Sepia Saturday 204: Royalty and Ceremony Business

This week’s Sepia Saturday 204 features royalty doing what is their core business: turning on a ceremony. It also ties to the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination.Sepia Saturday 204

My photos this week come from our personal collection from our time in Papua New Guinea during the 1970s. When I look at these photos now, what strikes me forcibly is the apparent lack of security. We could get within a very close distance of them without any hassle. It also impresses me in this day and age, that they are courageous enough to move through the crowds with minimal security where other world leaders have constant high security protection from the crowds who might want to see them.

Queen and family GKA 1974 copy

Queen Elizabeth II on arrival at Goroka airport, February 1974. Prince Philip, Capt Mark Phillips and Lord Louis Mountbatten near vehicle. Scout groups were highly profiled during this visit.

Queen Elizabeth II and her family visited Goroka in the PNG highlands in February 1974 while we were living there. She did various “meet and greet” activities and inspected a huge crowd of PNG nationals at the Show Grounds before travelling to Port Moresby. I also wrote about this visit in an A to Z post, using the same photo.

Queens Visit GKA Princess Anne and Mountbatten

Princess Anne, Capt Mark Phillips and Lord Louis Mountbatten in Goroka 1974

The other reason this feature photo has relevance to the theme is that it includes Lord Louis Mountbatten who was assassinated six years later when an Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb was planted in his fishing boat.

Queens visit GKA

Capt Phillips, Barry Holloway MP, Prince Philip,Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth II, Goroka 1974.

Barry Holloway was the local member of Parliament and later Minister for Finance.

Why not visit Sepia Saturday to see what other Sepians are featuring this week?

Dad’s and Mum’s Neighbourhood Reminiscences on Trove Tuesday

I was mentioning last week how Dad had lived in the street in Kelvin Grove his whole life, and had memories stretching back decades. Some years ago I asked him a little about it. There was a time when he would “clam up” and not tell stories like this, but when I wrote my family history, he realised I did really want to know more about life in the suburb. I’ve used Trove extensively to see if I could track down more information on what he told me. After starting this story I also had an extensive conversation with Mum to clarify some of the comments, and she also added information.

So here are his brief reminiscences, with my own comments, or follow up research relating to it. Mum’s conversations last week are included in green.

An image from SLQ looking towards Kelvin Grove (but which part?) http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/185011646

An image from SLQ looking towards Kelvin Grove (but which part?) http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/185011646

When I was young you could catch a feed of prawns down the creek (Enoggera Creek) and when it was mullet season, you could just about walk across the creek across them.

When Pauleen was young we sometimes caught catfish in the creek. Perhaps the floods washed the creek clean in the earlier days considering there was more industrial waste going into it. Mum used to sometimes call Dad “Elastic Jack” when he started telling tall tales, like walking across the creek on the mullet.

When Pauleen was a child, the mangroves were quite dense and the wretched lantana held sway over the creek banks.

Hayes had a dairy[i] and willed all the land to the council for the public. The dairy was located where the Mynor cordial factory was (at the bottom of Gould Rd). He used to run all the cows on Ballymore where the rugby union is now and a bit over the other side of the creek. The creek used to dogleg over the road and they cut it straight for flood mitigation. There was a weir over the creek across from Ballymore until they straightened the course of Breakfast Creek (technically Enoggera Creek) after the 1974 floods. The Commonwealth paid 60% and council and states paid the rest and the council was supposed to maintain it (presumably the land).

Flooding around Enoggera Creek Windsor 1893 (1)

It seems likely this was Henry Thomas Hayes as he’s mentioned in a Trove newspaper article as a dairy owner though the electoral rolls record him as a labourer of Gould Rd.

Enoggera/Breakfast Creek is tidal to the weir at Bancroft Park on Kelvin Grove Road and has a history of flooding and drainage problems that has led to flood mitigation measures including widening, straightening and dredging.[ii]

The bakery (Hassetts) in Butterfield St, was a family bakery –it was there when Dad was twelve (mid-1930s) because he went over on the pushbike.

In fact, in later years Dad and I would ride over to buy bread –the smell was heavenly and you would pull a bit out of the soft part in the middle…yum! Mum says this was often during the school holidays.

Mum remembers that someone used to come around selling clothes props.

There was a vegetable farm down where the NARM (sandshoes/sneakers factory) was, where the new Post Office depot is now. They used to call them Chinese market gardens. Mum says there was also one across the creek where it flooded as well as at Stafford.

This is interesting because a health inspection refers to the terrible conditions of Chinese abattoirs in this area.

This dairy, Ozanne's, was in nearby Ashgrove but shows what must have been a similar mix of rural and urban. c1920 http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/36908896

This dairy, Ozanne’s, was in nearby Ashgrove but shows what must have been a similar mix of rural and urban. c1920 http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/36908896

Another dairy (was owned by) Hicks, where the baseball and Italian Clubs are now (in Newmarket, near where Pauleen used to go to Girl Guides). I was surprised to learn how many dairies were in the area, but it makes some sense in that pre-pasteurisation era. I still remember getting fresh milk from the dairy at Samford where we camped with Guides.

On the flat opposite Bally St, another bit of a dairy, owned by a couple, McShea and Vowles. In Pauleen’s time this area flooded whenever the creek flooded heavily. Mum says there were also Chinese gardens there in her time. 

Mum also said that there used to be a horse track, with fencing, in the middle of Ballymore Park then in the 1950s every time you caught the bus there would be less fencing there, until it all disappeared.

Hayes used to pick up all the old produce in Roma St. One day Dad saw him with the old big draught horse pulling the dray and he (Hayes) is asleep and the horse was leading the way. At the railway the horse went straight up, round the policeman, up College St and into the railway stables, while the policeman watched with all the traffic stopped.

One of the Kelvin Grove tanneries circa 1890, SLQ http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/185011646

One of the Kelvin Grove tanneries circa 1890, SLQ http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/185011646

Johnston’s tannery was in Bishop St and there was one over in Finsbury St and another one where the retirement development is near Catholic church (in Newmarket?). This one was possibly Granlund’s.

I remember the smell of the tannery quite vividly, but not pleasantly. It was okay except when the wind came from the west.

There has been some debate about these tanneries on the various websites but Queensland Places has this to say[iii]: Away from these public uses Kelvin Grove developed a landscape of Queenslander houses, most of them within half a kilometre of the tramline. Those further away were closer to Ballymore Park. Kelvin Grove Road had shops and a picture theatre (1912) (which Pauleen remembers). There were a couple of tanneries down Bishop Street near the creek, and the area is still industrial.

Dad got in a row with the tannery and council because he couldn’t breathe – “they used to release all the muck from the tannery when tide went out. Sent a diver up the pipe to near Bancroft Park and it was that tannery that was putting the muck down the pipes so there was a big kerfuffle”.

There was a big tannery at Stafford near where the shopping centre is (this coincides with a conversation on the web). There used to be a beautiful swimming pool (natural) at Kedron Brook until the tannery came along. 

An 1873 newspaper article praised the Kedron Brook tannery owned by J & G Harris (I wonder if these were the same people who obtained the initial land grant on the Ballymore estate?)Or was the tannery that Dad mentions a different, newer one. Either way the Council took exception as this report indicates. A 1934 newspaper story takes a different view with one MLA wondering why the tanneries had ever been allowed to empty their waste into Kedron Brook.

A fellow had a mirror factory down Bishop St for which they use cyanide to do backing of mirror (Bishop St was hardly a salubrious place to live, and it was good thing we didn’t catch many fish!)

Finney (Isles) and Ure had a carriers where the garage is on Herston Rd (cnr of Kelvin Grove Road). There was a paddock at the endof Picot Street for the Clydesdales and they took them along the creek near the Chinaman’s gardens.

via Trove: sale of property in 1929, large house in Herston Rd, one street off Kelvin Grove tram line. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article21373382. This follows Hubert Finney’s death –papers refer to him as ex-Alderman. He and Ure were members of the Master Carriers’ Association.

Mum recalls that she was told euchre parties were held in the house across the road, to raise funds for the church and school.

Perhaps these are not profound recollections but they add some personal flavour to the local history, and offer stories that would otherwise disappear. I’m just sorry I didn’t “pump” him for more.

The Lawrence family had a tiny shop at the end of Bally St in Dunsmore St. They also ran the bus to Fortitude Valley until the Council took it over

I also asked Dad who lived in the street when he was growing up and have since compared the names with those on the electoral rolls with great success, though he add some additional snippets to add. This may be the content of a post another day. My childhood friend still lives in the street behind ours and my guess is that her family has the longest continuous for the two streets, perhaps shared with one other family. I wonder if her father passed on any anecdotes to her?
Trove Tuesday is a blogging theme created by Amy of Branches, Leaves and Pollen, revealing just how incredible a resource this is, even when making comparisons with oral history.

Remembrance Day 2013: Erle Victor Weiss

Image of poppies from Wikipedia.

Image of poppies from Wikipedia.

For Remembrance Day 2013, I’m going to share with you the brief story of a man who has no family connection to me whatsoever. He made himself known through a photograph found in my cousin’s extensive photo collection.

My 4th cousin in Sydney is one of those people who has myriad photographs stored in suitcases – probably literally hundreds of them. Some have names on them, but sadly not all. She has been a wealth of information about my own family but there are also hidden gems of no direct relevance to me.

Erle Victor Weiss KIAAmong her collection is this photograph postcard from a young Australian soldier who was killed in World War I, Erle Victor Weiss. Erle was another of the young men, descendants of German ancestors, who fought for King and country in World War I. You will see from his note to his friend that he did not affiliate with the Germans he fought, referring to them as “Huns” in the vernacular of the time. Given the social attitudes of the era I often wonder whether those with German names felt they had to be more English than others, and whether it provoked them into joining up as soon as possible.

Erle Victor Weiss to Nora

Click on the image to read the letter.

Erle had joined in August 1915 and was a bombardier with the 1st Field Artillery Brigade. He had been severely gassed in November 1917 and it was during this period of hospitalisation in England that he wrote to my cousin’s mother.

This postcard strikes me as a letter to a young woman with whom he was perhaps in love. Whether she was just a friend or reciprocated his love is unknown, though the fact that the postcard has been preserved all these years suggests she was very fond of him.

Erle was killed on 9 August 1918 nine months after this letter was written and is buried in Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres. His brother, Frederick Alfred Weiss, died on 19 July 1916, in the Battle of Fromelles. These two young men were the eldest sons of Walter Henry and Amy Selina Weiss who lived at Erina, New South Wales where it seems Walter was a school teacher.

Erle’s friend, Norah, married another former soldier Leslie Gladstone Fisher in 1925 in Surrey Hills. Were the two men friends? Had they ever met?

Leslie Gladstone Fisher, WWI.

Leslie Gladstone Fisher, WWI.

It is impossible to read the files for the young men who were killed during the war: there is such pathos in each and every letter written to the authorities by their next of kin. All they had left to hope for were some items of their son’s to treasure, and in Erle’s case this amounted to 2 photos, 1 card, a belt a damaged wallet, a pocket book and a scarf. The significance of the war memorials, especially in Australia, is knowing that a memorial and small personal items were the only tangible reminders of their son’s sacrifice.

Among the photos are two unknown soldiers, I thought I would include it here in case someone else recognises them.

Two unidentified Aussie soldiers.

Two unidentified Aussie soldiers.

Book of Me: Prompt 10 – Click, Click

Prompt 10 for the Book of Me is Do you have an unexplained memory or memories? Items, Places, People Things and times you can remember, but you are not sure where they fit into your past.

I have no unexplained memories that leap to mind so once again I’m heading in a lateral direction.

Do you have little mental snapshots that stand alone and unaccompanied in your mind? I find that I do, and while some interweave with other stories, like school days, others just insist on hanging out alone. One of the real frustrations of being sibling-less is that you have no one else to bounce your recollections off. Then again you also don’t have anyone telling you “you’re dreaming!”.

Some of my snapshot childhood moments are:

AT HOME

Feeding the kookaburra.

Feeding the kookaburra.

  • Playing mud pies with a second cousin from Sydney near the tank stand in my grandparents’ yard. But it’s not every mud pie that is baked with TLC including macadamia nuts, or Queensland nuts as they were known back in the day before marketing took hold. Given the price of Qld nuts you might find that horrifying but at the time we had a huge tree in our back yard so they were in surplus supply. Dad eventually took that tree out, I don’t recall why, and it was replaced with a large Melaleuca viridiflora which flowered spectacularly.
  • Cracking Queensland nuts in the vice on my grandfather’s work bench under the house. Or finding a dent in the concrete where the nut would sit still while you whacked it with a hammer.
  • Sitting under the stairs to the house, in the shade, reading a book and avoiding the summer heat of the holidays.
  • Being sooky because “no one” was ever home during holiday season to come to my birthday parties (boo hoo!)
  • Dad repairing the soles of shoes on his work bench (just imagine, how things change)
  • Mum washing in the big copper which had to have the water heated, and then the washing being hauled out, all soapy, with a long wooden pole. Back breaking work! A twin tub was an advance but an automatic (many years later) was a miracle.
  • The sheer drama and hardwork of Monday washing day with blue, starch etc etc.
  • Licking the bowl and the beaters when Mum was baking (every Saturday without fail)
  • The kookaburras landing on the railing for a snack of slivered meat -why would they catch snakes?
  • Lifting up the fence palings and finding a large snake under it, and seeing them elsewhere around the yard
  • Dad’s fierce injunction to never, ever run when confronted with a snake: stand still, don’t scream or yell, then back slowly away (very helpful many decades later when toe to face with a mercifully-sleepy death adder.
  • Doing bob-a-job for Guides and collecting money in Queen St for charity through my high school.
  • Joan Kunkel with Pauleen and quote_edited-1
  • The old Mason jar type stoneware jugs at the back of Grandma’s under-the-house. (For overseas readers, many traditional houses in Queensland are raised up on stilts for better air ventilation and also for protection against termites. I think the area under the house is used for similar things to colder-climate attics or basements: storage, play areas, work areas etc.
  • Climbing the mango tree, very high, and bobbing out of the “top” and calling out to Grandma (heart attack material, I’d have said). Then playing at Tarzan and swinging down from the lower branches –it would have been cheating to just climb down.
  • Standing up near Kelvin Grove state school and looking across the suburbs at the lights – my mother has a “thing” for lights.
  • Riding down the steep hills near KG school for the first time –like setting forth on a roller coast in a push bike.
  • Doing my Year 8 (Scholarship) exams at the state school and then coming back to the convent to run through what I’d done with my teacher (have I mentioned my obsessive characteristics?).

SCHOOL DAYSPauleen at Picnic Bay and quote

  • Walking home from school in the gutters when it had been pouring with rain. Yes, I did have my shoes off!
  • Being one of a handful of kids at school when there was a cyclone around, not because Mum had to work but because she came from North Queensland and probably thought it would be wimpy to stay home.
  • Grandad taking me to school in my first year, because Mum was very sick (and I assume Dad was at work). We went up one hill, he dropped me off, and I went home straight away down a different hill.
  • The big old tree, I suppose a Moreton Bay fig, under which we could sit during primary school lunch breaks.
  • The influx of students from all sorts of “strange” places in Europe as part of the post-war migration.
  • The warm milk we used to get at school courtesy of the government. Not very nice!
  • Sandwich lunches of sardines and potato chips (crisps) on Fridays back in the day when Catholics had to eat fish of Friday. Bizarre as it sounds I liked that food combination.
  • The class being tested for TB and having an early Salk polio vaccine.
  • Fabulous church fetes where I bought handmade doll’s dresses and home-made lollies.
  • Walking along the creek bank with a friend to the Guide hut at Newmarket –watched by Mum or Dad from the verandah.
  • The smell of the brewery across the road from school, and the smell of baking biscuits from the Arnotts factory off Coronation Drive.

MUM & DADNorman Kunkel and Pauleen at beach and quote

  • Dad being “up in arms” when they sold Ballymore Park to the Rugby Union, only to “adopt” the sport with gusto, especially after Mr Cassmob came along
  • Waving to Dad as he rode to work on his push bike (no gears!). He would always turn at the corner before heading up the hill.
  • The shock on his face when he came home after some bloke had got killed or caught in the buffers of the trains.
  • Mum making cakes or biscuits for me to take to school when we had birthday celebrations. This was an All Hallows’ tradition and we would sit in a big group on the terrace for our al fresco party.
  • Being violently ill and the boat rolling from side to side almost taking on water, as we made our way to Green Island soon after a cyclone. Mum always says “Green going over, and green coming back”.
  • Being scared witless of walking across the old pipe bridge near Gould Rd, leading to Bancroft Park. The timbers were pretty dodgy with gaps and missing boards: I really hated that! When my children were young and visiting from PNG, Dad would take them for walks in the pram over to the same bridge, something of a family tradition, though by then the bridge was in better condition.
  • Riding to Eildon Hill with Mum & Dad. Perhaps this is an ambiguous memory. I rather doubt I’d have managed Eildon Hill, where there was a reservoir, which makes me wonder if I was “doubled”. 
  • Riding with Dad to get fresh bread from the bakery in Butterfield St.

Pauleen as baby with Kit Kunkel AND QUOTE

And the only unexplained memory I can bring to mind, is whether there was ever a building at the back corner of my grandparents’ yard farthest from our place. I used to have the idea it was the dunny, but the sewerage maps show that was closer to where the mango tree was positioned. Must ask Mum.

Long term readers will probably remember some of these little snapshots as part of “story albums” on this blog, especially the 52 weeks series. I guess I got a bit carried away…thanks for reading along.

Never Say Never: Ship Ahoy

unlock the pastIn the past I’ve been just a tad averse to cruising as a holiday option. However, there’s nothing like the temptation of being in the midst of a bunch of obsessive genealogists, including quite a few of my geneablogging mates. And so, never say never, I’ve signed up to participate in the 4th Unlock the Past cruise around the south of Australia in February 2014.

We'll be sailing from Sydney at 9pm so we should have a view something like this.

We’ll be sailing from Sydney at 9pm so we should have a view something like this.

And since I was breaking the rule of a lifetime, why not do it on the biggest cruise ship afloat in Australia, Voyager of the Seas!

One of the rationales which also helped get me over the cruise-phobia was my family’s links to the sea. My Melvin family were merchant seamen for several generations and my great-grandfather, Stephen Gillespie Melvin was an early international traveller from Australia. He travelled on the maiden voyage of the rather grand Aorangi in 1925. Voyager of the Seas looks extremely flash, so as well as all my genealogy learning and participating, I’ll complete my voyage understanding a little more about my ancestors’ maritime experiences.

The Aorangi was also state of the art when she was launched.

The Aorangi was also state of the art when she was launched.

What fun we’ll have with such a great array of speakers to listen to. I’m especially looking forward to meeting and listening to Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers and Hack Genealogy fame: he seems such a character it will be fun to meet him in person (I hope he’ll be bringing some blogging beads, big hint Thomas!). I’ve also done Pharos classes with Chris Paton so that’s another great opportunity. Not to mention family history writing expert, Noeline Kyle.

Also in the speaker line up are quite a few Aussie speakers who I know and have heard present elsewhere: Jill Ball, Shauna Hicks, Kerry Farmer, Helen Smith, German-genealogy guru Rosemary Kopittke, and my overseas mate Julie Goucher. I’m suspecting we might all be hoarse from nattering by the end of the voyage. Jan Gow from New Zealand is another person I want to meet as I believe she has a connection to my uncle’s family: not an ancestral link for me, but I have some photos which might be of interest to her. Not to mention all those presenters I’ve never had the chance of hearing in Darwin.

Voyager image 1

Bling anyone?

How I’m going to fit in even one visit to the pool, day spa and ice rink I don’t know. Will I have the nerve to don some skates after decades off the ice? Wait until February and we’ll all see. I’ll be sailing solo as Mr Cassmob has decided to keep the house afloat –not literally I hope given it will be cyclone season – he reckons he wouldn’t get any attention in the midst of all the genie chatter…he’s probably right.

The icing on the cake is that I will be an official blogger on the cruise so you can expect to read regular posts from this voyaging novice. Thanks Alan from Unlock the Past and Gould Genealogy for this great opportunity.

There are still some cabins available so if, like me, you’ve left your run rather late, why not give it some thought.

Come sailing and conferencing with us.

Come sailing and conferencing with us.

Monday Mentions and hangouts abound

 

The world is your family tree oyster with blogging. Edited image from Office Clip Art.

Share your discoveries on your blog.

Genealogy Down Under live discussions were launched by Geniaus’s in her inaugural Hangout on Air (we should have had a glass of champers Jill). And some related blog posts from Geniaus (Jill), Anglers Rest (Julie), and My Genealogy Adventures (Tanya)

You can also read about the new Society of One Place Studies and watch their first hangout.

Looking for Christmas ideas, or just wanting to let your family come to grips with their family tree, have a look at  Lone Tester’s (Alona) photographic family tree wall.

Western Districts Families blogger Merron, talks about how she’s been using Facebook to attract past and current residents of Hamilton, Victoria. A great idea if you have a particular interest in an area and want to promote it.

Looking for photography tips. How about this blog?

This is a link to a reconstruction of London as it was 400 years ago. Several bloggers mentioned this including British Genes which has the full story linked.

The InDepth Genealogist recommends MakeUseOf, which looks like a site I need to explore.

Whispering Gums on Jane Austen and Politics. Yes it is about literature but have you considered novels might add context to your family stories?

Genealogy’s Star, James Tanner, always offers a smorgasbord of food for thought: An Overview of Genealogy, Part 4. And what about those “I agree” statements we all click on? And importantly “the essence of genealogical research”. Or using “New technology to use historic maps”.  Or What is Research? “Comparing legal research with genealogical research”. My list of saved posts includes so many of Genealogy’s Star’s post. If you don’t already follow this blog add it to your “must read” list. James always gives us something to think about.

Marian’s Roots and Rambles offers advice to budding bloggers on choosing a blog name. I wonder how many of us considered all these points.

Do you have family across the ditch? Inside History reminds us of the wonderful Papers Past website for NZ (their equivalent of Trove). And another post from Inside History where SLNSW’s Margot Riley dates a family photo. See how it’s done. And for a touch of history interspersed with levity, they’ve also recommended “Girt, an unauthorised history of Australia” with its play on our national anthem. I am finding it very funny and tongue in cheek though the history may need some closer inspection.

And for those of us with Scottish ancestry, you may find Chris Paton’s post on pre-1841 census listings to be enlightening. This won’t give you the actual records but will ensure you know what’s available.

And my own addition to the above listing, why not check out the Historical Tax Rolls on ScotlandsPlaces. I found some interesting family snippets among these.

Sepia Saturday 201: History Slips Away

2013.10W.07This week’s topic for Sepia Saturday 201 is houses and fits perfectly with a story I’ve been contemplating for some time. It will also link to my Book of Me stories about my childhood house.

Image from Google Earth, street view: my parents' (left) and grandparents' (right) houses.

Image from Google Earth, street view: my parents’ (left) and grandparents’ (right) houses.

Back in July 2013 my mother sold the house my parents lived in virtually all of their married lives – they’d lived next door with my grandparents for a year before I was born.

Map AG2 40 chains to the inch.

Map AG2 40 chains to the inch.

With that simple move to a retirement unit, all shiny and new, a tiny piece of Brisbane history slipped away. Yes, definitely a piece of my own family’s history, but also an unnoticed change in a near-city suburb. The sale of my childhood home was the final break in our family’s link to the street, after nearly 96 years. In Australian terms this is a quite an extensive association with an area, especially in an urban environment.

Brisbane and Suburbs Sheet S 1917, scale 8 chains to the inch, courtesy Museum of Lands Surveying and Mapping.

Brisbane and Suburbs Sheet S 1917, scale 8 chains to the inch, courtesy Museum of Lands Surveying and Mapping. The Recreation Reserve adjacent became Ballymore Park, home of Queensland Rugby from the 1960s.

You see, back in September 1917, my paternal grandfather was relocated back to Brisbane by the Queensland Government Railways. His railway employment card makes it clear he’d been in Gympie since mid-1911. (I was very lucky to find that card in the old railway offices in Ipswich back in the late 1980s). Family anecdotes tell that Grandad had boarded his young brother Ken with a woman in Kelvin Grove, after all the children had been orphaned in 1901. The carer was later said by Ken to have been quite cruel or at least demanding, but if any of the anecdotes hold water, I’m sure my grandfather can’t have known this or he’d have moved Ken elsewhere. My concern with the stories is that the timelines don’t quite gel for me.

Mackellar Sheet 4 dated 1895 from Museum of Lands Surveying and Mapping.

Mackellar Sheet 4 dated 1895 from Museum of Lands Surveying and Mapping.

At any rate when Grandad moved back to Brisbane he bought a block of land in Bally Street, so perhaps this was indeed were Ken had been living, and how Grandad came to know of it. The Ballymore estate had only been subdivided for resale in 1912 and before that had been called Ballimore – the large block of land where Ballimore House had been remains intact but the house is no more, supposedly destroyed by fire.

A section of the title deeds for my grandfather's first land purchase in 1917.

A section of the title deeds for my grandfather’s first land purchase in 1917.

Grandad’s purchase and title deeds are documented as 13th September 1917 and the block he purchased was re-subdivision 29 of subdivisions 22 and 23 from the original Portion 270 granted to John and George Harris.  The block of land was 16 perches and it was this block that my grandparents gave to my parents after my birth. On 22 October 1917 my grandfather enlisted in the Railway Unit and headed off to northern France.

In December 1920, on his return from overseas, Denis purchased the adjoining allotments, 30 and 31, a combined block of 32 perches block from the woman who was said to have been Ken’s carer. Denis built his house in the middle of the three blocks, but the date of construction is something I still don’t know, though Brisbane Council valuations may help as the valuations should increase around the time of building. My guesstimate is that it was built before my grandparents’ wedding in April 1922.

My grandparents’ house was sold, some years after Grandma’s death, c1980, so around sixty years after Grandad took ownership of the block. It has been substantially upgraded since then, though superficially is recognisable as the same house. I wrote in some detail about it in 2011, as part of the 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History series, and also here in terms of the red tape surrounding houses. I also worked the electoral rolls over to analyse the history of the street, its residents, and their occupations. You can read the two stories here and here.

1932 Sewerage maps from Brisbane City Council.

1932 Sewerage maps from Brisbane City Council.

I’ve mentioned before that sewerage maps can be incredibly useful – a tip I learned from a talk given by Susie Zada. This area of Brisbane was sewered quite early: the Council approved a budget of £19,167 in February 1939 (thank you Trove!) However the maps themselves predate this by seven years, and since many of the houses in the street are indicated by their names, it will make it easier to link the people on the electoral roll to them, an unexpected benefit. Who’d have thought it was interesting to know where one’s grandparents’ dunny was?

After my parents took ownership of the block initially purchased in 1917, my grandparents’ house was moved a few metres to the right, and my childhood home was built. Over the decades the house was extended slightly, to include a front verandah and carport, and an extension at the rear for a sunroom.

And so, with the sale of all three blocks of land, and the two houses, a link was broken with the establishment of this Brisbane suburb. A small, unremarked part of personal and local history disappeared along with the family’s 90+ year residence in the street. Or as Mr Cassmob puts it succinctly “there goes the last of the originals”.

Meanwhile the mango tree, planted when my father was born 90 years ago, remains sentinel to the family’s erstwhile presence.

This photo of my grandparents' house was given to me recently by my mother. I estimate that it would be in the 1930s as the backyard toilets are still in evidence.

This photo of my grandparents’ house was given to me recently by my mother. I estimate that it would be in the 1930s as the backyard toilets are still in evidence.

There has been a local history published of the area, Herston, Recollections and Reminscences. It adds valuable background to the area’s history something which is lacking for many suburbs. However it also suffers from a lack of footnotes, and a typical omissions of local histories: the tendency to source information from a familiar section of the community. So it’s ironic that my father, who at the time had lived in the area for over 70 years, was not consulted,when he could have added so much.

For example he would easily have corrected what I believe to be an error on page 15, where it is stated that Ballymore House “would probably have suffered several floods before a fire reputedly damaged the interior….and it has since been demolished”. My conversations with Dad confirm that as far as he was aware, the street had never been flooded, making in fact highly unlikely that Ballymore House had suffered flooding since it was on the higher side of the street. The error probably arose because while the tributary of Breakfast Creek is very close in horizontal distance, the height above the creek means any flood waters are absorbed into the parks across the river.

My criticisms are probably churlish given the depth of information provided on the suburb, but it remains frustrating that more could have been added. The wonderful resource of Trove would no doubt have added all sorts of little snippets that would once have been nigh on impossible to find in the newspapers.

Herston, Recollections and Reminiscences, DJ Hacker, DR Hallam, M Spinaze, Brisbane 1995.