Sunday, September 28, 2014

Book of Me Written By You - Prompt 57



Julie Goucher from Angler's Rest says:

Today is week 57 of what is a 15 month project. 

This week's prompt is - Life Chapters

Is your life divided into chapters?
How has that happened? Has it naturally evolved?
Can you easily reflect where one chapter ends and another begins?
Are there any surprises?
Are those Chapters determined by people and / or places / or significant events?

As a person who loves books, these questions have great resonance and give one much food for thought. 

Speaking of food....and with apologies to my vegan, vegetarian friends...

a black plate with an arrangement of seared emu loin, spiced black pudding, smoked potato and Illawarra plums
Seared emu loin, native spiced black pudding, smoked potato, Illawarra plums
I ate emu for the first time yesterday.  I joked with my father that it was revenge for an emu stealing my apple many years ago at Tidbinbilla Reserve. 
Yes the revenge was a bit disproportionate to the crime, I agree.
Why did I choose emu?  Goodness, only knows.  Sometimes I leap cheerfully into the unknown.  It's the frog in me.  And I'm glad I did.  It was a delightful surprise to me when it was served.  There's a bit of you that thinks - emu - bird - maybe it will look a bit like turkey.  I thought it looked a bit like lamb or beef.  What do you think?  It is - according to a couple of websites - here and here - very good for you - particularly athletes - being low in fat, high in protein and other goodies like B12.  

Anyway, back to chapters.  Yesterday was the celebration of a culmination of many years work on a book by my father and his partner.  The end of a chapter in their life, you could say.

We were having lunch at the GOMA Restaurant in honour of the imminent launch of the book entitled Architecture in the South Pacific

After lunch we repaired to the Bodhi Tree Terrace outside the QAGOMA Bookshop for the launch.

There was entertainment - drums and ote'a

Dancers and drummers on the Bodhi Tree Terrace
Drums and ote'a at Bodhi Tree Terrace


When you google "Bodhi Tree Terrace" you discover that it is called after a Bodhi Tree sapling which was planted in 2008.  The Bodhi Tree or Sacred Fig tree is sacred to Hindus and Buddhists and according to this press release at the time it is described as the mythical tree of life.  How about that?  Very appropriate.  It represents enlightenment and the potential within us all.  

Here is a photo taken through the boughs of the Bodhi Tree.

Dancers seen through the boughs of the Bodhi Tree
Dancers pictured through boughs of Bodhi Tree


Can you see the heart-shaped leaves?  
You can read more about the Bodhi tree here.

After the entertainment, speeches were duly made - introductions, endorsements, acknowledgements and thank yous.


  
                              




Later that evening we enjoyed the fireworks for Riverfire .  
See all the boats on the river waiting for the show?


lots of boats on Brisbane river at dusk
Brisbane River



This short video from AussieDnB found on YouTube will give you an idea of the festivities.  






It was a beautiful ending to a very significant chapter in my father's and his partner's life.  

Lots of hard work was recognized and celebrated by family and friends going back many years.

So, back to the original prompt:


Is your life divided into chapters?
How has that happened? Has it naturally evolved?
Can you easily reflect where one chapter ends and another begins?
Are there any surprises?
Are those Chapters determined by people and / or places / or significant events?

Well, remember that I am a frog.  I jump all over the place. 
So indulge me in a relevant but short digression.

I remember how shocked I was when I first opened Andrew Urban's history of the first 25 years of the AFTRS - At the Edge of the Known World.  
If you remember Andrew Urban was the presenter/interviewer in that popular show on SBS called Front Up. produced by Margaret Pomeranz.

I was shocked because I was expecting a conventional linear history of the School.  Silly me.  At the Edge of the Known World  was, instead, a series of interviews with various stakeholders - former directors, graduates, teachers, board members and so on - exploring their experience of the AFTRS.  
It showed many different perspectives.  
Clever stuff. 

In an ideal world, life would be divided into neat linear chronological chapters.  I suspect it's a bit more non-linear than that.  
You plan some stuff and other stuff just happens.  
The wind blows.  Trees lean.


A tree leaning alarmingly to the left but still managing to stand up at Clarendon, Tasmani
Leaning tree of Clarendon in Tasmania


So yes, there are surprises along the way.

So back to a book about you.  Or me.

You could call the chapters - 
Childhood, School Years, University, Family and so on.

Or perhaps the chapters could be broken up according to place - 
in my case, the Canberra Years, the Sydney years, the Brisbane years.  
But then the Brisbane years would be a very fat chapter indeed.

Perhaps the chapters could be broken up into where you were employed -
in my case, the ABC years, the Film School years, the Library years.  

But then I was having family during those years - and losing family members too.  Being a parent was just as big a job if not bigger than paid employment.
  
It all intersects.

How do you carve it up? How do you attach the correct weight or significance to particular parts?  

At this point you are also prompted to ask - 
Are you the best author of your life story?  
Would it be a well-rounded picture?  
What would others have to say?  

Good questions Julie. I don't know that I have the answers, but you've made me think.  

Alex sitting in heather in Scotland, thinking
Alex, aged 10, thinking in Scotland

Always a good thing.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fabulous Friday

Courtesy of Picture Queensland
Large group of men at Enoggera, Brisbane, ca. 1940

Today I attended a most interesting forum at the State Library of Queensland called Serving Country.  

There was a beautiful welcome to country from Maroochy Barambah and then the day was jam packed with talks about different aspects of the indigenous stories of WW1.  If you are interested in research in this area I encourage you to look at the program and speakers' biographies.  

There is a great article about Indigenous Australians serving on the Australian War Memorial site here.

We got to hear from Wesley Enoch and researcher/historian David Williams about the process of creating the Black Diggers production now showing at the QPAC Playhouse as part of the Brisbane Festival.  You can see a trailer here.

State Library of Queensland looks forward to uncovering many more untold stories of WW1.  To that end, today they announced four fellowships for research into new insights into the Queensland experience of WW1 and its aftermath. Applications for fellowships close 7 November.

If you wanted to get a sense of the forum you can see some of the livestream here.

I liked the last presentation the best by Linda McBride-Yuke.  The enormous pride she had in her menfolk shone in her presentation and she made us laugh and smile.  




Ettie Rout with NZEF Infantrymen 
Courtesy of Archives New Zealand 
Some rights reserved


On the way back to work I was listening to Philip Adam's Late Night Live on the radio from the previous evening.  He was talking to two authors of recent books about WW1.  I was particularly interested in the one called Ettie A Life of Ettie Rout by Jane Tolerton.  Ettie sounds a most interesting character. From this site we learn that she:

 "developed radical ideas early. She became a vegetarian, a committed socialist, a physical culturist, an unorthodox dresser, a publicist and fighter for many causes, and a woman who expressed her opinions freely and often. Many of her opinions were regarded as outrageous, but are commonly held views in today's society. In a letter to her friend, H.G. Wells, she said: "It’s a mixed blessing to be born too soon".

In her work for the New Zealand Volunteer Sisterhood during WW1, Ettie became aware of the high venereal disease rate among soldiers and resolved to do something about it.  She campaigned, lobbied, researched preventative practices and eventually produced her own safe sex kit for soldiers.  

The book sounds fascinating and I've asked our library to purchase it.

So altogether a hugely informative Friday - Fabulous!

How was your Friday?


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thriller Thursday


Mounted Police, King and Elizabeth Street corner from Sydney, 1890 / 
photographed by Arthur K. Syer from State Library of New South Wales Flickr Account



Are there murders, bizarre accidents or other thrilling stories among your family history? Thriller Thursday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.This is an ongoing series by Anne Kruszka at Gene Notes.



Well my advice for you this evening is to NOT search under the term "abduction" in Flickr unless you want to have nightmares.  I'm squeamish at the best of times but abduction is obviously a medical term for suspending limbs et al.  Flickr Commons is full of lots of disturbing photos and drawings of the human anatomy.


I was looking for the term "abduction" because I found a most interesting notice while searching Find My Past for more information about the Ellis family.

I have spoken before of Kate Ellis leading me a merry dance and you can read more about Kate here.  Kate was my maternal great-grandmother.

Kate Emilia Ellis
Kate Emilia Ellis


I remember finding a notice in the Police Gazette for 3 February 1892 under the quaint heading:

Missing Friends


Missing from her home, Point Piper Road, Woollahra, since
8 p.m. the 25th ultimo,-Kate Ellis, 19 years of age, about 5
feet high, rather thick set, dark hair and eyes ; dressed in white
bodice, dark skirt, sealskin jacket, cloth top shoes, and was
wearing either a white hat with black velvet band or black hat
with flowers and cream trimming . She had in her possession,
when leaving home , a large black silk umbrella , ivory handle,
and a bundle of clothing.

I wonder if she looked a bit like one of these girls.



I knew Kate probably led me and her family a merry dance but now I'm wondering if her older sister Esther was a bit the same.

A couple of nights ago I found a similar notice in the Police Gazette for 
9 December 1885, seven years earlier:

Abduction

Sydney - A warrant has been issued by the Central Police Bench for the arrest of William Attenburgh, charged with fraudulently taking away Esther Ellis, an unmarried girl under the age of 21 years, out of the possession and agains the will of her parents with intent to carnally know her, on the 21st November, 1885.  Offender is about 24 years of age, tall and slender build, light moustache, and small whiskers; had the appearance of a larrikin.  Esther Ellis is about 17 years of age (looks older), tall and handsome, fair hair and complexion.  Complainant, Isabella Ellis, 6, Brougham - street Glebe.

Sydney - A warrant has been issued by the Central Police Bench for the arrest of Elizabeth McEvoy, charged that she did, at Sydney, abet with one William Attenburgh in taking away Esther Ellis out of the possession and against the will of her parents, she , the said Esther Ellis, being under the age of 21 years, with intent to carnally know her.  Description of offender - About 26 years of age, short and thin; has a delicate appearance; wears short black hair.  Is supposed to be in company with William Attenburgh (for whose arrest a warrant has been issued) and the girl Esther Ellis.  Complainant, Isabella Ellis, 6, Brougham-street, Glebe.


I'm imagining short hair for a woman in 1885 must have been quite odd.

To find where on earth Brougham Street Glebe was, I found a document online here.  

It tells me that 

Listed from 1859. Originally ran from Quarry St to Denman St 

(now St Johns Rd). 

Quarry St end was renamed Burton St. 

Centre section renamed Pyrmont Bridge Rd and Denman St end renamed Colbourne Avenue.




Esther must have survived the abduction because she went on to marry John Thomas Floyd in 1889.  


They were married in All Saints' Church Woollahra which looks a lovely place for a wedding.

John was a chemist from Callan Park which is no doubt another story for another post.

They had one son, Sydney, in 1890.  He died that same year.

John died in 1934 and Esther 20 years later.

Abductions.  Lunatic asylums.  That's thrilling enough for me.

Now off to bed...to dream...perchance to sleep.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wedding Wednesday

The Nave of St Andrew's Church Sydney
Courtesy of the Tyrrell Collection, Powerhouse Museum, Nave St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney c. 1900


Beatrice Ellis question mark
Beatrice Ellis?


Wedding Wednesday is a prompt suggested by Carol of Reflections from the Fence and in use by several genealogy bloggers.
Here I go again...madly guessing and researching the Ellis family.

So, tonight I'm just going to summarise what I have found out about Beatrice Ellis born 1883 in Ararat Victoria.  Beatrice was my 2nd Great Aunt on my mother's side of the family.

I haven't been able to find out terribly much about Beatrice's short life.

I did find an article in Trove as per below.

Excerpt from Sydney Morning Herald 24 February 1905 - notice that Beatrice Ellis appointed as additional hospital nurse at Wagga
Courtesy of National Library of Australia, Sydney Morning Herald, 24 February 1905

But then we find a day later the following notice in the Wagga Wagga Express...

Extract from Wagga Wagga Express saying Beatrice Ellis is unable to accept the position.
I wonder what was going on???  Beatrice's older sister Kate Emilia Ellis was living in Newtown and had troubles of her own - four children aged 5 and under with another on the way.  Perhaps Beatrice decided to stick around and help her or was it something else?

I'm not sure if we will ever know.  1905 was not a good year for Beatrice's older sister Kate, Her baby Walter died and she lost her own life later that year.

Five years later and happier times are reported in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Long extract from Sydney Morning Herald describing in detail the marriage of Dr Hugh R G Poate and Beatrice Louise Ellis including guests
Courtesy of National Library of Australia, Sydney Morning Herald 22 October 1910




I'm assuming we're talking St Andrew's Cathedral in the heart of Sydney as pictured at the beginning of this post.

I'm fascinated that the bride had a black opal and diamond ring as my mother chose the same ring for her engagement and I wear it today.  Spooky.

Beatrice married Dr Hugh Poate eho was described in an article in the Moree Gwydir Examiner and General Advertiser in June of the previous year as 


"a lad having any quantity of grit, which had shown itself in later yearsby the way he had worked and the many examinations he had passed."  

Dr Poate had recently obtained the Diploma of FRCS, England.  He later went on to become first Director of Surgery at Prince Henry Hospital.  You can read more about him here.


Here's a little bit about Baumann's cafe courtesy of the National Library of Australia, printed in 
The Newsletter:an Australian Paper for Australian People, 
Saturday 16 April 1904


Extract from The Newsletter describing a new cafe called Baumann's


However poor Beatrice was not to witness this.

On 6 November 1911 Beatrice Amy was born to Beatrice and Hugh.

Ten days later Beatrice died at their home Ritalynd , 21 The Avenue, Glebe.

Here's a bit more about 21 The Avenue.

This is how close we used to live to Beatrice's house when I was just a bit younger than her and studying at Sydney Uni.

Crazy huh?







In Beatrice's obituary in the Moree and Gwydir Examiner and General Advertiser we find the following:

Extract from Moree and Gwydir Examiner and General Advertiser with Obituary for Mrs Hugh Poate saying Beatrice was sister of Dr Ellis of Manilla and a nurse at Tamworth Hospital for some time.  Also that Hugh was son of Fred Poate, Surveyor General


So she had been a nurse at Tamworth Hospital.  Dr Poate re-married and had five more children. 


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Trove Tuesday

Courtesy of the National Library of Australia (Trove), The Argus, Tuesday 31 March 1868, p. 4





Following on from yesterday's post about the Ellis Family....
Tonight I found a death notice for Isobel Blanche Victoria Ellis who was the fourth child and first daughter of George and Isabella Ellis.  

George and Isabella went on to have 12 children altogether - four more girls - Esther Isobel, Kate Emelia, Isobel Mary and Beatrice Sarah Louisa.  Isobel Mary died in 1881.  Both Kate and Beatrice died as young women after having their own children.  Poor Isabella really only got to keep one of her daughters Esther, who lived to the ripe old age of about 86, outliving her mother and dying in 1954.

At the time of Isobel Blanche's death, George and Isabella were living at 54 Napier Street Fitzroy.  They would have had George aged about 6 and Charles aged about 4.  George and Isabella had lost baby Paul four years earlier and Esther was a baby or on the way.







Poor George and Isabella - what a long hard road having children can be.

What I find amusing though is how this family and my life keep intersecting in terms of place.  They lived in Glebe at one stage (so did I).  My first home after being born was in Hurstville, which is where they died.  Here is a map showing the route from my first home to their last home.








It's a bit sad that where they used to live is now all blocks of flats.

In the Sydney Morning Herald on 10 December 1919, their estate after their death was listed as follows:

BY ORDER OF THE EXECUTOR OF THE ESTATES OF THE LATE GEORGE AND ISABELLA ELLIS COTTAGES AT HURSTVILLE etc.

1. No. 25 St George's Parade Braeside - a well built WB cottage containing 6 rooms, kitchen, wash-house, bath etc Land 80 x 123 With well laid out garden ornamental shrubs and fruit trees.
2. (It's a bit hard to read the numbers here because of the print) 23 ?? St George's Parade Pepita - a WB cottage of three rooms Land 40 x 185?
3. 21 (??) St George's Parade - Ararat WB Cottage of three rooms Land 40 x 185
4. 19 (?) St George's Parade - Inverary WB Cottage of four rooms etc Land 40 x 183 (?)

These four cottages are all adjoining, well situated, good outlook and five minutes of the Station on the city side.

TITLE TORRENS - EASY TERMS

5. Mona Vale Pittwater two weekend sites convenient to ocean beach and Pittwater each containing one acre

6. Katoomba - Twynam Street Weekend Block of Half Acre

Raine and Horne will sell the above by Public Auction in the rooms 70 Pitt Street Sydney on Thursday 18 December 1919 at 11:30am.

Wow!  George and Isabella certainly managed their money very well with 12 children.  Much better than we have with two!!  I love how they have named the cottages after places they have lived e.g. Inverary, Ararat.  Not sure what Pepita is name after...something else to research I suppose.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Matrilineal Monday

A Family Group photo - an older couple in the middle surrounded by three sons on the left and a daughter and a son on the right with a daughter seated at their feet.
Ellis Family Group Photo

Today's blogging prompt comes from Jennifer Geraghty-Gorman, of ‘On a flesh and bone foundation': An Irish History'.

The photo above is a copy of a photo obtained by my parents from a "newly found" cousin last century just before my mother died.  I'm afraid I don't know who is whom.  So I shall just have a big fat guess and hope that my guessing will bring cousins out of the woodwork to tell me where I have gone wrong ;)  I believe it is a photo of the Ellis family or my mother's great-grandparents and their children.

Relationship Chart from Alex to Isabella Sinclair and George Ellis.


Here's a bit of a relationship chart so you can see who's who in the zoo.

That's me at the bottom - the living one.  Then my mother.  Then my maternal grandmother.  Then her mother.  And then her maternal grandmother.

So - in the photo...I think is Isabella and George Ellis sitting together in the middle.  Seated on the floor in front of them is (I think) Beatrice, their youngest daughter.  On the far right, I'm guessing is their eldest son, George.  And next to George is Esther his sister.  There were five other sons - Charles, Henry, James, Laurence and Albert.  It's a bit difficult to judge which of the five sons are the three in the photo.  

The next thing to think about is when it might have been taken.

Esther, or the lady on the right who I think is Esther, has what I would call - leg-of-mutton sleeves.  According to Lenore Frost who wrote Dating Family Photos 1859-1920, leg-of-mutton sleeves reached their maximum size 1895-1897.  This photo must have been taken before 1911 which is when Beatrice died shortly after her marriage and the birth of her daughter.  If it was taken in 1897, Beatrice would have been aged 14 (which looks about right).  Laurence would have been about 23 and Albert about 21.  James would and Henry would have been 27, Charles would have been 33.  George would have been 35.

Maybe in fact, we just have the four youngest sons in the photo - Albert, Laurence, James and Henry.  James and Henry are twins I think so maybe they are the two on the left.  Maybe that is Albert in the middle.  It's hard isn't it?  Cousins ?  Where are you?

George Birrell Straw, George and Isabella's eldest son, married Ada Barton in 1894 (NSW BDM Index).  He refers to his wife Ada in his Will (257062).  He describes himself as a Chemist.

Charles died in 1914 and I don't think, judging from the funeral notice, that he ever married.

Courtesy of the National Library of Australia

Esther married John T Floyd in 1889 and had baby Sydney in 1890. However little Sydney is shown in the NSW BDM Index as dying the same year.  I wondered if perhaps it was not Esther in the photo and George and his wife Ada instead.  Now I'm not so sure.

Albert eventually became a Dentist I think according to a Legal Notice in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1941.

Egbert Laurence seems to have become both an Accountant and a GP according to various notices.

I am not sure where the Ellis family was living in 1897.  At one stage they were living in Glebe and then they moved to Hurstville, both suburbs of Sydney in Australia.

I suspect the photo was taken in Hurstville. But it's a wild guess on my part.

So that's my contribution to Matrilineal Monday.  

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sepia Saturday 245: 13 September 2014


Alan at Sepia Saturday says:

Three men. One bottle of whiskey. A friendly argument. A woman watching from the sidelines. The photograph was taken in Alberta back in 1916. 100 years later, the discussions still go on and all too often - at our house at least - a decent bottle of single malt will help the participants underline a point or emphasise an argument. The difference is, I am pleased to say, that women no longer hide in the background. There are a bottle full of potential themes for Sepia Saturday participants - drinking, sharing, posing and lurking have been suggested.

Just a short one this week as I haven't really been able to find anything to match the theme.  This is the best I can do I'm afraid.


Three Men on a boat in boiler suits.  A bell is to their left.


There's three men and yes they are posing for the shot.  There's a lot of drink lurking behind them.   

The sepia photo above is from the McLoughlin collection.  I think it is part of the set of photos that I posted about before which seem to be set in Papua New Guinea.  The boat railings look the same don't they?  This is the Macdhui.






I have confirmation of this from Trove here.  Although I notice that the hull is painted all white in 1937 so I don't know if this is an earlier photo.  I suspect it is as my mother was born in 1935 and I would be surprised if my grandfather was away then.  Burns Philp owned the Macdhui.  I think I've mentioned before that my grandfather used to work for De Havilland.  The same collection that has photos of the Macdhu (the Chinnery Collection) also has photos of De Havilland planes in New Guinea so maybe my grandfather went up to New Guinea to work on some planes.  I don't know.


Courtesy of National Library of Australia, Tuesday 10 March 1931
I found what looks to be a really interesting book online called Malaguna Road The Papua and New Guinea Diaries of Sarah Chinnery edited and introduced by Kate Fortune which you can access here.  I'm reading the book as much as I can - there's a great index which does mention De Havilland and the Macdhui. The Diaries cover the time period c 1921-1937.  Interestingly the last chapter talks about the Eruptions of 1937 on Vulcan Island and Tavurvur. It makes for fascinating reading.  

If you want to get a sense of what it was like, check out this video from a couple of weeks ago at the same place!



I think the thing that surprised me most with this video was the noise.  I know it seems silly.  I knew that volcanoes have lava and ash but I didn't realise how noisy they are!!


I'm not really sure how I could research my grandfather's possible trip to PNG anymore.  I'm open to suggestions !

For more Sepia Saturday fun go here.