52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History Week 3 – Cars

Week 3: Cars. What was your first car? Describe the make, model and color, but also any memories you have of the vehicle. You can also expand on this topic and describe the car(s) your parents drove and any childhood memories attached to it.

I’m going to jump straight to family cars. Here is my Mum’s car. She learned to drive after her marriage to my Dad ended and we moved back to Dubbo where her parents were. She bought the car second hand from her father. It was a Valiant, a beige Valiant station wagon. It had a bench seat in the front so we could seat three in the front when necessary. As the eldest of four I sat in the front and the other kids in the back.

Our house

The house I grew up in, with the car next to it.

My first driving lessons were in this car. It was a terrible thing, big and heavy. It had a column shift, coming out of the steering column. I ran it into a tree ( I nearly missed it!) at a very low speed and not a scratch did the car suffer.

This is the only photo I can find that has the car in it that doesn’t show people that may not want to be displayed for all to see in my blog. Some of them are in this picture too, but I’m confident that they’re privacy is secure.

I will save the commentary on the house for a future post which I’m sure will be coming over the next few months.

My grandfather had a small farm in his semi-retirement. He used to take my sister and me out there on Sundays, and we used to ride in the back of the ute. We watched farming stuff going on – sheep being dipped and so on. We got our cat from a litter of kittens on the farm. Here we are disembarking after one of these trips:

Pop's ute

Pop's ute

I don’t know when riding in the back of a ute became illegal. Perhaps it was already illegal by then. We loved it!

Here is my grandfather and his young family in perhaps the mid-1930s. I like to think this was his first car, but I don’t really know.

Grandfather's car

Grandfather's car

Actually I’m only guessing that it’s his car. He’s in the middle and looking proprietorial so I think I’m safe. I can imagine the family piling into the car and chugging off home, with all these other people waving them off.

Any information about what sort of car this is would be very welcome!

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History 1 – New Year’s Day

That’s a long title and it’s going to get tedious as the weeks go on.

The question  is:

Week 1: New Year’s. Did your family have any New Year’s traditions? How was the New Year celebrated during your childhood? Have you kept these traditions in the present day?

The answer is no. It wasn’t. I don’t know anyone who celebrated New Year’s Day, certainly not in my extended family.

So we’ve had to make our own traditions. My husband and I used to do the NYE thing when we were younger.  These are from 1988. we had a great spot at Taronga Zoo, which is on the harbour at Mosman:

Carole at Taronga Zoo

1988 fireworks

As you can see, the fireworks were not as spectacular twenty years ago as they are today. Cameras didn’t take great pictures in low light either. These were scanned from prints. Actually the photos are from the Bicentennial celebrations on Australia Day, 26 January 1988, but you get the idea. I think this was the first year the Bridge was used for fireworks.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 1988

We still like the fireworks but we don’t go in to the city to see them in person any more. It’s all too much hassle. It took us nearly an hour just to get out of the Taronga Zoo car park that night in 1988. We’d had to camp all day to get a good spot, and that was even after buying two of the restricted number of tickets for Zoo Friends. We had the Zoo to entertain us but once we’d picked a spot we had to stay there.

These days we watch them on TV. Up until this year we had a tradition of getting takeaway Thai food, but this year we had leftover risotto. We drink champagne, or sparkling shiraz, and watch movies, interrupting them for the kids fireworks at 9 and the big ones at 12.

New Year's fireworks 2011

Courtesy Channel 9 Sydney

The TV is much bigger, and with a much better picture, than the one we would have watched in 1988. All the more reason to stay at home. We prefer watching movies at home these days too. A sign of age, or of better technology? Perhaps both.

I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions, but I do think about what I’ve achieved in the last year and what is ahead of me this year. Perhaps it’s time to formalise this process and write things down.