Unlawful Marriages and Illegitimate Children

By Amy Batchelor

Are you the product of an illegitimate marriage? You could be, especially if your ancestors were married in Adelaide in the month of May, 1842. In her book, Family Life in South Australia Fifty-Three Years Ago, Jane Isabella Watts (1890:139) writes “the glorious uncertainty of the law and the careless, slipshod way in which Acts of Parliament are constructed were seldom, perhaps, more strikingly displayed than in the drawing up of the new Marriage Act.”

The new Marriage Act passed in council on 22nd March 1842. It called for due notice of marriages, the issuing of licenses and certificates, and the registration of all marriages. Ministers of religion now had to be registered and any marriages performed by unregistered Ministers were deemed invalid.

Ministers notice

Ceremonies could be conducted according to the particular religion, however each party now by law had to say to each other: “I call upon these persons here present to witness that I, (name), do take thee, (name), to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband).”

For a “brief outline of some of the Act’s leading and most important provisions” see this article from the Southern Australian, 29 March 1842. While the new Act legalised all marriages in the colony prior to the 30th April, it didn’t come into force until 1st June 1842. Unfortunately, no provisions were made for marriages in the month of May.

At the time of their marriage, Jane’s husband Alfred questioned the legality of the new Marriage Act “but his objections were overruled” and their ceremony went ahead on Wednesday 18th May, 1842.

Marriage notice

Several years later a well-known doctor, who had “also entered the matrimonial state” in May 1842, “discovered the mistake that had been made… and that in consequence thereof, his marriage… was void and his children illegitimate.” While the doctor was understandably “excessively concerned”, Watts didn’t seem upset at all: “in reality the blunder gave (us) no concern… and may probably have formed the ground work of a sly jest between (us) now and then, but that was all” (Watts 1890:140).

By using a variety of online databases I was able to identify twelve marriages that took place in Adelaide during May 1842 (table 1).

table 1

Do you recognise any ancestors on this list? Well, fear not. The Marriages Amendment Act of 1852 placed all weddings under Government supervision and contained a clause “which effectually and forever set at rest all doubts as to (the) legality” (Watts 1890:140) of any marriages performed in May 1842.

Not that any of this mattered of course, because, as Watts (1890:140) says, “no legal flaws had power to disturb their peace of mind, for ‘those whom God has joined together, no man can put asunder.’ A union that is based on mutual love and esteem… can never be snapped in twain.”

(For the latest statistics on divorces in Australia visit the Australian Bureau of Statistics here).

The Danger with Data: Common Pitfalls in Archaeological Data Collation

In the second blog instalment for my directed studies topic in maritime archaeology, I have decided to focus on data collation and the issues that I have personally experienced or could foresee for those conducting similar projects. The end result of my directed studies will be a professional field report from two field seasons of maritime archaeological work on Phillip Island, Victoria that will be used by my industry partner, Heritage Victoria. The idea for this blog topic arose out my many frustrations from trying to collate and make ‘usable’ the raw data collected over the course of two field schools over a three year period, 2012 to 2014. I was only involved in the 2014 field work as a supervisor, making that aspect of the data collation a little easier, the hard part is trying to make sense of the work from others during a field school I was not a part of. I imagine that this is a common problem amongst archaeologists; trying to piece together the relevant data collected by others, sometimes years prior. This exercise has not only made it possible for me to identify the common pitfalls for those who find themselves wading through the collective data of other researchers, but also how best to go about collecting and organising data in general in case it is to be used in the future by others.

The Round-Up

Wouldn’t it be great to show up to the archaeology lab and have every single bit of data from your field project sitting on a glowing silver platter as cherubs sprinkle flower petals down upon you while a harp plays in the background…? It is fun to dream, but here in ‘reality’ you have to find this information on your own. You may have a great professor who gives you a large bag of what at first appears to be waste bin material, but which later turns out to be the data recorded from the last field school. I was lucky to have most of the data given to me, although not all of it. I could foresee issues with having to track down people to retrieve field notes or photographs or pieces of information that ‘you know they know’ but that they never recorded. It would be wise to think about what data you have at the beginning, what might be missing, and then revisit it all just before completion to ensure all of the important ‘stuff’ is actually accounted for.

It takes longer than you think:

When I was first given the task to digitise all of the field reporting, drawings, maps, forms and log books from the two field schools I was not under the impression that it was a large task. I thought that I would be able to, in my own words, “knock this out in an afternoon”. I look back now and laugh at my naivety. It took four full days to digitise all of the logbooks and associated paperwork. That was just the physical act of scanning the pieces (my apologies for commandeering the scanner for four days to anyone I inconvenienced). I then had to organise the PDFs into easy to use files on a USB drive for archival purposes, creating a small database of keywords/file names. Once that was complete, I then did it all over again due to a series of unfortunate events (see next section). The point to be made here is to be realistic about how long the ‘housekeeping’ portion of data collation will actually take.

 Back it up, then back it up again:

Probably the largest and most dramatic problem that arose was when I fell asleep while typing in bed. I then proceeded to inadvertently kick my laptop off the bed and destroyed the hard drive, losing, not only my digitised copies of logbooks, drawings and maps that took me four solid days to scan, but also everything I have written in the report (along with my thesis work as well…but that’s a whole different can of worms). Needless to say, a well thought out back up system could have saved me a lot of time (and stress!). Then to make matters worse, my USB drive holding the only copies of some of my written work was stolen while I was at the university library using their computers while mine was getting fixed. The old adage “those who do not learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them” is completely at play in this scenario. I now have two USB drives, an internet based file storage system (Dropbox), and an external hard drive that is ONLY for backing up my system. It may also help to print off some hard copies of any major written sections just in case; a hard copy of my thesis work was a sight for sore eyes during what I call the “dark period” of this current semester.

Figure 1. The ‘Back Up Arsenal’. Photo by Chelsea Colwell-Pasch

Handwriting and Size Formats…Sigh

Another frustrating aspect of data collation is the little things that may not seem like a big deal to those who don’t have to deal with them, such as deciphering hand writing, scribbled drawings and trying to scan the ‘un-scannable’! When it comes to hand writing, unfortunately, unless you know the person and can track them down to translate, it usually comes down to best guess. Legibility is an absolute must when it comes to recording and if you take nothing else from this blog please remember to write as clearly and concisely as possible. The data is useless unless you can use it and researchers like me will thank you for it. The same goes for drawings, try to be clear and please, please, please put in a scale! As for size formats, this one is tricky. The only real issue is in trying to digitise the ‘wonky’ sized medium. It is impossible to get a great scan of a site plan that was drawn on an arbitrarily sized piece of hand cut mylar (plastic paper for underwater recording) that is too large for the scanners copying surface. Scanners are machines and machines can’t cope with anything they are not preprogramed for.

Make it your own

In this final section, I offer not an issue but a tip. When you collate the data, do it in a way that makes sense. Organise the files on your computer (and on your USB, external hard drive, and Dropbox) and compile data into easy to use and understand spreadsheets, graphs and diagrams. Look at every piece of data and think about how you would USE it and then present it in the best possible manner to fulfil its use. But beware! Too often archaeologists present data as end results, forgoing the analysis and interpretation processes. Data is only the means by which you make your interpretations and conclusions, they are not an end in themselves but a means to one.


Why Art?

By Tegan Burton, Grad Dip in Archaeology

In considering aspects of ‘connecting Indigenous youth to culture through rock art recording and conservation’ one of the questions that arises is ‘why art?’.  Is rock art, as I have presumed, more applicable to ‘connecting to culture’ than other types of archaeological sites?

Adam Goodes, Andyamathanha man and 2014 Australian of the Year, opened a recent episode of Australian Story by saying ‘It means a lot to Aboriginal people that we’re part of the world’s oldest unbroken tradition of art’ (Australian Story: Set in Stone 2014).

There is a plethora of references asserting the significance of art to Aboriginal culture. This time I stepped away from what has become my regular reference library over the last year – rock art and archaeology texts and journal articles – to track down comments from contemporary Indigenous people.

Richard Walley, in his role as Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board in the early 1990s, said that ‘Art has always been integral to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s lives, as an expression of our spiritual connection with the land and sea, and as a ceremonial and educational tool of lore and Dreaming’ (in Miller 2013). In an Awaye! lecture on Radio National Lydia Miller, current Executive Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board, explained that Aboriginal art is an important aspect of cultural expression and both individual and collective identity, which is connected to language, culture, heritage, land and sea and law (Miller 2013).

Ken Upton, a senior Darug man, described cave art and engravings as ‘an historical record, as I can look at hand stencils and they are the stencils of the old ones, the ancient ones’ and ‘a record of Dreamtime stories and the laws’ (Upton 1990:6).

Rock art provides a strong link between traditional and contemporary Aboriginal life and customs (Clottes 2002; Lambert 2007; Rosenfeld 1988). Of the continuing tradition of creating art, Warlpiri woman and Yuendumu artist Judy Napangardi Watson says, ‘Painting makes me in touch with my ancestors’ (Genocchio 2008:92), and Micky Durrug Garrawurra, a Yolngu man painting at Ramingining, says ‘I am the painting, and I am in the story that I tell there. It is my land. It is my story’ (Genocchio 2008:121).

Ken Upton takes the younger generation to visit rock art sites and talk about the stories behind them (Upton 1990). Philip ‘Pussycat’ Gudthaykudthay, highly exhibited artist currently based at Bula’bula Arts in Ramingining, explains that he continues to make art in order to share Aboriginal culture and stories not just with the world, but also with the young people whose lives are impoverished by the loss of tradition (Genocchio 2008:6). There is continual transition between the past and the now. This is ‘connecting to culture’.

Accessibility serves as another assertion as to why rock art is particularly applicable to ‘connecting to culture’. The simple visual accessibility of rock art is demonstrated by the suite of coffee-table style books with a focus on Aboriginal rock art (e.g. Brandl 1973; Chaloupka 1993; Coles and Hunter 2010; Donaldson 2010; McCarthy 1979; Roberts and Parker 2003). Further, it’s not just a photographic or illustrative record in books but also a tangible reality, the richness and complexity of human history and cultural tradition expressed visually in the landscape (Flood 1990, Tacon & Chippindale 1998). No wonder being an archaeologist with an interest in rock art can be so exciting!

Not all sites are publicly accessible, however, and for those that are there might be a walk or a scramble required to get there. But once you’ve arrived at a rock surface with engravings or a shelter with art, there it is right in front of you. There’s no need for excavations or lab analyses before an initial recording and preliminary assessment can be made.

Steven Trezise is the son of Percy Trezise, pilot and Quinkan rock art enthusiast, and now works as an interpretive guide at Jowalbinna, near Laura, Queensland. He summed up the accessibility of rock art nicely when he said ‘that’s what’s so exciting about it, the stone age is not some time in the past that’s not visible. It’s actually visible. There’s the images, there’s the tangible link of the hunter-gatherer past’ (Australian Story: Set in Stone 2014).

Without a similar level of deliberation about other aspects of archaeology, I still can’t say that art is necessarily MORE applicable to ‘connecting to culture’ than the diversity of other features, such as campsites, middens, quarries, grinding grooves, fish traps, stone arrangements, or the overall landscape in which they sit (Flood 1990). In the meantime, it IS irrefutable that art has a significant role to play.


Australian Story: Set in Stone 2014, television program, ABC 1, Sydney, 31 March.

Brandl, E. J. 1973 Australian Aboriginal Paintings in Western and Central Arnhem Land. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

Chaloupka, G. 1993 Journey in Time: The 50,000-year Story of the Australian Aboriginal Rock Art of Arnhem Land. Sydney: Reed New Holland.

Clottes, J. 2002 World Rock Art. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute.

Coles, R. and R. Hunter 2010 The Ochre Warriors: Peramangk Culture and Rock Art in the Mount Lofty Ranges. Stepney: Axiom Australia.

Donaldson, M. 2010 Burrup Rock Art: Ancient Aboriginal Rock Art of Burrup Peninsula and Dampier Archipelago. Mount Lawley: Wildrocks Publications.

Flood, J. 1990 The Riches of Ancient Australia. St Lucia: University of Queensland Press.

Genocchio, B. 2008 Dollar Dreaming: Inside the Aboriginal Art World. Prahran: Hardie Grant Books.

Lambert, D. 2007 Introduction to Rock Art Conservation. Hurstville: Department of Environment and Climate Change.

McCarthy, F. D. 1979 Australian Aboriginal Rock Art , 4th edition. Sydney: The Australian Museum.

Miller, L. 2013 Art Connects and Creates our Culture into the 21st century. Awaye! lecture, Radio National, Australia, 28 December.

Roberts, D. A. and A. Parker. 2003 Ancient Ochres: The Aboriginal Rock Paintings of Mount Borradaile. Marleston: J. B. Books.

Rosenfeld, A. 1988 Rock Art Conservation in Australia. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.

Tacon, P. S. C. and Chippindale, C. 1998 An archaeology of rock-art through informed methods and formal methods. In Chippindale, C. and P. S. C. Tacon (eds) The Archaeology of Rock-Art, pp.1-10. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Upton, K. 1990. A Darug discussion: Oral history. In: G. Hendriksen (ed.), The Pemulwuy Dilemma: The Voice of Koori Art in the Sydney Region, pp6-8. Emu Plains: Penrith Regional Art Gallery.

What is beneath Adelaide’s car parks?

My name is Tom Georgonicas; I am currently undertaking a graduate diploma in archaeology and heritage management. As part of my degree I am working on a directed study that aims to investigate the archaeological potential (if any) that could be found under the ground level car parks of the city of Adelaide. For the purpose of this study, the study area is bound between North Terrace, South Terrace, East Terrace and West Terrace. The study is only focussing on ground level open car parks, not multi–storey car parks.

My aims for the directed study are to:

  • Map a current map of ground level car parks in the city of Adelaide on to the 1842 Kingston map and the 1880 Smith survey of Adelaide.
  • Identify the most likely sites with surviving archaeological potential on both maps and see if they overlap.
  • Research what kind of development took place on these sites. Have they interfered with any potential archaeological deposits?
  • Create a scale of archaeological potential for the sites based on my research.

Needless to say, the research is quiet immense and has required hours upon hours of research. To make things simpler I have decided to use Google Earth’s image overlay function, which has allowed me to overlay both the Kingston map and the Smith survey over a satellite image of Adelaide. Results so far have been surprising and promising, with the historical maps revealing structures that no longer remain.

Here is an example of how I am approaching the study.

Below is a satellite image of the south-west corner of Adelaide (corner of West Tce and South Tce)

SW corner of Adelaide

SW corner of Adelaide

Now after adding the Kingston map via image overlay.

SW corner of Adelaide, with Kingston Map.

SW corner of Adelaide, with Kingston Map.

Here are the results after the image overlay function. Lots 626 and 696 reveal that one point, there were structures.

SW corner of Adelaide with the Smith survey over lay.

SW corner of Adelaide with the Smith survey over lay.

The Smith survey is more detailed, going as far as naming some businesses, churches and buildings. I should also note that the image overlay function is only being used as a guide. The real results will be obtained by historical research.

You can access these maps by the State Library of South Australia by clicking the following links online.

1842 Kingston Map


1880 Smith survey


Flora and Fauna of Mimburi – the Bush tucker/ bush medicine/ cultural uses book


Hi all :) What a title right? :) Well, my name is Kate Greenwood and I am a Master of Cultural Heritage Management student who, like others is undertaking Directed Study this semester. I am working with the Mimburi Upper Mary Aboriginal Association (MUMAA) http://www.mimburi.com.au on their property, Mimburi, which is based in Belli Park, between Eumundi and Kenilworth on the Sunshine Coast. I am co-authoring a book with Aunty Beverly Hand, MUMAA President and local Kabi Kabi Traditional Custodian, on the flora and fauna of Mimburi which will include locations, descriptions, historical accounts and cultural uses. The documenting and recording process is well underway. Documenting takes the form of photographs, videos, writing, mapping and archival research. In the end, there will be a book produced, which will have an online version, a DVD and a map of the flora and fauna of Mimburi. Currently our species list includes 68 species. After undertaking a lot of background research, on the 2nd of April to the 4th of April I camped at Mimburi. In this time I was able to utilise their library of historical resources, and also record some of Aunty Beverly’s flora and fauna cultural knowledge. We also took a walk around the property to some of the known cultural heritage sites and located quite a few artefacts.

arte artefacts 2 artefacts 3

On the second morning I arose before sunrise in order to try to capture the endangered Mary River Turtles down at the Cod Hole on the Mary River. Using my Nikon telephoto lens, I thought what I was capturing was the Mary River Turtle (as I had seen them earlier), but it was indeed a platypus, which is a rare animal to spot let alone capture in a photograph. Many other animals were photographed, including a Sea Eagle, (my video footage of which has a voice over from me in my best David Attenborough impression), a Masked Lapwing and some Pale Headed Rosellas.

plat DSC_9252

Recently I have been trawling through the Caroline Tennant Kelly Collection, which was only found a couple of years ago and includes the documents of Caroline Tennant Kelly, an anthropologist who visited Cherbourg in the 1930s and recorded cultural information through interviews with Aboriginal people, one of them being Fred Embrey, Aunty Beverly’s Grandfather. Caroline Tennant Kelly’s interview with Fred Embrey includes information about the moiety system and totems. This information on totems (which come in the form of flora and fauna), will be utilised within the book for the flora and fauna that are located and documented at Mimburi.

My next step is to take more photographs and video, to undertake research on the first recordings of Kabi Kabi language, and to link up language words with the flora and fauna. Following this I will take a visit to the Queensland State Library in order to document the first written recordings of botanical and fauna information undertaken by the first non-Indigenous explorers/settlers in the area.

I will update you all soon on how I go! :)


Thank you to Mimburi Upper Upper Mary Aboriginal Association, in particular Aunty Beverly Hand and Flinders University for support with this project.

Being on Ngiyampaa ngurrampaa with a junior board

By Tegan Burton, Grad Dip in Archaeology

In collecting material for case studies that will form part of my Directed Studies topic I found myself with the amazing opportunity to participate in the Mount Grenfell Cultural Heritage Project 17th – 21st March 2014.

North-west of Cobar, NSW, the Mount Grenfell reserve lands (including Mount Grenfell Historic Site and proposed Mount Grenfell National Park) fall within the ngurrampaa (Country) of the Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan people (NPWS 2013).

The Historic Site was originally purchased from Mount Grenfell Station in 1979 in recognition of the need to preserve and protect several galleries of yapapuwan karul (rocks with art) (Beckett et al 2003). In 2004 the Historic Site was finally handed back to Aboriginal owners, the second reserve in NSW to be handed back, and then leased back to the Minister of the Environment under Part 4A of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPWS 2013).

In 2010 the remainder of Mount Grenfell Station was purchased, in part as a buffer for the Historic Site and also in recognition of further significant cultural and natural values. The reserve lands now have a combined area of more than 19,000 hectares and are managed through an arrangement where the Mount Grenfell Board of Management (the Board) sets the overall direction for management and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) carries out day-to-day operations (NPWS 2013).

In recent times the Board has identified the need for succession planning for future effective representation of the Aboriginal Owners, and last year established a ‘junior board’ in order to address this issue. It’s a progressive move and which is generating plenty of interest from others involved in joint management arrangements in NSW.

The Mount Grenfell Cultural Heritage Project aims to develop capacity in cultural heritage management, foremost amongst the junior board and also within the broader Ngiyampaa community and local NPWS staff. Stage 1, in which I participated, focused on creating opportunities for industry and cultural experts to share knowledge while on country (Flakelar 2014).

From my city home to Mount Grenfell is not the shortest venture, approximately 760 kms by road, but it was an inspiring week and well worth the trip!

What made it so inspiring?

The stunning landscapes of the Cobar Peneplain (Mitchell 2005) – an expanse of red soils, flat plains dissected by stony slopes and residual ranges, dry creek beds with charismatic gums, all in such contrast to the Hawkesbury Sandstone I now call home.

IMG_6081_sm IMG_6097_smCharismatic gums in a dry river bed; the stony slopes of the Cobar Peneplain

The range of ‘site’ types – small and large rock art shelters; stone hearths along creek banks; numerous and diverse stone tools – and the way they bring to life a whole of landscape perspective, a continuation of the value placed by Aboriginal people on the connectedness of things rather than isolated ‘sites’.

IMG_6064_sm IMG_6066_smAssortment of stone artefacts found within Mount Grenfell reserve lands

IMG_6110_sm IMG_6126_smSmall selection of rock art found at Mount Grenfell reserve lands

Seeing the junior board increasingly engaged. Listening to the board members and elders sharing their knowledge and experience – with the junior board; with archaeologists; with National Parks staff; and with participating students – and rebuilding cultural connections with ngurrampaa. And being a part of community, land managers and archaeologists working together.

IMG_6062_sm Jess, Meredith, Susanne and Hilary record a hearth

Stepping away from archaeology, Aunty Josephine gave me a lesson in making the best johnny cakes ever, while Uncle Lawrence gave me a lesson in the best way to eat them. I also learnt what kangaroo meat to eat – black kangaroo (Eastern Grey) is no good, red kangaroo (male Red Kangaroo) is tolerable, but it’s the blue kangaroo (female Red Kangaroo) that is the best!


Keeping a close eye on ‘the best johnny cakes ever’

I mentioned my education in johnny cakes and kangaroos to participants in an Indigenous mentoring program back home in the city. Calling them the best johnny cakes ever was a big call, but if they were made by an elder chances are it’s true, and it was unbelievable that I didn’t already know about the differences in kangaroo tucker. All that learning I’ve done at university and work . . . what I really needed to do was spend a week on country, with the right people, to learn the things that really matter.


Beckett, J., Donaldson, T., Steadman, B. and Meredith, S. 2003 Yapapunakirri, Let’s Track Back: the Aboriginal works around Mount Grenfell. Sydney: Office of the Registrar.

Flakelar, D. 2014 Mount Grenfell Cultural Heritage Project March 2014. Unpublished project outline for OEH Parks and Wildlife Group.

Mitchell, P. 2005 Landform survey of the Mount Grenfell Historic Site. Report to Mount Grenfell Historic Site Board of Management and DEC Parks and Wildlife Division.

NPWS 2013 Mount Grenfell Historic Site and proposed Mount Grenfell National Park Draft Plan of Management. Sydney: Office of the Environment and Heritage.

Keep Digging

My name is Kahlia Pearce; I am doing a Graduate Diploma in Archaeology and  Heritage Management at Flinders University. I am undertaking the Directed Studies topic to give me an insight into what it would be like to do a Master’s thesis.  My Directed Studies topic is on the historical archaeology of Calperum and Taylorville Stations, located just outside of Renmark. I will mainly be focusing on looking at other potential historical sites that could be found within the area.

Research has been tricky, as there have been name changes in many parts of the study area. Chowilla was used as the name for a pastoral property in 1846 (National Parks and Wildlife Service 1995:8). This property was then split into two properties known as Chowilla and Bookmark by Richard Holland (National Parks and Wildlife Service 1995). Holland used the Bookmark property for sheep and Chowilla was used as a cattle station (National Parks and Wildlife Service 1995:8).

The area known as Bookmark was then renamed Calperum (Australian Landscape Trust 2012). This area was subsequently renamed Calperum and Taylorville, as can be seen in the picture below.

Calperum and Taylorville area

I have found in my research a mention of stone homesteads erected at Bookmark and Chowilla in 1876-1877, and woolsheds and shearers’ quarters built on Chowilla (National Parks and Wildlife Service 1995:8).

Further research needs to be undertaken on these aspects, and I am planning a trip up to the local library at Renmark. Hopefully the library and talking to the people in the community can shed some light on the history of the area known now as Calperum and Taylorville.


Australian Government n.d. Calperum and Taylorville Stations. Retrieved 28 February 2014 from <http://www.environment.gov.au/node/20941&gt;.

Australian Landscape Trust 2012 History: Calperum Station 1838-2010. Retrieved 1 March 2014 from <http://www.austlandscapetrust.org.au/projects/riverland/calperum-taylorville/calperum-taylorville-history.aspx>.

National Parks and Wildlife Service 1995 Chowilla Regional Reserve and Chowilla Game Reserve Management Plan. Management plan prepared for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Australia.