Thursday, October 29, 2015

What's On - Friday 30 October - Thursday 5 November



We're just a bit excited because we've just discovered that Family Tree Frog has been selected for preservation in the Pandora - Australia's Web Archives. A big thank you to State Library of Queensland for recognising us.

You can check out other Family History blogs that have been preserved here.  

This resonates even more strongly with me as I am studying Digital Preservation at the moment.

GSQ have a busy month ahead of them as they are re-locating their premises to Wishart.  The library will be closed from 3pm tomorrow and will remain closed during November. All the best with the move folks.




Here's the calendar for the rest of the week.  Enjoy!


Monday, October 26, 2015

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - What were you doing in 1985?



Randy Seaver from Genea-Musings invites us to Go Back to the Future.

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

1) Since this was Back to the Future week, I have a related challenge:  Do you recall what you were doing in 1985?  Family, school, work, hobbies, technology, genealogy, vacations, etc?

2)  Tell us in a blog post of your own, in a comment on this blog, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.

Thanks for this great meme Randy because I have been wondering what I was doing then.  



So I wasn't married yet...although Robbie and I were living together by that time (sharp intake of breath - my apologies in advance to those who don't approve of that sort of relationship).

We were living in Chelmer at the time in a rental property with a beautiful garden full of orchids.  The house was owned by Graham Nosworthy.  Robert and I were saving furiously for our first home and had $5656.95 saved by early May and $9k by the end of the year.  There was a big storm on Friday 18 January and we had 4 broken windows. This may have been the big storm when the greenhouse was smashed up too.  I note a few storms in my diary that year and blackouts.  It was also the year of electricity strikes in Brisbane. Joh Bjelke-Petersen was the Premier then.

I was working at the ABC and driving a bomb of an old car - a Holden HR which I had owned for a couple of years.  I had been living in Queensland for 3 years and was working shift work in TV Transmission which would have been called Traffic in a commercial station.  Some shifts in my diary are 0715-1615.  Other shifts are 1815-0015.  In July of that year Bruce Paige resigned from the ABC and moved to the commercial channel - shock horror.  I wonder if this is the year Jenny Woodward started doing the weather for the ABC.  I have a note in my diary for some weather auditions in early December. It was the year of redundancies at the ABC and we lost lots of people.  Unsettling times.


Wozzi near the Greenhouse at 88 Leybourne Street Chelmer

We owned a pet - a crazy cat called Wozzi who I'd brought up with me from Sydney but he died later that year on Friday 13 September - a no good, very bad day. It was the same day I think that I broke my little toe on one of the legs of our very uncomfortable slat timber bed.  I cried and cried like a baby. I cried again when I broke it again 3 months later the same way.  We got rid of the bed soon after that I think :) OMG - I think our bed is 30 years old!!!

This was the year I went back to Uni part-time.  My diary is full of dates for enrollment.  It was the year I discovered Sociology.  I liked it so much, I did a double-major.



My sisters-in-law-to-be were not living in Brisbane so there are trips to Maryborough on weekends to see Robert's oldest sister Patricia and babies Jim and Ben and letters to Julie and John who were living in Rockhampton, I think. Pat's husband Terry would come down and stay with us in Brisbane every now and then for work.

Birthdays seemed to have been celebrated regularly with a lamb on a spit.  They were cheap then and a lot of fun to organise.  Spits were made by the menfolk out of recycled materials....leftover wheels from old bicycles and the like.

I've written in the diary on 1 March that it was our Engagement Anniversary so I'm guessing we had been engaged for 1 year.

On 14 March I had dinner with my old school buddy Deborah who was living at 113 King Arthur Terrace in Tennyson - not very far from me in Chelmer.  She was living in a flat at the back of the property and had not yet married Bernie. That happened later in the year.  I have a note in my diary in August that my other old school friend Jill went to Canada for a couple of months towards the end of the year.

My exercise regime in that year consisted of walking with my buddy Loani and her partner Greg and playing squash with friends from time to time.  Loani was pregnant with Ben and I had promised to be there for the birth but defaulted when Ben was late.  I went on holidays to catch up with another old school friend Melissa in Perth instead.

On 1 April Robert's Aunt Alice's husband Billy Binstead died.  There were regular trips to the Gold Coast to catch up with Robert's family.

Movies that I went to see with friends at the time were Amadeus and Mrs Soffel. 

We celebrated my father's 50th birthday that year so I flew down to the Blue Mountains for his surprise birthday party.


Alex at 11 St George's Road Leura wielding an electric knife

I have a note in my diary on 9 September "per light of the age 1864" which i think is a note from a conversation with my mother about researching the McLoughlins and when they came out to Australia.  So I was doing a little bit of family history then.

I can't remember exactly what I was doing on 21 October.  My diary just tells me that I worked 0715-1615 and that it was a Monday.  The weekend before I had been whale watching with a friend from work, Di, and her partner Alan. I think that is when we camped on Stradbroke Island for the first time, completely unaware that we were to spend many more happy times there in the future but in different circumstances.

The camping ground at Point Lookout

That year we had Christmas dinner with Loani and Greg and dear friend Bob.  I worked on that day from 1000-1800.  At the time ABC-TV was in Toowong in Coronation Drive and so I would have just popped round to 23 Lodge Street after work.

I have gone through some old letters from my mother to see if I can piece together any more information.  Amongst other things, she mentioned the purchase of a Magimix on sale for $99.  I am proud to say I inherited the Magimix a few years ago and what's more it STILL WORKS!!

So that's my Back to the Future story.  What's yours?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What's On - Friday 23rd - Thursday 29th October 2015

The beautiful Local History Centre at Coventry Library Stirling South Australia

After my fabulous weekend last weekend in Adelaide, this weekend I will be a busy bee: catching up with friends, going to a couple of concerts as well as getting on with some important professional development - an online course through Sydney TAFE about maintaining digital repositories. Sometimes it's a relief to go back to work on Monday!  

What about you?  It's all happening at our local libraries and societies.  You could explore your convict ancestry, find out how to use directories and almanacs more effectively, find out about nursing during WW2 or the early business history of Manly.  Brush up your skills in oral history or learn how to read old documents and even a class for beginners.

Mark these events in your diary now so you won't be disappointed. 



Thursday, October 15, 2015

What's On - Friday 16th October - Thursday 22nd October

Coffee at Wild Canary, Brookfield Garden Centre
Grab a coffee and your diary and plan the week ahead for all things local and family history wise in Brisbane and surrounding regions....


Friday, October 9, 2015

What's On - Friday 9th October to Thursday 15th October 2015

Helen Smith speaking at In Time and In Place last weekend
I'm still coming down from the "high" that was experienced from attending In Time and Place last weekend.  But there's still plenty to enjoy in Brisbane and surrounds this week in terms of local and family history.

Windsor State School is celebrating 150 years this year and there is a special Heritage Day this Saturday.  

It's Brisbane Open House all this weekend - an opportunity to go on Cemetery Walking Tours, visit Museums and see some of Brisbane's history.  

Next week State Library of Queensland is hosting a special symposium reflecting on how we remember Anzac stories.  

Check out the calendar below.  


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Exciting Find

The Brisbane Art Deco book edited by Kimberley Wilson




Somehow, I'm not quite sure how, but fortuitously...I came across this book - Brisbane Art Deco.  I think it was on Facebook.  The book was launched in June this year at Avid Reader.  Anyway, the Facebook page intrigued me enough to borrow a copy of the book from my local library.  At the time I was really trying to control my spending on books.  There was a bit of a wait list for it at the library and when I finally got it, I didn't really have time to read it.  It was only recently that I borrowed it again and finally delved into it.

It is such a joy to read.  Lots of beautiful photos and great text.

What I love about it, is that it is introducing me to a city that I never knew as a child but only arrived at as a twenty-year old.  It makes me look at the architecture of the place. That's why I love Brisbane's Open House weekend too which is coming up this weekend and that's how I discovered Coronet Court which I got to troop around with a friend last year.  Coronet Court is featured in this book.

On Saturday night, I did my usual "wake up" in the middle of the night and so I decided to read it cover to cover.  Joy oh joy, on page 66, I sat straight up in bed and softly breathed "Oh! Oh! Oh!" as I read the following words...


"owner occupiers Daw and Slack...."   

My husband's great-great grandfather Thomas Daw was a butcher and was in partnership with Frederick Slack.  Hoorah!  I had found one of their shops!  I have to say that it is probably the most uninspiring looking building in the book but I'm still very excited to have found it.



The Brisbane Courier 7 June 1890 - courtesy of Trove, National Library of Australia


I'd been looking in all the wrong places.  I think I annoyed John Oxley Library people at State Library at one time trying to find photos of the streets where their shops were but to no real avail.  

I now realize I should have been looking at Brisbane City Archives so am resolved to go back there and search the archives more thoroughly.

By the way, if you want a copy of the book Brisbane Art Deco, they have sold out online copies.  I found mine at fabulous Folio Books in the city...they had about 30 copies left on Sunday afternoon.  But be quick.  Other retailers like Mary Ryan and SLQ had sold out.  You won't regret it.  It's a beautiful publication.  I paid $34.95.

So that was my exciting find for the week.  What was yours?

Monday, October 5, 2015

In Time and Place - Just right

Jacaranda tree at entrance to Botanical Gardens in Brisbane City
Here in Brisbane (sometimes colloquially referred to as Brisvegas), the jacarandas are blooming.  Jacarandas blooming make Uni students nervous because it means exams are just around the corner.  Many heads will be sore today from the excitement of a long weekend filled with sporting finals. There was the AFL on Saturday night and the Rugby Union yesterday morning when the Wallabies defeated England.  Last night was the Grand Final of the NRL when the North Queensland Cowboys triumphantly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and the Brisbane Broncos are feeling no doubt very sore and sorry for themselves. 

I tell you all this to give you CONTEXT dear reader.  Draw from it what you will. Perhaps you could draw from it that you would have a clear head if you weren't a football fanatic and an easy conscience if you weren't a student.  If you were a family history nut like me, you would be in heaven from having spent the weekend with other mad genies attending In Time and Place at Riverglenn at 70 Kate Street Indooroopilly.

In Time and Place.  In Time and Place.  Keep muttering these words to yourself as you mosey on down the family history path.  I was somewhat smug about this event being so close to home.  A hop, skip and a jump and I was there.  It didn't start til 9am but I thought I would rock up at about 8 because that is what my Eventbrite ticket told me to do and it never hurts to be early right? 




Just as well I went early.  I had been to Riverglenn once before years ago on a conference venue hunting expedition for work. I knew it was near Nudgee Junior where my nephews went to school in their primary years and around the corner from Boulevard Gardens where my sister-in-law Patricia and buddy, from Canberra days, Deborah had their wedding receptions.  I quickly became disorientated as I approached what essentially is a building site with construction banners on the fencing.  Our kids have long left school and I don't go to the fancy gym nearby, so it's been a while since I drove down Jerrang Street. Nudgee Junior is no longer there.  Instead, it's a new school called Ambrose Treacy College.  It's a P-12 school which means they need land. Riverglenn, the conference venue, is living on borrowed time and will be demolished in a couple of weeks.  

I mention these things because, as we were listening to talks about the importance of time and place in our historical research, I was conscious that we were ourselves participating in something that was about to be history.  The buildings would be razed to the ground and it would be difficult to believe that we were ever there.  Maps will change.  Signs will change.  Names will change but we were here.  One day as I tell this story, someone will think I am a silly old woman who can't remember things properly.  Remember this.

Delegate Bag from In Time and Place Conference

So I picked up my beautiful delegate bag and said hello to fellow blogger Helen Connor who shares some of the same ancestry as my husband and is the Hon. Secretary of GSQ which itself is about to move - in time and place..in time and place.  

Notice re GSQ re-location

I purchased the obligatory raffle tickets and said goodbye to my last $5, wondering why I hadn't thought to go to the ATM again this week.  I took a photo of my delegate bag and tweeted it.  I got a cup of coffee and said "G'day" to a couple of QFHS members who were manning stalls or acting as marshalls/gofers.  I wandered around the Trade Exhibition in the light-filled Atrium of the Centre and finally met up with fellow blogger Caitlin.  We scoped the venue for lecture rooms and toilets and then agreed to go in early and get good seats, saving one for fellow blogger Pauleen.    

Dr Denver Beanland opened the conference.  I remember that Dr Beanland got to sit in the kitchen of our first home in Taringa 20 odd years ago when he was canvassing as a local member.  I was thumping the table at the time about the importance of having plentiful child-care in the area.  He was recently appointed as the Chair of the National Archives Advisory Council.  Memories.  

Kitchen at 31 Equinox Street Taringa

Dave Obee gave his keynote address about the importance of context.  As he showed maps of Australia and its connections to British Columbia Canada and vice versa and told stories about places and names, my brain was ticking over with all sorts of possibilities for my own family history research.  I was reminded just how intrepid our ancestors were.  Just because they didn't have air travel didn't mean they didn't get about.  The Forfars on my mother's side of the family went to British Columbia Canada AND Australia.  We were lucky enough to meet one of the Canadian descendants about ten years ago.  I really should do more research on my Canadian Forfar cousins.  I'll start by working my way through this page.  Warning - it may be a while before you hear from me again ;)

Edward Forfar grave at Fort St James Municipal Cemetery Vanderhoof Canada

I tweeted during the conference.  If you want to see tweets about the conference, go to Twitter and enter #intimeandplace to see all the tweets from the conference, not just mine.

After Dave's talk, we then had a choice of speakers for the next 3 x 45 minute sessions with a 20 minute break for morning tea.  I chose Jan Richardson's session on convicts and ex-convicts living in Queensland after 1842, Rowena Loo's session on behind the scenes at Queensland State Archives and Diana Hacker's session on memorials to those lost on the RMS Quetta.  

At morning tea, I think I snavelled the last QSA pencil case...hoorah!

The coveted pencil case...what is it about pencil cases???  Thank you Qld State Archives.

You can get a sense of Jan Richardson's presentation by reading her paper online here.  For me the stand out thing about her talk was how much information there was in other supposedly "incidental" records about a person. She told the story of trying to discover on which ship a particular convict had come out to Australia.  The name of the ship given in court proceedings could not be matched with any known convict transports or any known voyages for that particular ship.  Looking up the same woman's record in the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum records produced a different ship name and the real answer. Would you expect to find information about shipping/immigration in asylum records?  See what I mean?  Check all records..you never know what you'll find.

Rowena Loo's presented an engaging talk which attempted to demystify the work of Archives and its approach to filing or structuring its collection, which can sometimes seem impenetrable.  I learned some new terms and resolve to follow their You Tube channel.  One person asked a very good question at the end which revealed that there is no link between the indexes and the catalogue on the website so you need to search both.   

After lunch Janis Wilton delivered the next Keynote Speech.  This was about oral history and memory and I was captivated by her presentation despite the technical difficulties she encountered.  I was interested in the concept of "rehearsed" memories and moving beyond that in recording oral histories.  I was really struck by the importance of capturing the "senses" of memories e.g. colour, smell, sound...good stuff.  Particularly in relation to black and white photos...you need to ask, "What colour was the house/wall/dress etc?"  Alessandro Portelli's quote on conclusion was very thought provoking....Oral history tells us "not just what people did, but what they intended to do, what they believed they were doing, and what they now think they did.”  Note to self - do more Oral History.

Three more sessions took us to the end of the day and I chose to hear Rosemary Kopittke speak about Suffrage in Queensland and the work done to produce the index now on Qld Parliament's website.  I have done some indexing for the Society in the past but bow down to her expertise in deciphering Kurrent script of which I was previously ignorant.  Go Rosemary!

At afternoon tea, the ebullient Helen Smith waxed enthusiastic to me about the new direction the Registry Office is moving in i.e. digitising marriage source documents so that in future we will be able to see the originals rather than a transcription.  I crept back to their stand to hear more and asked if I could take photos of the beautiful bound registers that they had brought with them.  


Marriage Register for Queensland 1916

After afternoon tea, I chose to hear Michael Brumby speak about his work at the Charters Towers Archives which receives over 300 enquiries a year.  Goodness! My take-away from this session was how important local knowledge is when researching to get an accurate picture of how and where things were in a place.

The last session of the day for me was the very helpful Catherine Cottle who spoke with passion about her role in digitization at State Library.  She spoke about why State Library of Queensland digitizes material (access, efficiency, preservation to name a few reasons) and their selection criteria for digitization. If you want to make sure you are digitizing your own collection to standard check out their handy Toolkit here.

When I first registered for the In Time and Place Conference I "passed" on the Buffet Dinner but changed my mind a week or so beforehand and decided to take up the offer.  I'm glad I did.  It was a chance to unwind and get to know a few more people in a more informal situation.  I was still home by 7:30pm so my husband wasn't too disgruntled.

Sunday was only a half day.  This time I made sure to visit the ATM before I came to Riverglenn and made a beeline for the all-too-tempting Nepean Family History Society stall.  They had displayed these fabulous pictorial histories at the Congress in Canberra earlier in the year and  I managed to resist temptation. A second time proved me a "goner" and I purchased 3 in the areas of my family history research.  I think you know how much I love old photos and I think they are a great prompt for memories and oral history and plan to use them.  Watch out rellies...here I come!

More books for my groaning bookshelves.


The first speaker for the day was the ever inspiring Shauna Hicks with the final Keynote Speech.  She chose to accept the challenge proffered by fellow geneablogger Jill Ball and delivered, to my mind, the standout keynote presentation.  She had the audience in the palm of her hand, enthralled to hear more about love, sex and lies in her own family history. If ever there was a case of write/talk about what you know, this was it.  We followed Shauna down the twisty trail of records, maps, certificates and oral history - marveling at her fortitude and perspicacity.  Of course she ended up with more questions than answers, but....we loved it.

Dave Obee reminded us in his next session "Mythbusters" that this is in fact the goal...every answer should provide more questions...keep asking those questions for a more fulsome account of your family's history.  Question everything.  Is your ancestor really not on that Index?  Go to the original source...indexers are after all human.  He also reminded us that we all use different language/terms for places/concepts e.g. First World War is apparently a Commonwealth concept whereas WWI is a more American term.  Useful stuff to consider when thinking about search terms.

After morning tea, I chose to hear more from Janis Wilton who invited us to think about memorable museum encounters and what made them great.  She pointed us to District Six Museum in South Africa and Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre in Tassie (Tasmania) as examples of powerful, engaging museum experiences which invited you to dig deeper and explore further.  She ran out of time but managed to tell us a little about some of the work undertaken at the Maitland Regional Art Gallery to address people's interest in the history of the building and site, formerly a technical college.  You can download the MRAG audio tour from iTunes or Google Play Store for free. I look forward to exploring the App.

Helen Smith's informative talk on parliamentary reports and inquiries really opened my eyes to the wealth of information about your ancestors that could be gleaned from what might be regarded as  dry and dusty documents.  Some of the extracts she read from The Royal Commission Reports on Children Working in Mines, 1842 were heartbreaking but also fascinating accounts of the daily life of our ancestors.

After the raffle prizes were drawn, sponsors and organizing committee members and venue workers thanked, it was all over, red rover. 

I went home feeling very pleased that I still had half a day to pretend to my husband that I had been home and doing the housework.  I put a lamb on a slow roast in the oven, raced into town to buy a book that's out of print (more of that later in another post), cleaned the bathrooms and vacuumed within an inch of my life.  Even my Fitbit was pleased with my progress.  To my mind, the In Time and Place conference was "just right" ....not too big and not too small...digestible in both sessions, duration and price.  Thank you to the organizers, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors for all their hard work and efforts in making it so.  

Illustration by Arthur Rackham

But the big question is (and we always like questions don't we?) ...Will this kind of conference happen again?  Who will pick up the baton from the organizing committee and take it on? Do we need conferences like this or are AFFHO congresses enough?  It's a crowded marketplace and a big job.  What do you think?  Are you or your organisation up for it?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

What's On - Friday 2 October - Thursday 8 October 2015

Some of the new additions to the QFHS Library

Hallelujah!  For once, something is happening on my side of town ;)  Of course I just want to say that the only thing happening this week is In Time and Place.  

You may have heard recently about the Annual Awards for Genealogy Rock Stars....  This is something fun run by John D Reid and our own dear Jill Ball of GeniAus fame won the Australia/New Zealand section.  Well, the winner of the Canada section was Dave Obee and he is one of the keynote speakers at In Time and Place - so I am very excited. How about that?

Other speakers include but are not limited to:

Shauna Hicks 

Janis Wilton

Helen Smith

Saturday and Sunday morning will be a great mix of family and local history.  I just want to split myself in two so I can attend all the sessions.  

Registration is only $140 - great value for such a feast of speakers.  Go on - spoil yourself.  Monday's a Public Holiday so you've got time to recover or do housework.

But if that doesn't appeal, there is plenty of other goodies on offer....Brisbane History Group has the second part of their great series on Brisbane and WWI. 

And if you are a fan of Art Deco architecture, don't miss the seminar at New Farm Library about Art Deco architecture in Brisbane.  It really is a beautiful book.  

Speaking of history and architecture, don't forget to register for Open House Brisbane next weekend either.  

And then I've been meaning to get to Museum of Brisbane's latest exhibition too, featuring Robyn Stacey's magnificent work using an old photographic technique - camera obscura...Cloud Land...

Really - there is waaay too much do here in BrisVegas.  How lucky are we???

Have a great weekend everyone!