Saturday, 28 May 2016

Mum's 92nd Birthday - 28 May 2016

My mother, Patricia Dorothea McCann, was born in Brisbane on the 28th May 1924 the first child of George Douglas McCann and Dorothy May nee Thomas.

With her mother 1924
Mum and her parents lived with the McCann family at a house known as "Beechdene" which was on the corner of Gregory Terrace and Costin Street, now the entrance of the Royal National Show, the Ekka. 

Here she is with her father on the verandah of Beechdene
Mum had her first birthday at Beechdene, and I love the photo of her with her dolly, she received it for her birthday; Mum told me it was her favourite doll all through childhood.
Mum & her dolly - 28 May 1925

Mum's only sibling, Joan Douglas McCann, was born on 11 November 1926, completing the little McCann family.

The G D McCann's on their car

They seemed to have a happy childhood, Mum was very close to her father and helped him in the garden and around the house. My grandfather, Doug, had serious leg issues from an early accident at a sawmill so needed help and Mum delighted in helping out.

Here she is helping Dad with the grass - note the scythe
The family bought a block of land in Trickett Street, Surfers Paradise two houses from the beach early in 1933 and camped on there until Doug had some flats built. Mum told me many happy stories about travelling down to Surfers in the early days, no bridges on the highway, etc.
 
Mum with her cousin Margaret Johnston c 1940

I love the beach and remember many happy holidays at Havering, as the flats were known, we had the "owner's flat" of course - a big upstairs flat with a wonderful sun deck.

Mum was close to her sister Joan and was happy to have her as her sole bridesmaid when she married in 1946. The photo below was taken at the McCann residence, Denmora, before the wedding reception.

Patricia and her sister Joan 1946

Unfortunately, the marriage did not last, and Mum came home to her parents, I was born in Southport as Mum lived at Havering with her mother during the latter stages of her pregnancy.  

Here I am with Mum just home from hospital at Havering April 1947
We had many happy times, Mum and I and many "discussions" over the years as well. As is often the case we had periods of distance and periods of misunderstanding but I am pleased to note that over the last 20 years we were once again close. I phoned her every day between 4 and 4:30 and still think of her at those times.

Mum was the carer for my stepfather, who had dementia, and a tireless housekeeper. I often used to say that Mum's house was so tidy that you had to look under her pillow to see her perfectly folded nightie to see that it wasn't a display house. But, that said, it was a welcoming, loving home.

Mum passed away peacefully in her sleep at 3:30 am on Tuesday 17th March, St Patrick's Day,  2015. She would have been 92 today, Happy Birthday Mum.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Mother's Day 8 May 2016

Boxing Day picnic c1950 - we had such fun, personal collection

Today is Mother's Day, Sunday 8th May 2016 and my second Mother's Day without my dear mother. Today I remember my mother Patricia Dorothea, my grandmothers Dorothy May and Dorothy and my great grandmothers Catherine Eunice, Mary, Annie Jacintha Mary Elizabeth, and another Dorothy.

Happy Mother's Day to mothers everywhere.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Z is for Zunker and time for ZZZ's #AtoZChallenge2016

My theme for the AtoZChallenge is exploring the Walker family . Thinking about the family I realised that they were around in Mackay, Queensland in the early days of settlement so I have decided to discover some snippets of early Mackay as it relates to this family and others in my family tree. I hope you enjoy the journey.




Z is for Zunker and time for some ZZZ's.

Daisy Louisa Harvison, my 2nd cousin twice removed, was the eldest child of James Harvison and Florence Elizabeth Walker. Daisy was born in Walkerston the 3rd of August 1895 and married Wilhelm August Carl Zunker on the 9th June 1926 probably in Mackay but perhaps in Walkerston. Daisy died on the 18th October 1983 in Mackay and I have not yet tracked down her burial.

I wonder if Daisy was called after her cousin Daisy Elizabeth Antoney who was born in North Eton on the 18th February 1884.

Now for some ZZZ's as the April A to ZChallenge is over so I can relax, read some blog posts of other bloggers and sleep in on Sunday morning.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Y is for Young #AtoZChallenge2016

My theme for the AtoZChallenge is exploring the Walker family . Thinking about the family I realised that they were around in Mackay, Queensland in the early days of settlement so I have decided to discover some snippets of early Mackay as it relates to this family and others in my family tree. I hope you enjoy the journey.



Nearing the end of the 2016 A to Z Challenge, Y is for Young.


Mary Jane Young, my 2nd great-great aunt, was a sister to Elizabeth Hanna Young, my 2nd great-grandmother. Both were the Dublin-born daughters of Henry Young and Hanna (Anna) Young nee Murry. Mary Jane was born about 1845 and Elizabeth Hanna in1846.

Elizabeth arrived in Australia on the Fiery Star in 1864 as noted in her obituary in the Daily Mercury of February 1921. Elizabeth married Joseph Antoney in Bowen on the 30th July 1867. Joseph coincidentally was the quartermaster on the Fiery Star, an obvious shipboard romance.  Elizabeth is buried in the Mackay Cemetery.
1921 'PERSONAL.', Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld. : 1906 - 1954), 2 February, p. 2. , viewed 28 Apr 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article188692401

Mary Jane arrived per the Royal Dane on 2nd December 1871 as an Assisted Immigrant. No doubt her sister had encouraged her to emigrate. She married Alexander Walker in 1872 in Mackay. Mary Jane was widowed in 1909 and lived until 17th October 1931. She is buried with her husband in the Walkerston Cemetery.
1931 'OBITUARY.', Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld. : 1906 - 1954), 20 October, p. 6. , viewed 28 Apr 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article170287898
There is a marked difference in their obituary published in the Daily Mercury, possibly because Elizabeth's family, the Antoney's, were better known in the district. I am sure that Elizabeth received comfort in her last illness with her sister at her bedside. I intend to travel to the Mackay district in the next year or so to visit places that both Elizabeth and Mary Jane lived.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

X is for X marks the spot #AtoZChallenge2016


I couldn't think of anything particular for X other than X marks the spot. But what spot, you may ask?

Well, the Urban Dictionary says:

"What is said upon finding your target has been marked out. Derived from an X on pirate treasure maps. 

The phrase was put into common usage by the British army, who performed executions by marking a piece of paper with a black x and positioning it on the heart of someone sentenced to death. The acting officer would say "X marks the spot" and the firing squad would shoot the x."

X marks the spot
I rather like the explanation of finding your treasure on a pirate's treasure map. I can relate to that on family history as I go on a search for  "lost relatives" and then find a treasure of information. Don't you find that as well? Such satisfaction when a treasure is unearthed.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

W is for Walker and Walkerston #AtoZChallenge2016

My theme for the AtoZChallenge is exploring the Walker family . Thinking about the family I realised that they were around in Mackay, Queensland in the early days of settlement so I have decided to discover some snippets of early Mackay as it relates to this family and others in my family tree. I hope you enjoy the journey.




W is for Walker, the Walker family that I discovered in January this year.

Alexander Walker was born in Belfast,  Co. Antrim, Ireland on the 11th June 1825. His obituary states that he went first to New Zealand and then to the Mackay district in Queensland in the mid-1860s. See the Daily Mercury notice below:
1909 'DEATH OF AN OLD RESIDENT.', Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld. : 1906 - 1954), 23 November, p. 4. , viewed 27 Apr 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article173266812
I have found a record of Alex arriving in Hobson's Bay, Victoria on board the Alhambra from Port Chalmers, Dunedin, New Zealand but as yet have not found an immigration record of him leaving Ireland or arriving in New Zealand.

There are many other mentions of Alex Walker in the Mackay Mercury and the then Daily Mercury over the years, principally about stallions standing at stud and other farming news. Two very intriguing snippets occurred in the Mackay Mercury in August 1888, see below:


1888 'No title', Mackay Mercury (Qld. : 1887 - 1905), 25 August, p. 2. , viewed 27 Apr 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article167928232

1888 'No title', Mackay Mercury (Qld. : 1887 - 1905), 28 August, p. 2. , viewed 27 Apr 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article167929458
So we are left to wonder, what was the narcotic used and was Alex taking it for pain relief? Perhaps it was laudanum which "is a tincture of opium containing approximately 10% powdered opium by weight (the equivalent of 1% morphine)" (Wikipedia) and was frequently used in the 1880s for pain relief and sedation. We will never know.

Alexander Walker died on the 13th November 1909 and was buried the next day in the Walkerston Cemetery.

Now for Walkerston ...

Walkerston, a rural town on the Peak Downs Highway is six km west of Mackay. Situated on Bakers Creek in a sugar cane area, the settlement was known as Scrubby Creek in the late 1860s and early 1870s.

Town named by the Surveyor General 22 December 1881 (listed in the Queensland Government Gazette p.1411) when the townships of Walkerston and Alsatia were combined. Walkerston named by John Walker ( - ) lessee of Homebush pastoral run 31 May 18661.

 In 1903, when Walkerston's population was approaching 400 people, it was described in the Australian Handbook
http://queenslandplaces.com.au/walkerston
I think it is quite ironic that Alexander Walker first chose to settle in Walkerston, perhaps he told his children it was named after them? That would be an interesting "family story".


[1] https://www.dnrm.qld.gov.au/qld/environment/land/place-names/search#/search=walkerston&types=0&place=Walkerston44221 accessed 26 April 2016

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

V is for Vivian and Victoria Mill #AtoZChallenge

My theme for the AtoZChallenge is exploring the Walker family . Thinking about the family I realised that they were around in Mackay, Queensland in the early days of settlement so I have decided to discover some snippets of early Mackay as it relates to this family and others in my family tree. I hope you enjoy the journey.



While researching the Walker family I noticed that there were four males with the name Vivian. The first Alexander Vivian Poulson (23 Oct 1909 - 9 Dec 1911), Ronald Vivian Jackson (1929 - 2001), Douglas Ronald Vivian Price, and Vivian Harold James Harvison (1928 - 2008).

Vivian Harold James Harvison, a 3rd cousin once removed, is the only Vivian that I could find in Trove. On 19 June 1943, the Daily Mercury printed a letter and response from Vivian asking to be enrolled as a member of the "Corner". Vivian says he was 14 years old and very small at 4'9" and was working at the Marian Mill, you can read the letter below.


1943 'Letter Box', Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld. : 1906 - 1954), 19 June, p. 5. , viewed 25 Apr 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article170881990

The Daily Mercury on 20 July 1948 recorded that Vivian suffered an injury to his index finger, you can read the article below. Vivian was still working at the Marian Mill and was now a fireman. As noted in the above article Vivian's father was an ambulance man at the Marian Station so he would have received extra special care.

1948 'LOCAL and GENERAL', Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld. : 1906 - 1954), 20 July, p. 2. , viewed 25 Apr 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article171192478
Vivian was the great-grandson of William and Mary Jane Walker. See below for the meaning of the name Vivian.

VIVIAN
English via Old French from Latin "alive". Vivian is mainly male in English use while the female form is now more commonly rendered Vivien or Vivienne, the French form. The Oxford Names Companion, OUP
"Scottish Forenames" - Donald Whyte, FGH, FSG


Now for the Victoria Mill ...

The Mackay Sugar Company built the Victoria Mill on the Savannah Plains north of Eton. The name of the Company reflected the influence of the Mackay sugar experts but the name of the mill reflected the origin of most of its capital. The company was registered in Melbourne on 18 March 1881, its capital twenty shares of £500 each.

The Mill operated between 1882 and 1887 and the erection of the North Eton Mill was a prime factor in the mill closing.

Victoria Mill circa 1883. (picture courtesy of John Oxley Library, Brandon Collection no. 6298-0001-0054r. )

The former Savannah Plains are now known by locals as Victoria Plains after the former Sugar Mill.

About 1964, Ray Blackburn acquired the site of the old Victoria Mill as a new cane assignment. He used one of the old wells used to supply the Victoria Mill as his source of water. All that survives today is an old concrete block on his farm [1].

[1] Rolleston, Frank. (1987). The Defiance – The story of North Eton Co-operative Sugar Milling Association Limited, 1888-1987. North Eton, QLD: North Eton Co-operative Milling Association Limited.   p.3.

Monday, 25 April 2016

U is for the Unforgotten and the Unknown #AtoZChallenge2016


Today's theme is U for the Unforgotten and the Unknown, the family members that by researching and finding them means that they are not forgotten. 

My theme for the 2016 Challenge is the newly-discovered Walker family and their connections. This family was unknown to me until a few months ago as I have previously posted and the 2016 Challenge has given me the opportunity to discover more about them. 

Staying on the Walker family, I have been unable to find any service records for WWI and have found six records of service in WWII, these are listed below:

Edward Powell Poulson
William James Harvison
William Alexander Higham
Rupert John Higham
Patrick John Jackson
Herbert Claude Ellems

So on this Anzac Day 2016, I have six new family members to remember along with all my other ancestors who fought in wars. Lest We Forget.




Saturday, 23 April 2016

T is for Dorothy May Thomas and The Hollow #AtoZChallenge2016

My theme for the AtoZChallenge is exploring the Walker family . Thinking about the family I realised that they were around in Mackay, Queensland in the early days of settlement so I have decided to discover some snippets of early Mackay as it relates to this family and others in my family tree. I hope you enjoy the journey.



T is for Dorothy May Thomas and later The Hollow. 

I have written many times before about my maternal grandmother, Dorothy May Thomas and her early life in the Mackay District and in my post of 19 April I included a description of her bridesmaids dress (you can read the post here) so I did some more searching in Trove and found some other mentions of her and her dresses.

In 1910, "The Ambulance Cinderella held at the School of Arts was largely attended, particularly by the young folk..."(I think this was a social with fancy dress), notes Dorothy as "Matron".

1910 'SOCIAL NOTES.', Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld. : 1906 - 1954), 16 July, p. 6. , viewed 23 Apr 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article170553223
In 1914, again at an Ambulance function, Dorothy was noted that her costume was "scraps", I cannot imagine what type of costume that was, perhaps pieces of material sewn together to form a costume?

In 1919, Dorothy was a debutante at the Military Ball in North Eton and her dress was described as "...white crepe de chine with an overdress of georgette..." in the Daily Mercury. Her mother and recently returned from WWI stepfather, Col.  G.S.C.L. Birkbeck, organised the Military Ball.

1919 'Personal.', Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld. : 1906 - 1954), 23 August, p. 9. , viewed 21 Apr 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article178630733
I should mention that Dorothy May was born on the 4th October 1898 so that you can tell her age at the time of these functions. As Chris commented previously it is wonderful to read snippets of my grandmother's life as a young girl. 

Now for The Hollow...

Brothers Charles Collinson Rawson and Edmund Stanfield Rawson purchased the grazing property Abington in the Pioneer Valley, including a portion known as Shamrock Vale in 1867, and nicknamed it Sleepy Hollow, and hence its popular name The Hollow. 
Two houses, The Hollow, and The Nyth were built on the banks of the Pioneer River, the present township of Mirani occupying the home paddock of The Hollow. 
Verandah at The Hollow, near Mackay, Queensland about 1875, creator unidentified, State Library of Queensland:hdl.handle.net/10462/deriv/27494
The Rawsons attempted to recreate formal English gardens, including a tennis court, gravel paths with shrubberies, exotic vines and trees, a weather station, an attractive English-style fowl-house, and to the side of a fourteen-foot wide verandah, a large fernery of split palms which housed a bathroom at one end.

This was all well documented in the Mackay Mercury in the 1870s. It must have taken quite some work to create a formal English garden in the sub-tropics but I suppose that they were wanting memories of England. In the Mackay climate, they experienced it is little wonder that they built fourteen-foot verandahs as much of the life of the household could have occurred on the wide verandah.

Friday, 22 April 2016

S is Schooner #AtoZChallenge2016

My theme for the AtoZChallenge is exploring the Walker family . Thinking about the family I realised that they were around in Mackay, Queensland in the early days of settlement so I have decided to discover some snippets of early Mackay as it relates to this family and others in my family tree. I hope you enjoy the journey.



I was thinking about what I would write for S and the word schooner came to mind.  The type of sailing ship that many of my ancestors would have arrived onboard to Australia.

Dictionary.com defines schooner: noun
  1. Nautical, any of various types of sailing vessels having a foremast and main mast, with or without other masts, and having fore-and-aft sails on all lower masts.
  2. a very tall glass, as for beer.
While researching on Trove and on the Internet I came across the fascinating story of the "Rosebud" after which the town of Rosebud on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria is named. 
The Argus July 1852, an advertisement for auction the Rosebud and its cargo

In early 1852, Rosebud was caught inshore by a westerly gale and was soon a total loss after running on to a sandbank. All the goods etc were washed up and were eagerly claimed by the locals. You can read more about Rosebud here.