Australia Day – We Are Australian...

For Australia Day this year I wanted to share with you a song that I love, and embraces everything about Australia … “I am Australian”. From the Aboriginals who of course were the first settlers, to the convicts and the free. The goldiggers and bushrangers, to the Anzacs and recent migrants … all of them, is what makes Australia the amazing, multi-cultural country it is today, and they all get a mention in this song. Personally I am a 6th generation Australian, whose roots lie in many countries around the world. I am Australian! I am Australian I came from the dream-time, from the dusty red soil plains I am the ancient heart, the keeper of the flame. I stood upon the rocky shore, I watched the tall ships come. For forty thousand years I’ve been the first Australian. I came upon the prison ship, bowed down by iron chains. I fought the land, endured the lash and waited for the rains. I’m a settler, I’m a farmer’s wife on a dry and barren run A convict then a free man, I became Australian. I’m the daughter of a digger who sought the mother lode The girl became a woman on the long and dusty road I’m a child of the depression, I saw the good times come I’m a bushy, I’m a battler, I am Australian We are one, but we are many And from all the lands on earth we come We share a dream and sing with one voice: I am, you are, we are Australian I’m a teller of stories, I’m a singer of songs I am Albert Namatjira, and I paint the ghostly gums I am Clancy on his horse, I’m Ned Kelly on...

21 Facts About the First Fleet...

Did you know that approximately 20% of Australians descend from convicts … yes, true! Having a convict in the family has become a badge of honour for many, and having a First Fleeter even more so. And while the term ‘convict’ tends to mean ‘criminal’, so many of the 162,000 who were transported to Australia weren’t actually ‘bad’. In fact, many were just trying to survive. So just how much do you know of your Australian convict history? In particular the First Fleet? Here’s some intriguing facts that you probably didn’t know. Why send convicts to Australia? Britain had shipped about 52,000 convicts to America between 1717 and 1775 before they started sending them to Australia. And it was because of the American Revolution in 1776 that Britain started sending their criminals to Australia. When and where did it leave from and arrive? The fleet left Portsmouth, in Devon, England on 13 May 1787, and arrived at Botany Bay, New South Wales, Australia between 18-20 January 1788 How many ships in the first fleet? The whole fleet consisted of 11 ships. 6 convict ships, 2 naval ships and 3 ships with supplies What are the names of the ships in the first fleet? H.M.S. Sirius, Charlotte, Alexander, Scarborough, Lady Penrhyn, Friendship, H.M.S. Supply, Prince of Wales, Golden Grove, Fishburn and Borrowdale Who was the captain of the first fleet? Captain Arthur Phillip What about Port Jackson? The fleet arrived at Botany Bay but as that place was deemed unsuitable as a settlement due to the lack of fresh water, the fleet sailed on to Port Jackson (Sydney Cove), New South Wales arriving on 26 January 1788 What’s so special about the date 26 January? 26 January marks the anniversary of the 1788...

My First Hannaford Family in Australia...

For Australia Day this year I decided to write about the Hannafords, who are one of my immigrating families. Or more specifically I should say, about  Susannah Hannaford (nee Elliott), who is truly the matriarch of the family, and her children. I admit I am in awe of Susannah,  in some ways anyway. She was a widow by age 48, not an easy thing for anyone, but then to pack up all of your belongings and move to the other side of the world, to a colony that had only been founded a few years before, with her six children, leaving her family, friends and whole life behind, to start again from scratch. I can’t even begin to think of what that would be like or how she managed it.  But she survived. So did her children, and now her descendants number the thousands. But let’s go back a little bit first. Back in Devon … Susannah Elliott was born in 1790 in the market town of Totnes, in Devon, England. Meanwhile the Hannaford family (the ones I’m writing about anyway), grew up just four miles away in the little town of Rattery. I mention that as the Hannaford name in Devon is much like Smith or Brown everywhere else. Hannafords are everywhere! When Susannah was 30 years old, she married William Hannaford (one from the neighbouring parish in Rattery), and who was actually a few years younger than her. Sadly William died at age 42, leaving Susannah with six children ranging in age from 17  down to 6. Devon at that time (actually probably England at that time) had limited employment opportunities, and with high taxes (land tax and window tax for instance), it would seem that emigrating...

Australia Day in the Gumeracha District in the Early 1900s...

Australia Day as we know it, is a day to have off work, and spend time with family and friends, often having a picnic or barbecue – just having a lazy day. But it wasn’t always like this. In fact it wasn’t even a public holiday in all states until 1994. To quote from the Australia Day website … The tradition of having Australia Day as a national holiday on 26 January is a recent one. Not until 1935 did all the Australian states and territories use that name to mark that date. Not until 1994 did they begin to celebrate Australia Day consistently as a public holiday on that date. So we find that in 1915 Australia Day was in fact held July 30th. Why that particular day I don’t know, but it was, and it was used not only to have a celebration,  but also commemorate those who went to war, and used as a means for fundraising for the war. The article from South Australia’s ‘Register’ newspaper, dated 2 August 1915 describes what the Gumeracha district (which covers the town of Gumeracaha, as well as the neighbouring towns of Forreston, Kenton Valley and Cudlee Creek) did on this day. Again, we have to thank Trove newspapers for being there when we need it, and for providing information that we otherwise wouldn’t have found. The photographs below are from a collection held by local historian, Alan Phillips. Grouped together in a box titled “Cudlee Creek”, it is believed that the following photographs are taken on Australia Day 1915 (or around then). Sadly not all are captioned, but those that are, have the captions noted...

Australia Day, 26 January … or is it May or July?...

We all know that Australia Day is celebrated on 26 January? Right? Sure! But did you know that Australia Day wasn’t always celebrated on this day? Really? Yes, really … But before going into that, for the sake of the non-Aussies who are reading this, let me just mention that Australia Day is Australia’s official national day which these days is commemorated with a public holiday. Held annually on January 26, this marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales in 1788, and the raising of the British flag at that site by Governor Arthur Phillip. But yes, over time the date for our Australian national day has changed. And it has also has also been variously named “Empire Day”, “Anniversary Day”, “Foundation Day”, and “ANA Day” (Australian Natives Association) as well. 24 May Back in the early 1900s Australia Day was actually celebrated on 24 May, which was also known as Empire Day, and was Queen Victoria’s birthday. Celebrating Australia Day on this day was a contentious issue back then, as many felt that it was wrong to make Australia’s national day an English Queen’s birthday, and one who was already dead, having passed away in 1901. The old newspapers on Trove has many Letters to the Editor written about this issue. Here’s a portion from one written in 1909 … “We celebrate Empire Day, salute flags and other things on 24th May, Queen Victoria’s birthday, but Queen Victoria is dead. Australia is alive, or should be, and will probably stay alive for a few decades, unless an earthquake or the Japs, or some other calamity strikes us-and strikes us very hard.” You can read full article...

What Happened When in Australian History?...

Yesterday was Australia Day, and I would have loved to participate in Pauleen’s Australia Day Challenge 2014, but unfortunately with my current work commitments (ie. a cruise in a week’s time), time didn’t permit me at present. So instead I’ve decided to do my own Australia Day blog post, and for this I want to share with you two of my favourite “Australian history” books. WHAT HAPPENED WHEN: A CHRONOLOGY OF AUSTRALIA FROM 1788 First up we have “What Happened When: A Chronology of Australia From 1788” which was compiled by Anthony Barker. This is a fat book, being over 500 pages, and is exactly as it says … “a chronology of Australian history”. Arranged year by year, and then by date within the year, you’ll find everything from ships arriving or sinking, many fires together with other natural disasters, convicts, bushrangers, arrests, buildings opened, newspaper started, politicians begnning or finishing their term in office, when books and movies were released and 1000s of other anecdotal facts that make this country’s history. To quote from the blurb … “When was the Melbourne Cup first run? When did women get the vote? When did Vegemite and Violet Crumble bars first appear? When did Nellie Melba give her last Australian concert? When did any noteworthy event happen in Australia? What Happened When has all the answers. If you want to know what was going on in the year you or your parents were born, you can browse. In 1932, for example, you will find that the Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened, Phar Lap died, the ABC was established, Ion Idriess wrote Flynn of the Inland, Walter Lindrum made a world-record billiards break of 4,137, the basic wage was 3 pounds 3s 11d, and over 30 per cent...

Australia Day Blog Challenge: My Earliest Australian Ancestor...

Australia Day is here, and I’ve just finished working on my post for the 2013 Australia Day Blog Challenge which is to write about my ‘earliest Australian ancestor’ as suggested by Helen V. Smith. So I’ve spent two weeks pondering just WHO to write about. And you know when you get married the whole “what’s-yours-is-mine- thing”, well that means I’ve adopted all of my hubby’s reli’s too, so I’ve decided to write about Mr Lonetester’s earliest Australian ancestor, his 5x great grandpa (which makes Mr Lonestester a 7th generation Aussie). Anyway meet … JOHN WARBY (c1770-1851) Convict, Landowner, Farmer, Superintendent, Guide to Governor Macquarie John Warby was born around 1770 (there seems to be birth dates varying from about 1767 to 1774) in Hertfordshire, England to John and Ann Warby. John (jnr) was convicted of stealing two donkeys and was sentenced to transportation to Australia for seven years. He arrived in Sydney on board the “Pitt” (see link below for a picture of this ship) in February 1792, which was part of the what is sometimes referred to as the Fourth Fleet. At the end of 1792 (during his sentence), John had been granted 50 acres of land at Prospect, about 5 miles from Parramatta (in New South Wales). In September 1796 John married Sarah Bentley. She was a sixteen year old convict who was transported for theft.  She arrived in Sydney in April 1796. John and Sarah are reported to have had 23 children, with many dying young, but records do not seem to exist to validate this claim, and I can only (so far) find details of 14 of them. After his sentence ended, John worked as a farmer, and later acted as a guide to Governor Macquarie when...