Monday, November 28, 2011

Sands Directory - Researching your house's history

I know you're enjoying the new ABC series, Who's Been Sleeping In My House, and want to find out more about your house! I know we are and do!

The essential sources to assist in your investigation of the history of your property are the Sands Directories. These were the city-wide address book of the day in use in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria. In Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia a similar directory was in use, and were published by either the Post Office or H. Wise & Co.

Sands Directories: Sydney and New South Wales, Australia, 1858-1932
Each issue of the Directory listed householders, businesses, public institutions and officials of the entire Sydney area. The two major components of the Directory were the 'Alphabetical' and the 'Suburban' sections. The first consisted of a single alphabetical sequence of the names of householders, business houses and major organisations, with the address of the associated premises attached. The suburban section provided similar information arranged variously by suburb, locality or local government area as the Directory developed.

The street-by-street listing of householders in Sands is useful for undertaking research on the history of properties. The type of information included is:
  • Householder's name and title,
  • Street number and house name,
  • Householder's occupation or type of business

They are useful in listing the residents of a building, although they may not necessarily be the owners of the property. They also help confirm the date of the house. The easiest way to do this research is to simply take a later volume of the directory and go back until your house no longer appears. You may come across a reference to the property being "vacant" or "house under construction". If so, it's likely your house will appear the following year. The first year in which a property appears in Sands may be considered an indication of when a piece of land was first developed but be cautious, the first listing may in fact be after a period of omission e.g. if the property was vacant for some time.

However, directories are not without their problems. Information was often a year behind and inclusion in them was not compulsory - the fee for being listed putting many off. Other problems identified by the Royal Australian Historical Society, says the society's librarian Donna Newton, include:
  • Street names may change
  • Street numbering sometimes absent in the early Directories
  • Street numbering may change
  • House names could change regularly
  • Listing may not indicate a change of use or redevelopment
  • Sands is not a legal document - the information was collected by Sands' agents who called door to door - and is open to error
  • If a property was vacant, then the Sands' agent could not collect information for the site

Where do I find a Sands Directory?

As with all research, start with your local library. These fine institutions may have hard copies or microfiche of the originals, and will likely have free access to or, which both have Sands records from various states as part of their collections.

Use the amazing Trove to find a library near you stocking the directory.

Beautiful hard copies of the Sands Directories are available at the Royal Australian Historical Society, at History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney and of course, you can find the Sands at:

Directories across the states:
  • Queensland. Post Office Directories. Published 1868 - 1949
  • South Australia. Sands and McDougall's. Published 1884 - 1973
  • Tasmania. Post Office Directories. Published 1890 - 1948
  • Victoria. Sands and McDougall's. Published 1862 - 1974
  • Western Australia: Post Office Directories. Published 1893-1949
The staple sources for most family history research should also not be overlooked in house history research. And while census returns, electorial roles and birth, death and marriage certificates may repeat a lot of information you'll find in the rate books and directories, they may just add that detail which brings your house to life. Good hunting!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Show us your Hairy Mancestor - Winners announced!

It's MO101 here are Hairy Mancestors - we've raised $101! We'll be back in 2012 - bigger, hairier and ready to search the land for Hairy Mancestors! It's been a hairy month, all that's left now is to announce our competition winners!

[1] Winners - subscriptions

  • Congratulations Gillian Mauchan and Vivienne Graves!

[2] Winners - Inside History magazine subscriptions

  • Congratulations David Murray and Sharon Fritz!

Thanks again to our friends at for offering such an amazing prize!


Post your moustached ancestors to the Hairy Mancestors facebook page by November 30 and you’ll be helping to support Movember Australia and Movember New Zealand. Plus, you’ll go into the draw to win one of 4 fantastic prizes perfect for the family historian!

  • Two Annual World Heritage Subscriptions
  • Two 12 month subscriptions to Inside History magazine

How to enter:
Like the Hairy Mancestors facebook page then post up to five photos of your ancestors, who sport moustaches. Remember, no beards allowed!

Each post will then go into the prize draw.

Plus, with each entry made you’ll be helping to support Movember, which raises money for men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer and depression. Inside History will donate 50c per photo submitted with name, approximate date and story. Each person posting is allowed 5 eligible photos.

We would like to thank our friends at for their generous support of Hairy Mancestors and Movember!
Terms and conditions:
The “How to enter” instructions form part of the terms and conditions. Entries close 11.59pm EDST on Wednesday, November 30, 2011. Three entrant names will be drawn at random and the winners’ names posted to the Inside History page on December 7.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Libraries :: Where to find Inside History Magazine

Australian Capital Territory:
National Library of Australia | Website | p: 02 6262 1111
National Archives of Australia Library | Website | p: 1300 886 881
Belconnen Library - Canberra | Website | p: 02 6205 9000

New South Wales:
State Library of NSW | Website | p: 02 9273 1414
Bathurst Regional Council Library | Website | p: 02 6333 6281
Bega Valley Shire Library | Website | p: 02 6499 2127
City of Botany Bay Library | Website | p: 02 9366 3888
Clarence Regional Library - Macksville | Website | p: 02 6568 1422
Coffs Harbour City Library | Website | p: 02 6648 4900
Greater Taree City Libraries - Taree | Website | p: 02 6592 5290
Hawkesbury Library Service | Website | p: 02 4560 4460
Holroyd City Library - Merrylands | Website | p: 02 9840 9960
City of Kingston Library | Website | p: 1300 135 668
Lane Cove Library | Website | p: 02 9911 3634
Leichhardt Municipal Library | Website | p: 02 9367 9266
Liverpool City library | Website | p: 02 9821 9460
Macquarie Regional Library | Website | p: 02 6801 4501 Marrickville Library Service | Website | p: 02 9335 2173
Mid-Western Regional Council Library - Mudgee | Website | p: 02 6378 2740
Newcastle Region Library | Website | p: 02 49745300
Parramatta City Library | Website | p: 02 9806 5159
Port Macquarie Hastings Library | Website | p: 02 6581 8755
Randwick City Library Services - Bowen Library | Website | p: 02 9314 4888
Society of Australia Genealogists - Sydney | Website | p: 02 9299 5151
Southern Tablelands Regional Library - Goulburn | Website | p: 02 4823 4435
Sutherland Shire Libraries | Website | p: 02 9710 0351
University of New England - Dixson Library | Website | p: 02 6773 2458
Waverley Library | Website | p: 02 9386 7777
Warringah Council Library - Dee Why | Website | p: 02 9942 2449
Wyong Shire Library | Website | p: 02 4350 1577

Norfolk Island:
Norfolk Island RSL Memorial Club | Website | p: 0011 6723 22233

Northern Territory:
Northern Territory Library | Website | p: 08 8999 7177

Brisbane Square - Brisbane City Library Service | Website | p: 07 3403 4166
Chermside - Brisbane City Library Service | Website | p: 07 3403 7200
Garden City - Brisbane City Library Service | Website | p: 07 3403 7745
Sunnybank - Brisbane City Library Service | Website | p: 07 3407 0571
Wynnum - Brisbane City Library Service | Website | p: 07 3403 2199
Redcliffe - Moreton Bay Region Libraries | Website | p: 07 3283 0311
Mossman Library | Website | p: 07 4099 9495
University of Queensland - Fryer Library | Website | p: 07 3365 6236

South Australia:
State Library of South Australia | Website | p: 08 8207 7250
Adelaide Hills Council Library - Woodside | Website | p: 08 8408 0520
Campbelltown Library | Website | p: 08 8366 9299
Murray Bridge Public Library | Website | p: 08 8539 1175
Prospect Library - Nailsworth | Website | p: 08 8342 8170
City of Onkaparinga Library | Website | p: 08 8384 0100

State Library of Victoria | Website | p: 03 8664 7000
City of Boroondara - Balwyn Library | Website | p: 03 9278 4666
Eastern Regional Libraries Corporation | Website | p: 1300 737 277
Goldfields Library Corporation Bendigo Library | Website | p: 03 5449 2700
High Country Library - Wangaratta | Website | p: 03 5721 2366
Hume Libraries | Website | p: 03 9356 6900
City of Kingston Library - Parkdale | Website | p: 1300 135 668
Port Fairy Library | Website | p: 03 5568 2248
Prahran Mechanics’ Institute Library | Website | p: 03 9510 3393
Watsonia - Yarra Plenty Regional Library | Website | p: 03 9435 2397
Diamond Valley - Yarra Plenty Regional Library | Website | p: 03 9434 3809
Ivanhoe - Yarra Plenty Regional Library | Website | p: 03 9497 5780

Western Australia:
State Library of Western Australia | Website | p: 08 9427 3111
All Saints' College Library | Website | p: 08 9313 9333
Busselton Public Library | Website | p: 08 9754 1588
City of Perth Library | Website | p: 08 9461 3581
Wanneroo Library & Cultural Centre | Website | p: 08 9405 5940

New Zealand:
Auckland City Libraries | Website | p: +64 9 377 0209
Porirua Library | Website | p: +64 4 237 1533

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Remembering the attack on HMAS Kuttabul

Next year is the 70th Anniversary of the sinking of HMAS Kuttabul. On 31 May 1942 three Japanese midget submarines launched an attack on vessels in Sydney Harbour, shaking the Australian population to the core. This audacious attack struck the converted ferry HMAS Kuttabul with a torpedo and 21 men were killed.

It is believed that the 21 Naval Ratings whom lost their lives aboard the ill-fated HMAS Kuttabul were unwitting victims aboard a target, not of the Japanese choosing. The intended target of Midget Submarine M24 during this Japanese raid was the American Heavy Cruiser; U.S.S. Chicago which had been spotted by a Japanese observation plane launched by the ‘mother’ submarine I-24 the previous day. Unfortunately any other large allied vessel was fair game. However a former harbour ferry, converted into a Naval Depot ship would not be worth wasting a torpedo on, especially when each midget sub only carried two torpedoes each. is looking for the descendants of the men that perished on this vessel. On 31 May 2012, a commemoration ceremony will take place to remember the 21 men who lost their lives on this day. We would like to connect the descendants with the organisers, so that they can be involved in this special event.

Gary Traynor, Project Officer of the Kuttabul Commemoration Project commented: “The loss of any serviceman during a time of war is tragic, and no single sacrifice deserves to be classed as more important than another. What sets this small group of men apart, is the fact that their loss took place in what was considered at that time, to be a relatively safe haven in Sydney Harbour. The names of these 21 sailors have been recorded on a few small memorials, however very little else is known about them. On the 70th Anniversary of their death, it is hoped that their unwitting part played in this attack upon Sydney Harbour will be remembered and their story told.  Making contact with the descendants of each man is a fundamental part of this commemoration, for nobody can tell the story of their ancestor, better than the families who still remember and mourn their loss. We have been so pleased to work with to help us to make contact, and have already had some success”.

Emma Kelly, Marketing Executive at “This commemoration is such a wonderful opportunity to honour these brave sailors that lost their lives serving their country. We are so pleased to support this event and find as many descendants of these fallen men as possible.”

With the support of the Royal Australian Navy, this special ceremony will honour the lives lost during this tragic event. The proceeds of this commemoration will go to Legacy Australia, who cares for widows and orphaned children of servicemen and women who have lost their lives as a result of military service.

Please email findmypast, if you are a descendant of one of these men or if you have any information.

HMAS Kuttabul in Sydney Harbour after the Japanese midget submarine attack

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Who's Been Sleeping In My House :: Starts Monday, Nov 21

Have you considered tracing the family history of your home? Who’s Been Sleeping In My House?, is a wonderful new series from the ABC that does just that. Archaeologist and presenter Adam Ford uses the tools of his trade – public records and a good spade – to discover the histories of eight houses around Australia, and the generations of families who've called them home. Think Time Team + Grand Designs rolled into one show! In the first episode, Ford travels to the heart of Ballarat in Victoria. Here, he tells Inside History why he loves digging up the past.

Inside History Magazine: It’s fascinating to see where the trail of clues leads you once you start digging. What is your highlight from the series?

Adam Ford: One of the great things about this show is that I get to do what I do! That is - go on an adventure into the past, which I have done for the past 20 years in various parts of the world. While that sounds a bit romantic, the past is (to paraphrase L.P. Hartley) a foreign country and to explore it is to go on an adventure. The highlight of this show is that the past histories of the houses are completely unknown and I get to dig them out of the records and, in some cases, the buildings themselves.

IHM: It must have been rewarding to discover the story of the 1860s dining room in episode 1 (airing Monday, November 21, 8pm).

Adam Ford: The question of the dining room was really unusual and I wasn’t certain that we were going to find the answer so, yes it was very satisfying. More satisfying and rewarding was being able to reveal the histories of the houses to the owners. In every case they were amazed and quite moved by the stories.

IHM: How and why did you choose these eight houses for the series?

Adam Ford: In a way the houses chose us. We had a look at a lot of places but these eight stood out. Not only are they beautiful, but also all had a fascinating story to tell.

IHM: What’s the first thing someone should do when researching their house?

Adam Ford: Well apart from dropping us a line - - the first port of call should be those champions of history keeping, the local libraries and local historical societies. Not only will they be able to point you in the right direction, they will probably provide you with the right questions to ask to get you moving.

IHM: Is there any hidden history about your own home in Victoria, that you’re wanting to dig up?

Adam Ford: Unfortunately not. My house was built in the 1980s – it’s a beautiful mud brick barn of a place but not very old. Mind you, we are bringing up our two daughters in it so we are creating history every day.

Who’s Been Sleeping In My House? starts, November 21 at 8pm on ABC1.

Related stories: Find out how to research the history of your house in issue 5 of Inside History. Go online to read here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


The traditional present for 1st anniversaries is paper, so we’re giving away a gorgeous writing set, military conference tickets and subscription vouchers to findmypast! Help us celebrate our first birthday and don't miss out on our Issue # 7 giveaways. Hip Hip Hooray!


[1] Win the ultimate findmypast subscription package

Here's your chance to win access to the millions of records on findmypast, as well as feature in Inside History! The findmypast subscription package is valued at $315, and includes a 12-month subscription to, 12 months access to its UK sister-site, and 12 months access to the newly launched That's a total of 750 million records at your fingertips! Plus, just by entering, your family photo could feature in the "One Picture" section of Inside History in an upcoming issue.

To enter the draw for this great prize, simply send us your favourite family photo, and 100 words on why it's a treasured image. Either send it to us by email to or send a photocopy to findmypast Giveaway, PO Box 406 Erskineville NSW 2043 by 5pm December 27, 2011.

Remember, don't send original photos as they will not be returned. If your family photo is selected to appear in Inside History, we'll contact you to arrange for a high-quality scan of the image.

[2] Little Branch gift set

The very talented ladies at Little Branch are inspired by romantic poets, bleached summer dresses, over-blown roses and water-stained novels, just to name a few. Recycled and upcycled materials are key to their collections, and their cards are the ones you want to save in a shoe box for generations to come. To celebrate our birthday, Little Branch is giving one lucky reader a writing set, 10 sheets of wrapping paper and 10 matching gift cards, all in the wildly gorgeous Rosette design, valued at $116!

To enter, simply tell us the name of the design they're giving away, and sent your name and contact details to Inside History, Little Branch Giveaway, PO Box 406 Erskineville NSW 2043 or email by 5pm December 27, 2011. For more beautiful designs, visit Little Branch.

[3] Double conference pack to In the Shadow of War - Australia 1942

In the Shadow of War - Australia 1942 will bring to Melbourne prominent Australian, Japanese and American military and social historians to examine the critical period from 1942, when it appeared that Australia was under direct threat of invasion. The conference, organised by Military History and Heritage Victoria [MHHV], will be held in Melbourne over April 21 and 22, 2012 and will initiate the inaugural Military and History Week in Victoria. MHHV and Inside History are giving away a conference pack valued at $540! The winner will receive 2 x two-day passes to the conference, plus two tickets to the gala conference dinner. For more information about the event, visit

To enter, simply tell us what capital city the conference will be held in, and send your name and contact details to Inside History, MHHV Giveaway, PO Box 406 Erskineville NSW 2043 or email by 5pm December 27, 2011.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Issue 7; Nov-Dec 2011 is now available!

Inside History is for people passionate about Australian and New Zealand genealogy, history and heritage. In our Issue 7; Nov-Dec 2011:
  • Our preservation special looks at how to care for mementos, and how you can help conserve a piece of Australia’s history 
  • It’s our first birthday! You could win up to $970 in prizes, including the ultimate findmypast subscription package
  • Looking for the lost grave of an ancestor? Read our guide first
  • What heritage roses in cemeteries can reveal about your family
  • She has my face! How award-winning author Hazel Edwards caught the genealogy bug
  • Plus, take a tour around Tasmania’s stunning – and historic – Maria Island
And there's so much more – in fact, 76 pages of terrific features, practical information on family tree research, chances to network with other genealogists, competitions and product reviews. On sale now.

Missed an issue of Inside History? Our back issues are now on sale! Just $7.50 per issue (plus $2 postage). Sale ends December 31!

Issue # 7 is available in newsagents nationally from Friday, 4th November. To find out where in your state, click here. You can also request us at your local newsagent, and we'll make sure that the next issue - our summer issue [Issue # 8] is sent there for you!

Authors to look out for in Issue # 7:
  • Genealogist :: Jill Ball @geniaus
  • Historian :: Mark Dunn
  • Author :: Hazel Edwards @muirmoir
  • Academic :: Alison Elliott
  • Journalist :: Miranda Farrell
  • Historian :: Karen Filewood
  • Genealogist :: Megan Gibson
  • Journalist :: Paula Grunseit @PaulaGrunseit
  • Australian genealogist :: Barbara Hall
  • Family historian :: Neil Hall
  • Journalist :: Alice Johnson
  • New Zealand genealogist :: Helen Leggatt @GenealogyJourno
  • Historian :: Jayne Shrimpton @JayneShrimpton
  • Military historian :: Neil Smith
  • Journalist :: Kirsten Wade @kirstenwade
  • New Zealand genealogist :: Mark Webster @macnzMark

Have a sneak peak inside our new magazine; Issue # 7; Nov-Dec 2011.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Show us your hairy mancestor

Support Movember, share your photos of your moustached ancestors on our facebook page, Hairy Mancestors, and for each hairy mancestor posted, Inside History will donate 50c. Don’t forget to tell us the date taken, names and story if you know it. We want to see your hairy mancestors!

Or grow the mo yourself and join the Inside History Movember team :: Hairy Mancestor! Remember, beards are not allowed! Mow & leave the mo!

What is Movember? In the month of November, the month of Movember and the mighty moustache, the aim is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and depression in men. Find out more moustache moments and news, follow Movember.

Source: Powerhouse Museum, 
Inside History Magazine will donate 50c per photo submitted with name, date and story. Each person posting the hairy mancestor photos is allowed 5 eligible photos. Otherwise the hair bank will go bald!