History shrouded in mystery!

#52 Ancestors: Week 20 – Cousin Bait Each time I peel back the layers of mystery surrounding the life of an ancestor, mine or others, I see a story emerging; a chance to bring that ancestor into the limelight for a moment in time. Treasures abound in the Aladdin’s cave that is family history – they beckon and call and demand my attention. A lost diary here; a forgotten memoir there; an old tattered photo; or uncovered documentary evidence of people, place and time. These are the story starters for me; the facts and the evidence from my ancestors’ lives. … Continue reading History shrouded in mystery!

Requiem for Harriet

#52 Ancestors ‘At the Cemetery’ Harriet buried 3 children and a husband. Now she is at rest. They employed Harriet as a machinist in the Allery Tailoring business during the 1890s. Work as a machinist did not pay well then. Many unmarried young women had a little choice of occupation in Edwardian times (domestic service, prostitution, shop work, the stage or dressmaking). Harriet continued to live at home bringing into the household her meagre income of a few shillings; making shirts at 7 pence a dozen. She worked from seven in the morning to eleven at night. My father, Walter, … Continue reading Requiem for Harriet

Cecil Allery: 1900-1985

Memories of Dad, Cecil Henry Allery 1900 in London, UK The turn of the century was an interesting time in the United Kingdom, when huge changes were taking place. The parish of Richmond in Surrey had a population of about 20,000 people, had excellent transport links to London (trains, trams and omnibuses) and was emerging as a sought after residential and commercial location. Residents were kept informed by no less than four local newspapers:- the Thames Valley Times was published each Wednesday and the Chiswick Times on Fridays. The Richmond & Twickenham Times and the Richmond Herald appeared on Saturdays. Richmond … Continue reading Cecil Allery: 1900-1985

Multiple Births: Edwardian style

Grandmother Mary Jane Robinson: her impact on me! Mary Jane was a woman of mystery to me. She had left this earth before I could know her – I don’t count the 9 short years I was on this earth at the same time. As a 4 year old I had no real sense of belonging and with a world shattered by war, there were huge upheavals in my family – we emigrated to Australia in 1949. By May 1954 she had died at Surrey, Northern – a fact revealed to us by mail in our new home in Victoria. … Continue reading Multiple Births: Edwardian style

Revisiting Ancestors : Jemima and the Will

Imagine her surprise when she listened to the reading of the will of her late father! As the eldest of the clan Rosina thought she would receive a substantial financial legacy, but she did not expect to be given the four properties at 46, 48, 50 and 52 Elton Road, Norbiton, Kingston-on-Thames. Tears of joy were her first response! She then looked into her step-mother’s shining eyes and sat up a little more formally in the leather chair in the study at 196 Commercial Road, Peckham. She was attending the formal ceremony of reading the will of her late father … Continue reading Revisiting Ancestors : Jemima and the Will

Great Grandmother Jemima: Freedom of the city

Great Grandmother Jemima became a second wife for my great grandfather Samuel John Allery in 1884. At the age of 32 she took on the task of parenting the 5 children from his previous marriage to Mary Ann Hall, and during her 30’s and 40’s gave birth to six boys of her own. Just two years between each of them, her band of young men were her greatest legacy. Her boys all lived to a great age, served their country in the first World War and built their own businesses and dynasties. This story is about two significant periods of … Continue reading Great Grandmother Jemima: Freedom of the city

Furious Fiction 2: The Convoy

By five o’clock that evening the sky was bright red above the mountain ranges and the hot northerly winds continued to blow the smoke into the township below. Visibility was reduced to 100 metres and the lights from the convoy were shrouded in haze. Craig walked to the front of the line and climbed into the cabin of the lead vehicle. His smart phone sounded the alert for the evacuation relaying to the families in their vehicles behind him. He exchanged a look with Sandy as he switched on the ignition and roared the V8 diesel engine into life. Adjusting … Continue reading Furious Fiction 2: The Convoy

Gordon Monroe Dingwall: 1914 -1915

It was not long after the declaration of war, that the Dingwall boys of Toowoomba decided to join the army. The stirring recruitment campaigns in Queensland, as in all other states of Australia, had their desired outcome, an increase in enlistment of soldiers in the Australian Imperial Forces. News of the war was all over the news in the newspapers in Toowoomba – it was hard to resist the call to arms. The Dingwall family, sent their sons Douglas, Alexander and Gordon to fight for victory over the enemy abroad and bravely endured the horrors of war from a distance … Continue reading Gordon Monroe Dingwall: 1914 -1915