War Bride

My latest family history project is trying to connect with the story of my cousin, Lyla Brown/Curtis, who married an American soldier in the 1940s, and who went to live in the US. I remember briefly speaking on the phone with her after she arrived back from living in the United States. Presumably long dead... Continue Reading →

South Lismore

As a child growing up in South Lismore, one of my strongest earliest memories was of the arrival at the nearby railway station of hundreds of people for the Aquarius Festival. Though it’s often described as Australia’s answer to Woodstock, I don’t think there was such a high musical component to it. But as a... Continue Reading →

Behind Bars

It's thirty years since the decriminalisation of consensual male sex in New South Wales, and "some of the leading figures responsible for that change have all died in a six month period", we were told by Murray Maclachlan at the Australian Homosexual History Conference held at Sydney's University of Technology. He was referring to former... Continue Reading →

Darlinghurst History Walk

I spent the early part of the day teaching at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. As part of the lecture I gave, I repeated the mantra, "there are no boring stories, only boring story-tellers" which I've heard many times from radio consultant, Valerie Geller. She's absolutely right. Just about any story can be... Continue Reading →

Appin Bi-Centenary

“I have a connection to the pub across the road” I told the woman who was looking after things at St Bede's Catholic Church in Appin today. “Two of my ancestors ran the pub back in the 1840s”, I told her, referring to William Rixon and Ann Hoare. “There was a close connection between the... Continue Reading →

Colonial Wine Tasting

Talk about four seasons in one day. What began as a fine sunny day in Sydney, had, by mid-afternoon turned into something cold and wet. Cold and wet enough to drag out the possibly fake "North Face" rain jacket I bought in Beijing a few months ago. As the rain tumbled down, I could think... Continue Reading →

Chinatown Tour

"These will bring passion and romance into your life", the bloke behind the counter said to me as I handed over my planned purchase. "That was the general idea", I told him and we smiled at each other. It was towards the end of an "Historical and Cultural Tour" of Chinatown, co-inciding with Chinese New... Continue Reading →

More History

I went in search today of details about the still-born child my mum and dad had back in 1953. As with many things in my family, it wasn't something that was talked about. Indeed, when I mentioned it to one of my older sisters, and showed her the record from the online historical indexes of... Continue Reading →

Granny was a Hoare

Sometimes you can forget how beautiful Sydney is at this time of the year. That is, until you take a walk along the coastline near Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama. The sandstone cliffs, the blue-green colour of the water, and the gentleness of the walk are both relaxing and hypnotic. The walk wasn't overly busy, though,... Continue Reading →

Family History

I didn't go to the pub tonight, as is my usual routine. And I won't be going for the next couple of weeks either, since Swedish class has swapped to Wednesday night for the next few weeks. Instead, I stayed home and did some family history research. There was a terrific documentary on television tonight... Continue Reading →

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