Vandals attempt to pull headstone away with car at Rylstone Cemetery

A headstone has been damaged beyond repair after trespassers attempted to drag it from Rylstone Cemetery with a car.

Mudgee police said the senseless act of vandalism occurred some time between Wednesday, February 17 and Friday, February 19 at the cemetery on Narango Road.

“These offender/s have wrapped a chain around the headstone and using a vehicle have pulled the headstone forward a short distance causing damage to it,” police posted to their Facebook page.

“The headstone weighs almost one tonne so it would be expected a large vehicle such as a four wheel drive or small truck was used. This senseless action has caused the coffin to be partly exposed.”

Police said the damaged headstone cannot be fixed and is valued at $2800.

“Police have to attend and deal with all types of incidents in the course of their duties, some of which could be called pretty low. But this can only be described as disgusting – one of the lowest acts many of us have ever seen.”

Followers of the Mudgee LAC Facebook page were disgusted.

One woman wrote: “This is really upsetting. To vandalise someone’s final resting place is lower than low. What saddens me is that this is what the world’s come to.”

Another said: “Beyond words. This is lower than a low life, how sad a person could even think to do such a thing, let alone do it.”

Others said: “Beyond words…. Absolutely awful”, “Disgraceful and disrespectful”, “So horrible have some respect”.

Many called for CCTV to be installed at the cemetery.

Anyone with information about the crime is urged to contact Mudgee police on 63728599 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Rylstone Cemetery

 

Source: Mudgee Guardian, news article, http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3801876/vandals-attempt-to-pull-headstone-away-with-car-at-rylstone-cemetery/?cs=1233, accessed 23 March 2016.

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Ruth Beatrice FAIRFAX (1878–1948), a founder of the CWA

Ruth Beatrice FAIRFAX (1878-1948), a founder of the Country Women’s Association, was born on 8 October 1878, at Lue, near Rylstone, New South Wales, second surviving daughter of native-born parents Vincent James DOWLING, and his wife Frances Emily, daughter of T. C. BREILLAT. She was mainly educated by governesses at Lue and briefly attended the Sydney Church of England Grammar School for Girls under Miss BADHAM. On 2 February 1899 at the Anglican Church, Dungarey, near Rylstone, she married John Hubert Fraser FAIRFAX (1872-1950).

The Fairfaxes went to live at Dalmore station near Longreach, Queensland, where she loved the outdoor life. In 1908 they moved to Marinya, near Cambooya on the Darling Downs, where their only child was born in 1909. While at Marinya, Ruth FAIRFAX regularly taught in the Sunday School and supported the Bush Brotherhood and other Anglican organizations. For her local war work she was awarded the Belgian Medal ‘de la Reine Elizabeth’.

At a meeting at the Albert Hall, Brisbane, in August 1922, Mrs FAIRFAX was appointed first State president of the Queensland Country Women’s Association, which was to prove ‘her heart’s great love’. She embarked on a strenuous six months tour in an open car of outback Queensland, organizing branches and holding some meetings on the banks of creeks. In 1926 she resigned as president of the southern division but remained as State president until 1931; she was appointed a justice of the peace in 1927.

The Fairfaxes visited England from March 1929 to December 1930. Ruth attended many gatherings of the similar Women’s Institutes and represented Australia at the International Conference of Rural Women’s Organizations in London in 1929, and on the Liaison Committee of Rural Women’s and Homemakers’ Organisations.

On their return to Australia the Fairfaxes lived in Sydney, at Elaine, on Seven Shillings Beach, Double Bay, that Hubert had bought from the estate of his uncle Geoffrey FAIRFAX. Ruth continued to work for the C.W.A. as New South Wales State secretary until 1946, a vice-president from 1934 of Associated Country Women of the World and as co-editor with Dorothy CATTS of the Countrywoman in New South Wales. As well she served on the boards of the Adult Deaf and Dumb Society of New South Wales and St Luke’s Hospital, Darlinghurst, and on the State executive and general council of the Girl Guides’ Association; she was a life governor of the Benevolent Society of New South Wales, a trustee of the Public Library of New South Wales from 1937 and chairman of the council of the Australian Board of Missions. In June 1935 she was appointed O.B.E.

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Ruth Beatrice FAIRFAX OBE

Ruth FAIRFAX loved music and her gardens at Marinya, Elaine and Wanawong. She enjoyed entertaining and often lent Elaine for fêtes, pageants, meetings and entertainments for patriotic and charitable causes. Among her many activities during World War II, she helped to provide sheepskin vests and other comforts for the Australian Comforts Fund. Her friends remarked on ‘her deft, capable hands’. Her ‘dark brown eyes were strong and friendly, her gait was busy and purposeful; her voice and ready laughter made her presence cheerful and dynamic’. A diabetic for many years, Ruth FAIRFAX died from chronic nephritis in St Luke’s Hospital on 1 February 1948 and was cremated with Anglican rites.

Her husband, always known as Hubert, was born on 11 May 1872 at Trahlee, Bellevue Hill, Sydney, fifth son of (Sir) James Reading FAIRFAX and his wife Lucy, née Armstrong. He was educated at Sydney Grammar School and Bath College, England, then returned to Australia and joined Dalgety & Co. Ltd. After practical experience under his future father-in-law at Lue, he bought Dalmore station in Queensland in 1897 and Marinya in 1908. He bred Ayrshire cattle and Corriedale sheep, which he successfully exhibited, and later often acted as judge at Australian shows. He was sometime president of the Ayrshire Association of Queensland, the Australian Corriedale Sheepbreeders’ Association, the New South Wales Sheepbreeders’ Association and a vice-president of the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales.

After he returned to Sydney in 1931 he bought Wanawong, 70 acres (28 ha) at Castle Hill. He was a director of John Fairfax & Sons Ltd in 1931-45, the Bank of New South Wales in 1932-50, the Australian Mutual Provident Society (1932-48), the Royal Insurance Co. and the Walter and Eliza HALL Trust. He was also president of the Young Men’s Christian Association from 1935, of the Boys’ Brigade from 1945, and of the Australian Air League and a council-member of the British Empire Society and was involved with the Legacy Club of Sydney.

FAIRFAX was a keen golfer and a member of the Oriental Club, London, and of the Union and Australasian Pioneers’ clubs, Sydney. He died in St Luke’s Hospital on 10 June 1950 and was cremated with Anglican rites. He was survived by their son (Sir) Vincent.

Source: Australian Dictionary of Biography, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/fairfax-ruth-beatrice-6134, accessed 4 March 2016.

Image: Ruth Beatrice FAIRFAX OBE, Queensland Country Women’s Association, http://qcwa.org.au/page.php?About-About-our-founder-Ruth-Fairfax-36, accessed 4 March 2016.

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Rylstone rail not just a one-hit-wonder?

Saturday’s special train to the Rylstone Show and the opening of the line to Rylstone may be considered a one off event for the moment.

Both the Lithgow State Mine Railway and the Kandos Museum, though, will be working with the relevant government departments to ensure it won’t be just a one hit wonder.

Both organisations are keen to develop a regular tourist service to the area from Lithgow.

The Rylstone Rambler sold out very early and generated a lot of interest along the way as it passed through the magnificent Capertee Valley and headed towards Kandos and Rylstone.

There was a great crowd waiting at Rylstone to meet the railcars as they rolled into the station where a small ceremony took place to mark the occasion of the first passenger train back to Rylstone in more than 10 years.

A number of dignitaries were on hand to jointly cut a red ribbon prior to the train pulling fully into the Rylstone platform to allow the passengers from near and far a chance to visit a country show.

Three shuttle runs were also operated between Rylstone and Kandos during the afternoon for the locals to experience the ride.

The shuttle runs were all very well patronised.

The Minister for Local Government and Member for Bathurst Paul Toole was on hand, together with David Ginn, the area manager for John Holland, Rob Mason, the CEO of Transport NSW TrainLink, Buzz Sanderson, chairman of the Kandos Museum and Michael Wilson, chairman of the Lithgow State Mine Railway.

The day would not have been possible without the assistance of a number of businesses and organisations, including Ben Hope, David Ginn and the team at John Holland who played a major role in getting the line open again, the Lachlan Valley Railway, operators of the train, and Tim Elderton and his maintenance staff from the Lithgow Railway Workshop who were on hand to ensure things went smoothly.

Organisers are heading back to Kandos for the Kandos Garden Fair on Saturday April 2.

Details and bookings are available through the Kandos Museum website: kandosmuseum.org.au.

Source: Mudgee Guardian, newspaper article, http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3767895/rylstone-rail-not-just-a-one-hit-wonder/?cs=1485, accessed 4 March 2016.

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Riders revel in Rylstone Rambler rail journey

Visitors travelling from the Blue Mountains to the Rylstone Kandos Show on the weekend had extra motivation to make the trip, with the opportunity to take the Rylstone Rambler on the rail line from Lithgow to Rylstone.

The train trip was organised as a fundraiser by the committee of the Kandos Museum.

Travellers enjoyed the scenery of the Capertee Valley, made new friends on board, and in some cases made their first trip to Rylstone in a most unique fashion.

Helen Overmyer travelled from the mountains, and on the way met Mudgee’s Carol Eade, discovering that the two women had something in common as wives of devoted train enthusiasts.

Mrs Overmyer’s husband Steve worked on the restoration of the visiting train as a member of the Lithgow State Mine Railway.

She said the trip had been fabulous, particularly the magnificent scenery along the way.

Mrs Eade agreed the rail line provided a totally different view of the countryside and a much more relaxing way to travel.

The Overmyers spent the day at the Rylstone Kandos Show and explored the town, enjoying the old stone buildings before boarding the train to return home.

The Rylstone Rambler will return on April 2 for the Kandos Garden Fair, with the train ride including a country luncheon at the Kandos Museum.

Rylstone Rambler_27FEB2016

Source: Mudgee Guardian, newspaper article, http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3756677/riders-revel-in-rylstone-rambler-rail-journey/, accessed 29 February 2016.

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First train for Rylstone since 1982

For the first time since 1982 a train will pull into the Rylstone Railway Station on Saturday, February 27 in time for the local show.

Kandos Museum, together with their event partners Lithgow State Mine Railways (LSMR) are bringing the train back to Rylstone.

Over the past six months, LSMR and the museum have been working in the background to re-open the rail link between Kandos and Rylstone. Museum president buzz Sanderson says it’s a great occasion.

“What better occasion could there be than for the train to coincide with the RylstoneKandos Show, arguably the best small town show in New South Wales.”

Rylstone Railway Station has a lot of history. The line to Rylstone was opened in June 1884 and the length to Mudgee later in the same year. The contractor for the Rylstone Railway Station was Henry Lawson’s father and young Henry assisted with the building.

“It has taken a concerted effort by the museum and LSMR to re-open the rail link using Railmotor Set 661/726. The Kandos-Rylstone section was closed in 2004 and last travelled by a Railmotor in 1982.

Of course none of this would have been possible without the support of many others and our thanks go to Paul Toole MP, our local member, Mayor Des Kennedy, our colleagues at Lachlan Valley Railways, John Holland and Transport for NSW as well as the Rylstone-Kandos Show Society.

We are all looking forward to a fantastic day,” Buzz Sanderson said.

Rylstone railway station

Rylstone Railway Station will welcome a train to its platform this Saturday for the first time since 1982.

Source: Mudgee Guardian, news article, http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3746974/first-train-for-rylstone-since-1982/?cs=4131, accessed 25 February 2016.

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Dame Constance Elizabeth D’Arcy (1879–1950)

Dame Constance Elizabeth D’Arcy (1879-1950), obstetrician and gynaecologist, was born on 1 June 1879 at Rylstone, New South Wales, fifth daughter of Murty D’Arcy, sergeant of police, and his wife Bridget, née Synnott. She passed the senior public examination in 1894 from Rylstone Public School and, after attending Riviera College, Woollahra, in 1898 she matriculated at the University of Sydney (M.B., Ch.M., 1904). As neither of the Sydney teaching hospitals would accept a woman, she did her residency at the (Royal) Adelaide Hospital. She became resident medical officer at the Royal Hospital for Women, Paddington, in 1905. She was soon called to give evidence at a coroner’s inquiry into a death from septicaemia following induced abortion. Throughout a distinguished career she was concerned to reduce the incidence of maternal death.

D’Arcy opened a practice in Macquarie Street in 1908 and was appointed honorary surgeon at the Royal Hospital for Women. She supported improved standards in nursing and regular antenatal examination and investigated control of sepsis in hospitals. On the executive of the Australian Trained Nurses’ Association, she moved the motion in 1923 calling for the formation of the Royal Australian Nursing Federation. She was a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London, a foundation member of the College of Surgeons of Australasia (Royal Australasian College of Surgeons), and an active member of the Catholic Medical Guild of St Luke. She helped reform the Medical Women’s Society of New South Wales, serving as its president from 1933-34. In 1935 she was appointed D.B.E. and invited to deliver the Anne MacKenzie oration to the Australian Institute of Anatomy, Canberra. She spoke on maternal mortality, control of puerperal septicaemia and the rise in deaths from illegal operations. She condemned moves to legalize abortion.

In 1919-49 D’Arcy represented the graduates on the Senate of the University of Sydney, the first woman to be elected. She had been an executive member of the Sydney University Women’s Union, the Catholic University Women Graduates’ Association and the Sydney University Women Graduates’ Association and she remained active in them. While on the senate, she helped to secure recognition of St Vincent’s as a teaching hospital and was its honorary gynaecologist in 1923-45. When the National Council of Women, of which she was a member, requested the university in 1922 to establish a chair of obstetrics, D’Arcy steered the proposal through faculty and the senate. Her efforts were supported by public agitation organized by Millicent Preston-Stanley calling for ‘horses’ rights for women’; in 1924 the government made money available. D’Arcy was lecturer in clinical obstetrics 1925-39 at the university, and was associated with later moves to expand staff and to extend laboratory facilities. D’Arcy served on the senate finance committee, the Cancer Research Committee and the conjoint board of Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children and she represented the university on the Australian Council of Hospital Almoners. As deputy chancellor in 1943-46, the first woman so elected, she took major responsibility in resolving many of the problems associated with the post-war expansion of the university.

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In the 1920s D’Arcy helped to organize the sex education work of the National Council of Women. She gave her services also to the Rachel Forster Hospital for Women and Children, founded in 1922 by a group of female doctors who were worried by the difficulties women encountered in securing placements. Aware of prejudice, she established links with other professional women through the Professional Women Workers’ Association. Her attempt in 1935 to persuade the university to appoint a woman to its appointment’s board revealed her continued concern on this issue. In 1944 she became president of the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Sydney.

Renowned for her quick response when called, D’Arcy was chauffeur-driven on her rounds. She was a large woman, heavily built, remembered for her hearty infectious laugh, a gracious manner, and her jewellery—on emergency calls, the first task of the sister on duty was to lock it away. She collected antiques and donated a valuable cabinet to Sancta Sophia College; in 1929 she was a foundation member of its council, which she chaired from 1946. She was honoured by the Pope in 1940 with the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.

For many years D’Arcy’s two unmarried sisters kept house for her. She died of cerebro-vascular disease in the Sacred Heart Hospice for the Dying, Darlinghurst, on 25 April 1950. After requiem Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral, she was buried in Waverley cemetery. To commemorate her service at the Royal Hospital for Women, a ward was named after her.

Source: Australian Dictionary of Biography, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/darcy-dame-constance-elizabeth-5880, accessed 9 February 2016.

Image: Constance Elizabeth D’Arcy, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constance_Elizabeth_D%27Arcy, accessed 9 February 2016.

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2016 Calendar of Events

RDHS Calendar for 2016

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Rylstone Rambler – Show Special (by Kandos Museum Inc)

Major news – a branchline many thought was long left to ruin in NSW is reopening – well least a short section that was once closed – to allow privately run passenger train operations to again return.

In late February 2016 a heritage railmotor will operate along a section for the first time in nearly a decade beyond Kandos and terminate at Rylstone around 7km further on.

This is meaning significant clearing work on the track is needed as the Kandos to Rylstone section is heavily overgrown in the past decade since closure of the section.

Tickets for the train event can be purchased via http://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/rylstone-rambler-show-special-tickets-20400390116

Source: NSW Heritage Railway Stations and Infrastructure, Facebook group post, 15 January 2016.

See also http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3669045/rylstone-line-to-re-open-for-show-train/?cs=1233

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Families saddened by proposal to move Bylong graves

As a child, Leeanne Campbell never knew why the Bylong Valley was a favourite destination for her father’s Sunday drives with his family.

 Leeanne Campbell and Kimberley Coward described plans to relocate graves as “morally wrong”.

Leeanne Campbell and Kimberley Coward described plans to relocate graves as “morally wrong”.

It was only when her aunt told her of proposals to relocate the bodies of her great-grandparents and great-uncle from the Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Cemetery to make way for KEPCO’s proposed open cut coal mine that she discovered her family’s connection with the area.

The discovery sent Leanne’s daughter Kimberley Coward on a search for her family roots in the area, resulting in their visit to Bylong on Saturday.

Leeanne and Kimberley planned to visit the graves of Leeanne’s great-grandparents Hugh and Susan Cobrey,  and great- uncle Gerard Cobrey at the cemetery, as well as showing their support for the Battle of Bylong.

Kimberley and Leeanne said discovering the family connection to the Bylong Valley at the point where it was about to be lost was “bitter sweet”.

“It’s beautiful – too beautiful a place for a coal mine,” Leeanne said.

Kimberley said the proposal to exhume bodies to make way for the mine was “morally wrong”.

“How can you dig up people’s graves?” she said.  “Rest in Peace is meant to be Rest in Peace for ever, not Rest In Peace until you get dug up.

“They worked here on the land to shape the community and now they are going to be removed from it.”

 Kimberley, a student of Aboriginal studies and geography, said she planned to make a submission before the closing date of November 6.

Sharon Cobrey, Michael Cobrey, Marie Vangelov (nee Cobrey) and Branko Vangelov at Bylong on Saturday.

Sharon Cobrey, Michael Cobrey, Marie Vangelov (nee Cobrey) and Branko Vangelov at Bylong on Saturday.

Michael Cobrey and Marie Vangelov (nee Cobrey), the grandchildren of Hugh Francis and Susan Cobrey, were also visiting Bylong on Saturday.

Michael and Marie, who grew up in the Bylong Valley and attended Upper Bylong School, returned from their homes near Newcastle to make what they expected would be their final visit to the graves of their grandparents and cousins at the cemetery as well as the Cobrey’s former property “Innisfail”.

The Cobreys said they were shocked and surprised to learn about the proposal to relocate the graves in the cemetery.

“We would prefer that they stay buried in Bylong, even if they are moved,” Michael said.

The church was sold by the Catholic Diocese in 2008 and changed hands a number of times before being bought by KEPCO.

KEPCO has commissioned an expert to investigate and assess the heritage of the burials within the grounds of the former church and to gather information regarding the identity of any unmarked burials and the names of relatives and descendants of the deceased.

KEPCO Bylong Australia’s chief operating officer, Bill Vatovec told the Mudgee Guardian earlier this year that KEPCO has been consulting directly with the descendants and will continue to do so throughout the assessment of the Development Application for the project.

Source: Mudgee Guardian, http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3445842/families-saddened-by-proposal-to-move-bylong-graves/?cs=1485

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Stitches in Time a ‘must see’ exhibition

The exhibition, ‘Stitches in Time – Stories of the WWI Rylstone Autograph Quilt 1915′ was officially opened on Friday evening at the Rylstone Memorial Hall where a large gathering discovered just how fascinating the exhibition is.

During the welcome, newly elected president of the Rylstone and District Historical Society Shirley Tunnicliff explained that 27 people were involved with research for the project. She also thanked district schools who made around 1500 poppies for the exhibition.

Immediate past president and curator Helen Marsonet explained that when she first discovered that the quilt existed she became very excited.

“I had absolutely no idea it existed. I contacted someone at the War Museum and he told me there were 49 soldiers’ names and 900 other names. We had no idea what it was all about.”

Mrs Marsonet started researching and discovered the quilt was very unique. It was white embroidery on white cloth and also one huge piece rather than separate pieces. People signed their names in indelible pencil and then it was stitched over.

“One of the society’s supporters Dan Hatton from Gunnedah was going to Canberra and he photographed the quilt. From that we made a list and put it out on local media and people came forward. I laid all the research material on my kitchen table and Virginia Hollister came and helped. It was very difficult to identify all the people at first,” she said.

The historical society then decided to put on a special exhibition to view the culmination of all their work. Of the 966 autographs they ended up with two thirds researched and from that selected about 120 names for the stories that are on display.

Using the quilt signatures as the starting point, the exhibition features biographical vignettes, photographs, uniforms, badges, flags, and other items to tell the social history of the district at the outbreak of World War One.

It’s a fabulous exhibition and is a must see for anyone interested in history. The exhibition will remain open from 10 am to 4 pm daily until this Friday, September 11.

There will be demonstrations of embroidery in the manner of the quilt, army sock knitting, and table loom weaving. War poetry will be recited daily at 2 pm. Entry is by gold coin donation. This is an official History Week Event presented by Rylstone and District Historical Society.

Source: Mudgee Guardian [http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3337032/stitches-in-time-a-must-see-exhibition/?cs=3740]

Maureen Brodie (nee Carter) Helen Marsonet (nee Norris and Gwen Potter (nee Mulholland) all went to Rylstone Primary School together. It was a great thrill for them to get together again at the exhibition opening.

Maureen Brodie (nee Carter) Helen Marsonet (nee Norris and Gwen Potter (nee Mulholland) all went to Rylstone Primary School together. It was a great thrill for them to get together again at the exhibition opening.

Following his address on the connection Red Cross had to Australia Day 1915 and fundraising over the last 100 years, John Pocius Manager of the Greater Western Area of the Red Cross Society presented Helen Marsonet with the book “The Power of Humanity” celebrating 100 years of Red Cross from 1914 to 2014.

Following his address on the connection Red Cross had to Australia Day 1915 and fundraising over the last 100 years, John Pocius Manager of the Greater Western Area of the Red Cross Society presented Helen Marsonet with the book “The Power of Humanity” celebrating 100 years of Red Cross from 1914 to 2014.

Virginia Hollister was also presented with a gift from Shirley Tunnicliff for her tireless work assisting with research and helping with the exhibition.

Virginia Hollister was also presented with a gift from Shirley Tunnicliff for her tireless work assisting with research and helping with the exhibition.

The Wollemi Voices sang stirring songs on Friday evening and received a traditional three cheers from the audience following their performance.

The Wollemi Voices sang stirring songs on Friday evening and received a traditional three cheers from the audience following their performance.

Gemma and Margo from the Convent and Chapel Wool Shop demonstrating the art of sock knitting. They’ll be at the exhibition each day.

Gemma and Margo from the Convent and Chapel Wool Shop demonstrating the art of sock knitting. They’ll be at the exhibition each day.

Around 120 stories of those who signed the autograph quilt adorn the display area – a mammoth task for researchers and a joy for descendants and history buffs.

Around 120 stories of those who signed the autograph quilt adorn the display area – a mammoth task for researchers and a joy for descendants and history buffs.

Neil and Barbara Reynolds viewing one of the Red Cross displays. Mrs Reynolds has been actively involved with the Rylstone Branch of Red Cross for many years.

Neil and Barbara Reynolds viewing one of the Red Cross displays. Mrs Reynolds has been actively involved with the Rylstone Branch of Red Cross for many years.

President of Rylstone and District Historical Society Shirley Tunnicliff presenting Helen Marsonet with a gift for her fabulous work in researching the quilt and curating the exhibition.

President of Rylstone and District Historical Society Shirley Tunnicliff presenting Helen Marsonet with a gift for her fabulous work in researching the quilt and curating the exhibition.

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Amazing stories from WWI quilt revealed

A remarkable exhibition on display in the Rylstone Memorial Hall this week paints a picture of the people of the township during World War I.

“Stitches in Time – Stories of the WWI Rylstone Autograph Quilt 1915” explores the stories of local people who paid to have their signatures embroidered onto a quilt in 1915 to raise funds for the war effort and the relief of the wounded at the Dardanelles.

Publicans and saddlers, butchers, bakers and bootmakers, shop keepers, soldiers, siblings and sweethearts all signed the quilt Rylstone, along with almost every town in the country, celebrated the first “Australia Day” on July 30, 1915, with a huge procession, fundraising auction, speeches and a concert.

The Rylstone Autograph Quilt was just one of the items auctioned, sold to local ironmonger, draper and grocer E. H. Nash.

The quilt was found in a collection of linen purchased at auction in Sydney in the 1970s and was donated to the War Memorial in Canberra for safekeeping.

Historical society president, and curator of the exhibition Helen Marsonet said the discovery six years ago that there was a Rylstone autograph quilt in the collection of the War Memorial led to a massive project researching the signatures.

Using the quilt signatures as the starting point, the exhibition features biographical vignettes, photographs, uniforms, badges, flags, and other items to tell the social history of the district at the outbreak of World War One.

There will be demonstrations of embroidery in the manner of the quilt, army sock knitting, and table loom weaving. War poetry will be recited daily at 2 pm.

The exhibition will be open at the Rylstone Memorial Hall in Louee Street from 10 am to 4 pm daily from now until Friday, September 11.

Entry is by gold coin donation. This is an official History Week Event presented by Rylstone and District Historical Society.
Capture - Copy

Owain James with part of the “Stitches in Time” exhibition at the Rylstone Memorial Hall. The exhibition, inspired by Rylstone’s Autograph Quilt, is one display throughout this week.

Source: Mudgee Guardian, newspaper article [http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3330466/amazing-stories-from-wwi-quilt-revealed/]

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Celebrating 100 Years of ANZAC

Re-enactment of the 1915 recruiting marches honouring the Tooraweenah ‘Kookaburras’ along the Castlereagh Highway in 2015. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for rural communities along the Castlereagh Highway from Tooraweenah, to Dunedoo, Mudgee, Portland and Bathurst to re-invigorate their volunteer spirit, celebrate their heritage and reconnect with descendants of local families. Overview – While the snowballing marches of 1915 focussed on recruiting members to the Australian Defence force, the re-enactment events of 2015 will focus on recruiting modern Australians to community service. On the ’Kookaburras’ route the average marching distance between overnights stops is about 25km. At Bathurst the ‘Kookaburras’ will link up with the Parkes/Forbes ‘Boomerangs’ where they will all board a train for Sydney. The total march event will cover thirteen days. The tentative march timetable will see the ‘Kookaburras’ arrive on Friday 6th November, they will march via Lue to Rylstone camping in the showground overnight, continuing onto Ilford via Kandos and Clandulla and will camp at the Ilford hall on the 7th November. Major Bill Duncan OAM will be co-ordinating the ‘Kookaburra’ march and for general information you can contact him on i.mentor@me.com or phone 9654 0525 or mobile on 0488 999 177. General enquiries to info@cooeemarch.org.au or the website on www.cooeemarch.org.au.

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Rylstone Autograph Quilt was auctioned 100 years ago

One hundred years ago tomorrow on July 30, 1915 Rylstone and every other rural centre was in a fever of preparation for a nationally declared ‘Australia Day’ to collect funds in support of the war effort and for the relief of the wounded in the Dardanelles.

H. A. Phipps, who wrote his memories of the day stated, “Australia had been pledged to support England and France in the First World War to the last man and the last shilling by Prime Minister, Billy Hughes. Hughes named July 30, 1915 Australia Day and called on every person in the Commonwealth ‘to do their bit’, to raise funds for the war and help our troops then fighting in Gallipoli and other places overseas.”

In Rylstone, almost every man, woman and child responded to the call. On the day a huge procession made its way from Rylstone Railway Station to the Horticultural Hall.

The march was led out by the mounted police, followed by the Rylstone Brass Band. Motorcars were decorated to the hilt representing the Allied Countries of Belgium, Italy, Britain, and Russia with drivers in costume.

Commenting on the day in the Mudgee Guardian of August 5, 1915, the reporter remarked “Dr Hansard’s car, representing Great Britain, was decorated from stem to stern in red, white and blue, with the national ensign supporting a British aeroplane on the centre of the windscreen, and on the back of the car a splendid model of a British Dreadnought (the Queen Elizabeth) was elaborately set out with a submarine at its stern.

Hansards car Australia Day 1915

The effort must have cost the doctor much thought and hard work, and he fully deserves the expressions of admiration that the public expressed.”

Fourteen young men enlisted on the day. Young people were deputised to collect donations, with many performers showered with coins. Items auctioned varied from a cauliflower to flags, fowls, pictures, livestock and the Rylstone Autograph Quilt.  Mr E. H. ‘Ted’ Nash paid £17.10.0.

The creator of the quilt was Mrs Dawson, of ‘Henbury’ who had two sons at the front lines in Gallipoli, one of whom was killed on August 6.  She and her many daughters worked very hard during July to complete the quilt in time for Australia Day. Signatures and attached donations were collected by members of her family, through the Red Cross, and by Mrs. Fletcher and Mrs. Farrer. The Rylstone Autograph Quilt raised £95.0.0 in total, and total donations from Australia Day in Rylstone exceeded £700.0.0

During the ‘Stitches in Time’ exhibition, the Rylstone and District Historical Society will be paying tribute to the more than 900 local citizens of the district who paid to have their names stitched onto the Rylstone Autograph Quilt 100 years ago.

‘Stitches in Time’ is an official History Week Event and will be at Rylstone Memorial Hall from September 4 to 11. The Quilt is in Canberra in safekeeping at the War Memorial and will not be on display, but every signature has been photographed and these will be projected on a screen running continuously.

The exhibition will be open to the public every day from 10 am to 4 pm and a program of songs, poetry and demonstrations will make this a unique and special event.

Source: Mudgee Guardian, newspaper article [http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3240737/rylstone-autograph-quilt-was-auctioned-100-years-ago/]

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Rylstone mural renovation an award finalist

April 18, 2014

The Rylstone & District  Historical Society’s conservation of the 19th Century mural at The Bridgeview Inn is a finalist in the 2014 National Trust Heritage Awards.

The Rylstone & District Historical Society has commissioned International Conservation Services Pty to conserve the mural.

The work is being undertaken in stages over three years.

According to the National Trust, the mural was “almost certainly” the work of travelling artist Augustus Pierce.

Although Pierce painted widely in NSW, hardly any examples of his work remain.

The project was carefully planned to ensure best practice conservation methodologies were followed, including documentation and treatment.

The painting is also a rare example of a mural in a rural public building.

The mural depicts a scene of the Rylstone Bridge, with a fisherman and cows in the foreground.

“This project was driven by the local historical society who realised the importance of the mural and its value to the community,” said the award submission.

“Throughout the project the historical society ensured community awareness of the treatment and ran regular talks and ‘show and tell’ sessions.”

“The project was carefully planned to ensure best practice conservation methodologies were followed, including documentation and treatment.

“Vitally important to this was dividing the treatment up into stages that could be executed within the funds available at the time.”

Mural restoration

Source: Mudgee Guardian, newspaper article (http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/2226680/rylstone-mural-renovation-an-award-finalist/)

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Heritage Award for Rylstone and District Historical Society

May 21, 2014

Rylstone and District Historical Society has been recognised for its outstanding contribution to heritage conservation in NSW with a 2014 Heritage Volunteer Award.

At a recent ceremony at the Justice and Police Museum in Sydney, president of the local historical society Helen Marsonet was presented with a framed certificate in recognition of the group’s outstanding work over the past years.

Mrs Marsonet was among a large group of other representatives of various organisations from across the state and she said it was a great thrill to be part of this prestigious gathering.

award1 award2

Source: Mudgee Guardian, newspaper article (http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/2294623/heritage-award-for-rylstone-and-district-historical-society/)

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World War I quilt to return to Rylstone [a misnomer?]

This article, with a slightly misleading title, was recently published in the Mudgee Guardian. The original Rylstone Autograph Quilt will not feature in our upcoming exhibition; however, it has been photographed fairly extensively. The quilt remains in the collection of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra although is not displayed in public galleries.

World War I quilt to return to Rylstone

An autographed quilt created by Rylstone residents 100 years ago to raise money for the war effort during World War I will return to the town for a History Week exhibition September.

The Rylstone Autograph Quilt owes its existence firstly to a group of dedicated women and their community that supported them in 1914-15 and secondly to an incredible piece of luck in the 1970s.

The Rylstone WWI Autograph Quilt was the result of efforts by Mrs James Dawson, supported by Mrs Fletcher, wife of the Rylstone Shire President, and Mrs J. W. Farrar 100 years ago. Individuals signed the quilt in pencil, and then paid to have their signatures embroidered over.

It was completed for July 30, 1915, called “Australia Day” – a special day where the Australian community raised money to support the war effort. Most of these funds were collected for the Australian Division of the Red Cross.

Its makers and all those who signed it would probably be surprised that it still exists 100 years later. Its preservation has been a miracle.

A Mrs Simpson found the quilt in a collection of linen purchased at auction in Sydney in the 1970s and recognising its significance, sent it to the War Memorial in Canberra where it is now in safe-keeping.

In September during History Week, Rylstone and District Historical Society will present an exhibition at the Rylstone Memorial Hall celebrating the stories of soldiers and local families linked to the Rylstone Autograph Quilt.

Historical society president, and curator of the exhibition Helen Marsonet said the discovery six years ago that there was a Rylstone autograph quilt in the collection of the War Memorial has led to a massive project researching the signatures.

“Information has been pouring in which will contribute substantially to the Rylstone family history archives. There are over 900 autographs embroidered in white embroidery thread on a white sheet in stem stitch and chain stitch, with decorative motifs of grape leaves, flowers, stars, sun rays and circles,” Mrs Marsonet said.

“The decorative motifs reflect the period.

“Grape vines were probably chosen as a sign of mourning. Similarly the sun and stars dotted over the quilt may symbolise the heavens.”

Images of the rising sun featured prominently leading up to and following the Federation celebrations of 1901. With the surge of national pride, the emblem as a symbol of an emerging nation began to appear on buildings and in the brands of many commodities.

The first rising sun hat badge was issued to Australian troops serving in South Africa, and was later adopted as the official emblem for all military forces within the Commonwealth of Australia – and a variant is still in use today.

“The quilt contains the names of at least 75 soldiers from the Rylstone district who enlisted between August 1914 and July 1915. Two stitched circles bear the names A.C.Robbins, A.H.Freeman and J.D. Sandstrom. All three were early Gallipoli casualties. A central circular shape bears the cipher of King George V and For Our Dardanelles Australian Wounded 1915.

“Two circles bear the names of well-known Australian commanding officers also killed on Gallipoli in the first days – General Bridges and Colonels MacLaurin, Braund and Onslow-Thompson.”

The Stitches in Time exhibition in Rylstone celebrating 100 years since the quilt was created will feature the signatures from the quilt in the form of large projections. There will be stories and photographs and a memorial to the recently identified soldier Athol Kirkland given to the family by the residents of Pinnacle Swamp.

Other items will include WWI objects, uniforms, and other attractions. During the exhibition, embroidery in the style of the quilt and sock knitting will be demonstrated. The exhibition will be open daily from 10am to 4pm from September 4 to 11.

Anyone curious to know if the signatures of their forebears are on the quilt, or who can provide further family history information, are urged to contact Helen Marsonet at Rylstone and District Historical Society at rylstonehistory@westnet.com.au or PO Box 66 Rylstone 2849.

 

Source: Mudgee Guardian, newspaper article (http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3186511/world-war-i-quilt-to-return-to-rylstone/?cs=1485)

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Museums share ‘passion for preserving’

Volunteers from the Rylstone District Historical Society have been visiting museums around the region, picking up ideas to revitalise the society’s Cottage Museum.

The cottage museum is positioned at the rear of the Bridge View Inn grounds, a property which belongs to the Historical Society and also includes an old slab structure and a kitchen block, along with the inn itself, “the gem of our collection”.

The cottage was moved to the site and stocked with memorabilia and items of local historical interest from the late 1800s to the 1920s.

The Rylstone District Hospital Cottage Museum think tank is strategising “how to make the most of the opportunities we’ve got up there.”

The group visited Mudgee and Gulgong museums in recent weeks, to see how other groups managed, what issues they had faced, and how they overcame them.

The group will report back to the whole Historical Society by the middle of the year, with ideas for making the Cottage Museum more accessible and sustainable in the long term.

“We might all be passionate but I think we’ve got to pass that on, make it easy for people to step into our shoes,” said think tank member Jeannette McCarthy.

Ideas include expanding the family history resources, finding the stories that connect to items in the collection, and involving more members in the museum’s operation.

Ms McCarthy said one of the challenges faced by the Cottage Museum was that its curator was an outstanding source of local knowledge, but the knowledge was not stored anywhere for a time when the curator was no longer around.

The think tank members said sometimes problems faced by historical societies seemed insurmountable, but talking to other groups who faced them, either successfully or unsuccessfully, allowed the issues to be either resolved or accepted and let progress continue.

Ms McCarthy said different groups approached museum management differently, depending on their interests and passions, but all were united by “that shared passion for preserving what we’ve got and sharing it about.”

Museum working party visit to Mudgee

Source: Mudgee Guardian, newspaper article (http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/2046917/museums-share-passion-for-preserving/)

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Soldiers and local families linked to Rylstone Autograph Quilt

In September during History Week, Rylstone and District Historical Society will present an exhibition at the Rylstone Memorial Hall celebrating the stories of soldiers and local families linked to the Rylstone Autograph Quilt.

The Rylstone WWI Autograph Quilt was the result of efforts by Mrs James Dawson, supported by Mrs Fletcher, wife of the Rylstone Shire President, and Mrs J. W. Farrar 100 years ago. Individuals signed the quilt in pencil, and then paid to have their signatures embroidered over.

It was completed for July 30, 1915, called “Australia Day” – a special day where the Australian community raised money to support the war effort. Most of these funds were collected for the Australian Division of the Red Cross.

This quilt is now in safe-keeping at the War Memorial in Canberra. Its preservation has been a miracle. A Mrs Simpson in Sydney found the quilt in a collection of linen purchased at auction in Sydney in the 1970s and recognising its significance, sent it to the War Memorial. Its makers and all those who signed it would probably be surprised that it still exists 100 years later.

Rylstone and District Historical Society President, and Curator of the exhibition Helen Marsonet said she was very excited when she first found out six years ago that there was a Rylstone autograph quilt in the collection of the War Memorial.

“It has led to a massive project researching the signatures and information has been pouring in which will contribute substantially to the Rylstone family history archives.”

There are over 900 autographs embroidered in white embroidery thread on a white sheet in stem stitch and chain stitch, with decorative motifs of grape leaves, flowers, stars, sun rays and circles.

The quilt contains the names of at least 75 soldiers from the Rylstone district who enlisted between August 1914 and July 1915. Two stitched circles bear the names A.C.Robbins, A.H.Freeman and J.D. Sandstrom. All three were early Gallipoli casualties. A central circular shape bears the cipher of King George V and For Our Dardanelles Australian Wounded 1915.

Two circles bear the names of well-known Australian commanding officers also killed on Gallipoli in the first days – General Bridges and Colonels MacLaurin, Braund and Onslow-Thompson.

Rylstone citizens donated varying amounts to have their names or the names of loved ones, embroidered, which raised a total of £95. On completion, the quilt was auctioned and Mr E H Nash was the final purchaser paying £17.10 for it. The total raised was £112.10 – a substantial amount in 1915.

The “Stitches in Time” exhibition in Rylstone celebrating 100 years since the quilt was created will feature the signatures from the quilt in the form of large projections. There will be stories and photographs and a memorial to the recently identified soldier Athol Kirkland given to the family by the residents of Pinnacle Swamp.

Other items will include WWI objects, uniforms, and other attractions. During the exhibition, embroidery in the style of the quilt and sock knitting will be demonstrated. The exhibition will be open daily from 10am to 4pm from September 4 to 11.

Anyone curious to know if the signatures of their forebears are on the quilt, or who can provide further family history information, are urged to contact Helen Marsonet at Rylstone and District Historical Society at rylstonehistory@westnet.com.au or PO Box 66 Rylstone 2849.

 

Source: Mudgee Guardian, newspaper article (http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3150600/soldiers-and-local-families-linked-to-rylstone-autograph-quilt/)

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Autograph Quilt comes to light at War Memorial

Rylstone and District Historical Society (RDHS) members are researching information on a fascinating quilt that has come to light at the War Memorial Memorial museum in Canberra.

The quilt contains around 1000 embroidered names, many of them from the Rylstone district.

The quilt is at the Australian War Memorial because it contains the names of 49 WWI soldiers – most of who have now been identified.

The other 950 or so names and embroiderers are the subject of the RDHS research.

RDHS president Helen Marsonet said she first learned of the quilt’s existence about five years ago when she was rummaging through old RDHS documents that were in a plastic shopping bag in the society’s office.

“I discovered a hand written letter from a Mrs Simpson giving information about the quilt and how it had been found,” Mrs Marsonet said.

“The letter had been sent to a former member of the RDHS, Meredith Taylor, following her enquiries.

“It appears that the lady had bid for a cupboard full of linen at a house auction in Sydney and had subsequently found the quilt.

“At the top of the quilt were the words ‘The Rylstone Autograph Quilt’ and it was embroidered all over with signatures in white thread.

“There was also reference to WWI and the names of soldiers who had enlisted in the military forces from the district.

“She subsequently sent the quilt to the Rylstone RSL, but as the members of the board had nowhere to keep it they sent it back.

“Thankfully, Mrs Simpson had the good sense to send it to the war memorial where it is today.”

Mrs Marsonet believes people paid sixpence (five cents) and then wrote their names or other family member’s names in pencil.

Women would then embroider the names later.

This was a fundraiser for the war effort at the time.

The Rylstone and District Historical Society are keen to identify all the names on the quilt and the names of the embroiderers.

Their aim is to put on an exhibition next year in History Week and they’d like to talk with anyone who may have further information on the names.

If you’d like to see if your ancestor’s name might be there, call into the cottage Museum, Rylstone on a Sunday or phone Helen Marsonet on 6379 0772 and ask for information on the quilt.

You can obtain a form and a guide to research which can be filled out.

There will also be workshops later in the year to help people.

Source: Mudgee Guardian, newspaper article (Rylstone Autograph Quilt – Mudgee Guardian)

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Athol Goodwin KIRKLAND and the Rylstone Autograph Quilt

Recently the final resting place of Corporal Athol Goodwin KIRKLAND, killed in WW1, was identified in Crucifix Corner Cemetery, near Villers-Bretonneux in the Somme. There is a signature on the Rylstone Autograph Quilt, namely ‘A. Kirkland’, which could be Athol Goodwin KIRKLAND although there were other A. KIRKLANDs in the area at the time.

The following article provides some very interesting reading.

Unknown soldier identified as lost corporal from Mudgee

Source: http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/3041959/unknown-soldier-identified-as-lost-corporal-from-mudgee/

Related links: Rylstone WW1 Autograph Quilt

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