American sailors come to town!

Week 2 OF 52 ANCESTORS CHALLENGE PROMPT: FAVOURITE PHOTO One of my favourite photos is this sepia image of as yet unidentified sailors from the U.S. navy. The photo was taken in Lismore, New South Wales on 31 July 1925 during the young men’s visit to the town. It was sent to my 15 year…

Knit One, Purl One

Week 49 OF 52 ANCESTORS CHALLENGE PROMPT: CRAFT I was at a talk recently when I heard the rhythmic ‘clickety clack’ of knitting needles. I looked around and, sure enough, an older lady was knitting. She was listening to, and watching, the speaker intently as her knitting needles moved furiously. I couldn’t help but wonder…

John HOOPER – A “notorious character”

Week 48 OF 52 ANCESTORS CHALLENGE PROMPT: THIEF Where do I start? Sixteen of my direct ancestors were sentenced to transportation ‘beyond the seas’ to the colonies of Australia, all for theft.[1] None of them saw their family, friends or homes again. Some had lived in rural England. Others came from the slums of the…

Pte. John David Jacob Richardson – Lest We Forget

Week 47 OF 52 ANCESTORS CHALLENGE PROMPT: SOLDIER The photograph One of the photos in the box of assorted family memorabilia that I inherited was a formal studio portrait of a soldier. His uniform, his pose and the style of the photo are all typical of the pre-embarkation photos taken of many Australian World War…

A handsome…spoilt and flamboyant young gentleman

Week 45 OF 52 ANCESTORS CHALLENGE PROMPT: RICH MAN My 4 x great grandfather James Blackman (1759-1842) was described in his youth as ‘a handsome, well-educated, spoilt and flamboyant young gentleman’. The son of James Blackman and Jane Hearne, James was christened on 25 May 1760 at Deptford in Kent, England. Reportedly James was a…

The Everingham Millions – A cruel trick or a real treat?

Week 44 OF 52 ANCESTORS CHALLENGE PROMPT: TRICK OR TREAT The case of the “Everingham Millions’ caused a minor sensation in Australia in the 1920s and early 30s. It was claimed that the First Fleeter Matthew James Everingham (1769 – 1817) was the son of Sir John Everingham and the heir to his vast estate….

The Neptune – the ‘Hell Ship’ of the ‘Death Fleet’

Week 43 OF 52 ANCESTORS CHALLENGE PROMPT: TRANSPORT The ship Neptune, under contract to former slave traders, arrived in Sydney Cove on 28 June 1790, one of the six ships in the Second Fleet that had been sent to the new penal colony of New South Wales. The ship’s human cargo of convicts, some dead…

The Ugly Sisters of Lismore Base Hospital

Week 41 OF 52 ANCESTORS CHALLENGE PROMPT: CONTEXT Most of us have really interesting, sometimes strange, family photos that really need a context or an explanation in order to make sense of them . Two photos that include Allan Harris, my rugby league loving grandfather dressed up as a most unattractive nurse, fall into this…

John Knight’s Passport: Another step towards freedom

Week 42 OF 52 ANCESTORS CHALLENGE PROMPT; ADVENTURE For most people a passport is a ticket to adventure, to holidays and trips far from home. To John Knight, one of my maternal 3 x great grandfathers, his Ticket of Leave Passport was another step on the long road to freedom. This passport allowed the unemployed…

The Hungry Years

Week 40 OF 52 ANCESTORS CHALLENGE PROMPT; HARVEST This post, the ‘Hungry Years’, describes one family’s survival in a time of near starvation in the very early years of the colony of New South Wales following the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. Harvests were poor and the population was often desperate for food….