52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History Week 28 Summer

15 July 2011

Gunderson young familyI’m participating in the weekly blogging theme 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History and this week’s topic is all about Summer  and what it was like when I was growing up. This is very much related to last week’s topic on Vacations as we always had our annual holiday in summer.

As I have written in other blogs, I really only became aware of the seasons once I left Brisbane and moved south where the seasons are much more obvious. Now when I think of summer in Queensland perhaps the most vivid memory is the summer storm which could spring up quickly. Dark clouds, loud thunder so much so that the house shook, unbelievable lightning and incredibly heavy rain, if not hailstones.

I have yet to experience that kind of storm in either Canberra or Melbourne. Yes they get thunderstorms, lightning, heavy rain and hail but not like some of the storms I have experienced in Brisbane. We have been in Melbourne (actually west of Melbourne) since 2003 and it has been mostly drought conditions although this year we have seen more rain than previous years. The east side of Melbourne seems to get most of the storm damage but then they seem to have more trees than the west.  It seems to be windier here in Victoria too but perhaps that’s  just another of my perceptions.

I remember one really bad storm in Brisbane – we lived in a semi bush suburb and in those early days you would still see bandicoots and the odd wallaby hopping around. In this particular storm, lightning struck one the big gum trees in our back yard and literally blew it out of the ground. It fell backwards into the bush area behind our place – had if fallen forwards it would have hit the house. At first we thought something had exploded but after the storm we went outside and saw that the tree was uprooted, split in two and burnt.

It was an amazing sight and the closest I have ever been to a lightning strike. I always shudder when I hear people have been struck by lightning as I can still see what it did to that huge gum tree.

Summer is also cyclone season in Queensland and while we lived in the south east corner below where cyclones usually hit, occasionally one would come further south and create havoc with heavy rains, high tides and flooding.

I will indulge myself with one final Summer memory and that is of Christmas beetles. When I was a child it seemed that there were lots of Christmas beetles around but now when I go home for Christmas each year I rarely see them any more. In fact I can’t remember the last time I saw one.

I wonder why – it’s a bit like the soldier crabs I mentioned last week, there were always so many of them, and now they are gone too. How many other living creatures from my childhood are now missing in action? I’m going to have to give that some more thought and when I visit my family next month, I’ll ask them too.


Shauna has been tracing her own family history since 1977 and is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society. In 2009 Shauna received the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO) Services to Family History Award for her achievements in Queensland, Canberra and Victoria.

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for an interesting post and different perspective on summer. Brisbane storms are huge but Darwin does it on a grand scale. Haven’t thought about Xmas beetles in years…those amazing iridescent collies.thanks again

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