No quibbling over Q

I am participating in the A to Z 2012 blog challenge throughout April. My theme is a genealogical travelogue or a travel genealogue (I’m not sure which). There really was no quibbling as to what Q was for….

Q is for QUEENSLAND and Q150    

Queensland is Australia's north-eastern state.

Queenslanders are a proud breed, as fiercely loyal to their state as to their nation. Like the little sibling made good, Queensland was formed in 1859 when the former district of Moreton Bay separated from the colony of New South Wales. My own Australian ancestry is almost entirely Queensland-based though with business or kin links into New South Wales.

The arrival periods of my Queensland immigrant ancestors.

Queensland (Qld) celebrated its 150th anniversary of separation in 2009 with many festivities but also many Q150 projects to commemorate the state’s heritage. Believe me, if you were a family historian you had a busy 12 months across 2008/09. I’ve been planning to talk about a few of the genealogical projects for some time and now’s my chance.

GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF QUEENSLAND (GSQ)

GSQ undertook two projects in 2009.

PROJECT 1 was an update of the bicentennial Pioneer Muster of people resident in Queensland between 1859 and Federation in 1901. This had two parts: the construction of a database from the names submitted in 1988 and an update with new names. Many volunteers work hard to bring this to fruition. So far a CD is available with 12,000 names and it’s anticipated another will be forthcoming.

Pluses:

  • A readily searchable database of names of Queensland pioneers rather than the three volumes which had no doubt been languishing on the bookshelves.
  • The ability to link up with other family researchers.
  • The 2009 versions are likely to contain more information as the internet has made research more accessible. However by preserving the 1988 work, the entries of researchers from the time is also available.

Weaknesses:

  • It would have been great if the database had been searchable by place as well as name. This would have been perfect for anyone wanting to undertake a One Place study or simply to learn more about the people who lived in the same place as their ancestors.
  • CD#2 is still outstanding no doubt due to the sheer volume of work involved.

PROJECT 2 for GSQ was a book of 400 stories about the early Qld pioneers.

Pluses:

  • I liked the thematic approach to the stories, clustering stories of people with similar backgrounds or occupations. This made it easier to see similarities and differences.

Weaknesses (for me):

  • Like short stories, I found it frustrating to only get a canapé size bite of information about families. Limited visuals.

The link to these publications is here.

QUEENSLAND FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY (QFHS)

QFHS’s Q150 project was Queensland’s Founding Families, the stories of people resident in Queensland prior to Separation in 1859. It includes approximately 16,000 names.

Pluses:

  • QFHS had a requirement of proof of residency prior to 1859, making it more stringent.
  • With its focus on Pre-Separation Moreton Bay, this publication complements GSQ’s Separation to Federation database.
  • The stories were limited to three pages which gave the writer sufficient scope to tell the family’s story and add some illustrations.

Weaknesses:

  • None for me but perhaps the book is too expensive and too heavy for anyone who doesn’t want to use the CD.

Toowoomba and Darling Downs Family History Society (TDDFHS)

TDDFHS’s Q 150 project was to gather stories on a representative sample of people buried in the now-Heritage Listed Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery. The book’s title was Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery: Our Backyard and it includes some very interesting yarns.

Also worth mentioning in the context of the above databases and publications, thought not Q150 focused, is TDDFHS’s publications of the Darling Downs Biographical Registers: Part I to 1900 in two volumes, and the recently released Part II up to 1920.

Once again, if you have any interest in, or ancestry from, the Downs these publications are well worth tracking down in your local genealogical or research library.

State Library of Queensland (SLQ)

The Storylines Q150 project has only recently come to my attention and it’s well worth a look if you have an interest in Queensland.

52 weeks of personal genealogy and history: Week 31: Grandparents’ House: More charming than George Clooney?

The topic for Week 31 in Amy Coffin’s and Geneablogger’s 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History series is: Grandparents’ House. Describe your grandparents’ house. Was it big or small? How long did they live there? If you do not know this information, feel free to describe the house of another family member you remember from your childhood.

My grandparents' house in the 1920s.

The recent sales promotion for my grandparents’ house classed it as “more charming than George Clooney”! Cute as this caption is, for me the old home – not the gentrified, renovated one- is better than George Clooney any day. It still lives for me and so many of my childhood memories are linked to it that I’ve already posted on it under the 52 weeks topics of Neighbours, Sound and Home so today I’m going to be a bit less emotional and more factual.

More charming than George Clooney in 2011

It was a reasonably large high-set worker’s cottage with three bedrooms, dining room, breakfast room, pantry, kitchen and bathroom. I’m pretty confident that the toilet was an addition following the Council’s introduction of town sewerage in 1939. I have a recollection of a back-yard “dunny” but it must have been just the structure as I have no memory of it being used. My family tells a funny story of my grandmother’s family’s arrival in Brisbane in1910. Coming from Glasgow they were unfamiliar with the arrival of the nightsoil carter (aka dunny collector) and when the brothers heard loud noises they came out, guns raised, thinking they were being robbed…but it was of something they’d hardly have wanted to keep!

The verandahs maintain their original shape though the floors are now highly polished and the walls rather more bright.

The style of my grandparents’ house is known as a Queenslander built of weatherboard. As I’ve mentioned before it had verandahs on two sides, one aspect of the house that’s survived largely intact. The sunroom looked out through large sliding green and white windows to the garden beyond and the mango tree planted when my father was born (it is still alive nearly 90 years later). The sash windows were a lovely walk-through feature. Nowadays the outside of the house looks similar enough to its original style (apart from colour!), though the ground-floor area has now been enclosed for bedrooms and living. In the “old days” it was a traditional Queensland house with tar-painted battens enclosing the downstairs with room for the old car, washing area and “workshop” area. Under the verandahs there were tubs of lush maiden-hair fern, blue hydrangeas and staghorns (not the animal variety).

Rough floor plan of my grandparents' house as it was.

The electoral rolls show my grandfather residing in the street before he went off to World War I in 1917. The story goes that he lived in the street prior to that, renting a room with a woman who I believe may have also been paid to look after his young brother (they were orphaned when my grandfather was 21 but the youngest only 2) – oral history tells me her house was next to the block my grandfather bought. I can find this woman on the Post Office directories though she doesn’t appear in the Electoral Rolls in this area[i]. Grandad travelled with the railway and lived in different places, but I understood that this street was his home base. An old property, Ballymore, had been sold and subdivided in 1912 so presumably he took advantage and bought the block when this occurred. This post has made me realise I need to research the land titles documents when I’m next in Brisbane so I can track the timelines.

I assume Grandad had the house built when he returned from the war and prior to marrying my grandmother. My grandparents named their house after the street my grandmother where my grandmother lived as a girl in Glasgow.Funnily enough her step-sister’s family[ii] had also lived in the street soon after arriving in Australia, and it’s said the husband worked as an ironmoulder on the iron lacework of Ballymore House (fact or fiction?).[iii]  Give or take a few years, my family has lived on this street for close to 100 years and while many of the names have changed, there is a core of families who have long been part of the area’s history.


[i] By 1913 and 1914 Mrs Susan Easey is living at Ivy St, Toowong.

[ii] Daniel & Annie McVey.

[iii] Post Office Directories do show him in this street. Ballymore House is sometimes shown as Ballimore House.