Sunday, 19 October 2008

John CONDRON strikes it rich

This item from The Evening Post (Wellington, New Zealand), Monday December 31, 1906

Striking It Rich
The Poseidon Rush

Outlying the main Poseidon rush, and almost on the eastern outskirts of the pegged-in ground is situated the claim in which the 960oz nugget was recently unearthed within 2ft of the surface. The story of the acquirement of the lease by the four partners is one of romance (writes a special representative of the Argus). Scarcely five weeks ago two Newbridge miners, John Condron and Samuel Woodall, walked to Poseidon. They pegged out adjacent claims on the easterly limits of the rush, and then decided to amalgamate their interests. George Brooks, who had previously worked as a mate with Condron, joined the party, but still no success was met with. About three weeks ago Robert Woods, a Woodstock resident, who follows mining at Bendigo, purchased a one-sixth share in the claim from Condron and Brooks for £5, but after three days' work he said he would rather go back to a regular job, and he sold his share to a new-comer, Frederick Eva, for £2 10s. That share is now worth £500. Condron and party continued work, and they sent about 17 loads to the puddling machine, for the return of 28dwt of gold. Then the lucky day arrived. At half-past 3 on Tuesday afternoon, when all attention was centred in the discovery of a 373oz nugget by Williamson and Stevenson, in an adjoining claim, Woodall started to pick from the surface. At a depth of 15in his pick struck a hard substance, and he beckoned to Condron. "There's something here, Jack," he exclaimed. "Stand behind me." Condron did so, and when Woodall placed the point of his pick underneath the surface the nugget rolled out on to the bottom at their feet. Condron, as he lifted the gold, exclaimed, "Oh, here's a beauty!" but Woodall simply stared at the treasure speechless. Then the crowd gathered. The nugget was embedded in dark dry clay, and as it fell from its bed it weighed 97lb avirdupois. It measured 15in in length, about 7in across, and had a thickness of from 4in to 5in. According to its size, it should have weighed more than it did, and it was evident that it contained a fair proportion of quartz.

The Poseidon gold rush took place in central Victoria, Australia, between 1906 and about 1912. The above article was found on the New Zealand website, PapersPast ( I have no knowledge at present of what happened to John Condron and his new-found wealth: if you do, please let me know!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

CONDRON ancestor pictures?

Does anyone have pictures of their CONDR*N ancestors from the 19th or early 20th century? If so, I would be delighted to feature them in this blog with some biographical detail of the ancestor. Please email me at and share with the rest of us the pictures of your CONDR*N ancestors.

CONDRON brush-makers of North London

Today I feature a CONDRON family in 19th century North London. These CONDRONs were brush-makers for at least two generations. One of them (probably Richard CONDRON, see below) was interviewed on 12 September 1893 about conditions in the brush-making trade: the interview (of which I have a copy) can be found in the collection of social reformer Charles Booth (pictured left) in the library of the London School of Economics. The patriarch of this family was Thomas CONDRON, brush-maker, who was born in Blackfriars, Surrey (UK) in c.1809 and died in the St Pancras district of North London in 1858. He married Charlotte BARRETT and they had three children of whom I am aware: Thomas William (b. c.1834), Richard (b. c.1835) and Charlotte (b. 1843). Charlotte married a Charles DUTTON in Islington in 1861. The brothers were both brush-makers. Thomas married Mary Ann BRAY in Islington in 1861, and died in Islington in 1908: the family are to be found in Wedmore Street in the 1891 census and not far away in Hargrave Park ten years later. Richard and his wife Sarah are found in Offord Road in 1891 and in Thornhill Crescent in the 1901 census. Both are close to the Caledonian Road in North London, which is apparently where the Mr Condron interviewed by Charles Booth had his premises. Mr Condron made "fancy work": hair brushes, clothes brushes and hat brushes. It is evident that by the 1890s times were not so easy for the English brush-making trade: the good times were the 1870s in the aftermath of the Franco-German war when those two nations were struggling to recover from the dislocation of their trade.
I have more extensive information about this family into the twentieth century if any members of the family wish to contact me off-line.