Newcastle Family History Society Inc.

Next Meeting

Next Monthly Meeting

Tuesday 6 December 7:00pm

Christmas Trivia
John & Judy Mulhearn

Guest Speakers

Carol Duncan

Jill Ball

Annual General Meeting

Julie Keating

Newcastle in the 1800s – Government Services

In the early 1800s, a penal settlement to house re-offending convicts, was established in Newcastle. Free settlers were banned from the area and thus government services centred on the care and supervision of convicts. This situation changed in 1823 when Newcastle became a free city. Government services expanded to meet the needs of free settlers and emancipated convicts and initially included the building of postal, legal, harbour and customs facilities.

Peter Cave’s great grandfather George Cave the patriarch of the Cave family who settled in Carrington has always been something of a mystery. He disappeared in 1898 leaving his “wife” Jane to bring up their eight surviving children. Jane occasionally told people he was lost at sea. Many family trees had him dying on the goldfields at Hill End. With the help of two other of George’s descendants, Peter finally tracked down the startling truth but then a DNA test opened a whole new mystery.

Maitland Jewish Cemetery

The Maitland Jewish Cemetery dates from the late 1840s.  It is now a state heritage listed site that provides insights into the history and nature of the Jewish community whose members settled, worked in and helped to develop Maitland and the Lower Hunter in the nineteenth century. The cemetery also provides an example of the ways in which research and sensitive conservation work have highlighted and confirmed the significance of the site and helped to ensure its future and stability.  This talk will provide a brief history of the site, introduce people buried there, appreciate the work of the local stonemasons who crafted the gravestones with their Hebrew inscriptions, explain the nature of the inscriptions, and showcase some of the conservation and interpretation work supporting and communicating the state significance of the cemetery.

Janis Wilton will Zoom in from Canberra and may be joined by Joe Eisenberg. Janis is an Adjunct Associate Professor in History at the University of New England, and Joe is Emeritus Cultural Director of the Maitland Regional Art Gallery.  Janis and Joe first encountered the cemetery in about 2008 and subsequently played a part in drawing attention to its state of neglect and to its significance.


Greg & Sylvia Ray

Professor John Ramsland

Rayner Hoff’s Memorial Masterpieces

As a significant memorial sculptor of the post World War I era, George Rayner Hoff (1894-1937) – a war veteran from the Isle of Man, translated his artworks on war memorials into the egalitarian values of Anzacs – and as well a neo-heroic race that riveled the Ancient Greeks! He was a vitalist sculptor who conveyed movement in his artworks.

They were ‘Exciting, Adventurous and Heart-Rending’, according to Hoff’s critics in Sydney. His life and times are explored. A focus will be on Hoff’s innovative work on the Hyde Park Anzac Memorial – Hoff’s crowning glory of Art Deco forms. He was able to capture the Great War’s grim reality, portraying it as a ‘horrible juggernaut of destruction’ menacing the world. It was a vast complex visual essay in sculptures of the entire war inside and outside the Bruce Dellit’s Art Deco building, blending sculptural and architectural forms to perfection.  

It is claimed that his group sculpture Sacrifice at the memorial’s heart is the greatest artistic achievement of his entire prolific career. Hoff was one of those rare memorial artists who was able to convey a duality of meaning of the relationship between male and female, a masculine-feminine timelessness of past-present-future.

John will explain how Hoff was able to express the sacrifice and horror of war on the youthful manhood and womanhood of the nation in both his Adelaide and Sydney memorials.

 John Ramsland (member 10094)

Christmas Trivia