How it was

A few weeks ago I attended a Zoom seminar run by Newcastle Family History Society, at which Jeff Madsen explained how to navigate and search the Historical Land Records Viewer to find old land title certificates, which can contain valuable historical information, as well as the occasional map.

I had used this service before to find some old maps, but was never able to find anything when searching the Torrens (land titles) records. I learnt that the reason why I never found anything is because none of the contents are indexed. The only way you can find a land title certificate is if you know the Volume and Folio number. This is often referred to as the Vol-Fol, and is searched for by entering the numbers separated by a hyphen as shown below.

Without a Vol-Fol number, your chance of finding what you want is literally millions to one. However, having found a title certificate (that’s a story for another post), it will often contain a reference to the previous certificate, and possibly one or more references to following certificates. These links then form a ‘Chain of Title’ that shows the progressive changes of ownership and subdivision of land. Using this concept of ‘chain of title’, starting with my own property in Lambton I was able to trace the chain back to the original mineral lease granted to Morehead and Young in 1863 (Vol-Fol 2-4), and then trace the chain forward to Vol-Fol 3-156 from 1864 wherein the plan of the township of Lambton appears on page 3.

Finding this map was very exciting. It is the oldest map I had found of Lambton, more than 30 years older than what I had seen before. The map revealed a few interesting details:

  • It confirmed my previous suspicion that the original name for Howe St was How St, almost certainly named after Robert How, an investor in the Scottish and Australian Mining Company.
  • The main road from Wallsend to Newcastle was originally going to be Dickson St.
  • The section of Grainger St between Dickson St and Young St (Newcastle Rd now) was originally called Reservoir St.
Map of the planned Lambton Township, 1864. Vol-Fol 3-156.

The Edden political dynasty

I was recently asked by a reader about Alfred Edden and Alfred Edden junior, their service in local councils, and if there was any connection to Arthur Edden Oval sports field in New Lambton. Here’s what I found …

There were three generations of Edden’s in the political sphere in NSW, with father, son and grandson each being elected to a different council in the Newcastle area.

Alfred Edden (1850 – 1930)

Alfred Edden was born in Tamworth, Staffordshire, England on 24 December 1850. He emigrated to Australia about 1879 and settled in Adamstown by 1884. After Adamstown was incorporated as municipality on 31 December 1885, Edden was elected on 11 Feb 1886 as an alderman to the first council. He was re-elected to another term as alderman on 11 Feb 1888. He was elected as Mayor of Adamstown on two occasions, in 1889 and 1891.

In 1891 he was elected to the NSW parliament in the electorate of Northumberland, and consequently resigned as an alderman of Adamstown Council. In 1894 he contested the NSW electorate of Kahibah and won, remaining as the member of that electorate until 18 February 1920. Alfred Edden died on 27 January 1930, and was buried in Sandgate cemetery on 29 January 1930.

Alfred Edden junior (1882 – 1954)

Alfred Edden junior the eldest son of Alfred Edden senior, was born in 1882.

He was became an alderman on New Lambton council in 1908 when he was one of the three nominees for the three vacant positions in Third Ward. He was re-elected in 1911 and 1914, serving until 1916. After a break of a decade he had a second period as alderman in the New Lambton council in the years 1927-1934. He was elected as Mayor of New Lambton on two occasions, in 1911 and 1930.

He died in November 1954 and was buried in Sandgate Cemetery on 30 November 1954.

Arthur Ernest Edden (1903? – 1971)

Arthur Ernest Edden was the son of Alfred Edden junior, and was born sometime around 1902-03, based on him being 12 years old in 1915, and 68 years old when he died in 1971. Although his first name was “Arthur”, he was also known as “Alf”.

In November 1950 he nominated as a candidate in the Mid-West ward of Newcastle Council and was elected as an alderman in December 1950.

In September 1953 he attempted to follow his grandfather’s achievements, and put himself forward in the contest for ALP pre-selection for the NSW seat of Kahibah. He lost the pre-selection to Joshua Arthur.

In December 1953 he was re-elected to Newcastle Council. I have not been able to confirm the years of his remaining service as an councillor, but he was elected again in 1958.

By 1967 Arthur Ernest Edden was on the board of the Hunter District Water Board, and served there for a few years.

He died on 31 January 1971 and was buried in Sandgate Cemetery on 2 February 1971. In May 1972 a sports field in the Newcastle District Park was renamed “Arthur Edden Oval” in his honour.

NSW Government Gazette, 26 May 1972, naming “Arthur Edden Oval”

Note: at the time of writing this post, both the Australian Dictionary of Biography and the NSW Parliament entry for Alfred Edden (1850-1930) have his date of death incorrectly recorded as 27 July 1930. The correct date is 27 January 1930.

Donald Trump Is A Loser

Four years ago, I, along with most Australians watched with a mixture of amazement, horror and pity as Donald Trump became president of the United States.

This morning I woke to the news that the American people in a record voter turnout have declared by an unambiguous margin that Donald Trump is a loser.

I agree.

ABC news website, 7am AEDT, 8 Nov 2020.

The Megalomaniacal Mine Manager Myth

I’ve seen it written before (but I can’t recall where) and seen it again recently, an assertion that Thomas Croudace was a megalomaniacal mine manager who built his house (Lambton Lodge) at the top of the hill so that he could watch his workers go to and from the mine, monitoring their movements.

Apart from this being an unfair and very one-sided representation of Croudace’s character, it’s also a topographical absurdity. The Lambton colliery was in a valley (where Lewis Oval is today) that is not visible from the site of Lambton Lodge. Similarly Lambton township is in a valley, and a large proportion of the  town is not visible from the Lambton Lodge hill 1.6km away.

Google Earth Pro has a neat feature called viewshed analysis, that shades in green areas that are visible from a specified point.  Even from a height 10 metres above the ground at Lambton Lodge, both the township and colliery are hidden from view.

Areas visible from the site of Lambton Lodge.