Monthly Archives: August 2018

Witchcraft in South Australia: Part I The Hammer of the Witches.

The Hammer of the Witches.

Over the coming weeks I will be looking into crimes in South Australia relating to Witchcraft, but before we get to those cases, I thought it best to establish some background on the persecution of Witches around the world, which was predominately focussed on women in most countries.
Witchcraft – the word conjures up images of, cauldrons, green skinned women riding on brooms, and women being burnt at the stake. Many people also associate witchcraft with the Salem, Massachusetts witch trials in 1692/93, but don’t know that the trials were much further widespread at the time, with many scholars agreeing that in the one hundred years between 1600 to 1700, somewhere between 100,00 and 200,00 people were tried for witchcraft across Europe, and between 40, 000 to 60, 000 people were executed for the crime. (Wiesner-Hanks, 2006)
Back in those days there were two basic claims associated with being a witch, performing harmful or evil magic, known as its Latin name; Maleficia and directly making a pact with the devil known as Maleficium. Male practitioners of witchcraft were known as ‘malefici’ and female practitioners witchcraft were known as ‘maleficae’. [in Latin the terms are maleficia = evil deeds; maleficium = evil deed].

 In South America, many women fled into the mountains to avoid slavery from the Spanish who were entering South America under the guise of “spreading the word of God”. These women were sometimes captured, and because they would not yield to their Spanish captors and take the word of the Lord (A God and religious system they had never heard about) they would be tried as witches, and often they were executed.
We don’t hear much about people being persecuted for witchcraft nowadays in the Western World, as most countries have repealed their witchcraft laws, but as late as 1944, 3 women were sentenced in the UK for breaking the law, with one, Mrs Helen Duncan considered the last of the Witch Trials. 
 Duncan had come under scrutiny after making claims about a sailor on a sunken British ship. The sinking of the ship had never been made public, so she drew the attention of military officials, who after testing her abilities, concluded she was a fake. She was charged with two counts of conspiring to contravene the Witchcraft Act, two counts of obtaining money by false pretenses, and three counts of public mischief – she was sentenced to nine months imprisonment. (News, 1944).
Modern Witchcraft, sometimes called Wicca or “The Craft” is very different to the witchcraft of old. Modern witchcraft concerns mainly the worship of the Goddess, and many following this interpretation of witchcraft see themselves as healers or helpers, and often takes from various pagan beliefs that have before them such as shamanism and druidism.
In the next blog we will look at the various Witchcraft Acts around the world, some of which still apply to this very day!
Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2018
Bibliography
Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, Early Modern Europe 1450-1789 (Cambridge and New York, 2006), pp. 386-93.

WITCHCRAFT. (1853, December 10). Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 – 1904), p. 1 (Supplement to The Adelaide Observer.). Retrieved April 9, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158095751

1944 ‘Medium in “Ghost” Trial Gets 9 Months’ Gaol’, News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954), 4 April, p. 5. , viewed 09 Apr 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article128401480

Witchcraft in South Australia: Part I The Hammer of the Witches.

The Hammer of the Witches.

Over the coming weeks I will be looking into crimes in South Australia relating to Witchcraft, but before we get to those cases, I thought it best to establish some background on the persecution of Witches around the world, which was predominately focussed on women in most countries.
Witchcraft – the word conjures up images of, cauldrons, green skinned women riding on brooms, and women being burnt at the stake. Many people also associate witchcraft with the Salem, Massachusetts witch trials in 1692/93, but don’t know that the trials were much further widespread at the time, with many scholars agreeing that in the one hundred years between 1600 to 1700, somewhere between 100,00 and 200,00 people were tried for witchcraft across Europe, and between 40, 000 to 60, 000 people were executed for the crime. (Wiesner-Hanks, 2006)
Back in those days there were two basic claims associated with being a witch, performing harmful or evil magic, known as its Latin name; Maleficia and directly making a pact with the devil known as Maleficium. Male practitioners of witchcraft were known as ‘malefici’ and female practitioners witchcraft were known as ‘maleficae’. [in Latin the terms are maleficia = evil deeds; maleficium = evil deed].

 In South America, many women fled into the mountains to avoid slavery from the Spanish who were entering South America under the guise of “spreading the word of God”. These women were sometimes captured, and because they would not yield to their Spanish captors and take the word of the Lord (A God and religious system they had never heard about) they would be tried as witches, and often they were executed.
We don’t hear much about people being persecuted for witchcraft nowadays in the Western World, as most countries have repealed their witchcraft laws, but as late as 1944, 3 women were sentenced in the UK for breaking the law, with one, Mrs Helen Duncan considered the last of the Witch Trials. 
 Duncan had come under scrutiny after making claims about a sailor on a sunken British ship. The sinking of the ship had never been made public, so she drew the attention of military officials, who after testing her abilities, concluded she was a fake. She was charged with two counts of conspiring to contravene the Witchcraft Act, two counts of obtaining money by false pretenses, and three counts of public mischief – she was sentenced to nine months imprisonment. (News, 1944).
Modern Witchcraft, sometimes called Wicca or “The Craft” is very different to the witchcraft of old. Modern witchcraft concerns mainly the worship of the Goddess, and many following this interpretation of witchcraft see themselves as healers or helpers, and often takes from various pagan beliefs that have before them such as shamanism and druidism.
In the next blog we will look at the various Witchcraft Acts around the world, some of which still apply to this very day!
Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2018
Bibliography
Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, Early Modern Europe 1450-1789 (Cambridge and New York, 2006), pp. 386-93.

WITCHCRAFT. (1853, December 10). Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 – 1904), p. 1 (Supplement to The Adelaide Observer.). Retrieved April 9, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158095751

1944 ‘Medium in “Ghost” Trial Gets 9 Months’ Gaol’, News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954), 4 April, p. 5. , viewed 09 Apr 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article128401480

"Gawler" by La Journie, 1930

 

“Gawler” by La Journie, 1930
SLSA: B 11491 Gawler Railway Station opened in 1857 and the original platform building was replaced in 1879


Every so often whilst carrying out my research I come across delightful titbits about towns or people, generally in the “Letters to the Editor: section of old newspapers. The following poem I found amusing, as I had been researching the building of the Gawler Town Clock, and the animosity from townsfolk regarding its inability to keep time.
 Also, as a born and bred Gawlerite, I can remember older folk than me calling Gawler Antiquated”, so the following poem, with its stinging satire and cynicism amused even more so!
Enjoy!
GAWLER.
A Doggerel.
Sleepy country town
Eyeing, with a frown,
Anything approaching real progression.
Up and down the place,
Filling all the space,
Are oddities that show its retrogression.

Every passing hour,
From the town clock tow’r,
The chimes ring out their merry melody :
Yet often in the night
From the tower’s height,
Come fifteen chimes instead of only three.

Unhappily for you
Should your watches be untrue.
Any evening at all in this quaint town.
You’ll find the clock alright,
But they haven’t got a light,
And the dial is as dark as Pluto’s crown .

To the station if you’d travel,
There’s a mystery to unravel :
How to get there is the thing you want to know.
Prop a post up with your shoulder
Till you see a waggon older
Than the buckboards of a century ago.

Start to shout, and do a dance,
Anything that will enhance
A wild Red Indian attitude, or fierce Berseker air-.
Then the wagon gives a bound.
Sways, and turns two-thirds around —
And the tramcar has another fourpenny fare.

Finally the most amusing.
Is the crowd that stand enthusing
In the middle of the street on Friday night. .
So antiquated Gawler,
Lest you grow any smaller,
Just eradicate self-satisfaction’s blight.
                                                        ‘La Journie.’
1930 ‘GAWLER.’, Bunyip (Gawler, SA : 1863 – 1954), 31 January, p. 10. , viewed 04 Jul 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article96670042

"Gawler" by La Journie, 1930

 

“Gawler” by La Journie, 1930
SLSA: B 11491 Gawler Railway Station opened in 1857 and the original platform building was replaced in 1879


Every so often whilst carrying out my research I come across delightful titbits about towns or people, generally in the “Letters to the Editor: section of old newspapers. The following poem I found amusing, as I had been researching the building of the Gawler Town Clock, and the animosity from townsfolk regarding its inability to keep time.
 Also, as a born and bred Gawlerite, I can remember older folk than me calling Gawler Antiquated”, so the following poem, with its stinging satire and cynicism amused even more so!
Enjoy!
GAWLER.
A Doggerel.
Sleepy country town
Eyeing, with a frown,
Anything approaching real progression.
Up and down the place,
Filling all the space,
Are oddities that show its retrogression.

Every passing hour,
From the town clock tow’r,
The chimes ring out their merry melody :
Yet often in the night
From the tower’s height,
Come fifteen chimes instead of only three.

Unhappily for you
Should your watches be untrue.
Any evening at all in this quaint town.
You’ll find the clock alright,
But they haven’t got a light,
And the dial is as dark as Pluto’s crown .

To the station if you’d travel,
There’s a mystery to unravel :
How to get there is the thing you want to know.
Prop a post up with your shoulder
Till you see a waggon older
Than the buckboards of a century ago.

Start to shout, and do a dance,
Anything that will enhance
A wild Red Indian attitude, or fierce Berseker air-.
Then the wagon gives a bound.
Sways, and turns two-thirds around —
And the tramcar has another fourpenny fare.

Finally the most amusing.
Is the crowd that stand enthusing
In the middle of the street on Friday night. .
So antiquated Gawler,
Lest you grow any smaller,
Just eradicate self-satisfaction’s blight.
                                                        ‘La Journie.’
1930 ‘GAWLER.’, Bunyip (Gawler, SA : 1863 – 1954), 31 January, p. 10. , viewed 04 Jul 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article96670042

Gawler’s Hidden Secrets: The Gawler Clock Tower

Gawler’s Hidden Secrets:  The Gawler Clock Tower






In 1878, the end of the world rung out from the Gawler Post Office Clock Tower, or so local Gawlerites thought, when the clocks bell rang 100 times in a row, plenty said their prayers that night, only to wake the next day to another winters day.

 The Gawler Town Clock committee was first formed in 1867, with the intent to buy and install a town clock in the tower of the main street post office. Wednt’s Jewellers of Rundle Street, Adelaide supplied the clock, four dials made of milk glass, spanning three feet and six inches in diameter.
  On the 6th of September 1867, the Mayor of Gawler as well as Mr Wendt and a few councillors went into the clock tower, and a few minutes before 4pm, set the pendulum in motion. At 4pm that day, the clock struck the hour on time…which over the coming years, the clocks lack of time keeping would be a major issue and the butt of many jokes by townsfolk.

 The clock was originally powered by two weights suspended on cables, which are wound on drums, attached to the clock mechanism. These cables had to be manually wound once a week.
The clock mechanism was converted to electric winding and was maintained with biennial visits by a company called Adelaide Clock and Parts Supplies.
Throughout the years, it was often noted that the Gawler town clock was hardly able to keep time. One young police officer noted it could be up to four minutes slower than the clock at the Gawler Railway Station!

In 1998, Gawler watchmaker Mr Kaesler took over the winding duties of the clock, and also regular maintenance.

At Mr. Kaesler’s suggestion a clock tower committee was formed, to restore and maintain the clock.
“The Friends of the Clock Tower” began in March 2002 and continues to this day.
 The Friends of the Clock Tower were also responsible for returning the clock to its former hand wound glory, removing the electric winder, restoring broken parts, and replacing broken glass.
An interesting piece of Gawler Trivia is a mistake on the clock, which lies on the eastern side, which if you go up into the Target carpark and look across you can see for yourself. on the eastern face, which shows, written in Roman Numerals a four is where the six should be!
P.S. there are actually 2 mistakes on the clock, the second mistake being that The Roman Numeral for “Four” is “IV” not IIII as marked on the clock faces.

You can also find more of Allen’s work on his Blog and facebook on the links below:
For More history on the Town of Gawler, please visit the Gawler History Team page “Gawler: now and Then” at: http://www.gawler.nowandthen.net.au/Main_Page

Gawler’s Hidden Secrets: The Gawler Clock Tower

Gawler’s Hidden Secrets:  The Gawler Clock Tower






In 1878, the end of the world rung out from the Gawler Post Office Clock Tower, or so local Gawlerites thought, when the clocks bell rang 100 times in a row, plenty said their prayers that night, only to wake the next day to another winters day.

 The Gawler Town Clock committee was first formed in 1867, with the intent to buy and install a town clock in the tower of the main street post office. Wednt’s Jewellers of Rundle Street, Adelaide supplied the clock, four dials made of milk glass, spanning three feet and six inches in diameter.
  On the 6th of September 1867, the Mayor of Gawler as well as Mr Wendt and a few councillors went into the clock tower, and a few minutes before 4pm, set the pendulum in motion. At 4pm that day, the clock struck the hour on time…which over the coming years, the clocks lack of time keeping would be a major issue and the butt of many jokes by townsfolk.

 The clock was originally powered by two weights suspended on cables, which are wound on drums, attached to the clock mechanism. These cables had to be manually wound once a week.
The clock mechanism was converted to electric winding and was maintained with biennial visits by a company called Adelaide Clock and Parts Supplies.
Throughout the years, it was often noted that the Gawler town clock was hardly able to keep time. One young police officer noted it could be up to four minutes slower than the clock at the Gawler Railway Station!

In 1998, Gawler watchmaker Mr Kaesler took over the winding duties of the clock, and also regular maintenance.

At Mr. Kaesler’s suggestion a clock tower committee was formed, to restore and maintain the clock.
“The Friends of the Clock Tower” began in March 2002 and continues to this day.
 The Friends of the Clock Tower were also responsible for returning the clock to its former hand wound glory, removing the electric winder, restoring broken parts, and replacing broken glass.
An interesting piece of Gawler Trivia is a mistake on the clock, which lies on the eastern side, which if you go up into the Target carpark and look across you can see for yourself. on the eastern face, which shows, written in Roman Numerals a four is where the six should be!
P.S. there are actually 2 mistakes on the clock, the second mistake being that The Roman Numeral for “Four” is “IV” not IIII as marked on the clock faces.

You can also find more of Allen’s work on his Blog and facebook on the links below:
For More history on the Town of Gawler, please visit the Gawler History Team page “Gawler: now and Then” at: http://www.gawler.nowandthen.net.au/Main_Page