Researchers

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Alison Cromb

Alison, a THS member since 2004, is a scientist by training, and this is evident in her ‘forensic’ skill in searching for those primary sources that would have been used by earlier published historians Alexandra Hasluck and Rica Erickson. Colonial correspondence and old maps and plans lodged in the State archives are a goldmine, and thankfully Alison always goes to considerable trouble to get permission to reproduce these in her two published books ‘The Toodyay Convict Depot’, and, ‘The Road to Toodyay’. Alison has shared her research on Toodyay topics in THS newsletters and lectures to members and the general public. Her Toodyay history articles on Toodyaypedia (Wikipedia) are also fine examples of her research and writing skills.

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Jenny Edgecombe

After nearly two decades as an Ancient History teacher in NSW High Schools, Jenny gained a qualification in Archives and Records Management at University of NSW before moving to Perth in 1989. She became the Toodyay Historical Society’s Archivist in 2003 to fill the vacancy caused by Jack Hammer’s move to the coast. At that time, she was still working in Perth, following a long stint as Records Manager, then University Archivist at UWA. She travelled to Toodyay to open Donegan’s Cottage every Thursday and also attended the Society’s monthly meetings until finally the Edgecombes took up permanent residence at Toodyay in 2010.

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Lee Francis

Lee has been a member of THS since 2003, and has a particular interest in seeking out and photographing old ruins of Toodyay homesteads.

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Beth Frayne

Beth joined the Society in 2005, when it was short of a Secretary. She is an Honorary Life Member, volunteers as one of the Events Co-ordinators, and is a Research Team member assisting the honorary Archivist with answering the myriad enquiries that are handled annually by the Research Team. Beth has now branched out into the unfathomable depths of website management. A retired librarian from Perth, she has lived in Toodyay for 20 years.

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Adam O’Neill

After joining THS in February 2021, Adam became an active researcher into Toodyay’s Catholic history which he has been sharing with us. He was asked to provide some details about himself and why he became fascinated with Toodyay’s past.

‘From a young age, I have shown interest in Western Australia history and have pursued it through my own genealogical research. This is how my interest in the history of Toodyay emerged, as I researched the lives of my ancestors who settled in the area in the mid 1800s. Among them were Jeremiah Woolhouse and his family, an Enrolled Pensioner Guard stationed at Newcastle (Toodyay) in the late 1850s and early 1860s. After he died in 1861, his wife married one of the local shoemakers, John Wilson. Their cottage and shop were located on Suburban Lot S5 where the old Oddfellows Hall and Christmas Shop now stand. During high school, I volunteered in my College Archives where I learnt a number of invaluable skills in record preservation, and my passion for records management was encouraged. I am currently studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in History at the University of Western Australia and am hoping to pursue research and archiving/records management in the future. I am also volunteering at the State Records Office, Perth.’

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Peter Robinson

Past President Peter has been an Executive member or Committee member in all years but one of his membership of the Society. He joined in 1999 for a year, then rejoined in 2008. He is a member of the Research Team, and concentrates his research on Toodyay families in the 19th century. He can always be relied upon to bring his ute and experience to help at the Society busy bees.

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Robyn Taylor

Dr Robyn Taylor is an Honorary Life Member and Past President of the Toodyay Historical Society. She works as a registered Professional Historian in the fields of WA history, cultural heritage and art history. She co-authored Toodyay Homesteads (2006) with Dr Rica Erickson, and the history of Toodyay’s Butterly Cottages Association (2018). She has produced histories for conservation plans and heritage assessments on a number of Toodyay’s heritage buildings. Robyn has undertaken major projects as an art curator and is currently writing the biography of WA sculptor Edward F. Kohler (1890-1964), a former ANZAC who trained and practiced in Europe before returning to WA in 1932.

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