James Patrick Terence O’Brien

At this stage, I don’t know for sure if I’m related to James Patrick Terence O’Brien of Lismore, NSW but his story fascinates me, nonetheless. It’s a story I discovered quite accidentally, searching for family history connections using the Trove newspaper database. The many newspaper reports clearly indicate James had a really, really serious long-term problem with alcohol, which resulted in many convictions over many years. Although my interest started with his convictions in Lismore, the evidence suggests he may have also spent some time in Brisbane around the mid 1920s. I think it’s worth noting the Queensland newspaper records have him listed as “Patrick James Terence O’Brien” instead of “James Patrick Terence O’Brien”. Although it’s quite possible these were two different men, the pattern of behaviour (the arrests for alcohol-related crimes, violence, and vagrancy, and the references to numerous previous convictions) as well as the age references, suggest the two men were probably one and the same. Even if they’re not related, it’s a remarkable co-incidence that two men with similar names could have lead such similar lives. From what I can see he was probably born in the mid 1890s, though his age does go up and down a little according to the newspaper reports. According to one newspaper report, his earliest conviction for drunkeness could have been as early as 1912. It’s worth noting, however, there’s also a report in the Goulburn Herald of July 22, 1907 […]

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Boxing Day at Nimbin

Nimbin Rocks

“It’s a lot more hippie than I remember”, my friend Sue said as we made our way along the main street of Nimbin. “There’s a lot less drugs on offer”, I thought to myself. Sue had actually grown up in Nimbin to a family who had lived there for a couple of generations, whereas I’d only visited on a few occasions. My only really significant connection with the “Rainbow Generation” was when they arrived at South Lismore Railway Station in 1973. I was living close-by and remember and to this […]

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Resistant Obsolescence at Lismore Art Gallery

Resistant Obsolescence at Lismore Art Gallery

I paid a visit today to the Lismore Regional Art Gallery today, where the current exhibition’s called “Resistant Obsolescence”. The exhibition features a series of works created with “found” obsolete technology. Turntables, cassette tapes, floppy discs and other objects have been created into new artworks: some resemble the technology they’ve been created with; others have been used to create something new and unique, including the creation of some soundscapes. All of the works appear to have been created by local artists, and so when I wandered into the gallery today, […]

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Same, Same but Different

Born and Bred in South Lismore

“OMG, it’s Kerry”, I shouted out inside my heard. Instantly, I realised I shouldn’t be surprised since I knew Kerry was a regular at the Lismore Farmer’s Markets. I’ve known Kerry’s partner, Paul for almost forty years (since the start of high school), and Kerry for about a decade. Or is it longer? Because I’ve lived away for so long, and probably because I’m getting older, memories are beginning to fade. I obviously lots of very familiar memories of childhood, having grown up in Lismore until I was eighteen. I […]

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