Archive for March, 2012

Moreton Bay People 2012, the bookTHE POSSIBILITY of a Spanish galleon’s being wrecked on North Stradbroke Island caught the imagination of listeners to Radio 4BC on 17 March during Gerard’s regular segment with presenter John Scott.

A first-hand account entitled “Sands of Time” dating from 1968-69 of finding a copper/bronze nail in aged wood, blackened spars, and two coins with the date 15??, appeared in Peter Ludlow’s recent book Moreton Bay People 2012. Unfortunately, a camera wasn’t on hand at the time, and soon after, a cyclone went through the area, so later efforts to re-discover the spot in the sand dunes were unsuccessful. A caller to the program who knew the location well, had also heard the story…

This account is one of 27 first-person stories in this well-illustrated book of 116 pages. Author Peter Ludlow is a pharmacist and historian, and his enthusiasm about Moreton Bay people and places was sparked by his interest in artist Ian Fairweather who sought refuge in Bribie Island’s relative isolation. Peter also felt that the leprosarium at Peel Island off Cleveland harboured stories that could well be lost if not recorded.

Moreton Bay People 2012 certainly achieves the author’s aim “to preserve in print at least, life on Moreton Bay, as it has been over the past century.” The book costs $20 + $5 p&p, and may be ordered from: www.moretonbayhistory.com.


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OF THE MORE than 70 biographical sketches of persons mentioned in A Shropshire Squire, two names in particular – Robert Townson and James Ryan – stood out for one reader.

Those familiar with A Shropshire Squire may remember that Robert Townson studied the mineralogy of Shropshire, and that his scientific and scholarly interests led to his acquaintance with Sir Joseph Banks. When Townson died in NSW in 1827 – where he raised stock on his property Varro Ville near Campbelltown – part of his small fortune was inherited by Captain John Witts, the brother-in-law of diarist John Clavering Wood.

James Ryan was the mine manager at Middletown Hill (close to Marche Hall) where feldspar for the potteries was being extracted. JC Wood records many dealings with him.

Hugh Torrens, Emeritus Professor of History of Science and Technology at the University of Keele, UK, wrote: “I have only just come across your fascinating book A Shropshire Squire, and found so much in it to interest me, as I have long worked on both James Ryan and Robert Townson.”

“All my many files on the latter, on whom I have several times lectured in Australia, I loaned to the Shrewsbury Museum, and these might be of use, if you have any remaining queries, or unresolved matters.”

Hugh also supplied another jigsaw piece: the Shrewsbury Quaker, George Young (1750-1820), was a well known land surveyor. J.C. Wood’s diary and John Dovaston’s letters indicate that they were both acquainted with the Young family. Emeritus Professor Torrens also kindly alerted the editor to an article which offers further useful insights into Dovaston’s character: “JFM Dovaston, an overlooked pioneer of field ornithology”

Hugh Torrens will be lecturing on Robert Townson in Oxford in May 2012.

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