Lake Macquarie History

Shared Stories: Everday Life

Everyday life - Loss

Minnie Hall was born 1899 and a teenager when the First World War broke out.

Like many young women of the period she had an autograph book.

Her autograph book features verses from young men who went to war. The pages often include Hall’s notes about when they sailed, returned or were killed in action.

Hall’s step brother, William George Johnson, was one of the young men who wrote in the autograph book. Johnson joined the 34th Battalion AIF in April 1916. He was killed in action in July 1917 at Messines Belgium. He was 24 years old. Hall wrote the details of his departure and passing onto his page.

We can imagine her feelings of loss and grief as she noted his death in this autograph book.

Hall never married. She passed away in 1977.

Autograph book
Minnie Hall
Lake Macquarie City Council Local Studies Collection
Donated by Frank Wiley 2009

Everyday life - Laughter

This original cartoon was hand drawn for publication in the Newcastle Herald by Les Lumsdon.

Les Lumsdon was hired by the Newcastle Herald as a cartoonist in 1946. He retired in 1977 and died later that year. His 30 year career documented the lives of ordinary Australians and the political life of the period.

Lumsdon is reported to have once emptied 17 pens signing autographs at the Newcastle Show. He was a popular cartoonist whose work was widely read both in the Herald and in books of collected cartoons. Lumsdon’s work was shared and enjoyed throughout the Hunter region.

The Local Studies Collection contains a series of original Lumsdon cartoons which the cartoonist is understood to have given to Councillor Alfred Pickering. Pickering and Lumsdon are believed to have been friends. Pickering later donated the cartoons to the Local Studies Collection.

Cr. Pickering said more women should be in local councils
Les Lumsdon
Lake Macquarie City Council Local Studies Collection
Donated by Alfred Pickering

Everyday life - Taking family photographs

Taking family snaps of good times has been part of Australian life for more than a hundred years.

The pages of this early album show a happy family posing for photographs in their garden and the surrounding area. The photographs are a vivid portrait of rural life in Lake Macquarie before the Great Depression. The family are likely to have been using one of the farmlets offered for sale when Hillsborough was subdivided in 1920 as a second home.

The album shows both the relative wealth of the family and the rapid development and take up of photography in Australia. Photography had begun to be broadly accessible to Australians.

Written on the front of this album is ‘April 15 1925 To Beaty & Jack Ross In loving memory from your father G.N.T.’ Valerie Ross is the 5 year old ‘me’ in the inscriptions under the photographs. G.N.T is her grandfather, Gottfried Nicolai Tillitzki. Beaty (Beatrice) Ross is G.N.T’s daughter. Beaty and John George ‘Jack’ Ross are Valerie’s parents.

Beaty, Jack and Valerie lived in Hillsborough with G.N.T. during the Depression. By 1953 Beaty and Jack had divorced. The cause is given as adultery. A private investigator and the couple’s son reported that they had seen Jack in a hotel room with a woman named Merle Jarvis. The couple had been living apart since Jack left in 1951.

Beaty is interred in Beresfield, Newcastle. Jack is buried in Matraville, Sydney.

Tillitzki Ross Hillsborough album
Unknown maker
Lake Macquarie City Council Local Studies Collection
Donated by Valerie Bilich (nee Ross)

Everyday life - Taking a trip

For more than a century, ordinary Australians have loved to travel to waterside destinations like Lake Macquarie for their holidays.

Toronto, Rathmines and Wangi were connected to Newcastle and Sydney by rail and ferry. The area was popular with daytrippers. From the late nineteenth century and until the mid-twentieth century, tent cities would spring up along the western shore of Lake Macquarie. Mining families used transport links to have a free summer holiday camping, fishing and swimming at the Lake. Mines in the region generally closed for a month over Christmas.

Photographic postcards and books of views were a popular souvenir of twentieth century travel. The first four views in Glorious Lake Macquarie show Toronto on the western side of Lake Macquarie.

The Toronto Hotel is visible above the baths in one of these images.

The Toronto Hotel opened in December 1887. It was built by Excelsior Land, Investment Building, and Banking Company. Excelsior called the area the Riverina of Australia. This private company’s advertising campaign drew many visitors to the region. Many newlyweds spent their honeymoon in Toronto.

Glorious Lake Macquarie
Samuel Wood
Published 1928
Lake Macquarie City Council Local Studies Collection
Unknown donor

Acknowledgement of Country

We remember and respect the Ancestors who cared for and nurtured this Country. It is in their footsteps that we travel these lands and waters. Lake Macquarie City Council acknowledges the Awabakal people and Elders past, present and future.

Council acknowledges traditional custodians throughout Australia. We commit to listening deeply to and collaborating with First Peoples in our work.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website and Council's cultural collections may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.

This website may contain place names, opinions and terms that reflect authors' views or those of the period in which the item was written or recorded. These may not be considered appropriate today.

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