During the eruption, photographs were taken of the steam rising from the sea where the lava spilled in:
Alexander Sutherland, Australian polymath
Alexander Sutherland (born 1852) was the son of Scottish immigrants to Australia who settled in Sydney during 1864. Sutherland trained as a schoolteacher and had successful careers in teaching and journalism, during which he was particularly associated with Melbourne, where his family had moved.
In spite of his busy working career and relatively early death in 1902, Sutherland emerged as a colonial intellectual and important local cultural figure. He co-wrote a standard school text, A History of Australia, which was published in 1877 and retained currency into the 20th century. Apart from producing other historical and biographical material, Sutherland published in 1898 The Origin and Growth of the Moral Instinct. Here he sought to associate the development of human morality with Darwinian evolutionary theory.
The characters and landscapes of Australasia are the subjects of the latest ‘Through a lens’ online release today – timed perfectly for Australia Day tomorrow.
From Darwin to Tasmania, Perth to Brisbane, the people, places and projects of Australia from the 1860s to 1960s are represented in the collection, alongside smaller collections showing New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu and other Pacific islands.
The photographs are part of the Colonial Office collection that we have been releasing online through Flickr since 2011. In September last year I wrote about the release of the Asia collection, and the diversity shown in the Australasia photographs is just as apparent. There are, for example, beautiful images of landscapes, of the construction of Sydney Harbour Bridge, and even the All Blacks team from 1953-54. Continue reading »
I am going to start this blog post by asking a few questions. If faced with compulsory military service today, what would be the impact on our own individual lives? Would we need time to settle our domestic responsibilities before being able to serve? Would it be in the national interest for us to stay in the employment, training or social role which we currently hold? And what personnel would businesses and industries require to ensure the continued support to our local communities, especially the young and elderly?
Fortunately for us in Britain today these questions are purely hypothetical but 97 years ago (give or take a few days), on 27 January 1916, the British Government passed the first Military Service Act, meaning compulsory military service for every British male aged between 18 and 41 who was either unmarried or a widower without children. Exemption could be granted from this conscription into the military forces with a Tribunal system established to hear applications and appeals at local district or borough level, County appeal and a final Central appeal level in London.
My introduction to First World War research didn’t initially come through looking into my own family. One of my hobbies is bellringing: like so many clubs and social groups the Central Council for Church Bell Ringers created its own roll of honour after the First World War. Much work has been done in recent years to link the names on the roll with Commonwealth War Grave Commission records, but some names were proving stubborn, and there didn’t seem to be any obvious candidate. I realised that I was in a position to help since I could easily look at the available records.
It soon became clear that at least some of the men had been overlooked at the time, their health had broken under the strain of army service and had been discharged as a result, and subsequently died from the same condition. While they qualify for recognition under the terms of CWGC’s royal charter, their names had never been put forward for inclusion on the debt of honour register. I wrote up as much detail as I could find on these men on our old Your Archives wiki (see for example Gilbert Victor Drew) and with help from members of the Great War Forum and the In From the Cold Project I was able to get a few men added to the CWGC register.
So, having already honed my research skills to some extent, I then received an email via my Dad from his cousin Jane who had been working on the family history. In particular she was looking for help with her great-uncle (my great-great-uncle), Frederick John Holbrook. She had already found his entry in the CWGC database and his medal index card (WO 372/9/241037). This showed that he had served in 2nd Battalion, Welsh Regiment as Private 30649. 1
They also reveal one slight discrepancy, with CWGC showing his date of death as 26 July 1916 and the medal card as 23 July. Another discrepancy is that CWGC record his age as 19, but Births, Marriages and Deaths records show that he was born on 5 May 1898, 2 meaning he was just 18 when he died: and since the medal card also shows that he was posted to France on 12 May 1915 he must have been underage when he joined up. Certainly he looks very young in the surviving photo of him, and rather swamped by his uniform.
New Year Openings at The National Archives are a time for looking back at the world of 30 years ago, marvelling at how much has changed, or, as a recent blog post on Renewing the Values of Society demonstrated, how much has stayed the same.
What government was doing about the web in 1982 hasn’t received the publicity of the Falklands files. Mainly because, you might think, in 1982 the World Wide Web was little more than a gleam in the eye of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, called ENQUIRE. But while war was raging in the Falklands, a group of civil servants from the government’s Central Computing and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) were trying to second guess the future (BN 120/8 and BN 120/9).
Pre-web, there was plenty of computing going on in government departments; most of it hidden away on the one large machine each department had, with a scattering of terminals that connected staff in distant offices to the machine. The CCTA were trying to establish how much need, if any, there would be to transfer data from one government department’s machine to another. Another 1982 anniversary was the official adoption of the TCP/IP protocol, building block of the internet, by the US Department of Defense. In 1982, data was being exchanged across the world, but the internet was still very much part of its US Cold War communications origins. In the UK civil servants were speaking not of nets, let alone internets, but packet switching. The climate for building networks was not very encouraging. There was a waiting list for new telephone lines – which it was hoped the privatisation of British Telecom would address – meanwhile the first Data Protection Act (1984) was stirring in Parliament; there was an awareness of the public’s reluctance to have their personal information shared across departments by these worrying computers that sent you gas bills for £1,000,000,000.99p. And cost was a major factor: to save taxpayers money data from local benefits offices was sent by the cheaper overnight tariff to the DHSS central computer in Newcastle.
Happy New Year!
So, the time is upon us once again – adverts everywhere for the latest celebrity diet, queues to sign up at the gym and playing ‘dodge the jogger’ in Richmond Park – yes, it’s the cycle of ‘New Year, New You’ repeating once again.
I admit I am guilty of the same – my desk is piled with ambitious mountains of fruit and I am determinedly marching up stairs, glancing longingly at the lifts…
As we well know, this annual dive in to health and fitness is nothing new, and I have been searching for records that reflect this.
The idea came from one of my favourite images in the collection – ‘Lady cyclists riding down a hill’.
Taken in 1898, the photograph appears in COPY 1, the original application forms for the registration of copyright at Stationers’ Hall. It is registered by Frederick Miller Ramell of Sittingbourne.
Access to 13 archive collections is set to be transformed by a series of grants announced today. The National Cataloguing Grants Programme 2012 has awarded £407,950 to archives across the UK to help make these vitally important collections fully accessible for the first time.
Managed by The National Archives, the grants programme helps archives to catalogue previously inaccessible collections. Cataloguing past collections has uncovered treasures, which have provided unique insight into our nation’s history.
The programme is funded by a collective of charitable trusts and foundations including the Pilgrim Trust, the Foyle Foundation and the Wolfson Foundation – we are very grateful for their renewed support.
With royal succession in the news, I find myself reminded of the life of Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria’s youngest child. Princess Beatrice was born in the middle of the 19th century, commonly regarded as the Victorian Age because of the towering presence of Queen Victoria who reigned for nearly 64 years, from 1837 to 1901.
Most heads of the surviving royal families of Europe are descended from Victoria and her husband Albert whom she married in 1840. This was a deliberate policy, supported and encouraged by the Queen; she thought, falsely as it turned out, that a Europe linked by royal households related to one another would be a Europe less likely to go to war. As a consequence inherited diseases such as haemophilia were passed from cousin to cousin, who from Spain in the west to Russia in the east took to their sick beds or expired. And in 1914 the cousins and the countries they ruled went to war. But this was all in the future when Victoria married Albert. Together they produced nine children before Albert, worn out and plagued by typhoid, died on 14 December 1861.
Their nine children were Victoria (the mother of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany), Edward or Bertie (who became King Edward VII), Alice, Alfred, Helena, Louise, Arthur, Leopold and Beatrice. I have long been interested in Princess Beatrice, the youngest child, the daughter who was expected to stay alongside her grieving mother in the bleak years after the death of Albert, who was expected to have no life of her own, but who, in the end, did stage a minor rebellion, and married a German prince and established her own dynasty.
At The National Archives we are busy planning our programme of activities to commemorate the centenary of the First World War in 2014.
With our unique and extensive collection of First World War records, from the official unit war diaries to medal cards and records of the men and women who served, we hold an invaluable resource for genealogists, historians, scholars and anyone interested in researching the history of this conflict or the people involved.
In this blog series, we will follow a group of volunteers from our staff as they embark on a voyage of discovery to trace their First World War ancestors using records held by The National Archives. At regular intervals over the next two years, each will write a blog to explain what records they have consulted, what they found about their ancestor and how they intend to continue their research in this and other archives. They will also share hints and tips to help others conduct their own research.
We hope you will come with us on the journey to discover our ancestors. With the approaching centenary, at no time has it been more fitting to discover the people behind those old photographs and medals.
As the person overseeing this series, I thought it only fair to be the first to post. Read on to see what I found out about my Tommy…
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