For our Expert Q&A Thursday, December 13 we had Penny Hyde and Nicole Cama from the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) to discuss how to get the best from the Australian National Maritime Museum collection and all things maritime history. Thanks again to Penny and Nicole for giving us all the benefit of their experience.

Please find the transcript of the Q&A and links below.

Don’t forget our Expert Q&As happen every Thursday night on the Inside History Magazine facebook page

When: NSW – ACT – VIC – TAS: 8:30-9:30pm AEDT | QLD: 7:30-8:30pm | WA: 5:30-6:30pm | NT: 7:00-8:00pm | SA: 8:00-9:00pm

Penny Hyde and Nicole Cama work as Curatorial Assistants on the digitisation project at the Australian National Maritime Museum. Their work involves unearthing stories from all corners of the collection and sharing them online. Previously Nicole worked at Sydney University Museums on their digitisation project and Penny worked in the Research Centre at the Australian War Memorial.

Penny’s top tip for getting the most from the ANMM collection:

  • The museum is not a repository for State or Commonwealth records, however the library and the collection provide a wealth of complimentary information that is not yet online such as shipping registers, shipbuilding magazines, shipping histories, personal records and particularly photographs that can flesh out your research. Depending on what your research interest is – whether immigration, vessels, family and social history or industry – send an inquiry in to the Vaughan Evans Library and our experienced reference librarian assist you in accessing the collection!

Nicole’s top tip for getting the most from the ANMM collection:

  • Not much to add to that other than to ensure your searching casts the widest net as possible by entering the widest search terms possible and trying different variations of the same names. I’m sure you’ve all come across that issue before am I right?

Summary of links from the Q&A: 

SS Ceramic departing the White Star Line wharf at Millers Point, c 1930

Courtesy Australian National Maritime Museum, 00035571

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Transcript of Expert Q&A – Getting the best from the ANMM collection:

Our expert Q&A with the Australian National Maritime Museum team starts in 15 minutes at 8:30pm AEDT. Tonight we’ll be discussing how to get the best from the ANMM collection and all things maritime history. Please ask your questions in a comment below, and Penny and Nicole will answer in a following comment.

 

Comment: IHM: Welcome everyone, thanks for joining us. Please welcome Penny and Nicole from the Australian National Maritime Museum to tonight’s Q&A!

A. IHM: Remember to keep refreshing your browser to see the answers as they appear.

A. Carmel: I am here ready to go!

A. Penny: Hi all

A. Nicole: Woohoo! Great to be on the Q&A tonight, really looking forward to some history chatter. Fire away all!

 

Q. From Marjorie: I would like to research a navy sailor from WWI – how do I go about possibly obtains service records for him?

A. Penny: @Majorie the National Archives holds WW1 service records, the navy have service cards that are all digitised through NAA’s record search service. Once you know what ship he served on you can check to see if they have ships logs. The Australian War Memorial has a comprehensive info sheet that should point you to the different resources :: http://www.awm.gov.au/research/infosheets/ran/ww1/

A. Marjorie: Thank you Penny.

 

Q. From Carmel: I am going to jump in. I have an ancestor who claims to have arrived in Melbourne 2 June 1863 on board the Tritan. It did not come out as a passenger ship but I recently found it left Warnambool for Sydney on 1 June 1863. My ancestor was a fisherman and I believe some kind of carpenter but calls himself John Johnson b 1839 Sweden. He is a major brick wall of mine and I would love to smash this one.

A. Carmel: Oh that was the Triton

A. Carmel: Any hints on John Johnson would be wonderful, I am guessing he was employed on the Triton

A. Nicole: @Carmel welcome! Have you searched Mariners and Ships in Australian Waters at all? You can search via year or vessel name: http://mariners.records.nsw.gov.au/shipdate.htm

A. Carmel: hmm just had a look at this and it has the ship arriving but a different list of crew to the one I have! did they change crew often?

A. Carmel: sorry most are the same names

 

Q. From Barbara: My grandparents arrived in Sydney form London on the ship Jervis Bay in 1922. What’s the best way to find out more about the ship and its journey?

A. Penny: @Barbara for people arriving before 1923, passenger lists can be found at State archives/ records offices. (ie State Records of NSW) First stop I would say is this website: http://mariners.records.nsw.gov.au/ The next step would be researching Lloyd’s Registers, which we have available not digitised but in the Vaughan Evans Library. This would give info on any incidents onboard etc. This link will take you to our ref guide on researching individual ships. http://www.anmm.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=1483

A. Carmel: This site has the ship arriving in Sydney but Trove has the ship leaving Warnambool on 1 June. How do I find out more about this journey and how it came to be in Warnambool?

A. Carmel: I am guessing JJ worked on the ship but finished up 2 June and stayed in Melbourne

A. Nicole: @Carmel That could definitely have been the case, crew changing ships throughout their seafaring careers. They may not have changed companies as often though. Good luck with the search. Remember we have a research guide available on seafaring ancestors: http://www.anmm.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=1491

A. Carmel: Thank you! Also I have one who I know had many shipping family members and I believe he may have worked his way out to Australia. He arrived some time between 1851 (English Census) and 1857 (newspaper ad for unclaimed mail). I know there are lists of deserters but I believe he only worked his way to Aus

A. Penny: @Carmel have you seen this list of records & resources for seafaring ancestors? http://www.anmm.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=1491 There is book on that list re ship’s deserters (J Melton) @ the Vaughn Evans Library… Hopefully you will find him there? Or maybe not?!?!

 

Q. From Alison: The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (NSW)Monday 4 March 1839 Edition: MORNING p 5 had this advertisement: “SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE: The Undermentioned Immigrants who arrived on the Government ship BRITISH KING,  from Tobermory, under the superintendance of Alexander Arbuckle, Esq., were landed this day, Monday, 4 March 1839, at the Immigrant Buildings, Bent Street; and Persons desirous of engaging their services are requested to apply, without delay, to the Superintendent, at the Building”. My query is: were any records kept as to the engagement of these immigrants, who employed them?

A. Nicole: Hi Alison, we think the State Records of NSW have records of assisted immigrants or those coming in as a result of a particular employment scheme. That would be e first place to go. The newspaper articles are the next step for a mention of specific names, however, beyond this point it is more an issue of private enterprise and therefore they may not records publicly available or even still be in existence. Hope that makes sense, let me know if it doesn’t :)

A. Gillian: Hi Alison, sorry no there aren’t any official records kept for persons engaged on arrival. You will find info in the newspapers for Bounty and sponsored migrants.

A. IHM: Here’s the link to the State Records NSW Indexes to assisted immigrants :: http://ow.ly/g3YBk

 

Q. From Rebel: Hi Penny and Nicole, I have a question about transportation. James Thomas Richards (b 1814, Deptford, Kent), already transported to NSW in 1836 on the Royal Sovereign, was sentenced to transportation for life for burglary in November 1839. I can’t find any records of where he was sent. What shipping records can help me with my search?

A. Rebel: I should add he was sentenced at the Supreme Court (Criminal Side), NSW.

A. Penny: @Rebel hi! Are you after details of his transportation & / or his case? Sounds like an interesting guy! We have an info sheet on resources for convict transportation: http://www.anmm.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=1475

A. Penny: @Rebel I don’t know if you have a subscription to findmypast.com.au but they have a great & easily searchable database of records. If you don’t have a sub you can make an appointment at the Vaughann Evans Library & use our library login ( also get assistance from our helpful librarians!)

A. Rebel: Hi Penny, I have details of his case thanks to Trove, so all I need to know now is where he was transported to.

A. Rebel: (I should add that I’m in the UK, so I’d probably need to use a library for printed resources)

A. IHM: Here’s the link to the ANMM Vaughann Evans Library including online catalogue :: http://ow.ly/g3Zb5

A. Rebel: Thanks, Penny, I’ll see if I can access FMP. Might have to go the the National Archives at Kew (oh, how terrible!  ;)

A. Penny: @Rebel go to the to National Archives @ Kew! Amazing place & send us a post card

A. Rebel: It is, Penny, I’m very lucky to be able to go there. It’s funny – so many Aussie genealogy pals would love to access what I can, but here I am wishing I could get hold of the records in Aus!

A. IHM: We love The National Archives - very jealous, Rebel. Here’s a link to Surgeons at Sea – ADM101 collection at Kew for Margie :: http://ow.ly/g40vK

Q (b): Rebel: Surgeons at Sea is a brilliant site.You can download a lot of the records for free! Btw, Penny, would you also have records for watermen, or is that completely separate?

A. Penny: @Rebel interesting question! We are just discussing & haven’t come across it before re the ANMM collection, but think records would be more likely with local libraries/ institutions. Do you have any in particular that we can chase up for you? Surgeons at sea is fantastic! We have also looking at this one recently re old weather logs: https://www.zooniverse.org/project/oldweather Hours to waste….

A. Nicole: @Rebel To add to local histories, the historical societies are often a great source of information.

A. Wendy: Rebel, your convict may have been ‘transported’ to Port Arthur , Macquarie Harbour, Maria Island or Norfolk Island . All places that reoffending convicts were sent.

A. Rebel: Thanks, Wendy! And a big thank you to Penny, Nicole and Inside History! It’s been fascinating.

 

Q. From Margie: Hi, I had ancestors who arrived in Sydney aboard the ship Henry Porcher in 1840. They were immigrants from the Isle of Skye, and one of them died on the journey. If the records of the journey survive would you be the people who house them? Thanks.

A. Margie: Would this include things like surgeon’s reports and captains logs?

A. Penny: @Margie Hi! The museum isn’t a repository for gov records (for the time period you are looking at its State Records Nsw) but we do have resources such as the Lloyds Registers which record the movements of different ships. The Gazettes we hold may also make mention of any incidents on board. Check out our info sheet on steamships & passenger liners for more info on these resources feel free to fill out an enquiry form & we can look into it further! http://www.anmm.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=1484

A. Margie: Thanks Penny, that is very helpful.

A. Penny: @Margie no probs- hard to squeeze into a short post so absolutely contact us for more!

A. IHM: We love The National Archives - very jealous, Rebel. Here’s a link to Surgeons at Sea – ADM101 collection at Kew for Margie :: http://ow.ly/g40vK

 

Q. From Leonie: Hi ANMM – I’m wondering if there would be First Fleet records on all convicts (families-ancestors) who were aboard the Scarborough? In particular, I’m having terrible trouble trying to track John/James Castle’s lineage back in England – worked at Puddle Dock, London when he was tried, and sentenced for stealing. He d 1803, here in Sydney  - there is no parish record of his death or burial – first mention of it is via Sydney Gazette by Simeon Lord advertising his goods and chattels for sale.

A. Nicole: Hi Leonie, I’d say the first step for that would be findmypast.co.uk but you need a subscription for that. BUT you can search through the Vaughan Evans Library by making an appointment or sending an enquiry to one of our librarians. Here is a research guide on First Fleet research: http://www.anmm.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=1480 hope that helps?

A. IHM: Here’s the link for the ANMM Ask a Librarian service :: http://bit.ly/QW98Dn

 

Q. From IHM: Penny & Nicole. What would be your top tips for using the ANMM collections?

A. Penny: The museum is not a repository for State or Commonwealth records, however the library and the collection provide a wealth of complimentary information that is not yet online such as shipping registers, shipbuilding magazines, shipping histories, personal records and particularly photographs that can flesh out your research. Depending on what your research interest is – whether immigration, vessels, family and social history or industry – send an inquiry in to the Vaughan Evans Library and our experienced reference librarian assist you in accessing the collection! Aaaannnnd (cue Nicole)

A. Nicole: Not much to add to that other than to ensure your searching casts the widest net as possible by entering the widest search terms possible and trying different variations of the same names. I’m sure you’ve all come across that issue before am I right?

 

Q. From IHM: We loved your “100 Stories” book :: http://ow.ly/g40W2 - what’s your favourite story from the ANMM collection?

A. Nicole: My favourite story would either be the one I found about the mystery disappearance of the Aussie film stars: http://anmm.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/the-three-mysteries-the-island-the-star-and-the-disappearance/

A. Nicole: The other story I’m excited about is the American shipping family the Sterlings. They had such a tragic story and I was recently contacted by a descendant! So exciting http://anmm.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/a-sterling-day-out-with-the-family/

A. Penny: We are always finding things in the collection that you would not expect. Researching the collection of a WW2 war bride led to discovering that the museum held a letter written by a notorious murderer – & that the two were connected. http://anmm.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/the-prosecutor-and-the-perpetrator-murder-in-melbourne/ Writing the history of a document signed by assassinated American President Abraham Lincoln uncovered the story of Australia’s unlikely connection to the American Civil War.

http://anmm.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/object-of-the-week-the-ex-slave-the-doomed-barque-and-the-american-president/

A. Brett: @Inside History Magazine :The 100 Stories book, has a painting that is a major link to my ancestors. I really have to make an effort to get up to Sydney and study this piece of art history. I am in belief that my Grandmother met her.

A. IHM: Which story is that Brett - have you seen the “100 Stories” vids on youtube? http://ow.ly/g43qj

A. Penny: @Brett is it the cover painting by Muriel Binney? Let us know when you are in Sydney and we can organise a viewing! http://bit.ly/XfVFoj

 

Q. From Linda: Rats!!! Just got home. Too late to ask much. Except, do you also cover the major inland waterways, such as the Murray Darling system, and especially the Gippsland Lakes?

A. Penny: @Linda, hi! Here is a bit of info on the inland waterways industries. We can certainly continue to assist your inquiry (the link for the form is in one of the comments above): http://www.anmm.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=1507

A. Linda: Ummm, thank you – it is sorta very much Melbourne/Ferries. I shall live in hope that the paddle and screw stemers from Gippsland and the Murray/Darling are represented there some time in the future. I did look at Gippsland in the ctalogue, and see that ESSO is well represented, but not the earlier history. Thanks anyway.

A. Penny: @Linda we’ll check it out tomorrow & get back to you. Not everything is online yet so there may be more information buried in our collection!

A. Linda: Thanks Penny!

A. Penny (18/12/12): After our Inside History Q&A last week I had a chat with our librarian and a deeper search through the collection to see if we had anything further relating to your query. As you anticipated, there is not a lot of original material (particularly relating to outside of NSW) however this is what we found along the lines of the old steamers, and I hope it is of some use:

  • Photographic postcard of Darling River scene at Wilcannia, 1906, showing paddle steamers MARION and PILOT. Object #00017011.
  • Photographic postcard of the paddle steamer MOIRA (& possibly TARELLA) travelling up the Darling River, c 1903. Object #00017005.
  • Photographic postcard showing the paddle steamer NILE stranded on Darling River bed. Object #00017014.
  • Photographic postcard showing steamer TARELLA and barge, location unknown. Object #00017021.
  • Photograph depicting paddle steamer ROB ROY moored against bank of Darling River. Object #00019475.

We also have a number of other images that are either still in copyright or are within albums & yet to be digitised. You may have already seen this item, 0005489, a hand drawn navigation chart for the Darling River used to navigate paddle steamers from Cuthro to Wentworth.

Regarding records, our reference librarian confirmed that unfortunately ferries are poorly covered & the best resource is the Victorian newspapers (TROVE) for the names of vessels and timetables. We hold the following books that cover ferries in Victoria:

  • Western Port ferries past and present, and Captain Clarke, their most notable skipper / by Arthur E. Woodley
  • Ferries on the Yarra / Colin Jones
  • Bay steamers and coastal ferries / Jack Loney : Appendix E covers Ships in the Gippsland trade
  • Ships of the Inland Rivers: An outline history and details of all known paddle ships, barges and other vessels trading on the Murray-Darling system / Ronald Parsons
  • Paddle boats of the Murray-Darling System / Brian Marshall
  • Paddle steamers of Australasia / R.H. Parsons
  • Sailing ships and paddle wheels and other Gippsland shipping / J.C. Bull
  • Ships that sailed the Gippsland Lakes / text and illustrations Elizabeth De Quincey
  • Story of Gippsland shipping : discoveries of the early navigators, lakes steamers, coastal windjammers, shipwrecks and famous captains / by J.C. Bull & Peter J. Williams

You can look for details of  individual vessels in the Australian register of British ships (on Microfilm) eg. Gippsland official number 120753 has several entries in this register, 3 in the port of Melbourne and 1 in Sydney, see Last of the Gippsland published in The Gippsland Times on July 28, 1947: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/63260571 Thank you for your insightful queries – it has inspired me to take up the subject to research for our blog in the next month or two. It is an area that we have yet to highlight and has proved thus far very interesting! Please do not hesitate to contact the museum if you require any further information.

 

Comment: IHM: Thanks again to Penny and Nicole for joining us tonight! We’ll publish the questions, answers and links from tonight’s session in a blog post next week.

A. Nicole: Thank you everyone! This was fun, hope you all got something out of the discussion.

A. Penny: Thanks everyone who tuned in for a chat & thanks Inside History Magazine for being such gracious hosts  Hope to keep the conversation going!

A. IHM: You’re welcome here anytime Nicole & Penny, thanks again!

  Passenger vessel, possibly SS Mooltan III, leaving the P&O wharf in Sydney Cove, c 1930

Courtesy Australian National Maritime Museum, 00034844