Monday, 19 March 2012

Sydney's latest Octogenarian

Sydney's Harbour Bridge turns 80 today. 

After almost ten years of construction, the Coathanger was officially opened on 19 March 1932. The designated ribbon cutter was to be then Premier Jack Lang. He was pipped at the post however by a sword-wielding horse-riding uniformed Francis de Groot who cut the ribbon, opening the Bridge on behalf of the people of New South Wales in a political protest at Lang's politics and the fact that a member of the Royal Family wasn't performing the opening ceremony. 

Didi was about 7 years old at this time but she recalls visiting Sydney with her parents a few years before the Bridge was complete. She says the Bridge was about a third done on one side and half done on the other and she was so amazed that on her return to school in the small country town of Ando she excitedly drew it for her classmates and teacher to see. But they couldn't believe that this was at all possible and she said she was so hurt that they didn't believe her.

I imagine that to Didi the Bridge looked much like the photo below - borrowed from's collection of around 2500 photos of the Coathanger's construction. Definitely worth a browse...

Australia, Sydney Harbour Bridge Construction, 1922-1933

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

I have no idea how to pronounce it either but the message is "St Patrick's Day blessing to you all!" Or, "Fiddly diddly dee, potatoes!"

I know that a few of my Irish-born or Irish-blooded friends have been celebrating all things green today - as have a few not-so-Irish! And, Cam's Fam, I'm afraid we fall into the latter category. 

As best as I can tell, there's no luck of the Irish in our family. It did look promising for a little while on Didi's side as the 1861 Census in Bradford, Yorkshire, England noted that her great grandmother on her mother's side, Mary Anthistle, was born in Ireland. However, subsequent censuses (censii?) suggest she was a homegrown Bradford girl. 

It may yet turn out that we're a little bit Irish, particularly when there's conflicting information in different sources that I haven't been able to verify. But for the moment we'll just have to hang out for Tartan Day and get our Scottish Pride on on 1 July!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Date with Didi

This Sunday I am meeting with Didi to show her all the new leaves on the Family Tree. While comfortable using her mobile, internet is a little bit too much so I'll take my laptop and the tree to her.

Part of the plan is to also start noting down many of her recollections, memories and stories for future Camerons.

Can I ask then, Cam's Fam, what would you like me to ask Didi? Any topics of conversation I should begin or memories you'd like her to share?

Private message me or comment on this post by clicking on the Comments below:

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Memory making

Located on George Street in Brisbane the main entry is through a court yard which runs off a laneway chasing the side of the building and not immediately visible from the street. It’s a fairly nondescript building – just bricks and windows. Nothing special to look at. Nothing on its outside suggests the importance of its inside as home to the history of thousands and resting place to a multitude of memories of love, loss and life.

But, I wasn’t there to search through history. Rather, I was there to watch it being made. To celebrate with two dear friends, John and Kris, as they publicly proclaimed their love and lifelong commitment to each other before their families and friends. A few beautiful words before a Registrar, recently empowered by the State of Queensland to officiate their ceremony, transformed Kris and John’s five and a half year relationship into a civil union.

Practically, the ceremony gave them a certificate formally recognising their relationship, that will now be stored within the plain walls of the Births, Death and Marriages Registry of Queensland, just as the thousands of Queenslanders before them. Excitingly, that “piece of paper” will be available to future generations of genealogists, just like me.

Legally however, as civil partners, they should no longer have to provide any further proof their relationship exists for things like superannuation, tax and government allowances should they be needed. Equally, like the rest of their fellow Queenslanders’ relationships.

Romantically though, in Kris’ words, it means that he can “look forward to grumpy old man grumbles and grumpy old man chuckles with John”; with the man who “knows [him] completely” and who he loves “endlessly.” 

Tee hee hee!

Thanks for the chuckle Mel!