What’s happening here?

You’ll be pleased to know that our NBN has been working well thankfully especially in this time when we are self-isolating at home. We are never bored. I’m busy with my research and we both love playing Funbridge on our iPads. We had a mad dash to our lovely local council library before we were shut in but once we’ve finished all the books we have, I guess we’ll be using Borrowbox to access eBooks from our library. The cupboards have all been cleaned out and we have decluttered. (Don’t mention the filing cabinet though!)

Our only remaining problem with our NBN is that they could not get our landline to work so we have just given up on that. We just have our mobiles but that works well anyway.

Picture us now! We are listening to the soundtrack of Chicago on ITunes through our Apple TV while our favourite photos are moving across the screen. David has been reading but now, both he and Snoopy, our very cute new dog are having a nap.

Snoopy

We are counting our blessings at this stressful time. There’s a lot to worry about but then you just have to look around and you realise that we have a lot to be thankful for.

Telstra: Three months on: still no home phone

Our NBN internet is working beautifully but we have no home phone. We are, at the moment, still with Telstra but I have spent countless hours on the phone speaking with numerous people at their call centres in India over the last couple of months and I am sick of it. They ask us to do the same tests over and over again and then explain that it is a problem in our local area. Then I receive another call, do the tests again & again am told that it’s a problem in the area. Every day, I receive at least one call, if not two .

Today I missed a call from them but they left a message to say if I didn’t call back in 24 hours, they would close the issue. I called and was speaking to a woman when we were cut off. I rang the number provided again and my call went to billing and this woman told me that the call centre was having problems and calls were being directed to the wrong area. They can’t even get their own phones to work properly. Why do I think they can fix ours?

Come on Telstra! Surely you can do better!

Wow! My feelings are written on these pages

I have, over the last 24 hours read a book which has touched me and brought a few tears to my eyes. Dani Shapiro is the author of Inheritance – A memoir of genealogy, paternity, and love. It is one of several books she has written. Growing up in an orthodox Jewish family, she was often told she did not look Jewish and she never saw herself in the faces around her. When she was 52, she did an Ancestry DNA test which showed she was no relation to Susie, with whom she supposedly shared a father.

She wrote this book as she tried to come to terms with this traumatic shock and as she and her husband tried to solve the mysteries of the identity of her birth father, a sperm donor, and how it all came about.

Similarly, at 54, after the death of my parents, I discovered that they were not my parents at all but had adopted me.

My feelings, as I solved my mysteries and discovered who I really am, were very similar to Dani’s. My DNA test came as the last part of the solution to my puzzle, rather than the beginning, as it proved that the man I had come to believe was my birth father, really was.

I really enjoyed reading this book and will ponder upon it a fair bit over the next few days, I reckon.

This book also resonated with me because of the window into the Jewish religion and its customs as my husband’s heritage is Jewish although he was not brought up in the faith.

The book was easy to read and I recommend it.

What a find!

It’s not often you find a new relative and there’s a treasure trove of information just waiting to be discovered.

I’m currently researching the lives of my grandfather, Seymour John HARRISON and his brother, Edward Toyler HARRISON. They served together in WWI and Edward died of gunshot wounds. In an endeavour to make my story as complete as possible, I have ordered a history of the 24th Battalion in which they served from an interstate library.

Whilst I wait, I am going back over information I found years ago and kept even though I wasn’t sure if it was about my lot or not. One of these led me to this discovery.

Edward and Seymour’s parents were John William Harrison and Harriet NORLEY. Harriet’s father and grandfather were both Thomas NORLEY. They all lived in the Beechworth/Bright goldfields area of Victoria Australia. My old finding was for the burial information of Alice Jane NORLEY, nee NEEDHAM. She died on 1 Mar 1944 and was buried in the Bright cemetery on 2 Mar 1944. She was married to a Thomas NORLEY. Now, this Thomas was Harriet’s brother so he is my GG uncle. And he was killed in the Great Boulder Mine disaster on 25 May 1904 at Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

Four men, including Thomas, were killed in the bottom of the mine and the one man who was brought to the surface died in hospital. Here is a photo of the five. Thomas NORLEY is top right. The other men were Thomas Bates, John Robert Riseberry, Samuel Jones and James Caudwell Harper.

After such a disaster, there is of course an inquest and it found that it was accidental death but that the company had been careless in trying out a new method of lowering the gear without a test run when there were no men underneath it. It was found that the miner working at the top, Mr Reidle, was not to blame in any way.

The funeral was huge. The following is an extract from this article taken from Trove:

11/09/2019 31 May 1904 – THE FUNERALS. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/rendition/nla.news-article33126704.txt?print=true 1/2 Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 – 1916), Tuesday 31 May 1904, page 14

Shortly before 2 o’clock the funeral cortege was ready to start. The Masonic brethren, in regalia, to the number of about 160, were first to step slowly forward on the road that was to end in the departed men’s last long home. The I.O.O.F. and the M .U.I.O.O.F. in regalia, followed.

The mournful procession was headed by the combined Boulder and A.W.A. Bands, assisted by representatives from the Kalgoorlie Town Band, at a slow march, and as soon as the long array of vehicles behind had got in motion they struck up the grand though solemn strains of the “Dead March.”

The A.M.A. and the A.W.A. amalgamated for the day in the presence of Death in such a distressing form, and they, to the number of 300 or 400, marched behind the bands. The deceaseds’ late fellow-workers, and the various sporting clubs with which Bates had been associated came next, and then followed the Salvation Army Band, the members of which took their turn in playing on the route to the cemetery.

The crowd which lined the streets in thousands fell back sick and sad at heart as the five hearses came slowly through the human lane opened before them. By each hearse marched six pallbearers, chosen, from the different organisations to which the unfortunate deceased had belonged. The five mourning coaches, containing relatives, followed, and then came the vehicles belonging to the different mines and business people of Boulder and Kalgoorlie. There were in all over 90 conveyances, and the cortege, which took half an hour to pass any given point, was over a mile in length.

Apparently nearly every citizen of note was present, either as a member of some society or driving in the line of vehicles behind the hearses. The Mayor and Mrs. Rabbish represented the citizens of Boulder. and the Mayor of Kalgoorlie (Mr. Keenan) was in the next vehicle. Mr. R. Hamilton, the manager, and the Boulder mine officials, together with officials from the other mines on the belt,” were also present, so that the funeral was as representative of the community as it was possible to make it.

Thousands of people, after joining in or seeing the funeral to the Boulder town boundaries, went by tram to Kalgoorlie, and awaited the cortege at the cemetery. The Tram Co. had five single and six bogie cars on the Boulder loop, and as fast as one filled it was sent in to Kalgoorlie, and a fresh car took its place till the crush was relieved. The deep impression the awful nature of the catastrophe had made up on the imagination of the public was thoroughly evidenced by the large number of spectators who had gathered in the central portion of Kalgoorlie hours before the arrival of the procession of mourners, friends, and acquaintances from Boulder. Maritana Street was lined with men, women, and children for the whole of its great length. The bulk of the crush was at the intersection of that street with Hannan Street. As the procession passed along the numbers of those who followed were swelled by Kalgoorlie representatives of public bodies, friendly societies, and trades unions. All heads were either bowed or uncovered as the combined bands advanced, playing the mournful music of “The Dead March” in “Saul,” and as the hearses and mourning coaches came into view and passed on.

Long before the cortege reached the Kalgoorlie Cemetery the trams had been very busy landing passengers from town at a convenient point. They found their way to the place, and helped to swell the number of residents of the northern part of the town, who had patiently waited at the gravesides in the Anglican, Presbyterian, and Methodist portions of the cemetery.

The combined bands ceased their rendering of “The Dead March” at the gates and the hearses, mourning coaches, Masonic brethren, and friendly societies’ members entered the sacred enclosure. The Freemasons and the Oddfellows ranged themselves round the open graves in the Anglican portion of the burying ground. The Rev. R. H. Moore, Rector of St. Matthew’s, Boulder, and the Rev. Cuthbert Hudleston, Rector of St. John’s, Kalgoorlie, who were attired in their priestly vestments: stood in readiness to take up their duties. The relatives of the deceased men, Thomas Bates, Thomas Norley, and John Risebery, took up positions at the foot of each grave. The graves were side by side. The vicinity was densely crowded. The beautiful service of the Church of England for the burial of the dead was begun by the Rev. R. H. Moore as the bearers brought the coffins and placed them on the trestles. The prayers were said by the Rev. Cuthbert Hudleston, and subsequently the Rev. Mr. Moore delivered an address to the assembled crowd from the lessons to be derived from the liturgy. He made reference to the touching incidents of the past two days, and remarked that whilst probably not one among them desired to die a lingering death, with all its painful episodes, yet he thought they would all agree in thinking it very hard to be hurried out of the world without preparation or without farewell to those who were left behind to mourn for departed ones. The present catastrophe had been terrible in its nature, but at the same time they ought to remember that the hand of God was in it.

The funeral procession

Thomas who was born 19 September 1863 and Alice had two small children, Violet Alice who would have turned 7 on the day after her father’s funeral and Geoffrey Maynell who was 3.

How sad would it all have been?

It looks as though Alice returned to the Bright area and her family as she was buried there on 2 Mar 1944.

So, as you can see, I’ve had a very interesting couple of days finding out about this branch of my family. A very distressing story though!

An interesting visit to the Beenleigh Historical Village

Today I joined my fellow members of the Redlands Genealogical Society on a tour of this village and it was definitely a walk down memory lane.

It is a heritage village and living history museum dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of the Beenleigh region for current and future generations to enjoy. Beenleigh is situated between Brisbane and the Gold Coast & it took me about 45 minutes to drive there this morning. It brought back a lot of memories and was well worth the drive. We began our visit with damper and a cuppa which we had to have inside because of the rain.

There are quite a number of old buildings making up the village and they are well cared for by the amazing team of volunteers. The old Beenleigh railway station is so typical of those of its time and you can find them scattered throughout Queensland.

I especially loved the old one-teacher school. I didn’t attend this one which was moved here from Loganhome but I did attend similar ones in Hivesville and Jimboomba, both small country towns in South East Queensland and my daughters attended one in Branyan, near Bundaberg. Jimboomba is no longer a small country town but is quite a metropolis and The Branyan State School has grown into a much bigger school.

It was fun to slide into the old-style seating, pick up a slate pencil and write on the slate. I think we used slates until grade 3. We checked out the holes in the desks for the inkwells and reminisced about the cheeky boys dipping the girls’ plaits in the ink well. The Queenslanders amongst us could recite the words on the letter chart: b like a bat and ball and b says ‘b’.

I seemed to be the only one who could remember writing out the good manners chart, pictured above, for talking in class but we could all remember getting a smack over the knuckles with a ruler for talking.

This is a ‘Rural School Building’ which was moved from the Beenleigh Primary School. I went to Caboolture Primary School for grades 4 to 8 and we had a Rural School there too. Kids used to come in by bus from all the little schools around. In grade 6, we learnt ‘milk and cream testing’ which involved using pipettes and a centrifuge etc to measure the fat content of the milk and cream. I’m not sure if this was meant to prepare us to work in local dairies or just interest us in science. Looking back, it does seem a bit strange but I did enjoy it. In grades 7 and 8 we learnt cooking and sewing at Rural School and the boys did metalwork and woodwork. I think it was for one afternoon a week. I remember we had to write up our recipes very neatly and find a picture of what we were cooking and it was marked out of 10. I enjoyed the cooking but showed no skill at all with a needle.

This is a page out of one of my books – it’s a bit yellow with age but I still use some of the recipes occasionally. I would have been pleased with the mark of 8.5 out of 10.

This morning there were plenty of ‘I remember doing……’ or ‘Remember that’ moments. We could all remember trying to make a phone call from a public phone box and hearing the operator telling us to press button A to be connected or press button B to get your money back and being frustrated when you ran out of coins. Mobiles make it all so much easier. There’s all sorts of memorabilia. It was fascinating.

So fascinating that I think I’ll take my grandkids there next week in the school holidays. They will enjoy lunch in the Tin Cup Cafe too as we did before coming home.

A new Aussie author that I’ll be following

I’ve just read the third novel by Jane Harper, The Lost Man. Like The Dry this one is set in the Australian outback, this time in South West Queensland rather than Victoria. Life on a cattle station in the outback is a struggle for all. One of the three brothers is found dead of dehydration in the scorching Christmas heat beside an old stock man’s grave and no one understands why he would have left his vehicle with all his food and water to walk ten kilometres to this headstone.

The story delves into the tensions around families at Christmas and how these tensions are magnified by the death. We go back into the past to enable us to understand the present. It was an excellent read, as was The Dry. I didn’t want to put it down.

A pleasant week in Ayr, North Queensland

Last week we flew to Townsville where my daughter picked us to drive us to Ayr where she teaches Japanese. It was Friday night so first we went to the CBar on the Esplanade in Townsville for a Friday night drink. For dinner, we chose to go to A Touch of Salt which turned out to be a great choice. I really enjoyed my sand crab and scallop dumplings although David wasn’t overly impressed with his beef short ribs. Jac had vegan dumplings and they were good too.

Ayr is about an hour south of Townsville usually but, at the moment, roadworks are slowing it down.

Staying in Ayr is very relaxing. It’s a small country town and everything is within walking distance. Everyday we would wander up the street to our favourite coffee shop, Chill, for our caffeine hit. We went to the movies to see Rocket Man which we all enjoyed. I usually manage to find something that takes my fancy in the little boutiques and this time, I found a groovy, bright comfortable pair of pants that were actually made on the Gold Coast.

I visited the Japanese classroom at one of the school and it looks a very inviting environment in which to learn about the language and culture of Japan.

It was a lovely week staying with my daughter and I look forward to returning soon.