52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History 6 – Radio & Television

Week 6: Radio and Television. What was your favorite radio or television show from your childhood? What was the program about and who was in it?

52 weeks of personal genealogy and historyI grew up in Dubbo, which was a country town of about 16,000 people in the central west of New South Wales. We had two TV channels – the ABC and CBN-8 CWN-6, which was broadcast from Orange and seemed to have a selection of programs from the three big networks in Sydney (7, 9 and 10), so we didn’t see a lot of the shows that Sydney took for granted. For example, we saw The Addams Family but not The Musters.

We had one local radio station, 2DU, and we could also get 2GZ in Orange. 2GZ was just that bit more cool. At night we would lie in bed and try to pick up more far-off stations. I could get 2SM in Sydney some nights. 2DU was a bit daggy for our tastes, and would play ads between every song. For a while there I used to ring up and answer their quiz questions, and they’d send me their crappy old singles that were off the playlist as prizes. Mum would turn the radio on as soon as she got up, and if we had been asleep before we wouldn’t be once the radio went on. It was LOUD. There was a radio serial in the morning before the 8 o’clock news. Chicken Man is the only one I remember.

We spent regular holidays in Sydney so we knew what we were missing. We could listen to 2SM all day, and revel in the choice of four TV stations. Four!

Shows that I can remember watching after school were The Addams Family (click click!), The Brady Bunch, and Gilligan’s Island. I can probably still sing all the words to the theme songs. My younger brothers watched Sesame Street in the morning before school, and I can still sing a lot of those songs as well.

I look up and see the sky
I look down and see the ground
I look at you and sing a song about Up and Down

Sung by Bert and Ernie

At night we watched other shows. I still love Star Trek, particularly Jean-Luc Picard, although I couldn’t get into some of the later franchises. The latest movie Star Trek, where we went back to the beginning of James T. Kirk and the rest of them, was excellent!

Countdown was the only show that showed music in those days and everyone watched it. It showed film clips and live bands miming their way through their latest hits in an ABC studio full of excitable teenagers. The Top Ten countdown at the end was quite often a disappointment when we saw what was number one and going to be played in full.

Animal Kingdom is possibly partly responsible for my love of wildlife, resulting in two trips to Africa and one to Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands so far. Disneyland was on Sunday nights and the whole family watched it. Sometimes it showed cartoons and sometimes stories about wild animals with a hokey narrator.

Tom Baker - the Fourth DoctorMy favourite show, though, was probably Doctor Who. Doctor Who was on four nights a week at 6:30pm before the news on the ABC. Each week was a story with a cliffhanger at the end of the episode, and the story would have a happy ending on Thursday night. Mum would be out in the kitchen mashing the potatoes in the saucepan, a very noisy process,  just as we were getting to the exciting bit at the end of the episode.

Tom Baker with his long scarf was the Doctor in those days, although I remember Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee before him. We didn’t have a television set in the days of William Hartnell, the first Doctor. I left home during Tom Baker’s reign and I didn’t get a TV until Mum gave me the old black-and-white one when she got a colour one from Uncle Bill. Doctor Who was in colour!

I still watched Doctor Who when I could, and I vaguely remember some of the Doctors after Tom Baker. I liked Peter Davison but I remember being less than impressed by Colin Baker, although by that time I was working and not watching so much afternoon TV. I don’t remember the other two, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann, at all. By the time Sylvester McCoy came along I was married and not watching TV at all before the 7 o’clock news.

I’ve really enjoyed the recent re-incarnation of the Doctor Who series, and I’m happy to watch repeats on cable TV. But those nights in Dubbo with my sister and brothers in the lounge room watching Tom Baker while Mum was in the kitchen mashing potatoes are what make Doctor Who special for me.

Doctor Who dates:

1963-1966  William Hartnell

1966-1969  Patrick Troughton

1970-1974  Jon Pertwee

1974-1981  Tom Baker

1981-1984  Peter Davison

1984- 1986  Colin Baker

1987-1996  Sylvester McCoy

1996              Paul McGann

http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/

Waitangi Day – My first New Zealand ancestor

The Waitangi Day Blog Challenge is to write about our earliest New Zealand ancestor.

I’ve written before about my great-great-grandmother Margaret Craig, who arrived in the new settlement of Auckland in 1842 aboard the Jane Gifford with her family when she was 4 years old. Today I’ll talk about her father.

Joseph Craig

Joseph Craig (c1804-1883)

Joseph Craig married Agnes Allan in the parish of Paisley Abbey, near Glasgow, on 16 February 1827. They had at least eight children between 1827 and 1842, with the youngest, Louisa, born in 1841. Agnes must have died some time between and because Joseph married Elizabeth Lachlan a week before the Jane Gifford sailed for Auckland on 18 June 1842.

Joseph was a respectable member of society He acted as a constable on the voyage aboard the Jane Gifford and was recommended for gratuity by ship’s surgeon. When they arrived in Auckland Joseph settled in Mechanics’ Bay, where the workers lived. I wonder if there was a house waiting for them when they arrived. I suspect not. Perhaps the family lived in a tent until Joseph built a hut for them to live in.

Later he lived in a house in Nelson Street and worked as a brickmaker. I imagine bricks were in great demand. One of his sons, Joseph, started a merchant and carrying business that became J.J. Craig, made famous by his eldest son Joseph James Craig.

Joseph died at the ripe old age of 83. He was living in Arthur Street, Ponsonby, and I believe my great-great-grandmother, Margaret Lowe, nee Craig, was living with him. Her husband John Hindley Austin Lowe had died ten years before, and Margaret took her remaining children and went to live with her father and stepmother.

Elizabeth died eight months after her husband. She is a bit of a mystery to me. She was the only mother Margaret knew. What made her agree to marry Joseph and go to the other side of the world with him to a brand new colony and look after all those children? I can’t imagine. Things must have been bad in Scotland for such a prospect to be so tempting.

The only picture I have of Joseph is this one sent to my cousin and I from a distant relative in Canada. Joseph had an older brother Robert and sister Janet who migrated to Ontario. We know that they were related because Janet, who died a spinster, left Joseph some shares in her will. Lucky for us!

Joseph Craig's grave in Old Symonds Street Cemetery Auckland

Joseph Craig's grave in Old Symonds Street Cemetery Auckland

Sources

Scotland OPRs

Jane Gifford passenger list

Auckland Police Census 1841-1846, compiled by Auckland City Library, 2007.

1852 Electoral Roll

New Zealand Births Deaths and Marriages

Auckland Rate Books

(Sorry for the abbreviated sources, I’m distracted by the Cyclone Yasi news from Queensland)

Australia Day Challenge – A Conditional Purchase Application

Shelley at Twigs of Yore has set herself a task for Australia Day, and a challenge for the rest of us:

Find the earliest piece of documentation you have about an ancestor in Australia. If you don’t have an Australian ancestor, then choose the earliest piece of documentation you have for a relative in Australia.

On Wednesday 26 January 2011 post your answers to these questions:

  1. What is the document?
  2. Do you remember the research process that lead you to it? How and where did you find it?
  3. Tell us the story(ies) of the document. You may like to consider the nature of the document, the people mentioned, the place and the time. Be as long or short, broad or narrow in your story telling as you like!

What document to choose? Which ancestor? The first one in Australia, or the first one born in Australia?

I’ve decided to go with one of my first arrivals into the colony of New South Wales but ignore the very first documents, which are the assisted immigrant passenger lists. These lists are easy to find – you search the online index at the State Records NSW website, and then you look up the microfilm. There are two lists, and if you are lucky your ancestor will appear in both. I posted a story a few years ago about how I found my Richard Eason’s mother’s mother from the ‘relative in the colony’ Richard gave when he immigrated, so I won’t repeat that here.

Instead I’d like to focus on what Richard did when he got here. He eventually became a farmer, and the first document I have for him that he actually signed is his application for a Conditional Purchase.

Conditional Purchases were introduced in 1862 as a way of getting small landholders on the land. They paid an initial deposit of %10 of the value of the land, and had to pay it off. The conditions were that they had to reside on the property, and they had to improve it – build a house, fences, etc. They could select land before it was surveyed, so by the time the surveyor came around there was often some improvements already built, which the surveyor often marked on the plan.

The land is 40 acres in the Parish of Graham, County of Bathurst, which is just north of the town of Blayney.

Conditional Purchase application form

State Records NSW: NSW Lands Department, Conditional Sales Branch, Correspondence files 1877-1951, NRS8103. Letter no. 71/5977.

I am inclined to think that Richard filled out this form himself, product of the Irish Education system as he was. He said he could read and write when he arrived in the colony in 1850, as did most of the people on the Oriental with him. The handwriting looks similar throughout, except for the signatures of others.

The form was also signed by Robert Ewin. Robert was Richard’s brother-in-law, Richard having married Esther Ewin in 1862. Robert also had land in this area, and Richard bought some of it from him later on.

When the survey was done the land was found to be slightly larger than the 40 acres, and Richard agreed to pay the extra.

Richard built a house on this land and raised his family in it, even though his wife died not long afterwards. His son John raised his own family there. John’s son Richard, my grandfather, sold the land and took the materials for his own building.

The process of finding this document was made easier by the fact that the Conditional Purchase number and Richard’s name was recorded on an old parish map:

Graham Parish map 1884 detail

NSW Lands Department, Historical Parish Maps. Bathurst County, Graham Parish, 1884. Detail showing Portion 199.

Once I had the Conditional Purchase number, CP71.252, I could go to State Records NSW at Kingswood and ask to see the Conditional Purchase Register for that year. From there I could trace the correspondence through the Correspondence Registers to find the documents. It sounds easy but it is quite time consuming, and easy to make mistakes.

On the map you can see many other names of the people that Richard must have known. Robert and William Ewin were his brothers-in-law. A sister-in-law married a Thornberry. All of them came from the same couple of parishes in County Tyrone in northern Ireland.

A couple of years ago I visited this land and saw the remains of the house. I have written about this previously. I met the current owner of the property, who gave me a photo of Richard’s son John Eason, my great-grandfather, that I had never seen before.

Fernside

Remains of the house at 'Fernside' near Blayney

I’ve traced many conditional purchases since then, but none have been as exciting as this first one!

Further information:
State Records NSW Archives in Brief No 93 – Background to conditional purchase of Crown land