Category Archives: Events

Local face of World War One on show at Hornsby Shire Library

January 21 – February 2, 2017

An extraordinary and haunting series of 80 portraits of World War One soldiers from NSW, selected  from the State Library’s photographic collection, will go on show in a free display at the Hornsby Shire Library, from Saturday January 21 to Thursday February 2, 2017.

Produced as part of the State Library’s WWI centenary regional program, Portraits of War: The Crown Studios Project travelling display reveals the fascinating story behind the creation of the portraits and delivers a moving experience that bears witness to the individual faces of Australian soldiers, both young and old, who served their country.

In 1918 soldiers all across NSW were invited to have their portraits taken in Sydney by the leading photographic studio of the time, Crown Street Studios, before embarking overseas for what was to be a most deadly conflict far from home.

During this ambitious project, initiated by Sydney’s Crown Studios’ proprietor Mark Blow, a collection of over 1,600 portraits were either taken of soldiers or copied from existing images provided by family members, and this collection was subsequently donated to the Mitchell Library (now part of the State Library).

Exhibition curator Louise Tegart said “the information on the back of each print is just as moving as the portraits themselves with personal details handwritten, including whether soldiers made it home or not.”

Unfortunately, the project was never completed. A damaging fire at the Studio in December 1918 hindered the collection process and while copies of the portraits were protected in a fireproof safe, the Studio did not re-open again until 1 July 1919.

“Thanks to the tenacity and support of William Ifould, the Principal Librarian at the time, the collection of portraits was secured for future generations,” said Ms Tegart.

The State Library has released a collection of the portraits on Flickr Commons – New South Wales Servicemen Portraits 1918-1919 – located here:

“The portraits capture the faces of men of all ages set against different backgrounds and sadly, it could be the only photograph families had of their sons, brothers or uncles,” said Ms Tegart.


If Hornsby Shire residents discover a family member on the State Library’s New South Wales Servicemen Portraits Flickr set, the Library will provide a digital file of the portrait free of charge.

To secure a digital print simply email with your name, contact details and a link to the image.


Familysearch Draws a Crowd

Paul Parton from Familysearch who made a return visit to our Group yesterday drew the largest audience we have entertained in our short history. It was heartening to see so many members and visitors supporting one of our favourite speakers.

20161116_141606Full House at HSFHG

Paul’s time on the floor flew by as he demonstrated the features of Familysearch search and took questions from the floor. Paul has indicated that he may be able to return once more to demonstrate the use of and answer questions about the Familysearch Family Tree.

p1000327Paul Parton taking us on a tour of the Familysearch site.

As our guests s20161117_130632treamed in I noticed two new people carrying a couple of cardboard boxes. Elder and Sister McSweeney, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, are presently serving a mission with the Church in Australia and came along to the meeting to support Paul. I was thrilled to meet and chat with these visitors from the genealogy mecca of Salt Lake City.

After Paul’s talk concluded the contents of the boxes were revealed. The McSweeneys had brought along goodie bags from Familysearch for those in attendance at our meeting. Thanks to Familysearch, Paul Parton and the McSweeneys for your support of The Hornsby Shire Family History Group.

The Amazing things in the UK Gazettes

The guest speaker for our October meeting will be crossing the border from Ku-ring-gai  to explain how we can use UK Gazettes as a genealogy research tool. This talk was very well received when Jenny Joyce presented it at the National Congress in jenny-joyceCanberra last year.

Jenny Joyce has been a genealogist for the past 35 years, first as a hobby researching her own family, and for the past eight years as professional researcher, lecturer, teacher and writer.  She has been writing a genealogy blog since 2010 ( and records an occasional podcast ( Jenny is the President of the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, and a member of its family history committee. Together with core genealogy, Jenny has a deep interest in DNA in relation to genealogy, paleography and historical photography.

Members and guests are welcome to join us for this event at Hornsby Central Library on Wednesday 19 October at 2:00pm.

You can’t have one without the other…

As we become interested in researching our family history we get to the stage where we want to go beyond names, dates and events to learn about the places our ancestors lived, played and worked.

Just like Love and Marriage and Horses and Carriages, Family History goes together with Local History.

In our local area The Hornsby Shire Historical Society Inc aims to to encourage the study of the history of Hornsby Shire, to foster an interest in the history of Hornsby Shire, to compile authentic records, and to collect, preserve and exhibit objects which have affected, and will continue to affect, the lifestyle and occupations of the residents of Hornsby Shire, both past and present.

At our monthly meeting tomorrow, 21 September at 2:00pm in Hornsby Library Mari Metzke from The Hornsby Shire Historical Society Inc will join us as our guest speaker to tell us about the Society, its resources and how it can help our members add to the stories of their ancestors from our area.

We will endeavour to organise a tour of the facilities of The Hornsby Shire Historical Society Inc  in our eductional program for 2017.


State Library Visit

HSFHG members attended a tour of the State Library of New South Wales on Thursday 1st September.


Members Gather

We began with a talk about the locations and resources specially for family historians. Our two presenters were very happy to give a live demonstration of how to access and use online resources. A number of members appreciated the hints for using the SMH archive. Our tour took us through the family history section and down into the “stack” where most of their resources are kept.


Down in the stacks

We then went on to the Mitchell Reading Room and learnt about using the Special Collections. Many of us have already updated our blue reader’s card to a gold one so we can access this area. All 19 attendees thoroughly enjoyed the talk and tour, and all had a list of things to follow up.


Mitchell Reading Room

Thanks to Jill Ball and Bronwyn Ross for making it happen, and to John O’Brien and Jimmy Pike for the photos.

–  Coral Shand –

Cast your votes now

Voting has now opened in the 2016 Rockstar Genealogists Awards.  Two of our members, Sharn White and Jill Ball, as well as two of our recent guest speakers, Kerry Farmer and Heather Garnsey, appear on this list.

Take a look at the list and cast your votes in this annual international event now. Voting will close at 6 pm EDT on Sunday 11 September.


Trove Tuesday – Waddell Wedding

Celebrated in Hornsby 113 years ago.  There are still members of the Waddell family in the area today.


1903 ‘Hornsby.’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), 29 August, p. 10. , viewed 09 Aug 2016,