CLIMBING YOUR FAMILY’S GUM TREE
My first ancestor to arrive in Australia was: Adam Johnston in 1861 (the only way I managed to get convicts in the family was to marry someone with convicts). What a difference six years and one DNA test makes! Adam is no longer a biological relative, as the DNA test proved that my paternal grandfather was not the biological father of Dad. This changed the whole family history landscape for me. I now believe my earliest ancestors were on Dad’s paternal side.
I have Australian Royalty (tell us who, how many and which Fleet they arrived with): My partner’s ancestor Samuel Pyers arrived on the Third Fleet. This hasn’t changed but I am off to Norfolk Island in August to deliver a talk based on Samuel’s life and family.
I’m an Aussie mongrel, my ancestors came to Oz from: England, Scotland, Ireland, Norway. Well Norway is now out but another non parental biological event suggests I have German. I now also have a lot more Irish than previously.
Did any of your ancestors arrive under their own financial steam? Some came free, some assisted. No change here.
How many ancestors came as singles? Four Still trying to work this out with my new ‘family’.
How many came as couples? Five Still trying to work this out with my new ‘family’.
How many came as family groups? None although one had a brother already out here. This has changed and on Dad’s biological side I believe family groups came out and then others joined them.
Did one person lead the way and others follow? Not really, all my families were quite disconnected arriving in SA, VIC, NSW and QLD. This was true on Dad’s biological side.
What’s the longest journey they took to get here? Only about 4 months as the earliest was in the 1860s. Not sure now.
Did anyone make a two-step emigration via another place? No – Still true unless you count moving to Wales for employment before coming out to New South Wales.
Which state(s)/colony did your ancestors arrive? SA, VIC, NSW and QLD No change
Did they settle and remain in one state/colony? SA, VIC and NSW went to QLD, and QLD mostly stayed in QLD except one couple went to NSW but came back to QLD. Dad’s biological side is mostly NSW before one branch came to QLD.
Did they stay in one town or move around? Mostly answered above but they were miners following the gold or copper in most cases. Stayed mostly in one place on Dad’s side and I have noticed that they often all lived in the same street. So check who else lived in the street.
Do you have any First Australians in your tree? No Still no.
Were any self-employed? Yes, mostly miners and farmers and one oyster farmer. Now I can add fishermen and sailors.
What occupations or industries did your earliest ancestors work in? Mining and farming as above. Also shipping and fishing.
Does anyone in the family still follow that occupation? No Still no.
Did any of your ancestors leave Australia and go “home”? No Not that I am aware of but one of my son’s GG grandfather’s returned home for a visit. Found that in Trove which was an exciting find.
NOW IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU
What’s your State of Origin? Queensland Where else would you be?
Do you still live there? Just returned home after living in the ACT and Victoria for a decade or so. Still on Bribie
Where was your favourite Aussie holiday place as a child? We either went to the Sunshine Coast or the Gold Coast for holidays so I always loved the beach. After one basal cell carcinoma on my face I avoid the sun and prefer rainforests.
Any special place you like to holiday now? I still love travelling around in a caravan but I’m past the camping in a tent stage! Now past the caravan stage too and prefer motels and other basic luxuries.
Share your favourite spot in Oz: So many places, how to pick just one – probably where we retired to, Bribie Island and it hasn’t changed that much since I first came here with my parents in the early 60s! I have always loved going to Mon Repos and turtle watching – although it is a lot more regulated now than before.
Any great Aussie adventure you’ve had? I’ve done an enormous amount of travel within Australia but I always love going to Alice Springs and Uluru, the night sky is simply magnificent! Travelling in Kakadu was pretty good too. What about the Great Barrier Reef to take your breath away?
What’s on your Australian holiday bucket list? There are two places I haven’t been yet, both in Western Australia – Kalgoorlie and Broome, the remoteness is a challenge but I will get there. My partner has been to both so it will probably have to be a solo trip! Still on that bucket list and if the world returns to normal again, I will be on the first place over to Western Australia. But I don’t want to get caught up in quarantine or border closures.
How do you celebrate Australia Day? I don’t remembering celebrating it as a child but over the last few years or so, we have had a BBQ and had friends round or gone to their place. This year we have an old friend from Canberra staying the weekend and our new friends on Bribie have suggested they come round to our BBQ so it might be a bigger event for us than usual. It will make a change as last year, and our first Australia Day in our new home, we had the remnants of Cyclone Oswald hovering over us for days and everything was washed out! Going down to the Australia Day celebrations on Bribie – the lamington eating contest has to be seen to be believed.
Thanks to Pauleen for another chance to wander through my memories. Also amazing to reflect on just how much my family history has changed in six years.