Sunday, July 24, 2011

This Dazzling Atlantis

(with apologies to Ian Warden)

In today's Canberra Times, Ian Warden listed his list of five personal Canberra architectural favourites. He listed (with tongue in cheek maybe?):

  1. 18 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra City;
  2. Namadgi National Park Visitors' Centre, Naas Road;
  3. The Canberra Incinerator at the Royal Canberra Golf Club;
  4. The clubhouse, Reid Tennis Club Reid; and
  5. the new Canberra Hospital multi-storey carpark.

Ian issued a challenge to his readers - "... why not ask yourselves ... which of Canberra's buildings you love?"

Well, Ian, here is my top five list:

National Library of Australia, photo taken by ...Image via Wikipedia

1. National Library of Australia;

The John Curtin School of Medical Research, Au...Image via Wikipedia

2. John Curtin School of Medical Research; 

Lake Tuggeranong College, September 2005Image via Wikipedia

3. Lake Tuggeranong College;

4. Canberra Italian Centre; and

5. Caroline Chisholm School.
    I'll try to provide a photo of the last building soon (anyone already have a snap of Caroline Chisholm School?).

    What are your five architectural favourites for your city or town?

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    Thursday, July 21, 2011


    42 years today since the first moon landing and shuttle Atlantis returns to Earth safely. The end of the space shuttle era. Quite a ride!

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Junior Jet Club and John Travolta

    Many of us who've travelled by plane would keep some sort of souvenir to remember the journey. Maybe an inflight mag or sometimes a teaspoon (not that airline-branded metal teaspoons are supplied any more). Keeping a souvenir is uncommon these days in an era when air travel has become an unremarkable event. 

    But before air travel became relatively affordable, it carried a certain charm - simply because it was a special experience. I still have a B.O.A.C. coffee mug from a flight made aboard a Comet 4 in the early 1960s. 

    I found this T.A.A. brochure and flight log souvenir (below) amongst some family memorabilia recently.  My mum kept it after a flight she made as a youngster following a holiday in Sydney.  The ‘official’ flight log shows a journey from Melbourne to Hobart (Cambridge Airport) with a short stopover in Launceston.

    I went through many of my primary school years using a QANTAS travel bag as my school bag! Why not - I've always been a proud Australian and happily promoted the largely unheard of airline on foreign shores. My school mates learnt there were more airlines around than just B.O.A.C, KLM, TWA and Pan-Am.

    1965 - here's one of my bags from QANTAS - at the Acropolis, nice and new.

    1966 - here's another QANTAS bag,
    as I wait for my ride to school.
    1967 - and another QANTAS bag (dudes, no comments about the shorts, they were compulsory).

    Will today's young air travellers remember their journeys with such fond memories? I suspect they'll miss the experience of flying because they were too busy watching the movie playing in the seat in front of them. Sigh.
    Finally, full credit to John Travolta for also promoting QANTAS.  This is his (yes his very own) QANTAS Boeing 707 V-Jet.  Exactly like the planes I travelled aboard (maybe even this very plane):

    John Travolta's Image via Wikipedia

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    Monday, July 18, 2011

    A Beacon, Not Useless

    To me, creating a blog was just an experiment.  A bit like getting a new gadget and asking '... what does this button do?' I posted my first post and sat back expecting ... I don’t know what really.  I just thought something might happen!  A blog seems like a lot of work if you just want to be creative.  On day two, I had given up.  I could see no purpose to a blog. What use is a blog?  Why would anyone read a blog anyway?  You could watch the paint peel off the wall and have more fun.  I nearly dismantled this blog on day 2.

    Perhaps the patient side of me won over and I left the blog alone.  I thought about describing some of my family history – only because I realised some time ago that it’s one thing to know all about your own family history, but if you don’t impart that knowledge to others, somehow, then the information is as good as lost.

    So a little family history crept into my posts – interspersed with meaningless other stuff and links to cool music (oh c’mon - it really IS cool).

    And guess what?  Like a beacon – a lighthouse in the darkness of space – my blog became the connection that has linked me with a line of my family I had no inkling existed. And that connection – yes YOU Kylie – helped me to confirm all my suppositions and deductions about my – our - early Tasmanian connections.

    What a wonderful thing to find lost relatives! The world is not as big as we think and we’re all connected somehow. Hi to all the Bests reading this!

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    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    The Story of Patrick McCarthy - Part 3

    Part 3I know - it’s been a long time coming!  And that’s mainly because I don’t know too much about what Patrick did after the first convicts were landed in Van Diemen’s Land.

    I can infer that Patrick was in a trusted role (as far as convicts go).  There were marines at Sullivan’s Cove, but no civil police.  Patrick’s military background and his reliable service as a nightwatchman at Port Phillip Bay may have resulted in him being used for a policing type role in  the early days of the settlement.  Records show there was certainly a Sgt. McCarthy as a policeman (Rev Knopwood’s diary), but nothing that links this police sergeant to Patrick specifically.  Other records show a Lance Corporal Justin McCarthy was among the marines present at the time. 

    Patrick attended the Hobart musters in 1811, 1818 and 1819.  One historian (Marjorie Tipping) may have confused Patrick with Dennis McCarty, a well known identity (and ex-convict) in those earliest days of the settlement. Marjorie wrote "For a time he was a boatman and hired out his boat". Dennis McCarty certainly operated boat at New Norfolk (the Geordie).

    Patrick received a conditional pardon in 1816 and was officially free by 1818.

    In August 1816, Mary Ellinor Walsh was convicted at Kilkenny County, Ireland, of 'Receiving stolen goods'.  She was sentenced to 7 years and transported to Tasmania aboard the ship 'Canada' from Cork, Ireland. She was transferred at Port Jackson onto the ‘Elizabeth Henrietta’, which arrived in Hobart Town (as the area was now known) on 27 August 1817. A note against her name on the Canada's muster appears to state 'Pregt. and very quiet'!

    Patrick and Mary met very shortly after her arrival, possibly even the same day (in those very early times, free men attended the wharf when a convict ship arrived in order to receive an ‘assigned’ convict).  Assigned convicts generally became labourers or servants for their ‘master’ more so than prisoners. Labourers were desperately required to build the settlement.  So too were female companions for the many single males!  I suspect Mary was assigned to Patrick.  What we do know is that before her marriage to Patrick on 26 March 1821, Mary had three children (John, James and Mary). Their fourth child, a daughter (Eleanor), arrived after their marriage, in late 1823 or early 1824 (baptised 28 March 1824). Eleanor was my great-great-grandmother.

    The historian Marjorie Tipping also wrote “Patrick McCarthy was one Irishman who was never in any trouble in the colony, although he had chosen to live alongside the discontented Irish from Norfolk Island”. Small wonder he chose to associate with fellow Irish, given the disregard the British meted out to the Irish and to Catholics. By September 1819, the McCarthy’s were living in the Elizabeth Town (New Norfolk) district. Patrick had purchased a parcel of land sometime around 1818-19 and I suspect that his land was actually in the Hamilton area (then called Sorell Plains), as that area was considered part of the Elizabeth Town district.

    Anyway, by 1824, Patrick, was a stock-keeper at Sorell Plains (the old name for the area of land between the Clyde River and Bothwell). 

    One day, during 1824 (don't know exactly when), Patrick was speared by an Aborigine named Black Jack (who had also been given the name Jack Roberts). It's unclear exactly what the course of events were, but a contemporary source suggests that while returning home through the bush, Patrick, his wife Mary and a child in her arms (Eleanor, I believe; my G-G-Grandmother) were attacked by several natives.  Patrick urged Mary to flee while he bravely held the natives at bay.  This act cost him his life, but saved that of Mary and her child. Patrick was one of the first victims in the escalation of the war between the British and the Aborigines.

    Black Jack/Jack Roberts was subsequently captured. He was gaoled, along with notorious Sydney native – Musquito (convicted of aiding and abetting the wilful murder of a stock-keeper at Grindstone Bay).  Both men were were tried, found guilty and hanged on the morning of 25 February 1825 in the Hobart Town Gaol, alongside six white bushrangers.

    So ends my tale of Patrick McCarthy, my great-great-great-grandfather.

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    If I Ever Go Back ...

    ... to India ... I want to go Nainital again.

    I was there in 1962.  This is how it looked back then (my Dad took this photo):
    And this is how it looks now:

    It hasn't changed much!  And that's the way I like it.  This town is a magic hideaway.
    'Guide to India' has more detail about Nainital.  I remember the cool mountain air; the scent of wood fires in the early morning as locals cooked breakfast or simply made hot tea. I remember friendly people.

    Nainital is where I broke my arm!  I clearly remember the chloroform administered to me as anaesthetic - like being suffocated!  And because I was laid up in a hospital bed, I missed a trip up the mountain with my family to take in the view towards Mt Everest. Here, on that day, are two of my sisters, with Everest somewhere in the distance:

    Nainital, I will try hard to return.
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