Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Wishful Wednesday - Out with the Old and in with the New

2014 is almost done! New Year celebrations are looming, time for reflection on the year that has past and the excitement of the year to come. 

Today is a day is a first for me. Writing a blog on my IPad, so it will be short and sweet, as I learn the nuances of my blogger app. 

I would like to thank all those who have taken the time to read and comment on my jottings over the past twelve months.  2014 has not been one of my most productive years for blogging, however I have connected with a number of new family members who have helped me link with many new family stories, photographs and memories. I hope that 2015 will prove to be a year when I can spend more time relating these stories.

Happy New Year to All, may 2015 bring good health, happiness and lots more stories!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Sharing Memories - Boxing Day Reflection

Christmas Morning 

As we munch on left over Christmas ham sandwiches I reflect on  Christmas 2014.  My husband and I are visiting his brother and wife in Northern Queensland and enjoying their hospitality in their pole house which is build on a 5 acre block in the rain-forest in the hinterland above Port Douglas. As I sit out on their deck, the wallabies quietly sneaking out from the rain forest to feed on the lawn and there is a brilliant flash of blue as a couple of beautiful Emperor butterflies flutter by, I reflect on past Christmas's.

Over the past 30 odd years we have travelled up to the Cairns district with our two sons to visit their Nanna for Christmas and this is our first trip back since Nanna passed away almost two years ago.

We spent these holidays visiting the reef, eating mango's, lychees and other tropical delights, fishing, swimming in mountain streams, checking out the crocodiles in the local wildlife park, chasing cane toads at night and visiting the local waterfalls and volcanic lakes.  It is a little different this year as our son's were spending Christmas with their respective partner's families.

This year,our Christmas holiday was full of fun and laughter and had a strong international flavour. Our nephew brought with him a group of backpacker friends who didn't have family to spend Christmas with.  Two boys from Ireland, two from Wales, one from New Zealand and a girl from France and their laughter and broad accents filled the house over the festive season. 

Mount Molloy Pub - Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve dinner was enjoyed at the local pub at Mount Molloy, then back home where final parcels were wrapped and put under the tree, some watched Christmas Carols on TV, others played cards, sitting out on the veranda in the cool, and sipping the odd cold can of beer.

In the kitchen, finishing touches were made to the trifle, prawns were marinated, Christmas cake cut and rum balls were rolled in coconut and stowed into the fridge for Christmas day (minus a few that had to be sampled to check the flavour). 

In the typical North Queensland style, a large table for the 16 guests was set up outdoors in the shade of the carport, table decorated in red and green. Christmas dinner consisted of cold ham, chicken and turkey accompanied by a huge bowl of freshly cooked king prawns, potato and green salads, washed down by drink of choice (beer, wine or the odd glass of bubbly). 

Santa putting final touches to the Trifle
Plates piled high, crackers were pulled, jokes read, we all tucked in. It was such a delight to hear the Irish and Welsh banter, with comments "check out the size of the prawns!" , "ahh! the potatoes!!! I love potatoes" and so on.  Crackers were popped, bad jokes read, and paper hats donned, wine and beer opened, and everyone tucked in.

When it came time for dessert, every one's dessert pocket was full, so the trifle, pavlova and Christmas pudding was put on hold for the evening meal.  It was time for a short dip in the pool before the traditional game of Christmas Day Cricket was set up on the back lawn. 

Teams picked, the international rivalry came to the fore, with the odd drinks break, in the shade of the trees. to discuss the different interpretations of the rules.  As the afternoon passed the enthusiasm for cricket gave way to some "pale ale" by the pool side and a little rest, before it was time to dig into another round of eating in the evening. 

After that dinner and some of the delicious trifle, we all sat around enjoying the balmy evening, watching the little gecko lizards running up the walls, and large moths that were attracted to the outside lights.  Our international visitors shared some of their family Christmas stories from the other side of the world, stories of snow, sitting by the fire, hot roast dinners and their Mums cooking for a couple of days preparing their Christmas fare.  It was pleasant to have been able to share what was quite a different Christmas celebration for them.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Military Monday - Treasures from Aunty Glad's Suitcase - Gibraltar to arrival at Lark Hill Salisbury Plains

The 30th and 34th Battalion's stay at Gibraltar was short lived, and their ship soon made its way to England.  The rest of their trip was quite uneventful until finally after nearly eight weeks at sea the troops arrived in Plymouth Harbour.  England at last!

My grandfather Malcolm Michael Shepherd and his fellow troops were quickly loaded onto a trains and taken to their camp at Lark Hill near the village of Salisbury.  Aunty Glad's suitcase holds a number of post cards depicting the countryside near Lark Hill.  I will let Corporal Crossingham, complete the story of their arrival and settling into camp with the last part of his letter.

The final section of Corporal Crossingham's letter continues: 

"We stayed at Gibraltar about two and a half hours, then we weighed anchor and off again around the Bay of Biscay.  For some reason or other we did not go straight through. From now until the 21st of June nothing happened of interest.
Postcard of Gilbraltar from Aunty Glad's Suitcase

June 21
Passed Eddystone Lighthouse and were very interested watching drifters (fishing boats) at work, and scanning the distant shores of England.  At 11.a.m. the sound of the anchor dropping brought all hands on deck at the double to find themselves in Plymouth Harbour.  One can imagine the excitement that reigned when we were ordered to get ready to land at once.  We were anchored out in midstream, and were disembarked on the Sir Walter Raleigh, from which we were transferred to land. It was great to get to shore after being couped up on board for nearly eight weeks.

We were all lined up with our kit bags on our shoulders and marched to the train.  There was nothing to growl at as regards the travelling accommodation.  We were put into third class carriages, which to my mind are equal if not better than Australian second-class and were allowed a fair amount of room, only eight men being put into each compartment.  Leaving the station we passed some very pretty scenery.  The country was looking at its best.  One has only to get into his mind’s eye an old fashioned farmhouse, with a thatched roof and white washed walls, surrounded by trees and shrubs, with nice green fields, dotted with poppies and buttercups, and each little farm was surrounded with dark green hedges. There are no fences, with a well-kept road or drive running up to the door.  This will give some idea of what we saw.
Postcard of Church in Salisbury

At nearly every village we passed the people were gathered in groups, waving and cheering as if they were welcoming us back from some victorious battle, while in reality we were only coming in to be trained.

The friendly manner in which the home people treated us went a long way towards making us forget what we had left behind, and made us feel at home, and I can safely say that all our boys appreciated their kind thoughts and actions.  They think a lot of the Australians. 

Our first stop was Exeter, about 50 miles from Plymouth, where another welcome surprise waited us.  As soon as the train stopped every man jack made a bold bid for the refreshment room, but were stopped by our officers, who told us to get what we wanted from the stalls that were distributed along the platform.  Then there was a rush back to our carriages to get our water bottles, which were then filled with nice hot tea.  Each man was then handed a paper-bag with buns and cakes in it.  Also a card from the Mayoress of Exeter and committee, wishing us all good luck.

That was about the most pleasant surprise up till now that we had have had.  Leaving Exeter we continued our journey arriving at Amesbury at 10 minutes past twilight.  On detraining we were formed up and marched to No. 1 Camp, Lark Hill, Salisbury Plain, arriving there at 12.15 p.m.   After being told off to our respective huts we were issued with bully beef and biscuits.  It was a rough and ready feed, but we all enjoyed it, after which we settled down for a few hours rest.  We were up about 7.a.m. next morning, and out taking bearings of our new surroundings, which we soon picked up.
Postcard - Lark Hill Training Camp
The first place we found was the Y.M.C.A. refreshment hut, and we quite surprised the attendants with the orders that we give for breakfast.  They were quite amused to watch us having an ordinary meal, which they thought was quite enough for four of five Tommies. Coming back from the Y.M.C.A. we turned to and made our sleeping quarters as comfortable as possible.  Next day being Sunday most of the boys went for a tour of inspection round the villages, where we found many item to interest us.  We hope to have another look round later on, but for the present we have to go to hard graft, and get ourselves fit for the job that we came over to do.  We recognise since speaking to thousands that have come back from the frond what a task it is, but complete victory we want and complete victory we are sure to get, cost what it may.”*

Card sent back from Malcolm Shepherd  to his family from Salisbury, the village near Lark Hill where he was stationed.

*1916 'BOYS OF THE 34th.', The Maitland Weekly Mercury(NSW : 1894 - 1931), 30 December, p. 10, viewed 16 November, 2014,http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article128039051


Monday, November 24, 2014

Military Monday - More Treasures from Aunty Glad's Suitcase

Aunty Glad's Suitcase
This blog continues on with the story of Malcolm Micheal Shepherd's journey with the 30th and 34th Battalion on the ship Hororata, from Sydney to England, told through they eyes of Corporal Crossingham and illustrated with pictures and postcards from Aunty Glad's Suitcase.

Corporal Crossingham continues with his dry humour, describing visiting the different ports, the joys of being able to buy fresh fruit, along with tales of some very dubious meals on board the ship. As his story continues, you begin to feel a little of their sense of uneasiness of what lies in the future for them, their relief at not being based in the dessert and the impact of their first sight of Gilbralta.

Continuing Corporal Crossingham's Story:

"May 24 –Arrived at Colombo and here we were allowed to go ashore.  Had a route march, and were taken out to the Garrison Barracks where we could purchase any amount of fruit at reasonable prices.  Pineapples only cost 3d a piece, coconuts 3 for 6d, bananas, 1 /- per bunch of anything from 50 t up to 100.  The Y.M.C.A. had a refreshment stall there where one could get cakes 1d each, soft drinks 2d, tea, coffee or cocoa 1d per pot, cold boiled eggs 1d each, and sandwiches 2d. 

 We were allowed to have one beer there, and to make sure we go no more we were issued with tickets which cost 3d without which we were not supposed to get a drink at all, but the boys soon found out that “where there’s a will there’s a way”, with the result that we all had a merry time.  It was very interesting to watch the coolies at work.  They will do almost anything for money.  They are very good workers, and especially when there is a rope end handy.  It was very laughable to watch them having their meals, which consisted of boiled rice with liquid curry poured over it, served out to them on palm leaves, cut into small squares about 12 inches by 12 inches.  Once a day they get a banana as an extra.
Malcolm Shepherd (LHS) and fellow soldiers

May 26 – Left Colombo, when the coolies became very excited, and shouted “good-bye” till they were quite hoarse.

June 1 – Great excitement caused by the announcement that there was a plum duff for dinner  But the shock when it came, I am quite satisfied all our boys do not suffer with a weak heart.  A man dare not show his head above the edge of the table for fear he would draw the fire on himself and when the pieces began to fly they rattled on the ship’s side like bottles breaking on a brick wall.  Someone suggested praying for it, but he was ruled out of order, as we decided it was past redemption

June 3 – Sunday morning. Attended church parade.  Sighted land at noon.  Passed the Bay of Aden on the Arabian Coast on the starboard side and the African Coast on the port. Great interest was shown by the boys watching thousands of porpoises playing about Aden.

June 4 – Sighted a small town called Monkka, which, I was told, was famous for coffee making.

June 5 – passed the Twelve Apostles which is a group of 12 rocks rising up out of the sea.

June 8 – Caught our first glimpse of the much talked of Egypt at 8 a.m.

June 9 – Anchored in Port Suez. At 2 p.m. weighed anchor and entered Suez Canal.  I am told that all troops that came over before us were allowed ashore to strength their legs, but for some reason or other we were not allowed to do so.  It was very interesting going through the Canal.  It is well guarded day and night.  Here and there in isolated spots one can see a small patch of grass struggling for life, or else a few reeds growing on the edge of the canal.  With that exception all one could see was one long strength of sand, white and glistening with camps of troops dotted here and there over the desert.  No one was more pleased that I when we were told that we had to proceed to Alexandria.  The sight of that vast stretch of sand and the temperature was quite sufficient for me.  All the boys who had the bad luck to be stationed there have the sympathy of every one on board our boat.  The Canal is reckoned to be 34 miles long and takes 16 hours to do a trip through, as boats are not allowed to travel any faster than 5 miles per hour on account of the was doing damage to the banks.  Leaving the Canal we came along to Port Said, arriving there about 7.30 am. Port Said presents a very busy scene by what one can see from the boat.  It is a hurry and scurry, small pleasure boats rowing about everywhere.

June 11 – Leaving Port Said we went on to Alexandria.  As soon as we left Port we were ordered to don life belts and were never without them till we arrived at Plymouth.  They were worn all day, and even slept in them.  It was a very queer sensation to wake up the first morning and find a life belt hanging to one’s neck by a piece of tape.  It made one feel as if one had been having a night out, and did not remember what had taken place before retiring.

June 12 – Arrived in Alexandria, which looks similar to Port Said, the only difference being that the buildings do not seem to be so close together, and it is cleaner in appearances.  We were now formed up and marched off the Hororata and around to the Aragon, which had been waiting for us for some days.  There were already about 700 troops on board from Egypt.  When on board the Hororata we were praying for a change of boats.  But what a change it was when we did get it.  We simply wished we were back on board the old home once more.  For we were out of the frying pan into the fire.  We were packed like sardines in a tine and no room for all at that.  It was a good job for us that we did not have a very long time to put in before getting to our journey’s end.  It was very seldom that we got bread that was not sour, and not too much of it either.  The Aragon is a fine boat in appearance, but for tucker and accommodation it has a lot to pull up.  We left Alexandria on the 13th.

June 14 – Passed the Island of Crete at 2 a.m when we were picked up by a new escort.

June 15 – Passed along the coast of Greece following in the wake of our escort.

June 17 – Arrived at the great fortified rock, Gibraltar.  One has only to glance at with its guns bristling from every nook and crevice, and it will be realized what an impregnable barrier it really forms.  Coming in from the sea all one can see is a great bare rock rising up out of the sea with a few guns mounted here and there.  But when the boat comes around the Rock to the entrance and one gets a rear view it downs on one that there is danger behind that great rugged rock." *

Post Card from Aunty Glad's suitcase - Gibraltar

This must have been a formidable sight to the young Malcolm Michael Shepherd, the young "carrier" from the small country town of Braidwood.  You can only imagine the feeling of the unknown and foreboding these young soldiers were experiencing.  

 *1916 'BOYS OF THE 34th.', The Maitland Weekly Mercury(NSW : 1894 - 1931), 30 December, p. 10, viewed 16 November, 2014,http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article128039051

Monday, November 17, 2014

Military Monday - Treasures from Aunty Glad's Suitcase

Among the wonderful collection of pictures and postcards in Aunty Glad's suitcases, are a number of post cards from Malcolm Shepherd and Angus Shepherd, sent to family on their way to and during their service time in WWI.

Malcolm Michael Shepherd was the first of the two brothers, from the small NSW town of Braidwood to enlist and head to Europe. He enlisted on  31st January 1916 at Casula as a member of the 7th Reinforcement of the 30th Battalion  and on the 2 May 1916, left Sydney on the troop ship Honorata with other members of the 30th and 34th Battalion. In this post I would like to share two post cards sent to his family as he started his journey.

To find out a little more about his journey I thought I would search TROVE to see if there was any information on the ship Hororata and the 30th Battalion.  I was lucky enough to come across a number of letters from members of the 34th Battalion who were also travelling on the Honorata. One of the letters from Corporal Crossingham written to his mother in West Maitland, from Lark Hill Camp, Salisbury Plain in England gives a detailed and sometimes amusing account of the journey from Sydney, to Western Australia, across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal to Alexandria then passed Gilbraltar and up to England. Reading his letter home, has really added context to the post cards sent by Malcolm Shepherd and really gives you a sense of the trip these young inexperienced men made to the other side of the world and certainly brings me closer to my grandfathers experiences. 

Corporal Crossingham, writes:*

"May 2. Steamed out of Woolloomooloo Bay at 4 p.m. on board troopship Honorata.  After pulling out from the wharf we anchored in mid-stream.  From then on till we left we put in time saying our last goodbyes to all those who we are leaving behind.  Although all the boys kept the good old Australian smile on their faces, I am sure there were plenty of our chaps who had a tough job to keep a straight face.

After the anchor was weighed and we began to move we had more to occupy our minds.  The first feed that we had on board will long be remembered by the boys of the 34th.  It consisted of frozen zeps (sausages) and dry bread, and the zeps were promptly counted out, and tea was served in the shape of half cooked stew and the proverbial pieces of dry bread.  Between dinner time and tea we were given our hammocks and blankets.  The hammocks had to be folded up with the blankets inside and placed in tins build for that purpose.  All hammocks to be in tins by 7 a.m. every morning.  The sleeping decks had also to be washed out every morning.  The majority of the boys slept on the under-deck hammock hanging over the dinner tables.  Frequently during the first couple of nights one could hear some chaps rising colonial lingo after falling out of bunk, but they quickly became used to them.  As regards to myself, I generally slept up on the deck, rolled in a blanket and waterproof sheet.

Picture of Malcolm Shepherd 

May 4 – We experienced a bi of rough weather, just enough to make some of the boys feel queer in their “little Mary”. 

May 6 – Today we were introduced to boat parade.  A crew of our boys were told off to man the boats in case of emergency, to fall in the respective places allotted to them.  The remainder to fall in below decks and put on life belts.  This parade general lasted about half an hour.

May 7 – There was a medical inspection of all troops on board.  From the sixth to the ninth everyone was very busy writing letters so as to get them posted when we arrived at Albany.

May 9  - Arrived at Albany, were our first mail was posted since leaving he bay.  The mail boat Katoomba came into harbour while were there and left before we did.

May 11 – Weighed anchor and left Albany, passing the troopship Marathon when leaving we were not allowed to land at Albany.  Some of the officers went ashore however.  All port holes were left open, with the result that when a bigger sea than usual came long all kit bags, clothes, etc that were anywhere, within range were treated to a salt water both  The tucker now is a trifle better than at first, although it has plenty of room for improvement.  We get a little butter and jam.  We do not get tea for dinner but are given beef tea instead.  Every third day they issue pea soup that is passable – any rate we get rid of it.  From now on we are to have sports at different intervals for the rest of the trip.

The first to be carried out was a boxing tournament between a number of the boys, on the 13th, which was finally won by Sox McKinnon.  Capt. Spot Spowart throwing the towel in.  Capt. Wheeler was referee, Lieut. Col Lamb and Capt Winn acted as judges.  From the first Sunday out for the reminder of the voyage we had church parade."

(This piece I found particularly interesting because of the post card below, which was sent by Malcolm to his brother Angus.  The post card shows him on the left hand side of the picture in a boxing competition on the ship.)  

Card from Malcolm Shepherd to his brother Angus 

The letter continues with some very vivid descriptions of the food on board the ship!

"May 12 – Crossed into the Indian Ocean.  The food now became very bad owing to the tropical weather.  Sausages were again condemned by the doctor, and beef treated in the same manner, and the steak was absolutely rotten, and refused by the men who at once formed a procession and marched it to the doctor who pronounced life extinct, and a the last post was sounded it was committed to the deep, amid much pomp and ceremony, but it was not finished with even then, for the sharks and albatrosses went on strike, and absolutely refused to follow the boat.  I suppose it was on account of the poor quality of the tucker that was thrown overboard.

May 18 – We passed Cocos Island, but not close enough to see anything of it.

May 22 – We crossed the “Line” and as Farther Neptune did not depart from his usual custom we had him on board, and the fun began.  A canvas tub was fixed up about 10 ft by 10 ft by 3 ft deep, and slung at the four corners from awning spars.  A party of chaps too charge and every man that passed that way received a dip, regardless of what clothes he had on.  Only a few of the boys escaped it.  The only two officers who fell into the trap were Lieut. Bennett and Major Foxall, but they took it all in good part.  At any rate, it was “Hobson’s choice.”

I don't know about you, but I think this letter really brings to life the journey that my grandfather and his fellow troops had embarked on and I look forward to sharing more of this story with pictures from Aunty Glad's suitcase in my next post.  
*1916 'BOYS OF THE 34th.', The Maitland Weekly Mercury(NSW : 1894 - 1931), 30 December, p. 10, viewed 16 November, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article128039051

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sentimental Sunday - Treasures from Aunty Glad's Suitcase

Treasures from Anty Glad's Suitcase

Earlier this year I was delighted to meet some of my cousins at the "Back to Braidwood 175 Year" Celebration, and to swap and share family photos and stories.  I am sure all family researchers will be familiar with that "thrill" you get when you come across a previously unknown collection of pictures, artifacts, letters or a diary that are related to your family history.  This meeting in Braidwood was certainly "up there" in my family tree discoveries experiences.

My cousin, Stephen, bought with him a collection of family pictures, photos, post cards and artifacts from "Aunty Glad's suitcase" which had been sitting under the spare bed for quite some time.  It put it lightly, I was "gobsmacked" at the bundle of documents that my cousin had to show me. They included a collection of postcards from his grandfather and my grandfather, Angus and Malcolm Shepherd while they in Europe fighting in WW1, family photos from the Braidwood and Nelligen district, maps and artifacts from WWI.

My cousin kindly sent me some photos of Aunty Glad's suitcase, and small black handbag, overflowing with family memorabilia. Another Wow!!!  It is obvious that my great Aunty Gladys treasured family memories, and her collection includes photos, postcards, letters, telegrams, tram tickets, photos and magazines that are cover a time span of more than 100 years.  

Great Aunty Glad, was married to Angus Shepherd, my grandfather Malcolm Michael Shephered's older brother. After consulting with my cousin I thought if it was ok with his family, I would share some of the wonderful documents from Aunty Glad's suitcase with a little of their related history. So watch this space for "Treasures from Aunty Glad's Suitcase".

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sentimental Sunday - Grandparents Day

Today's post is inspired by an article that I saw on this morning's news which advised that today was Grandparents Day. "Everyone has fond memories of being at their Nan and Pop's place its where you go to get the kind of love that only a grandparent can give.  This year Grandparents Day celebrates our memories of being at home with out grandparents.

My grandparents lived in very different environments.  My maternal Grandparents, Edna and Roy Herbert lived in the outback mining town of Broken Hill, and my Nanna, Christina Carriage and Pop , Lionel Carriage (step grandfather) lived in the small coastal town of Milton.

Edna Palin and Roy Herbert - on their Wedding Day in Broken Hill, NSW

Herbert Home, 58 McGowan Street, Broken Hill

Edna and Roy passed away when I was quite a young child so my memories of their home is quite dim.  However, I do have some memories of being there as a young child, when my mother stayed to help look after my grandfather, when my grandmother was in hospital.  I remember a very bare and dusty back yard with a corrugated tin fence  that backed onto a lane way.

Nanna and Pop Carriage

My paternal Grandparents were Christina Lee and Malcolm Michael Shepherd.  However, my Grandfather passed away after a logging accident in 1932 and my Christina remarried Lionel Carriage, so we grew up visiting Nanna and Pop Carriage in the small diary town of Milton on the South Coast of NSW. 

We regularly spent Christmas at their home, with all our cousins, Aunts and Uncles, playing in the big magnolia tree out the front of the house, putting on concerts on the front veranda, exploring the neighbouring fields and lane ways and spending lots of time on the nearby beaches.

Nanna and Pop's home in Milton

Monday, September 29, 2014

Thank you for your "One Lovely Blog " Nominations

Last week I was delighted to receive two"One Lovely Blog" Nominations.  It is very nice to receive a little acknowledgement, especially, when I consider myself to be one of those amateur, part-time and a little inconsistent blogger!   It is now my turn to pay it forward! 

The rules for the "Lovely Blog Award" are
  •  Thank the person who nominated you and link back to that blog
  •  Share seven things abut yourself.
  •  Nominate 15 bloggers you admire, or as many as you can think of.
  •  Contact your bloggers to let them know you have tagged them for The One Lovely Blog Award.
Firstly, I would like to thank Sharn White whose blog, "Family History 4U",  I have enjoyed for some time. Secondly, thank you to Niki Davis who writes about heritage food and her family tree, in "Rooted in Foods", this theme is very close to my heart, as I enjoy sharing old family recipes and the stories that go with them. Thank you to both of you for your nominations and sharing some of the blogs you follow, your lists introduced me to some new and interesting blogs that I hadn't read before.

Seven things about me

1. Family - the promotion a sense of family and belonging is very important to me.  I think this is in part, responsible for my love of family stories and genealogy.  I also think it is important to promote and nurture the "sense" of family.  My husband and I have just had a wonderful week looking after our grandsons (aged 9 and 5), such a special time, OH! I forgot to add also exhausting!

2. Childhood - I had an interesting and little different childhood, spending my early childhood growing up in the outback of NSW, doing my schooling by Blackfriars Correspondence School and the Broken Hill, School of the Air until I was ten years old.  Our family then moved around country NSW, my father working as an overseer on properties. My sisters and I attended a variety of schools, from small two classroom school, of Quombone with about 70 students, to much larger high school at Griffith where there were around 1600 students.

3. Reading - I have always loved reading, when I was a young girl living in the bush, reading was a way to discover the rest of the world.

Tequila, Mexico

4. Writing - I have only really starting writing in the past few years, blogging opened this door for me.  When I was studying at Uni about six years ago, one of the subjects I studied was on social media and how it could be used in training.  One section was on blogging and I was hooked.  My first attempts at blogging was when I lived in Mexico for six months while I completed my Masters in International Studies.  My blog "Six Months in Mexico" was a way I could share and reflect on my experiences.  It was really just a diary of my time in Guadalajara, Mexico, however, I loved medium and was encouraged to explore it further.


5.   Photography - I love to mess around with my camera and have the reputation of being the annoying lady taking all the photos at family events.  My attempts at travel blogs have been one way I have been able to share my pics and experiences.  My philosophy on for photography is just take lots of pictures and among the thousands there will be a couple that look ok.  You can find some of my pics on my "incomplete" blog on one of my adventures, Nepal - Climbing High.

6. Travel - I have always like to travel.  I think this started when I was in my early twenties, when my girlfriend and I set off on a three month backpacking trip around Europe in the late 1970's.  Two very green travelers, we somehow managed to survive on little money, and not get into too much trouble. Then family commitments restricted our travel, to a few small trips.  Finally, when our sons left school, and we were going to move to Sydney to live, my husband and I decided to sell our home, pack everything into storage and headed off on a four month back packing trip to Europe and South America.  It was an amazing adventure, and really sparked our travel bug.

7.  Finally- Family History and family stories. This has been a passion for a long time, there is nothing better, than spending a Sunday afternoon, on the lounge snuggled up with my laptop, and searching the online new papers and records, trying to piece together the stories of my ancestors.

Blogs I Admire

This is a difficult one, as there are so many blogs that I enjoy reading, apologies if these blogs have already been nominated:

1. Queensland Genealogy - Judy Webster. This Blog is full of information and wonderful tips for researching your family roots in Queensland.
2. Genea-Musings - Randy Seaver - Love checking out his weekly list of blogs for the week as I always discover new tips or a new blogger.
3. Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog - Jana Last - another wonderful blog!  Her Follow Friday Fab Finds is another example of paying if forward, and I always make a point of looking at the posts she suggests each week.
4. A Rebel Hand - Frances Owen - Australian blog which among other genealogy things, tells the story of Nicholas Delaney, an Irish convict who was transported to Australia.
5. Anne's Family History - Anne Young.  Anne writes of her family history in Australia, with some great research and colourful family stories backed up with interesting snippets from TROVE.
6. Dictionary of Sydney -  Wonderful resource on the history of Sydney.
7. The Armchair Genealogist - Lynn Palermo - I have found this blog very motivational and with lots of helpful hints for writing up family history.
8. Family Tree Frog - Alex Daw. Another Australian blogger - such a warm, colourful and interesting blog.
9. Rings of My Family Tree - I have only recently started following this blog, and found it to be a good read.
10. Seeking Susan - Meet Marie - Find Family -  Kirrily Burton, This blog was originally written by Catherine Crout-Habel, and when Catherine passed away recently, her daughter has taken on the task of keeping this most enjoyable blog going.
11. Stumbling Through the Past - Yvonne Perkins - great read and really well researched.
12. Our Own History - Pam.  Shares stories and wonderful pics of family, old books and some great family recipes.
13. The History Girls - blog written by a number of authors, have followed this and enjoyed their posts for a couple of years.
14. Tracking Down Family - Jennifer Jones - interesting and well researched blog.
15.  The last blog I would like to mention is Worldwide Genealogy - A 
genealogical Collaboration.  This blog was started early this year and features genealogical bloggers from all over the world, each writing a post each month.  I have been lucky enough to be among these writers and I have to say, it has been a wonderful collaborative experience.  Each writer has shared tips and family stories that continue to widen my research skills and knowledge.

There are many more blogs that I enjoy, so to all you bloggers thank you for sharing your thoughts, advice and stories.

Friday, September 12, 2014

"Family Recipe Friday" - Nan's Lemon Butter

Since I have been blogging I continue to be surprised by the blogs that attract the most readers.  Two years ago, not long after "Nan" passed away, I posted her recipe for stale bread cake (Family Recipe Friday - Nan's Stale Bread Cake) to celebrate her birthday.

This recipe was an old family favorite that she always had on hand when someone dropped in for a cup of tea. Of all the posts I have written the number of hits "Nan's Stale Bread Cake" far out numbers any other blog I have written!

So today, to celebrate her birthday and memory, I will share another of her favorites.  Lemon Butter!

When ever she visited us, she never failed to bring along a jar of lemon butter for my husband. I can remember when visiting her in her lovely cottage in the North Queensland home of Atherton, we would have to go on a special excursion to a small farm about 20 kms outside of town to buy six dozen eggs (because they were much cheaper) for the lemon butter.  

Nan's Lemon Butter

1 cup of butter
1 cup of  castor sugar
6 eggs
6 lemons (from her lemon tree)
grated zest of three lemons

Beat eggs in bowl, add sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest.  In a large saucepan, melt the butter, slowly add the egg, sugar and lemon mix into the saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly until thickened.   Spoon the mixture into sterile jars.  When cooled, seal and store in the fridge.

Nan loved to make large quantities for family, so if you feel that this will be more lemon butter than you need you can easily halve the recipe to make a smaller quantity.

Lemon butter is wonderful in sponge cakes and tarts, but my favorite is on hot buttered toast.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Amanuensis Monday - Woman's Death from Drowning

My great grand father, John Herbert's  remarried after the tragic death of his wife Louisa Seaford in 1902.  His married second wife Caroline Hornhardt in 1903  and their family continued to live in Burra until John's death in 1926. After his death, Caroline she spent time living with her step daughters Essel Quinn (nee Herbert) who lived in Broken Hill and Annie Whitehorn (nee Herbert) who lived in Prospect, South Australia.

Carrie (as she was known)  whose story can be found on my other blog "The other half of my tree - stories of my female ancestors" died tragically eight years after her husband, John.

The Advertiser, Saturday 15 December 1934.

Prospect Woman's Death from Drowning

At an inquest yesterday into the death of Mrs Caroline Herbert, 59, widow, of Percy Street, Prospect, whose body was found in the River Torrens near The Frome road bridge on December 7 the City Coroner (Mr A S. Blackburn) found that there was no evidence to show how she came to be in the river.

Jack Herbert, a son of Draytown Street, Bowden said that his mother had not complained of ill health, and had given no signs of having been depressed.

Mrs Annie Whitehorn, of Percy Street, Prospect, stated that the deceased was her stepmother, and had been living with her at her home since she had come from Broken Hill about nine moths ago.  She was to have returned to Broken Hill on December 7.  She had gone off her food during he last few months, but was not depressed.  She was very short sighted.

Mr M.R. Kelton a corporation employee, of Curtis street, North Adelaide, who found he body, said hat the bank around the spot was very steep and a danger for anyone walking there at night.

You can read more of Caroline's story on "Matrilineal Monday - Tragic Drowning - Caroline Herbert nee Hornhardt".

1934 'Prospect Woman's Death From Drowning.', The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), 15 December, p. 9, viewed 8 September, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74122939

Monday, July 28, 2014

Matrilineal Monday - A life cut short - Louisa Herbert (nee Seaford) 1872 -1902

Louisa Seaford and John Herbert 

Last week I shared the Obituary of my great grandfather John Herbert (1862-1926).  Tragically, his first wife, Louisa Seaford died at the age of thirty, leaving him with four children, Alice, Essel Mary, William and Annie, all under the age of 11 years. Louisa was born in Burra, South Australia the second daughter of Julianna Grow and Henry Seaford. As a child she attended school in Burra, then at the age of 18 she married John Herbert on the 23 May 1890. 

Marraige Notice - for Louisa and John Herbert *

Life in the mining town of Kooringa was tough, and health risks high, with outbreaks of typhoid and cholera.  Unfortunately Louisa fell victim to Cholera and died very suddenly at the tender age of 30. How was John to care for such a young family all on his own and at the same time working to earn a living?

OBITUARY - Burra Record 

"We have to record this week the death of the wife of Mr. John Herbert, of Kooringa, which took place on Thursday night at the Burra Hospital. The deceased lady was a native of Burra, and had resided here all her life. Fever was contracted a week or two ago, and subsequently alarming symptoms set in, which made her case very serious. Despite the tender nursing and constant attendance of the doctors the deceased never recovered. Mrs. Herbert  was 30 years of age on the day she died.

The funeral took place on Sunday afternoon, when a very large number of friends paid the last tribute of respect to the deceased lady. The Rev. W Y. James conducted the service at the graveside. The Lily of the Valley Ten (ladies) and Foresters' lodge formed a procession in front of the hearse and marched to the cemetery. Much sympathy is expressed for Mr. Herbert, (who is left with a family of four young children to mourn their loss." **

*The Advertiser,    http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26753447.viewed on 26/7/2014
** Burra Record (SA : 1878-1954), Wednesday 9 April 1902, page 2 National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article36107209

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday's Obituary - John Herbert 1862-1926

John Herbert 1862-1926
Today's post is the obituary of my great grandfather Mr John Herbert who passed away suddenly, at the age of 63 in 1929. He spent his entire life living in the mining town of Burra, South Australia.


Residents were greatly shocked on Wednesday last when it was announced that Mr John Herbert had passed away at the Burra Hospital the previous night, after a very short illness.  The Thursday previous he was unable to attend to his work but thinking it was an old trouble he did not take too much notice and did not unfortunately, obtain medical advice until the following Monday.

 The late Mr Herbert was born at Kooringa in 1852 and was the eldest son of the late Mr and Mrs William Herbert, (Pioneers of Burra), of Kooringa.  He was educated at the late Dr J.R. Stevens’school and worked first at Lockyer’s brewery.  After the brewery closed down he worked at other places but for many years past has been an employee of the Burra Corporation.  In his work he was conscientious and thorough and the Council have lost a trusted and valued employee.

In his younger days Mr Hebert was an enthusiastic footballer and cricketer but of late years has been content to be a looker-on but a most interested one.  As a townsman he was held in the highest esteem by all and sincere sympathy is felt for the widow and family in their sudden bereavement.  Mr Herbert was twice married, his first wife was Miss Lousia Seaford who died in 1902 leaving a son and three daughters.

In 1903 he married Miss Carrie Hornhardt who has a family of two sons and one daughter. The family comprises Mrs M. J. Madigan of Pinnaroo; Mrs TV. Quinn, Broken Hill; Mrs D. Whitehorn, Koolunga; Mr W.J. Herbert, Broken Hill, Mr Jack Herbert, Adelaide; Mr Roy Herbert; Broken Hill and Miss Lily Herbert, Kooringa, and six grandchildren, also two brothers Messrs Chas. Herbert of Sydney, George Herbert and one sister, Mrs T. Parks both of Kooringa.

His funeral took place on Thursday afternoon and was attended by a representative number of townsfolks.  The Mayor (Mr Collins Esq), with Mrs T. Woolscott, F. Harris, A.B. Biggs, J Kellock, EJ. Davey acted as bearers and amongst the many beautiful floral tributes was one from the members of the Town Council and some from several townsmen.  The service was conducted by the Rev. R. H. Lee and the funeral arrangements my Messrs C.J. Pearce and Son.  The Late Mr Herbert was also a very old member of the Forestors Lodge and the service at the grave was read by Bro. E J. Davey."

Grave - John Herbert - Burra South Australia
Burra Record, 13 January 1936, p. 3

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Sharing Memories

Smoko break - Nuntherungie Station

Today I would like to share a picture of my father having a "Smoko" break while working out in the paddocks of Nuntherungie Station. My post "Early Days in the Bush - Day out with Dad", describes this.  I have to confess that he posed for this picture with the left over lamb bone, as was his dry sense of humour.  However, the picture does ring true, with the reality of the small camp fire to boil his billy for the morning cup of tea and the harsh environment of life in the outback.  Smoko, is a term that is was used to refer to morning or afternoon tea break, which generally went along with time for a quick cigarette or as was the case for my father a "puff on his pipe".

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Follow Friday - An accumulation of my weekly research - Facial Recognition for Genealogy

This week in my monthly post on World Wide Genealogy Collaboration I delved into the topic of Facial Recognition programs, "Geneology CSI Style - Facial Recognition" and how they can be used in identifying those unknown faces in your old family photos. As a user of these programs  I am still wearing my “L” plates and will wait until I have had more time to become more experienced in using the “Facial Recognition” software before I give my verdict on its usefulness.

As a summary of this week’s research I thought I would share with you some of the useful blogs and articles that I have discovered this week and would be very interested to hear back from other family researchers on their experiences with “facial recognition” programs.


Steele, J. 2013, Face to Face: Analysis and Comparison ofFacial Features to Authenticate Identities of People in Photographs, Joelle Steele Enterprises.  (this is on my shopping list).

 Brennan, M.J. 2009, “Oz Family Finder, Facial Recognition Software (FRS): Family History’s Latest Tech-Tool”, http://www.ozfamilyfinder.com/download/facialrecognition.pdf. Viewed 5/7/14.

Rasmus, E, 2012, “Improving Face Recognition with Genealogical and Contextual Data”, Honours Thesis, http://www.cosc.canterbury.ac.nz/research/reports/HonsReps/2012/hons_1207.pdf, viewed 10/07/14.

Rasmus, R.  and Green, E., “ Improving Facial Recognition with Genealogical and Contextual Data”, Proceedings for the 27th Conference on Image and Vision Computing, New Zealand,  http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2425836.2425897, Viewed 3/7/14

Shao, Xia and Fu, “Genealogical Face Recognition based on UB KinFace Database”,  http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=5981801. Viewed 10/7/14
Steele, J.,“Using Facial Features to identify people in photographs, Who’s who in your family Photos”, http://www.swedishfinn.com/article-405.html viewed 2/7/14

Ancestor Search Blog,”How Google Picasa Face Recognition Software can help Genealogists”, http://ancestorsearch.blogspot.com.au/2009/08/how-google-picasa-face-recognition.html. Viewed 2/7/14.

Christoph Bartneck, 2008, University of Canterbury, HIT Lab NZ, “Recognising and Identifying People in Family Picture”, http://www.bartneck.de/2008/08/03/recognizing-and-identifying-people-in-family-pictures/. Viewed 2/7/14.

Creative Gene, Using Facial Recognition Software in Photo Identificationhttp://creativegene.blogspot.com.au/2008/02/using-facial-recognition-software-in.html, viewed 11/07/14.

Family Search, I have seen that Face Somewhere Before https://familysearch.org/blog/en/faceViewed 2/7/14.

Genealogy’s Star, “A look at the Third Place Developer Challenge winner, Photo Face Match”, http://genealogysstar.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/a-look-at-third-place-developer.html. Viewed 5/7/14.

Geneapprentice, “ Facial Recognition Software- A helpful Genealogy Too”l, http://geneapprentice.blogspot.com.au/2010/01/facial-recognition-software-helpful.html. Viewed 3/7/14

Social Media and Genealogy, “Picasa Face-recognition scan conclusions”, http://socialmediagen.com/picasa-face-recognition-scan-finished/

The Ancestry Insider, “Facial Recognition”, http://www.ancestryinsider.org/2012/05/facial-recognition.html. Viewed 3/7/14

Monday, July 7, 2014

Amanuensis Monday - Sharing Memories - Disastrous Floods destroy Nuntherungie Station Homestead

Red earth of Nuntherungie- Homestead in Background
Last week I wrote about the importance of rain in the outback, and some of my childhood memories of the celebration and excitement when rain did finally eventuate in Sharing Memories - Here comes the Rain!.  In this story I mentioned Miss Tapp, the sister of the owner of Nuntherungie Station who was brought up on the station as a young child.  Miss Tapp, who lived in Broken Hill, had quite an influence on my knowledge of the bush as a young child.  

When she was visiting her brother (from Broken Hill) she would take me on walks in the bush, and dry creek beds, pointing out the different types of bushes, plants and animals. She showed me how to dig down into the dry creek bed, to find water, and pointed out some of the native plants that were edible. I can also clearly remember her showing me the different foot prints in the sand that were made by kangaroos, birds and goannas by drawing the shapes of their hoof prints in the sand.   
North West Corner of  NSW - showing location of Nuntherungie
The Homestead of Nuntherungie was built on a hill, looking down on the extensive system of creeks that flowed in between the homestead and the Woolshed.  However, this homestead was not the original building.  The first homestead build on Nuntherungie was erected closer to the creeks in the 1880's.  On one of the outings with Miss Tapp we visited the spot where the first homestead stood.  All that was remaining was a couple of brick chimneys, overgrown by bush. Miss Tapp described her childhood in a beautiful stone homestead. She then told me the homestead had been destroyed in a huge flood that the family had to leave and rebuild their home on higher ground. 

As we scrambled out way through the long grass and trees, Miss Tapp pointed out a small overgrown garden bed where a couple of bulbs were popping out of the ground.  She explained that this was all that remained of her mothers garden and every year in spring these bulbs would pop their heads out to remind her of times gone.
I had almost forgotten this story until recently troving through TROVE and came across this article, which gives a more substantial description of the events on the day that the Nuntherungie homestead was washed away in the huge floods of 1931.  It was one of those light bulb moments!  I remember being told about this! and as the story follows on nicely from my previous article about celebrating the arrival of rain in this district, it is fitting to share this story as it highlights  how the people of these isolated areas were at the mercy of the elements.



About 6000 pounds damage.

The stately old homestead at Nuntherungie Station, 120 miles from Broken Hill on the White Cliffs road, is now a scene of desolation, and so severe is the damage wrought by the recent floods that the building will have to be demolished and a new homestead built.  About 6000 pounds damage was done.

Nuntherungie is one of the oldest homesteads in the district, and was once owned by the Kennedy family.  The homestead was erected 50 years ago.  Mr Nigel Kennedy, who died in Broken some years ago, being a son of the owner.  Then Mr B. A. Williamson of Abbotsford near Ivanhoe had the place, Mr E.P. Tapp, the present owner, taking over after he returned from service with the A.I.F. during the Great War.  Thus Mr Tapp, who took the place in 1920 or 1921 has during his life not only been exposed to the dangers of war, but has experienced some of the bitter reverses of civil life.

Nuntherungie homestead is built on the east side of a creek and was constructed of stone and pise and when it was built it was never thought that the district would experience such as a flood as was the case about a fortnight ago.  In years gone by the flood waters came down the creek proper but during the past few heavy rains the creek has overflowed some distance above the station and flowed down both sides but the rush of water had never previously reached the house.  When on previous occasions water threatened the station large banks were built to keep it back, and up till this flood the move was successful.  On this occasion the raging torrent was too much for the embankments and they were swept away.  The water had been banked so far back that when it was suddenly released it came like the rapids of a surging river.  Right through the homestead, outhouses and woolshed the water rushed carrying everything before it.  At the height of the flood the water in the homestead and some other houses was 4ft 6 inches deep.  Everything was soaked, the most valuable article, a piano, being saved from destruction by the foresight of some of the people there.  The mattresses from a couple of beds were placed on the dining room table and the piano was lifted on to this.  Thus it escaped the water.  While the piano rested majestically on the table, chairs, other tables and furniture floated about the buildings like miniature yachts.

The miracle was that no persons on the station were drowned.  After the flood had subsided silt was found on the floors of the homestead inches deep.  The foundations of the house sank as a result of the rush of water and in some walls of the buildings cracks appeared from one inch to almost a foot wide.  Other walls collapsed, that is interior walls and two of the walls near the front of the house.  There were nine rooms in the building and all that supports the roof now are a few walls and the door and window frames.  It is estimated that between 5000 pounds and 6000 pounds damage was done to the house, contents and outbuildings on the property.

In the outbuildings a two-roomed structure over a cellar has a tilt because of the foundations having subsided.  Several of the buildings have feet of silt in them.

The flood was the largest in the memory of white men in the district.  One man has been on the station for 35 years and he says that he has never seen such a flood before.  The exact rainfall on the station is not known.  About five inches of rain was registered and then the rain gauge was useless.

It is believed that the extra-large flood was caused by heavy falls at Wertago, where seven inches of rain was registered.  This is between Nuntherungie and Gnalta, and all this water came down the Nuntherungie Creek, later finding its way to Bancannia Lake, about 50 miles away.  Following the water came floods from the Kayrunnera area.

Mr Edward Tapp**
There are five in the Tapp family and all were at home.  Fortunately shearing was in progress and the shearers were able to give Mr Tapp valuable help in cleaning up a lot of the debris.  The shearing of Nuntherungie sheep had finished, but Wertago sheep were being attended to and of course since the flood and the damage the shearing has had to be postponed for the time.

The water came through the shearing shed feet deep, but did not cause the building to collapse.  The silt damaged the interior of the building and much repair work will have to be carried out.  Forty bales of wool were saturated, but the shearers as soon as the rain eased off opened these and spread the wool out to dry.  It is still marketable, although it will be slightly discoloured.  The shearers stood by Mr Tapp to a man and although they were told they could not be paid they never faltered in their cleaning up of the debris and stayed at the station as long as they could.  They worked like men on contract and Constable Smith, who was held up by the floods and reached Nuntherungie gave help till he was able to push on to his station at White Cliffs.  At times it was feared that there would be a shortage of food, but this was rationed and the determination of neighbours at Kayrunnera and Wertago saved the position, Light vehicles were taken out over the flooded areas and provisions were carried over the flooded creek.  Constable Smith left Nuntherungie on Easter Monday and the shearers who had put through 6000 sheep went on to White Cliffs, being held up there owing to the roads to Tonga, where they had to start shearing, being boggy.

According to a resident who was through Nuntherungie during the weekend, the roads between here and Gnalta are passable, but for a man to take the rest of the road to Nuntherungie he must be a careful driver and have a light car.  All the creeks between Gnalta and Nuntherungie are silted up, there being piles of debris and silt 7 ft high in some creeks.  The creek known as 10 mile, some distance from Nuntherungie, had a wire netting crossing, but this has been carried away, and a pile of silt has taken its place.  As far as can be ascertained no sheep were drowned, but a muster cannot be made on account of the conditions of the country.  Some may have been carried away in the torrent, and if not caught in trees washed into Bancannia Lake.  To add to the discomfort of the Nuntherungie people, telephone communication was cut off, the lines being washed away.  Communication has now been restored through Wonnaminta, but the direct line to White Cliffs is still out of order.

Travellers say that much fending on all the stations in the flood area was washed away, and the banks of tanks suffered extensively.  Most of the surface water from the floods has gone, but there is still a little about the clay pans.

Station people in the Nuntherungie area say they will long remember the disastrous flood, and there is much sympathy in the district for Mr Tapp and family, for their loss is severe and the disaster coming at a time when the industry is just recovering makes the blow suffered doubly heavy.
1931 'THE FLOOD AT NUNTHERUNGIE.', Barrier Miner(Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), 14 April, p. 3, viewed 7 July, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article46604249
 **Obituaries Australia, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/tapp-edward-peter-958, viewed on 1 July 2014.