If you read my post on Fremantle & Perth you may remember I wrote about an exhibition we saw in the museum in Perth. It got me thinking about my connection to Australia. Not only the fact that my son and his family live there, but that my father was born there. It has set me off on some interesting research.
I'm not interested in family trees but did get a bit involved in some ancestry sites just to find out about my grandparents. I was wondering why and how they got to Australia and why they settled in Bulimba, a suburb of Brisbane. It turned out to be fascinating.
It turns out that my grandfather joined the King's Rifles Corp in 1907 possibly as a groom. He served in Malta and was invalided out in 1909. I haven't been able to find out why. In the meantime my grandmother is described as a chocolate packer - presumably at Cadbury's. I don't know how they met as I know my grandmother was Catholic and the military papers describe my grandfather as Wesleyan.
I knew that they had been given free passage to Australia but didn't know how. The £10 Poms were after World War 2. It turns out that after the First World War, there was an Act of Parliament which gave free passage to ex-Servicemen.
I found the passenger lists with my grandparents and my aunt's names. They sailed on the SS Sophocles to Brisbane in 1923. It took over 7 weeks. The papers I was sent from the Queensland State Archives said that my grandmother's brother already lived in Bulimba and had agreed to nominate my grandfather and help him find a job. So that's why they went to Bulimba.
My father was born in 1924 and his brother a couple of years later.
I also found out that my great-uncle died in 1926 which might have been an extra reason why the family came back to England in 1931. I always knoew that my grandmother hadn't liked the heat and was homesick.
They came back on the SS Hobson Bay, landing in Hull. This photo shows the ship in dock in Adelaide. I think the little boy hanging over the rail in the middle is my Dad, although it could be his brother!
Currently I am putting together a sketchbook - although it might be better called a scrapbook at this point in time.
I bought some mylar and some SVG stencil files
of Australian plants, which my friend Joane kindly cut for me.
I am rather hoping that at some point all this will lead to a textile piece. However I haven't really found my way into that yet. I'm going to finish putting all the information I've found together in the book. Then start on a page about my son.
After that, I shall wait and see. Hopefully inspiration will strike. And if it doesn't I'll have a family scrapbook.
Thanks for joining me today