Sep 27, 2010

150th Anniversary of the Melbourne Cup

This year Melbourne will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Melbourne Cup 'the race that stops a nation'. The first Melbourne Cup was won by Archer in 1861-62, in 1865 Melbourne Cup Day was declared a holiday for public servants and bank employees. A year later private employees joined and Victoria had a public holiday for all Victorians to enjoy a day at the races. In 1875 the Cup was for the first time run on the first Tuesday in November with the Melbourne Cup Carnival taking up its present four day format. Fashion played an important role in racing and the NGV International will be having a night of fashion and racing on Tuesday 26th October at 6.30pm, hear about the changing fashion influences at the Melbourne Cup Carnival and Britain's Royal Ascot. Cup fashions will be the theme for Ann Dixon's talk at Ascot Vale Library on Wednesday October 20th at 2pm, free but bookings essential, call 8325 1990. For more information about this anniversary visit the Victorian Racing Clubs' 150th Melbourne Cup site. Material from the State Library of Victoria's collection and items from the Victoria Racing Club will be on display from the 16th October to 31st October, 2010.

Source: The Cup - 125 years 'Flemington - the course of history' by Brendan Ford, Victoria Racing Club. Article from the Sam Merrifield Library's Local History Vertical File.

Sep 23, 2010

Australia Marriage Index, 1788-1949

Ancestry has released a national database of Australian BDM records, which allows you to search across all states of Australia for each of these events. While this is an important index of early Australian records, they are not necessarily 100 percent complete - compliance to registration laws vary and Australia's vast distances complicate most record-keeping efforts. For more information about tips for searching, a comparison chart of date ranges for births, deaths and marriage for every state and territory in Australia, have a look at an article 'Records go National' in the October, 2010 PC User magazine which is available at Moonee Valley Libraries.

UK 'Floating Prison' to the First Mayor of Parramatta

Ancestry database has launched online the Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849 - the records of almost 200,000 convicts who were imprisoned on giant floating gaols known as prison hulks. The records, the originals which are held by The National Archives in Kew, UK provide a fascinating insight into the Victorian criminal underworld and conditions aboard the Dickensian ships, which were introduced to ease overcrowded London prisons, often holding inmates prior to transportation to the Australian penal colonies. Among the records is the rise of Parramatta's first Mayor, John Williams.