed the recommendations of the Morris Rankin report although with some amendments and created the three divisions based on the boundaries of the Land Districts created in 1883 under the previous act (Lands Acts Amendment Act, 1875). Selection within the Eastern division still retained the 640 acre upper limit but within the Central division and upper limit of 2560 acres was allowed. Selection was prohibited in the Western Division except that special areas could be created to allow selection if required.

In the research for my Ph D. thesis I could never find a map of the three divisions except for the one used in the Morris Rankin report which was altered by the legislation. In a fit of GIS inspired enthusiasm I recently decided to make one. The first thing I located was a boundary of NSW – these shapefiles are readily available from varying sources, mine was sourced from PSMA (surprisingly they are all identical).

In NSW, Spatial Services portal leads you to a site called Clip n Snip where you can essentially clip a section out of the NSW Digital Topographical Data Base or Digital Cadastral Data Base and download the results in the form of shapefiles. This used to be a paid service but about a year ago it was unexpectedly made free with the result being I spent a fortnight downloading the whole State (you are now limited to 5 downloads per day!) This gave me access to useful things such as shapefiles representing Counties Parishes and Land Districts which are part of the Digital Cadastral Data Base. Note I also added the pre-federation boundaries of the Counties of Cowley and Murray, now partly in the ACT.


Figure 1. The three Divisions of NSW showing elevation and drainage.

Mapping the Western Division was easy as the main boundaries were the State boarder and then along main rivers. These were able to be traced in ArcGIS. There was an odd gap and that needed to be mapped using historical county plans either available from TROVE or from the Historical Land Records Viewer (found on the LPI site). The counties could easily be imported into ArcGIS and georeferenced to the County shapefiles. The location of the division boundaries was marked on County and Parish plans in dashed lines. It was relatively easy to trace these.

The Central Division was easily started by tracing the boundary of the Western Division and then the north and south State boundaries. However the eastern boundary was more difficult to establish. The reason being that it changed as the Land Districts boundaries were changed. This caused some head scratching around the general areas east of Gundagai and Wagga Wagga. To overcome this,  once I realised what had happened, was to use the 1890 Parish maps to map the boundary. These can be downloaded from the Historical Land Records Viewer and georeferenced to the Parish shapefiles and the original boundaries plotted.

The Eastern Division was completed using the Auto trace features of ArcGIS. I might note that it used the County boundaries largely as someone else had digitised them and presumably had decided what was the location of the High Flood Level of the Murray River and the HWM of the coast, both issues when establishing the boundaries of NSW.

I have presented some the maps of the three divisions. The first one (Figure 1, above) uses the 1:250000 map sheet contours and the second one (Figure 2, below) uses a DEM that I found on the Mines website as a digital download and clipped to the state boundary. Both really show the differences in elevation, terrain and to some extent drainage between the three divisions.


Figure 2. The three Divisions of NSW over a the Digital elevation map of NSW

Like all illustrations maps are heuristic devices and as soon as you look at them there are questions. For me the question is one of boundaries – in the south there is an area that looks like it should be in the Western Division. Actually this is roughly centred on Hay. There is another area of the Western Division that looks as if it could fit into the Central division – this is the Cobar area. If you are so inclined you can ask why?

What happened next? The third figure shows this. Using the distribution of grain silos as an analogue for grain growing areas, the location of NSW’s primary grain growing areas can be seen and they all fit more or less neatly into the Central Division and more particularly the elevated areas of the Central division.


Figure 3. The Divisions of NSW and railway and grain silo distribution.

Historically we know that the grain growing areas of NSW moved west, and that this was accompanied by a shift in demand for harder wheats, and that the famous Federation wheat was developed in the late 1890s mainly by William Farrer to fit into the new environment. We can see that being in the Central Division farm sizes potentially could be greater allowing more economies of scale in production. So a suite of changes occurred to allow the development of NSW’s wheat belt.

To return to the original purpose of the project I now have a map of the Land divisions, and I can return to the discussion of the effectiveness or otherwise of the Crown Lands Act (1884) which I began in my Ph. D. thesis.

I am happy to discuss this further or provide the Land Divisions file in gdb or shp format. Contact Iain_Stuart@optusnet.com.au

References

New South Wales. Inquiry into the State of Public Lands Operation of the Land Laws. (1883). Report of Inquiry into the State of the Public Lands and the Operation of the Land Laws / instituted 8th January 1883. (Parliamentary paper (New South Wales. Parliament); 1883). Sydney: Thomas Richards, Government Printer.

Stuart, Iain M 2000, ‘Squatting landscapes in Southeastern Australia (1820-1895)’, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Sydney.

Spatial Data

Note: citing spatial data is a slightly tricky process as there are limited guidelines on how to do it and often the metadata is difficult to convert into a citation.

Geological Survey of NSW 2016, Digital elevation map of NSW, First edition. Scale 1:1 500 000, Projection: Lambert Conical Conformal, Geological Survey of NSW, Maitland.

NSW, Department of Finance Digital Cadastral Data Base, accessed (January 2017)

PSMA Australia 2016, 'Administrative Boundaries', Projection GDA 94, PSMA Australia, Griffith, Canberra



Ross Bertinshaw

We received a question from the daughter of a local farmer in the Calingiri area of Western Australia confirmed the continuing presence of two wells constructed for the Benedictine monks of New Norcia in the 19th Century.


The original enquiry provided some photos and asked if they could be Benedictine wells. The pictures and their approximate locations were suggestive of New Norcia wells and the later provision of GPS coordinates then allowed the locations to be checked on Google Earth and against georeferenced Lease Plans from the 1890s.


From the georeferenced map it was possible to identify the wells as Toro and Jitocon both Benedictine wells. Abbot Rosendo Salvado held lease holdings surrounding the wells on which he ran the sheep that supported the monks and their missionary activities.

We know a little more about the wells. Toro Well was first dug in 1865 by well diggers Delany and Lavan, both ex-convicts. It was either renovated or a new well dug on the site in 1881 by unknown well sinkers. It was located on freehold title of 40 acres, which was granted in 1876.

Jitocon Well was dug in 1865 by Delaney and Higgins and was located on a freehold title of 10 acres first granted in 1864.

It is great to see agriculturalists and their offspring interested in the archaeology and history of their area and wanting to preserve it if possible.



Compiled by Bronwyn Woff

The Heritage Listed QANTAS hangar at Longreach has turned 95. The hangar was where QANTAS first began it's operations, and is now the location of the QANTAS Founders Museum. The Museum hosted a morning tea to celebrate the hangars birthday, which was added to the Register in 2009. For more information, please see:

https://qfom.com.au/2017/08/07/media-release-national-heritage-listed-qantas-hangar-turns-95/

Image: Photo take on 2 November 1922 on the arrival of the first scheduled Qantas flight from Charleville to Longreach, sourced from above article



Compiled by Bronwyn Woff

Excavations 25 graves, which uncovered the remains of 27 individuals, has recently been completed at Milton cemetery in the south of New Zealands's South Island. The excavations are part of research being conducted in partnership with Tokomaririro Project 60 (TP60) and the Anglican Church. The research will look into the lives of the first settlers to the area - where they came from, what hardships they endured in life, and which current members of the town formerly known as Tokomairiro or Tokomairaro are related to them.

For more information, please see: https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/08/16/42910/how-tough-was-life-in-colonial-new-zealand



Simon Blight

Restoration work is currently being undertaken by the Southern Midlands Council on the 1827 Commissariat building (see above image, provided by Simon Blight), the oldest building in the Oatlands Military precinct. The council purchased the Commissariat and the later Victorian shop & cottage, which both stand on the same block at 79 High Street, Oatlands. Both buildings are currently being restored, a process which aims to retain as much original fabric as possible. Wheere this is not possible a like for like approach is being utilised. The restoration work is being undertaken by the Centre for Heritage, Heritage Education and Skills Centre and the Heritage Re-Generation project participants – a heritage building skills training program for youth 16-24 years of age. Once complete, the shop and cottage building will be returned to the community for their use, and the Commissariat will be used for Heritage Education and Skill Centre training.

The Commissariat was built of sandstone atop a steep slope to house provisions for the military and convicts. Originally a guardhouse stood nearby the Commissariat to house the corporal and privates who guarded to convict chain gang. The guardhouse was demolished in the 1970s.

Archaeologically monitored clearance of the underfloor of the skillion has revealed many interesting discoveries from the topsoil, which has not been disturbed for decades. An area of built up soil from the 1840s timber skillion was removed to allow work on the timber framework and to reveal the footing of the building. The soil was sieved  and revealed numerous ceramic and glass fragments, hand forged nails, clay pipe bowl and stem sections, an 1850s trade token and several clay marbles. A clay pipe bowl and list of items received was also discovered in the roof structure.

A close up of etched lettering on sandstone blacks, image provided by: Simon Blight

Perhaps the most interesting discovery so far has been on the Commissariat building itself. During removal of built up soil, the foundation of a chimney was discovered. Etched letters and numerals were uncovered on the sandstone blocks on the external side wall which have been covered by a later addition lean-to shed. The main etched graffiti is the numeral 40, which appears multiple times along the external wall, along with initials and the year 1829. At this stage the meaning of the marks is unknown; convict marks or a regiment number, perhaps?



Compiled by Bronwyn Woff

A 19th century school house has been excavated as part of developments in Googong, NSW. The excavation involved consultant and ANU student archaeologists, and recieved visits from local school children. Artefacts including slate pencils were found among the foundations.

For more information, please see the following links:

http://www.theage.com.au/act-news/anu-archaeologists-unearth-19th-century-history-at-googong-20170605-gwkgqy.html

http://www.archaeology.org/news/5605-170605-australia-school-house

Originally posted on the Lost Trades Fair website

Rundell and Rundell Lost Trades Fair
Saturday 11th - Sunday 12th March 2017
Kyneton Racecourse, 10am - 4pm

The Lost Trades Fair was born on the principle that people are fascinated when artisans and craftspeople openly demonstrate their skills and share their knowledge. Meet the makers; armourers, chairmakers, coopers, blacksmiths, leatherworkers, silversmiths and stonemasons; over 100 traditional artisans - start planning a road trip to the fabulous central highlands, Victoria and enjoy a 'lost weekend' at the most inspiring event you will experience in 2017.

For more information, please see: http://www.losttrades.info/