Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sepia Saturday 256 : 29 November 2014

Alan from Sepia Saturday says:

As a general rule, if you take a daft photograph and then let it soak up eighty years of history it will become even dafter. This is certainly true of this 1930 photograph of the Swan Maiden's Carriage at the Grace Brothers Ball in Sydney, Australia. Grace Brothers were - believe it or not - a famous Department Store, and the strange scene depicted in this photograph (which comes to us by way of the Flickr stream of the Powerhouse Museum) is as strange as anything you might have seen in an episode of "Are You Being Served?". Possible themes for Sepia Saturday 256 include festivals, floats, feathers and fair maidens.

Ah Grace that brings back memories.  When I was a slip of a gel (hard g), we used to live in Glebe and then I moved to Chippendale to my first share house.  I would walk past Grace Bros just about every day and admire it's cupolas.  Here are some views ...

and yesterday...well not yesterday...but you know what I mean....

This is taken from the bottom of Broadway.  You can see the cupolas in the distance on the right.  Sydney Uni campus is up on the top left hand side.

The photo prompt today reminded me of a trip to Luna Park earlier this year.  The somewhat garish paintings on the walls have been preserved thankfully as a reminder of less politically correct times.  Check them out.  Kind of creepy....kind of fun.....kind of mad.....

This is what Luna Park looked like back in the 50s.  This is a slide from my husband's family collection

It has changed a little bit but not much.

Here are some photos of it now.  

This is the back of the entrance gate from the inside.

There were wedding parties there the night we went.  It's a very popular venue for weddings and 40th Birthday parties and the like.

Outside Coney Island....

Inside Coney Island.....

It probably all looks very quaint now by modern standards...timber floors (a fire trap now I suppose) but all I remember is the pounding of feet and shrieks of over excited teenage laughter. 

Those slippery dips are huge.  I admire my nephew and nieces for getting on a sack and sliding down them.

Did I mention politically incorrect?

See that blur in the bottom right of the photo?

That's nephew Charlie wizzing by!  What a hero!

Remember trying to walk on the moving floors?

First you spin around and then your legs are going in different directions!

Cough cough...ah yes...the little woman.

Last night we had our office Xmas party.  Much fun was had by all - Scavenger hunts, carol singing, secret Santa.  I am constantly amazed by the creativity of my colleagues...tables were decorated with the broad theme of Adventure .

Library luaus...

Our team's table - Dr Seuss theme - Oh the places you'll go!

Riding the Peace Train !  The hippies were lots of fun.

The Lakers table won best table and it was just stunning - such detail and thought.

I was channeling The Cat in the Hat.  
Who knew tinsel makes you hot? Well not hot but you know, warmish.

photo credit to Amy Etherden - party organiser extraordinaire

All in all a great night but I'm a bit weary today.

I know I haven't provided many Sepia photos today....but I hope I ticked some boxes....for more silly season festivus click here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Learning Family History

It's such a lovely big old world and we are so lucky to have the internet.  

Have you ever wanted to start family history but didn't know where to begin?

Today I learned that the University of Tasmania - right down the bottom of the world - is offering a free course - Introduction to Family History as per here.  To enrol for free you do have to be an Australian citizen or a student holding a Permanent Humanitarian Visa or with a Permanent Resident Status. And you need to study it in their Spring Semester which starts 8 December.  Applications close 16 December. 

But what if you already know a bit about Family History and want to know a bit more?

I have enrolled in several courses through the lovely Pharos Tutors who are pretty much at the top of the world.

At the moment I am studying a 3 week course in World War Research with Simon Fowler and it is great.  Yes...THE Simon Fowler! No, not that Simon Fowler...this Simon Fowler!

I have also studied courses with Pharos in Caribbean Family History and Wills and Administrations.  I find their fees quite reasonable and it's all online.  You can get them assessed towards accreditation for a qualification if you want to but, for me, the joy is just in learning.

If the thought of sitting in front of your computer all the time fills you with loathing, get out and among it at your local family history society.

Some societies are more relaxed than others and I can't promise yours will be as much fun as the Society of Artists Selection Committee was in 1907 but usually at least tea and a biscuit is served.  And if you belong to a fabulous society like I do, there'll be plenty of great people to meet, books to buy and new topics on a monthly if not a weekly basis.

Then there is your local library which should have regular talks about family history or a group that meets on a regular basis.  You can find out about Moreton Bay Region Library service activities here.  Brisbane City Council Library is hosting Lady Teviot at the end of the month for goodness sake - how fantastic is that?

Really - there is so much going on - there's no excuse not to join in!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Familiar Phrases

When I've had too much to eat or have had "an elegant sufficiency" as my mother used to like me to say, I say instead: 

"I'm up to Dolly's wax".  

This is a phrase borrowed from my maternal grandfather.  It refers to the junction between the dolly's neck and the rest of her body - where the wax began and ended so to speak.  I think the heads were made of wax and the bodies made of china or some such.  Someone correct me or agree with me for goodness sake.

I'm a bit of a bower-bird, truth be known, when it comes to language and turns of phrase.  After I've worked with someone for a while I tend to adopt their mannerisms or parts of speech, if they take my fancy.  

A boss I worked with many years ago at the ABC had some great turns of phrase - they were Cockney in origin I think - 

"Shall we hit the frog and toad?" 

he used to say to me cheerfully.   

For those unfamiliar with this lingo, it means, shall we hit the road or get going.  

I must confess that in Queensland some of us do like to hit cane toads when we can - old bufo marinus does get out of control and has caused our canine friends no end of worry and expense to their owners.

Another phrase of his I really liked was:

 "Better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick"


"flat out like a lizard drinking"

So colourful and right on the money.  Oops there's another turn of phrase.

Another boss taught me not to tell Porkie Pies or Lies.  Or be a Nancy No Friends.  She also taught me that some things are Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.  But not everything.

When someone was particularly good, my mother would reward them with the phrase: 

"Your blood's worth bottling!"  

I have continued the tradition, to the consternation of many, I might add.  

Try looking for bottles of blood on Flickr, I dare you.

Mary N Crawford's blood was certainly worth bottling, being the rare blood type Lu (a-b-).

Particular regions have their own quaint phrases and when I moved to Queensland I learned to say "port" instead of "suitcase".  I learned that a "session" referred to a time when the pub would be open.  I learned that what I thought were "frankfurts" or cocktail sausages were really "cheerios".  I learned that what I called a "sloppy joe" in Canberra days was really a sweater or a pullover or a windcheater.

Because I spent a lot of time in my youth in Sydney, I always use the phrase

 "Busy as Pitt Street on a Friday night" 

This is very confusing for those who grew up in Brisbane, thinking it was Queen Street. And is even more confusing for those who don't realize that shops weren't always open every night of the week.

I love the irony of some my English friends turn of phrase e.g. the latest movie was "deeply boring".

I love the lilt of my Scottish friend's turn of phrase when she adds "so they are" onto statements of importance such as:

 "All men are bastards, so they are"

Sometimes as I get older and my brain more addled (I need more RAM), I mix my metaphors e.g. "She could talk the iron leg off a donkey!". By the way, I love that you can put "confused donkey" into Flickr and get a result!

I reflect on the turns of phrase that will fade into the past with advances in technology.  I used to have a friend who was a bit old fashioned and insisted on calling cars "motor cars".  My grandmother referred to the movies as "the pictures".  Some people still call DVDs videos.

Each profession or trade has its own lingo.  I've learned what "weeding" is in library-land (deleting of out of date/manky items) and I've learned about "partial returns" (that's when you forget to put the DVD back in the case or bring back the box of lego missing 5 of the 130 pieces).  Sometimes I get a bit confused and refer to them as "impartial returns" - I think that's because the software system refers to this kind of issue as "incomplete" so I mix my terms and end up with "impartial", if you know what I mean.

Well, I suppose I'd better get moving.  Robbie has to go back to the "salt-mine" today.  I'd better look sharp or the day will be over before I know it.

What are your favourite turns of phrase and where have they come from?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sepia Saturday 255: 22 November 2014

Alan from Sepia Saturday says:

The title of this old photograph - which comes from the Flickr Commons stream of the National Archives of Estonia - is "Eveline Maydell making a silhouette, with her models. Indianapolis 1931" Eveline Adelheid von Maydell (1890 - 1962) was a German-born silhouette artist who lived in the USA from 1922 onwards. She was described as being ambidextrous : a Milwaukee newspaper article from 1942 said "she sketches and designs with her left hand and with her right snips with minute scissors the silhouettes..." Sepians also need to be ambidextrous - composing words with their left hand whilst assessing old images with their right - and we invite you to contribute all these skills to your contributions for Sepia Saturday 255. 
In May last year I figure I used up just about all my silhouette photos.  But I don't think I've shown you this one.

It's a bit blurred, I know.  But I like the idea behind it.  I think it is an artificial light source that is actually in the fireplace too rather than a real fire. At the McLoughlin family reunion last weekend Mary Ann took the photo around the relatives and it was thought that this might be Vince McLOUGHLIN in the photo and probably one of his brothers.  Older brother Jack ran a professional photo studio in Drummoyne.

I think the photographic studio was called Alva Studios.  It was located at 222 Victoria Road Drummoyne.  Jack's wife Christine, according to cousin Marilyn, was an excellent colourist.  Jack's son Kerry worked for the studio too I understand taking candid photography I think in the street.

I found some advertisements placed by Alva Studios or featuring Alva Studios in the wonderful Trove.

Here are some examples - the Studios were looking for a colourist for quite a while as five ads from January 1948 through to June 1949 demonstrated viz:

courtesy of the National Library of Australia - The Sydney Morning Herald , Saturday 17 January 1948, page 24

Of course one wishes that one still had the silhouette one had as a slip of a girl but tis not to be.  What better way to demonstrate a silhouette than in your bathing suit?  Would I have been so bold as to be photographed for free in a studio though?  I think not.  But Alva Studios was willing to help if you wanted to enter.

courtesy of the National Library of Australia, The Australian Womens Weekly 26 October 1935 page 18

Not many silhouettes when it comes to a studio portrait of your darling baby though in these ads for an Appealing Child contest in the Australian Women's Weekly 4 July 1956 on page 29.  Alva Studios was eager to help you win again.

Or this:

courtesy of the National Library of Australia, Australian Women's Weekly, 5 September 1956, page 57

For more appealing silhouettes go here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Troveia - Come and Play!

We're a bit excited here at the thought of participating in Troveia tomorrow night.

We're studying hard as you can see.

We've registered our team - Moreton Monitors - and hope we win a prize or two.

It's Trove's 5th Birthday and what is a birthday without some games?

Some kids play Pass the Parcel or Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

We're playing Hunt the Newspaper or Journal Article instead.

What do you need to play?  Well you should probably be familiar with Trove.

And you should probably have a Twitter account.

For all the information on how to register and play go here.

Some friends to help you would be good too - friends with good searching skills and persistence.

The fun begins at 7pm AEDT in Australia.  We live in Queensland so that will be 6pm.

Happy Birthday Trove!

Monday, November 17, 2014

McLoughlin Family Reunion

Photos of John and Margaret McLoughlin with cake

In August last year I posted several photos on a blog post of my maternal grandfather Thomas Mcloughlin and his brothers.  The meme for Sepia Saturday that week was photos of men in striped trousers or neckties or suspenders.  Little did I know when I posted that photo what would unfold as a consequence.  It really was the ideal cousin-bait though it wasn't really pre-meditated as such.  I put the wrong names of the brothers under the photos and boy ! didn't that drag the cousins in ! ;)

Lovely new-to-me cousins Marilyn and Mary-Ann came to my rescue and put me on the straight and narrow as to which brother was which - bless them.  And then the idea for a family reunion was born.  Marilyn generously hosted it last weekend and I flew down to New South Wales to meet some of the cousins.  

I have never been to a family reunion before and so I was a bit perplexed as to what to take.  I had a 7 kilo hand-luggage allowance with Virgin so packing had to be carefully considered.  

Of course I took my trusty Flip Pal scanner.  

I also took a digital camera as well as my phone and an Archive box of photos and other mementos like funeral cards and ration cards.  

I decided not to take certificates, figuring I could share those later via Dropbox.  

I also threw in some Family Group Sheets, a Descendant chart of sorts, pencils, a sharpener and an eraser.  

Leaving Brisbane was a bit of an exercise because of the G20.  I had to catch a train to the airport as most of the city was shutdown.  The train stopped at Milton while police got on and inspected bags. They walked straight past me which was just as well really as I didn't want to have to unpack my very tightly packed port.

There were lots of people leaving Brisbane that day to get away from it all. Plenty of them were amused to have their photo taken at the mock G20 lectern near the terminal.  Those photos are sure to confuse their descendants for many years to come!

We were more than a bit excited to see U.S. Airforce planes on the runway as we taxied for take off.

When I got to Newcastle I found half the plane was going to see The Rolling Stones in the Hunter Valley.  Oh well - I'd seen them before!

The day was just lovely.  Marilyn and Rob had put in so much effort to make everyone comfortable.  There was a marquee outside with plenty of tables and chairs.  Some younger folk camped outside that night whilst older folk were pampered inside.  

The afternoon was a bit breezy so whilst we started to try and look at photos etc at the beginning, we were forced to leave it til later when we would be indoors so they didn't blow away.  

Over cake and coffee, there was much sucking of teeth as we tried to identify people in photos.  There were cries of recognition as we shared prints of the same photo - some with helpful identification on the back.

Mary Ann had brought the family Bible to show me which was very impressive.

Marilyn  had some folders with descendant charts which were fantastic and I was able to take photos of them.  Other family members did their best to fill in the blanks on my descendant chart which was also great.  Marilyn also had a book about the RAAF in WW2 (featuring a segment written by Frank McLoughlin - my grandfather's younger brother) which looked really interesting.  I have accordingly updated my Want list on Abebooks.

My grandfather was the eldest of nine children.  One of the first people to greet me was my mother's first cousin Kerry (Jack's son) which was pretty special - I remember her talking about him a lot. Jack had the photographic studio in Drummoyne and I think she wished she had spent more time studying photography.  My mother certainly loved arranging portraits of people and taking photos.  

Of the nine siblings, I got to meet descendants of three - Jack, Joe and Patrick.  There were about 24 of us altogether which was really more than enough for me to try and remember who was who in the zoo and begin to get to know people.

Everyone was very kind and said lovely things about my grandfather - their uncle.  I learned his nickname was Goz - because he used to say "God's Truth" quite a bit apparently.  I learned that he was always laughing - which is good to hear.  And that he loved books.  And that he gave nephews and nieces great presents.   

I also found out that the McLoughlins possess musical talent - one played the sax and trumpet, another piano and others guitar.  Here is a photo of the music book that Mary-Ann brought to show which was handed down from generation to generation.

I also learned that they are pretty clever and very kind. It was kind of wonderful to see so many people with blue eyes.  My mother had hazel eyes so I never thought of her side of the family as being blue-eyed.  My father has blue eyes so I always thought I got them from him.  I'm embarrassed to say I can't remember what colour eyes Tom had, but they must have been blue.

The next day dawned with people heading off in all directions to various gigs or other gatherings.  There was a mad scramble to verify whose phone cable and charger belonged to whom, not to mention hard drive.  A lesson for us all - label your cables etc!

We're already talking about our next reunion and I can't wait til we catch up again.

Thank you McLoughlins - you're swell - God's truth!

Addendum - if you look closely at the list of music from Mary-Ann's book there's a song called We Won't Go Home til morning....sounds a bit like a Family Reunion doesn't it?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sepia Saturday 253: 8 November 2014

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that the following post contains images of deceased persons.

Alan from Sepia Saturday says:

I have to confess, I have never been a fisherman. The thought of sitting next to some damp river bank waiting for some obliging fish to bite leaves me cold. The thought of having to push a sharp hook through some non-obliging worm leaves me frozen. I am much happier with an old photograph of some fishermen, and that is just what we have for Sepia Saturday this week. It is a photograph that dates back to 1916 and which has been shared via Flickr Commons by Alberta Archives. All you need to do is to cast your digital hook into your collection of old images and come up with something that may or may not match our theme image. You might want to go with miners or with anglers, with fishy tales or with three men : whatever you go with just post your post on or around Saturday 8th November 2014 and add a link to the list below.

The best thing about Sepia Saturday is that you can do what you like really....I'm going to keep on showing you some more of the photo haul that I was given to digitize last month. And justify my choice by saying that I am fishing for more family history stories ;)

Sorry for the spotty nature of the photo.  I think this little boy preferred cricket to fishing.

Len Guinea circa 1923

This is the back of the photo:

So there's my clue - Len Guinea.  

With Aunt Alice's stash of photos came a great book called "Numinbah Valley: A Social and Natural History 1840s - 1988" compiled and edied by Pamela Hall, Donna Yaun and Noela Gilmont published in 1988 by the Numinbah Valley Bicentennial Committee ISBN 0731621840.  It sadly lacks an index but with a bit of patient searching you can find lots of great stuff.  

Pages 68 and 69 look at the Guinea family.  Mention of Len is as follows:

The Guinea family name has been synonymous with the timber industry and the early pioneers of the district.  Although many of the family members were based at Advancetown, three of Din's sons settled at Numinbah: William, Jim and John.  Today, only one family in the area still retains the pioneer name.  They are : Len Guinea and his wife Gloria (nee Gumley) and their seven children: Lenette, Michael, Annette, Michele, Joseph, Mark and Maryanne.  

Using the Ryerson Index, I found references to Len's death and funeral notices and obituary.   He died 21 January (my husband's birthday) in 2003 aged 83. The obituary was published in the Gold Coast Bulletin 25 January.  I would love to get hold of it but I think I would have to go to the State Library of Queensland and look at it on microfilm.  

I found two newspaper articles about Len on Trove as follows:

courtesy of National Library of Australia, page 19 of South Coast Bulletin 20 December 1929

Len would have been about 9 years old at the time and seems to have enjoyed performing comic renditions.  I wish I knew the story of the Butcher and the Bride!

Here is another article about local cricket matches.

courtesy of National Library of Australia - page 8 of South Coast Bulletin 11 August 1933


Len would have been 13 years of age and I think was probably playing with his father and uncle and probably some cousins but father and son were playing on opposing teams I think.  Cricket was popular with all of my husband's ancestral lines it would seem - I can see plenty of familiar family names in the players' names - the Hindes, the Duncans et al.

Here is a newspaper clipping from Alice's files of some of my husband's and Len's cricketing ancestors in the area.

source unknown

To give you an idea of the area I have embedded a map:

The Numinbah Valley book gives a good account of how cricket was played in the area....

Most members of these clubs were dairy farmers, so the matches were scheduled to conform with their commitments and were played on Saturday's between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3.30pm. (page 143)


The Numinbah team often walked up to Springbrook for a friendly cricket match.  Bill Hinze remembers doing this, all decked out in his whites.  It was nothing to walk several kilometres, climbing all the way, along a narrow bush track, and then play a game of lively cricket, and return the way that they came, in time for the milking.  (page 144)
So in summary, Len Guinea seems to have grown up in Gilston, or at least went to school in Gilston.  

Searching on Ancestry, I find him in the 1943 electoral roll at Advancetown as a labourer.  I think he was living with his mother Kathleen at the time.  A Public Member Tree on Ancestry, the Evans family tree, indicates that William Alexander Guinea and Kathleen Kennedy were Len's parents and in turn that Mary Jane Duncan and Denis Guinea were William Alexander's parents or Len's grandparents. Mary Jane Duncan was the daughter of William Doig Duncan and Rose Gorrian - my husband's 2nd great-grandparents.

By 1949 Len is living in Wharf Road Southport and is a waiter.  He must have married Gloria May Gumley by that time as she is listed at the same address with home duties.  

In 1954 they are listed as living at Nerang.  In 1958 they are at 10 Ernest Street.  By 1968 they are back at Nerang and Leonard is listed as a hotel employee.  

By 1972 Leonard is up at Natural Arch and Gloria and Kathleen are still at Nerang where presumably it is a bit more civilized and closer to schools for children.  By 1977 Gloria is listed as living at Natural Bridge too.  And they are both still there in 1980 when Leonard is still listed as a hotel employee.

Natural Arch or Bridge near Nerang has so many special connotations for those of us who live near the Gold Coast and like bushwalking.  It is a very special place.  There are lots of fabulous photos of it on Flickr.  Here is just one to give you an idea:'


The story of its discovery by white fellers (I'm sure indigenous people probably knew of its existence long before us) is as follows in the Numinbah Valley history book:

Apparently two timber-getters Alexander Duncan (my husband's 3rd great-grandfather) and his mate Denis (Din) Guinea were cutting in the rainforest just above Cave Creek.  Kipper Tommy, an aboriginal from the Coomera district was also present.  Alexander, who was also known as Sandy or Ginger because of his colouring and bush red beard,scrambled down to the creek to get fresh water to boil up.  He came upon the waterfall and the bridge of stone and he returned to his party shouting "Dinny, I've found a natural bridge!" page 48

I'm not surprised that Len Guinea wanted to live there.  It is a beautiful place.

It would be lovely to have confirmed that this is indeed a photo of Len Guinea. Guinea descendants are you out there?

For more fishing on Sepia Saturday go here.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sepia Saturday 252 : 1 November 2014

Alan on Sepia Saturday says:

It was a big day in the history of Dollinger Steel of Beaumont, Texas. It was their 50th anniversary dinner and countless guests had been invited to the celebratory dinner. And the photographer had come along as well to record the event. Back in the days when photographs were about more than just an idle click of a mobile phone touch screen, events and photographs went together. Weddings, birthdays, gatherings, anniversaries and parties : none would be complete without the burst of a flash bulb and all those practised cheese-smiles....we are asking you to feature an event, a tent, a cooking pot or even a name-tag. Let your freedom of interpretation be as extensive as a hungry diner queue and as voluminous as a generous cooking pot. 

Right - so today's post is going to be short and sweet because I'm heading off for a girls' weekend up on the Sunshine Coast.  We will be battling the Noosa Triathlon traffic on the way up for sure.  Once there, I am sure we will enjoy ourselves shopping, wining, dining, knitting, card playing and reading books.

In the meantime, here is a fuzzy picture of a tent.  A wedding tent nonetheless.  This is a tent for June's wedding.

picture of cakes on trestle tables covered with sheets.  Balloons, streamers and gum trees in background.
The wedding cake mother decorated for June's wedding.

This photo was taken circa 1949.  It is in my mother's photo album and I think she may have taken the photo.  She would have been about 14 at the time. Her mother and her mother's twin sister would have made the cake.  Her aunt was a baker and I have blogged about her before.  June would have been the daughter of the twins' older sister Dorothy - their niece.

I nearly went mad trying to find a record of Dorothy's marriage to Reg Peterson in 1921 on the NSW BDM Index this morning (thankfully I have a copy of the certificate from my cousin on file .... somewhere ....).  I now realise that Forfar has been transcribed incorrectly - FORRAR.....grrrr...

Anyway back to more important stuff.....What can you see in the photo?  I can see a gum tree through the opening in the tent at the back.  I can see balloons and streamers.  A couple of bottles of champagne and a couple of sponges on cake stands.

I wish I knew more about June and Dorothy.  Time to contact my cousin again.

For a smorgasbord of photos go here.