Monday, April 21, 2014

Sepia Saturday 224: 19 April 2014

Alan from Sepia Saturday says:

The other week I made a confession about my aversion to gardening and all things horticultural and I was challenged to include a possible gardening theme for a future Sepia Saturday. Well, here it is - for Sepia Saturday 224 (post your post on or around Saturday 19th April 2014) you can choose from gardens, gardening, watering cans, and men stood watching women do all the work. The title of this 1943 photograph, which appears on the US National Archives stream on Flickr, is "Frequent watering of the Victory Garden is necessary during the early stages of growth". You are, of course, able to interpret the theme image in any way you want.

Anyone who knows me well, GrandPurlBaa for example, knows that gardening is not my forte.  I appreciate a beautiful garden...really appreciate it but will do nothing to create my own.  Lazy sod that I am.

And yet I can't blame it on my genes.  Both sides of my family seem to have loved gardens and been quite good at creating them. 

10 December 1936 from State Library of Queensland

I live in Queensland, blessed with sunshine and a sub-tropical environment - great for growing lots of things but not necessarily bulbs, which I love.

Going through my family albums, I am reminded that most of the beautiful gardens that I admired in my youth were in the Blue Mountains.

I have posted this photo before but it bears repeating.  It's my lovely Gran Ethel Conner (nee Carrett) and her husband, Edwin Arthur James Conner,my paternal grandfather who I never knew but who I also understand was lots of fun.  They lived at Springwood in the Blue Mountains - 30 Valley Road to be precise.  The house was called Natoma or Mybush And yes I have blogged about it before in Sepia Saturday here.  They lived here from 1949 until 1960.

I assume this is taken out the back of the house.  

Here's another photo of Mybush.  I think that my grandmother and grandfather must have renovated the house because I also have this photo.  Unless Mybush was in one part of Valley Road and Natoma was in another.  Must ask my father.

which bears a remarkable resemblance to what is there today....

View Larger Map

Interestingly, all the pine trees at the front have been removed.

Now I am particularly intrigued by the name Natoma.  This is after my grandmother's childhood home at Parsley Bay in Sydney. 

Xmas card  1914

And yes, I realise that the card says Natona rather than Natoma but I think that's a typo.  

A search of Trove reveals that this was up for auction in 1951 and described as being 61 Fitzwilliam Road Vaucluse, though we always knew it as Parsley Bay.

View Larger Map

It now seems to be called appropriately Le Mer.  

So why call your home Natoma?  I've googled Natoma (yes, lazy I know) and it seems to be an opera from 1911, a motorboat from the US Navy from 1917 to 1919 and of course there is Natoma in Kansas and Lake Natoma in Sacramento, California.  The opera was a bit of a flop as far as I can tell.  Although I do feel obliged to include a photo of the soprano who played the part of Natoma as her surname does seem to link with this week's theme.

Mary Garden as Natoma in Victor Herbert's "Natoma" Photo was published in the 1909 U.S. book "Heart Songs", so no later than that year.
But there is a bit of me that hangs on to the Natoma based in California.  I understand that my grandmother's father George Henry Charles Carrett, who was a builder, went to the U.S. in 1906 after the earthquake to help rebuild San Francisco.  

Here's a picture of Natoma Street in San Francisco after the quake and if you want to see more of the devastation on Natoma Street, check out Stanford University's website here.  Maybe my great-grandfather wanted to commemorate his work in Natoma Street??? I'm happy for others to volunteer opinions.

So that's one garden story.

Here's another photo from the other side of the family.

Kit and Barbara 
My mother, Barbara, is holding a rake so I'm taking that as a sign that she was gardening at her Aunt's place at Newcastle.

My mother always put a lot of work into her gardens and Lord knows, they were often bleak enough to begin with.

This is a very blurred photograph of 3 Nungara Street Aranda when we were building there in the late 1960s.  That's my mother on the left and my grandmother on the right.  My grandmother's stance says it all I think..."Oh dear, there's work to be done".

3 Nungara Street

And here it is, in all its glory...finished...well the building that the gardening had to start...

3 Nungara Street Aranda, Canberra

Here is my father making a start on the front garden....and here's me walking out the front door with my skipping rope, determined to have or no garden.

Here are some more photos of my mother continuing her gardening endeavours - this time in Leura in the Blue Mountains.

Barbara digging at 11 St George's Road Leura c1984

Barbara watering

Barbara cutting a path

No doubt about it.  She was a hard worker and a saint.

I am reminded of a quote from John Williams Stoner which I read for the first time this week....and which I can heartily recommend.

"Now they were in the earth to which they had given their lives; and slowly, year by year, the earth would take them."

A bit sobering but see what others have made of this week's theme go here.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Albury c1956

I wasn't quite sure where this photo was taken but now I think it is Monument Hill Albury after seeing Sharon's photos on Strong Foundations....what do you think?

Sepia Saturday 223;12 April 2014

Alan from Sepia Saturday says:

Why have one photograph when you can have a group of four? You are, of course, free to interpret this week's prompt photograph in whichever way you want, but one possible approach would be a grouping of four old photographs. There are other potential interpretations within this 1919 group of Smithton, Tasmania - indeed there are probably four times as many possible themes as normal. The original image comes from the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office collection on Flickr Commons. Whatever your interpretation, just post your post on or around Saturday 12 April 2014 

What to do?  Be completely egocentric...yes, that's entertaining.....well, I hope so....

Me in Edinburgh.......we were living in rented accommodation at the time.  No personal effects really.  Just the clothes we stood up in, as it were...I'm wearing jodhpurs (my Mother had a thing for jodhpurs) and little riding boots.  We were nowhere near horses I might add.  But sturdy attire for an energetic toddler I imagine. Isn't the spelling of jodhpurs interesting?  Where does it come from I wonder....

Edinburgh c. 1963

And about five years later at 3 Nungara Street, Canberra.

Obviously I am an only child with a doting parent or two who had the time and the leisure to take the photos.

Please note the white lace stockings....they were de rigeur in the 60s.  My mother would have made that dress out of viyella.  Do you remember viyella?  I think it is smocked too.  She was a great seamstress.  And the cat is one of three we had at the time...good old Yum Yum.  I do like a good black cat.

We were living in our own house by then.  My father designed it.  I had my own bedroom with built-in desk and bookcase - completely spoiled and very lucky.  Gran gave us her old lounge for the living room which we made do with for a few years.  But I still had to do the washing up and let the cat out.  So not completely spoiled....

So that's my contribution.  Self-centred I know but it was the best of a bad bunch.  

For more takes on the group or gang of four head over here....

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday Memo

As I travel down the genealogical or family history highway, I find myself wishing I could post more on my blog.

Life seems to be zooming by.  I chose the above image from Flickr because it also represents how I'm feeling at the moment vision-wise i.e. a bit blurry.  I purchased a new set of glasses this week and I'm trying to get used to them.  They are those kind that have the different types of lenses in them  - you know the kind - you have to tilt your head up to read stuff on a screen or in a book - and then tilt down to look long distance.  It's driving me a bit mad but I'm persevering.  

Anyway I just wanted to note a few things because I have this internal dialogue with myself about what I should be doing but never actually get round to doing it.  So this is an attempt to step outside my head and put down some notes.  I hope they are useful in some way to you too.

Advertising related to Marquis de Rays' La Nouvelle France

First off, I caught up with a friend of a friend on the weekend and was very impressed with his latest project (one of many I understand).  I saw Steve post something on Facebook last week (See! Social Media works!) and couldn't wait to see this work in real life on Saturday when we had dinner with our mutual friend GrandPurlBaa.   Steve gave me a sneak preview of an exhibition that will be launched this Sunday at the New Italy Museum in Northern NSW.  Steve and his brother and his nephew have all been working together on this great presentation of their family history.  They are descended from one of the Italian families that:

"were beguiled by the Marquis de Rays to purchase homes and fertile land in a phantom paradise of the Pacific named La Nouvelle France (an imaginary kingdom in the Bismarck Archipelago).

Cleverly worded advertisements spoke of sunshine, lush vegetation and beaches and the promise of freedom, not living under dictatorship. Despite warnings of the unsuitability of the proposed land and the Royal Investigation Bureau in Milan issuing a direction that no passport would be issued to any Italian participating in the scheme 50 families boarded the “India” in Barcelona in July 1880 (Niau, 1935). They were the third expedition to leave for the shores of Port Breton and were reassured with claims that two shipments of other people from elsewhere in Europe were already settled." (from the New Italy Museum website)

It's a fantastic effort.  

To find out more, read his blog here.

What else?  Well we've been kind of swamped at QFHS with research requests.  We received 14 last month.  Thank goodness we've got a team and it's not just one person who has to deal with the inquiries or it would be more than a full-time job.  I am continuously impressed by my colleagues on our team; their enthusiasm, their perseverance and their knowledge.  And of course I am also really impressed by just how many volunteers it takes to keep our Society running.  For starters there are over 70 members who volunteer as library assistants to keep our library open.  Then there are the hard working Committee members and other members who volunteer to do a myriad of other tasks from running the bookshop, editing and publishing our journal, organizing the indexing of material and publishing CDs, organizing and running special interest groups, educational workshops and the like..the list goes on.  A special shout out to everyone who is actively involved with their Society in some way.  You rock!

I have been really challenged in my research efforts this month on behalf of a member of QFHS.   I don't have any German ancestors in my family tree so it's new territory for me.  I tend to defer to the better judgement of fellow members in the QFHS who head up the Central European Group.  And they have made some excellent suggestions.
However this member is keen to travel to Germany in a couple of months and find out what she can about her ancestry.  In my endeavours on her behalf I have relied heavily on the fabulous Wiki on Family Search particularly this article.  If you haven't ever used the Family Search wiki, you really should explore it here.  Part of my reluctance to head down this path is that I don't speak German.  But I took the plunge and emailed one of the societies I found on the English...and I got a response very quickly.  Hoorah!  I also viewed the FGS webinar by Jen Baldwin's on using Twitter to "connect, engage and educate in Genealogy" so I'll let you know how I go with my new engagement in that quarter.

Last month I was delighted to see Pharos Tutors take the plunge and join the blogosphere with their new blog.  Helen Osborn launched into the discussion broaching the question "Who are the serious genealogists?"

These characteristics were posed as a measure of your seriousness as a genealogist:

Interested in finding out more than just names and dates
Talks of the addictive nature of genealogy
Does not follow just one ancestral line or surname
Visits record offices in person
Spends money engaging others to help their research
Has more than one website subscription
Member  of a family history society
Volunteers their time to genealogy
Runs a website/blog devoted to genealogy
Writes about their research, or writes up their research
Has a small library of books on genealogy
Wants to improve their research methods
Recognises the need to find out about more obscure sources
Takes courses to improve their knowledge
Wants to turn professional or is already professional
Wants to work to an agreed standard

What do you think? Can you tick the box next to all of these?  Which would you like to tick?  John D Reid continues the discussion on his blog here.

So what could you put on your To Do list this month if you lived in Brisbane, Queensland and considered yourself a serious genealogist/family historian????  Here are some ideas....

Do a walking tour of a suburb. Check out some here , here and here.

Register for a training course this Friday at QFHS on the Education Department and School Records for the Family Historian. 

Attend a local history society meeting such as the Kenmore and District Historical Society meeting on Thursday 17 April where Deb Drummond will talk about her book "Lingering Doubts" about Brisbane's Arcade Murder in 1947.

Spend a night at the John Oxley Library on Tuesday 22 April finding out what it was like on the homefront during the Great War.

Register for one of the many free genealogy events at Moreton Bay Region Library service such as Shipping Records Made Easy at the end of the month at Arana Hills Library.

So much to do, so little time.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sepia Saturday 222: 5 April 2014

Alan on Sepia Saturday says:

Danger is an odd thing. In our moments of sanity we all steer well clear of danger, but in those moments of exuberant insanity, we sometimes search it out in order to experience the thrill of the challenge. Why else would you get people sky-diving or sailing blindfold across the Pacific Ocean or cultivating nettles? But one man or woman's danger is another man's relaxing lunchtime drink. Here is a photograph from the Dextra photostream on Flickr Commons which I would really like to tell you more about but I am constrained by my lack of - I suspect - Norwegian. Given the international flavour of the Sepia Brotherhood (Sisterhood), I am sure someone will let me have a translation of the  Flickr description. It doesn't really matter because we are concerned with images rather than words and what this image says to me is danger. So your challenge this week is to somehow link an old photograph with the concept of danger (or anything else you can find in the picture) - and, as usual, the links may be as direct or as obtuse as you wish. Post the image on or around Saturday 5th April 2014.

A couple of images come to mind when we explore the theme of danger on Sepia Saturday. 

 We don't really have any daredevils as such in our family.  If anything we are on the really conservative side when it comes to risking life and limb.  We don't do extreme sports e.g. diving, abseiling, bungee jumping, potholing etc.  I've been skiing....once and survived without injury.  I used to sail.  That can be quite exciting in a small boat.  My daughter loves horse riding and I think that can be quite dangerous.  I used to have my heart in my mouth quite a bit watching her jumping et al but once again we survived that.  Going to the beach and swimming in the surf is about as dangerous as I get - and that seems to be more infrequent the older I get. 

So, my experience is that danger tends to come upon you without you necessarily seeking it out.  This photo was in my grandfather's collection.  Unfortunately he is no longer with us so I can't ask him about it.

Train wreck from the collection of Thomas J McLoughlin

 It looks like a goods train has completely come off the track doesn't it?

When I searched Picture Queensland's index under "Danger", I came up with all sorts of photos of Point Danger of course.

View Larger Map

But there were a few other photos that gave me pause for thought.

Family group in front of their home, Beenleigh district, ca. 1872 photographer William Boag courtesy of State Library of Queensland Picture Queensland collection
The curator remarks in their notes on this photo: The verandah also has no surrounding railing or guard-rail to protect its users from a fall - surely a danger given that this family had so many small children.

Ah yes, the joys of parenting.  I remember moving into a new home with a baby and a toddler.  The first job for my husband and my brother-in-law was to build a fence to stop the babies escaping from the back yard into the front yard and out onto the street.

As a child, I no doubt led my parents and their friends a merry dance as I explored my I am with Joan exploring the delights of ponds.

Joan and Alex pond Edinburgh

This is from a thumb nail sized print so I apologise for the quality.

Here is another one of me gaily tripping down some stairs in Edinburgh...which look mighty perilous to me now.

Alex staircase Edinburgh - Trinity Road?

In the end, I survived ponds and staircases.  My biggest claim to accident fame was when we visited my Great Aunt Win in Portsmouth.

Win and Charles at Portsmouth

Isn't she sweet?  Here is their lovely welcoming lounge and.....

Cooks lounge Portsmouth

the fireplace into which I fell and burned my hand.  Thankfully I have no memory of the incident but apparently I carried on a bit to the extent they had to take me to hospital...sigh...parenting....

Danger, you can look for it but sometimes it just comes to you unasked.

Here is a photo of the taxi my husband's father used to drive ..isn't it gorgeous ?

Regent Taxi Southport

But aren't we glad he was driving this cab and not the one Athol McCowan was driving on the night of Thursday 22 May 1952 as per this article?

Courier Mail 24 May 1952 
Otherwise Robert Daw Senior might never have had Robert Daw Jnr and we might never have met!

So there are my musings on danger.  Living is dangerous.  No one gets out of here alive.  That's a fact.

To conclude, here's my favourite "Danger!" soundbite.  For more dangerous escapades go here.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sepia Saturday 221: 29 March 2014

Alan from Sepia Saturday says:

When I previewed this Sepia theme image a few weeks ago I suggested "floods, water, weather, floating cars and sepia skies" as possible interpretations. Looking back at this list now, I have to say that I, for one, am heartily sick of the first four on the list and I suspect the last suggestion is somewhat inaccurate. Those aren't sepia skies they are a kind of faded pink skies. But here at Sepia Saturday there is no such thing as a mistake, merely a new potential interpretation. So you can add to the list strange tints and colours in old photographs. I chose this particular photograph for a theme because it comes from a new contributor to Flickr Commons - the Provincial Archives of Alberta, Canada. Lovers of old photographs everywhere should celebrate every time museums, archives and galleries add their digitised image collection to Flickr for the free enjoyment of everyone rather that burying them within a barbed-wire corset of copyright laws. The photograph shows a barge moving cars to dry land during the waterways floods of 1936. Whatever your interpretation of the image all you have to do is to post a post on or around Saturday  29 March 2014.

Brisbane is famous for floods.  When I started work at the ABC many years ago one of the first things that was pointed out to me as a newbie was the flood-line marked on the wall downstairs near the film library from the January 1974 flood.  It was marked in gaffer or duct tape and seemed amazing but unreal to a naive 21 year old.  The studios then were on the banks of the Brisbane river at Toowong.  I was to witness our next big flood in Brisbane along with many others only three years ago in 2011.  I understand the flood in 1893 was worse than 1974 or 2011.  In preparation for today's post, I looked at photos from the Picture Queensland site. I'm not sure that the site is working properly today because I seemed to have trouble locating copyright information so I decided not to use any of the 1500 images that you can discover there.

Instead I thought I would give you some images from my husband's family archives.  Not very many but they took me on an interesting trip down our nation's memory lane.

Slide 12

I wish I could tell you where this was taken.  I suspect somewhere in Victoria.  I know that Robert's parents went on a trip to Melbourne in about 1956.  

Slide 14

This slide seems to have the same kinds of clouds doesn't it?  So maybe someone recognises that dam and can tell me where it is.  I'm thinking it's the Hume Weir near Albury looking at other photos on the web like this one.  Or these on Trove.

View Larger Map

Anyway, when I googled flooding Victoria 1956 I found this website which has some great footage and oral histories of the flooding of the Murray and Darling Rivers in 1956.

This next slide is part of the same collection and I suspect taken at about the same time.  It's not really to do with flooding but it does have a barge.

I don't know what Robert's father was doing at this particular time but it seemed to involve going to Fraser Island I think and helping on a job there.  This was how they got there.  I think those shorts look very WW2 army surplus don't they?  Here's another one from the time when 4 wheel drives were driven in 4 wheel drive country and not the burbs...

View Larger Map

So not many photos today but plenty of food for thought and further enquiry.  For more images of flooding et al....head over here.


I've taken some photos of the slides from which the first photos were taken in an attempt to date them.

These websites here and here indicate that they date from 1950-1955 but I'm happy to stand corrected if someone has better information.

This is what they look like through the slide viewer....

In the process of sorting them and trying to work out the sequence of them, I found one of a lighthouse.  I'm not sure if it will help or not but here is the image of the slide for you.  Do you recognise this lighthouse?

Slide 13

Well at least I think it's a lighthouse.  What do you think it is?  It may help us place the first slide showing a flood somewhere.

Another slide in the set is this one:

Slide 11

The Fraser Island slides probably date from 1955 - 59 as they have "Processed by Kodak" written on the mounts as well.  Time to ring Aunt Alice now and ask her for more information.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sepia Saturday 220: 22 March 2014

Alan from Sepia Saturday says:

Our sepia friend Postcardy suggested statues and monuments as a theme for this week and also pointed us in the direction of this 1914 photograph of the Jefferson Statue in Columbia (which is taken from the Library of Congress collection on Flickr Commons). Photographers of all ages and all times have always been drawn to statues : there is nothing like a mounted equestrian hero or a stone-clad voluptuous heroine to get the camera shutters clicking. So for Sepia Saturday 220 (post your posts on or around Saturday 22 March 2014) all you have to do is to highlight an old photograph which in any convoluted way fits in with the theme image and tell us a little about it. Post your post, link your link, visit your visitors and help make Sepia Saturday a monument to blogging nostalgia.

Statues...I love 'em.  Brisbane's got quite a few when you think about it.  We got all excited about them during World Expo '88 and the ones from Expo are scattered throughout the city and Queensland now delighting tourists and resident alike.  Have a squizz here if you're interested.

City workers might recline and admire Queen Victoria's statue in Queen's Park or the one of TJ Ryan our 19th Premier and ponder on his early demise.  I live in the Federal seat of Ryan named after him.

From State Library of Queensland - View across Queen's Park. Palm trees, trimmed lawns, and flower beds set the scene for a relaxing moment in the park. The old Executive Building stands on the left with a statue of Queen Victoria, first unveiled by Lord Chelmsford in 1906, in front of it. Field guns were located in the park either side of the Queen Victoria memorial, commemorating Queensland's participation in the South African War of 1899-1902. Motor cars can be seen parked along George Street.

Here's a picture of the day the statue of Queen Victoria was unveiled.  
Goodness!  They were pretty excited then too.

From State Library of Queensland

And again in 1925 when they unveiled the one of TJ Ryan.  I think they must have moved the statue since if you look at where it's located now on Google Maps.

State Library of Queensland - Crowd gathers at the unveiling of a statue of T. J. Ryan at Queens Garden in Brisbane, 1925 

View Larger Map

There's lots of sculpture to see now at our beautiful Gallery of Modern Art including an elephant standing on its head here....and an exhibition of Cia Guo Qiang's work which I have yet to see but of which I am hearing rave reviews.  You can read more about it here.

When I was ten we travelled to Europe where there was lots....and lots of sculpture.

It is important to record what a dag I have been in my life...I see with shame that I am wearing socks with sandals...sigh.  The ignominy will never end.

The statue above reminds me of many hours in Latin trying to translate Ovid's Cupid and Psyche.  But I think it is actually a photo of Berninis sculpture of Apollo and Daphne.

Statues galore...I'm ashamed that I can't name them.

So we were fasincated with things classical then.  What an amazing place.

Here are some snaps I found of more statues from my grandfather's collection.  I think they're rather sweet.  And to think that I was only in the same place a couple of weekends ago.  Boy the trees have grown.

Tom McLoughlin at the Archibald Fountain Hyde Park, Sydney c. 1930s

If you look at the photo of Tom, you can see the Anzac Memorial in the background there.  Here is another photo of it at about the same time.  To check out what it looks like today go here.

It is a sculpture (by Sicard) of Apollo with Diana to the left and Theseus to the right.

Kit McLoughlin at the Archibald Fountain Hyde Park Sydney

This is written on the back of Kit's photo.

Perhaps the most loved photo in our family of a sculpture is this one of my mother aged 4 and 1/2 precisely on the lioness statue in the Botanic Gardens, Sydney.

Barbara McLoughlin c 1939

If you want to find the lions, they are Number 18 on this map here.

Here are some later photos of my mother at Ashfield Park near the war memorial.

Who remembers playing "Statues" when they were a kid.? Great game.  

For more statues and memorial head over here.