Thursday, 30 April 2015

Where we are at today....

I have spent the morning catching up on my current online course through Future Learn - "100 stories the Anzac Project" and have spent the morning reading about nurses in the Great War. 

It was fascinating reading and when you think about it we focus on the soldiers that served yet without the huge effort by nurses and Australian women in general the war would have had grave problems. 

It was interesting to note that the Australian Government at the time did not want women to enlist at all and if you were an Australian Doctor yet female you were rejected and they hesitantly let women enlist as nurses. 

Where does that differ when both sectors of the medical field were in the same place and why discriminate.. Mind boggling. 

The women who did go overseas as nurses saw and had to survive through some of the most horrific circumstances, do things they would never had to do in an Australian hospital and many survived with war wounds to come home both physically and mentally damaged. 

The suicides, Post traumatic stress disorder cases, the women who were admitted into Asylums was heartbreaking to read. Many like our soldiers never adapted to civilian life and those that did went on to become Matrons etc in Hospitals and utilised the skills they learnt in Europe to better manage our hospitals. 

The 20's and 30's saw the rise of the womens movements in Australia as the women came home and could see themselves differently to when they went and we must acknowledge them for where we are now as women of Australia owe so much to all the women of Australia during the Great War.

If you find this interesting there are so many things we are looking into at the moment any you could still join the course if your interested. Below is the link to the course. 

This will take you to this particular course and its details.. 

Can we ever learn enough.. I know as a family researcher and having a fascination with local history I am always learning something new and sometimes to better understand the new information I have to go back further to see why and how the past influenced the future. 

So the point I suppose is we can never learn enough and an inkling of an idea can build a whole new world of knowledge for us and give us a better perspective of the period of time we are looking at. One of my fellow researchers and I have been looking into Russian families who lived in the Wide Bay area.. and have decided to collate what we have found and then spent time looking back into Russia to discover why they came to Australia and particularly the Wide Bay.. what a can of worms we have opened.. but the journey continues. 

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Setting up Family Pages

So the time is flying by but sitting at the computer on this wet miserable day I decided it was time to link all my family names so I can start adding stories, and names to them. So I started with the Schwarzrocks.

Why you ask - because it was Johann Schwarzrocks medals I wore to the Anzac ceremony and as Anzac Day has just past I thought it was a brilliant chance to publish some info about his family. I had the great opportunity a little while ago to have the assistance of an amazing man - Alastair who assisted me in researching his military history and he published an article in the Poona Post. 

So I have added that to the page to... 

For the stories on the Schwarzrocks go to SCHWARZROCK

For a list of all my family names you can find it at the tab at the top of the page or go directly to 

I have done a couple today before getting side tracked.. we have the following set up 

Monday, 27 April 2015

Dawn Service at Poona

My daughter and I were invited to attend the Dawn Service at Poona and the planting of the Lone Pine service.. and I got a copy of a write up the amazing man - Alastair Martin ( who was the main organiser of the events ) wrote for a New Zealand Vets Group..

It goes like this.

Poona is a small fishing village of less than 450 souls about 300KM Nth of Brisbane and some 40KM Sth of Maryborough QLD, directly opposite Fraser Island. Its sometimes referred to as "A small drinking village with a fishing problem" which has one of only  a handful of "ANZAC Memorials" in  Australia.

We have a local Progress Assoc, and one of its activities is a Craft Group, sometimes referred to as "Stitch and Bitch" or "Knit and natter". They took inspiration from the London Towers river of Poppies and from a NZ generated idea to "Knit 1000 Poppies". Another group 
decided they wanted to form a Choir to sing "Abide with me" during the wreath laying 
section, and both National Anthems.  As we all know, never knock back someone 
who volunteers, so I was happy to include them in the Dawn Service Programme, as what we do here has to come from within the community.
It was a beautiful day, cool, just a bit crisp, the Service was moving, 
but the people.....we estimated 220. 
The shelter next to the Memorial had a flowing cascade of Poppies spilling and pooling onto the ground in front of the Memorial, some 2500 Poppies were knitted. The Choir, 

Aussies, Kiwis, Solomon Islanders, sang their hearts out, and got all the words right in Maori, outstanding work. Our local member from our Regional Council gave an inspired address, he has a Norforce background. 

Wreaths were reverently laid, and covered a wide range of
 history, Aus and Kiwi Vets, Aus and Kiwi Vietnam Vets, direct descendants from original ANZACS, 26 Bn, 2nd & 5th Light Horse, Bomber Command, US Vets (He was a MP in Saigon at the US Embassy when it was attacked) 6RAR (He was with A Coy that did the follow up sweep after Long Tan), 
Coastwatchers, Z Force, Aus National Servicemen, School Children representing local primary and secondary schools, and the people of Vanuatu.
At the conclusion of the service we retired to our Community Hall for a full gunfire breakfast, bacon, eggs, sausage, tomatoes, baked beans and lambs fry in onion gravy. The Village maintained its reputation, and all 18 bottles of rum 
were consumed.

In the afternoon, after we were all refreshed with a Nanna Nap, we gathered again, some 90 people this time. All our Vets marched, marching's probably being a bit generous, the short distance from the road to the Memorial, to the sustained and generous applause from the 
Community, and we then planted a Lone Pine seedling. The theme here in Aus for the Centenary is, "The Spirit Lives", and it was thought fitting that a living symbol was appropriate, and I charged all those in the town with the responsibility of looking after our tree. I then recited the words that are on the main gate at Burnham, "Remember that prosperity can only be for the free, and freedom, is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it". That brought a few tears.

Afterwards, a BBQ dinner, more fluid of various colours and flavours, and a local entertainer who selected her music to fit the occasion.

Its from small towns and villages such as ours that so many of the ANZACs from both sides of the Tasman came from, and it was so moving to see the same small communities rising to the occasion. In all I guess 300 plus attended both events, from a town of 450.
Lest we Forget

Alastair Martin

**All photos were taken by Craig Whittaker (Poona) ** 

The Troop Train to Cooroy

24th April 2015

The time is 6.50am and we are dressed and ready to head into the Troop Train, the anticipation is huge not knowing what the day has in store for us and to think the troops that would have caught this same train to Brisbane ready to embark on the biggest adventure of their lives.

We can only imagine what they were thinking the morning they were packing to board whether they would ever see their families again, who they were going to meet on the train, will they know anybody the thoughts that would have been tumbling around their heads.

We on the other hand arrived at the RSL to board the bus to Maryborough train station, was a little sad that they couldn't bring the train into town as it would have done in the early days. 

 The Mayor of Maryborough – Gerard O'Connell was present at the RSL to wish us a safe journey and inside the RSL were military men who were attending the ceremony at Maryborough State High so we got a photos with them. We piled onto the bus and amongst tension, excitement early morning blues checking out who was on the bus.

We arrived a t the Railway station and there stood the most amazing sight   ..she was big, red with a long line of carriages trailing behind her.. The guys running the train QR had such a huge job head of them with trying to get all the long distance passengers onboard and then a pile of excited school children.

Finally settled in the last carriage with a window seat were ready. The first sign we were moving was the slight rocking then the build up of steam and the train left the station - the train started of very slow and steady, as it warmed up the train got fast and a stronger pull. The whistle was quite loud but echoed in the bush. The adrenalin rushed through our bodies full of wonder and adventure.

The smell of burning coal drifted back and the steam was floating past our window, the carriage was rolling and swaying as we built up speed. The seat are shiny leather and bouncy. The interior of the train was so beautifully made the timberwork so intricate and the pressed metal ceilings not something you see too regularly. It was such a magnificent piece of work, the art work that was carved carefully into the ceiling and walls.

The cab hostess was very straight forward in her rules, no body parts out the windows, no children to wander alone, and watch crossing from carriage  to carriage beware the steel plates can move together.

So we all settled in for the journey of a lifetime then we were told we could wander up and down and could go a far as the dining car.

So of course we were off. Sandra came with her miniature medals of her grandfather and that was so nice how many people stopped her and asked her about them. All the passengers were so polite, we received so many high fives and smiles. The Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss was on board, he was very kind and got a photo with us. The people, staff, actors and everyone in general made it even more of a delight.  '

Everybody that we approached greeted us like long lost friends and everybody was so friendly. It is great to meet people and they enhance your experience just by saying hi.. Did this happen to the soldiers who were on their way to Brisbane to sail away. We they greeting everybody like long lost friends or sizing everybody up knowing they would depend on these people for their lives in the near future.

As we snaked along the trains, gripping anything that we could to stop us from falling face first into the lap of a complete stranger and watching where we were stepping we were constantly stopped by new people asking which school the girls had come from. What the medals on their chest were for and were they enjoying themselves.

Following our conga line was an employee of QR who was a brilliant tour guide directing us to keep on going don't stop at this carriage you need to get to the dining car and check out the galley I asked him how important the train was of him and he was one of the fitters who worked on the train.
What a cool job he was a big part of the success of this trip coming off. We reached the dining car after checking out the loo.. Remember you cannot go to the loo while in a station or siding as the toilet is a straight through hole to the tracks.. So the poor people standing on the platform will see what you have done after the train pulls out.

On board the train were a group of people who had travelled from Winton and were going to Brisbane and they were having the time of their lives, some were veterans and their wives, others were avid historians and others proud Australians who wanted to experience what the Soldiers experienced. So many smiles, memories and stories to tell.

Then the coolest group of volunteer re-enactment groups that represented Nurses who served and the 9th Battalion. The 9th gave us a talk on the journey on the train explaining how the soldiers had no idea where they were going and that they would eventually find out, and what the soldiers were travelling with as in the papers they had to carry, their dog tags and the importance of these items.

One of the 9th Battalion gents gave us a pull down demo of what was in his kit and why they carried what they did.. The best being the boot biscuit and he showed the Maryborough State High School students how to soften the biscuit on the heel of his boot then shared it with them.

We travelled down the line through lots of tiny little sidings and the turnout of the locals was a sight to see with people lining the tracks and waving their Aussie flags.

As we pulled into Cooroy station we were greeted with a huge fanfare of people and a band playing. As we disembarked the train we were met by friendly faces, TV cameras (which they wouldn’t have seen in 1915), the Deputy Prime Minister gave a speech and we headed to the RSL

There was heaps of uniforms, both military, emergency services and Police as we left the train station on our journey to the RSL. We went over a bridge which was packed, when we reached the RSL there was a massive turnout of locals and there were speeches from the Deputy Prime Minister and the President of the Cooroy RSL,

The RSL made a lovely lunch and we sat with a group of train travelers who were doing the journey from Winton to Brisbane and were veterans of the Navy. The husband and wife met while in the Navy during Vietnam and to this day the romantic story continues....

Compiled by Cheyenne Ross & Leanne Wroe

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Anzac Celebrations

Ever had one of those days you dread getting out of bed.. lots of things to do, no motivation, world is spinning out of control and you just want to get off..

I had that type of morning so once settled at my desk I decided to find my to do list which involved finishing my course at Future Learn - Ireland War & Revolution 1912-1923. 

So I have now finished it and what an amazing journey it has been, I have learnt so much on the early history of Ireland, and delved into the aspects of how the War ( WWI & the Civil War) and the Revolution caused huge changes to the country. 

The political, military, civilian and economic aspects were mind blowing and then along the way I made some amazing discoveries on my own family. The benefits of doing these short online courses is never ending. 

1. It gives you insight into the country where your ancestor came from,
2. It gives you a better picture of the country at the time and why your Ancestors may have left. 
3. You appreciate the history alot more and tend to delve back or forth dependant on when your Ancestors were in residence. 
4. It assists you in gaining more resources to search for links to your past.

So this was a little sad to finish as I was thoroughly enjoying the course but now will be concentrating on Anzacs 100 stories being done through Future Learn too. 

Then to make my day I got a call from the Maryborough State High School where Cheyenne goes and she and a friend Sandra were put forward to go on the troop train re-actment on Friday 24th April 2015 from Maryborough to Cooroy. 

As the school is having a massive Anzac Day celebration they are unable to let a teacher go with them so I am going instead.. this is going to be so cool.. I will be able to take lots of pics and post them here for you to see. I am excited because for the girls it is a journey they will never forget and an experience they will be able to tell their kids.. We often talk about stories to tell and the need to document them before it is too late. 

Then on Anzac Day we have a huge day ahead we are off to Poona to attend the Dawn Service which this year they are holding it at the time it would be dawn in Gallipoli, Cheyenne is laying a wreath for the Maryborough State High School, and I am laying one for my Great Grandfathers brother - Johann Schwarzrock. 

Johann was a member of the 26th Battalion ( 18th Reinforcements) , he enlisted on the 13th November 1916 at the age of 29 and was killed in action on the 4th October 1917.

A letter from another serving member remembers seeing Johann just before a shell destroyed the field hospital on San Sous Ridge, Belguim, and I am guessing they were never able to identify his body. 

His name is on the wall at the Somme.

It will be a sad day on Saturday but we will remember.. 

On this I will sign off.. got to go and recharge my camera ready for Fridays journey... till next time

Monday, 20 April 2015

Ireland Up and Down

The last 5 weeks I have been doing an online course with Future Learn on Ireland War and Revolution 1912-1923. It has been an absolutely fascinating course that I have learned so much from about the history of Ireland in the period. But to get a better idea I have delved back further and in doing this have discovered family roots, information and a sense of why a man with 8 children who was listed as a farmer would pack up and leave his country, emigrate to an unknown  land and end up successfully raising his children. Walter Stuart King did just this...

Interestingly enough I have discovered his Ancestors, the military side of the family and the family was from the South of Ireland in the county of Kerry. Which leads to the interesting part of my closer history in that there were stories of my Great Grandmother not being happy with my Grandmothers marriage - it being below her status in life..

Was this true or was it the fact that my Great Grandmother's own marriage she was reflecting on.. as her family were of military and religious descent and Southern Irish.. but her husbands family were Northern Irish.. James Hunter being called a rabid Orangeman. .. North v South, Protestant v Catholic..

We will have to draw our own conclusions as to which marriage she was talking about won't we.. till next time.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

A treasure is to be found...

Today I thought I would spend some time researching some of my Ancestors military history and was delighted to find and obtain a copy of 3 service records. It is so amazing to discover you had so many brave members of your extended family fought in WWI.

Johann Schwarzrock d 4/10/1917 Was a part of the 26th Battalion/18th Reinforcements and died in France

Thomas Paul Hunter d 2/2/1917 was a member of the 42nd Battalion/3rd Reinforcements and died in France

Robert Alexander Hunter survived and was a member of the 15th Battalion C Company and was an Anzac who fought bravely in Gallipolli.

One of my favourite websites foŕ research is Maryborugh Historical Societies LINKS page

Then I found this lovely story in the newspaper. 2010

I definitely would call today a successful days research.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Family Names

Today I gathered a list of the family names I am researching.. believe me it was a lot easier than spending an hour looking for an Ancestor born in 1821 I think in Ireland (I think).. That was rather frustrating. 

But if you want to see any of the names or the stories that I will put in about them just go to the link at the top of the page and they will appear in one long list. 

But stay tuned I will post them on here as I write them up and add them to the lists... there are some very interesting ones and some amazing ones and some truly amusing stories to be told.

The list of names go something like.. 


Looking back to see forward.

Does it help to look further back into the section of history your researching to understand events of the future.

I have just about finished an online course through Future Learn , the course is War and Revolution in Ireland 1912 - 1923. I have family from Ireland that emmigrated to Australia before this period and the amazing things I have learned about Ireland history has enabled me to put together the story of my ancestors reasons for emigration. 

So to look back will definitely give you reasons for the future and the expansion of knowledge of a different time and place will blow your mind....more on my courses tomorrow.  I am starting one on WWI 100 stories from the Australian perspective.

Sunday, 12 April 2015


After spending the afternoon trawling through old newspapers and articles I realised how amazing it is when you grow up in a town like Maryborough and your Ancestors settled here originally. You will be reading about something and the place will almost always pop to mind or if you don't know it then your off to find it. 

We have done this on many occasions and ended up in the middle of cane farms, on quiet riverbanks, in somebodies front yard.. but it is exciting and strengthens the connection to the person your writing about. 

When I first started the question was how far, wide and in depth do you go well me being me decided to go wherever the journey took me. This is probably my biggest downfall and delay as I find a tiny woven thread and then I am after hours and hours trying to rewind the ball of twine to see where I started or where I ended up.

History is such an oral thing in many ways and if we don't take advantage of the living relatives while they are alive then we miss so many of the parts of their lives that make up a whole.. till next time. 

Saturday, 11 April 2015


After attending a session with Shauna Hicks today I decided to set up a blog to document my journey both past and for the future in my discovery of my family history and the storiesof their settlement in Australia.

I have been doing my family tree for 3 years now and when I started in 2012 I never knew I would never discover whole families that live locally and the most fascinating stories have emerged and are still evolving.

The blog will also highlight some of the volunteer stuff I do with  Maryborough District Family History Society which I am am member of. I have the most amazing job with the Society as I am currently indexing old records and find the most amazing stories and also discover lost family or juicy titbits along the way.

I will also be adding stories and links to my ancestors which I hope will assist you or that you will just enjoy reading...