Jan 19, 2016

Posted | 1 Comment

Brisbane River Pilot James Carnegie – Trove Tuesday blog

Trove Tuesday blogging has been happening for years but I have never participated in the challenge before. So in 2016 I thought it was time I did at least one Trove Tuesday post a month. Hopefully more but at least this is a start.

Today I finished up a talk that I am giving on the Unlock the Past 10th genealogy cruise next month and James Carnegie, my great grandfather, is one of the key figures in that talk. A search in Trove reveals a few notices for him but I was really captivated by the headline ‘200,000 miles as River Pilot’.

James Carnegie retirement Sunday Mail 28 Apr 1946 via Trove

James Carnegie’s retirement, Sunday Mail 28 Apr 1946 via Trove

He died just before I was born but from family stories I knew that he had worked on the ferries. I hadn’t quite realised just how much! This report following his retirement aged 65 years from the Brisbane City Council ferry services after 28 years gives me some new information about him.

He spent 20 of his years with the Council ferries on the Bulimba ferry, Hetherington. That’s a long time on the one ferry and I wondered what she looked like. A quick search in Trove and a fantastic photograph located in the State Library of Queensland. I hadn’t realised she was a vehicular ferry.

Hetherington, Brisbane ferry via SLQ

Hetherington, Brisbane ferry – image courtesy of State Library Queensland

The Hetherington was built in Brisbane ca 1911 and I wondered when she was retired. Another search in Trove was successful and I was excited to find that someone has written a small publication about the Hetherington, Brisbane’s last steam driven paddle wheel vehicular ferry.

As James Carnegie spent 20 years on her there is possibly something more about him in this publication which I have put on my to do list.

Going back to Trove to see where the publication is held, I was a bit stunned to find it is not in the State Library of Queensland but in two libraries in Queensland closed to the public. I can probably get it on inter-library loan from one of the other Australian libraries that holds a copy.

Still puzzled, I then did a search for the publication in World Cat and it showed an entry for the State Library of Queensland. Not sure why Trove doesn’t have it listed as being in State Library, but this is a good example of why you should check other catalogues if something is not turning up where you expect it to. I can probably borrow the State Library copy or plan a research trip to Brisbane.

A Google search also returned a number of results and the Hetherington retired in 1952.

Other new family information from the Trove article was that Big Jim was 18 stone and he smoked a battered pipe. Where else do you find that kind of personal information if it has not been passed down in the family?

It would have been really fantastic if there was a photograph too but I’m happy with this because it confirms the employment details I had for him. I feel just that little bit closer to him and I am left wondering what happened to that old battered pipe!



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  1. So pleased to see you joining the Trove Tuesday crew, Shauna. That is a super story for your first #trovetuesday post.

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