Thursday, 27 April 2017

X is for destruction of a piratical fleet in Xiānggǎng (Hong Kong)

My fourth great uncle Karl Heinrich August Mainwaring  was the tenth of the seventeen children of Rowland Mainwaring (1783-1862), eldest of the eight children of Rowland's third wife Laura Maria Julia Walburga Chevillard (1811-1891).

Karl was born 4 September 1837 at Mannheim in Germany. He died 21 August 1906 at Saint Helier, Jersey.

On 19 September 1856 Karl Mainwaring appointed as lieutenant in the Royal Navy.  From 1874 to 1893 Karl Mainwaring was harbour master in KingstonJamaica. He retired from the navy with the rank of captain.

In 1866 Lieutenant K.H.A Mainwaring was stationed in Hong Kong with the China Squadron on  HMS Princess Charlotte  

Xiānggǎng is the modern transcription of 香港 , Hong Kong, 'fragrant harbour'.

HMS Princess Charlotte painted 1838 by James Kennett Willson from Wikimedia Commons

HMS Princess Charlotte was a 104-gun first-rate ship launched in 1825. Once the the flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet, from 1858 until she was sold in 1875 the Princess Charlotte was used as a receiving ship, a harbour-bound hulk used for stores and accommodation in lieu of a permanent shore base.

Kellett’s Island, looking west across Wanchai towards Central and the Peak, with HMS Princess Charlotte on the right (1869 - 71). Retrieved from Cheung, Tim. "Maritime Museum to Show Historical Pictures of HK." Artinfo. BlouinArtinfo Corp., 15 Jan. 2014. W <>.

Hong Kong Harbour about 1868 from The China Magazine Midsummer Volume 1868, page 88,  digitised by Google books.  The view possibly shows Signal Hill.

In July 1866 Lieutenant Mainwaring was given charge of HMS Opossum.

In 1865 HMS Opossum had been engaged in attacks on Chinese pirates in co-operation with the fleet of the Manchu Qing government. The attacks were reported in The Illustrated London News of 23 October 1865.

'Expedition against the Chinese Pirates' from The Illustrated London News of 23 October 1865 page 409 with illustration: Fleet of Chinese junks, with HMS Opossum, preparing to attack pirates at How-Chow. Retrieved from

On 18 July 1866 HMS Opossum, commanded by Lieutenant Mainwaring, together with HMS Osprey attacked pirate vessels in Sama Bay, now known as Sanya Bay on Hainan Island, 250 miles south-west of Hong Kong. The British destroyed 22 Junks and 270 cannon and killed about 100 men.

HMS Opossum was a wooden screw gunboat of the Albacore class which carried about 38 crew and four guns. (In the 1866 Navy List, the Opossum is listed as a tender to the Princess Charlotte and Mainwaring is in charge of the Haughty, also an Albacore class wood screw gunboat.) HMS Osprey was a Vigilant class gunboat with about 80 crew and four guns.

H.M.S. Osprey and H.M.S Opossum destroying Chinese pirate junks in Sama Bay from The Illustrated London News of 29 September 1866, page 313, retrieved from the

The attack on the pirates was reported in The Illustrated London News of 22 September 1866 and followed up with an illustration the following week.

"Piracy in the Chinese Seas" from The Illustrated London News 22 September 1866 page  291 retrieved from the (click on image to enlarge)

The 1866 engagement with the pirates was widely reported. The following account is from the Melbourne Leader.

DESTRUCTION OF A PIRATICAL FLEET BY H. M. SHIPS OPOSSUM AND OSPREY. (1866, September 29). Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918), p. 17. Retrieved from

Related posts

Further reading

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

W is for Williamstown: funeral of Augustus Dana

Augustus Pulteney Dana, my first cousin four times removed,  born 1 February 1851 at Dandenong, was the son of of Henry Edward Pulteney Dana (1817-1852),and Sophia Cole Hamilton née Walsh (1827-1860). At the time Henry Dana was commandant of the Victorian Native Police.

Augustus was their youngest child. His brothers and sisters were:
  • Cecile Sophia (1845-1908), who married James Colles in 1866 and had children (with present day descendants)
  • William Henry Pulteney (1845-died before 1852)
  • Harry (1843-1854) 
  • Charlotte Elizabeth Kinnaird (1848-1848)
  • George Kinnaird Dana (1849-1872)
In 1852, when Augustus was only one, his father Henry died. Four years later his mother Sophia married his father's brother William Dana. They had one child, who died as an infant. Sophia died in 1860 and her second husband, Augustus's uncle and step-father William Dana, died in 1866.

1851: born
1852: father dies
1854: death of brother William who was aged 11, from scarlet fever in Launceston, Tasmania
1856: mother marries uncle
1860: mother dies
1866: uncle, who is also his step father dies.

In November 1867 Augustus, sixteen years old and said to have been 'uncontrollable', became a 'ward of the state', the term used to describe a child under the guardianship of a State child welfare authority.*

His legal guardian was a police magistrate, Mr Sturt, a former colleague of his father and uncle. Sturt paid 10 shillings a week towards Augustus's keep.

In January 1868 Augustus absconded but was brought back a day later. In February he was sent to live on a hulk at Williamstown called the Nelson.** This vessel, described as a 'training ship', was in fact a floating reformatory for refractory boys.

HMVS Nelson, Williamstown, Victoria, Apr 1898. Image from Find and Connect, originally from Museum Victoria.

A few months later, on 30 May 1868, Augustus died there of scarletina (scarlet fever) after an illness of 3 days. On his death certificate 'occupation' was recorded, stretching the truth a little, as 'ordinary seaman'. His father was given as George Dana, inspector of police, with mother not known. Clearly the informant knew very little about Augustus's family.

Augustus was sent off with an impressive funeral in naval style at Williamstown cemetery, probably at least in part intended as a contribution to the moral education of his fellows. His grave is unmarked.

NEWS AND NOTES. (1868, June 3). The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), p. 2. Retrieved October 5, 2016, from

results from deceased search on Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries website
I believe this is the site of the grave of Augustus Dana - photographed October 2016


* see: 'Victorian Former Wards of the State are people who were removed from their families and placed in government or church operated orphanages, children's homes or foster care as children. The Victorian government took legal responsibility for their care." See:

** "The Nelson was a hulk (ship) anchored off Williamstown, Hobson Bay. From 1868, it housed boys aged ten who had been sentenced under the Neglected and Criminal Children's Act of 1864. By 1872, the vessel housed 383 boys. It was abandoned in 1876 when the boys were transferred to the Bendigo Benevolent Asylum Industrial School, Sandhurst, and later to Sunbury Industrial School." See:

Further reading

V is for Valleyfield in Van Diemen's Land

The first of my forebears to migrate to Australia was my fifth  great grandfather George Taylor (1758 - 1828), who arrived in Tasmania, then known as Van Diemen's Land, in 1823. With him was his wife Mary née Low (1765 -1850) and some of his family. My fourth great grandmother, his daughter, Isabella Hutcheson née Taylor (1794-1876), followed ten years later, arriving about 1833.

"Valleyfield" Epping Tas. The "Taylors" have lived here for over 100 years. , about 1914 - about 1941 Photograph in the collection of the State Library of Victoria. Accession number H22546. A.C. Dreier postcard collection. Retrieved from

The Taylor family's arrival in Hobart on the Princess Charlotte on 10 January 1823 was reported in the Sydney Gazette. George Taylor's son, Robert, wrote a diary about their four-month voyage, mostly concerned with the weather. (Helen Hudson, a Taylor family descendant, covers the Taylor's voyage in her family history book Cherry Stones, basing her account on Robert's diary.)

MAGISTRATE FOR THE WEEK—JOHN PIPER, Esq. (1823, February 13). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 3. Retrieved from

George Taylor received a grant of land about 30 miles south of Launceston on the Macquarie River. He named his property 'Valley-Field'. Three of his sons, George, David, and Robert, received grants of land nearby.

The land grant to George Taylor senior signed 30 June 1823 by Governor Brisbane. Image retrieved from (Copies of land grants issued 1804-1823. LSD354. Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office, Tasmania, Australia.)

In January 1923 and January 1973 there were large family reunions to celebrate the anniversary of the arrival of the Taylor family in Australia.

After 182 years in the Taylor family the Valleyfield property was sold in 2005.

Further reading

Related posts

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Anzac biscuits

Today, to celebrate Anzac Day, my daughter Charlotte and I baked Anzac biscuits.

We used a recipe from It seemed a bit dry so we added more butter.


  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted 
  • 1 cup rolled oats 
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar 
  • 3/4 cup desiccated coconut 
  • 150g unsalted butter, chopped  (we ended up using 250g butter)
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup or treacle 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons water 
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda

  • mix dry ingredients in bowl
  • melt butter, add Golden Syrup and bicarb soda dissolved in water
  • add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients
  • mix
  • form mixture into small balls and flatten slightly
  • bake for about 12 minutes in a moderate oven then cool on a rack


mix dry ingredients in bowl
melt butter, add in golden syrup, and the bicarb soda dissolved in the water

add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients

form mixture into small balls and flatten slightly
bake for about 12 minutes and cool

Related posts

U is for Unibic biscuit tin

My great grandfather Constantine Trent Champion de Crespigny (1882-1952) served as a doctor in World War 1.

In 1917 he was in charge of the 1st Australian General Hospital in Rouen which dealt with general battle casualties. On 9 July 1917 Her Majesty Queen Mary visited the hospital. She was photographed with my great grandfather inspecting an honour guard of nurses.

Rouen, France. 9 July 1917. Her Majesty Queen Mary visiting No. 1 Australian General Hospital (1AGH). HM is accompanied through a guard of honour of nurses of the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) by the hospital's commanding officer, Colonel Trent Champion de Crespigny DSO. Temporary wards and tents are on both sides of the path and patients in hospital uniform look on. Australian War Memorial photograph id K00019

That photograph has been reproduced on a biscuit tin a hundred years later 'in honour of ANZAC Day and in remembrance of the nurses who served in the war.'

photograph taken in Woolworths supermarket, Ballarat April 2017

The tins are filled with Anzac biscuits. The biscuit company promises that from the sale of the tins, which 'celebrate the origin of Anzac biscuits, reminding us of the packages of love and care from home that helped buoy the Anzac Spirit in the trenches of Gallipoli', will go towards service organisations such as the Returned and Services League (RSL).

Dr de Crespigny on behalf of the hospital at Lemnos dealing with the sick and wounded from Gallipoli, received tins of biscuits from Australia. The biscuits were probably not the Anzac biscuits we know today.

WATTLE DAY LEAGUE WAR EXTENSION WORK. (1915, November 18). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 6. Retrieved from

One of the earliest Anzac biscuit recipes was in a 1916 newspaper, winning 4th prize in a Western Australian recipe contest; 4th prize was an electroplated butter knife with an engraved handle.

Fourth Prize (1916, June 4). Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 - 1954), p. 7 (Second Section). Retrieved from

This 1920 recipe from the Argus is much closer to the recipe I have made. I don't know about eating the biscuits with a spoon though.

KITCHEN AND PANTRY. (1920, September 15). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 7. Retrieved from

the bought biscuits, not bad, but I normally associate Anzac biscuits with being home-made

The Unibic factory is in Broadmeadows, a suburb of Melbourne. The biscuit factory is over 60 years old and employs 170 people. In 2012 Unibic got into financial difficulties. The factory was threatened with closure but was rescued by a consortium of investors. The production of Anzac biscuits and the support of the Returned and Services League helped the company survive. ("Anzac Biscuits Factory Looking Forward To A New Future | Australian Food News". 2012. )

Related posts

Sunday, 23 April 2017

T is for Talbot in 1869

In March 1852, my great great great grandfather Philip Champion Crespigny (1817-1889) with his wife Charlotte Frances née Dana and their two children, Ada and Philip, arrived in Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia.

Philip Crespigny, then 34, was moderately well-educated. He had attended Cambridge University, admitted on 7 November 1838 to Downing College as a Fellow-commoner. He had the status of a student who had matriculated, and he was not on a scholarship.

His period at Cambridge did not lead to a career in the Church, and it appears that at the time of his arrival in Victoria he had never previously had paid employment, nor had he been in business or trade.

Philip's arrival coincided with the great rush for gold in Victoria which followed the announcement of significant discoveries in July 1851. In March of that year, Victoria had a population of about 77,000. By the end of the following year, 1852, this figure had increased by 100,000.

The administration of Victoria's Lieutenant-governor, Captain Charles La Trobe, under-staffed and under-resourced, was barely able to cope with the huge population increase.

The management of the goldfields was specially difficult. LaTrobe copied the New South Wales system of gold-digging licenses, designed to discourage people from joining the rush to the diggings. It didn't work. Despite the enormous numbers of immigrants, Melbourne suffered from a serious labour shortage as men deserted their jobs to join the scramble for gold. Agricultural production fell. The harvest of wheat, for example, fell from 733,000 bushels in 1851 to 154,000 bushels in 1853. The area of land under cultivation shrank.

Philip Champion Crespigny (1817-1889)

Philip was appointed an Assistant Commissioner of Crown Lands for the Goldfields on 18 November 1852.
Victoria Government Gazette, Gazette 57, Wednesday, October 5th 1853, page 1459 retrieved from

Philip Crespigny was first appointed as a magistrate in 1853. Victoria Government Gazette, Gazette 58, Wednesday, October 12th 1853, page 1532 retrieved from

In February 1859 Philip was appointed police magistrate at Amherst, near Talbot, central Victoria. In 1861 the population of Amherst and Talbot was about 2,200.

View of Talbot c 1854-1862. Elevated view over township, in foreground a sign on wall reading Talbot Drug Store, on left line of double storey shop fronts with porch over footpath: Metropolitan Hotel, the library, jeweller and the Theatre Royal. In the distance scattered huts and earth works. From the State Library of Victoria Image H2009.84/35.

There are many newspaper reports of Philip Crespigny's police-court cases in the newspapers. (They will be covered in separate blogposts.)
In 1869 Philip left Talbot to become magistrate and coroner at Bairnsdale. A farewell banquet for him was held in the Talbot Borough Hall.

THE NEWS OF THE DAY. (1869, February 4). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from

In March 1869 Mr Dowling, the magistrate who had replaced Philip, was transferred to Geelong and Philip returned to Talbot from Bairnsdale, with Clunes and Creswick added to the area he administered.

In August 1869, Philip advertised his farm near Talbot for sale. This property, of 83 acres, was on the road between Talbot and Amherst. There was a house, stable, barn, and an orchard and garden.

Advertising (1869, August 5). The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), p. 3. Retrieved from

Later in the month Warden Crespigny fell from his horse near Clunes. According to the newspaper report, he was lucky to escape serious injury.

In June 1870 Philip was transferred from Talbot to Bright.  When Philip took up the Bright post in north-east Victoria, the rest of his family moved to Hawthorn, a suburb of Melbourne, 330 kilometres away. Some people felt he had been badly treated. At the time of his transfer Philip Crespigny was 53.

THE NEWS OF THE DAY. (1870, July 28). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from

In February 1871 a rumour was reported in the Bright newspaper that the local police magistrate, Mr P. C. Crespigny, was about to be removed. In March 1871 Mr Crespigny took leave and was relieved by Mr Willoughby. In April 1871 Mr Crespigny PM was hearing cases in Eaglehawk, Bendigo. In May it was announced that Mr P. C. Crespigny PM would succeed Mr Daly as police magistrate in the Ararat district. He remained at Ararat until he resigned from government service in 1877.

Map showing Talbot, Bairnsdale, Bright, Hawthorn (a suburb of Melbourne), Eaglehawk (near Bendigo), Clunes and Creswick (south-east of Talbot) and Ararat. (click image to enlarge)

Related posts

Saturday, 22 April 2017

S is for the Snowy

By guest blogger Greg Young. We found some old negatives and had them developed the other day.

For a few years from 1968, when I finished at Albury High, I worked on and off as a labourer on the Snowy.

'The Snowy' was the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme, Australia's largest civil-engineering project, which dammed and diverted water from streams running directly to the sea, sending it through tunnels to inland rivers for irrigation. The diverted water was also used to turn turbines at electricity generating stations.

I worked a couple of times at Talbingo on T3, the Scheme's largest power station, where huge pipelines were being built to carry water from Talbingo Dam on the Tumut River down the mountainside to a pondage called Jounama then to Blowering Dam, on the way turning six enormous generators. In bays along the back of the power station were huge primary transformers.

Looking down on T3 from the pipelines
at the back of T3

Here I am, an offsider to a Serb linesman called Rudi Mrvos, swinging around in a cage on the end of a crane. We were meant to be working on the insulators on top of the transformers.

Rudi Mrvos and Greg

The crane-driver, whose name I can't remember, was a Croat, and on the Snowy there was a bit of strain between Serbians and Croatians. This led to a few jokes about the possibility of being deliberately dropped. He was a good bloke, though, and gave us an easy ride.

Of course nowadays the credit would go to an Ethnic Relations Co-ordinator, tasked with facilitating multi-cultural harmony.

Rudi simply told the crane-driver that he had a revolver, which he'd bought from some criminals in Kings Cross. But this almost certainly had nothing to do with the driver's concern for our safety.

Friday, 21 April 2017

R is for Rosydyon Tower the seat of Sir W. de Crespigny Bt

Among a collection of images relating to the Champion de Crespigny family, I came across an image of a drawing of Rosydyon Tower, the seat of Sir W. de Crespigny Bt. The drawing is said to have been done by Mary Catherine Champion de Crespigny (1810-1858), the youngest of Sir William and Lady Sarah de Crespigny's ten children. Mary married John Brigstocke (1791-1858).

Sir William de Crespigny (1765-1829) was the second baronet, succeeding in 1818 to the baronetcy on the death of his father Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny (1734-1818).  In 1786 William  married the Right Honourable Lady Sarah Windsor (1763-1825), a daughter of the 4th Earl of Plymouth.

Sir William's entry in Burke's Peerage of 1830 mentions Rhosydyon Tower, Carmarthenshire in Wales, as one of Sir William's three country seats. His town residence was Champion Lodge at Camberwell.

Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, Volume 3, 1830, page 204

Rhosduon Tower is mentioned in Buildings of Wales,  referring to a plaque memorialising Lady Sarah de Crespigny:
Her husband built Rhosduon Tower in the parish c. 1820, a castellated toy fort, long demolished.
Rhosduon Tower was near the village of Pencarrag, in south-west Wales.

In 1825 Lady Sarah de Crespigny died at Rhosdyon Tower.

"FASHIONABLE ARRIVALS." Morning Post, 27 Sept. 1825. British Library Newspapers, Accessed 28 Mar. 2017.

Sir William de Crespigny died on 28 December 1829 in London.  The estate was advertised for sale a few months later.

"Multiple Classified ads." Morning Post, 22 May 1830, p. 4. British Library Newspapers,


I have spelt the name of the tower in the various ways it appears in each of the sources.

Kelmarsh Hall is in Northamptonshire. It is presently operated by a trust set up in 1982 by Valencia Lancaster (1898-1996),  Valencia was the grand daughter of the fourth baronet. Many Champion de Crespigny pictures and records are held at Kelmarsh Hall.  Some of the pictures can be viewed at

Carmarthenshire and CeredigionVolume 6 of Buildings of Wales by Thomas Lloyd, Julian Orbach, Robert Scourfield published by Yale University Press, 2006.  page 363.