Friday, July 19, 2013

Travels with my grandfather...

I'm being a tad cheeky here because I don't know if my grandfather did in fact go to PNG but....

I found these photos in his album so I'm having a bit of a think and an explore and an investigation to try and discover what on earth they could be about.

I don't know when these photos were taken but I'm guessing in the 1930s.  

On the back of this photo is the word "Medang".  

The other clue in the photo is of course the name of the boat which I am reading as Macdhu.

When I look up Macdhu on Trove I find lots of references to a boat but particularly between 1930-1939 with many falling around 1933, 1937 and 1938.

Here's another photo of the boat.  On the stern it says Macdhui Sydney.

Here's another picture of Medang

And another one of Kavieng from the deck

And another

Here are some of Finchhafen...

And to finish off here are some from Samarai...

It is so frustrating not knowing who any of the people are...

All the photos have on the back of them a small circular stamp with Printed by Harringtons.

So I cannot think of any reason why he would go to PNG.  He was a Catholic.  Maybe he knew a missionary who went to PNG.  Maybe he knew someone who was in the Copra business.  What do you think?

This is what I know about my grandfather, Thomas Joseph Benedict McLoughlin.  
He was born in Bathurst 1898 and died in Ashfield Sydney in 1982.  
He married Helen Kate Forfar at St Patrick's Bondi in 1934.  
I know little else about my grandfather apart from the fact that he was profoundly deaf - an injury sustained through working in a very noisy environment. He worked for De Havilland for a while.

I found this article today on Trove which I think might be him.

Leader Orange Saturday 29 May 1915

I have written previously about him on this blog here and here

According to the 1933 Commonwealth Electoral Roll Tom was living with his family at 
11 Irene Street Five Dock.  There seem to have been 9 of them living in the house.  Tom's parents - John and Margaret.  John was a horse-driver and Margaret performed home duties.  Tom is listed as being a salesman.  For whom I wonder?  Tom's younger sister Margaret was a waitress.  His other younger sister Mary was a telephonist.  I wrote about her here.  His brother John Patrick was a photographer, his other brother Joseph was a block stripper - what on earth is that???  And other brother Vincent was a labourer.  There is another Thomas McLoughlin listed in the household as well - a labourer.  I'm not sure who that is!

By 1939 Tom and his new wife Katherine Helen (known as Kit) lived at 96 Hampden Road Drummonyne.  Tom by now was a clerk.  This was not far from Irene Street if you look at it on the map.

When he enlisted in the army in 1942 he was still a clerk.  I think his occupation in the army was Assistant Gun Ammunition Inspector.  (it's a bit difficult to read the writing on the record here).  The record referred to his having attained Intermediate and having completed the Commonwealth Public Service Clerical exam as per the newspaper article above.

Various addresses are listed and crossed out.  Kit is living at "Ingle Dell" in Warwick Street Katoomba.  My mother often spoke of being evacuated during the war.

Other addresses include:

By the 1949 Electoral Roll they are living at 5 Nowranie Street Summer Hill and Tom is described as an aero eng. ex.  I'm taking that to be an aeronautical engineer examiner or some such.  Or maybe it means ex aero engineer.  They stayed at Nowranie Street for many years. It seems this is the only building (and maybe Campbell Parade in Bondi and Hargrave Street in Paddington) that has not changed in all that time. 


Jackie van Bergen said...

could he have travelled there with De Havilland - maybe testing a plane or something?
Or, there were many Australians patrolling PNG, one of our local society members did that with the Australian Forces.

Alex Daw said...

Dear Jackie - Thanks so much for coming and looking at this post. I really appreciate it. I hadn't thought about patrolling. I looked at his military record at NAA - it said he did Universal Training between 1912-1916. He would have been aged between 14 and 18. I'm thinking he would have been doing that at school. Off to Google Universal Training now :)

Nigel Aspdin (Derby, UK) said...

Perhaps he was in the oil exploration business working for BP? But then BP can stand for many other things.

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

BP is of course, Burns Philp, the shipping company and store owners who were huge in Papua New Guinea. I'll be sharing the photos of Samarai with Mr Cassmob as he grew up on Samarai and we revisited a few years ago (stories on my blog). Medang is 99.9% a mistake for Madang. I'm guessing he was working for BPs and perhaps going from port to port as Madang-Finchhafen (btoh Madang district)-Kavieng (New Ireland District)-Samarai (Milne Bay District). The Cass family lived in two of those places and I've visited all except Finchhafen. Thanks Alex for this trip back in time to places I knew in the 70s.