Saturday, September 18, 2021

Science Mirroring the Traditional

It took me half a dozen attempts this morning to find my new DNA ethnicity estimates on the Ancestry app. I presume many other genies around the world were trying to access their results at the same time.

When I finally got the results I was rather pleased as they appear to reflect what I have found through traditional research. I have always thought that I am about 67% Irish so I'll take 65% - thanks @AncestryDNA.

As I am an only child I have no siblings with whom I can compare research but I'm lucky enough to have a double first cousin who shares my two sets of grandparents and all my ancestors going back in time. 

While the results from my cousin's test and mine are basically the same there are a few minor differences in the amount of Scottish and English estimates but the total of these is very close. My cousin additionally has a 1% Basque estimate, I feel that may be a furphy.

My Results
Cousin's Results

I've posted our results here so that, next year, when Ancestry issue their next round of ethnicity estimates I can easily retrieve what they offered 2021.

What did you discover?

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Housework time at

I remember somewhere, sometime saying that I intended to update my website GeniAus Family Site every month or so. It seems that my good intentions flew out the window. I just checked to see when I had last updated the site and it was back in February.

GeniAus Family Site

Ever since we went into our latest Covid lockdown a website update has been on my gunna list but I keep saying I'll do it tomorrow. During the lockdown I have been hatching, matching, and dispatching many ancestors.  I hadn't looked at some of my research from last century since last century and, in that period, many new records have come online and several elderly cousins have left this mortal earth. 

When I did my early research I was grateful to find one source for each event but I have learnt that is not enough. Events need to be corroborated by multiple sources of quality. Lockdown has given me time to go back, update records and seek new sources.

Each day I think I'll update the website now but then I say "I'll just check a few more records and upload tomorrow."  I could have gone on like this until Christmas. When I wanted to share a link to the record of a family member who had recently passed away I realised that I needed to upload a gedcom containing the death date of that person to make the record appear on the GeniAus Family website.  (Records of living people are not in the public domain on my site.) All of a sudden I had a pressing need for an immediate upload.

So today, 7 months since my last update, I have spent a few minutes exporting a gedcom from my Family Historian software and uploading it to my website ( TNG software hosted by Simply Hosting). If I had remembered where I had saved my login details for the site this should only take around five minutes! Sadly it took me much longer to retrieve those details. Once I was at the host's site I also made a full backup of my website that I will store on an external hard drive. 

A few statistics from the GeniAus Family site today.

I am constantly making edits and additions to my Family Historian database so I will try to remember a monthly website upload (reminder now in calendar). I wonder if I will manage.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Norma Jean Ball 1931-2021

We were saddened to hear of the death yesterday of Norma Jean Ball, my Father-in-Law's first cousin. Norma was the youngest daughter of Fred Ball and Nellie Irene Whiteford.

We had not known of Norma until I came across her name and interests on a genealogy bulletin board in the late 1990s when I was researching the Ball line. I tried to contact Norma but my emails bounced back. It took us several years to find her but finally Mr GeniAus managed to make contact in 2011.

Norma's Bulletin Board Message

We first visited Norma at her home in Wingham in May 2011. We discovered that she had a keen interest in family history having done research at The Society of Australian Genealogists in the 1990s. Unfortunately, as her sight had failed her, Norma was no longer able to use a computer or email. We had a wonderful discussion about family history and our trips to Rochdale, Lancashire, in search of the Balls. Norma generously shared her research, family photos and stories with us. 

Norma Jean Ball- Army Portrait 1952

Since that first meeting we have visited Norma on several occasions at the care facility where she moved when her eyesight declined. Norma was a delightful character who was mentally as sharp as a tack when we last visited her earlier this year. We enjoyed sitting with Norma and hearing stories of  family members and of Norma's career in the Australian Army. She always showed a keen interest in my research and enthusiastically consented to take a DNA test on our last visit. 

We are pleased that we were able to get to know Norma and are most grateful for her contributions to the Ball story. We send our condolences to her nieces and nephews as they mourn the loss of a beloved aunt.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Jottings, Journeys, Joy - A Big Footprint

I run hot and cold with my personal blog jillballau: Jottings, Journeys, Joy. 

This morning I had to enlist the help of that blog's archive on Trove to find out when I had actually written my first post. Over the years, I have added some predated posts to the blog and integrated the posts from another earlier Men at Work blog into it.

After a a bit of digging I found my first post was on 4th July 2012. Here is what I said:

Do I really need another Blog? Am I suffering from Blogarrhoea?

I don't need another blog but active blogs Geniaus and Android Genealogy are targetted towards my friends in genealogy. Sometimes I'd like to post about my travels, the books I've read, the things that bug me and the performances I've seen. Sometimes I'd just like to share a photo that doesn't fit in with the theme of my Men at Work blog. I don't want to clog up my genimates blog feeds with off topic posts that could be regarded as spam.  

When I am travelling I publish a few photos and updates to Facebook and when something tickles my fancy I write about it there too. Aggregating these Facebook items in one stream is not easy.

Recently I have been following and enjoying Jackie van Bergen's new blog, Jax Trax. As a genealogist I see the value of leaving a personal blog like Jackie's as a resource for future generations. Jackie's blog has been the catalyst for my decision to pollute the blogisphere with yet another blog.

Look out blogisphere here comes jillballau.

The current Covid lockdown has given me time to evaluate  jillballau which is not very popular in the blogisphere. Firstly I thought about my purpose, I have realised that, while the visits and comments from friends and strangers may massage my ego, my purpose was stated succinctly in that first post where I said "I see the value of leaving a personal blog like Jackie's as a resource for future generations".

I have recommitted to that purpose. It is important to me that I leave a big footprint behind for the generations of the future. I am honoured that jillballau is preserved in The Australian Web Archive on Trove so I know what I post will be preserved. 

Back in June I wrote a post Unloved in which I promised to give my neglected blog some attention. I have been plugging away over the past few weeks giving it some much needed attention.

Among the things I have done is modify the static pages on the blog by adding pages for my travel map and books read which had previously been in widgets in the sidebar. I have renamed all the sexist "Men at Work" tags to "Workers". I have changed and added many other tags and selected some popular tags, that reflect the main themes of the blog, for a Topics widget on the home page. I have gone back through my 4 Terabytes of photos and found many of the folders of resized photos previously shared on FaceBook which I am cheekily sharing in predated posts to preserve the chronological nature of the blog. 

The blog is rich in images with many posts having 20+ images and few words, my pictures tell many stories. I have tried various tweaks to get the posts to load faster without success. Hopefully with better internet speeds in the future this will be fixed.

I apologise to the ancestors and DNA matches who I have been ignoring but, as my biological clock is ticking away, I am taking some time to focus on my story. Reliving my jottings and journeys has given me much joy during this lockdown. 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

From the Archives - Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. What sort of genealogist am I?

Ten years ago on this day in 2011 I penned the following post which I am resahring here. I don't think I have changed much. 


Randy Seaver's latest edition of Saturday Night Fun reminded me of a post that I wanted to go back and read. Because I forgot to star it in my RSS reader I had trouble finding it. Thanks to Randy for directing me to The Stardust and Roots Blog where I found  "Sears Catalog of Genealogists".

In this humourous post Bart Brenner categorises genealogists. I had a few chuckles as I read through the post and worked out where I and my GeniMates belonged. I encourage other genies to read, enjoy and reflect on this post.

The categories Bart listed were:

1)  Albert Einstein model (the academician)
2)  Marian the Librarian model (the archivist)
3)  Indiana Jones model (the archaeologist)
4)  Margaret Mead model (the cultural anthropologist)
5)  Frank Buck model (the hunter and tamer)
6)  Amelia Earhart model (the test pilot)
7)  Ambrose Monk model (the hoarder)
8)  Cinderella model (the fairy princess)
9)  Steve Jobs model (the technogeek)

I imagine that others would share the difficulty I had in filing myself neatly into one of Bart's boxes. I am affected by the environment and my moods so my approach on a particular day will vary according to these influences.

I am significantly a Steve Jobs model with a big touch of Margaret Mead. My messy overcrowded house indicates I have a strong dose of Ambrose Monk in my makeup.

How about you?

Genealife in lockdown - Robbed

Genimate Alex Daw over at the Family Tree Frog blog has challenged fellow geneabloggers to write about their lock down experiences in a series of blog posts on Sundays during National Family History Month in Australia.
See what Alex has to say about the challenge here:

This is my fifth and final post for the challenge.

In last week's post I wrote that I was both physically and emotionally grounded, I neglected to say that I am frustrated. I am angry with Covid19 that has robbed me of nearly two precious years of my life. I have a lot of mileage on my clock and I want to make full use of the time I have left. Covid19 has robbed me of many opportunities to share in the lives of those near and dear to me and to fully enjoy my twilight years with my dear husband.

Adding to my frustration are the actions of a minority of our fellow citizens. During lockdown these fools, because of their selfishness and/or stupidity, flout the rules that are in place to keep us safe and progress towards coming out of lockdown. While protesting about their lack of freedom they are robbing those of us in the majority of our freedoms. These thieves are a blight on our society.

Angry and Frustrated
Meanwhile I am cruising along in the cosy and comfortable environment of my home prison doing some of the things I always do. 

Pleased my prison is more Hilton than the Hanoi Hilton (pictured)

The beauty of this situation is that I have extra time on my hands. I have been reviewing genealogy research done years ago, chasing down DNA connections, learning Airtable, updating my personal blog and generally organising my Geneastuff. And then there is Zoom!


I didn't realise how busy my pre-Covid life was until I started tidying up my digital photo albums and adding meta-data to the photos that record family activities.  I spent a lot of time with family. With 21 close family members there are always plenty of occasions to celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day and Father's Day.  I was a busy old girl.

We managed a 2021 Easter Hunt in between Lockdowns

While I enjoy spending time in my beautiful home environment I am missing out on many opportunities to travel. I feel that I am just marking time until Mr GeniAus and I can spread our wings and leave our cosy nest. How we will ever manage to empty our bucket list while we are still healthy enough to travel far and wide?  While I enjoy the virtual travels in my daily Facebook memories I still have a bad case of itchy feet.  I am grateful that Covid gave me time to recover from my ankle surgery in January last year. My surgeon told me it would take 18 months for my foot to recover from that trauma  - well that time's up and I'm ready to get moving.

My ugly tourist sandals want to come out of retirement

Wearing my optimist hat I see a few more months of pain and marking time followed by a slow return to the new normal. Later in 2022 I can see Mr GeniAus and I on the tarmac in Sydney settled in a Qantas jet as we toast our next adventure.

Ready for takeoff

Cheers to Alex and the fellow genies who have shared their thoughts and stories in this challenge.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

From the Archives - Between the covers

This post first appeared on the GeniAus blog on 25 August 2011. We have subsequently visited the cousin on several trips to the UK, whenever we visit he usually gives us an item or two from his Gowans collection. That's Genearosity.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Genealife in Lockdown - Grounded

Genimate Alex Daw over at the Family Tree Frog blog has challenged fellow geneabloggers to write about their lock down experiences in a series of blog posts on Sundays during National Family History Month in Australia.

See what Alex has to say about the challenge here: 

This is my fourth post in for the challenge.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Patience pays off

My subscription to MyHeritage ran out a couple of months ago. I usually cancel the automatic renewal of subscription option because I don't want to pay the full price to renew. Within a couple of days I was phoned by a pushy marketer from Israel offering me a piddly discount off the full price of the $AU349 to renew. This has been followed up over the intervening weeks with several emails offering other smallish discounts. On the last occasion my renewal was due I hung out for a discount of around 50% before I renewed. I renew when the price represents reasonable value to me.

I only use MyHeritage for DNA Matches and Searching for Records. I totally ignore the other features like photo enhancement and others' online trees. Without a subscription I can still see my DNA matches and access from home the subscriptions from a genealogy society and public library to which I belong to explore the records on MyHeritage. 

A full subscription of MyHeritage is not worth $AU349 to me. It is a nice to have but not a must have subscription. Recently there was a discount of around 50% offered to Rootsmagic users which I was going to take up but I missed the closing date. Currently there is a discount offer of  around 50% through the Family History Federation which I have been considering.

I like to have a basic tree on MyHeritage  to make it easy for DNA matches to work out how we might relate but one of the emails I received from MyHeritage recently told me my tree was too large and I would have to renew to keep my tree in the site.  I also received an offer on 12th August to renew at up to 49% discount. I ignored that offer and put in a request for  my tree to be removed and received confirmation that this would happen in the next few days.

You'll never guess what was in my email box this morning. 

I paid up straight away. At $AU95.98 I am pleased to have MyHeritage back in my genealogy toolbox. (And they haven't removed my tree yet!!)

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Genealife in Lockdown - from Classy to Comfy

Macys, New York Flagship Store
Covid19 has played havoc with my clothes shopping activities.

I purchase most of my clothes on my regular visits to the United States where I hit the bargain racks in Macy's, Ross Dress for Less and other discount stores. As seasons in Australia are opposite those in the northern hemisphere I can usually pick up a few bargains for our local 'new season' from the 70% off discount racks. But that's not all, there are also the shoe bargains from the same stores. 

Full prices in the US are usually much lower than in Australia so I can buy fancy labels like Calvin Klein, Levis, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger etc. that I would never buy in Australia. It's now around 20 months since I have been to the US and contributed to their economy with my essential clothing purchases! 

While I am no fashion plate I love having smart clothes and a touch of glitter (this old girl needs all the help she can get). My 'going out' clothes have been languishing in my wardrobe as I am saving them up for future special outings and travel. I only got my glad rags out once during the pandemic (after we were vaccinated), for one formal occasion in June when the Covid situation in Sydney appeared to be in remission. 

During the pandemic we didn't stray too far from home until we were fully vaccinated, even when we weren't in lockdown as we are now.

At home I dress for comfort not for style. During the warmer months I wore the same couple of casual dresses or a tshirt from Big W (I bought a couple of new ones) and knee length pants. For the cooler months I splashed out and purchased two pairs of tracksuit pants from Best and Less (one of Australia's cheapest chains), on my top half I have been wearing one of three skivvies in rotation with the outer layer being one of two fleece tops I had bought for our Antarctica trip from Mountain Warehouse. For a bit of variety I also have two other pairs of old trousers and a couple of heavy cardigans and on cooler days I may supplement all this with a fleece vest.
Comfy Fleece

Prior to our scheduled departure this month for a conference in Norfolk Island I felt like some retail therapy. I splashed out at the Myer sale and bought three new jumpers, two of which are still in the plastic shopping bag due to the postponement of that conference.

My lovely collection of flatties, sparkly sandals etc are gathering dust while I wear comfortable footwear. In summer I get around in ugly blue or red tourist sandals and in cooler months I wear UGG moccasins or boots with socks. For more energetic activities I wear the ugly expensive shoes that were suggested by my ankle surgeon.


I hope Calvin, Ralph and Tommy are enjoying their sojourn in my closet as, with the current Covid numbers in NSW,  I think I'll be doing comfy for quite a while yet.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Genealife in Lockdown - Empty Pages.

Genimate Alex Daw over at the Family Tree Frog blog has challenged fellow geneabloggers to write about their lockdown experiences in a series of blog posts on Sundays during National Family History Month in Australia.

See what Alex has to say about the challenge here: 

As someone who is always up for a challenge I will try to post on the topic Genealife on Lockdown each Sunday in August. Following is my second post of five.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Genealife in Lockdown - Aunty Joan

Genimate Alex Daw over at the Family Tree Frog blog has challenged fellow geneabloggers to write about their lock down experiences in a series of blog posts on Sundays during National Family History Month in Australia.

See what Alex has to say about the challenge here: 

As someone who is always up for a challenge I will try to post on the topic Genealife on Lockdown each Sunday in August.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Worldwide Genealogy - A Genealogical Collaboration

Back on 30 December 2013 English Genealogist,  Julie Goucher, announced a collaborative Project in which I was involved. 

Worldwide Genealogy - A Genealogical Collaboration was a collaborative blog on the Blogger platform to which a team of bloggers contributed posts on an allocated day. In the first year of publication there were  215 posts but this had dwindled to 3 in 2018 with the last post written by Helen Holshouser published on March 30. Life is busy and somehow the wheels fell off the project.

There is some wonderful content in the posts, some of the information may be outdated but some of the issues discussed are still pertinent. The good news is that the blog is still live on the internet and the posts may come up in search results. But I wonder if it will remain there. 

My first post in the Worldwide Genealogy Blog

As I own the copyright on my posts I am going to copy my contributions from that blog into this GeniAus blog. My blog is preserved on the Australian Web Archive at Trove so I know that my words will be available in the future. 

I'll post them with their original posting date and acknowledge that they were originally posted on the Worldwide Genealogy Blog. 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

30 Bob for Daphne

 Indulging in some Sunday afternoon newspaper browsing on Trove  I found this mention of my mother-in-law, Daphne Gillespie from 1931. I wonder how she disposed of her 30 bob?

1931 'Advertising', The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), 1 January, p. 6. (LAST RACE EDITION), viewed 18 Jul 2021,

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Uncle Jack Charles

I finally caught up with last week's episode of Who do you think you are that featured Jack Charles

I thought that I recognised Jack and, as the program progressed, I realised that last year I had read a book about him. It wasn't the best book I have read and wasn't particularly well written but it certainly gives the reader an understanding of this man and his struggles. There have been many dark periods in Jack's journey.

I found the episode most touching and engaging and wonder if my interest was more intense because I knew more about Jack's personal history.

Should you wish to read "Jack Charles : born again blackfella"  you can find the details here:

A search in the Books & Libraries category on Trove indicates that there are copies available for loan in 200 Australian libraries It is available in paperback, audio and eBook formats.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Surprize, Surprise

 Last month I attended a free webinar, Floating Prisons: Irish Convict Hulks and Voyages to NSW,  hosted by the RAHS

During the webinar Anne McMahon, the author of the book Floating Prisons: Irish Convict Hulks and Voyages to New South Wales 1823-1837, discussed the history of the Irish hulks and gave details on the lives and conditions of the convicts incarcerated on them. I learnt that one of the hulks, the Surprize, was in Cork Harbour around the time my 3xGreat-Grandfather, Patrick Curry/Corry, was transported from there. Did Patrick spend time on the Surptize?

I realised that I needed to purchase the book which was published in 2017, I'm surprised that I didn't learn about it when it was published. I was hoping to purchase an eBook copy of the work but, when I asked during the webinar, if the book was available in that format the author was quite surprised, said she didn't know about those things and it would not appear in an electronic format!!

The book was available from several online sites but I opted to buy it from Amazon because it was 9.95 cheaper there than the recommended retail on other sites. 

I received a surprise when the parcel containing the book arrived. I had expected a paperback but the book is a heavy hardcover. It has all the features of a well documented work - bibliography, contents, indexes and references and contains a few illustrations and maps.I have yet to read the book, I don't think it will identify many individual convicts but I hope it provides a valuable insight into the lives of Irish Convicts in the early 19th century. Dr Perry McIntyre wrote an honest  review of the work in 2017 for Tintean Magazine,

Playing around on Google I found this article,, by Meg Carney who, after reading McMahon's book, thinks that her ancestor spent time in Cork on the Surprize. I wonder if I will come to the same conclusion for Patrick after reading the book. 

Monday, June 21, 2021

Three Rabbit Holes today

My annual subscription to MyHeritage runs out today so I am madly going through the DNA matches for the accounts I manage there before my access expires. I will probably resubscribe some time in the future when there is a decent offer but I cannot justify the AU $349‎  fee to extend my subscription now.

I am able to use the MyHeritage  subs at a local library or a genealogy society to search the MyHeritage record sets from home so I can't see the value investing in a premium subscription.

My Rabbit Holes of choice today are those MyHeritage Matches, DNAPainter to paint them and the Airtable database I use to track them.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

See you at THE Genealogy Show

 It's only five days until I take to the stage at THE Genealogy Show. I am thrilled to be in the company of so many renowned speakers on THE Show program.

My first presentation, Genealogy Research with Facebook,  is scheduled for 2:00am on the 25th June in the UK but will air at the convenient time of 11am for my genimates on Australian Eastern Standard time. 

LondonUnited Kingdom*
BST (UTC +1) 
Fri, 25 Jun 2021
2:00 am
AEST (UTC +10) 
Fri, 25 Jun 2021
11:00 am


My second gig, Managing Frugally: An Alphabet Of Tips & Tools For Family Historians, is scheduled for 10pm on the 26th June in the UK and will air at 7am on Sunday the 27th August for those on Australian Eastern Standard time. 

London, United Kingdom*
BST (UTC +1) 
Sat, 26 Jun 2021
10:00 pm
AEST (UTC +10) 
Sun, 27 Jun 2021
7:00 am


Don't worry if these times aren't convenient for you as the recordings will be available on demand for the 30 days of THE Show. 

If you haven't already done so grab your tickets here:

Monday, June 14, 2021

Deadmans Lane

Browsing through some snaps of one of our last overseas holidays I cam across this image of Deadmans Lane in Rye, East Sussex.

Such a pretty image for a place with such a deadly name. This post on Flickr gives an explanation for the naming of this thoroughfare.

And why was I in Deadmans Lane? I was trying to make my way to the House with two front doors in which the fictional character, Morton Farrier, from Nathan Dylan Goodwin's series of genealogy mysteries is supposed to reside.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Following this Blog

 Until today people could sign up to follow this blog by email. Unfortunately the service that managed this function, Feedburner owned by Google will be discontinued in July. 

Feedburner advised that I download my list of subscribers and I have done so. It was surprising to see I had over 1500 subscribers but on examining the email addresses I think many of them are bots and not real people.... but there are a few real people who are ACTIVE followers.

I have added a new icon to this blog that will allow anyone who wants to keep following by email. To subscribe to the new service, , please click on the green FOLLOW Icon at the top the left hand column of the GeniAus blog.

1. Click on this icon

Having clicked on that icon you should be directed to this URL: where you will be required to enter your email address then click on Follow.

2. Enter your email address and select Follow

You will then be directed to confirm your subscription using the email account with which you subscribed.

3. Confirm your subscription.

Hopefully this process will deliver a notification to your email address whenever a new post is published on the GeniAus blog.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

An early morning zoom with Ancestry

From time to time the bods at invite groups of genealogists along to online briefing sessions. As someone who doesn't like getting up at dawn I miss most of these events. 

Today's event was repeated - one session was at 2am my time and the other 7:30am. I signed up for the 7:30am session in case I was conscious by then. Fortunately I was awake before 7am so I grabbed my laptop and earbuds from my study and crawled back under the covers.

Rearranged genealogy apps and widget
On logging in I saw several familiar faces from Australia, New Zealand and the US. The session was hosted by Crista Cowan accompanied by a team of Ancestry tech guys. I was pleased that I attended because the session focused on the Ancestry mobile apps which I had installed as soon as they were released.

Pre-Covid I often used the Ancestry App and the AncestryDNA app on my Android phone but, while
homebound over the past 18 months, I have only used the desktop application to communicate, collaborate and research with Ancestry. I was impressed by the demos of all the new features in these apps. The functionality has improved heaps and many new features have been added, these apps now appear have most of the features of the desktop product. The tech guys online took note of the user comments in the chat and will consider points raised for further development.

I must have been sleeping under a rock because I was unaware of the Ancestry widgets (one available in Australia, one to come). I thought I'd log into my apps and follow along and install the widget while watching the presentation but I had been logged out of the apps and couldn't remember my password. 

My first job after the session ended was to grab my phone, locate my password and log in to my apps. As I wanted to install the Ancestry widget I had to move all the icons around on the screen that has my genealogy apps. With a two-three hour car ride ahead of me tomorrow I have another option to keep me amused.

Ancestry has recognised that many of us live on our mobile devices and has created a fabulous mobile option that will give us access to all our Ancestry data when we are on the move. I'm so pleased I joined in to learn about it this morning. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Trove Tuesday - Found

 I have posted this delightful photo of my mother dancing in Martin Place at the end of World War Two several times over the years and knew that it had originally appeared in a Sydney newspaper.

Mum is in the two-tone shoes.
Yesterday I had cause to find the original image and I noted that there was a typed caption pasted on it.

When I teach people how to use Trove I tell them that they can use Trove to date old newspaper clippings by pasting text into the search box. It was time to practice what I preach.

I fired up Trove, selected search in Newspapers & Gazettes category and typed these words from the caption in the search box "Typical of excited Sydney crowds were these crowds who celebrated" then narrowed the results to NSW and 1945.

SUCCESS! How easy was that!
I found the original article with a cropped image of my mother and the revellers with whom she was celebrating. 

1945 'Wild scenes as Australia celebrates surrender news; revellers throng streets', The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), 12 August, p. 3. , viewed 07 Jun 2021,

Thankyou Trove for sharing and preserving my mother's story.

Monday, June 7, 2021

In Elsie's Footsteps

 Last week we ventured into the city to attend a function where Mr GeniAus was recognized for being a member of his professional body for fifty years. The compere described my husband as "a sprightly old chap"!

Mr GeniAus (centre) with his award

As the function was held in the Fullerton Hotel in Sydney we booked our overnight accommodation there. The Heritage wing of the hotel is the former Sydney GPO where my mother, Elsie Duncan, worked as a telephoniste during the 1940s. On booking in I noticed that the hotel was offering free 90 minute tours of the GPO building so I immediately signed up. 

The Heritage GPO wing is connected to the new tower block by walkways and an atrium

Friday at 10:00am saw us join Tour Guide Alex and three other couples for the tour. We commenced with a little history lesson before venturing out into George Street to look closely at the exterior of the GPO building. Alex asked us if we had ever looked up at the carvings and statuary decorating the building, we all agreed that we looked ahead not up when walking around the city. 

Stopping on George Street we raised our eyes and saw Coats of Arms and various other carvings.

Turning into Martin Place we admired the long colonnade and glanced up once more to admire the many carvings along the facade. Above the entrance door was an impressive sculpture of Queen Victoria. 

Before turning into Pitt Street we visited an art gallery in the former public telephone area of the GPO. The ceiling in in that room is decorated with gold leaf.

Along the Pitt Street facade we saw some ghost signs, more carvings and the former vehicular entrance.

On entering the hotel we stopped to look at the atrium that covers the former courtyard of the GPO. The magnificent replica grand staircase that takes one out of the building under Queen Victoria's sculpture  dominates the northern end of this area.

On the first floor of the old building we saw the rooms where the telephonistes worked. The males on the western wing and the females on the eastern wing. These rooms are now used as function rooms. Standing in the area where my mother spent her days was spine-tingling.

Did Mum have a good view from these windows as she fiddled with the cords and plugs on the switchboards?

Last stop on our tour was the basement of the old GPO building where the horses were stabled and where the Tank Stream was encased in a concrete pipe.

The old stables

The Tanks Stream flows through these pipes.

I hadn't thought much about the work Mum had done at the GPO until I saw some old photos of telephonistes at work in the basement audiovisual display.

The purpose of our trip to the city was for Mr GeniAus to reflect on his long and successful career, I am so proud of his achievments. The unexpected outcome of being able to walk in Mum's footsteps topped off  our excursion to the city.


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