Cold Blows the Wind – my newest novel

Well here it is, my latest novel—published last Thursday—Yay! Unlike my previous two novels which were set in the Elizabethan period and peopled by fictional characters, Cold Blows the Wind begins in Hobart Town, Tasmania in 1878 and follows a period in the lives of my paternal great-great grandparents Sarah Ellen Thompson and Henry Watkins … Continue reading Cold Blows the Wind – my newest novel

The Elusive Elizabeth Robinson

This article was originally published in Western Ancestor, the quarterly magazine of the Western Australian Genealogical Society, September 2020 issue (Vol.14, No.11) My father, a fourth generation Tasmanian, began researching his family history around sixty years ago but, unfortunately, was not particularly interested in the female lines. When I inherited Dad’s papers, I decided to … Continue reading The Elusive Elizabeth Robinson

Can’t see the Woods for the … Woods – The search for one Henry Woods

Mount Wellington standing sentinel over Hobart I took my first steps into family research about fifteen years ago when I inherited my father's papers. He had only made intermittent attempts to trace his family history so all I found was a small collection of letters and certificates along with a very basic family tree. I … Continue reading Can’t see the Woods for the … Woods – The search for one Henry Woods

Family History as it is Really Done – William George Bowden alias Watson

What irritates me most intensely about family history are things like Ancestry ads and programs like Who Do You Think You Are? that make it all look so quick and easy. As anyone who is serious about tracing their family’s history knows, genealogy is a long, long game. Over fifty years ago my mother started … Continue reading Family History as it is Really Done – William George Bowden alias Watson

Black Friday, 13 January 1939

It is 80 years today since the Black Friday bushfires which devastated the Gippsland area of Victoria. In 1989, on the 50th anniversary of those fires, my mother, Catherine Mary (McGrath) Merrick, put her memories of that day on paper . ~~~ 'What a dreadful day. The hills of East Gippsland and beyond Melbourne were … Continue reading Black Friday, 13 January 1939

Some Family History

I have ancestors from Ireland, England, Scotland and Canada, most of whom had arrived in Australia by the 1850s, with only a couple of Jenny/Johnny-come-latelys in the late 1860s. I have been obsessively researching them for fourteen years now, after inheriting my parents' papers in the early 2000s. My father attempted to research his forbears, … Continue reading Some Family History

Irish Heritage – Patrick McGrath (1848-1911)

My great grandfather Patrick McGrath was born at Finnahy in Tipperary and was baptized at the church in Upperchurch on the 19 Jul 1848. He was the eldest son and fifth child of Thomas McGrath and Mary Ryan. In 1853, when Patrick was five, the family left Ireland and migrated to Australia. For the first … Continue reading Irish Heritage – Patrick McGrath (1848-1911)

Irish Heritage – Thomas McGrath of Finnahy

The parents of my maternal grandfather, John Daniel ‘Jack’ McGrath (1887-1971), were both born in Ireland. Jack’s mother, Margaret Ryan, was born at Drumgoole, Kilkenny in 1851 and migrated to Australia around 1869. His father, Patrick McGrath, was five and a half when his family arrived in Melbourne, Victoria in 1854. Patrick was born at … Continue reading Irish Heritage – Thomas McGrath of Finnahy

Irish Heritage – Patrick Connor of Killarney

I visited Kerry recently , a stunningly beautiful part of the world. One set of my maternal great great grandparents, Patrick and Mary Connor, came from Killarney to South Australia in 1840. They arrived on the Mary Dugdale as part of of an immigration scheme which selected sober and hardworking labourers and their families for … Continue reading Irish Heritage – Patrick Connor of Killarney

Over the Hills and Far Away I first discovered this song when rounding out the information I had on my great great grandfather William Reader. Born at Staplehurst, Kent in 1822, he enlisted in the 96th Regiment of Foot in December 1842 and with in six months has been shipped out to Van Diemen's Land on garrison duty. The song … Continue reading Over the Hills and Far Away