About Me.

A Family Tree researcher for over 30 years and a blogger since 2010, I love to share what I find. This blog has opened up a new way to contact and keep in-touch with both family and friends. It mightn't always be genealogy related and you might not agree with my point of view but I want you to comment, ask questions and look upon this blog as 'friends having a chat'.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Paul and Lilian's Excellent Adventure, Friday 17 and Saturday 18 November 2017

Friday 17th.

Good Morning Sunrise!

After the rain, overnight I didn't think the morning would be dry, warm and calm. Obscured by clouds, sunrise was pretty, with shafts of light piercing through and again I was the only person around.

Breakfast and then a walk south, past the surf club and down the steps to Shelly Beach, ( must be the name to give a small beach, with shells, as I know of at least four). We didn't go right to the bottom as it is the beach for dogs, it looks like rock platforms and a bit of sand. Heading up we decided to walk around the block and back in the top end of Kim's. There are 36 steps from the street to reception/ dining room area. Done in sets with long runs between them. Going up and down give you plenty of exercise. 
The view along the steps.

Shelly Beach.
 The water dragon was perched on a stone temple, in the middle of the fishpond and was very obliging for photos. 

Reading and relaxing, while Paul did his exercises, made me head out for a stroll on the beach. Raining, not to heavy, at first but when you start seeing the spots on the sand, it is time to turn back.

It is so relaxing just to sit and look at the waves.

Both Paul and I had  massages, this afternoon and they were so good.

Cocktails before dinner and I tried a Pina Colada, yum! We chatted to another couple, who are here for the weekend.

 The view north, from our villa.

Saturday 18th.

I woke early and managed to get some beautiful photos of the clouds, highlighted by the sun. A clam morning.  Breakfast and then the last of our packing and then to head home.

Kim's has a tradition of flying the flags of the country, a guest is from, as well as the Australian flag.  We have had, United Kingdom, United States of America, Samoa, Cook Island, Fiji, three state flags, being Northern Territory, Tasmania and New South Wales. I tried each day to guess them, before breakfast but this morning got stuck on the first flag and was seriously annoyed with myself. I had picked the Isle of Man and Greece but it was this one that stumped me. Can you work it out? Answer at the bottom.
This is the name of our villa and as the name implies, we were very idle.

                                                                         Bye for now,

Answer, City of Sydney.


Paul and Lilian's Excellent Adventure, Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 November 2017

Arriving, yesterday afternoon, we settled into our villa and unpacked. Pre-dinner drinks from 6.30pm in the cocktail lounge, followed by dinner at 7.30pm.  Bed, after a glass of port and chocolate.
The sound of the sea, lulled  us to sleep.

I was up at 5.15am, so I didn't miss sunrise. Cool but not cold, with no wind,  I stood just off the beach and watched as the sun slowly crept up out of the ocean. Beautiful. It was cloudy on the horizon but there was enough of a gap to see the sun.

Back inside, Paul was still asleep, I made a cuppa and relaxed.  Breakfast at 8.30am was a buffet style, like last nights dinner. Plenty of delicious selections to choose from.  After breakfast we strolled to the Toowoon Bay Surf Life Saving Club and discovered that they had a café, something to consider, for lunch.

Back in our villa, I settled down to do some research and Paul did his weight lifting exercises.
Finding the coffee table to low, I set myself up at the desk, only to discover that, you can't get your legs under the edge of the desk as it is to low. I did get some research done but was uncomfortable, so decided that a walk was a good idea.

Now Kim's is on the side of a hill. We go up 33 steps, to get to the dining room and still more to get to street level. (The steps have level bits between them, not a straight run of steps.) I discovered that if you walk out the entrance to the surf club, there is a ramp and steps to the street, better but still a steep walk.

Paul and I then strolled to the small shopping area, Toowoon Bay Village,  most of the places are food places, from take-a-ways, to cafes to a classy restaurant. We choose the cake shop, for coffee and I did a quick shop in the grocers.

Back in the villa, the call of the beach got to me and taking my camera, I headed out for a beach walk. I headed north stopping to take photos of interesting things and the view. To the north is The Entrance and Nora Head. It is Norah Head lighthouse we see. With the tide on the turn, there wasn't much of the hard packed sand to walk on, making it a bit of a slog.

Norah Head Lighthouse, just before sunrise. I even managed to catch the beam as it went past.

Now very windy and the para-surfers are taking full advantage of the breeze. It is amazing that they don't collide or tangle their shutes  together.

Tonight there was a pianist, playing in the cocktail lounge. Drinks and canapés, before dinner. Excellent selection, the day's menu is on your table, so you have an idea as to what is available.

Wandering back to our villa, we both sat and read, late into the evening.

Thursday 16th.

No sunrise for me, we both didn't wake until 7.00am, enjoyed a lazy cuppa and then wandered up to breakfast. Paul tasted a different muesli and liked it. I might try and make it at home. I tried some of the honey selection and found the tastes very different, to what I usually have.

An after breakfast beach walk was in order, cardigan required as it was a bit cool and there was a breeze. I headed south, towards the main part of the beach and found that I had to walk in the soft sand as there was a good slope on the hard packed sand. Walking out to the rocks, I was able to see two headlands. I walked back along the path.


Today I set the laptop up on the patio table, much better and I was able to work comfortably.  Brought the blog up to date and answered emails. Enough, time to walk to the café for lunch.

I have noticed that the schools seem to be having lifesaving lessons, both primary and high school. I have also noticed a large number of swimmers, paddle boarders and a kayaker, enjoying themselves.
Wanting a break, I walked down to the beach and was amazed that I was the only person around, the beach was deserted.  Later there was a para-surfer and a windsurfer, taking full advantage of the strong wind and racing each other across the small waves.

This Water Dragon, hangs around the two fishponds, the garden edges and even the path.
                                                                    Today's flags.
Bye for now,

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Paul and Lilian's Excellent Adventure, Monday 13 November 2017 (out of order)

Today we explored three new wineries, Thomas Wines, Peter Drayton Wines and Usher Tinkler Wines.

Thomas Wines are known for the Semillon and Shiraz, after a small tasting we selected the Semillon, for dinner, and the Shiraz to take home.


                                           The view from Thomas Wines, stunning.

Peter Drayton is part of the wine family, Drayton. We have purchased Drayton's wines before and like them, so thought we would give Peter's a try. Not disappointed. A liquored Muscat and a liquored Verdelho, were delicious and added to our collection, along with his Moscato.

We had been told to try Usher Tinkler, as we were after some Muscat. Well after two tastings we walked out. We were the only ones there and the person, looking after us, poured the first one, explained it, poured the second one, explained it and then disappeared! There was other staff and they ignored us as well, so we left.

Thought we would have a look at the Hunter Valley Gardens, we had been before but they are lovely to walk through. Didn't happen! The entry fee for us oldies was $27, a family of four $85. Even the locals are complaining about the prices.

We went into the group of shops and had lunch at A Taste of Country. We shared a plate, with bread, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and spices, then Paul had a wrap and I had wedges. Everything was delicious. I had a caramel spon hot chocolate, yum!

From there we went to Kevin Sobels Wines, to do some shopping. Mandy was in the shop and it was good to have a chat and thank her for Saturday's lunch.  Shopping done, we headed to Pokolbin Village and I did some Christmas shopping. From there we went to Two Fat Blokes shop and I added to the Christmas pressies.

Back to the Vintage and we got ourselves organised to go out to Amanda's On The Edge for dinner.  Set on a hill, overlooking vineyards this restaurant gives ARIA a run for its money. Paul and I had three courses and everything was delicious. Paul tried a Martini and I tried a Midorie Splice. Mine was lovely but Paul wasn't keen on the Martini, very dry. The wine went well with both our meals. I didn't drink and drive, we booked a taxi, both ways.

The view from Amanda's

Home and I finished the packing,  tomorrow we leave the Hunter for the coast.

Most of our days have involved walking around the area. We are in a golf resort and we often follow the golf buggy path. We are both getting plenty of exercise.

Bye for now,

Paul and Lilian's Excellent Adventure, Tuesday 14 November 2017.

Today we said 'good bye' to the wine region and made our way to the coast.

Stopping to see Jill and Robert Ball, in their new home on the way through was great. They have a wonderful view of Lake Macquarie and it was great to have lunch with them and catch-up.

We then drove to Kim's Beachside Resort, Towoon Bay, home until Saturday. We are very close to the beach, in a villa and are planning to do not a lot very slowly.

I will blog about our stay but it won't be until we get home.

Bye, till Saturday.

Paul and Lilian's Excellent Adventure, Sunday 12 November 2017.

                                              Today is our wine tour day with Two Fat Blokes.

Our driver collected us and two other couples, bringing our bus passengers to nine in total,  one Japanese lady and the rest Aussies and then promptly got lost. This made us 30 minuets late for our first stop.

Lucy's Run, is a small winery and to my mind the friendliest of all. A delicious range of wines, served with bread, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and two different spices. Yum. We ordered some wines and spices and asked if they could be sent home, as this is only part one of our holiday.

Glandore Estate Wines was next and here we tasted the wines, with chocolates. Different, delicious and interesting to see how the flavours change.

On to Hanging Tree Wines, for our next tasting and lunch.
This is the hanging tree, not used to hand bushrangers, as we all thought but they would slaughter the cows and hang them from the tree, to drain the blood out.

Our little group was  fantastic, with everyone getting along, jokes being told and faces pulled, if the wine is 'different'. A good bunch to spend the day with.
After lunch we went to a Jewish winery, Harkham Wines. Everything, involved with the wine making is Kosher, from a Rabbi being present, only Jewish staff, the cleanliness and NOTHING being added to the grapes, i.e. no sulphur. They were a different taste and we purchased a bottle of chocolate sauce. It tasted like drinking liquid coconut rough chocolate. Will go very nicely with icecream.

Our  last wine tasting was at the Two Fat Blokes shop and was DeIuliis wines and nine different cheeses to taste.
Tasting like this shows you how a wine or cheese changes flavour, really interesting.

                                         Our last stop was Potters Hill Brewery, for a beer tasting.    Not for us. We did enjoy the talk on how the beer was made, tasted barely, smelt two different types of hops,
  American and Australia. We took ourselves for a walk and saw the old kilns.

Back on the bus and home. Dinner was in the bag, having pre-ordered  it before the tour and we sat outside and relaxed after a full day. Tomorrow we will explore a couple of other vineyards.

Bye for now,


Paul and Lilian's Excellent Adventure, Saturday 11 November 2017

 Today, on our morning stroll, it was the feathered friends that took centre stage.
The beautiful, cheeky pink and grey Galahs, were out enjoying what ever they could find in the grass. Last night they hung around in the gum tree, outside our patio door.

Then we saw the shy but noisy Little Corella and were dived bombed! Cheeky.

They kangaroos were out as well. 

Today we went to Kevin Sobels Wines for their annual wine club member's lunch. Being taken there in the bus, with others, so we could all enjoy the wine.
Moscato and nibbles, on arrival and the chance to meet people.
Lunch was served in one of the wine sheds, with empty oak barrels and crates of wine as the décor. A jazz band kept our toes tapping. A delicious three course meal, lots of different wines to taste, lots of laughter and interesting conversations.

It was a very, very enjoyable day.
Back to our place and we went for a walk.
Dinner was cheese and bickies and wine, in front of the TV, watching Victoria on the ABC.
Bye for now,

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Paul and Lilian's Excellent Adventure, Friday 10 November 2017. Part 2.

After leaving Wyong, we headed to Pokolbin and the Wine Region, our home for four nights.
Our first stop was Pokolbin Village and the Smelly Deli, for a cheese platter, having already
 picked-up a bottle of wine. 
Then it was 'lunch', well sort of.
Sabor in the Hunter, does desserts and only desserts and they are paired with local wines, ports and liqueurs.
Paul had the Belgium  waffles, with melted chocolate, ice-cream and  strawberries, paired with bubbly.
I had the Black Forest cake, paired with a raspberry liqueur.

The selection is wonderful, with two different tasting plates, as well. We took one back to the apartment, for after the cheese.
Once we had checked in and unpacked, we went for a walk and ran into this lot! they were more concerned about the golfer, trying to find his ball, than us. There were several joeys, close to their mums. 

                       Cheese, wine and dessert on the patio ended day one of our adventure.

                                                                    Bye for now,


Before I continue with our Excellent Adventure, I thought that I had better do this disclaimer.

I don't get any 'kick backs' from any one or company that these posts mention. My comments, suggestions and thoughts are mine, alone.

Most places have a website, so you will be able to find them..


Monday, 13 November 2017

Paul and Lilian's Excellent Adventure. Friday 10 November 2017 Part One.

Having travelled up on Thursday, went spent the night at Wyong.

 Friday dawned crisp and sunny and as we didn't have to be anywhere until 10.00am, a walk was in order. Wyong is very hilly, so we stuck to the block, on which the motel was located. Not a small block by any means.

Deciding to leave early, to a) get a good parking spot and b) get Paul a coffee, we left about 9.00am.A Gloria Jeans was located and Paul enjoyed a cappuccino. Then it was off to Tuggerah library for an author talk, by Rachael Johns.  Paul settled himself into a comfy chair and turned is book reader on.

Rachael Johns is an Australian author of Rural Romance and Women's Literature, with over 20 books published. Her first book Jilted was published in 2012 and her latest The Greatest Gift, published this year and released earlier this month. I have only discovered Rachael's books this year, silly me and I now have 11 of them on my Kindle as well as hard copies.

Her Outback series; Outback Blaze, Outback Dreams, Outback Sisters and Outback Ghost are set in a small town, in Western Australia. Centred around  four friends, each book tells one person's story. I would recommend reading them in order, starting with Outback Dreams.

Jilted is about a girls, who left her fiancé at the alter, 10 years before. An excellent read and I'm not going to give the plot away.  During her talk Rachael spoke how her based the lead character on Miss Havisham, from Charles Dickens' Great Expectations.

The last three, The  Patterson Girls, The Art of Keeping Secrets and The Greatest Gift are beautiful books, with great covers.

The Patterson Girls, ' remarkable story of fours sisters, family secrets and discovering what's important in life.' is the remark on the cover. Think of the many different personalities in one family and you have an excellent story.

The Art of Keeping Secrets, ' An extraordinary story of friendships, hidden secrets...and the consequences of facing the truth.' I'm going to confess that I haven't finished this one, yet as I go side-tracked by the Outback series and then The Greatest Gift.

The Greatest Gift, 'A touching novel about a woman's gift and what really makes a family.' Touching on childhood cancer, infertility, egg donation and two couples, one who wants a family and one who doesn't and what brings them together. A MUST read and a great Christmas gift.

Rachael's talk was funny, with stories of how it took 15 years to get her first book published, in 2012, how she tried to write for Mills and Boon and how she begins the actual writing process. I was able to ask Rachael to sign my books and she did so, along with the others ladies, who came to the talk.

So if you are looking for a new author, give Racheal Johns a try, you will discover a wonderful author.

Bye for now,

Rachael signs her books, with a pink pen.

The beautiful covers.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Lest We Forget.

Some images of the Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial.



                                              Lone Pine, Gallipoli.
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning,
We Will Remember Them.
Lest We Forget.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Pondering My Status as an Australian.

(very tongue in cheek.)

There has been an on going discussion, in the Australian Parliament as to wether several members are really Australian citizens or by descent something else, entirely. This got me thinking; Am I really an Aussie? Could I really be a Pom?!  Let me explain.

My Dad, Matthew, was born in The Colony of New South Wales, in October  1896, (yes that is correct). Making him a British Subject.

Now  as I was born, pre 1983, I fell into a sort of grey area.

This is from Wikipedia and is as confusing as anything, because you have to know which of the Acts, you are covered under. Now I was born AFTER 1948.

Australia retained the status of British subject until the Australian Citizenship Amendment Act 1984 removed Part II of the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 effective on 1 May 1987. Between 1 January 1983 and 1 May 1987 a British citizen and an Australian citizen were both British subjects under Australian law, but not under United Kingdom law.[6] (my highlight) The term encompassed all citizens of countries listed in the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948. The list was based on, but was not identical with, those countries (and their colonies) that were members of the Commonwealth from time to time. The list was amended from time to time as various former colonies became independent countries, but the list in the Act was not necessarily up-to-date as far as to constitute exactly a list of countries in the Commonwealth at any given time. This definition of British subject meant that, for the purposes of Australian nationality law, citizens of countries that had become republics, such as India, were grouped as British subjects. "British subjects" ceased to be eligible to be issued with Australian passports under Australian nationality law in 1984. The voting rights of persons who were British subjects and were enrolled to vote on 25 January 1984 have been preserved.[7][8] As at June 2009, almost 163,000 voters have a "British subject" notation on the electoral roll.[9]

I went to the Australian National Archives site http://guides.naa.gov.au/citizenship/chapter1/citizenship-australia.aspx

and the opening sentence says; "Citizenship in Australia has a complex and confusing history." 

Great, what is a girl to do?

I thought, right, I'll go to the British Government site; https://www.gov.uk/types-of-british-nationality/british-subject

The opening section, reads; "5. British subject
Until 1949, nearly everyone with a close connection to the United Kingdom was called a ‘British subject’.
All citizens of Commonwealth countries were British subjects until January 1983."
Now I am confused? Aussie or Pom???
So I have worked out my own Citizenship test;
1) Do you like Vegemite?   YES.
2) Do you know the second verse of Advance Australia Fair? YES.
3) Have you ever made ANZAC biscuits and/or Lamingtons? YES, to both.
4) Do you know what thongs are?  YES, something you wear on your feet.
5) What is the Great Australian Salute? Waving the flies away, with your hand.
6) Do you know the words to God Save the Queen?  NO.
7) What does the expression, 'on the turps' mean? A person has been drinking, a lot.
8) What race stops the nation on the first Tuesday in November? The Melbourne Cup.
9) Where or what is the Coat hanger?  Sydney, it is the Harbour Bridge.
10) In cricket Australia or England?  AUSTRALIA!
Think I passed. 
Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie.
Bye for now,

                                                                       Dad and I.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

A New Website, for Convicts

Reading my December 2017 copy of Family Tree magazine;   www.family-tree.co.uk   and found an interesting article about British convicts.  Free new website traces British convicts, page 7 and thought that I would have a look and 'play' around on it.


The opening paragraph of the article reads;  "A vast, new, free online resource is enabling researchers to trace the lives of transported and imprisoned convicts in Britain and Australia between 1780 and 1925."    I thought that this is great and went and had a look. It is a very well set out site, with clear tabs to take you to other areas. You can read about prison hulks, punishments, what London was like at the time and some of the convicts own stories.

I searched for my Simon McKenzie and found that there were 11 records for Simon McKenzie, with around six belonging to my Simon. When you click on the entry, it pops-up another box and give details of what the entry is about and where you can find it. This is where I was disappointed as most of the entries take you to a PAID website, that you need a subscription for. There are some, like the Old Bailey records, that are free.

I also found that once you have your list of records and want to do another search, you can't, from that page, even though it has a search box. You have to go back to the home page and search from there. Probably a bug that they will sort out but still annoying.

The information, on the website is useful, especially about prison hulks, etc. BUT the article was misleading, with regards to the information being 'free'. It does mention the paid sites but not that you have to go to them.

A good portal and a starting point, if you have just discovered a convict.

Bye for now,

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

500 Posts.

Am I supposed to write something profound for my 500th post? 

Looking back at my posts, I see that I have written on many and varied topics. Why did I choose them? Some were used to try and find 'family'. Some were to show where I'd been.
Some  were where I reviewed books or websites. A large number cover different aspects of genealogy.

For April 2016, I did the A-Z Challenge and was please with my effort. It was hard coming up with ideas for each letter of the alphabet. I'm going to do it again in 2018.

So for my 500th, I'm going to give you photos form my past blogs, enjoy.

Fellow Bloggers, RootsTech 2017.

Excellent book on Sydney Cemeteries.
                                                        My first Congress, 2015.

Budapest, 2015.
                     Helen Smith, Me, Fran Kitto and Lee-Ann Hamilton, Adelaide 2016.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Things to do in Sydney.

For those coming to Congress 2018, why not spend a few extra days and explore Sydney. Here are some links to follow.

The first one is Free Things To Do In Sydney. We all like free things and apart for some transport costs, these are free.


I can recommend the Sydney Opera House, look for tours of the building. This is an iconic building and is worth a look.  https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/

The Rocks is another great area to wander around, with quaint names like the Suez Canal, Nurses Walk, Argyle Cut, Suzanna Place to name a few. With plenty of pubs to choose from, lunch or dinner is easy to find. Markets are held on the weekend and the is a variety of interesting stalls.  http://www.therocks.com/

The Royal Botanical Gardens, established in 1816, is another favourite place of mine. Early in the morning for the stillness, lunchtime for a bite to eat or just a stroll along its many paths, the Gardens delight in any season. There are also various activities and walks.  http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au  so check out their website.
The Duck Pond, look for the eels.

A massive Morton Bay Fig, well worth a photo.
The views from the Gardens of the harbour, city skyline, harbour bridge and east, towards the heads are wonderful. Walk to Mrs Macquarie's Chair and view Fort Denison, Garden Island and Woolloomooloo.
From there walk to the Art Gallery of New South Wales. It is free to walk around but special exhibits do have a charge. The café has amazing views of Woolloomooloo and the harbour. https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/
From there you can walk back into the hearth of the city and stroll through Hyde Park, looking at the Archibald Fountain and then continue to the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park South.
For the adventurist why on do the Sydney Tower Eye and Sykwalk?! I will confess here, I have only been to the top once and while I loved the view, I didn't like the lift.
So if you are brave enough to do this, please, please let me know what it is like.
The other most exciting thing you can do is a Bridge Climb. I've done it twice and loved it. The first time was for my birthday and it was around 10.00am and the day hadn't warmed up to much, (it was summer). An easy climb, with amazing views, being sung 'happy Birthday', at the top was great. Kitted out in grey overalls, to blend into the bridge, clipped on, it is well worth the money.
My second time was in winter, with my daughter and we did a sunset climb. Viewing sunset from the western side of the bridge was spectacular, but I'm a sunset girl.
There is plenty to do in this fair city, so come and enjoy yourself.
Bye for now,