The Road to Gumeracha

Anyone who is familiar with the Adelaide Hills knows what a beautiful drive up from the city and suburbs it is. For those who aren’t think rolling green hills everywhere, except in Summer when they’re brown, with plenty of big beautiful gum trees around. There are crops and vineyards, sheep, and cattle. It’s the country, and it’s what I grew up with! I found an article in South Australia’s Register newspaper, from 20 January 1920, where the writer takes a trip from Athelstone through the hills to Gumeracha, and describes the journey. So I wanted to share a portion of that with you. To read the full article, click here.   An Entrancing Corridor If an unlabelled moving picture of the Gorge road were thrown on the screen people would ask where it was. The route is an eye-opener in rugged beauty. For most of the 17 miles, from the time the gateway is entered at Athelstone, the track runs between massive, rock-ribbed, tree-spread cliffs which climb hundreds of feet, and seem to meet the blue sky. From the moment you get into contact with the great panorama, it is a wonderland of wild, decorative effects, carried out by Nature to big scale. The road has the appearance of a bold, tiny interloper, twisting in and out among the boulders with flimsy, and almost precarious, audacity. Looking up on one side you see the hills, mottled by shadows on a sunny afternoon, lean their grey bulk against a radiant back ground. On the other the jagged, broken rock offers, at times, a rather uncomfortable proximity, supplying a striking colour contrast with their red and dark blue and brown faces. Running along this 24-ft. thoroughfare, amid some of the most impressive open-air...

Australia Day Blog Challenge: Climbing Your Family’s Gum Tree...

I do love a good geneameme, so when Shauna Hicks posted her Australia Day post recently, which ended up being a revisit of an Australia Day Blog Challenge that was created by fellow Aussie geneablogger, Pauleen Cass a number of years ago, which apparently I missed … the challenge was on!! Pauleen says … “The geneameme is to test whether your family is ridgey-didge and to show us how Australia runs in your veins, without any flag-waving and tattoo-wearing. Shout it out, be proud and make everyone wish they lived in this wide brown land of ours.” 1. My first ancestor to arrive in Australia was … Ok, if we count “what’s yours is mine” when you get married – Mr Lonetester’s convict, John Warby, who was given a free ticket to Australia in 1792, is my earliest ancestor. You can read more about him here. However ‘my’ own first ancestor would be Isaac and Simeon Richardson. They are two brothers who were labourers from Kent, and were sentenced to death for their part in local riots, however thanks to the local townsfolk, their life was spared, and instead they were transported to Van Diemen’s Land (for more click here).  But my first non-convict ancestor was my Randell family from Devon to South Australia in 1837 (click for more details). Based on my Randell family, i’m 6th generation Australian. 2. I have Australian Royalty (tell us who, how many and which Fleet they arrived with) … OK, I don’t have any first, second or even third fleet convicts, but I do have Australian Royalty. Isaac RICHARDSON, transported 1831, Lord Lyndoch Simeon RICHARDSON, transported 1831, Lord Lyndoch William COSGROVE (still not 100% proven, but seems highly likely) So that was my direct...

They Closed the Borders ….. AGAIN!!...

“Victoria-NSW border to close for the first time in 100 years as Melbourne coronavirus cases hit record daily high” – this is the headline from the SBS News report, dated 7 July 2020, and it comes as Victoria is just beginning another six weeks of lockdown to try get COVID-19 under control. Anyway that headline intrigued me, as I was curious about the previous border closure … so I headed to Trove to see what I could find. And what an amazing article I found. Talk about history repeating itself … just have a read of this article from South Australian newspaper, The Register, dated 3 February 1919. You can see the original article here. Please note, the red highlight is my emphasis, not that of the original article.  —The Spanish Flu— No one desires to minimise the horrors or the epidemic which has swept over the world, nor the necessity for precautions, but it would seem that if ever fear was worse than the disease, the present is the occasion. The Federal Quarantining Department kept the disease out of the country for months. Australia has had ample warning, and advantage from the experience of other countries. The Commonwealth and State authorities met last November, and planned, a joint course of action. The Sydney doctors diagnosed their cases as the real thing; the Melbourne doctors were still using big words, and unable to make up their minds. Now both States have been declared infected, but New South Wales will not admit Victorian passengers, because Melbourne was responsible for the trouble, and Queensland, not to be out of the fuss, is asking the despised Commonwealth Government to lend it a body of Light Horse to patrol its border against New South Wales....

Crazy Month of May 2020 Meme: My Pandemic Experiences...

It’s been a while since I’ve taken part in a blog challenge, but good friend and blogger Pauleen (aka Cassmob) came up with one that I just had to take part in. It’s the “Crazy Month of May 2020 Meme: My Pandemic Experiences” She writes: “It occurred to me that perhaps we should have a meme which captures our response to the hopefully-once-in-a-lifetime May that we’ve just navigated….it might be a way to preserve the tip of our experiences. Remember that many blogs are being archived in Pandora so perhaps this is a way for our descendants to learn about our experiences during the covid-19 crisis.” So here’s my responses: What are you most grateful for during this covid-19 crisis? I would have to say I’m thankful that I still have a job when so many now don’t, but also that most people in my area are doing the right thing with social distancing, which of course helps stop the spread of coronavirus. What have you missed most during the full or partial lock-down? As an introvert I love being home, but just now and then it’s nice to randomly go out for a meal. So that is something I have missed. Has your hobby sustained you during this time? While not sure if you’d class it as a hobby, keeping an eye on my local wildlife (koalas and kangaroos) and enjoying them coming around, makes me happy, and is a stress reliever. But as for actual hobbies, I haven’t had time for them recently … What changes have you seen in your life over May 2020? Work is BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!!! I work in a family history business, and it has been non-stop crazy busy over the past few months. So...

Record History as it Happens...

With COVID-19 changing the world we live in, we are in a time of ‘history happening now’. I’m sure you’ve seen the suggestions about keeping a diary to record life and times of our ‘present normal’, and that is certainly a great idea. I mean low petrol prices, lack of toilet paper, only going out for necessities, closed restaurants, closed schools, closed gyms, closed entertainment venues, Anzac Day services around the country cancelled, all sporting events cancelled, even the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Then of course all the genealogy and history societies have been temporarily as well, with a number of them no embracing online seminars instead. But also don’t forget about self isolating and social distancing. I’m sure your kids or grandkids would love to read your thoughts on how you survived being cooped up at home for weeks. Maybe you got hooked on jigsaw puzzles, or decided to master making bread, or created your own vegie garden for the first time ever, or the family drove you crazy??! The list could go on. But I also know not everyone is a diary writer … so there are ways other than writing, that you can record and share “history as it happens” as well. So here I’m letting you know about a number of organisations that are wanting to “record history as it happens” but they need your input to do so. They are collecting your photographs, memories, and ephemera (some physical, some digital), all which will help document this incredible once-in-a-lifetime event that we’re currently living in. Canberra: National Library of Australia The National Library of Australia has been busy collecting web-based ephemera relating to COVID-19, by taking snapshots of websites and archiving them. You can view their collection...

Activities for the Genealogist While Self-Isolating...

Are you currently in lockdown, quarantined or self-isolating at home? Looking for some ideas to fill the day? I know that I could simply write “research” here and you’d all be happy (I would be), but for those of you who may need a break from just “research” on occasions, or don’t have the longer spurts of time required for researching, there’s plenty of useful genealogy-related activities that you can still do. Here’s a few ideas… ————————– WATCH – Webinars & Videos Webinars and videos are a fantastic way to learn in your own time, and from the comfort of your own home. There literally thousands available to watch, and that’s without going to YouTube and searching for more, and most of them are free. – Ancestry Academy – Short tutorial videos, covering Ancestry, DNA, methodology and more. – FamilySearch Webinars – Watch webinars on researching in different countries, as well a numerous general topics (organisation, DNA etc.), as well as how to master the FamilySearch website. – Legacy Family Tree Webinars – This one is a pay site, but at less than US$50/year, and access to over 1000 tutorial videos, it is SOOO worth it. But just so you know all newly added videos are free for 7 days, before they then go behind the paywall, and you will then need to pay or subscribe. – MyHeritage Education – There are a heap of webinars available covering how to use the MyHeritage website to advantage, as well as how to build a family tree, general research basics, well as DNA and health tutorials. – The National Archives (UK) – From using Discovery, to workhouse records, emigration, musters and militia, King Henry VIII, and a whole heap more. – National Library of Australia – Watch videos...

The Day the World Changed...

There has been numerous key dates over the years (or decades, and in reality centuries) which have been defining, and have changed the course of history, or life as people know it. … wars, fires, plagues, assassinations, accidents, deaths and so on. Everyone has their own “key dates” for various reasons. But for me, 14 March 2020 is that day. Why this date? Well I was on a cruise ship with a whole bunch of geniemates, on the way to Tasmania as part of the Unlock the Past genealogy cruise. But, again why? Well, it was the day that the captain of the Pacific Aria ship advised passengers, that 3 days into our 8 day cruise, we would not be going to Tasmania as planned, but instead heading straight back to Adelaide (where the ship came from). This was due to all P&O cruise ships “pausing” their operations as a precautionary measure in regards to the Coronavirus. Of course I’d heard of the Coronavirus before then, it had been in the news. But it wasn’t BIG news. But with each passing day, it certainly became so. While it began in China back in December 2019, it had reached Australia. The numbers of those infected kept rising. The deaths started happening. So the cruise ships stopped. The planes cut flights. State borders were closed. Mandatory 14 day quarantine was introduced. Pubs, clubs, gyms, even playgrounds were closed and so on. The world HAD changed … all just within a few days. “Self isolation” and “social distancing” became the new key words. Pretty much every country in the world is faced with this pandemic. But when it gets to your own country, your own area, it really hits home. Prior to leaving...

Disasters: Are You Prepared?...

My Christmas and New Year, like so many other Australians this year was almost a non-event. With half of Australia burning, no-one felt like celebrating. As it is, I’m writing this through tears after seeing so many heartbreaking images of our beautiful country go up in flames. So many people now no longer have a home, a business, or a farm that until just a week or two ago, did. Over 100,000 people have been displaced from Victoria, with many 1000s more from New South Wales. There are many thousands of people from right across the country that have dropped everything to go fight these ‘unstoppable’ fires, not to mention others who have come from overseas. The pets, native animals, wildlife and stock loss is staggering – 500,000,000 (half a billion) – and the numbers keep rising as the fires continue to burn. I have family and friends that were impacted by the recent Cudlee Creek fires in the Adelaide Hills … and while that fire covered a fair portion of the Adelaide Hills, it is small in comparison to those in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. I’ve been to Kangaroo Island and seen it’s incredible beauty, and now over the period of two days, about half the island has been turned to ash. I’m not going to get political here – this is not the place. But rather I want to say – how prepared are you? If you saw the “watch and act” or the “emergency warning” message come in to your inbox, or heard the evacuate siren sound from your local fire station – just how ready are you? What would you do? Having been through this scenario five years ago with the Sampson Flat...

The Poppy Umbrella

If you’re in need of a new umbrella, or even if you aren’t, but like to put your money to a good cause … buy a Poppy umbrella. I first saw these poppy umbrellas at the Families and Friends of the First AIF stand at Congress in Sydney in 2018, and bought one there, and since then I’ve bought a few more and given them as gifts. The poppy of course is a symbol of remembrance of the First World War, that is strongly linked with Armistice Day (11 November), but the poppy’s origin as a popular symbol of remembrance lies in the battlefields of the First World War, where poppies were a common sight, especially on the Western Front. These umbrellas not only look fabulous with a giant red poppy graphic, but as mentioned before, the funds go to a good cause … Here’s a few paragraphs from the FFFAIF website which gives information about the umbrella, and what the funds go to … The Poppy Umbrella, resembling a Flanders poppy when open, is manufactured for Rembrella by Fultons, the largest supplier of quality umbrellas in the UK. They are only available for sale through registered charities of ex-Service and welfare organisations, or military and heritage museums, or educational associations and not-for-profit organisations, and in 2009 Rembrella appointed Families and Friends of the First AIF (FFAIF) as its Australian importer. Sales of the umbrellas enables FFFAIF to contribute funding to Commemorations in Sydney for Fromelles Day and the Battles of 3rd Ypres as well towards the costs of headstones on unmarked graves of returned Diggers. The Poppy umbrellas are available in three different styles: Telescopic (small and compact), Standard (tall with a wooden curved handle) and Golf Umbrella (large)....

Discovering Links: 17 FREE Links for Queensland Genealogy Research...

Here’s another post in my “Discovering Links” series. These consist of a collection of links that I have discovered, or found useful, and simply want to share with others. But rather than just giving you a whole batch of random links each time, I am grouping them by Australian state, country, county, or topic. You can see my previous Discovering Links posts here. So Queensland is the topic for this one. It’s not intended to be an exhaustive collection of links, but simply ones that many will find useful, and it may include some that you may not have known about. And while many people think that genealogy costs a lot of money, let me tell you that all of the links below are free. Personally I find that it’s often a matter of knowing where to look beyond the big-name websites, and hopefully this will help with that. === QUEENSLAND === Renamed Places in Queensland While I’ve seen ‘renamed towns’ lists for other places, I’ve never seen one as extensive as this Queensland one. Going way beyond just listing towns and suburbs that have been renamed, this one even includes street, cemeteries and buildings. Grouped into: Shires & Local Government; Electorates; Towns, suburbs & localities; Post offices; Railway Stations; Schools; Streets; Churches; Cemeteries; Buildings: Houses, Hotels, Theatres, Properties & Other Man-Made Things; Geographical Features: Mountains, Rivers etc.; Shire & Local and more! Queensland Family Trees This website contains names of over 42,000 individuals, and over 2000 photos and other media, which are linked to the relevant individuals that have a connection to Queensland. Easy to use it has a simple search box on the home page. Queensland Residents Pre-1859 Griffith University is documenting the lives and experiences of “people, groups and organisations that have not been the subject...