Trove Tuesday: Good Manners

Sleuthing through Trove yesterday for articles on courtesy or good manners, it was interesting to see the results: a mere 46,061 containing the phrase “good manners” and 5391 including both “good manners” and courtesy. Plainly these issues were prominent discussion points over the decades.

So today I thought I’d share some of these with you. It’s fascinating to see how differently we view some aspects such as how men and women see each other, and interact, and how they changed over time.

 

The World's News 2 July 1921 extract

The World’s News 2 July 1921

AWW 29 Oct 1938 p17

Australian Women’s Weekly 29 Oct 1938 p17

 

AWW 4 Dec 1957 what's wrong with AUssie men

Australian Women’s Weekly 4 Dec 1959

 

AWW 11 Aug 1982 p52

Australian Women’s Weekly 11 Aug 1982.

And there you have it, a steady progression of change in “good manners” and courtesy.

I do feel for those poor “New Australian” men regarded, almost inevitably, as foreigners in 1952. Never let it be said that Australians are anything other than egalitarian…or not.

AWW New Australian  24 Sept 1952

 

Monday Memories: Old-time Courtesies

small courtesies

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 27 May 1939 p34

It’s traditional for the older generation to bemoan “things aren’t how they used to be”. Well of course not…life is one long process of change. For no particular reason I’ve been reflecting on some of the little courtesies that were prevalent in my youth, some of which have faded from sight, and some still remain, perhaps in a changed form.courtesy quote

  • Men walking on the road side of the footpath (pavement). As I recall the intention was they would deflect the dangers of a runaway car, or earlier, a horse and cart.
  • Children standing up for adults on public transport. This one definitely seems to have gone the way of the horse and cart. Small children might have been bundled on to their parent’s lap, but older children were always, always expected to stand if an adult needed a seat. Similarly, men would stand for women, and anyone would stand for a pregnant woman, older man or woman, or someone who had a disability.
  • Men opening the car door for women. I still see this happening – but not in our family. As my husband quite rightly points out, he’d have Buckley’s chance of getting there before I’m out <smile>. However, there are some of our friends for whom this remains de rigeur.
  • Men raising their hats and people standing silent when a funeral passes. This too has passed except in country areas where I think it does continue.Good manners
  • Men doffed their hats when meeting a woman. Now men rarely wear hats.
  • Women not shaking hands. Men were definitely not to offer their hands for a handshake to a woman without first being offered theirs. This has changed with the presence of women in the workforce, though for many years men were left with the confusing question – to shake or not to shake. For men of course the handshake is compulsory – and for some the stronger the better. Personally I don’t like a wishy-washy handshake, but I don’t like it being a test of power or strength either.
  • Women wearing gloves and hats. Not really a courtesy but a lady would never be seen out in the public domain without her gloves and a hat – and wearing stockings.
  • Women were never to be congratulated on getting engaged as it implied they were lucky to have finally achieved this transition to marital status.
  • Never discuss religion or politics. Perhaps we’d have been wiser to maintain this courtesy these days…fewer “debates”.
aww 25 Nov 1970 p29 dancing

The Austalian Women’s Weekly 25 Nov 1970, p29

  • Men never swore in front of ladies, and ladies, of course, never swore. In my family that was certainly true. As for myself these days…”no comment”.
  • Children were everyone’s responsibility – a badly behaved child would be reprimanded by whichever adult was close by. Of course children were often expected to be seen and not heard too.
  • Writing letters to friends and family to thank them for gifts.
  • All adult friends of the family were called “aunty” or “uncle” irrespective of kinship. Otherwise they were Mr or Mrs or Miss. Does your family still do this?
  • Men opening doors for women. I notice this still happens often. My personal habit is to always thank them for the courtesy, rather than just sail through. One of my pet bugbears is opening, or holding open, a door for people who just walk through without a sideways glance as if you’re a paid doorman.
  • Women were allowed on the bus/tram first. And look where that got the men on the Titanic!
  • Thanking the bus driver when you got off. I’m pleased to say that this still happens most of the time on public transport in Brisbane.

I’m sure my genimates will come up with some other old-time courtesies that I’ve forgotten…I’d love to hear from you.

Do you think courtesy still matters and is practiced in the 21st century?

Are good manners the same thing as courtesy? What do you think?

 

Sepia Saturday: Sleeping zum Fass

SS 340Ah the joys of sleep….contented from a good meal, snuggled up warm under a fluffy eiderdown and lying one’s tired head on a soft feather pillow. This week’s Sepia Saturday takes us on a journey back in time.

How this image transported me back to my ancestor’s inn in the tiny Bavarian village of Dorfprozelten on the River Main. Sadly I never got to stay there as it was demolished in the 1970s, but I’ve stayed in others so my imagination can make the leap. The postcard was sent to me by the local historian Georg Veh, and the history of Das Goldene Fass is summarised in his book Dorfprozelten am Main, Teil II (2002).

fass postcard

A postcard for Das Goldenes Fass, owned for many years by the Happ family.

The inn is first mentioned in the 1730s when it was owned by my 5xgreat grandfather, Johann Martin Happ. It wasn’t until the marriage of my 3xgreat grandmother Eva Catherina Happ to her second husband, Adam Kunkel, that the Kunkel name is associated with the inn. Catherina had inherited the inn from her father and lived there until her death in 1868. Prior to her death, her eldest surviving son from her first marriage, Jakob August Ulrich, was managing the inn and lived there with his mother and family. It was the sad death of  Jakob August, his wife Elisabeth Firmbach, son Karl and finally Eva Catherina, within a few months of each other in mid-1868 that the inn passed out of the family’s hands. Jakob and Elisabeth Ulrich’s family dispersed to America, settling mainly in the upstate New York. The inn may have been a golden barrel for visitors, but the luck had run out for the Happ family and its descendants.

A postcard of Das Goldene Fass mid-20thC. Kindly provided to me by Georg Veh, local historian.

Das Goldene Fass before its demolition for a bank in the 1960s. Image kindly provided by Georg Veh.

Meanwhile Catherine’s next son, George Mathias Kunkel, had emigrated to Australia and by 1868 was settled on his farm at the Fifteen Mile near Murphys Creek in Queensland..miles away in lifestyle, community and accommodation from the inn.

back of kitchen

The kitchen for the old Kunkel house is on the local heritage list.

Thanks to Georg Veh’s book I have some information on what was served at the inn and from that I was able to write this excerpt from my Kunkel family history (pp 22-23).

Dorfprozelten has long been a place for visitors from the bigger cities to come for quiet relaxation beside the River Main. Towards the end of each day, the visitors from Berlin, or other faraway places, would return from their day’s explorations, adding a holiday atmosphere to the centre of town, and causing a flurry in the inns owned by George’s parents and their relations. The evening meals would be being prepared and no doubt George had his part to play in the activity. On offer would also have been a bottle of the traditional white wine of the area in its Bochsbeutel ( a bulbous-shaped bottle). There were culinary treats awaiting the visitors: fresh pike cooked with cardamom and mustard, salmon prepared with lemon, special beer, home-made apple-wine, bacon, roast pork, varieties of home-made sausages, and the local wine.[1] After meals like that, no doubt the guests slept well on the deep beds with their fluffy eiderdowns and feather pillows! The mornings would be no less pleasurable. Imagine waking to the smell of freshly-baked bread and pastries from the neighbouring bakeries.

(I don’t know about you but I’ve always found it intriguing how German eiderdowns are folded over while we have ours spread out).

dorf street bw1

The streetscape had remained very similar over the decades, but the Happ inn is no longer – overtaken by the bank on the left.

I have written several posts over the years about the inn and this family, including the American immigrants. You can find them here:

19th century Dorfprozelten emigrants in America: Part 1

19th century Dorfprozelten emigrants in America: Part 2

The Happ/Ulrich family emigrants Part 1 (to America)

Finding the Fass in Dorfprozelten

Lunch with Catherina Kunkel

The Happs: Innkeepers in Dorfprozelten

My book is Grassroots Queenslanders: the Kunkel family. P Cass, 2003.

[1] Veh, op. cit. pp. 193-195.

 

 

Honouring the Fallen of Fromelles

One hundred years ago, Australian soldiers were fighting the desperate battle for their lives near the tiny French hamlet of Fromelles. That 24 hours from the evening of the 19th July 1916 was to be the bloodiest and most disastrous day in Australia’s military history to date (and may it so remain). And yet, when I began my research nearly 30 years ago, this battle was poorly known and rarely mentioned.

Enlistment photo of Photograph of James Gavin in The Queenslander of 2 October 1915, page 24.

Enlistment photo of Photograph of James Gavin in The Queenslander of 2 October 1915, page 24.

In the beginning hours of his first battle, my grandfather’s cousin, James Augustus Gavin, was among the early, and perhaps fortunate, fatalities in this deadly and bloody nursery of war. His would be the first death among my grandfather’s cousins in World War I.

“Not as many lost as first feared…only 5533” wrote Lt Col Walter Edmund Cass. How I fumed as I read those words in the Australian War Memorial back in 1990. How dare this officer be so glib about such horrendous loss!

This number counted the casualties (killed, wounded and missing) but not the mental anguish to the men, who were sacrificed wastefully.

Cass was an experienced officer, a career soldier who’d been on Gallipoli and in the Boer War. He had been in the thick of this battle, in a forward position, so exposed that it was a bulge in the line, surrounded by Germans and exposed to their higher position.

A studio photo of Lt Col Cass perhaps around the time of his posting to France. AWM photograph A01470, copyright expired. The photo is shown as Lt Col ERH Cass CMG so it appears the initials are a mistake.

A studio photo of Lt Col Cass perhaps around the time of his posting to France. AWM photograph A01470, copyright expired.

Despite his experience, or perhaps even because of it, this battle was the last he’d ever fight in war. He was broken by the loss of so many of his men’s lives. “My boys, my boys! They’ve murdered my boys!”.  He was talking about the actions of the more senior “British” officers, not the Germans, and in acts of insubordination that may have seen him shot in the British Army (or perhaps without the medals he already held), he argued fiercely with his superiors.

Fromelles Pheasant Wood

The Pheasant Wood cemetery 2014. The Germans had lookouts in the church tower.

The Germans had offered a short truce so that bodies could be recovered (alive or dead), but knowing the British refusal to accept even this level of accord, McCay had refused. And so the men, who had managed to fall back, could hear their mates calling for help and pleading “don’t forget me, cobber“. How many men might have returned to their families if a different decision was made? How many men might have carried a lesser mental burden had they been permitted to help their mates?

This was how the Germans came to bury some of the Australian fallen in Pheasant Wood, below Fromelles. It would be over 80 years later that the men were found – the farmer’s crops never flourished in that area. The determination of individuals revealed this forgotten burial ground, German records confirmed it, and the modern science of DNA revealed the identities of the men.

Memorial plaque on the Cobbers sculpture.

Memorial plaque on the Cobbers sculpture.

Today, those visiting Fromelles can see the new Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) memorial with its beautifully maintained war graves. The Cobbers Memorial (do read the link) honours the fallen and the mates they fought with.

Peter stands beside the memorial which stands on the German bunker where his great-uncle WEH Cass fought with his battalion.

Mr Cassmob stands beside the memorial which is where his great-uncle WEH Cass fought with the 54th battalion.

 

And yet, for me, the cemetery at Rue Petillon near Fleurbaix tells the tale more starkly. The gravestones stand like teeth, tight side by side. Surrounding the cemetery are farmhouses and the fields for which the men fought, now so tranquil.

The location of James Gavin's grave in Rue Petillon cemetery November 1992.

The location of James Gavin’s grave in Rue Petillon cemetery November 1992.

L/Cpl James Gavin's gravestone in Rue Petillon cemetery: the family's inscription can be read.

L/Cpl James Gavin’s gravestone in Rue Petillon cemetery includes the family’s inscription.

Among them lies the grave of James Augustus Gavin. It was a privilege to visit him in 1992 and it remains a privilege today to remember him. You have not been forgotten cobber.

Lest We Forget.

You might like to read these earlier posts about Fromelles, Gavin and Cass:

The Battle of Fromelles: In Memoriam L/Cpl James Augustus Gavin KIA

Fromelles, Lt Col WEH Cass and family collections

F is for the Fifteen Mile, Fromelles and Fleurbaix

Brigadier General Walter Edmund Hutchinson Cass

And a commemoration of military mate ship here.

There are a number of books available now on the battle of Fromelles:

Don’t forget me cobber by Robin Corfield

The Anzacs by Peter Pedersen

Fromelles and Pozieres by Peter Fitzsimons (includes quite a few quotes on Cass drawn from his letters and diaries, now held by State Library Victoria)

Our darkest day: Fromelles by Patrick Lindsay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Applying a lesson

A week or two ago, one of my Facebook friends (thank you whoever you were!) recommended this post by Mary from Searching for Stories blog: Spreadsheet Magic – Importing Data from Ancestry.com. Do go and look at the post, and Mary’s many other fantastic posts. I thought I knew a bit about Excel but it seems not.

This week I thought I’d try Mary’s strategies on my Irish research to see how it worked. Following her steps this is what I did.

Sign into Ancestry.com with your own subscription or at a library near you.

My Step 1:

Bring up the search dialogue box and I used the Birth, Marriage and Death records option.

I entered no names and no dates. In the place of birth I simply put “Clare, Ireland”. As I’m mainly interested in those who emigrated to Australia I put “Australia” against the place of death. I don’t care which state so I wanted to pick up as much info as possible. I also ticked the exact box for both, as I didn’t want anything random to come up. Finally, I chose records from Australia as I’m expecting that is the most likely source of useful information -though perhaps not exclusively. I made sure I had the maximum entries per page (50).

import into Excel

Of course, as with all record searches you need to understand (1) what records might include both birth and death information and (2) what records are held within the overall database. As it happens, for me this means a heavy focus on New South Wales. This will be only one component of my research strategies.

Following Step 2, I copied the very long URL into tinyURL.com to give me a short link.See what a difference it makes – from 399 characters down to 26! Thanks TinyURL!

make tiny

Step 3: I opened a blank excel spreadsheet, chose the Data tab and clicked “from web” on the left hand side. In here I pasted my Tiny URL, pressed “Go” to bring up the data, then ticked the box to the left of the data. (in this I’m following Mary’s instructions exactly). Then click “Import”. Voila!

excel import from web

A dialogue asks you where you want to paste it. I think it’s safest to put each batch into a separate page within the spreadsheet. You can do what you want with it later. With some whizzing and whirring, the data is imported to Excel.

Next step

I named that page “Clare no YOB page 1” (my first 50 details)

I repeated the process until I captured all 304 entries. This was pretty tedious I have to agree.

Step 5:

I deleted all the “padding” info at the top and bottom except the line that said items 1-50/51-100 etc.

Repeated this for all six of my page tabs.

Step 6:

As I wanted the names with other data in separate columns beside it, I dragged and dropped “spouse” “birth” and “death” into separate columns for each page, making sure each page was formatted the same.

Step 7:

Collated data extract 2

Extract from my collated spreadsheet of data. Notice the variable information.

I copied each page into one consolidated page so that entries 1-304 followed each other sequentially. I still have a problem with it because if I sort by name it will do so by first name so I will probably end up putting in another column with just surname to sort.

Similarly, the dates will sort by day rather than year and place by the first part of the entry. Is this enough for me? I will probably live with the dates, but will put in a column for state so I can see the dispersal patterns for their migration.

Summary

Was this helpful? Did it save time? Yes, I found it very helpful and I certainly got faster as I went along. The big benefit though is that it saves any transcription errors on your part (but not by the first indexer).

Mary has said the process works with Family Search but I haven’t tried that. I did try it with Trove and my “County Clare” + Obituary search. It worked okay but would require more fiddling with, and as there are MANY entries, there’d be lots of repeating of all the steps.

I tried it this morning with My Heritage but it kept giving me error messages which included that I needed to sign in, which I already was with my current subscription.

Similarly I tried FindMyPast but their search options don’t allow me to have the Clare + Australia option (or am I missing something?), so that didn’t work.

However, I believe this is a super-helpful process for anyone looking for FANs (Friends, Associates, Neighbours) or those of us working on One Place Studies projects.

thanks

MY THANKS!

Once again my very sincere thanks to Mary for sharing her expertise, permitting me to publish how I used her strategies, and giving me a new skill. I encourage everyone to check out her blog.

 

 

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Wedding Wednesday: Denis & Kit

Trawling through my digitised photos at the weekend, I came upon this one which I’d quite forgotten. It is my paternal grandmother in her wedding attire. Doesn’t she look simply elegant? She was a professional dressmaker, working for Finney Isles store in Brisbane CBD, so I imagine she made the dress herself. I also love the shoes – they could be worn perfectly well today. I wonder if they went into the photographic studio after the wedding or if they dressed up again another day and were then photographed.

Catherine McCorkindale Kunkel wedd

My grandparents, Dinny and Kit, were married on Saturday 29 April 1922 at the Ithaca Presbyterian church at Red Hill. I discovered that a rather grand new church was opened in 1929. There is a clue on Trove that there may be an image of the old church, but it is not yet digitised and will have to be looked at one day when visiting the State Library of Queensland.

Denis and Catherine Kunkel wedding

My grandfather wasn’t a great one for big smiles so he was probably happier than this photo suggests. Neither Kit nor Dinny were young by the standards of the day – he was 41 and she was 35. My understanding is that he had met Kit before he went off to war in 1917 and perhaps even visited her kin in Scotland while on leave (a family yarn or fact?) I don’t know whether it was the conflict of religions that caused a delay in their marriage but it’s possible. Dinny had been brought up a strict Catholic but had already walked away from the church before then.

It’s doubtful that any of Dinny’s siblings attended the wedding, except perhaps his youngest brother (Ken) whom he helped to bring up when their parents died within six weeks of each other. Kit most likely had her mother and siblings there, and it’s highly likely she was given away by her older brother Peter. There may even have been bagpipes to celebrate since her brothers were all champion pipers.

The witnesses were Thomas Jinks, a friend of my grandfather’s, and Florence (Flo) Cumes and the minister was James Gitson. It is somewhat strange that none of Grandma’s sisters were her bridesmaids, so I wonder if perhaps there was conflict about religion on both sides of the marriage. Ironically although I lived next door to my grandparents, I don’t recall either grandparent ever attending church.

Given the trauma of Dinny’s mother’s death, I’ve often wondered if perhaps he deliberately delayed the marriage to avoid the risks of childbirth to his bride. Perhaps that’s just my imagination running away from me.

I also don’t know if they had a reception, or where it might have been, or if they went on their honeymoon somewhere. Sadly, unlike his younger brother who married only a few months later, there is nothing in the newspapers to enlighten me. It’s these little details of our ancestors’ lives that we miss when we have neither oral history nor new stories. So many things I don’t know for all that I knew them well on a daily basis.

This post is part of a Geneabloggers’ theme, Wedding Wednesday.

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Monday Memories: Scrap books

Many people these days are involved with scrap booking or scrapping as it’s sometimes known. They use the craft for all sorts of purposes from cards to travel and family history. While I’m quite visual and like crafts, it’s just a step too far for me to add another hobby to my family history obsession. Scrapping these days is not as we knew it when I was a child, as evidenced by the plethora of shops catering to the craft.scapbook 1

Among the bits and bobs my mother gave me when she moved was an old scrap book of mine from when I was a child. I was interested to see the diversity of images contained within. There are photos of royalty back when Prince Charles was my age, and QEII was still a young woman. There are characters from literature, with Dickens and Shakespeare featuring prominently…I doubt at that age that I had the faintest idea what that was all about. Angels, flowers and animals get frequent representation and I’m pleased to see there are even a couple of aviatrixes. Surprisingly there was even quite a few holy pictures available as well.

scrapbook 2

It takes some winding back of the mind, to remember that when I was a child there was no internet, no pinterest or instagram, and magazines were something rarely purchased. We illustrated our school books and map drawings with produce and industry relevant to the regions. It took some doing to sleuth out the necessary images.

scrapbook 3

Do you remember having scrap books like this? Do you still enjoy scrapping?

Sepia Saturday: Strolling in the City

Sepia Sat 338

This week’s Sepia Saturday theme was a “gimme”. I’ve had this photo strip for ages but have never used it because I felt it made my grandfather look a little gormless.

However it’s a perfect match this week, so here is Dinny strolling through Brisbane city probably in the 1920s or 1930s (the car would be a clue for some, but not me). I can’t even pick which street he’s in, but there’s a barber pole in the background, so perhaps it was George St. Perhaps he’d even been to have a haircut himself and was feeling pretty spiffy.

Denis Kunkel walking in town

He’s got one thumb tucked into his waistcoast pocket and his hat angled so he keeps the sun off his face, but then he has to tip his head to see….not so wise Grandad. I don’t think he’s coming from work as he looks dressed for the day out, not in railway attire, though as a guard he would have been more smartly dressed than in some other roles.

Looking at his shadows he’s got it falling straight behind him, so I’m thinking he’s walking on an north-south street, so perhaps it is George St down near Roma Street station. (What do you think of my directional theory?) With this in mind, I went searching our good friend Trove for images of George Street, Brisbane circa 1920 and, by jove, I do believe she’s got it!

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Harvey, J. H. (John Henry) 1921, George Street, Brisbane looking south, June 1921 [picture] Out of copyright.

Can you see the barber’s poles and the verandah on the building opposite? Thanks to the magnificent old sandstone buildings, which remarkably for Brisbane, still stand, I know exactly where this is. The lady in the image is crossing the street to the lane which runs behind where Alan & Stark’s shop was, between Albert and George Streets (patriotic lot, with our CBD streets named for royalty!)

View of Trittons furniture shop on George Street Brisbane ca. 1935

Unidentified 1935, View of Tritton’s furniture shop on George Street, Brisbane, ca. 1935, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Out of copyright.

Grandad would have been walking out of the frame on the bottom right of this image heading towards Roma Street Station. If my memory serves me correctly, the old Trittons furniture store was on the right hand side before the barber’s. And above I’ve found an image from Trove which confirms my theory, and we now know the barber/hairdresser was a T McMahon.

Brisbane map 1878 extract

Unidentified 1878, Street map of the city of Brisbane, Queensland, 1878, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. (extract). The red dot is my estimate of the location of the photo.

He had a kind heart, my granddad, so perhaps he bought the photo just to help the street photographer out, perhaps he was a fellow Digger trying to make ends meet. I know my grandparents had a camera at home, or among the extended family, because I’ve got quite a lot of photos from the 1920s/30s among their collection.

Why not stroll over to see where other Sepians are off to this week? I wonder if they got caught up in the search like I did when I found myself taking several detours into Trove…I left my mental wanderings as a breadcrumb trail.

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Monday Memories: Weekend picnics

SCAN1085

Hiking and picnicing at Brookfield c1965.

I’ve recently come to realise that one aspect of our family’s traditional life has faded into obscurity, due to a blend of improved circumstances, general disorganisation, and a social trend to eating out in cafes and restaurants. In our case, I suspect that it was the move to Darwin’s hot humid climate that contributed as well. So where are my memories taking me today? Why, on a picnic in the fresh air and sunshine on a day which once would have seen us desperate to pack an al fresco meal and escape.

We didn’t often do picnics in my own family as Dad worked shift work which wasn’t very family-friendly for school-aged children. We didn’t own a car so we were mostly dependent on the bus, train, or an outing with the neighbour down the back. I don’t recall ever eating out in a café on these outings – it was always a packed lunch of some sort.

Over the years we’ve picnicked in all sorts of places depending where we lived, and the age of our children. When Mr Cassmob and I lived in Papua New Guinea we picnicked rather more often, usually to explore some new place, and quite often with an entourage of interested villagers who would sit at a distance from us. Not entirely conducive to lolling around with a book, not that there was much time for lolling with a toddler!

Peter and girls at Buck Palace

We didn’t invite QEII to our picnic near Buckingham Palace in 1977.

 

After we moved to Port Moresby, on the coast, our weekend trips took us often to Ela Beach as we’d take the dog and check our mail box en route. We’d even hear the Police Band if we were there early-ish in the morning, or watch the beach-volley-ball players.

Our other favourite, but more distant spot, was  Varirata National Park. This involved the longer drive up towards the Owen Stanley Range and Sogeri, near where the Kokoda Track ends (or starts). The national park was such fun with open spaces, BBQ areas, and the tree house. All the family enjoyed the outing and we always took visitors there when they came to town. We have quite a few photos of groups of smiling families perched like starlings on a fence.

Variarata picnic view

Back in the Land of Oz, picnics were either by the beach (Sunshine Coast or Hastings Point) or in the ranges. One of our faves was Lamington National Park where we could camp as well. It could be chilly and you could have a camp fire at night. During the day there were bush walk and the chance to see the beautiful rosellas (birds) and regent and satin bowerbirds.

Depending on where we were going, the picnic would be fresh bread, cheese, ham and tomatoes (and a thermos of coffee!) Other times we’d take sausages (aka snags) and the portable BBQ. Last weekend we drove past one of the spots where we’d had a BBQ on the river bank. The name always amused us because Obi Obi Creek has multiple crossings. Our picnics were pretty lazy affairs – taking it easy, having a book or magazine to read – a way for the family to recuperate after the busyness of the workday week. None of those energetic cricket or footy games, unless we were camping…our best effort was a bush walk.

Peter and Louisa BBQ Obi Obi Ck

A creek-side BBQ at Obi Obi Creek.

Did your family go on picnics? What food did you take? Were you energetic or lazy like us?

Sepia Saturday PNG Merry Makers

Sepia Sat 337From the Highlands of Papua New Guinea to the coast, the people celebrate culture and make merry with dances and traditional costumes. For some reason these warriors from Wahgi came to mind when I looked at the Sepia Saturday merry makers. They were at the enormously popular Goroka Show in, I think, 1972. Seeing thousands of warriors gathered together is a spectacular sight, and that’s without walking in mud up to your ankles, and before a “stoush” led to the Police firing tear gas into the crowd, which promptly knocked down the wire fence trying to get out of the showgrounds! Lively!

Goroka sing sing Wahgi men edit

Our two older daughters grew up with similar sights as part of their daily life. However an experience in New Zealand in 1975 revealed they had assimilated the potential for violence behind all the costumes and sing-sings. We took them to a cultural exhibition in Rotorua one evening…as the Maori warriors came out with their traditional war cries, our two let out their own version of blood curdling yells. Exit of Cass mob promptly followed!

More recently we returned to Papua New Guinea for a visit and these merry makers from Milne Bay District show their traditional splendour at the annual Kenu and Kundu (canoe and drum) festival.

It’s likely that those genealogists travelling on next year’s Unlock the Past Cruise to Papua New Guinea will see some version of these celebrations by the welcoming and open Milne Bay people.

447 Women dancing 2012 PNG

I wonder what merry making the other Sepians have been up to this week.Or are they waiting around for the fun to start like these competitive young men in their canoes.

434 Men in boats PNG