Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sepia Saturday 225: 26 April 2014

Alan from Sepia Saturday says:

Ah, I remember it well. Get out your smart threads, polish up your brogues, stand around that imposing jukebox and spin those old favourites : "Summer Holiday", "V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N", or maybe "Viva Espana". Yes, it can only mean one thing : I am about to go on holiday again. But, worry not, who is looking after things whilst I am away but my fellow administrator - Marilyn. And the theme image Marilyn has chosen for Sepia Saturday 225 (post your posts on or around Saturday 26 April 2014) shows a group of smart young things stood around a jukebox. If you are theming this week there are endless possibilities - jukeboxes, music, the 1950s are just a few suggestions. All you have to do is to post your post, link your link, and visit your sepia friends. Easy-peasy ...... itsy-bitsy, yellow polka-dot bikini (control yourself, Alan)

I'm finding it very hard to stay on theme this week from my own collection.  All I have are awful debutante photos from my mother's collection which I know the girls would not want me to share they all look so unutterably miserable and the gowns are too frightful.

I have a photo of my uncle with the short back and sides I suppose.  But he died before 1950 so that's no good.

Ted Conner d. 1948

Then I have this funny slide of a group of my father's student friends all on a field trip checking out places - this one is of Canberra....they all have short back and sides too I suppose...

The view from Red Hill Canberra 1956

A view can be a kind of a juke-box can't it?  No, not really.

So I had to turn to Flickr and got these....

For some reason they leave me feeling kind of looks really happy to me....they all look miserable.

Beautiful, but wishing for something that isn't there.  Or am I just projecting....?  What do you think?  

It's those wretched streamers, that's what it is....they remind me of people leaving on cruise ships, going away to have a fabulous time...

Passenger Cruise Ship Terminal Sydney c1960

Don't say goodbye to the 1950s just yet...check out other interpretations here.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Trans-Tasman ANZAC Day Blog Challenge

George Henry Charles Carrett III &  Charles Arthur S Carrett

Seonaid from Kintalk Family History Blog says:

This is the fourth year that Auckland Libraries and the Kintalk blog have issued a Trans-Tasman ANZAC Day Blog Challenge.

Stories we'd like to hear about could be about their sacrifice, or the way it shaped or impacted on their family history. Maybe you want to blog from the perspective of those that were left behind?

Your story doesn't have to involve a serviceperson who lost their lives - during times of war, all sorts of loss unfortunately are experienced. 

And you can write about those who also served in other wars, as all who served in Australia and New Zealand are recognised as ANZACs.

Maybe you have written about your ANZAC before, and have more research to add to the story?

To participate:
Write a blog post about an Australian or New Zealander serviceman or woman's family, and the impact war had on their family history
Post a comment with the URL to your blog on the comments section of this post. 
Or if you don't have a blog then email us your story at
Publish your post by 26 April 2015.

I have shared the above photo of my great-grandfather before on this post.  But I thought I would spend a bit more time reflecting on his service by looking more closely at his service record on the NAA.  You can find it here.

George Henry Charles CARRETT III enlisted 8 May 1916 at the age of 37. He served in the Australian Army Service Corps 5th Division Train as a Driver.  For those of you who, like me, are not familiar with the organisation of the Army, the Service Corps is basically about supplies and transport.  According to this website, "of the 331,781 men of the AIF who embarked in Australia for overseas, 9,735 were AASC personnel."  Volume 1 of Neville Lindsay's book Equal to the Task - The Royal Australian Army Service Corps contains a wealth of information and you can find it online here.

Family and background

George CARRETT was a builder, married to Daisy Mildred CARRETT (nee TAYLOR) of FitzWilliam Road Vaucluse.  They had seven children: Millie, Ethel (my grandmother), Daisy & George - the twins, Rene, Ossie and Nora.   Nora, the youngest, was just two or three years old when he enlisted.  My grandmother Ethel was 11 years old and the eldest Millie would have been twelve.  George agreed "to allot not less than three-fifths of the pay payable to me from time to time during ......upport of my wife and children."  He was 5 foot 7 3/4 inches and weighed 146 lbs.  He had grey eyes and hair which was brown turning grey.  Distinctive marks included I think 2 toes off left foot.  

George was also the eldest son of George Henry Carrett II and Sarah STORES.  He was born in Dubbo in 1879, the eldest of nine children.  His younger brothers Charles (younger by 11 years) and Leslie (younger by 17 years) also enlisted.  Charles record can be viewed here.  Charles enlisted 15 May 1916 - only a week after George.  He joined the 11th Field Artillery Brigade.  He embarked 11 September 1916 from Sydney on the HMAT Aeneas A60.  I have ordered Leslie's service record.

George seems to have embraced life with all that it had to offer.  He was a prolific builder of homes in Sydney's west.  Family lore has it that he went to San Francisco in 1906 to help re-build after the earthquake.  He loved sailing and was a member of the Iron Cove Sailing Club as well as a Brother in the Rose of Petersham GUOOF Lodge.  No doubt the Great War was just another adventure to add to the list.

Service Record

Now I'm not very good at reading these records I must confess so bear with me.  It's due to general ignorance of military abbreviations and understanding of military organisation.  It looks like from May to October 1916 George was with the 22nd Reinforcements and then he was invalided at Victoria Barracks from 8 October to 1st November.  Then he was a Driver with 25th Reinforcements from 2 November until 2 February 1917.  Then from 3 February 1917 until 10 May he was a Driver with 24th Reinforcements.  

Port Melbourne, Vic. 1917-05-11. Starboard side view of HMAT Shropshire (A9) berthed at the wharf. Service personnel, including members of the 1st Division Signal Company, wait to board the ship while their gear is transferred from trucks. From Australian War Memorial Collection.

On 11th May 1917 he embarked from Melbourne and disembarked at Plymouth on 19 July.

There is some reference on the record to his being at No. 4 Camp P'house or Pkhse.  This must be a reference to the Parkhouse Training Depot.

Graham Wilson in his article The relevance of miscellany administrative, support and logistic units of the AIF says

The AASC Training Depot at Parkhouse was a particularly busy establishment. The depot not only trained and despatched 150 ASC reinforcements per month and conducted specialist officer and NCO training, it was also responsible for providing the supplies, transport and barracks services support for the AIF in the UK. Taking into account the AIF HQ, several hospitals, units of AFC and AIF depot complex, Parkhouse was responsible, on top of its training commitment, for the housing, feeding and transporting of about 50,000 men at any given time.

Some photos of the Depot are on the Australian War Memorial site.

 Australian Army Service and Veterinary Corps horse lines at No. 4 Parkhouse camp. 

On 7th November 1917 George left Southampton for France for what looks like to be Rouelles.

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By 14th November he was moved out to 5th Division Train and then on 23rd November he was posted to the 10th AASC.  According to the Unit Diary for the Division they seemed to be moving around Belgium or Flanders as it was referred to then.  Dranoutre, Haegedorne, Locre and Brulooze are some of the places mentioned.

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He stayed with this unit until 1919.


According to Neville Lindsay's timeline my great-grandfather would have been involved in Holding the Line during the Flanders Winter, the Defence of Amiens from Mar - July, Hamel in July and the Final Offensive from August - October.


George's service record shows two periods of leave - I think from 8 December 1918 until 3 January in Nice.  He took some more leave in April from 15th April to 8 May 1919 which he spent in the UK.  

End of Service and Medals

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By 10 June 1919 George was moved out to Number 2 Group at Sutton Veny.  You can read more about Sutton Veny here.

Three days later he was moved out to Number 5 Group at Weymouth and returned to Australia on SS Frankfurt leaving 1 July and disembarking 20 August 1919.   

Here is a picture of her coming into South Australia.  I was fascinated to read on this site that Frankfurt was one of the first ships to capture the Titanic's distress calls in 1912 but her offer of help was refused by the radio operator.

The SS 'Frankfurt' arriving at Outer Harbour, South Australia with passengers, possibly soldiers, crowded on to the decks courtesy of National Library of Australia and State Library of South Australia

And here is an article from The Argus on 20 August calling for motor cars to help transport the 800 troops landing at 9am.  George would have had to catch a train from Melbourne to Sydney before he could be with his family.

The Argus 20 August 1919 courtesy of the National Library of Australia 
George Henry Charles Carrett was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal. 

He was not a hero as such.  But, like his Corps motto - Par Oneri, he was equal to the task.

Once again, many thanks to Neville Lindsay for helping me find a suitable conclusion to this post....from A.B. "Banjo" Patterson's poem The Army Mules which you can read in full here.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sepia Saturday 224: 19 April 2014

Alan from Sepia Saturday says:

The other week I made a confession about my aversion to gardening and all things horticultural and I was challenged to include a possible gardening theme for a future Sepia Saturday. Well, here it is - for Sepia Saturday 224 (post your post on or around Saturday 19th April 2014) you can choose from gardens, gardening, watering cans, and men stood watching women do all the work. The title of this 1943 photograph, which appears on the US National Archives stream on Flickr, is "Frequent watering of the Victory Garden is necessary during the early stages of growth". You are, of course, able to interpret the theme image in any way you want.

Anyone who knows me well, GrandPurlBaa for example, knows that gardening is not my forte.  I appreciate a beautiful garden...really appreciate it but will do nothing to create my own.  Lazy sod that I am.

And yet I can't blame it on my genes.  Both sides of my family seem to have loved gardens and been quite good at creating them. 

10 December 1936 from State Library of Queensland

I live in Queensland, blessed with sunshine and a sub-tropical environment - great for growing lots of things but not necessarily bulbs, which I love.

Going through my family albums, I am reminded that most of the beautiful gardens that I admired in my youth were in the Blue Mountains.

I have posted this photo before but it bears repeating.  It's my lovely Gran Ethel Conner (nee Carrett) and her husband, Edwin Arthur James Conner,my paternal grandfather who I never knew but who I also understand was lots of fun.  They lived at Springwood in the Blue Mountains - 30 Valley Road to be precise.  The house was called Natoma or Mybush And yes I have blogged about it before in Sepia Saturday here.  They lived here from 1949 until 1960.

I assume this is taken out the back of the house.  

Here's another photo of Mybush.  I think that my grandmother and grandfather must have renovated the house because I also have this photo.  Unless Mybush was in one part of Valley Road and Natoma was in another.  Must ask my father.

which bears a remarkable resemblance to what is there today....

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Interestingly, all the pine trees at the front have been removed.

Now I am particularly intrigued by the name Natoma.  This is after my grandmother's childhood home at Parsley Bay in Sydney. 

Xmas card  1914

And yes, I realise that the card says Natona rather than Natoma but I think that's a typo.  

A search of Trove reveals that this was up for auction in 1951 and described as being 61 Fitzwilliam Road Vaucluse, though we always knew it as Parsley Bay.

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It now seems to be called appropriately Le Mer.  

So why call your home Natoma?  I've googled Natoma (yes, lazy I know) and it seems to be an opera from 1911, a motorboat from the US Navy from 1917 to 1919 and of course there is Natoma in Kansas and Lake Natoma in Sacramento, California.  The opera was a bit of a flop as far as I can tell.  Although I do feel obliged to include a photo of the soprano who played the part of Natoma as her surname does seem to link with this week's theme.

Mary Garden as Natoma in Victor Herbert's "Natoma" Photo was published in the 1909 U.S. book "Heart Songs", so no later than that year.
But there is a bit of me that hangs on to the Natoma based in California.  I understand that my grandmother's father George Henry Charles Carrett, who was a builder, went to the U.S. in 1906 after the earthquake to help rebuild San Francisco.  

Here's a picture of Natoma Street in San Francisco after the quake and if you want to see more of the devastation on Natoma Street, check out Stanford University's website here.  Maybe my great-grandfather wanted to commemorate his work in Natoma Street??? I'm happy for others to volunteer opinions.

So that's one garden story.

Here's another photo from the other side of the family.

Kit and Barbara 
My mother, Barbara, is holding a rake so I'm taking that as a sign that she was gardening at her Aunt's place at Newcastle.

My mother always put a lot of work into her gardens and Lord knows, they were often bleak enough to begin with.

This is a very blurred photograph of 3 Nungara Street Aranda when we were building there in the late 1960s.  That's my mother on the left and my grandmother on the right.  My grandmother's stance says it all I think..."Oh dear, there's work to be done".

3 Nungara Street

And here it is, in all its glory...finished...well the building that the gardening had to start...

3 Nungara Street Aranda, Canberra

Here is my father making a start on the front garden....and here's me walking out the front door with my skipping rope, determined to have or no garden.

Here are some more photos of my mother continuing her gardening endeavours - this time in Leura in the Blue Mountains.

Barbara digging at 11 St George's Road Leura c1984

Barbara watering

Barbara cutting a path

No doubt about it.  She was a hard worker and a saint.

I am reminded of a quote from John Williams Stoner which I read for the first time this week....and which I can heartily recommend.

"Now they were in the earth to which they had given their lives; and slowly, year by year, the earth would take them."

A bit sobering but see what others have made of this week's theme go here.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Albury c1956

I wasn't quite sure where this photo was taken but now I think it is Monument Hill Albury after seeing Sharon's photos on Strong Foundations....what do you think?

Sepia Saturday 223;12 April 2014

Alan from Sepia Saturday says:

Why have one photograph when you can have a group of four? You are, of course, free to interpret this week's prompt photograph in whichever way you want, but one possible approach would be a grouping of four old photographs. There are other potential interpretations within this 1919 group of Smithton, Tasmania - indeed there are probably four times as many possible themes as normal. The original image comes from the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office collection on Flickr Commons. Whatever your interpretation, just post your post on or around Saturday 12 April 2014 

What to do?  Be completely egocentric...yes, that's entertaining.....well, I hope so....

Me in Edinburgh.......we were living in rented accommodation at the time.  No personal effects really.  Just the clothes we stood up in, as it were...I'm wearing jodhpurs (my Mother had a thing for jodhpurs) and little riding boots.  We were nowhere near horses I might add.  But sturdy attire for an energetic toddler I imagine. Isn't the spelling of jodhpurs interesting?  Where does it come from I wonder....

Edinburgh c. 1963

And about five years later at 3 Nungara Street, Canberra.

Obviously I am an only child with a doting parent or two who had the time and the leisure to take the photos.

Please note the white lace stockings....they were de rigeur in the 60s.  My mother would have made that dress out of viyella.  Do you remember viyella?  I think it is smocked too.  She was a great seamstress.  And the cat is one of three we had at the time...good old Yum Yum.  I do like a good black cat.

We were living in our own house by then.  My father designed it.  I had my own bedroom with built-in desk and bookcase - completely spoiled and very lucky.  Gran gave us her old lounge for the living room which we made do with for a few years.  But I still had to do the washing up and let the cat out.  So not completely spoiled....

So that's my contribution.  Self-centred I know but it was the best of a bad bunch.  

For more takes on the group or gang of four head over here....

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday Memo

As I travel down the genealogical or family history highway, I find myself wishing I could post more on my blog.

Life seems to be zooming by.  I chose the above image from Flickr because it also represents how I'm feeling at the moment vision-wise i.e. a bit blurry.  I purchased a new set of glasses this week and I'm trying to get used to them.  They are those kind that have the different types of lenses in them  - you know the kind - you have to tilt your head up to read stuff on a screen or in a book - and then tilt down to look long distance.  It's driving me a bit mad but I'm persevering.  

Anyway I just wanted to note a few things because I have this internal dialogue with myself about what I should be doing but never actually get round to doing it.  So this is an attempt to step outside my head and put down some notes.  I hope they are useful in some way to you too.

Advertising related to Marquis de Rays' La Nouvelle France

First off, I caught up with a friend of a friend on the weekend and was very impressed with his latest project (one of many I understand).  I saw Steve post something on Facebook last week (See! Social Media works!) and couldn't wait to see this work in real life on Saturday when we had dinner with our mutual friend GrandPurlBaa.   Steve gave me a sneak preview of an exhibition that will be launched this Sunday at the New Italy Museum in Northern NSW.  Steve and his brother and his nephew have all been working together on this great presentation of their family history.  They are descended from one of the Italian families that:

"were beguiled by the Marquis de Rays to purchase homes and fertile land in a phantom paradise of the Pacific named La Nouvelle France (an imaginary kingdom in the Bismarck Archipelago).

Cleverly worded advertisements spoke of sunshine, lush vegetation and beaches and the promise of freedom, not living under dictatorship. Despite warnings of the unsuitability of the proposed land and the Royal Investigation Bureau in Milan issuing a direction that no passport would be issued to any Italian participating in the scheme 50 families boarded the “India” in Barcelona in July 1880 (Niau, 1935). They were the third expedition to leave for the shores of Port Breton and were reassured with claims that two shipments of other people from elsewhere in Europe were already settled." (from the New Italy Museum website)

It's a fantastic effort.  

To find out more, read his blog here.

What else?  Well we've been kind of swamped at QFHS with research requests.  We received 14 last month.  Thank goodness we've got a team and it's not just one person who has to deal with the inquiries or it would be more than a full-time job.  I am continuously impressed by my colleagues on our team; their enthusiasm, their perseverance and their knowledge.  And of course I am also really impressed by just how many volunteers it takes to keep our Society running.  For starters there are over 70 members who volunteer as library assistants to keep our library open.  Then there are the hard working Committee members and other members who volunteer to do a myriad of other tasks from running the bookshop, editing and publishing our journal, organizing the indexing of material and publishing CDs, organizing and running special interest groups, educational workshops and the like..the list goes on.  A special shout out to everyone who is actively involved with their Society in some way.  You rock!

I have been really challenged in my research efforts this month on behalf of a member of QFHS.   I don't have any German ancestors in my family tree so it's new territory for me.  I tend to defer to the better judgement of fellow members in the QFHS who head up the Central European Group.  And they have made some excellent suggestions.
However this member is keen to travel to Germany in a couple of months and find out what she can about her ancestry.  In my endeavours on her behalf I have relied heavily on the fabulous Wiki on Family Search particularly this article.  If you haven't ever used the Family Search wiki, you really should explore it here.  Part of my reluctance to head down this path is that I don't speak German.  But I took the plunge and emailed one of the societies I found on the English...and I got a response very quickly.  Hoorah!  I also viewed the FGS webinar by Jen Baldwin's on using Twitter to "connect, engage and educate in Genealogy" so I'll let you know how I go with my new engagement in that quarter.

Last month I was delighted to see Pharos Tutors take the plunge and join the blogosphere with their new blog.  Helen Osborn launched into the discussion broaching the question "Who are the serious genealogists?"

These characteristics were posed as a measure of your seriousness as a genealogist:

Interested in finding out more than just names and dates
Talks of the addictive nature of genealogy
Does not follow just one ancestral line or surname
Visits record offices in person
Spends money engaging others to help their research
Has more than one website subscription
Member  of a family history society
Volunteers their time to genealogy
Runs a website/blog devoted to genealogy
Writes about their research, or writes up their research
Has a small library of books on genealogy
Wants to improve their research methods
Recognises the need to find out about more obscure sources
Takes courses to improve their knowledge
Wants to turn professional or is already professional
Wants to work to an agreed standard

What do you think? Can you tick the box next to all of these?  Which would you like to tick?  John D Reid continues the discussion on his blog here.

So what could you put on your To Do list this month if you lived in Brisbane, Queensland and considered yourself a serious genealogist/family historian????  Here are some ideas....

Do a walking tour of a suburb. Check out some here , here and here.

Register for a training course this Friday at QFHS on the Education Department and School Records for the Family Historian. 

Attend a local history society meeting such as the Kenmore and District Historical Society meeting on Thursday 17 April where Deb Drummond will talk about her book "Lingering Doubts" about Brisbane's Arcade Murder in 1947.

Spend a night at the John Oxley Library on Tuesday 22 April finding out what it was like on the homefront during the Great War.

Register for one of the many free genealogy events at Moreton Bay Region Library service such as Shipping Records Made Easy at the end of the month at Arana Hills Library.

So much to do, so little time.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sepia Saturday 222: 5 April 2014

Alan on Sepia Saturday says:

Danger is an odd thing. In our moments of sanity we all steer well clear of danger, but in those moments of exuberant insanity, we sometimes search it out in order to experience the thrill of the challenge. Why else would you get people sky-diving or sailing blindfold across the Pacific Ocean or cultivating nettles? But one man or woman's danger is another man's relaxing lunchtime drink. Here is a photograph from the Dextra photostream on Flickr Commons which I would really like to tell you more about but I am constrained by my lack of - I suspect - Norwegian. Given the international flavour of the Sepia Brotherhood (Sisterhood), I am sure someone will let me have a translation of the  Flickr description. It doesn't really matter because we are concerned with images rather than words and what this image says to me is danger. So your challenge this week is to somehow link an old photograph with the concept of danger (or anything else you can find in the picture) - and, as usual, the links may be as direct or as obtuse as you wish. Post the image on or around Saturday 5th April 2014.

A couple of images come to mind when we explore the theme of danger on Sepia Saturday. 

 We don't really have any daredevils as such in our family.  If anything we are on the really conservative side when it comes to risking life and limb.  We don't do extreme sports e.g. diving, abseiling, bungee jumping, potholing etc.  I've been skiing....once and survived without injury.  I used to sail.  That can be quite exciting in a small boat.  My daughter loves horse riding and I think that can be quite dangerous.  I used to have my heart in my mouth quite a bit watching her jumping et al but once again we survived that.  Going to the beach and swimming in the surf is about as dangerous as I get - and that seems to be more infrequent the older I get. 

So, my experience is that danger tends to come upon you without you necessarily seeking it out.  This photo was in my grandfather's collection.  Unfortunately he is no longer with us so I can't ask him about it.

Train wreck from the collection of Thomas J McLoughlin

 It looks like a goods train has completely come off the track doesn't it?

When I searched Picture Queensland's index under "Danger", I came up with all sorts of photos of Point Danger of course.

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But there were a few other photos that gave me pause for thought.

Family group in front of their home, Beenleigh district, ca. 1872 photographer William Boag courtesy of State Library of Queensland Picture Queensland collection
The curator remarks in their notes on this photo: The verandah also has no surrounding railing or guard-rail to protect its users from a fall - surely a danger given that this family had so many small children.

Ah yes, the joys of parenting.  I remember moving into a new home with a baby and a toddler.  The first job for my husband and my brother-in-law was to build a fence to stop the babies escaping from the back yard into the front yard and out onto the street.

As a child, I no doubt led my parents and their friends a merry dance as I explored my I am with Joan exploring the delights of ponds.

Joan and Alex pond Edinburgh

This is from a thumb nail sized print so I apologise for the quality.

Here is another one of me gaily tripping down some stairs in Edinburgh...which look mighty perilous to me now.

Alex staircase Edinburgh - Trinity Road?

In the end, I survived ponds and staircases.  My biggest claim to accident fame was when we visited my Great Aunt Win in Portsmouth.

Win and Charles at Portsmouth

Isn't she sweet?  Here is their lovely welcoming lounge and.....

Cooks lounge Portsmouth

the fireplace into which I fell and burned my hand.  Thankfully I have no memory of the incident but apparently I carried on a bit to the extent they had to take me to hospital...sigh...parenting....

Danger, you can look for it but sometimes it just comes to you unasked.

Here is a photo of the taxi my husband's father used to drive ..isn't it gorgeous ?

Regent Taxi Southport

But aren't we glad he was driving this cab and not the one Athol McCowan was driving on the night of Thursday 22 May 1952 as per this article?

Courier Mail 24 May 1952 
Otherwise Robert Daw Senior might never have had Robert Daw Jnr and we might never have met!

So there are my musings on danger.  Living is dangerous.  No one gets out of here alive.  That's a fact.

To conclude, here's my favourite "Danger!" soundbite.  For more dangerous escapades go here.