Tag Archives: australia

Postcards from Australia: Away in the land of the Wattle and Gum

22 Sep

This is the last of my “Postcards from Australia” posts for a while, although there are a couple of other souvenirs I will be featuring in the coming weeks. This card was sent by William Joseph Henry BATEMAN (of Port Melbourne, Victoria) to his sister (Dorothy) May BATEMAN in Sussex, England.

Away in the land of the Wattle and Gum

The picture is not particularly appealing to me, but it is a good example of cramming in almost every Australian stereotype you can imagine into one image, and it has the added novelty of a metal kangaroo attached to the front (if you look at the back you can see where the fastenings are).

The gold print didn’t scan very well, so you can’t read the writing on the leaf in the top-left corner, but it says:

“Good Cheer!” It comes from the Sunny South,
And is wafted far over the sea;
And it tells you that, under the Southern Cross,
Someone is thinking of thee.

As with some of the previous “Postcards from Australia” the message on the back is probably more interesting than the picture on front.

Away in the land of the Wattle and Gum (back)

The message is dated the 7th May, but no year is given. The message is a little hard to read, and is short on punctuation, but it is basically wishing May a happy birthday and hoping everyone is well.

Just a few lines hoping you are quite well as I am pleased to say we are all pretty well over here at present and to Wish you many happy returns of the day. I am sorry we are a bit late but better late than never I hope you are still getting on nicely at your place. I suppose it will not have you much longer I hope Mum & Dad are both doing well and are in the best of health Annie myself and Children are all pretty well and are still jogging along I suppose you are having some nice weather now. I also hope the intended is in the best of health I suppose mother received Annies letter last week, so Good Bye, Love to all at home “Will”

There are a couple of dating clues in the message, if you know where to look. “Will” supposes her place “will not have you much longer” and enquires about the health of her intended. I assume this means that the message was written not long before May was due to be married, and would probably be leaving her place (where she worked) and moving in with her husband.

(Dorothy) May BATEMAN (my great-grandmother) married Henry John TROWER (my great-grandfather) on the 5th August 1911 at Christ Church, Sayers Common, Sussex, so that probably means that this card was sent earlier that year.

Postcards from Australia: At The Shaft

15 Sep

This postcard in another postcard that was sent “home” to England by the BATEMAN family of Australia, this one was sent by the wife of William Joseph Henry BATEMAN to her sister-in-law (Dorothy) May BATEMAN. The picture is another of the Australian Series by the artist J. Hutchings, and the card itself is a little worn around the edges.

At The Shaft

The card was sent on the 7th January 1908 (although it may have been the 1st) and serves as a thank you letter for Christmas cards and gifts. Postcards like this are great because they prove that there was still a connection with the family back home, I often wonder when people leave home, especially when they leave the country, whether they actually remained in touch.

At The Shaft (back)

What is particularly nice about this message is the reference to Siddie (Sidney Ambrose BULL), Annie’s son from her first marriage. I wonder what those books were that he was so proud of? It is pleasing to see that despite not being William’s son he was accepted as part of the family. Sidney would have been around eight or nine years old at the time.

Postcards from Australia: Luck At Last

2 Sep

Here is another of the postcards sent by William Joseph Henry BATEMAN and his family from Australia back to his parents in England. This one was written to William’s mother Dorothy Isabella BATEMAN on the 26th September 1907 by his wife Annie.

Luck at Last

Once again I know nothing about the publisher or the artist, but like the other ones I have written about, I do like the image. I also love the way that so much information was crammed onto the back of the card, not even space for a stamp on this one.

Luck at Last (reverse)

These messages give a wonderful insight into their life in Australia, and an insight into Annie’s personality, she has a wonderful style of writing and a subtle sense of humour (and a dislike of punctuation).

The main message reads “Just a line to let you know we are all in the best of health and that we have moved again you will think it must be cheaper to shift than pay rent but we have a much better house and 1/6 a week cheaper and there was only a fence between us and the land-lady and she was a fair old tander but only one street away from where we were our address now is :- Esplanade Place Port Melb’e no number but but [sic] there are only five houses in the street. hope all are well Will has gone back to work”

The two shorter messages are just as interesting, “I am going over to Geelong tomorrow for three days I have to go down to draw the interest on Siddies’ money. I am taking the two children with me”. This is referring to Annie’s son from her first marriage, Sidney Ambrose BULL, presumably there was some sort of legacy left by his late father that interest was being paid on.

The second even shorter message, “baby is not walking yet I think he feels safer on the the floor.” is referring to William Thomas Henry BATEMAN, Annie and William’s first child who would have been a few days away from his first birthday when this card was sent.

There is one word that puzzles me, tander, I presume this is an Australian slang word, but have been unable to find a definition for it. From the context of the message I have taken it to mean someone who is an interfering busy-body, but perhaps someone more knowledgeable would like to provide me with a more accurate definition.

Who Do You Think You Are? – Jason Donovan

31 Aug

Last night’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? featuring Jason Donovan was an enjoyable and interesting programme, but not outstanding. For me this series has so far lacked any really memorable (for the right reason) episodes.

I was a little surprised to find Jason Donovan on the UK version of the show rather than the Australian version, but that didn’t really matter as I was keen to learn a bit more about Australian family history. Whilst we learnt quite a bit about convicts (was anyone really surprised that he had at least one convict ancestor?), I would have liked to learnt more about everyday records, like those of birth, marriage and death.

That being said the stories uncovered were interesting, focusing mainly on three individuals, the two earliest ancestors being different sides of the same coin, convict and guard. It was the second of these, William Cox, that provided the most interesting story, travelling to Australia with his family and ending up as a pioneer paving the way for the growth of the Australian nation.

I was a bit confused by the preview of programme which said that they uncovered a miscarriage of justice, sure the punishment of transportation was harsh, but there was no indication why this should be seen as inappropriate for the time or any irregularities in the trial.

This episode did produce my favourite line of the series so far, when Jason told his first cousin once removed that he had been “too interested in myself for too long”. I don’t think it is just Jason that feels this, I think many people at one time or another realise this is case and wants to find out more about where they came from.

Postcards from Australia: Dead Beat

25 Aug

Here is another postcard sent back home from Australia by William Joseph Henry BATEMAN. I know nothing about the artist or publisher of this card (although I do like the picture), and the message on the back is more important than the picture on the front.

Dead Beat

As you can see from the date this one was written at the same time as the one I showed you a couple of weeks ago. Presumably sent in the same envelope to save postage. This one was sent to William’s sister May (or Dorothy May) BATEMAN.

Dead Beat (reverse)

Dorothy May BATEMAN was my great-grandmother and would have been about 18 years old at the time. It is interesting to note that she is not at the same address as her parents, presumably she was in domestic service in Brighton, Sussex at the time. It would be interesting to find out who else was also living at 45 Preston Grove in 1907.

The mention of “one of little Willie photo’s” is referring to William Joseph Henry’s first son William Thomas Henry BATEMAN who would have been almost eight months old when this card was written. I wonder what the reason was for Annie (his wife) being “not up to much”?

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 33

15 Aug

There was one big distraction this week, fortunately it was a genealogical distraction. I spent much longer than I had anticipated looking at the newly released National Probate Calendars on Ancestry.co.uk.

So far my searching has been very unstructured, just checking out my surnames to see if there was anyone I recognised. You know what it is like when you get your hands on a new database, all pretences of order go out the window as you just dive in. So far I haven’t actually recorded any of the data, but have found some interesting entries, but I now need to start being more methodical and start capturing the data.

As a result of my searches I will probably be ordering a couple of wills this week. More out of curiosity than anything else, as they will probably not actually move my research forward, but should be interesting to read.

The two certificates that ordered last week arrived this weekend, so I will be processing those this week and probably writing about them. As I expected there were no real surprises contained in them, but they help tie down some details about the BATEMAN family and their time in Brighton, Sussex. They also give me more work to do next time I am at the Brighton History Centre and East Sussex Record Office.

I haven’t forgotten the Australian BATEMANs, I need to carry on sorting out their data and seeing what else I can find out. Is there an equivalent to the National Probate Calendars for Australia? Where can I find a copy of William Joseph Henry BATEMANs will?

I have picked up a copy of Tracing Your Naval Ancestors from my local library and will go through that and put together a list of records I need to check next time I am up at The National Archives. The aim being to try and fill in some more details on William Joseph Henry BATEMAN’s naval service.

Postcards from Australia: A Fair Prospect

12 Aug

Unlike most of the postcards I feature on my blog this one has a direct family connection, the message on the back is of more interest to me than the picture on the front and it is not actually part of my postcard collection.

A Fair Prospect

I know virtually nothing about the postcard itself, other than what is printed on the front. The artist is J. Hutchings and it is part of the Australian Series. The message on the back is dated 28th May 1907, but it was presumably sent in an envelope because there is no stamp and the left hand side has been trimmed.

A Fair Prospect (reverse)

The card was sent to my 2x great-grandparents Henry and Dorothy Isabella BATEMAN (who had by this time moved from Brighton, Sussex to Hurstpierpoint, Sussex) by their son William Joseph Henry BATEMAN. The message mentions May, who would be Dorothy May BATEMAN, William’s sister and my great-grandmother.

The message pretty much speaks for itself, probably fairly typical of cards and letters sent to families back home. I love the comment that he would have written a letter but there was no paper. The photos mentioned were probably of his first son William Thomas Henry BATEMAN who was born on the 1st October 1906, sadly they don’t appear to have survived.

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