War Bride

My latest family history project is trying to connect with the story of my cousin, Lyla Brown/Curtis, who married an American soldier in the 1940s, and who went to live in the US. I remember briefly speaking on the phone with her after she arrived back from living in the United States. Presumably long dead […]

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South Lismore

As a child growing up in South Lismore, one of my strongest earliest memories was of the arrival at the nearby railway station of hundreds of people for the Aquarius Festival. Though it’s often described as Australia’s answer to Woodstock, I don’t think there was such a high musical component to it. But as a […]

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James Rixon and Amelia Goodwin

“So you must be James, the blogger?”, I was asked today at the Anglican Church at Windsor. The question took me quite by surprise. Though I’ve been keeping this blog for over a decade, and I’ve met several readers, and I see from the statistics that people DO read what I have to say, it […]

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The Old Appin Inn

If you have an eye for history or architecture or hotels, and you’ve visited the town of Appin (near Campbelltown in Western Sydney), you will have probably noticed an old derelict building not far from the church. Though in a poor state of repair, the old Appin Inn is a lovely building which I had […]

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James Patrick Terence O’Brien

At this stage, I don’t know for sure if I’m related to James Patrick Terence O’Brien of Lismore, NSW but his story fascinates me, nonetheless. It’s a story I discovered quite accidentally, searching for family history connections using the Trove newspaper database. The many newspaper reports clearly indicate James had a really, really serious long-term […]

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Jenny Kee and Me

On the weekend I finally got around to watching the brilliant television program “Friends Of Dorothy” by William Yang. William is a really important Australian photographer whose work documents, in particular, Sydney’s gay and lesbian scene in the last forty years. I have met William on a few occasions and have concluded he’s a very […]

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Now Hear This

I didn’t expect to, but ended up telling a story at the “Now Hear This” story-telling night in Sydney tonight. I told the story of my great-great grandmother who had a relationship with her first cousin (no, I don’t have two heads). After the birth of their fourth child together, he married someone else and […]

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Searching for Ellen

In stark contrast to some of the impressive mausolea at Liverpool Cemetery (in Sydney’s west), my great-great grandmother, Ellen Lang is buried there in an unmarked “pauper’s grave” (as they were called then). She died 15 years before I was even born, so I don’t know very much about her. I don’t even have a […]

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Family History

I was looking tonight at a photograph of me and my dad. By the look of things I’m less than twelve months old, so it was probably taken sometimes towards the end of 1966. Dad’s wearing a cardigan, so it was probably the winter of that year. As I looked at the photograph, I suddenly […]

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Cousin Kerry

“Who would imagine you’d get so emotional about someone from 160 years ago?” Kerry O’Brien observed on tonight’s edition of “Who Do You Think You Are?” on SBS TV. The ABC-TV presenter was a little bit teary when reflecting on the plight of his ancestors. I completely understand what he was talking about, as I’ve […]

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Appin Bi-Centenary

“I have a connection to the pub across the road” I told the woman who was looking after things at St Bede’s Catholic Church in Appin today. “Two of my ancestors ran the pub back in the 1840s”, I told her, referring to William Rixon and Ann Hoare. “There was a close connection between the […]

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Common Ancestry

If you look closely at the faces of the people in this photograph, there’s bound to be someone who looks a bit like me. All of these people and I have the same ancestry: a couple called John and Elizabeth Love who came to Australia in 1792. John Love, his wife Martha, and his daughter […]

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More History

I went in search today of details about the still-born child my mum and dad had back in 1953. As with many things in my family, it wasn’t something that was talked about. Indeed, when I mentioned it to one of my older sisters, and showed her the record from the online historical indexes of […]

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Granny was a Hoare

Sometimes you can forget how beautiful Sydney is at this time of the year. That is, until you take a walk along the coastline near Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama. The sandstone cliffs, the blue-green colour of the water, and the gentleness of the walk are both relaxing and hypnotic. The walk wasn’t overly busy, though, […]

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Don’t Tell Me What To Do

As I walked home this afternoon I noticed a bit of renovation work underway in my back laneway. As I wrote a few weeks ago, For as long as I’ve lived in Surry Hills, I’ve been quite intrigued by a warehouse located on Wiltshire Street. It’s remained a bit of a mystery for me. I’ve […]

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West Dapto Catholic Cemetery

I went in search today of the grave of two of my ancestors – John Hoare and Elizabeth Love – who are buried in the West Dapto Catholic Cemetery, near Wollongong. “Search” is probably not the right word to use since I had a guide, someone who’d been there before, Terry Hore, who also maintains […]

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Family History

I didn’t go to the pub tonight, as is my usual routine. And I won’t be going for the next couple of weeks either, since Swedish class has swapped to Wednesday night for the next few weeks. Instead, I stayed home and did some family history research. There was a terrific documentary on television tonight […]

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Lovely Package

After few days on the road it was nice to come home to my own bed tonight. But on checking the letterbox there was further reason to be happy; an envelope from Ireland which I’ve been anticipating for a few weeks Unfortunately the volcanic eruption has held up the mail somewhat, so I’ve needed to […]

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