|Braidwood , NSW|
"Hi you don’t know me, but are you related to …………..?” A telephone call to delight most family tree researchers! Last week, I received such a call from a second cousin, who had been googling his Grandfather Angus Shepherd and come across my blog on Angus Shepherd’s brother and my grandfather “Malcolm Michael Shepherd” in the Trans Tasman ANZAC Blog Challenge. I am not sure who was the most excited at discovering the link!
After a half hour conversation to establish links and identify where we fitted into the Shepherd family tree, my cousin informed me that Braidwood, the town that around 6-7 generations of the Shepherd family have lived in since the early 1850’s was holding its “Back to Braidwood 175 Years Celebration” on Saturday 2 May. What a coincidence! I had only recently visited Braidwood and two other towns Araluen and Majors Creek a couple of weeks before hand and wrote about this in my blog on the Worldwide Genealogy Collaboration with my blog "Visiting Past Connections - a reflection on the influence of the gold rush on our family history"
|The Town Crier|
After a little contemplation and discarding my plans for spring cleaning on the weekend (that wasn’t hard to do!) I decided this was too good an opportunity to miss. How often does the town that your ancestors lived in celebrate 175 years! In fact, this made me wonder, how many towns in Australia could celebrate 175 years. I quickly arranged flights to Canberra and conned my sister to pick me up from the airport on Saturday morning and to accompany me on the hour drive through to Braidwood for the celebrations. Prior to leaving I made arrangements to meet up with my cousin so we could swap stories and photos at the celebration.
|Penny Farthing bike|
The town was abuzz with markets, colourful signs, locals dressed in costumes of the early settlers and bands and folk groups entertained the passers-by on street corners. The smell of coffee, hot chocolate and hot soup wafted from the numerous cafes as my sister and I wandered along the street checking out the local stores and different displays.
After a quick visit to the local museum, and the purchase of a number of local history books, we met with our cousin. He took us to see a wonderful display of over 500 pictures of local families that was organised by another of our distant cousins. The pictures featured the families and “going-ons” of the district with many wonderful pictures of the Shepherd Family and their involvement in the carrier industry.
|Hearse and Mourner|
It was now time for the opening ceremony and the grand parade along the main street. The crowd gathered on either side of the road and were treated a procession of bands, floats, old vehicles of all descriptions, including horse and buggies, horse drawn hearse with a lonely mourner in tow, old cars, fire engines and penny-farthing bike with its rider precariously balanced on top.
The proceedings were brought to a halt, mid parade, when a band of bush rangers on horseback and cracking their stock whips galloped into town and re-enacted robbing the bank.
|"Local Bush Ranger"|
The final star entrant in the parade was a restored bullock wagon pulled along by a team of Bullocks. A very fitting end to a very entertaining parade considering our family links to the Bullock Trains!
The parade over, it was time for coffee and to swap family tree pictures and stories. My cousin proceeded to show me a wonderful collection of family memorabilia that had been passed down through his family. This collection was really exciting. There were photos and postcards from France, North Africa and England that were sent by my grandfather and his grandfather Malcolm and Angus Shepherd to their family back in Australia when they were away fighting in WW1. I was also particularly delight to see old family photos from the early 1900’s and to hear the stories associated with each of the photos and who the people in the photos were.To my delight, my cousin was happy for me to borrow the bundle of pictures and cards to take home and scan for my records.
The cold afternoon mist was settling in and the market stall owners were packing up, the tourists and locals were making their last minute purchases from the stores. It was time to head home! It was certainly worth my while to take part in Braidwood's 175 year celebration. I was certainly thankful for the New Family Stories, Photographs and Memories!!!
|Fitting end to the parade for Back to Braidwood 175 Year Celebration|