Sepia Saturday 159 A family day at the beach 1927

Sepia Saturday beachThis week’s Sepia Saturday is bathing costumes and the beach. Living in Australia there’s no shortage of this type of photo, but the ones here immediately sprang to mind. Don’t you just love those old-fashioned costumes, probably wool and scratchy I’d imagine.

Norman Denis K Dick Amesbury Tom Bryson c1927The men in the photo are brothers-in-law, my grandfather Denis Kunkel, Dick Amesbury and Tom Bryson, each married to one of the McCorkindale women, with my father in the front. There’s no writing on the reverse to say where it’s taken, but my fairly reliable guess is that it was Sandgate, or Shorncliffe, both beachside suburbs of Brisbane, now enjoying gentrification. There was a pier, rather like an English one, with puppet shows and the like –or that’s what my dim memories tell me. Although the pier was called the Sandgate pier it’s now been renamed as the Shorncliffe pier and it seems the reason may lie in the fact that it sits between the two suburbs. The pier is currently being renovated and there are some wonderful old photos here.

Norman Kunkel and cousins c1927

The second photo (above) includes my father, still in his shorts (why?), and two young girls, possibly his cousin Isabelle and a Sydney cousin. Judging on Dad’s age, I’d guess the photo was taken around 1927 or maybe early 1928. My grandfather owned a car at the time so it’s likely they drove out there but when I was a child we used to take the train.

Norman and Kit Kunkel and Belle Bryson

My grandmother (left) and her sister Belle show no indication that they’re planning to swim that day. As good Glasgow-born women they probably didn’t quite know what to do with the sea.

Sandgate carnival

SANDGATE CARNIVAL. (1928, September 26). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), p. 3. Retrieved January 12, 2013, from

Here are a couple of stories found on Trove which reveal how much excitement the place had in those days. Oops, realised I uploaded the same image twice -now corrected, sorry.

Sandgate Progress Association

The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), Thursday 17 November 1927, page 24

Google map of Shorncliffe and Sandgate.

Google map of Shorncliffe and Sandgate.

Blog of the Year 2012 Award Updates

I’m delighted to have been nominated again for the Blog of the Year 2012 Award by Aillin from Australian Genealogy Journeys and also Helen who writes From Helen V Smith’s Keyboard. It’s been very special to be nominated by bloggers whose work I really enjoy, not just Aillin and Helen but also Crissouli from The ‘Back Fence’ of Genealogy, Susan on Family History Fun, and Alona from Lone Tester HQ.

As I’ve nominated so many bloggers for awards in the past week I’ve decided not to offer more names. Instead I refer you once again to my blog links page where you’ll find many of the blogs I follow (I do need to update it though).

When I made the first nominations for the award a week ago, I was concerned at offending the many bloggers whose posts I enjoy so much. What I didn’t know was that there was a negative attached to making these awards. Aillin has written a warning post here in which she has provided a linked story which warns on the impact of blog awards on your stats and Google searches to your blog. So if I’ve played havoc with your search engines and stats, I do apologise…it had seemed like a nice way to give some recommendations to my blogging colleagues. I’ll certainly be far more cautious in the future…live and learn.

This is an extract from Aillin’s post and I recommend that you read the link to see why awards are a mixed blessing, or indeed none at all

Blogging Genealogy: Blog Awards & SEO –
Caroline Pointer has very recently posted an interesting post at her Blogging Genealogy blog regarding the negative  hidden search engine optimisation effects of blog awards.

Super Sweet Blogger Award

I’d like to thank Holly from Writing Straight for this award which she gave me ages ago, but life got in the way and I forgot to respond. Ooops, sorry, that’s not too sweet. So since we’re in award mode at present I thought I’d just do this for fun and I’d use it to tell you about some non-genie blogs I follow (even though some are also genies). To make up for my tardiness I’m throwing in a few extra. Did I mention my great grandfather Melvin was a pastry cook and confectioner?


Rules for this award include: Thank the super sweet blogger who made the nomination, Nominate a baker’s dozen of other bloggers (below…), and answer five questions:

  1. Cookie or cake?  Cake! Orange Coconut, Chocolate Rum….
  2. Chocolate or Vanilla? No contest – chocolate. Vanilla doesn’t do it for me.
  3. What is your favourite sweet treat? Lemon Meringue Pie
  4. When do you crave sweet things the most? All the time but especially when I have a bad headache.
  5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?  Honey?

And for the sweetness award, I nominate this baker’s dozen (plus a few) of super-sweet blogs:

Writing Straight (if I was closer I’d owe Holly a baker’s dozen of real cakes for being so tardy)

View from the Teapot (life in France, my Jubilee Swap partner)

2013 in 365 photos (photos)

A Big Life ( Germany, Australia, expat life)

Book’d Out (books and more books)

Broadside (news and opinion pieces)

 Claremont Globetrotters (Amazing travelling)

French Essence (Paris, Provence!!)

Jillballau (photos and travel)

Matteo Grilli Wildlife Art (gorgeous art)

Stuck in Customs (professional photos)

Wholesome Cook (food glorious food)

Your Brisbane, Past and Present (stories and photos)

And my bonus sweet bloggers:

The Boggo Blog (history of the Boggo Rd Gaol)

The Magpie’s Fancy (writing and images)

The Sacred Cave (photos and writing)

Leaving Cairo, the UK and Back to Greece (travel & expat life)

Lifestyle from Amsterdam to Marrakech (Morroccan style)

Blog the Year Award 2012

Blog of the Year Award 3 star jpegI’ve been very privileged to be nominated twice for the Blog of the Year Award 2012, by Crissouli on The ‘Back Fence’ of Genealogy and Susan on Family History Fun, both blogs which I love to read for every post. (This morning I was delighted to learn that Alona from Lone Tester HQ has also nominated me). The most special aspect of the award is that it’s been given by my peers and it’s the icing on the blogging cake. Just knowing that people make the time to read what I write, and to comment on it, is so fantastic. The interaction and comments back and forward make for a dynamic genealogy community, and friends who quickly cease to seem at all “virtual”.

You may have read my initial post about this award in which I took the plunge and nominated five blogs for the award. Receiving it myself gives me the bonus of adding to the list, and this time I want to recognise those who inspire our genealogy community in different ways.

Michele Goodrum from The Turning of Generations for her 21st Century Organised Family Historian (21COFH). Michele also completed the 365 day photo challenge!

Julie from Anglers Rest for the many challenges and diverse posts and topics she shares with us all.

Lorine from Olive Tree Genealogy for all those wonderful Sharing Memories prompts that help us write our own, or our family’s, stories; and also for the honesty of her own stories.

Arlee from Wrote by Rote for his thoughtful posts on memoir and especially for co-coordinating the huge A to Z challenge in April (are you going to join in this year? If so, a top tip: start writing early).

Alona from Lone Tester HQ for her innovative Family History through the Alphabet challenge which produced such great reads from everyone (who would have thought we could come up with so many options).

Merron from Western Districts Families for her commitment to documenting the pioneers from the western districts of Victoria, Australia, not just her own families.

The narrator for Essex Voices Past for her skilled writing on medieval English history in Essex. If you’ve managed to get your family back this far, or want to learn about the types of medieval records that might be available, you can’t go past this blog.

I could go on and on, but look at my original Blog of the Year post, and the Award to my wonderfully supportive and prolific commenters and readers, and you’ll see just some of the people who I read regularly. Don’t forget to check out the nominees on the other Blog Awards as well.


1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award –   and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

5 You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience

6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

Wonderful Team Member Readership Award

award-wonderful-team-member-readership-awardLast week I was nominated three times for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award,  by Catherine from Seeking Susan ~Meeting Marie ~Finding Family, Jennifer from Tracking Down the Family and also Crissouli from As They Were. This morning I also learnt that Jill from Geniaus had also nominated meI feel very privileged and honoured that you have each chosen to nominate my blog for this award. You can read the conditions at the end of this post. One of the key things is to complete this sentence:

A good reader …. goes to the heart of the story, supporting the writer with comments and encouragement. A dialogue is entered into as the writer responds to the comments and from this community and confidence grow.

Based on this sentence I decided to make the award to those who’ve commented most regularly on my blog posts and entered into discussions. Luckily I had already nominated four of my most frequent commenters in my Blog of the Year 2012 Award last week (see here), so I’ve not repeated them here. I thank Catherine, Crissouli, Jennifer and Kristin for their continuous and enthusiastic support.

My plan had been to have a “Top 10” but in the end it’s a “Top 11” based on comment frequency and numbers. Thank you to all of you for your support, not just to me, but also to so many others – I see your names again and again on the blogs I also follow. Your own blog posts inspire and educate us. Thank you for sharing your personal and family stories with us all.

Julie from Anglers Rest: for her constant support of many blogs, not just mine, but also for the diversity and interest of her posts, sharing challenges and themes with all of us….Julie really is a team player. Her most recent challenge is the February Photo Collage Festival…why not join us?

Joan from Roots’n’Leaves has been commenting on my blog for a very long time, and I love her Scottish influences. Joan has been dedicatedly transcribing her ancestor’s journal and letters.

Susan from Family History Fun was especially supportive with my Beyond the Internet series including some from the Hawick Heritage Hub on the Scottish border. Susan writes some lovely posts about her families, with gorgeous photos, postcards and cards.

Sheryl from A Hundred Years Ago is another keen commenter. I really admire her persistence in posting daily stories based on her grandmother’s diary. She finds such unusual sources to illustrate the stories.

Prue from Becoming Prue shares an interest in German family history research with me and comments regularly on my posts.

Judy from Genealogy Leftovers and of course Genealogists for Families has been sharing her own knowledge for years in person, on the internet and in books. Her initiative in establishing GFF has led to $40,025 worth of loans being made, and created a true interest in helping others.

Frances from A Rebel Hand supports many bloggers with her comments and also writes a very intriguing blog about her Irish ancestor Thomas Delaney and other family history stories.

Fi from Dance Skeletons pretty much always makes me laugh, with her comments or her own posts, even though the content is serious and her discoveries interesting.

Jill from Geniaus comments regularly on my posts, as she does for so many others. She is the linchpin for Aussie geneabloggers.

Angela from A Voice for the Silver Irish posts about matters Irish, especially pertaining to history, and comments regularly on other blogs including mine.

Aillin from Australian Genealogy Journeys is another supportive commenter. I keep wondering if we’ll one day find a link between her Irish and mine, especially those O’Briens. Her Motivation Monday posts have impressed me no end!

Kerryn from Ancestor Chasing has been a regular commenter on my blog and her own blog has lots of interesting family stories.

Hmm, have you ever noticed the preponderance of women in the geneablogger community? Them’s the facts people, my commenters are mostly women, especially my “regulars”.


(i) Don’t forget to thank the nominator and link back to their site as well;
(ii) Display the award logo on your blog;
(iii) Nominate no more than fourteen readers of your blog you appreciate and
leave a comment on their blogs to let them know about the award;
(iv) Finish this sentence: “A great reader is…”

Trove Tuesday: Christopher Robinson

While we were visiting Samarai in the Milne Bay District (PNG) a couple of months ago we saw the memorial which appears on Tropical Territory today. Apparently there was quite a lot of conflict over it when it was erected, and couldn’t be placed anywhere else so it was eventually placed on Samarai even though there was no specific connection.

Mr Cassmob remembers his father saying the miners (why??) wanted to have the comment “killed by the missionaries” on the memorial and that the Robinson issue was about the killing of some “natives”. Now plainly this was all quite intriguing so I turned to my good friend Trove to see what it could tell me about the background event.

My Trove reading suggests that there were a number of complicating factors surrounding this event:

  1. In 1901 Australia became an independent federation and nation.
  2. In 1902 Papua, or the British Protectorate of New Guinea, had become the responsibility of Australia
  3. In 1905, it became the Territory of Papua.
  4. Australia’s federal election in December 1903.

The events we’re looking at straddle this time frame and affect how they was seen. The Advertiser 19 March 1903. The Advertiser 19 March 1903.

Early in 1904 Christopher Robinson, a Brisbane solicitor, was appointed acting Administrator and Judicial Officer of British New Guinea, pending the implementation of legislation formalising the Territory of Papua under Australian control. Soon afterwards Robinson set sail on the ship the Merrie England, to the Gulf Province (west of Port Moresby) where two missionaries, Rev James Chalmers and Rev OF Tomkins, had been massacred on Goaribari Island (now in the Gulf Province, PNG) in 1901. On the face of it this was not unreasonable, but in the event, the local people approached the ship, firing arrows from their canoes, apparently in retaliation for the arrest of some of the men believed to have taken part in the killing of the missionaries. Shots were fired from the ship and an undefined number of “natives” were killed. This “Goaribari incident”, as it was euphemistically called, occurred in March 1904. While one could hardly expect the ship’s crew to ignore being fired at, it appears that the response was ill-considered and due to panic.

The Queenslander 28 May 1904

The Queenslander 28 May 1904

Robinson’s reputation was under a very dark cloud as a Royal Commission of Enquiry was instigated, of which Judge Murray (presumably Sir Hubert Murray) was in charge. Shortly before the enquiry commenced, Christopher Robinson put a gun to his head and killed himself, leaving behind a note which was not released (according to the papers). It is through the reports of the enquiry that we learn that at least eight men were killed, three possibly by Robinson.

Perhaps the simple fact is that, with no prior experience of New Guinea, or of the risks associated with working there, he simply panicked and imagined himself massacred as had been the missionaries in 1901. This in no way excuses what happened, whether by him or by others, but he was also human, and perhaps in fear of his life after the decision to capture some of the locals who may/may not have been part of the original massacre.

Western Mail, 17 September 1904

Western Mail, 17 September 1904

When we lived in Papua in the 1970s, 70 years later, there were patrol officers who had encountered tribes meeting their first white men, and where cannibalism still occasionally occurred. From the local side they felt betrayed by what had initially seemed like a positive interaction with the Europeans. In short, a major conflict of culture and loss of judgement, with consequent loss of life.

Discussions around the event were very much focused on Australia’s image, and the need to see it as not condoning the hapless killing of the very people under its protection.

Christopher Robinson’s body was returned to Australia on board a boat accompanied by a missionary Mr Jekyll, who had been present at the killings, a coincidence which seems quite ironic to me.

The mystery of why the “miners” blamed the missionaries remains unknown, as does the question of why the memorial to Christopher Robinson is on Samarai Island many miles from where the “Goaribari incident” occurred, but, also ironically, not far from Killerton Island where missionaries had been cannibalised. It’s also ironic that it remains on an island which is now entirely settled by local Milne Bay people yet they tolerate its presence.

The full story behind this event would merit further investigation as well.

Some Further Reading

The Queenslander 28 May 1904

Northern Miner (Charters Towers, Qld) 23 June 1904

The Register (Adelaide, SA ), 24 June 1904.

Kalgoorlie Miner 5 May 1904

The Register (Adelaide, SA) 14 September 1904 “The Merrie England began it”.

The Mercury (Hobart) 14 September 1904

Saturday Sepia on Sunday – Pipers

I don’t usually participate in the Saturday Sepia posts as I’ve often felt I don’t have enough suitable old photos. However the moment I saw the prompt for #158 I knew I had to take part (even though the photo has been hand tinted). After all it did feature Scottish pipers of which I have more than my share in my family tree.

Duncan McCorkindaleThis photo is of my grandmother’s brother, Duncan McCorkindale. It was given to me by my father’s cousin about 20 years ago and she has recorded the details from the back of her copy – interesting as none of the others have similar notations. I wrote about the McCorkindale brothers, all expert pipers, in my Trove Tuesday post here but on reflection Duncan’s story would deserve a future post as well, but not today.

Duncan and his brother Peter left Glasgow for Australia in June 1900 so logically the photo must have been taken before then. Certainly Duncan looks quite young and his emigration records (and his birth) show his age as 25. Both he and Peter were joiners, an occupation that would lead Duncan to the Australian nation’s capital, Canberra, to help with its establishment and construction, though online reports suggest he had a reputation for severity as a boss.

Along the way Duncan also was instrumental (smile!) in the establishment of the Caledonian Society in Canberra, a judge with their Highland Games in 1925 and 1927, and was an elder with the Presbyterian church.

The meeting commenced at 8 p m. (?) but shortly before that time the skirl of the bagpipes played by Mr. D. McCorkindale were heard in the clear still moonlight and attracted many.[i]

Duncan died a gruesome death in a Sydney road accident in 1928 when he was only 54.

Duncan McCorkindale reverse of pic

[i] Queanbeyan-Canberra Advocate 12 March 1925, page 2

Tropical Territory – PNG Photos

Most of you know that we recently revisited Papua New Guinea. I’ve decided to add some photos on my Tropical Territory blog as a change of scenery from its focus on the Northern Territory.

If you’d like a change why not drop in and have a look.

The blog was originally intended to be photos only…..but you know me <smile>

Cass Collage

Some months ago I decided to see if I could achieve a personal photo collage like Kristin does on Finding Eliza. When my computer crashed in August I thought I’d lost my work but the other day I rediscovered it.

So here is my (imperfect) attempt at a photo collage which represents some of the people and events in my life.

collage 4

And by popular request, some captions (left to right per row)

Top row:

Pauleen with Grandma, early 50s; the cow shed on the old Kunkel property dating back to 1870s probably; Steam train arriving Murphys Creek c1989; View over Dorfprozelten, Bavaria, 2003 (one of my header photos); view over Sanderson’s Bay, Alotau, Milne Bay District c1974.

Second row:

Highland scene outside Goroka, PNG c1973; Pauleen’s birthday party with friends; Lowering of the Australian flag, Independence, Hubert Murray Stadium, PNG 1975; Goroka Markets c1973; Kathmandu 1977.

Third row:

Christmas markets Nuremberg, Bavaria, 1992; All Hallows’ School, Brisbane c1998; PNG flag; Mr & Mrs Cassmob at uni 1967; Wewak beach, PNG c1973.

Fourth row:

Rue Petillon cemetery near Fleurbaix, France 1992; Highland warriors, Goroka Show, 1972; Family Christmas early 1960s; Mr Cassmob’s mother, missus and eldest daughter early 1970s.

All photographs are copyright Pauleen Cass.

Blog of the Year 2012 Awards – my nominations

We all have blogs that we love to read and like many of us I keep the blogs I follow in Google Reader…about 150 of them. Fifty of them I classify as my “must reads” and on which I try to comment fairly regularly.

Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpeg

I read about the Blog of the Year 2012 Award on The Thought Palette blog a few weeks ago and have been thinking about it ever since.  So before we leave 2012 too far behind, I’ve worked up my courage to nominate five of my favourite genealogy blogs from 2012. When I decided to choose from all those I love to read, whose writers offer me new ideas, great stories or images, themes, memes, learning opportunities or adventures, I felt like I was “defriending” my other genimates….rest assured I value each and every one of you.

.My choices for Blog of the Year 2012 Award are based on either a long-term feeling for each one, or for a particular post that brought me up short. They are:

Jennifer from On a Flesh & Bone Foundation. I’ve been reading Jennifer’s posts for a couple of years and never been disappointed in a single one. Each post is carefully crafted, well written, sometimes emotional and always evocative.

Catherine from Seeking Susan~Meeting Marie~Finding Family. Catherine has reduced me to tears more than once this year which I think ensures her position here. I also love her use of colloquial Australian expressions.

Kristin from Finding Eliza. Kristin’s posts are always inspiring as are her family photo collages, her life story, and that of her ancestors.

James Tanner’s Genealogy’s Star blog certainly ends up with lots of stars in my Google Reader as I flag posts to revisit for further thought.

Crissouli has several blogs but it’s her own poetry that so often captures my imagination as well as her commitment to County Clare research, a topic near to my heart.

Please grab the copy of this image from the linked page above, and proudly add it to your blog.

To all my geneablogging buddies, I value your posts and your inspiration every day…you’re all stars in my eyes! You’ve also given me a genea-community around the world so that it no longer feels isolating to be stuck away in Australia’s tropical north. THANK YOU ONE & ALL. You can see many of my favourite family history blogs on my  blog links page. If there are any you haven’t come across why not have a look.