Saturday, 16 November 2019

Melbourne Olympic Games - 1956

I recently gave two more talks about the Melbourne Olympic Games where I have met many people with memories and family involvement with the games.

When I showed a slide of a picture of the Opening Ceremony on the cover of the Australian Women's Weekly a gentleman at one talk asked me to stop at the picture and pointed out two white squares in the picture. The two white squares are the Melbourne Olympic Choir.

He was a member of a combined community choir - the Melbourne Olympic Choir - that sang at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. Lloyd gave me notes that he had written about his experiences with the choir which consisted members of community choirs throughout Victoria. As well as singing at the Opening Ceremony the choir performed at a number of events including the Closing Ceremony.

Other people at the meeting were Betty who, as a member of the St John's Ambulance Brigade, attended many of the events working with that organisation.
Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences
Presentation books showing pictures of Melbourne and surrounding areas were presented to members of the Olympic Committee who would eventually vote for the city to host the 1956 Olympic Games. Three special invitation books with lambs’ wool covers decorated with jewels were presented to three people including the King of England and the President of the OIC. Other copies were also covered with lambs’ wool and decorated with an enamelled emblem. Copies were also covered with suede plus enamelled emblems. The books were presented to member of the International Olympic Committee in 1948 and also to local supporters of the project. The company that printed the books was Spicers & Detmold in Coburg and one of the ladies present at the meeting was a daughter of one of the printers who made the books.
A copy of the book with the invitation
The Melbourne Invitation Committee extends a most cordial invitation to the esteemed International Olympic Committee to celebrate the XVI Olympiad in Melbourne, Australia, in 1956. 
A second book, published as a supplement to the first book, was published in January 1949 and was posted to all delegates of the Olympic Committee who would decide who would host the Games in 1956.
Another lady told us that her mother helped make the presentation cushions used for medal presentations at the Melbourne Olympic Games.
Official Report of the Organising Committee for the Games of the XVI Olympiad Melbourne 1956

When we were discussing who attended any events at the Olympic Games one couple laughed and the husband said that he went to the Closing Ceremony because the soccer final was played before the ceremony and he is a soccer fan. Meanwhile his wife stayed home and looked after the baby.
Program for the Closing Ceremony
Another connection to the Melbourne Olympic Games was one lady who said that she trained in athletics with Betty Cuthbert. At the Melbourne Olympic Games Betty Cuthbert won the 100m and 200m and was in the Australian 4 x 100m relay team which also won gold.
Marlene Matthews with Betty Cuthbert
The water polo incident in the Hungary and Russia  match was also mentioned in the game. The book by Harry Blutstein, Cold War Games, covers this unfortunate incident. This incident was later referred to as 'blood in the water'.
Blood in the Water
At the second talk the father of one lady was involved in the printing of the tickets for the Melbourne Olympic Games.

The three talks that I have given have provided additional information about the Melbourne Olympic Games.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Olympic Games 1956 - more memorabilia

In preparation for another talk about the Olympic Games held in Melbourne in 1956 I now have some more memorabilia relating to the Melbourne Games and to my father.

Journalists reporting on the Melbourne Olympic Games were issued with a pass allowing them entrance to all venues during the period of the Games.
The Olympic Village Official Information Book provides basic information about the accommodation for those those staying at the Olympic Village in Heidelberg.
Click on image to enlarge
The information in this booklet provides examples of living in the 1950s with instructions for the use of bath heaters, gas coppers and other appliances. I also thought that it was interesting that steam irons and washing machines were only available in the Women's Quarters.
The Official Guide to the Olympic Games was published by the Organising Committee for the Melbourne Games. The guide contained a brief history of the Olympic Games, information about the Modern Games , venues, a programme of events, ticket prices, maps of venues plus information for tourists including information about transport, restaurants, sights to see, banking, postage etc.
The 1956 edition of The A T F S Olympic Handbook produced by the Association of Track and Field Statisticians was the third edition of this publication. It contains the official world track and field records for events from 1896 until 1952 as well as an all time world list for athletic events stating name,time, place and date event occurred. There is also  list if the world's best performances of all time.
The General Rules and Special Sports Regulations for the XVI Olympiad is a well used publication in my father's collection. It contains a detailed program for all events, maps (including gradients) for events held outside stadiums, general rules relating to the staging of the Games plus detailed regulations for individual sports.
The Melbourne Olympic Games were held from Thursday 22 November to Saturday 8 December. No events were held in Sundays. Programs were produced for each event for each day of competition. So far we have found programs for swimming, cycling and boxing among Dad's collection. I am still looking for the Dad's copy of the program for the Opening Ceremony.
In 1957 a booklet containing Australian Team Reports of the Olympic Games Melbourne 1956 was published. As well as lists of officials there was a general summary report followed by more detailed reports, often with photographs, for individual sports. There was a list of all the Olympic champions for the Games plus a list of Olympic placings by Australian representatives since the first Olympic Games in 1896.

These items, together with information on other posts on the Melbourne Olympic Games in this blog, help tell part of the story of an important sporting event in Melbourne's history.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Abbey Road Beatles Album - 50 years on

Fifty years ago Abbey Road, the famous album by the Beatles, was released. This eleventh studio album by the Beatles was released on 26 September 1969. The album took six months to record and was final album that the Beatles recorded together.

Tracks on the album include:

Come together


Maxwell's silver hammer
Oh! Darling
Octopus's garden
I want you (She's so heavy)
Here comes the sun
You never give me your money
Sun King
Mean Mr Mustard
Polythene Pam
She came in through the bathroom window
Golden slumbers
Carry that weight
The end
Her Majesty (a hidden track)

The record studio, Abbey Road Studios, where many of the tracks were recorded located at 3 Abbey Road, may have contributed to the naming of this album but the photo of the four Beatles crossing Abbey Road on the zebra crossing has become an iconic image always associated with the album.

Visitors to the area have their photo taken crossing the Abbey Road crossing. Hopefully local traffic has become accustomed to this activity. Last year when the Australian Over 70s Cricket Team visited Lord's Cricket Ground many members of the team had a go at crossing Abbey Road.
John and Robin crossing Abbey Road
The photo used on the cover of the Abbey Road album.
Image from udiscovermusic
The music of the Beatles recorded in the 1960s continues to be popular, particularly among those of us who were teenagers at that time. The group holds an important place in the history of modern music.The record album, Abbey Road, remains a featured album in many music collections throughout the world.

Why the Beatles Abbey Road album was streets ahead of its time - udiscovermusic (includes links to music tracks on Spotify - need to log in)
Abbey Road Album Cover: Behind the Beatles most famous photograph - udiscovermusic

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Where were you during the first moon walk?

Image result for moon landing 1969
Man walks on the Moon July 1969 - National Geographic (July 2016)
Lunchtime on July 21 1969 (Australian time) Neil Armstrong was the first person to step on to the surface of the moon. This event was televised and watched by millions of people throughout the world.

NASA had three tracking stations prepared to monitor and record images of the moon walk - at Goldstone in California, Madrid in Spain and Honeysuckle Creek in New South Wales. These Apollo tracking stations were spaced at equal distances around the globe and between them could cover what was occurring on the moon. Also in New South Wales was the Tidbinbilla tracking station which had the role of tracking the lunar module while Honeysuckle Creek tracked the command module when they were being operated separately. Later the radio telescope at Parkes was added to the Australian network by NASA. Although the radio telescope could not transmit information it had a much larger dish - 61 metres compared with 26 metres - making it useful for receiving information from space.

There had been much discussion as to whether the moon walk would be televised, particularly as cameras were heavy, but in June it was decided that the event should be filmed. A lighter camera had been produced and was stored in an external tool locker. The position of the camera meant that images were filmed upside down, however NASA had an inexpensive device that allowed them to invert the images before transmitting them to the world.

Just before 1 pm (AEST) Neil Armstong made his way to the capsule door and began the slow descent to the surface of the moon. At this time the camera began to film the historic event. Honeysuckle Creek began relaying images to Houston and Goldstone also had images. NASA wanted to transmit the images from Goldstone but there was a problem so they had to use the images from Honesuckle Creek. There was an initial delay but then the world received images of Neil Armstrong nearing the final rungs of the ladder before stepping on the moon and making the famous statement - One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind. Shortly afterwards the clearer images from Parkes were used for the remainder of the moon walk.

Meanwhile people throughout Australia (and the rest of the world) were watching the events on television. I was working at Civic Branch Library in Canberra in Civic Square. We did not have access to television but a shop in a nearby street had put a television set in its front window allowing people passing by to view what was happening on the moon. Needless to say there was quite a crowd watching.  Fortunately it was quiet in the library so staff took it turns (usually two at a time) to join the crowd watching the moonwalk. We could therefore say, 50 years later, that we had seen Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.

Last week I asked my husband where he was during the moonwalk. He was a science student at Melbourne University and the university had organised screenings of the event in several lecture theatres so that students and staff could watch .

National Geographic article 19 July 2016 - One giant leap for mankind

'The real dish story' in The Age 20 July 2019

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Brothers at War

The second episode of the Neil Oliver series, The Rise of the Clans, on SBS dealt largely with a family feud to determine who should be King of Scotland. This time the focus was on the Stewart family.

Robert I of Scotland (Robert the Bruce) married Isabella of Mar possibly in 1296 and they had a daughter Marjorie (1296-1316). Isabella died in the same year. In 1302 he married Elizabeth de Burgh and they had four children - Matilda (1310-1353), Margaret (1315-1346), David (1324-1371) and John (1325-1346). There were also a number of illegitimate children.

When King Robert I died in 1329 he was succeeded by his son David - David II of Scotland. David was five years old. When David died in 1371 he had no children so the succession went to his nephew, who became Robert II of Scotland (1316-1390), a grandson of Robert the Bruce.

One of Robert the Bruce's trusted supporters, especially during the Battle of Banockburn in June 1314, was Walter Stewart, High Steward of Scotland. In 1315 Walter married Marjorie, daughter of the king. On 2 March 1316, their son, Robert, was born. Unfortunately shortly before the birth, Marjorie had been thrown from a horse and died when her son was born. Robert became Robert II of Scotland, the first King of the House of Stewart.

In 1336 Robert married Elizabeth Mure (1320-1355) and they had four sons and six daughters. The eldest son was John (1337-1406) who took the name Robert III when he became king in 1327 as it was believed that the name, John, had been tarnished by a previous leader, John Balloil. The three other sons were Walter, Earl of Cathress (1338-1362), Robert, Duke of Albany (1340-1420) and Alexander, Earl of Buchan (1343-1405).

Robert II had given each of the sons part of his kingdom to rule while he was king. After his death tensions increased between the brothers leading to a power struggle over several generations resulting in the assent of the Stewarts as kings of Scotland. The power struggle forms the basis of this episode of The Rise of the Clans.
Actor playing Robert Duke of Albany
In 1388, before he became king, (John) Robert III had been kicked by a horse and was severely injured - an accident from which he never recovered. He was crowned at Scone on 14 August 1390 and remained king for nine years until it was decided that he was too ill to reign effectively and he was replaced by his son, David, as Lieutenant of Scotland assisted by King Robert's younger brother, Robert, Duke of Albany.

Shortly before Robert III was removed from power,  his son, David assisted by the Duke of Albany had been involved in a campaign against the Macdonald clan who wnated to expand their territory. Although Donal Macdonald had an army of 10,000 men actual battle was averted with Donal Macdonald submitting to the rule of the Stewarts.

In 1400 Henry IV decided to invade Scotland and took a large army to Edinburgh to insist on David paying homage to him. David remains in the castle at Edinburgh and refuses to see the King of England. Meanwhile, Robert III's youngest brother, Walter has decided that he wants additional land and has also brought his army to Edinburgh. Walter does not come to David's aid but instead camps with his army outside the city. David remains inside the castle and after two weeks the English army is low on food and other supplies and returns south to England.

To the other Scottish leaders, David was considered a coward and Walter and the Duke of Albany decided to conspire together to remove him from power. In 1401 David was arrested on trumped up charges and imprisoned in the castle of his Uncle Robert where, in 1402, he eventually died of starvation, aged twenty-four. David's father was distraught. The heir to the throne was now his second son, James, aged eleven. To protect James, Robert III arranged to send James to France. However the ship was seized by English pirates who returned their prisoner to England where he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Another prisoner in the Tower of London was Murdoc, the eldest son and heir of Robert, Duke of Albany.

Robert III died in 1406 and was buried at Paisley Abbey. The heir to the throne was imprisoned in England. Robert, Duke of Albany and his brother Walter, now promoted to Earl of Athol, had control of Scotland. Their other brother, Alexander, had died. But not everyone was happy with this arrangement. Donal Macdonald made an arrangement with James that if he could arrange for his release from England, Macdonald would have the land he wanted including the Earldom of Ross. In1411 battle ensued between the Macdonalds and the Stewarts - the Battle of Harlow. The Macdonald challenge failed and they retreated back to their homelands. James remained in prison.

By 1415 James was living at Windsor Castle. He was still a prisoner but had some freedom with access to women, tennis, gardening and poetry. It was at the castle that he met his future wife, Joan Beaufort. Meanwhile, the Duke of Albany eventually paid his son's ransom. The Duke was now an elderly man and needed an heir. But no-one in Scotland was prepared to pay for the release of James. In 1420 Robert, Duke of Albany, died Murdoc became Guardian of Scotland.

Walter continued to expand his land taking over the land that had belonged to his brother, Alexander, and obtaining the loyalty of the clan chiefs. But he wanted more. He decided to make a deal with James to assist in James' return to Scotland with the hope of obtaining the lands of Strathearn. The English agreed to return James to Scotland for ransom of £40,000 in instalments and also promised seven years peace.
Scene from Brothers at War, Joan, James and Walter
In February 1424 James married Joan Beaufort and they then travelled north to Scotland. James had now spent half his life in England and wanted to have the same power in Scotland that kings had in England. James' royal authority was challenged by some of the clan chiefs and initially James sought assistance from his Uncle Walter. To have this power and image required money which the kingdom could not really afford. James also needed to avenge the death of his brother, David. He waited for a year and then he had Murdoc tried as his family was responsible for the death of his brother. Murdoc's execution upset a number of people including a man named Robert Graham, head of the Graham Clan.

Concern about the spending of the new king causes unrest among the Clan chiefs. James has built new castles and priories and improved the armoury of the country. His ransom has only been partly paid. James decides that taking control of some of his uncle's land, including Strathearn, will bring in some of the required revenue. This, of course, further antagonises Walter.

Robert Graham and Walter began to plot the demise of James. Walter's grandson, Robert of Atholl, befriended James and became Chamberlain of the Royal Household. This position provided him with information as to all the movements of the king. The plan is hatched to kill both King James and his queen.

On 21 February 1437, Robert of Atholl allows a party of assassins, led by Robert Graham, to enter the royal bedchamber. James hears them coming and escapes into the sewers. The men attack and injure some of the women, including the queen, however they decide not to kill them. Once James is located, Robert Graham kills him. Walter was not pleased when he learned that the queen was still alive and she would protect her son, the new king. She would also demand revenge.

Joan proved to be ruthless when ordering the brutal execution of all those involved in the death of her husband including Robert Graham, Robert Atholl and Walter Atholl. The civil war within the Stewart Clan was now over leaving James II of Scotland, with the support of his mother, as ruler of Scotland.

Monday, 24 June 2019

The Bruce Supremacy

SBS is currently showing the three part series, The Rise of the Clans, narrated by Neil Oliver. The first program, sub-titled The Bruce Supremacy and aired Sunday 16 June, told the story of the role of Scottish clans in helping Robert I (Robert the Bruce) become King of Scotland.
Scene from The Bruce Supremacy
When Alexander II of Scotland died in 1286 six Guardians were appointed to rule Scotland. The membership and number of Guardians changed frequently until November 1292 when John Balliol was crowned King of Scotland and duly paid homage to the English King. However Edward I invaded Scotland again in April 1296 defeating the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar.  John Balliol was exiled later that year. New Guardians were appointed at different times including William Wallace in February 1298. He resigned in September of that year with  Robert the Bruce and John (Red) Comyn becoming joint Guardians.

On 10 February 1306 Robert the Bruce arranged to meet John Comyn at Greyfriars Kirk in Dumfries. Robert the Bruce was accompanied by his brother, Edward, and leader of the Clan Campbell, Neil Campbell. Bruce informed Comyn that the Kirk had withdrawn support for Balliol (Comyn's cousin) and therefore Bruce should be King. Although the men had left their swords at the door of the Kirk, when an argument broke out Comyn was stabbed with a knife and murdered. There is some discussion as to what really happened but one account was that Comyn was killed by Bruce though the murder was probably not planned. Not surprisingly, this event started a feud between clans in Scotland.

Robert the Bruce with his supporters headed to Scone where he was hurriedly crowned King of Scotland on 26 March by Isobel of Buchan.

Edward I, also known as Hammer of the Scots, immediately moved his troops north and at a battle near Perth the Scots were defeated by Edward's army. Robert the Bruce and his small remaining band of supporters retreated to the west of Scotland to regroup and plan what to do next.

Initially Robert the Bruce and his supporters headed south towards the west coast but had to travel through MacDougall territory. The Clan MacDougall supported the Clan Comyn and did not get along with the Clan Campbell whose land bordered their land. Battle ensued with many men killed. Bruce now had only about 200 men supporting his cause.

Back on Clan Campbell land the party made it to the coast where Neil Campbell was able to organise boats to take the men to the island of Islay, home of the Clan MacDonald who agreed to support Bruce. In October Bruce's party once again took to the sea where they found refuge in the Hebrides and gained the support of Christina of the Isles, a member of Clan Ruaidhri. She allowed them to stay over the winter months until they were ready to resume the battle.
Google Maps
The Clan Bruce occupied part of the Lowlands of Scotland including the area around Annandale, south of Glasgow. One of the family titles was Lord of Annandale. The land of the Bruce Clan was therefore in the south west of Scotland.

The Clan Campbell  had lands on the peninsula on the south west of Scotland as well as land north of the peninsula.

The Clan MacDonald occupied the Isle of Islay as well as on other Western islands.

 The Clan Ruaidhri resided in the Hebrides.

The Clan MacDougall had land near the Campell territory.

The Clan Comyn had land in the north of Scotland.

1307 - 1308
In the Spring of 1307 Robert the Bruce and his men returned to the south west of Scotland. Bruce knew that his men would be outnumbered in open warfare against the English so the plan was to now use Clan Warfare (small scale guerrilla warfare) to achieve their aims. The campaign began in April and May of 1307 and immediately met with success. As well as the element of surprise Bruce's men were able to use their knowledge of the land to achieve success. As time went by Bruce's support and popularity increased and more clans pledged their support. 'God is on his side' and 'Merlin is on his side' were comments repeated by the Scots.

Edward I decided to travel north to Scotland with additional English forces but died, en route, on 7 July 1307. For a time the English tried to keep his death a secret from the Scots. He was succeeded by his son, Edward II.

As well as fighting the English, Robert the Bruce, with the support of the Campbells and the MacDonalds, also made attacks on his old foes - the Clan Comyn and the Clan MacDougall. The climax came in the summer of 1308 at the Battle of the Pass of Bander. After this battle Bruce was declared 'Master of the Highlands'.

The Lowlands
Fighting in the Lowlands was more difficult as the English had access to many castles. The Scots had no access to siege artillery so Bruce's men continued the campaign of only attacking small groups of soldiers. The castles themselves were attacked only when the Scots knew that they were vulnerable. However, over time, the Scots had captured most of the castles in the Lowlands.

The support for Robert the Bruce had greatly increased but he knew that before he would be completely accepted as King of Scotland he needed to win an open battle against the English.

By 1314 Stirling Castle was the only castle still held by the English. Bruce made an agreement with the garrison that if the English did not bring troops to support the castle by a certain date, then they would surrender the castle.

Edward II moved his troops north - 15,000 foot soldiers plus 2,500 cavalry. Bruce currently had 6,000 foot soldiers. Still the leaders of the Scots knew the terrain. The Scottish forces had been trained to form a schiltron where they stood in a group with their spears pointing outwards in all directions. The group moved together towards the enemy when fighting. This made them a formidable group.

Battle of Bannockburn
The climax came on 23 June 1314 outside Stirling Castle and completed the next day near the river. This encounter is known as the Battle of Bannockburn.

When the English first saw the Scottish soldiers lined up they just saw lines of men with spears. However as they advanced the Scots moved into their schilitron formations. The advancing English cavalry was also unaware that the Scots had dug a trench across their path. Pointed sticks had been placed pointing upwards in the pit which had been camouflaged. The Scots won the first encounter.

The English moved to a campsite near the Bannockburn river. Robert the Bruce received a report that the confidence of the English soldiers was low and the decision was made to attack the English camp early in the morning, taking the English by surprise. As the wall of spears approached the English army emerging from sleep, the English soldiers retreated to the river where many were slaughtered or drowned.

After this victory Robert the Bruce was accepted as the legitimate King of Scotland - Robert I - by his subjects. The Scots received large ransoms for the captured English nobles and much of this money was used to provide land and gifts to the clan leaders who had supported Bruce. Robert the Bruce also negotiated the return of his wife, daughter and sister who had been captives of the English in England.

Other posts in this blog on the Battle of Bannockburn
Battle of Bannockburn

A number of my family members featured in the story portrayed in the program, The Bruce Supremacy:
Robert I of Scotland (1274-1329) was my 21st great grandfather
Edward I of England (1239-1307) was my 22nd great grandfather
Edward II of England (1284 -1327) was my 21st great grandfather

Friday, 21 June 2019

The Ancestor Plates

With  the Winter Solstice upon us indicating that we are almost half way through 2019 it may be time to look at the Resolution blog post written as part of the #52Ancestor challenge 2018 at the end of last year in order to check the progress so far.

This was prompted by a conversation that I had with my seven year old grandson about our Ancestor Plates. He and his sister were having dinner with us so instead of the Peppa Pig and George Pig plates usually used we decided that they could have 'big' plates. Hence their introduction to the Ancestor Plates.

In 1988 the primary school had a fundraiser selling melamine plates based on designs prepared by family members. As it was the Bicentenary and the Bicentenary logo was to be on each item I decided to order a plate decorated with information about family convicts. The names, ships and dates of arrival in Australia were provided for each of nine convicts. This resulted in Ancestor Plate no. 1.

However I later discovered another three convicts in the family so when a similar fundraiser was held a few years later I arranged for Ancestor Plate no. 2, this time with the names, ships and dates for twelve convicts to be made.

Aiden was most impressed with his Ancestor Plate and wanted to know about the names on the plate. I explained that they were convicts, the first members of our family to come to Australia more than 200 years ago. My husband asked Aiden if he knew what a convict was so we then explained that a convict was a prisoner. Aiden's immediate question was had they been in gaol. What followed was a conversation about why these people had been in gaol, why they had left England and Ireland to come to Australia and how long did it take for the ships to make the journey. Obviously the time has arrived to make some of the family history available to the grandchildren.

Resolution number 3 in my December blog post was to collect all the stories in my blog relating to specific families to start compiling histories of those families. Obviously the time has come to start this.

Resolution number 1 was to complete the eight posts for the #52Ancestors challenge 2018 which I did not do last year when we were away on veterans cricket tours. I have now completed these posts so one tick.

Resolution number 2 was to organise my family history research collection more effectively. This has now been started. A few months ago I ordered ten polypropylene boxes from Archival Survival and have just finished assembling them. (partial tick) Now I can put papers and other items relating to specific families in one box making it easier to locate information. When working on a box I will put some of the material into polypropylene enclosures. [Looking after special items in collections]

My other resolutions to locate additional information, including background information, on projects such as family living in the Hawkesbury region of NSW, family in India during the Raj, and answer remaining questions about George Guest's land in Hobart will no doubt be investigated as I piece together the various family stories.

Consquently some progress has been made in carrying out the research resolutions for 2019 - however there is still much to be done.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

#52 Ancestors - Week 36 - Work

My final post in the #52Ancestors for 2018 having now completed the prompts that I didn't do in the middle of last year when were overseas. The prompt is Work which provides the opportunity look at the types of occupations undertaken by family members in Australia over the centuries.

In the nineteenth century many of my Australian ancestors owned property of varying sizes and made their living from farming. Eight of the convicts in my family tree settled in the Hawkesbury area, usually around Windsor, where most of them farmed land growing crops such as wheat, maize, barley and potatoes - all crops needed to feed settlers in the colony. They also farmed animals including cattle, pigs and / or sheep. Initially land holdings might be ten or 15 acres but, over time, additional land was often purchased so Charles Daley, for example, originally had a holding of 15 acres in 1806 increased to 26 acres by 1822. Other former convicts with land in this area included William Roberts and John Pendergast.

Maintaining these properties would have been a family affair with the women assisting as required as well as looking after large families of children.

Although Uriah Moses owned some land on which grain was grown, he primarily worked at his bakery and later general store in Windsor, owned properties in the town itself, and dabbled in real estate and money lending. Richard Holland also diversified his occupations by owning and farming land but also being involved with a bakery and butcher's shop in Windsor.

One of the convicts, Simeon Lord, although he owned large holdings of land in New South Wales,  lived in Sydney where he worked as a merchant, owned sealing and whaling ventures and was a magistrate. He also established woollen mills at Botany which became a major family business. His wife, Mary looked after their large family but was also aware of the operation of the business interests as she took over when Simeon died.

Two of the convicts settled on Norfolk Island where George Guest ended up owning landholdings on which he grazed sheep. When the first settlement faced closure, George and his family settled in Hobart where he received land to replace his holdings on Norfolk Island and brought the first sheep to Van Diemen's Land. George could not read or write however he managed a number of businesses including owning the Seven Star Inn in Hobart.

Another entrepreneur in the family was Thomas Birch who travelled to Hobart as a ship's doctor and decided to stay. He became a merchant and was involved in whaling and sealing as well as ship building and owned large quantities of land in Hobart. He also sponsored an expedition to explore the coast of Tasmania in 1815.

Another family merchant arrived in Hobart in the early 1830s. George Mackillop was a Scottish merchant with the East India Company and also ran a number of other businesses back home in Scotland. George decided to try his luck in the new colony and as well as conducting his merchant business in Hobart he became interested in potential of the land that was to become Victoria. He led a small expeditionary party from New South Wales into northern Victoria in 1835 and when it was decided to settle parts of Victoria he acquired pastoral land and also purchased land in Melbourne. By the early 1840s George had returned to Edinburgh before relocating to Bath.

Other family connections with India included family members serving in the British army in India including William Forbes Hutton while one of George Mackillop's sons, John, worked for the East India Company. After leaving the army William Forbes Hutton purchasd a property at Lilydale, Victoria.

Three of the occupants of my family tree had trained as surgeons, Thomas Birch, William Clifton Weston and William Forbes Hutton. Thomas Birch was occasionally called on to assist medically in Hobart but he preferred concentrating on enlarging his fortune as a merchant and landholder. William Forbes Hutton decided that he was not interested in doctoring so served in the army as a soldier, rather than as an army doctor as originally planned.  William Clifton Weston trained as a surgeon and worked as a Coroner in different regions of New South Wales.

Other family members also had government appointments.George Moses worked for the New South Wales Railways while James Campbell Thom was a solicitor as well as being an officer in the New South Wales Railways Army Corps. George Hutton owned a sheep station near Parkes but had to sell it during the Federation Drought. He then became a rabbit inspector in the Parkes region. When George Hutton lost his property his wife, Annie, returned to Sydney where she ran a boarding house.

John Hillcoat tried farming in South Australia when he first arrived in Australia in 1852 but the venture proved unsuccessful so the family returned to England. Returning to New South Wales in 1859, he opened a music store in West Maitland while his wife, Catherine, ran a school for girls. In 1868 John became manager of a mining company in Queensland earning enough money to purchase two properties and try farming again.

Charles Septimus Smith and his father John Smith both worked as warehousemen in England. Charles initially sold sewing machines when he came to New South Wales but is also listed in records as a warehouseman.

In general, many of the second (and subsequent) generation family members inherited, or purchased, large properties, usually grazing sheep or cattle. Arthur Lord owned and managed sheep stations in western Queensland before moving closer to the coast where he farmed crops before purchasing a dairy farm.

In the twentieth century family occupations diversified with family members often living in Sydney or Melbourne. My grandfather, RJH Moses, and my father, Ken Moses,  were both journalists. My grandmother, Agnes Campbell Thom, and I became librarians. My other grandmother, Nancy Lord, would have liked to have been an artist but gave up painting when she married. My great aunt, Eleanora Hutton, worked in a government department in England during the First World War and in an office in Sydney during the 1940s. My mother worked as a receptionist for the music shop, Boosey and Hawkes when she left school.

My husband was an electrical engineer and consequently saw many changes over the years at PMG / Telecom / Telstra. Currently one of our sons is an IT Manager while the other two are accountants. My two daughters in law are primary school teachers though one was a nurse at the Children's Hospital before taking up teaching. Over the years occupations evolve so it will be interesting to observe the paths taken by our grandchildren - one day in the distant future.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

#52Ancestors - Week 35 - Back to School

Each afternoon after school I listen to my seven year old grandson read his new reader. He is in grade one and effortlessly reading books set for grade three and four children.The books are a mixture of story books and non-fiction. Yesterday he read to me a book about different forms of energy while the previous day the book was about mammals. Other recent story books have been about a newspaper for cats, a couple of Hey Jack! books by Sally Rippen plus some science fiction.

This experience caused me to think about the type of reading that we did at primary school in the 1950s.

In those days I was not able to start school until I was almost six which meant that I had to wait for the mid-year intake as my birthday was in July and the cut off date for starting at the beginning of the year was 30 June. I had been attending kindergarten since I was three and all I wanted to do was go to school and learn to read.

Our first reader was John and Betty which many of us remember with affection. However I quickly learned to read 'This is John'. 'This is Betty'. etc and I am not aware of any additional reading material, except, perhaps flash cards during my first months at school. John and Betty was first published in 1951.

In  Grade 1 our reader was Playmates. This was the only reader that we had for the year. Like John and Betty it was illustrated by Marjorie Howden but it was a more substantial book being 72 pages. The subtitle was the Victorian Readers First Book and it was first published in 1952.

By Grade 2 we had graduated to the school reader entitled Holidays: the Victorian Readers Second Book.  This reader was again illustrated by Marjorie Howden and was 104 pages. As to be expected there is more writing on the pages. Holidays was first published in 1953.
The Victorian Readers Sixth Book
From Grade 3 to Grade 6 we had a reader designated for each year level - eg Victorian Readers: Third Book originally published in 1940 containing an anthology of poetry, prose, children's fiction and drama. Especially in the older years these readers provided an introduction to Australian short stories such as The Drover's Wife by Henry Lawson. I also remember the poem - You are Old Father William by Lewis Carroll and I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth.
The School Paper Grades V and VI 1962 nos 719, 720, 721, 722,723, 724, 725, 726, 727, 728, 729 including index
Example of a School Paper
We also had a folder in which to keep the monthly copy of the School Paper which was published for grades 3 and 4 and also for grades 5 and 6. These publications contained additional short stories, poetry and short information articles to read.
Arithmetic for Grade III
The other books that we had each year from grades 3 to 6 was the Arithmetic Book.

There was no public library in our area in the 1950s and definitely no school library. Fortunately friends and family knew that I enjoyed reading so I usually received books for my birthday and Christmas. When I was in Grade 5, I was in a Grade 5 / 6 composite class where our teacher encouraged us all to bring a book to school to create a classroom library. This was a great way to read books that other students liked and we took our books home at the end of the year.

Researching Australian Education - School readers

John and Betty - Book Browser - (contains photographs of pages from the reader)

Playmates - Deakin University - a pdf of the reader

Holidays - Deakin University - a pdf of the reader can be downloaded

Readers and textbooks - State Library of Victoria.

#52Ancestors - Week 34 - Non-population (indexes and resources)

One of the most useful tools for Australian family history research is Trove - Australian digitised newspapers made available via the National Library of Australia website - This is a resource that I use regularly when preparing posts for this blog.
When I worked in public libraries I often ran sessions on useful tools for genealogy research including the use of Trove. In 2013 I ran a sesson entitled Unlocking Family Stories in the library and also included information covered in the section in this blog. Below is the link to the post about using Trove prepared for that session:

Unlocking Family Stories - Newspapers and Magazines

The following year I wrote a follow up post:

Unlocking Family Stories - Trove part 2

The link to other topics covered in Unlocking Family Stories and also to other blog posts where I discuss how newspapers have helped my research can be found in the menu bar on the right of the blog page.

Edgar the Peaceful - King of All England

Queen's Birthday weekend recently so decided to write a post about a royal ancestor from Saxon times. On Monday (3 June) the episode of the End of Empire: the Rise and Fall of Dynasties on the History Channel was about the Saxon king, Edgar, who is credited with being the first King of All England.

Edgar was born in Wessex in 943, the son of Edmund I (921-946) and AElgifu of Shaftsbury. Edgar was a great grandson of Alfred the Great (849-899). Like many other members of his family, Edgar was reputedly not a tall man, possibly less than five feet tall. Edgar had been educated by the Abbott of Abingdon who was a friend of Dunstan, an influential member of the Benedictine order. Edgar was 16 when he became King in 959, after the death of his brother.

For many years England had been divided into seven main kingdoms each with their own king - East Anglia, Mercia, Northumbria, Wessex, Essex, Kent and Sussex however the number of kingdoms and sub-kingdoms varied with battles for supremacy among the rulers. By the time of Alfred the Great, Wessex was the only kingdom not under the rule of the Danes who had settled in parts of England with the Viking invasions. Attempts were made by the Danes to invade Wessex but Alfred and his army resisted the attacks, made peace with the Danes and Wessex remained under Saxon control.

For sixty years after the death of King Alfred there had been many battles between the Danes and Saxons in different parts of England for control of land.

Edgar's uncle, Athelstan (894-939) became king in 927. When his father, Edward, died in 924 Athelstan inherited the kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria and after the death of his brother, AElfweard, he also inherited the powerful kingdom of Wessex. In 927 Athelstan gained control of York, a stronghold of the Danes, and consequently ruled most of England. At the Battle of Brunanburh in 937 Athelstan consolidated his control in England by defeating troops of Scottish and Danish armies. He had also made peace with other leaders of land controlled by the Danes including Eric Bloodaxe who was in control of Northumbria.

Edgar became King after the death of his brother, Eadwig, and he is best known for attempting to solidify Saxon control over England by working with the Danish communities that existed along with Anglo Saxon regions throughout the country.

In 957 Edgar invited Dunstan, who had been exiled by Edgar's brother two years earlier, back to England and made him Bishop of Worcester and later Bishop of London. Dunstan eventually became Archbishop of Canterbury after Edgar became King of All England in October 959 . Once he was king, Edgar, with Dunstan's assistance, worked to restore monasteries damaged or destroyed during Viking raids as well as building new ones. This often resulted in the need to acquire additional land for the religious communities from members of the nobility making him unpopular with some of the nobles.However Edgar developed powerful alliances through strengthening the church. A Monastic Agreement was established and ratified by a document, Regularia Concordia, to protect monks and nuns in England signed by the King and also his Queen.
Coronation of King Edgar (Bath Abbey)
In 973, a second coronation service was held for King Edgar, at his request, at Bath Abbey. Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, prepared the coronation service which formed the basis of future coronations of kings and queens. A special feature of this service was that Edgar's wife, Aelfthryth was also crowned as queen. An aim of this ceremony was to demonstrate Edgar's dominance over England.

After the service Edgar travelled to Chester where six (or maybe eight depending on differing records) sub-kings from regions of England plus leaders from Scotland and Wales, formally pledged allegiance to Edgar as King of all England at St John the Baptist Church. It is reported that these sub-kings rowed Edgar along the River Dee to the service.

In 961 Edgar had married Ethelflaed, the daughter of an ealdorman named Ordmer. They had a son, Edward, born in 962. This was possibly a political marriage to help strengthen Edgar's standing in Mercia. Little is known of this marriage or what happened to Ethelflaed - she may have died or there may have been a divorce.

What we do know is that Edgar formed a new partnership with Wulfthryth who lived at Wilton Abbey and was possibly training to be a nun. In 962 a daughter, Edith (962-986), was born so the relationship appears to have occurred when Edgar was married to Ethelflaed. Soon after the birth of her daughter, Wulfthryth returned to Wilton Abbey where she became Abbess.

Edgar's third relationship was with Aelfthryth (Elfrida) (940-1000) who was later made queen at Edgar's second coronation.

The history of events that occurred during this period of British history is a challenge to unravel as much of the information no longer exists, stories that have become legends occur and much of the information available is contradictory and written long after the events. The early relationship between Edgar and Aelfthryth is one example.

The story, often told, is that Edgar sent a friend, Ethelwold, to report on the virtues of a young lady, Aelfthryth, who was reputed to be very beautiful. Ethelwold decided to marry Aelfthryth himself, telling Edgar that he would not be interested in Aelfthryth. When Edgar realised the true story about Aelfthryth's beauty he arranged to go on a hunting expedition with Ethelwold and killed him. Edgar and Aelfthryth then married. Some versions of the story record that Edgar and Aelfthryth's relationship began before the death of Ethelwold. Ethelwold died in 962 and as Edgar and Aelfthryth did not marry until 964 the story of their implication in Ethelwold's murder may not be true. We will never really know.

What is known that this was a lasting marriage with Aelfthryth being interested and involved in the political and religious reforms being undertaken at the time. Edgar and Aelfthryth had two sons, Edmund (965-970) and Ethelred (968-1016).

As well as being known for achieving and maintaining relative peace between the Saxons and the Danes in England - including his neighbours in Wales and Scotland - earning him the name of Edgar the Peaceful, Edgar was responsible for strengthening the power of the church and thereby forming a strong alliance with the church during his reign.

Alfred the Great had created a strong navy to protect the coast from the Vikings. Naval power was strengthened during Edgar's reign building a navy of 3,600 ships. However Edgar was also known for reordering English currency so the same coins were used and were readily available throughout the country.

Edgar died unexpectedly on 8 July 975. He was not yet 32 and was buried at Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset.

Aelfthryth was determined that Ethelred would be the next king  instead of Edgar's eldest son, Edward, and became involved in the factional fighting that occurred when Edgar died. The apparent peace that had existed for a short time unfortunately disappeared.

[Edgar was my 32nd great grandfather].

The United Kingdom - the period of the Scandinavian invasions - Encyclopaedia Britannica article

Alfred the Great - Encyclopaedia Britannica article [access to full article via State Library of Victoria or other libraries with a subscription to Encyclopaedia Britannica.]

Edgar King of England - Encyclopaedia Britannica article

Edgar the Peaceful - English Monarchs  

Timeline of Edgar the Peaceful - Totally Timelines  

 Norton, Elizabeth. England's Queens: the biography.

Coins - Anglo Saxon Law and Order  

Athelstan King of England - Encyclopaedia Britannica article

Eric Bloodaxe - BBC History   

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Memories of trees

Memories can be triggered by many, often unexpected, events or objects - in this case, trees. When we moved into our home in Bayswater in 1976 the house was two years old but the previous owners had planted many trees and shrubs at random in the garden. For years, for example, we would discover an azalea growing under a larger azalea.
One of the first plants that I recognised, when we first parked the car in the driveway of our new house, was a liquid amber tree growing in the corner of the front garden. My parents had planted one of these trees in their front garden twenty years previously. Each autumn the tree was covered in large orange leaves which before long covered the small front lawn. As a child it was fun to play in the accumulation of leaves however I am sure that my parents soon tired of raking the leaves into piles to cart them away in the wheelbarrow.  In the 1950s it was customary to burn off debris such as autumn leaves instead of composting them - different times - therefore smoke from burning autumn leaves forms part of  the memories of childhood.  Apart from the colour of the leaves in autumn I remembered how large these trees grew, and the extent of the root system, so my husband removed the innocent looking little tree shortly after we moved in.
Next to where the liquid amber had been planted was, to my surprise, a cassia which I recognised as cassias had grown in the back garden of my grandparents' farm in southern Queensland. I had childhood memories of the mass of yellow flowers among the small green leaves that appeared in late summer. There were also memories of the back garden where the cassias were to be found. The main garden at the front of the house was full of colourful flowers and shrubs while the back garden was more utilitarian  - mainly lawn. The all important outside toilet was housed in the corner of the garden while the gate from the house to the farm was opposite the back door. However there was still plenty of room for children to play and even, on occasion, dance with the two cattle dogs, Sally and Hope. 
By the back door were two tall trees - pawpaw or papaya we were told. It was the wrong season for the fruit when we were on holiday however I now often enjoy eating pawpaw with muesli and yoghurt.

Immediately outside the gate was a large Moreton Bay fig tree. The branches provided lots of shade and the ducks enjoyed fossicking among the roots.  The only problem was that the flying foxes also liked the tree and took up residence in its branches. The noise at night was constant and they made a mess. My grandfather, uncle and father devised numerous plans, including exploding fireworks, to persuade the flying foxes to relocate, without success. The flying foxes stayed.

The memories of past Christmas holidays and childhood adventures produced by the cassia tree that I found in the garden ensured that I treasured it and looked forward to its annual flowering, not just because of the colour added to the garden but because of the memories created by the mass of golden flowers.

However, this year the cassia died. Maybe it was its time or maybe it was the dry summer, though it had survived droughts in the past. Anyway the cassia is no more and the branches and trunk have been cut up ready for the next clearance of garden rubbish. A search on Google for information about cassias shows that some Councils consider these small trees as weeds. Although it produced seed pods from time to time, our cassia does not appear to have had any offspring. I now need to find another bush to fill the space left by the cassia but whatever we plant will not have the memories generated by this departed tree.

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Significance of Anzac Day for my family

During the Second World War my father served in the Australian Army with the 2/4th Battalion which left Sydney on 10 January 1940 for Palestine. The Battalion was also stationed in Egypt, Tobruk, Greece and Crete and Syria before returning to Australia early in 1942. The Battalion was then relocated to Papua New Guinea but Dad remained in Australia as he had been discharged due to illness making him unfit for military service.
Dad in Sydney with his mother, January 1940

An account of Dad's military service can be found in a series of blog posts in my Exploring Military History blog.

Anzac Day was always very important to Dad and each year he attended the Dawn Service at the Shrine of Remembrance  followed by the Anzac Day March later in the morning. The 2/4th Battalion was based in Sydney but a number of its members, like Dad, had relocated to Melbourne after the war. Anzac Day was their special time to get together and we all knew that we would not see Dad on that day.

However Anzac Day is also my mother's birthday.

Fortunately Mum accepted the situation. My mother's family lived in Queensland so her birthday was spent initially with my sister and me and later with our younger brother.

Mum, though, was not forgotten by Dad's mates, some of whom would each year ring her prior to her birthday to pass on birthday wishes and assure her that they would look after Dad!

Dad died in 1984 but the family always observes Anzac Day usually watching the main services on television. Two of my grandchildren are in guide and scout groups and this year they took part in the Anzac Day Parade to our local war memorial. Their mother, a guide leader, was involved in the Anzac Day March in the city.

The other family aspect of Anzac Day was, of course, not forgotten. My mother now lives in a nursing home so in the afternoon members of the Melbourne clan met there to help Mum celebrate her special day.

Mum's birthday 2019 - four generations
Therefore, for my family, Anzac Day is a day of commemoration and celebration.

Monday, 22 April 2019

The Stawell Gift

Living in a family where sport was an important part of our life, I always knew that the Stawell Gift was run each year at Easter.

Since 1878 (except for four years during the Second World War) an athletics carnival has been held in Stawell with the feature race being the Stawell Gift. Since 1898 the event has been held at Central Park.
Central Park, Stawell - Heritage Council Victoria
My father, Ken Moses, was a sports' journalist in the late 1940s and the 1950s and one of the areas of sport that he covered, initially for The Sun News Pictorial then from 1950 for The Argus, was athletics, including the Stawell Gift. This meant that each year he would disappear to Stawell, in western Victoria, for several days. After The Argus ceased publication in January 1956 Dad maintained his interest in the Stawell Gift and continued to visit Stawell for this athletics carnival from time to time.

Searching in Trove for "Ken Moses" AND "Stawell Gift" produced 97 articles that Dad wrote about the Stawell Gift from 1950 to 1955. Some of these references to the Stawell Gift appeared throughout the year in his 'Why Keep it Quiet? column while there are also articles covering the event each year.

In 1955 an article written by Dad was published in The Argus Weekender (9 April 1955) - 'Anything happens at Stawell' where he recounted some of the more sensational events that had occurred  throughout the history of the race. (article)

Using Google I located an article available via PressReader published in the Seymour Telegraph 5 December 2012 entitled 'Full of Life'. The article was an interview with an 86 year old Les Pianta who had been involved in athletics in the 1940s. In the article Les described how he became the Stawell Gift favourite in 1947. "I won alot of races around this area, I got a bit of a name for myself and somehow or other this Ken Moses (Sports Editor of Melbourne's The Sun) got to hear about it and that's how it started." Les did not make the finals. I am sure that Dad would have been amused by the promotion to sports' editor if he had seen this article.

Many years later I worked with a colleague who had been involved with professional athletics as a runner and a trainer and who for many years had attended the Stawell Gift. He spoke of some of the journalists who regularly covered the event and knew of my father. I gained the impression that the Stawell Gift was a special place to be each year.

One afternoon we called into Stawell when exploring part of western Victoria and made a visit to Central Park. I wanted to see the place that was so special to many followers of athletics including Dad. My father had been dead for many years but I was able to visit a place where he had enjoyed working.

A number of books have been written about the Stawell Gift:
Murray Macpherson, Twelve seconds to glory: the official history of the Stawell Gift (2014)
Gary Watt. The Stawell Gift almanac: history of the Stawell Gift (2008)
John Perry. The quick and the dead: Stawell and its race through time (2002)

Additional information:
Stall Gift history
Heritage Council Victoria - Central Park, Stawell

A selection of 1940s and 1950s Stawell Gift finals available online:
Stawell Gift final - 1946 - YouTube
Stawell Gift final - 1947 - YouTube
Stawell Gift final - 1951 - YouTube
Stawell Gift final - 1953 - YouTube 

Selection of other years:
Stawell Gift final - 1927 - YouTube 
Stawell Gift finals - 1971-1989 - YouTube

Monday, 14 January 2019

#52Ancestors - Week 33 - Family Legend

 It all started with Robert the Bruce.
Robert the Bruce at Edinburgh Castle (2014)
Among correspondence belonging to my grandmother we found a letter written in the 1960s from a cousin who believed that my grandmother's family could be traced back to Robert the Bruce. It was suggested that there were also links to James II of Scotland, Edward III of England and maybe even Alfred the Great. He had hired a researcher to investigate this for him and would let her know the result. (This, of course, was pre-internet.) Unfortunately we did not locate any outcome of this research in the correspondence.

In January 2012 I must have had some spare time and decided to check the truth, or otherwise, of this family legend. I wrote about this exercise in a previous blog post.

The research was done in stages with the initial research investigating the Scottish connections. I was aware of part of the Hutton family tree as my father had copied the information from records held by my grandmother. The Hutton family was connected to the Lidderdale family when Eleanora Lidderdale married Thomas Hutton in 1771. Eleanora's grandfather, David Lidderdale had married Eleanora Dunbar in 1708. It was the Dunbars who had the direct links to the Scottish royalty when John Dunbar (1330-1391) married Marjorie Stewart (1344-1417) in 1370. Marjorie Stewart was the daughter of Robert II of Scotland and therefore great granddaughter of Robert I of Scotland (Robert the Bruce).

The initial investigation was carried out following online family trees. Three years later I had time to check the search results including verifying the family connections in

Because of all the intermarriage between royal families the lists confirmed  that there were links to the Plantagenets including Edward III and therefore to William the Conqueror. Once I stopped laughing I was able to locate direct links from William's wife, Matilda, to Alfred the Great and his forebears. There was a link to James I of Scotland, but not James II.

The searching did not stop in England but also in Normandy to Viking connections. Through Geoffrey Plantagenet, husband of Empress Matilda (daughter of Henry I), there are links to French royalty. Other Plantagenets also married French wives creating more interesting connections. Alfred the Great's daughter, Aelfthryth, married Baldwin II of Flanders and his line can be traced back to Charlemagne, Pepin III and several lines back into the 500s.

Needless to say when I was following these family lines there were times I laughed out loud. On paper it is all impressive but there are thousands and thousands of people who can make the same discoveries. However it does add another dimension to travelling in the UK and France as ancestors appear in unexpected places.
Statue of King John - Kings Lynn (2018)

On our last trip to the UK I found many mentions of King John in Kings Lynn in Norfolk including a statue just off the main shopping strip. So we said, 'Hello' to my great (x24) grandfather. In 1216, King John travelled through Bishops Lynn (now Kings Lynn) and in the nearby Wash his baggage carts became bogged in quicksand and many of the the family treasures in the baggage carts disappeared forever. King John died at Newark Castle several months later.

When we visited St George's Chapel in Windsor I found a stone plaque on the chapel wall providing the history of the chapel. At the top it was stated that Edward III (my great (x 20) grandfather) founded the College of St George in 1348. I was laughing about this with my husband when an attendant asked why I was so interested in the plaque. I explained the possible family connection emphasising that I was one of many others with the same connection. She laughed and said I should enjoy it.
Arundel Tomb - Chichester Cathedral (2018)

We were exploring Chichester Cathedral and when we passed the Arundel tomb I stopped as I was sure that there was a family connection. Checking records later I had been standing next to the tomb of my great (x20) grandparents - Richard FitzAlan (1307-1376) and Eleanor Plantagenet (1311-1372).

This is just a side-line to my family history research as my main area of interest is locating as much information as possible about family members in Australia. However, finding these links does help create a greater interest in UK history (especially prior to the Tudors) and also history relating to family links in France etc. It just goes to show that family history research can lead to unexpected discoveries.