The orphaned Kunkel children

NFHM AlexIn Week 2 of Family Tree Frog’s NFHM Blogging Challenge, Alex asks us if there were secrets in our families, or were there tales of the Depression. However, as this week’s book, Careful He Might Hear You, focuses on an orphan and what happens when his aunt comes to take care of him, my thoughts immediately turned to my Kunkel orphans.

In November 1901, my great grandmother, Julia Celia Kunkel nee Gavin, died of a post-natal complication.  Just six weeks later, on Christmas Day 1901, her husband George Michael Kunkel died of a heart attack. All of a sudden their ten surviving children were left orphaned.

george & julia possiblyADJ

I believe this MAY be a photo of Julia Gavin and George Michael Kunkel, based on dress styles, family resemblances and that it was with a group of Kunkel family photos.

The children and their age at the time they were orphaned were:

Denis Joseph Kunkel born 23 September 1880 at the 40 Mile Camp, Dalby (my grandfather), 21 years

Mary Ellen Kunkel born 7 December 1881, 20 years

Julia Beatrice Kunkel born 9 July 1883, 18 years

George Michael Kunkel born 18 October 1884 died Jimboomba 1 May 1899

Bridget Rose Kunkel born 9 July 1886, 15 years

James Edward (Jim) Kunkel born 6 June 1889, 12 years

Elizabeth Ann (Lily) Kunkel baptised 26 January 1891, 10 years

William Thomas (Bill) Kunkel born 7 November 1892, 9 years

Matthew David John (John) Kunkel born 28 April 1894, 7 years

Kenneth Norman (Ken) Kunkel born 27 August 1896, 5 years

May Camellia Kunkel born 30 April 1899, 2 years.

The children were therefore split roughly into two groups, with the eldest three being of working age and the younger six ranging from toddlers to being almost of an age to work. There are some variations compared to the ages on the death certificate but that’s unsurprising given the level of stress and grief. What on earth happened to all these young children? Their father left an estate of £433, thanks largely to a life insurance policy, which must have helped a little.

dinny jim & friend

James (left), Denis (Centre) and unknown friend/relative c1917.

My grandfather Denis never talked about these horrible early days, though oral history from my parents said that he had contributed to the children’s upkeep (debated by others) and that he had maintained young Ken at a woman’s house next to the block of land Denis bought in Kelvin Grove. Ken’s descendant told me that she had treated Ken poorly and he’d run away. Having said that, I remember Ken visiting my grandfather in his old age – he would turn up in his van, covered in health food signage so he obviously still felt some affinity with his eldest brother.

What else could I learn? I turned to the school indexes prepared by Queensland Family History Society which are also available through Find My Past. While I had some of this information, even more is being indexed, which is very helpful when you haven’t a clue where the family might have gone. Even better, many of the school admission books are being digitised by the Queensland State Archives, as I’ve discovered today.

My earlier notes record that Jim Kunkel was enrolled at Wallumbilla State School[i] in January 1902 and left in Sept 1902. This suggests to me that he had been taken in by his aunts and uncles, either the Paterson or the Lee family who lived at Pickenjennie and Wallumbilla respectively. I’ve also been told that Jim worked for them on their farms as he would have done at home. Oral history revealed that Denis helped Jim get a position as a lad porter with the railway in 1911. Around the same time, Jim would become a part-time competitive boxer, before marrying and having a large family.

Julia Kunkel

Julia Kunkel

Mary Ellen Kunkel had married in June 1901, before her parents died. She had three children but the marriage was not a success.

Julia Kunkel worked as a domestic and in a hotel though she also lived with her grandparents at Murphy’s Creek for some time and her wedding reception was held there. I wonder whether some of the smaller children also lived there with them, at least some of the time. Unfortunately, the Murphy’s Creek School Admission Registers are only available from 1907 so we can’t know for sure. Julia married in 1910 and had a very large, happy family.

Although Bridget Kunkel was 15 when her parents died, she no doubt missed her mother’s guidance. She worked in hotels and sadly had two children out of wedlock, one of whom died in a baby farm at New Farm in Brisbane. Family secrets have a way of coming out when one visits the archives and explores the indexes for civil registrations.

While Bill Kunkel was enrolled, with his siblings, at the Geham State School in the final year of his parents’ life, there is no indication of whether he continued his education beyond 1901 and if so, where. Nor do we know with whom he lived until of age to go out to work. He too joined the railway (the family business), as a lad porter in Warwick in 1913, aged 21 (seems old?). He remained with the railway for the rest of his life, but tragedy struck when his son Robert (William Rudolph) Kunkel was reported Missing in Action in Korea in 1952. Bill and his wife Rosetta never got over their loss. Bill was one of the few siblings to stay in touch with brother Denis, who had some sort of falling out with the rest of them, reportedly over religion.

ken kunkel

Ken Kunkel

There is a mystery surrounding the younger children, Lily, John, Ken and May. Lily, John and Ken are enrolled at Laidley state school[ii] in 1902, but no family members are known to have lived there, and the registers didn’t enlighten me when I looked at them years ago. The only familiar name I could find was that of Elizabeth Marks, who had been named Executrix of their father’s will. Young May appears in the index of Laidley admissions in 1904 and John in 1906. Who were they living with? Time for some more research.

In between times May appears in the registers for Crow’s Nest[iii] school (1905 and 1908) and also Pechey[iv] school (1905). Lily also appears on the Crow’s Nest admissions register in 1902 and John at Geham[v] in 1903 and 1905. These seem more able to be explained. The children’s maternal grandfather, Denis Gavin, lived at Crow’s Nest around this time, and their uncle James Gavin, worked for the railway (yes, again!) in Pechey.

john kunkel off to war

John Kunkel

I have no record of where young Ken went to school though if the oral history is correct I would expect at least some of his education would have been at Kelvin Grove state school.

John’s daughter told me that her father hadn’t received “any” education and had no shoes until he was 14. John had been fostered out and worked hard as a dairyman for his foster parents, though we have no idea who they were.

Annie Kunkel, a younger cousin to all these Kunkel orphans, told me that Bill Kunkel had spent a “good bit of time with the grandparents” at the Fifteen Mile, Murphy’s Creek, and perhaps all of them came and went at some time.

Lily and May Kunkel

Lily and May Kunkel

May Kunkel would have been only 13 when she was enrolled at the Cooran state school[vi] near Pomona in 1912. Her guardian was a baker in Cooran and the only entry on the electoral rolls for a baker in Cooran is a James Hubert Jordan. This name means nothing to me in the broader family context so I’m left wondering if she had been sent to work there. At the time he would have been 66 years old and appears not to have had a wife living with him. A mystery indeed. May married at only 17 years old but her marriage failed fairly quickly…hardly surprising given the emotional turmoil she’d lived through at such a young age.

The death of their parents had a significant impact on these Kunkel orphans. The younger ones seemed to have been taken care of by relatives mostly but moved around regularly – hardly a settled life. Apparently the older ones survived with fewer emotional scars, but the younger group certainly did it tough. Ken and John remained good mates throughout their lives, enlisting in World War I together alongside their Gavin cousins.

[i] Queensland State Archives Item ID637218, Register – admissions, state school

[ii] Queensland State Archives Item ID635275, Register – admissions, state school

[iii] Queensland State Archives Item ID625192, Register – admissions, state school

[iv] Queensland State Archives Item ID639187, Register – admissions, state school

[v] Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 28004

[vi] Queensland State Archives Item ID639824, Register – admissions, state school

 

 

 

 

 

An Irish family in Surry Hills c1880s

NFHM AlexAlex from Family Tree Frog blog has set us a genealogy challenge for National Family History Month in August, themed around Australian novels. Week 1 is “Poor Man’s Orange”.

What do FANS and angels have in common? Let me take you to Surry Hills in Sydney – a not-so-pleasant area of Sydney back in the 19th Century.

Surry Hills is the focus of the classic Aussie novel Poor Man’s Orange, and this quote would almost certainly resonate with my extended family, the Garveys and Hogans who lived there:

The Church in Surry Hills was no fountain of stone…it was foursquare, red brick, with a stubby steeple as strictly functional as the finger of a traffic cop….It was as much a part of Surry Hills as the picture-show or the police station, the ham-and-beef or the sly-grog shop.[i]

Kate and Mary Garvey

Kate and Mary Garvey.

In the 1860s, Catherine (Kate) O’Brien, the sister of my 2xgreat grandmother Mary O’Brien Kunkel, arrived in Sydney and married fellow Clare emigrant, Pat Hogan. Pat and Kate Hogan lived in Surry Hills. Two decades later their nieces and nephews would also emigrate from County Clare and live nearby, also in Surry Hills.

Kate and Mary Garvey (daughters of Honora O’Brien, sister of Mary and Kate), arrived in Sydney in 1881 on the Blairgowrie, citing their aunt Kate Hogan, as a relative in the colony.

Mary remained a spinster throughout her life but Kate married, yet again to a Clare emigrant, James Skein (or Skehan?) Keane. Although Kate moved to the goldfields in Western Australia for some years, she returned to Sydney for her children’s health. Her sister Mary continued to be a strong support to her for the rest of her life.

Kate and Mary’s sister, Bridget Garvey, arrived in Sydney, marrying Samuel Gill in 1906. Brother, Michael Garvey, also emigrated to Australia, and the last to arrive was sister Ellen who didn’t come to Australia until 1923 after their mother died. Most of Honora O’Brien Garvey’s other children would emigrate to the United States and live in Baltimore.

Joining the Garvey clan in Surry Hills was my own great-grandfather’s sister, Margaret or Molly Kunkel, who became part of this extended family, spending the rest of her life near the Garveys and Hogans, and later being buried near them.

Paul Simon sings of “angels in the architecture”[ii], something that always strikes a chord with me and which is particularly pertinent to these Clare emigrants.

hogan and garvey wnidows

Stained glass memorial windows for the Garvey and Hogan families

St Peters Surry Hills Freemans Jnl 1918

Freeman’s Journal, 20 June 1918, page 40. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116774575

When the new Catholic church at Surry Hills, St Peter’s, was being built and the stained glass windows were being sought, the two O’Brien branches memorialised their own families. One window remembers Kate and Pat Hogan, while the other is a tribute to John and Honora Garvey. There is nothing to suggest that John and Honora lived and died in Ireland and it was simply their family who had emigrated.

All in all, a classic case of chain migration and the importance of considering FANs (Friends, Associates and Neighbours). It was from this family that I would acquire Kunkel photographs, genealogy details, and oral histories that linked the various branches both across Australia and the USA.

A “Rich Man’s Orange” in genealogical terms.

 

[i] Park, Ruth. The Harp in the South novels. Penguin Books, Melbourne 2009, page 418

[ii] Paul Simon, You can call me Al. http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/paulsimon/youcancallmeal.html

Ancestral Places Geneameme

National flags of the different countries of the world in a heap. Top view

National flags of the different countries of the world in a heap. Top view

Alona from Lone Tester blog has set us this geneameme for National Family History Month. The ground rules are as follows:

What places do your ancestors come from?

Using the alphabet how many letters can you name ancestral places for? Some you will no doubt know well, some you may not … at least not yet (see my letter ‘I’ and ‘N’ examples below). I still have more research to do on those lines.

It doesn’t have to be where your ancestors were born, but it does have to be a place that they were associated with. For instance they lived or worked (or died?) in that place.

Here is my own list – luckily for me I’ve done some of this before with the A to Z challenge in 2012 and I’ve included some links below. It’s a lengthy post but not too “dense” (follow as few or as many of the links to earlier posts as you like).

A is for:

P1070724 edit_edited-1

The sixpenny gatehouse for Ardkinglas estate where my 3xgreat grandfather lived.

Australia where my ancestors arrived between the early 1850s and 1910.

Ardkinglas, Argyll, Scotland – my 2xgreat grandfather lived and worked on this estate

Argyll, Scotland – home of my McCorkindales/McCorquodales/Macquorquodales and my Morrison families.

Annandale, Sydney, Australia – my great grandfather Stephen Gillespie Melvin lived here and had a confectionery factory here after moving from Charters Towers.

B is for:

Ballykelly townland, Broadford, Co Clare, Ireland – home of my O’Brien-Reddan 3xgreat grandparents.

Binbian Downs (near Condamine, Qld) where my Gavin family worked and lived on their first employment contract in Australia.

Backrow farmhouse Bothkennar

Backrow farmhouse, Bothkennar.

Bothkennar, Stirlingshire, Scotland where my Sim family lived for around 200 years.

C is for:

Charters Towers, Queensland where my Melvin family set up their confectionery and pastry shop and refreshment rooms. In a strange coincidence there is also a link between Charters Towers and my husband’s work in Papua New Guinea.

Cairndow, Argyll, Scotland – my 2xgreat grandparents, James & Isabella McCorkindale are buried in the Church of Scotland church yard. Isabella Morrison McCorkindale has a lovely gravestone quite close to the door of the church.

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Pauleen visiting with Isabella. Daffodils planted on her grave, but snow still on the hills

Crows Nest, Queensland – Denis Gavin lived here towards the end of his life and is buried in the cemetery there.

Coleford, Gloucestershire, England – my Partridge family (incl John & Elizabeth, my 3xgreat grandparents and 2xgreat grandfather William) lived there.

Courtown, Wexford, Ireland – my Callaghan ancestors were fishermen here for generations.

D is for:

Dublin, Co Dublin, Ireland – Denis and Ellen Gavin, my 2xgreat grandparents married here and lived in the Liberties.

Dalby, Queensland – my great grandmother, Julia Celia Gavin, was born here when her parents lived in the town for some years. My grandfather was born at the 40 Mile railway camp outside Dalby.

Drimuirk, Argyll, Scotland – my 3x great grandparents, Duncan and Annie McCorkindale, lived in this hamlet in the mid-19th century.

E is for:

England: my Kent, Partridge, Thompson, Gillespie/Gilhespy, Reid families lived here.

Edinburgh, Scotland – my Melvin family lived in the Edinburgh port of Leith for generations.Leith shore and Melvins

F is for:

Fifteen Mile, Queensland – I’ve written about this small settlement outside Murphy’s Creek many times – home of the Kunkel-O’Brien family.

Fromelles, France – my grandfather’s cousin, James Gavin, is buried at Fleurbaix cemetery.

Fortune and Florentia – just two of the ships on which my ancestors came to Australia.

'Florentia', under Captain Wimble, passing through Telleberry Roads, coast of Malabar, on 1 February 1825

The sailing ship Florentia. Image from the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, and reproduced with permission. Image PW 7704

G is for:

Goroka, Papua New Guinea – where our family lived for some years. This will be ancestral country in the future.

Gorey, Wexford, Ireland – my great grandparents, Peter Sherry (later McSherry) and Margaret Callaghan were married here and my grandfather was born here.

Glasgow, Scotland – like so many Scots, my McCorkindale family came to Glasgow and settled there. My great grandfather, Duncan, was a cabinet maker, and he and his sons were pipers.

H is for:

Hughenden, Queensland – my Peter and Mary McSherry great grandparents lived in Hughenden for some time.

Highfields, Queensland – my great grandfather and his siblings were early enrolees at the new Highfields school when his family lived there before moving to the Fifteen Mile.

I is for:

Ipswich, Queensland: my Kent, Partridge, Kunkel and O’Brien ancestors all lived in Ipswich like so many early Queensland settlers.

shamrock and leprechaun

Ireland – whatever my DNA ethnicities tell me, my paper trail confirms I have a significant amount of Irish ancestry – Kildare, Wicklow, Wexford, Offaly, Clare and my Mystery Sherry.

J is for:

Jondaryan, Queensland – where my great grandfather George Michael Kunkel, and his future wife, Julia Gavin, both worked for a while.

Jimboomba, Queensland – George Michael and Julia Kunkel lived here as part of his railway work.

K is for:

Knockina townland, Wexford, Ireland – my 2xgreat ancestors James Sherry and Bridget Furlong lived here, possibly in a railway house. This townland is mentioned on their children’s baptisms.

Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, Queensland – my grandparents and parents lived here for many decades.

Kildare, Ireland – birthplace of Denis Gavin, reportedly in Ballymore Eustace.

Korea – my father’s cousin, Robert Kunkel, was MIA in Korea and later registered KIA.

L is for:

P1070738

Loch Fyne near Inveraray

Laufach, Bavaria – home of a few generations of my Kunkel family.

Longreach, Queensland – Peter and Mary McSherry lived here while he worked on the railway. He also taught the Longreach Brass Band.

Loch Fyne (and Loch Awe), Argyll – my spirit belongs to Loch Fyne, home of my McCorkindale and Morrison ancestors.

M is for:              

Murphy’s Creek, Queensland – the hub town where my Kunkel ancestors worshipped and worked. The Fifteen Mile (see above) is an outlying area.

Monmouth, England/Wales – my John Partridge was born here, if we can believe his census enumerations.

Moreton Bay, Queensland – the end of the long journey for most of my ancestors who came to Queensland.

N is for:

P1100363

North Shields is all about the sea, then and now. © P Cass 2010

North Shields, Northumberland – my Gillespie/Gilhespy family came from here and my 2xgreat grandmother Margaret Gillespie was born here.

Neuhütten, Bavaria, Germany – home of my Kunkel ancestors before the move to Laufach.

New York State, USA – my 2xgreat grandfather’s nieces and nephews emigrated here.

O is for:

Offaly, (Kings County), Ireland – my 3xgreat grandparents, Martin Furlong and Margaret Stanton lived here.

Oceans – my Melvin ancestors and my Callaghan ancestors were seamen for whom the oceans were their workplaces. Oceans also played an important part in the life of all my emigrant ancestors.

P is for:

Peel Island, Queensland – my great grandfather’s first wife, Janet Peterkin Melvin, died in quarantine here soon after arrival and was buried there.

Q is for:

Queensland, Australia of course! With 11 pre-Separation ancestors who arrived or were born here before 1859 I’m proud of my Queensland roots.

R is for:

Roma, Queenslandmy great uncle Joseph Francis Kunkel is buried there.

Rotterdam, Netherlands – my 2xgreat grandfather, Laurence Melvin, was buried there when he died during a voyage.

Rockhampton, Queensland – a key place for my Sherry/McSherry/McSharry family who arrived in Rockhampton in 1883 and 1884 and where my great grandparents, Peter and Mary McSherry celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary. They are buried in the Rockhampton cemetery.

Hmmmm. Should I be looking for appropriate cemeteries which start with R or avoid them?

S is for:

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Strachur church.

Sandon, Hertfordshire, England – home of generations of my Kent family

Strachur, Argyll, Scotland – home of my Morrison family for generations

T is for:

Tullamore, Offaly, Ireland -home of my 3xgreat grandparents and their family, the Furlongs.

Townsville, Queensland – my grandparents and mother lived here.

Tiaro, Queensland – my great aunt’s family, the Connors, live(d) here.

Toowoomba, Queensland – so many burials of family members in this cemetery, especially my great-grandmother Julia Gavin Kunkel and her mother Ellen Gavin nee Murphy.

Tooloom goldfields, New South Wales – where I confirmed the story that my George Kunkel (2xgreat grandfather) worked on the goldfields, and made other connections to fellow emigrants.

U is for:

Urana, New South Wales -home of my 2xgreat grandmother’s sister, Bridget Widdup nee O’Brien, with whom she emigrated. Pivotal to taking my research back to Broadford, Ireland.

V is for:

Villers Brettoneux, France where my grandfather’s cousin, James Paterson is remembered on the Australian War Memorial.

W is for:

Wicklow, Ireland – birthplace of Eleanor Murphy, possibly (probably?) in Davidstown.

Wallumbilla, Queensland – home of three branches of my Kunkel family: the Lee, Paterson and Kunkel families.

who-s-going-green-question-mark-md

Winton, Queensland – home of the Mellick family: Bridget Agnes Mellick was my great-grandfather’s sister.

Y is for:

Y, oh Y, can I not find the ancestral home of James Sherry – my ongoing brick wall.

Z is for: 

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.

DorfproZelten, Bavaria, Germany – my 3xgreat grandmother’s family, the Happs had an inn in the village for generations and my George Mathias Kunkel was born there.

I got a bit carried away with Alona’s great geneameme but it was fun. I’ve chosen to extend it from direct ancestors to ancestral family generally e.g. siblings, children and I’ve realised that I could write many more blog posts about them.

If you’re descended from any of these families I’d love to hear from you.

What are your ancestral places? Wherever you are, why not participate in Alona’s geneameme.

Monday Memories, NFHM and Milne Bay

postcard-1242616_1280Over the years I’ve often written about battles and family members who have fought in them. Today is a little more personal. As a young bride, I went to the then-Territory of Papua New Guinea with my newly-minted husband. Nothing all that strange in that perhaps, as many young women made the same migration for love, curiosity or a sense of adventure. The difference for me was that we were going to Milne Bay, my husband’s “place” in the indigenous sense, or in Pidgin “as (=arse) ples bilong en” where he lived for 10 years….at the time his longest residence anywhere. For him it was home, familiar, and in his emotional blood.

DSC_0419

For me it was confronting, exciting, confusing and isolated. My family and other friends were thousands of kilometres away, not as today at the end of a phone or an email, Facetime or Skype. Our communications were mid-20th century: snail mail letters (and sometimes the snail would be faster!) and radio telephone calls when the weather didn’t interfere, over, over. Everyday conversation was scattered with a proliferation of acronyms, wonderfully clear to those in the know but bewildering to the newcomer (the ADC said to the DC that the ETA on the DC3 was 0900, for example).

Alotau 1960s house1 1968

THEN: The Cass family’s first home in Alotau, taken soon after the move from Samarai 1968.

But all this took place in the most wondrous geographical environment. We lived for a few months in the government home of my parents-in-law who were in Port Moresby for work. The house had a magnificent view over Milne Bay and was near the school where my mother-in-law taught. Mr Cassmob’s father had chosen the site as he sailed up the bay in the Education Department trawler – perhaps the only site with a better view was the District Commissioner (the head honcho for the district administration). If that all sounds rather colonial, I suppose it was, after all that was the world they were living in, as was I briefly, though the tides of change were already coming. We were, after all, a tiny minority population responsible to Australia for its governance of an emerging nation.

NFHM Blogging challengeThe local people of Milne Bay are among the nicest you could meet in PNG – open and friendly. However, only 74 years ago their world was turned on its head with the invasion of Australian troops sent to defend the then-territory of Papua against the wave of Japanese invasion. Milne Bay was to be the first place on land that the Japanese troops would be defeated, and yet it has long been overshadowed and forgotten in a similar way to the predominance of Gallipoli in our nation’s military historiography.

Plane Milne Bay fighting 026648

n.d. Milne Bay, Papua. 1942-09. Fellow pilots of 76 Squadron RAAF, lend a hand to push Squadron Leader Truscott’s plane back into the dispersal bay, as he steps out of the cockpit. Australian War Memorial image. (The plane is on marsden matting)

You have to have seen the jungles of Milne Bay (or north Queensland) to have an appreciation of how dense it can be. And you have to have lived there in a Wet Season to know how muddy and claggy the red clay could get, or how fiercely the creeks and rivers run. The clouds come down over the ranges that encircle Milne Bay and take up residence over the bay foreshortening the view and making flying hazardous today, let alone in the thick of battle. Pilot skills and aircraft readiness are challenged to the maximum and when we were there, a small aircraft was lost with all souls including people we knew. This brings home earlier realities for those at war.

Milne Bay ships war

Argus (Melbourne, Vic) & Australia. Department of Information 1943, NEW GUINEA. Milne Bay. State Library of Victoria collection.

Between Alotau (the district capital) and the airport, you could see the remains of war – marsden matting on the bridges or elsewhere, and the remains of boats half-buried. The Australians were stationed near the current-day airport (only an airstrip when we were there) and as a teenager Mr Cassmob worked on the adjacent coconut plantation, Gili Gili. One day at work he found an old street sign for Sadds Ridge Road which we’ve had on our houses at various times. It was some years before we found it came from Charters Towers and we still wonder who took it with them as a souvenir or reminder of home.

World War I discovery in Milne Bay, Papua

There is something that cuts to the heart of your understanding when you live near where the Australians fought for their lives, and quite genuinely, for the safety of their own country and that of PNG. And nearby, a Queenslander, Corporal John French from Crows Nest, won his Victoria Cross.

Milne Bay during World War II ca. 1942

Unidentified 1942, Milne Bay during World War II, ca. 1942, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

I’ve written many times about Alotau, Milne Bay and the battle that was fought there, so I’ll just include the links and those who wish to can (re-)visit them. If you’re looking for a better understanding of jungle fighting, you can read The Last Blue Sea which gives you sense of what fighting was like in PNG. Current Australian author, Peter Watt, also writes a fictional series which includes a family who lives in Papua and fights during the war.

Those genealogists taking the Unlock the Past cruise to PNG and Milne Bay in 2017 will get a taste of the place – but beware, like family history, it can be addictive. Thanks Alex from Family Tree Frog for this prompt in National Family History Month.

Return to Milne Bay

Milne Bay: the people and old and new friends

Home again

The Battle of Milne Bay remembered in stained glass

The Anniversary of the Battle of Milne Bay

Lest We Forget: The Battle of Milne Bay

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: 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

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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

 

Tura Lura Lura – hush little bubba

Today is another Sepia Saturday– Monday Memories combined post. The theme this week is sleeping babies, reading and related memories.

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The image prompt shows a woman reading quietly while her baby sleeps tranquilly. Most mothers would roll their eyes at this, thinking of how tired and busy they were with small children. Perhaps I was lucky, or just plain selfish and stubborn, but I took to heart the advice I received, to rest when the baby rested. My memory tells me that I would indeed sometimes read while they slept, though I certainly didn’t look like this immaculate woman. On the other hand somehow I seemed to fit far more into the day then than I manage now with sewing, cooking, freezing and other household chores.  Whatever I did while they slept, it appears not to have been take their photos!

Plainly here I was replicating a baby photo from my own baby-book with our eldest, though the two places were thousands of kilometres apart. If you could see the background of mine it was in a surburban garden, and I think that’s a clothes prop in the background. If we could see the background in the second photo you’d see a village with people, pigs and a pit-pit fence round the gardens…a vast cultural difference apart.

Louisa in her cot and bedroom nth Goroka 1972They say that you take myriad photos of your first born and that it’s a slippery photographic downward slope from there. We were different from this, mainly because we didn’t have a camera until later in the peace.

We did own a bassinet for each of them, but they quickly grew out of it and into a cot. I have zero recollection of where I bought the cot, but I do recall stripping and painting it on the front verandah of our house in North Goroka, Papua New Guinea. It looked quite smart and her room was jazzed up with some cheap decorative items. Later the cot would be re-painted yellow and recycled for our youngest daughter.

And an interesting theme appears – we seem to take more outdoor photos of our babies, probably because there’s no need to keep them rugged up all the time. I love this photo of my husband as a baby. Don’t you adore that gorgeous crocheted rug? I wonder if his mother made it or perhaps her mother?

Peter as baby 1949 low

Sometimes you just don’t care where your kids sleep, so long as they sleep (that probably accounts for my smile below). The two older daughters looking totally zonked out on the beach at Magnetic Island.

It’s nearly time to go to sleep little baby. Did your mother sing a lullaby to you? Mine always sang Tura lura lura to me, and my children, while she stroked my/their forehead and hair. I carried on the tradition with our girls, but I tried not to traumatise them by singing to them very often, though the forehead “patting” remains a family tradition. The lullaby tradition carries on to the next generation with it being sung by one daughter to her children.

This is a lovely Indigenous bi-lingual lullaby by Territorian Ted Egan . You might like to listen to it before heading over to read about other Sepian sleeping babies before you snooze off, dreaming of angels, fairies and shamrocks.

shamrock angel

Tura lura lura

Over in Killarney,
Many years ago,
Me mother sang a song to me
In tones so sweet and low.
Just a simple little ditty,
In her good ould Irish way,
And I’d give the world if she could sing
That song to me this day.
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral,
Too-ra-loo-ra-li,
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral,
Hush, now don’t you cry!
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral,
Too-ra-loo-ra-li,
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral,
That’s an Irish lullaby.

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