Monday, July 28, 2014

Matrilineal Monday - A life cut short - Louisa Herbert (nee Seaford) 1872 -1902

Louisa Seaford and John Herbert 

Last week I shared the Obituary of my great grandfather John Herbert (1862-1926).  Tragically, his first wife, Louisa Seaford died at the age of thirty, leaving him with four children, Alice, Essel Mary, William and Annie, all under the age of 11 years. Louisa was born in Burra, South Australia the second daughter of Julianna Grow and Henry Seaford. As a child she attended school in Burra, then at the age of 18 she married John Herbert on the 23 May 1890. 

Marraige Notice - for Louisa and John Herbert *

Life in the mining town of Kooringa was tough, and health risks high, with outbreaks of typhoid and cholera.  Unfortunately Louisa fell victim to Cholera and died very suddenly at the tender age of 30. How was John to care for such a young family all on his own and at the same time working to earn a living?

OBITUARY - Burra Record 

"We have to record this week the death of the wife of Mr. John Herbert, of Kooringa, which took place on Thursday night at the Burra Hospital. The deceased lady was a native of Burra, and had resided here all her life. Fever was contracted a week or two ago, and subsequently alarming symptoms set in, which made her case very serious. Despite the tender nursing and constant attendance of the doctors the deceased never recovered. Mrs. Herbert  was 30 years of age on the day she died.

The funeral took place on Sunday afternoon, when a very large number of friends paid the last tribute of respect to the deceased lady. The Rev. W Y. James conducted the service at the graveside. The Lily of the Valley Ten (ladies) and Foresters' lodge formed a procession in front of the hearse and marched to the cemetery. Much sympathy is expressed for Mr. Herbert, (who is left with a family of four young children to mourn their loss." **

*The Advertiser, on 26/7/2014
** Burra Record (SA : 1878-1954), Wednesday 9 April 1902, page 2 National Library of Australia

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday's Obituary - John Herbert 1862-1926

John Herbert 1862-1926
Today's post is the obituary of my great grandfather Mr John Herbert who passed away suddenly, at the age of 63 in 1929. He spent his entire life living in the mining town of Burra, South Australia.


Residents were greatly shocked on Wednesday last when it was announced that Mr John Herbert had passed away at the Burra Hospital the previous night, after a very short illness.  The Thursday previous he was unable to attend to his work but thinking it was an old trouble he did not take too much notice and did not unfortunately, obtain medical advice until the following Monday.

 The late Mr Herbert was born at Kooringa in 1852 and was the eldest son of the late Mr and Mrs William Herbert, (Pioneers of Burra), of Kooringa.  He was educated at the late Dr J.R. Stevens’school and worked first at Lockyer’s brewery.  After the brewery closed down he worked at other places but for many years past has been an employee of the Burra Corporation.  In his work he was conscientious and thorough and the Council have lost a trusted and valued employee.

In his younger days Mr Hebert was an enthusiastic footballer and cricketer but of late years has been content to be a looker-on but a most interested one.  As a townsman he was held in the highest esteem by all and sincere sympathy is felt for the widow and family in their sudden bereavement.  Mr Herbert was twice married, his first wife was Miss Lousia Seaford who died in 1902 leaving a son and three daughters.

In 1903 he married Miss Carrie Hornhardt who has a family of two sons and one daughter. The family comprises Mrs M. J. Madigan of Pinnaroo; Mrs TV. Quinn, Broken Hill; Mrs D. Whitehorn, Koolunga; Mr W.J. Herbert, Broken Hill, Mr Jack Herbert, Adelaide; Mr Roy Herbert; Broken Hill and Miss Lily Herbert, Kooringa, and six grandchildren, also two brothers Messrs Chas. Herbert of Sydney, George Herbert and one sister, Mrs T. Parks both of Kooringa.

His funeral took place on Thursday afternoon and was attended by a representative number of townsfolks.  The Mayor (Mr Collins Esq), with Mrs T. Woolscott, F. Harris, A.B. Biggs, J Kellock, EJ. Davey acted as bearers and amongst the many beautiful floral tributes was one from the members of the Town Council and some from several townsmen.  The service was conducted by the Rev. R. H. Lee and the funeral arrangements my Messrs C.J. Pearce and Son.  The Late Mr Herbert was also a very old member of the Forestors Lodge and the service at the grave was read by Bro. E J. Davey."

Grave - John Herbert - Burra South Australia
Burra Record, 13 January 1936, p. 3

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Sharing Memories

Smoko break - Nuntherungie Station

Today I would like to share a picture of my father having a "Smoko" break while working out in the paddocks of Nuntherungie Station. My post "Early Days in the Bush - Day out with Dad", describes this.  I have to confess that he posed for this picture with the left over lamb bone, as was his dry sense of humour.  However, the picture does ring true, with the reality of the small camp fire to boil his billy for the morning cup of tea and the harsh environment of life in the outback.  Smoko, is a term that is was used to refer to morning or afternoon tea break, which generally went along with time for a quick cigarette or as was the case for my father a "puff on his pipe".

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Follow Friday - An accumulation of my weekly research - Facial Recognition for Genealogy

This week in my monthly post on World Wide Genealogy Collaboration I delved into the topic of Facial Recognition programs, "Geneology CSI Style - Facial Recognition" and how they can be used in identifying those unknown faces in your old family photos. As a user of these programs  I am still wearing my “L” plates and will wait until I have had more time to become more experienced in using the “Facial Recognition” software before I give my verdict on its usefulness.

As a summary of this week’s research I thought I would share with you some of the useful blogs and articles that I have discovered this week and would be very interested to hear back from other family researchers on their experiences with “facial recognition” programs.


Steele, J. 2013, Face to Face: Analysis and Comparison ofFacial Features to Authenticate Identities of People in Photographs, Joelle Steele Enterprises.  (this is on my shopping list).

 Brennan, M.J. 2009, “Oz Family Finder, Facial Recognition Software (FRS): Family History’s Latest Tech-Tool”, Viewed 5/7/14.

Rasmus, E, 2012, “Improving Face Recognition with Genealogical and Contextual Data”, Honours Thesis,, viewed 10/07/14.

Rasmus, R.  and Green, E., “ Improving Facial Recognition with Genealogical and Contextual Data”, Proceedings for the 27th Conference on Image and Vision Computing, New Zealand,, Viewed 3/7/14

Shao, Xia and Fu, “Genealogical Face Recognition based on UB KinFace Database”, Viewed 10/7/14
Steele, J.,“Using Facial Features to identify people in photographs, Who’s who in your family Photos”, viewed 2/7/14

Ancestor Search Blog,”How Google Picasa Face Recognition Software can help Genealogists”, Viewed 2/7/14.

Christoph Bartneck, 2008, University of Canterbury, HIT Lab NZ, “Recognising and Identifying People in Family Picture”, Viewed 2/7/14.

Creative Gene, Using Facial Recognition Software in Photo Identification, viewed 11/07/14.

Family Search, I have seen that Face Somewhere Before 2/7/14.

Genealogy’s Star, “A look at the Third Place Developer Challenge winner, Photo Face Match”, Viewed 5/7/14.

Geneapprentice, “ Facial Recognition Software- A helpful Genealogy Too”l, Viewed 3/7/14

Social Media and Genealogy, “Picasa Face-recognition scan conclusions”,

The Ancestry Insider, “Facial Recognition”, Viewed 3/7/14

Monday, July 7, 2014

Amanuensis Monday - Sharing Memories - Disastrous Floods destroy Nuntherungie Station Homestead

Red earth of Nuntherungie- Homestead in Background
Last week I wrote about the importance of rain in the outback, and some of my childhood memories of the celebration and excitement when rain did finally eventuate in Sharing Memories - Here comes the Rain!.  In this story I mentioned Miss Tapp, the sister of the owner of Nuntherungie Station who was brought up on the station as a young child.  Miss Tapp, who lived in Broken Hill, had quite an influence on my knowledge of the bush as a young child.  

When she was visiting her brother (from Broken Hill) she would take me on walks in the bush, and dry creek beds, pointing out the different types of bushes, plants and animals. She showed me how to dig down into the dry creek bed, to find water, and pointed out some of the native plants that were edible. I can also clearly remember her showing me the different foot prints in the sand that were made by kangaroos, birds and goannas by drawing the shapes of their hoof prints in the sand.   
North West Corner of  NSW - showing location of Nuntherungie
The Homestead of Nuntherungie was built on a hill, looking down on the extensive system of creeks that flowed in between the homestead and the Woolshed.  However, this homestead was not the original building.  The first homestead build on Nuntherungie was erected closer to the creeks in the 1880's.  On one of the outings with Miss Tapp we visited the spot where the first homestead stood.  All that was remaining was a couple of brick chimneys, overgrown by bush. Miss Tapp described her childhood in a beautiful stone homestead. She then told me the homestead had been destroyed in a huge flood that the family had to leave and rebuild their home on higher ground. 

As we scrambled out way through the long grass and trees, Miss Tapp pointed out a small overgrown garden bed where a couple of bulbs were popping out of the ground.  She explained that this was all that remained of her mothers garden and every year in spring these bulbs would pop their heads out to remind her of times gone.
I had almost forgotten this story until recently troving through TROVE and came across this article, which gives a more substantial description of the events on the day that the Nuntherungie homestead was washed away in the huge floods of 1931.  It was one of those light bulb moments!  I remember being told about this! and as the story follows on nicely from my previous article about celebrating the arrival of rain in this district, it is fitting to share this story as it highlights  how the people of these isolated areas were at the mercy of the elements.



About 6000 pounds damage.

The stately old homestead at Nuntherungie Station, 120 miles from Broken Hill on the White Cliffs road, is now a scene of desolation, and so severe is the damage wrought by the recent floods that the building will have to be demolished and a new homestead built.  About 6000 pounds damage was done.

Nuntherungie is one of the oldest homesteads in the district, and was once owned by the Kennedy family.  The homestead was erected 50 years ago.  Mr Nigel Kennedy, who died in Broken some years ago, being a son of the owner.  Then Mr B. A. Williamson of Abbotsford near Ivanhoe had the place, Mr E.P. Tapp, the present owner, taking over after he returned from service with the A.I.F. during the Great War.  Thus Mr Tapp, who took the place in 1920 or 1921 has during his life not only been exposed to the dangers of war, but has experienced some of the bitter reverses of civil life.

Nuntherungie homestead is built on the east side of a creek and was constructed of stone and pise and when it was built it was never thought that the district would experience such as a flood as was the case about a fortnight ago.  In years gone by the flood waters came down the creek proper but during the past few heavy rains the creek has overflowed some distance above the station and flowed down both sides but the rush of water had never previously reached the house.  When on previous occasions water threatened the station large banks were built to keep it back, and up till this flood the move was successful.  On this occasion the raging torrent was too much for the embankments and they were swept away.  The water had been banked so far back that when it was suddenly released it came like the rapids of a surging river.  Right through the homestead, outhouses and woolshed the water rushed carrying everything before it.  At the height of the flood the water in the homestead and some other houses was 4ft 6 inches deep.  Everything was soaked, the most valuable article, a piano, being saved from destruction by the foresight of some of the people there.  The mattresses from a couple of beds were placed on the dining room table and the piano was lifted on to this.  Thus it escaped the water.  While the piano rested majestically on the table, chairs, other tables and furniture floated about the buildings like miniature yachts.

The miracle was that no persons on the station were drowned.  After the flood had subsided silt was found on the floors of the homestead inches deep.  The foundations of the house sank as a result of the rush of water and in some walls of the buildings cracks appeared from one inch to almost a foot wide.  Other walls collapsed, that is interior walls and two of the walls near the front of the house.  There were nine rooms in the building and all that supports the roof now are a few walls and the door and window frames.  It is estimated that between 5000 pounds and 6000 pounds damage was done to the house, contents and outbuildings on the property.

In the outbuildings a two-roomed structure over a cellar has a tilt because of the foundations having subsided.  Several of the buildings have feet of silt in them.

The flood was the largest in the memory of white men in the district.  One man has been on the station for 35 years and he says that he has never seen such a flood before.  The exact rainfall on the station is not known.  About five inches of rain was registered and then the rain gauge was useless.

It is believed that the extra-large flood was caused by heavy falls at Wertago, where seven inches of rain was registered.  This is between Nuntherungie and Gnalta, and all this water came down the Nuntherungie Creek, later finding its way to Bancannia Lake, about 50 miles away.  Following the water came floods from the Kayrunnera area.

Mr Edward Tapp**
There are five in the Tapp family and all were at home.  Fortunately shearing was in progress and the shearers were able to give Mr Tapp valuable help in cleaning up a lot of the debris.  The shearing of Nuntherungie sheep had finished, but Wertago sheep were being attended to and of course since the flood and the damage the shearing has had to be postponed for the time.

The water came through the shearing shed feet deep, but did not cause the building to collapse.  The silt damaged the interior of the building and much repair work will have to be carried out.  Forty bales of wool were saturated, but the shearers as soon as the rain eased off opened these and spread the wool out to dry.  It is still marketable, although it will be slightly discoloured.  The shearers stood by Mr Tapp to a man and although they were told they could not be paid they never faltered in their cleaning up of the debris and stayed at the station as long as they could.  They worked like men on contract and Constable Smith, who was held up by the floods and reached Nuntherungie gave help till he was able to push on to his station at White Cliffs.  At times it was feared that there would be a shortage of food, but this was rationed and the determination of neighbours at Kayrunnera and Wertago saved the position, Light vehicles were taken out over the flooded areas and provisions were carried over the flooded creek.  Constable Smith left Nuntherungie on Easter Monday and the shearers who had put through 6000 sheep went on to White Cliffs, being held up there owing to the roads to Tonga, where they had to start shearing, being boggy.

According to a resident who was through Nuntherungie during the weekend, the roads between here and Gnalta are passable, but for a man to take the rest of the road to Nuntherungie he must be a careful driver and have a light car.  All the creeks between Gnalta and Nuntherungie are silted up, there being piles of debris and silt 7 ft high in some creeks.  The creek known as 10 mile, some distance from Nuntherungie, had a wire netting crossing, but this has been carried away, and a pile of silt has taken its place.  As far as can be ascertained no sheep were drowned, but a muster cannot be made on account of the conditions of the country.  Some may have been carried away in the torrent, and if not caught in trees washed into Bancannia Lake.  To add to the discomfort of the Nuntherungie people, telephone communication was cut off, the lines being washed away.  Communication has now been restored through Wonnaminta, but the direct line to White Cliffs is still out of order.

Travellers say that much fending on all the stations in the flood area was washed away, and the banks of tanks suffered extensively.  Most of the surface water from the floods has gone, but there is still a little about the clay pans.

Station people in the Nuntherungie area say they will long remember the disastrous flood, and there is much sympathy in the district for Mr Tapp and family, for their loss is severe and the disaster coming at a time when the industry is just recovering makes the blow suffered doubly heavy.
1931 'THE FLOOD AT NUNTHERUNGIE.', Barrier Miner(Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), 14 April, p. 3, viewed 7 July, 2014,
 **Obituaries Australia,, viewed on 1 July 2014.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Thankful Thursday - Sharing Memories - Here comes the rain!!!

Sheep lined up at water trough 
Last night as I browsed through some of my father’s old slides I reflected on the importance of rain and the impact it had on our lives when we lived on Nuntherungie Station (between Broken Hill and White Cliffs)  as small children.  The average rain fall for this area, in north western NSW, is around 235 mm (9 inches) annually!! Not a lot of rain when you consider the average annual rainfall for Sydney is 1,213 mm (47.59 inches). 

So as you can imagine when the rains did come it was a time for celebration.  I  remember my father turning on the two-way radio the morning after there had been a big storm, everyone from the district calling and reporting how many inches of rain they had, that their dams were full, or that there had been flood waters through their sheds! It was like flock of galahs squawking at a grain spill on the side of the road.  The whole district would be tuned in, hopes refreshed for a better year now that there was water in the dam.

Generally the creeks, line with shaggy old gums were dry except for a few waterholes.  However, when the rain came they would flood. Brown bubbling water would rush down the sandy creek beds, filling all the water holes and flowing into the large dams that were an essential life force for the stock and people living on the property.  Each property, would have a system of huge water dams excavated by earth moving plants, these dams would provide water to the homesteads and would be pumped to the water troughs to provide water to all the stock on the property. In times of drought the level of these damps would be watched closely, often in despair.  The down side of these rain falls would be that they often came on one big rush, washing away fences and cutting through roads and blocking supplies to isolated areas.

Enjoying the novelty of water in the creek
Following a heavy downfall of rain, one of my father’s first tasks was to check on the livestock (mainly sheep) and mend any of the fences that had been washed away. As I mentioned in a previous blog, "Days out with Dad",  I loved to accompany him on these trips, there was nothing like being in a jeep, and having mud and water (instead of dust) splash up on you as went through the water holes and creeks on the property.  The more mud the better it felt!  The flowing creeks and water holes also meant it was time for the children to have some water play!! Something that we didn’t have the opportunity do very often.

One of my favourite memories was of Miss Tapp (the sister of the owner of the property) coming down to our house,  gathering my sisters and myself up to go exploring after the rain. We would head off, bare feet and with our dresses tucked into our bloomers (Yep!! ) to the creek to play in the mud and water.  On one particular time, our mother had just finished making us new white cotton bloomers, and was very dismayed when we returned all muddy brown and dripping in boomers that would for ever remain a light shade of reddy brown.

Water Play in the claypan water hole 
Another paddling adventure was after my dad returned home from one of his post rain tours of the property, he reported that he had found a nice water hole on one of the claypans for the “kids” to play in.  It was decided we should go for family picnic. Lunch packed, we all climbed into the jeep in our swimmers, and headed to the spot where Dad had found the water hole the day before.

However, when we arrived the water had evaporated or drained away, and Dad’s water hole had been reduced to a sheet of water , which was about 2 inches deep!  Not to despair, in we hopped, and splashed and slid around on the muddy clay while Mum organise our lunch.

Of course there are also the stories of isolation and being cut off from supplies, loss of stock and damaged fences and buildings, however, the assurance that the dams were full and there would be water for a few more months far outweighed  the downside!