Hunter Valley Climate Data Sets from 1843 to 1907 Online

On the 3 May 2016 a number of Hunter Valley meteorological journals came to light, documenting historic weather records from stations located in the Hunter Valley, dating from 1843-1907. These records form a significant data set to rival the Belfield Climate Records of Algernon Henry Belfield in Armidale.

The latter set is clearly identified as being taken at “Wollong”. Wollong was the home of Charles Wyndham, 9th son of George and Margaret of Dalwood,and his wife Emily, neé Glennie. The weather records were signed by M. Wyndham, presumably Marion, eldest daughter of Charles and Emily. They date from June 1891 till end of 1907. (Ref: Dalwood House Newsletter No 93 by Don Seton Wilkinson).

The location(s) of the earliest Hunter Valley data sets dating from 1843-1878 were not clearly identified, but since they were donated with the ‘identified’ set from Wollong Station (Mount Vincent), dating from 1891-1907, then it was surmised that they are records associated with the Wyndham Family.


The Quest for the Provenance of the Unidentified Weather Records

Don Seton Wilkinson, a descendant of the Wyndham Family  investigated the provenance of the unidentified set of weather records.

He concluded that they were not Wyndham records from Dalwood, but those of Alfred Glennie from ‘Glenthorne’.

On 5 February 2018 he undertook a detailed comparison of the handwriting in the 1843 weather records with that of George Wyndham in the 1830s. Whilst similar, he could see that the capital letters were stylistically different. His conclusion was that the 1843 weather records were not written by George Wyndham.

This then brought him back to consideration of the original opinion that since the records were part of the collection from ‘Wollong’, Mt Vincent, the home of Charles Wyndham, who married Lucy Emily Glennie, daughter of Rev. Alfred Glennie, in 1866, that it was  more likely that the records were of Glennie origin, rather than of Wyndham origin.

Charles was the ninth son of George and Margaret Wyndham of Dalwood. Any documents relating to Dalwood were more likely to have remained at Dalwood with his elder brother, John. This was certainly the case with other documents with which he was familiar.

Alfred Glennie was one of the four Glennie brothers, Henry, Benjamin, Alfred and James, who came to Australia. He acquired Glenthorne on the Allyn River in 1838. The earliest set of weather records commences in 1843.

He subsequently leased Glenthorne to the Champain family, and moved to Lochinvar, which Seton Wilkinson suspected was the location of the records for the 1860s, which would make those records of Glennie origin as well.

A reference is made on page xxi of Volume One of Reverend Alfred Glennie’s Journals, to his weather records. There is a sample of his handwriting in Volume Two for March 1863. Not paginated.

Sample of Alfred Glennie’s handwriting March 1863.
[Ref: Rev. Alfred Glennie Journals 1860 on. Volume 2. Gosford District Local History Study Group. Gosford. 1988.]

That Alfred Glennie is the author of the weather records was corroborated by Malcolm Glennie Holmes, a descendant of Alfred’s daughter who married a Holmes. Her sister married Charles Wyndham of ‘Wollong’. He states in an email to Don Seton Wilkinson (Email 8 February 2018):

Alfred definitely kept those weather records, mentioning them many times in his Clerical Journals.  I note that he apparently didn’t make records during for his time at Gosford (1850-1863) but only as a farmer at Glenthorne and then while he was at Lochinvar. However, as his clerical diary for 1840-55 is also missing, perhaps his weather records for that intermediate period also got lost. Interestingly, his elder brother the reverend Alexander in Charleston, USA, also kept meticulous daily weather records between 1832 and 1880. Alfred was born on the 14th January, 1811, as he recorded in his Clerical Diary on Sunday, the 14th January 1866: “Sunday. – 55 years have I now been in this world. – Often in my sermons do I remind my hearers of the rapid flight of time, & the near approach of the end of their pilgrimage-“ so  I take that as definitive!

As Glenthorne was purchased in December 1838, Don Seton Wilkinson suspects that the records for 1839, 40, 41 and 42 are among those lost.

Alfred’s widow sold Glenthorne in 1871, following Alfred’s death, then bought Wollong and moved in with her daughter and son in law, Emily and Charles Wyndham.

Wilkinson has not yet identified who wrote the records for 1874-78, but suspects that they are likely to have been either Alfred’s widow, Anne Glennie, or their daughter, Lucy Emily Wyndham,  or Charles Wyndham.  Further work needs to be undertaken to check their handwriting with records held the University of Newcastle Archives, but as the writing looks to be in a mature hand, Seton Wilkinson suspects it will be by Anne Glennie.

Conclusion

1) All of the records from 1843 to 21 October 1870 may now be attributed to Alfred Glennie., not to Wyndham Family. He died 25 Oct 1870.

2) All of the records for the 1840s would have been made at ‘Glenthorne’, East Gresford.

3) All of the records for the 1860s would have been made at Lochinvar.

4) The three loose pages for 1874-78 still need to be positively identified. There are actually three possible authors of the unidentified records – Anne Glennie, Emily Wyndham or Charles Wyndham. This will rely on the positive identification of the handwriting, which shouldn’t be difficult as there many samples of his writing among the five boxes of Glennie-Wyndham material in the University Archives held in the Auchmuty Library.

 

Rev. Alfred Glennie 14-01-1811 to 25-10-1870.

Alfred was the twelfth son of William and Mary Glennie of Dulwich, Surrey, England, where his father had the well-known Dulwich Grove Academy or Dr Glennie’s Academy. Alfred arrived in Sydney, as a free settler, on 30 January 1828, on the ‘Marquis of Huntley’ and went to his brother’s property ‘Dulwich’ north of Singleton. In June he was appointed Clerk to the Bench of Magistrates at Patrick’s Plains. Following his marriage to Anne Ferris in 1836, they purchased 324 acres in 1838 on the Allyn River, East Gresford, from Charles Boydell, where he grew crops, sheep, cattle and a vineyard, naming it ‘Glenthorne’. He leased the property to the Champain family, following his ordination in the Church of England and his appointment to the Brisbane Water (Gosford) Parish from 1850 to 1863, and then to Lochinvar until his death. He kept Clerical Journals from 1850 onwards, in which he frequently refers to his weather records, some of which appear to have been lost. His grand-daughter, Marion Wyndham, continued the records from 1891 at ‘Wollong’, purchased in 1871, following the sale of ‘Glenthorne’, by her mother. It is worth noting that an elder brother, Alexander Glennie, also kept meticulous weather records in Charleston, South Carolina, from 1832 to 1880.

Next Steps

These Hunter Valley data sets will be of great significance to the UON’s Belfield Eversleigh Climate Records Project, which was formed to scientifically digitise and analyse the data emerging from Eversleigh Station Armidale data sets that came to light in 2009. See: https://uoncc.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/lindenashcroft/

At present, the records are in their “digitised” state, but not “scientifically digitised”. Scientific digitisation means that we need to have the raw data transferred from the original manuscripts into an excel format that is useful for scientists to work on. So, very soon, Associate Professor Howard Bridgman and Dr Linden Ashcroft will be on the lookout for special type of data entry volunteers to assist with this project, similar to their call in 2016 Algernon Wants You!

‘Algernon Wants You’ Poster Adapted from ‘Britons Wants You’ 1914. Used in 2016 to enlist volunteers to scientifically digitise the Eversleigh data sets from Armidale.

Thanks to volunteer Dr Ken Thornton, all the Hunter Valley Data Sets have now been completely digitised at 600dpi to PDF format. We also thank Brigid McCarthy, former librarian, Hunter Valley Research Foundation, who alerted us to them, during the transfer of the Foundation’s records to University of Newcastle’s Archives in 2016.

Apologies for the use of the roman numeral “(viiii)” instead of the customary”(ix)”, but we needed the files to be in sequential order in our folders. The “1893” observations contain a few extra scans of the pages for March and May to make up for the poor and fragmentary nature of the originals.  Please also note that with some of the loose leaf observations Marion Wyndham continued her remarks relating to various days onto separate leaves. These were all bundled together.

 

First page of weather data from April 1843. (Click for a larger view)

 

‘Journal of the Weather’ 1846-1847, 1848.

 

‘Journal of the Weather’ 1846-1847, 1848. Showing first page of records for February 1846.

 

Meteorological Journal, January 1867 to May 1869.


HUNTER VALLEY WEATHER DATA RECORDS

Provenance: (Thanks Don Seton Wilkinson) Being weather observations recorded by Alfred Glennie at Glenthorne, East Gresford (1843-1848); Alfred Glennie at Lochinvar (1864-1870); Unidentified Observer and Location. Possibly Wollong and possibly written by either Anne Glennie, Emily Wyndham or Charles Wyndham (1874-1878); Marion Wyndham at Wollong (1891-1907).

Conduit: Brigid McCarthy, former librarian, Hunter Valley Research Foundation

Date Donated: 3 May 2016

Gionni Di Gravio
University of Newcastle (Australia)
10 January 2017


2 thoughts on “Hunter Valley Climate Data Sets from 1843 to 1907 Online

  1. What a fascinating project. Good luck with finding all your volunteers. I wonder how these might improve our understanding of changing weather patterns, particularly in the Hunter Region.

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