Sepia Saturday (or Tuesday): Kathmandu tales

Sepia Saturday 250Funny how things turn out isn’t it? All along my plan was to write my Sepia Saturday post on Kathmandu…after all my photos fitted the theme perfectly. Then I went off the idea, and life got in the way as I worked on photo books of our last holiday.

Vegetable and fruit sellars in a Kathmandu street.

Vegetable and fruit sellars in a Kathmandu street.

The universe had other plans though, because in my virtual mail box today was an unexpected Random Act of Kindness. Robert had retouched my old, faded Kathmandu photos so they were now punchy with colour just as they were back in the day. To say I was surprised and delighted was an understatement! So of course now I have to use them even if it is now Sepia Tuesday, but then they’re not really sepia anymore either. If you want to see what an amazing difference Robert’s skills have wrought, have a look at an old post I did on my Tropical Territory blog.

Although my children know the story of our trip to Kathmandu this seems an opportunity to preserve it for posterity.

We were living in Port Moresby in the 1970s when my colleague/boss moved to Kathmandu where her husband had gained a posting in charge of the electrical division of Kathmandu airport. Both Mr Cassmob and I had always had a virtual interest in India, Nepal and Mt Everest so it was very tempting when we were genuinely invited to come for a visit. Despite the temptation, I was adamant we couldn’t go because the children were only six and four and, I thought, vulnerable to all the potential illnesses.

One of the scenes when you wish you knew what was happening.

One of the scenes when you wish you knew what was happening.

In Papua New Guinea, as part of our employment conditions we got return airfares every two years to Australia (in our case Melbourne where my husband came from). Since it cost almost as much to spend months in Australia as it did to travel overseas, you might well guess which option we took.

So it was that in late 1976/early 1977 we were planning our next leave with a trip to Europe and the UK. Of course there was no internet, and no option for online bookings, so off to the travel agent in town we toddled.

Part way through the process DD2 took off up the street for a walkabout, with Mum in hot pursuit. We returned to hear “that’s …..Heathrow to Delhi, Delhi to Kathmandu, Kathmandu-Bangkok, Bangkok-Singapore, Singapore-Moresby”. Say what? Did she say Kathmandu? Indeed she did… the wily one had taken the chance of my disappearance to sneak in the diversion via Kathmandu!

One of our favourite photos of Kathmandu - what were they looking at?

One of our favourite photos of Kathmandu – what were they looking at?

And so we found ourselves landing in Kathmandu amidst a cracking electrical storm surrounded by mountains and being rather grateful for our friend’s role in ensuring the airport’s electrics were up to par.

We had a great time staying with them, being guided round the streets and byways of Kathmandu. So much to see and even by comparison with Papua New Guinea, so much poverty and illnesses like leprosy. It’s a bit daunting seeing people missing body parts like noses, fingers etc but the kids mostly took it all in their stride. They even coped with the cows’ “right of way” in all matters…well most of the time. They were even unfazed by witnessing a cremation ceremony on the banks of the river….I was ambivalent but my friend reckoned they’d be okay and they were. The Nepali people were so friendly and less importuning than we’d experienced in Delhi as well, so that helped our appreciation of the place too.

Tinsmiths or silversmiths working their craft.

Tinsmiths or silversmiths working their craft.

One day we were lucky enough to go for a drive with our friend up into the mountains while he completed some work. We drove through villages where the road was covered in grain and the passing vehicles threshed it as they drove over. We drove on steep roads with fierce drops on the edge of the road – much scarier than parts of the Highlands Highway in PNG. I remember being asked how close to the edge we were – not the best question for a person with a fear of heights, and especially edges. Sadly, when we went to take the film out of the camera that day we’d had a blooper – no film! Most distressing I can tell you.

We even managed an excursion flight out to Mount Everest which was a super thrill for all of us, and the kids still have their certificates from the flight. We were also lucky we were staying with our friends because it meant the water was triple filtered and the fruit and vegetables always cleaned in Condy’s-crystalled-water. Almost needless to say the kids didn’t get sick…that privilege was left for their mother. As we took that Kathmandu-Bangkok leg I was violently ill …hardly surprising I’ve avoided Bangkok airport ever since.

Sari making must be a time-consuming task, requiring lots of patience.

Sari making must be a time-consuming task, requiring lots of patience.

We duly arrived in Singapore and were met by family members of one of Mr Cassmob’s work colleagues. They really couldn’t do enough for us, guiding us around town and taking us out for special meals at places we’d never have found…though they were surprised we managed to get to Sentosa Island on our own <smile>.  And then, just as the piggy bank was nearing the bottom of its resources, along came the Australian baggage handler’s strike and the cessation of flights…but that’s a story for another day, along with the theft in Amsterdam of Mr Cassmob’s passport with all its visas, and his share of the money.

Thanks Robert for this wonderful and surprising Act of Kindness!

Why not pop over and see how other Sepians interpreted this week’s image?

Shall we have goat for dinner?

Shall we have goat for dinner?

 

Kiva Genealogists for Families anniversary

kiva_logoQuite a few of us are celebrating our third anniversary as supporters of Kiva through the Genealogists for Families (GFF) team initiated by well-respected researcher and Queensland genealogy guru, Judy Webster back in 2011. Not long afterwards GFF won a 2011 Geneablog Award for best new community project.

Just the other day I got an automated email message congratulating me for my commitment to changing lives around the world. That sounds all very important and self-congratulatory, but it goes to the heart of why we’re involved with Kiva and GFF.

Kiva celebration

I believe each and every one of us cares about our families and their well-being. In some countries, more than others, it’s a struggle to put food on the table every day, to have a toilet of any sort, or fresh running water. When we visited Africa last year I heard of people, living in reasonable housing, who had to walk kilometres every day just to get water for their home. Just imagine the weight of that water, and the time and energy expended in getting it home!

As we drove around Nairobi and saw the slums, and the little shops which kept people afloat financially, I came to appreciate more fully just how challenging life is for many families. And yet, we’d see so many smiles and positive attitudes: workmen beside the road making furniture, small stalls selling flowers or plants, small clothes and produce shops, and people walking miles to get to work. Previously I’d been judgemental about those asking for loans for beauty or hair products but when you could see how the women always had their hair braided etc, I came to realise this was an important aspect for those with jobs which needed them to look “just-so”.

Some of the gorgeous roses from a nearby flower stall in Nairobi.

Some of the gorgeous roses from a nearby flower stall in Nairobi.

Also along the way I actually saw some micro-finance offices among the shops, confirming that this was a practical way of obtaining loans for those who can’t access conventional bank loans. You can read how I’ve explained Genealogists for Families here and this new video by Kiva captures the essence of what we’re trying to do.

So yes, I’m proud to be helping to make a difference to other families along with nearly 300 genimates in Genealogists for Families. Together we’ve lent over $120,000 in loans.

Why not join us and help make a difference to other families’ lives?

Let’s get social @AFFHO2015

Congress 2015Some of you may be bewildered by all the references to AFFHO in relation to the Canberra Congress 2015. It’s simple really as AFFHO is the umbrella organisation overarching all the triennial genealogy congresses Down Under. The acronym stands for the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations Inc. You’ll be hearing lots more about Congress 2015 in the coming months and if you’re on social media you’ll find news about Congress under the hashtag #AFFHO.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Other useful links to follow on Twitter are:

Congress 2015                  @AFFHO2015

Jill Ball (GeniAus)             @Geniaus (official blogger)

Shauna Hicks                    @HicksShauna (official blogger)

Pauleen Cass                     @cassmob (official blogger)

You’ll also find each of the official bloggers on Google+ under their names and using the hashtag #AFFHO.

There are two other ways you can check out what’s happening in regard to Congress via the official Facebook page, which includes tips for tag-along partners, and also on Geniaus’s dedicated blog page AFFHO which is collating all the #AFFHO tweets.

I’m assuming you’ve already signed up for the Congress 2015 newsletter which are also available online.

Last week I launched my first foray into a newsletter published using paper.li. I called it the AFFHO Congress 2015 Weekly and it will be published each week on Friday evening. All going well it will draw together all stories relating to Congress but also general news and stories from the Congress sponsors and the speakers. If you have any tips on how to make it more relevant do please let me know via email (on the contact page) or in a comment.

SOCIAL FACE-TO-FACE

people funWith all our chatter about blogs and social media it’s important not to forget that one of the big attractions of Congress is the chance to meet with fellow genealogists, just get to know them, and also to learn tips and tricks about how they do their research. Oh the joy in days of nothing but genealogy!

The geneabloggers will have little trouble recognising their genimates having been reading each other’s posts for ages, not to mention that we’ll be wearing the blogger beads promised by Geniaus. Judging on my experience on the Unlock the Past cruise earlier this year, the problem there will be keeping us quiet!

However, others don’t have a semi-automatic entrée to the formal and informal social gatherings at Congress. People may be members of family history societies and yet for various reasons not know many other members, or in fact their mates may not be attending congress (gasp!)group people

So it’s up to us to make others welcome in our groups, introduce ourselves and those we’re chatting with, which will help make new people comfortable entering our chatter-groups. This is a win-win for everyone as we expand our networks by being inclusive, and seriously if you’ve ever been a wallflower at a function or a dance, wouldn’t you want to ensure others enjoy Congress as much as you do? “Adopt a friend” sounds patronising but it’s really about genea-kindness and being welcoming. So let’s all go into Congress committing to meeting others, inviting them into our groups and generally spreading the joy of genealogy.

Here’s to a great Congress 2015, meeting old friends and making new ones!

Men of the Queensland Bush: Sepia Saturday 249

Sepia Saturday 249This week’s Sepia Saturday is about the horse, the cart and the drivers. While my Denis Gavin from Kildare and Dublin worked as a bullocky out west when he first arrived in Queensland I have no photos of him, or his bullock dray. Many of my ancestors also rode the iron rails but today’s photo is of none of these.

This photo is one I included in my Kunkel family history. It was given to me by Dad’s cousin and shows a bunch of dodgy looking blokes hanging around the 20th century cart and horse…a truck. I know my grandfather’s brothers worked as carriers but the cousin couldn’t identify which was her father, Matthew David John (John) Kunkel. If I was guessing I’d say it was the bloke on the front right, and strangely she wasn’t sure…or perhaps he was the photographer. Actually I’d have expected John’s brother Ken to have been with him as they were very close.qld mafiosi men incl john kunkel

But isn’t it a great photo?! All dressed in their Driza-bones and wearing hats with character. The front row are crouched in the typical bushie pose that Dad always took up when waiting for something. Time was I could do it too, but sadly I’m no longer that flexible or agile. The pipes remind me of my grandad who would sit on the back steps of their house tapping the tobacco out, refilling the pipe then having a quiet smoke, looking over the back yard.

The Darling Downs is the lime green area on the bottom right.

The Darling Downs is the lime green area on the bottom right.

While these men would have probably given anyone in need a hand, you can’t help feeling you wouldn’t want to meet them on a dark night. I’d place a good bet too that many, if not all of them, were returned service men from World War I. If you recognise anyone in this group, please do comment as I’d love to know about it.

It looks to me like a silo behind the men, which would fit with it likely being taken on the Darling Downs. To the right is a typical old Queenslander house, on stilts, with its two tanks and no doubt a slow combustion stove to cope with the chilly weather typical of winter on the Downs.

Gallop over to see how other Sepians transported themselves this week.

One Lovely Blog: Paying it Forward

one-lovely-blogI mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’d been nominated for the One Lovely Blog award by Deb from A Pocket Full of Family Memories, and Alona from Lone Tester. While I’ve been away I’ve again been awarded the blog by Niki Marie of My People in History and Helen Smith from who kindly mentioned my 2012 Beyond the Internet series. It’s such a privilege when readers enjoy what we’ve written and think of us when awards are being handed out. Thank you to Deb, Alona, Niki Marie and Helen!

In my previous response I alluded to a long discussion that had gone on some years ago and which I’d had on my blog tabs until recently regarding my approach to awards, and the rationale behind it. Instead of nominating other blogs I referred my readers to the list of some of the blogs I like to read (I have hundreds in my Feedly reader).

In retrospect this seemed a bit curmudgeonly so with these new nominations I decided to add a list of blogs I enjoy, some of which I’ve only just discovered; some I read all the time and love; and some which aren’t even about family history (gasp!). I know that at least some of these blogs don’t accept awards and so feel free to step off the award merry-go-round. However others may like to claim their award and carry it forward…entirely up to each of you.   I think that’s called having a dollar each way…For those who wish to participate here are the rules:

  • Thank the person that nominated you and link back to that blog.
  • Share seven things about yourself – see below.
  • Nominate 15 bloggers you admire –or as many as you can think of!.
  • Contact your bloggers to let them know you’ve tagged them for the One Lovely Blog Award

I hope you enjoy the reading opportunities – I think each of these blogs is One Lovely Blog irrespective of whether they take up the award. I hope you make some new discoveries among them.

By the Bremer (for those of us with Ipswich, Qld ancestry)

The Back Fence of Genealogy (Crissouli)

Bound for Australia

The Genealogy Bug (Sherie)

Family History Fun (Sue)

Library Currants

A Silver Voice from Ireland (Angela)

My Past Whispers (Lauren)

Tree of Me (Sharon)

Derek’s Den (Derek is new to family history, why not welcome him)

Essex Voices Past (Kate)

Wrote by Rote (Arlee of A to Z Challenge fame writes about memoirs)

Destination Unknown (fabulous travel photos by Kellie)

Honest History

Becoming Prue (Prue)

Stepping out of Pain

On a Flesh and Bone Foundation (Jennifer)

Shaking the Tree

Deb Gould

In the Footsteps of My Ancestors (Tanya)

The Empire Called and I Answered (Lenore)(Do explore the list of volunteers from Essington and Flemington)

Happy Reading!

Home again, Home again

yellow flowersOnce again Qantas has delivered me safely home and what a pleasure it is to be here after multiple trips to Brisbane in the past few months. As enjoyable as it is to see my friends down there, including meeting once-virtual friends, it’s so nice to be home. Mr Cassmob has almost forgotten what I look like and the cat has turned very sooky. Apart from being the essence of kindness and generally a very good man, Mr Cassmob had the house looking lovely, a bunch of flowers on the table, and a lovely meal prepared…and no, I’m not willing to trade him <smile>. I really am spoiled and I send up thanks to my in-laws for instilling the love of tidiness, order, cooking and flowers! Ironic isn’t it, given he grew up with house staff in Papua New Guinea?! As a special kindness my body decided to stop holding the cold virus at bay and let me have a couple of quiet days in bed…how generous! The only other down side to being home is the onset of the Build Up here in the Top End with the dreaded highs of humidity…ugh!

IMG_0567

The Darwin-Brisbane flight arrives just on dusk so we often see wonderful sunsets, or views over the city, even if it requires some wriggling in the seat.

QFHS Presentation: Hospital Records

MP900314367On Saturday last I presented at the Queensland Family History Society on Hospital Records. I’d like to thank them for the opportunity to be one of their speakers. For those who attended, my slide-show can be found on this blog under Presentations. Back in the dim and distant past I also wrote about them on this blog, in my Beyond the Internet series 2012.

Genealogy Rockstar Shauna Hicks presented on Asylums and Prisons and you can also find her slide shows on her webpage…you can learn heaps from them. She’s got lots of other good stuff on that page too.

Fellow blogger, Alex aka Family Tree Frog, who I was delighted to meet on Saturday, has done a review here.

Welcome

welcome matI’ve noticed while I’ve been gadding around that quite a few people have been signing up to read my blogs on email, and possibly also via blog feeds like Feedly. I’d like to thank each and every one of my readers, new and “old”, for your support.  It’s great to know that others enjoy what I write, and occasionally learn a little as well…I know I do from reading other’s blogs. If you have time, leave a comment when the mood takes you…just click in the bubble at the top or on the comments at the bottom of each post. Or just let me know what your research interests are, or topics you might like discussed….you just never know who’s out there reading…there’s been a few “matches” made through the comments alone.

Early Birds Catch the Worm: Congress 2015

Congress 2015

The shops are enthusiastically reminding us that Christmas is coming upon us in great haste.

However, another exciting event is also speeding towards us and that’s Congress 2015, the triennial Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry, to be held in Canberra between 26-30 March 2015.

The theme for the 14th congress is Generations Meeting Across Time, a great topic as surely that’s what we’re all aiming for with our family history or genealogy research.

It seems to me that our research goal is to reach out to those generations who’ve gone before us, learn more about their stories, and try to get a handle on the sort of person they were.

So why attend Congress 2015?

P1020406Congress 2015 has to be a prime contender for your travel and conference dollars. Its greatest strength is its focus on Australasian research with a good dollop of talks on the home countries of our ancestors.

To name just a few, Kate Bagnall is talking Chinese Australian ancestry, John Blackwood on Scottish separation and divorce, and Roger Kershaw and Paul Milner will present on British research topics. Of course with lots of Irish ancestry I’m looking forward to listening to Richard Reid’s keynote address as well as Perry McIntyre and Cheryl Mongan on our Irish immigrants.

Attendees from New Zealand are ably represented by Seonaid Lewis and Michelle Patient.

I’m quite intrigued by the Keynote to be presented by Grace Karskens: Men, women, sex and desire: family history on Australia’s first frontier. It sounds like a 50 Shades of Grey for family historians.

I’ve only dipped into the many offerings throughout the Congress but you’ll be hearing more about them in due course. You can see the full speaker list and their topics here.

What else is happening?

Many of us go to conferences, not just for the talks, even though they are the main course of the event. The dessert is meeting people we chat to on social media, have heard all about as speakers, connect with other genies and share our questions and enthusiasm. Just think, four days when no one will roll their eyes if you talk about nothing other than genealogy!

The Venue: Canberra – Australia’s capital

The Australian War Memorial, P Cass, 2010

The Australian War Memorial, P Cass, 2010. The walls document all the people killed or missing in Australia’s wars.

If there’s one city in the country where we can all do some of our own research, it’s Canberra. I feel sure there’d be research opportunities for the New Zealanders there as well. Just think of the great repositories we can access:

That’s just a sample of them so there’s bound to be lots of opportunities for us to bridge the generations with new information.

What’s Canberra like?

Canberra is a planned city with Lake Burley Griffin as its hub.

Canberra fall treesIn late March the weather should be pleasant and the leaves on the deciduous trees may be just beginning to turn, which is a novelty for some of us.

Although overseas visitors often expect to see kangaroos hopping down our streets, Canberra is one of the best places to see our native wildlife. You don’t have to get far beyond the city boundaries to get a sense of the Australian landscape’s expansiveness and to see a few kangaroos or wallabies.

Did I mention that Canberra also has great food and wine opportunities? I particularly like the Capital Region Farmers’ Market which is held every Saturday..perhaps dispatch your other half to hunt and gather for you, while you enjoy the presentations.

As a bonus it’s pretty central for people travelling from around Australia (except perhaps Darwin and Perth, but we’re used to that!) as well as for our friends from New Zealand. And what a great opportunity for a visit Down Under for overseas genealogists, as Jill Ball has shown in her Worldwide Genealogy blog post.

Official bloggersCongress blogger

Along with my genimates, Jill Ball (Geniaus) and Shauna Hicks, I have been invited to be an official blogger for the Congress. You’ll be hearing lots more to tempt you to join us at Congress over the coming weeks.

Congress 2015 Social Media

The Congress 2015 website is comprehensive and it will give you in-depth information on what’s happening.

Congress if on Twitter as @AFFHO2015 and also on Facebook here.

An early bird catches the worm

Early bird registration of $495 closes on 31 October 2014 and will save you $55.

Don’t forget to consider signing up for the social events as well.

Wouldn’t this make a great Christmas present from all your family? The gift that keeps on giving.

Are you going to join us?

My three Rs of Genealogy Research

For my topic this month on the Worldwide Genealogy blog, I drew on a mistake I’d made recently and published about the three Rs of family history research.

This worldwide collaboration by genies from many countries is well worth adding to your blog reading list. It’s always interesting to see the topics chosen and how people approach their research. Lots of posts with really helpful tips too.

Do your research a favour and check out the stories on the blog.

 

Tents, glorious tents

Flooded GuidesGiven the propensity for front page news to be all about disasters, you might be surprised that this is my mental starting point for today’s Sepia Saturday theme. You see it was the one and only time I’ve made the front page, and in my first term of high school no less. One way to get noticed I suppose.

I’d been in Girl Guides since 1960 and passed my camping test for the first class badge on 6 June 1961…coincidentally Queensland Day. We were transported to these camping adventures by an old three-ton truck, probably an old army vehicle. Guides plus camping requirements were piled in the back tray and off we went. Can you imagine that being allowed today?

I remember going to a farmer’s property on the far edges of Brisbane where we erected those big cumbersome tents typical of the era. Digging latrines and putting up hessian-screened bathing areas was also part of the fun. Bath time involved those big round metal tubs and the toilets were dirt ditches. Each day we’d get fresh milk from the farmer, or more accurately, his cows. No nonsense about pasteurisation either. Meals were cooked in large army dixies. We’d swim in the very chilly creek and hope not to encounter any eels, water snakes etc. At night we’d have a huge campfire and sing songs. The first time I went camping with Guides my parents came out for a day visit. How that happened I’m not sure – they certainly weren’t the only ones and as they didn’t have a car, they’d have had to come with someone else. I remember I was a little homesick but so were they because for the first time the nest was empty.Guides flooded Samford

Then a few years later, over the May school holidays, we went to a different site. This one was on a rise, with a dry creek-bed on one side and a small creek on the other. Overnight it rained, and rained, and we woke up to a raging creek all around us and no hope of getting off our new island. As an adult I can only imagine the anxiety and decisions the leaders had to make. You can read the whole exciting story in the linked post I wrote a while ago. Suffice to say, thanks to the Water Police, and a courageous Guide, we made it home safely and found ourselves on the front page of the local newspaper the next day.

There was no opportunity for holiday camping in Papua New Guinea, at least as far as I know, so it wasn’t until the early 80s that we introduced our own trio of little campers to holidays under canvas. This time we had been invited to join our neighbours on a camping trip to Hastings Point in northern New South Wales. Over the years our family had many great adventures there, and you can read a little about them by clicking here.

Camping in splendid isolation with a view of the sea...that's our tent.

Camping in splendid isolation with a view of the sea…that’s our tent.

The photo above (on a grey day) is of our favourite spot overlooking the creek where it joins the surf and the Pacific Ocean. It was always an anxious moment until we crossed the bridge and checked no one had usurped “our” tent site! The next chore was to check out the changes in the creek’s path and whether the pelicans were “in town” or not. In our energetic moments we’d explore the marine park among the rocks, go swimming (convincing the girls not to swim to New Zealand), or have a game of cricket , or just loll around reading a book. The wind could be pretty fierce there and by the time this tent was retired there was nary a straight pole among the collection.
The caption on this says "our firs camping weekend, Lamington NP, Anzac weekend 1985". Both tents are ours.

The caption on this says “our first (solo) camping weekend, Lamington NP, Anzac weekend 1985″. Both tents are ours.

One of our other favourite sites was at Lamington National Park where we’d see the bower birds, noisy pitta birds, rosellas and possums. It could get quite cold up there so we had some fun times rugged to our eyebrows, toasting marshmallows and playing maj jong or card games. During the day we’d go for walks in the magnificent rainforest, and perhaps feed more birds.camping Mt Lamington

And then there was the year I decided on the spur of the moment one school holidays to take DD3 and her cousin to the snow, a mere 1500kms or so away, as I’d heard there’d been great snowfalls. By the time we arrived at a motel after dark that night I was seriously doubting my sanity, especially as the motel seemed to have a high turnover of short term stays and a lot of cars coming and going! Once we reached Kosciuszko National Park, we camped below the snowline but believe me it was pretty cold just the same. The wildlife had grown accustomed to the campers so were on the lookout for snacks, like these two fellows. An improvement on our Bicentennial camping trip when the birds had eaten all our stone-fruit which we’d foolishly left on the table under the tent’s awning. When we returned the chairs were covered in the way you might expect when a critter has eaten a surfeit of stone fruit.

But it's cold and we need a snack!

But it’s cold and we need a snack!

Although it didn’t make the front page news, I regard my Big Trip of 1994 as my most memorable. Exhausted and burnt out from a high-intensity, very political job at a research centre it was time to take myself to the wilderness for a while (have I mentioned what a supportive husband I have?). So me, my tent and all my clutter took off in the car for points south of Queensland.

That raised bonnet suggests trouble was already afoot.

That raised bonnet suggests trouble was already afoot. Mt Kaputar National Park.

My first stop was Mt Kaputar where I arrived late in the afternoon. I got set up and made sure my brick-sized mobile phone was charged and checked in with himself. In the process I turned the car engine – and again – and again…to no avail. In the morning I got someone to jump start the car and made my way determinedly down the range to the nearest town, where I foolishly turned the engine off again. One day into my trip I had acquired a faulty alternator so I spent my second day cooling my heels in a country town waiting for it to be replaced.

Once again Hastings Pt 1989, but could be any/many of our campsites.

Once again Hastings Pt 1989, but could be any/many of our campsites.

Mercifully after that the trip went smoothly and I dawdled my way to Adelaide (I guess about 3000kms away) a couple of weeks later. While I often found myself camped with only a few other tents around, I also wasn’t being foolish. At one national park I got such a negative vibe that I just turned turkey and found a motel.

Mr Cassmob met me in Adelaide and we picked up DD2 and DD3 from the airport in Alice Springs, late as it happens, but that’s another story. This was our first excursion into the Northern Territory and little did we know then how big a part it would come to play in all our lives over the coming decades. By the time we pulled back into our driveway in Brisbane we’d notched up about 14,000kms and spent more than half the time under canvas.

At the time of the Bicentenary in 1988, submissions were sought from people around the country showing their favourite places and activities. We submitted this one of DD2 washing her sister’s hair, camping style.

Two of the Cass girls, Hastings Point. Page 272, My Australia, Robertsbridge Group Pty Ltd, Sydney, 1989.

Two of the Cass girls, Hastings Point. Page 272, My Australia, Robertsbridge Group Pty Ltd, Sydney, 1989.

As you can see, camping has been a large part of our family story over several decades. We don’t get to do it as much lately  – sleeping on the ground has worn off a little, but there is something very special about being out in the bush with a blur of the Milky Way over your head. The family cycle has turned and now our children and grandchildren love to escape the big smoke and head out to enjoy the nights away as a clan with glo-sticks, sparklers, marshmellows and a roaring fire. It is certainly creating some great cousin memories which will stay with them through their lives.

A souvenir photo, taken by one of the kids, when my parents came camping.

A souvenir photo, taken by one of the kids, when my parents came camping.

And as a finale, here’s a photo of an old-style tent taken at the Colonial Queensland exhibition in Brisbane in 1986. It was at this event that I enquired about family history research and signed up with the Genealogical Society of Queensland, thereby starting me down a path which has kept me engaged and happy for nearly thirty years.Colonial Day 1986

Now you’ve reached the end of this saga, why not head over to see what the other Sepians have had to say about camping or trios. It looks like it’s been a popular topic.

Did you go camping as a child? As an adult? Did you love it or loathe it?

Down Under’s Rockstar Genealogists 2014

Rock-StarIt’s been an exciting genea-jigging time for me lately. First up my blog appeared in the Inside History Top 50 blogs for 2014. Thanks Inside History, and Geniaus, who does the complex comparison between all the blogs…heaven knows how many she has on her list.

Then the voting on John Reid’s Rockstar Genealogist 2014 was completed and I found that my readers had voted me into 5th place for the Australia/New Zealand regional “honours”. Gold Star Rockstar was Shauna Hicks, well known to Aussie genies, and coordinator par excellence of Australian Family History Month. Silver Star performer was Judy Webster who is devotedly followed by all Queensland genealogists for her wealth of knowledge of Queensland archival sources and her indexes of some records, as well as being the initiator of the Kiva Genealogists for Families Team. No surprise either that Bronze Medallist was Jill Ball aka Geniaus, convenor of hangouts, Aussie techno-expert, blogger and blog-coordinator extraordinaire.geneajig_edited-2

Places 4 to 10 were as follows:

  1. Chris Paton (UK)
    5. Pauleen Cass (Aus)
    6. Thomas MacEntee (US)
    7. Dick Eastman (US)
    8. Cyndi Ingle (US)
    8. Sharn White (Aus)
    10. Nick Barratt (UK)
    10. Kirsty Gray (UK)
    10. Pat Richley-Erickson (DearMyrtle)(US)

I’ve been fortunate enough to hear many of these people in real life or hangouts, and very pleased to see some of my good geni-mates on the list. Last year my #5 place was overtaken by the bombing and hijacking events at Westgate Mall when we were staying nearby at our daughter’s place in Nairobi. So this year I thought I should celebrate a little…especially after my daughters gave me heaps for having to find out on Facebook <smile>.champagne

The downside of these sorts of lists is that there are so many great genealogists out there who are quiet achievers but definitely rockstars, and I’m proud to call many of them my friends as well as blogging colleagues. They volunteer, index, blog, coordinate facebook groups, initiate blogging themes etc. Without them we’d all be poorer so here’s a toast to all our genimates.

Thanks John Reid of Canada’s Anglo-Celtic Connections blog for hosting this rocking event.