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Repost – Joseph Henry Jones alias Joe The Quacker

My great great grandfather Joseph Henry Jones died on about 7th November 1895 at Gaffney’s Creek. In honour of the recent anniversary of his death, I am reposting a post I wrote in  2011, as I feel that his obituary is worth reading.

Repost – August 26, 2011

Today I was very excited to see  my very first article was published in Australian Family Tree Connections Magazine,  September 2011 Issue.

I decided to submit this article because I think that my Great Great Grandfather Joseph Henry Jones has the best obituary I have ever read. They definitely don’t write them like this any more.

Here is the obituary and my article as published.

“From: Jamieson Chronicle, Saturday, November 9, 1895

Our representative at Gaffney’s Creek, The Other Vagabond reports:  One of those horrible discoveries, which makes the most hardened of us shudder, was made on Wednesday last, by Mounted Constable Polmear.  He had that morning received information that a man named Joseph Jones, an alluvial miner who was ‘a hatter’, on the Goulburn River, a few miles above Knockwood, had not been seen at his home for nearly 3 weeks.  The energetic constable at once set about finding the missing digger.  The result of shrewd and careful inquries caused him to take an old and unused bush track leading from Luarville, to the German Spur.  Mr. James Cadam accompanied Mr. Polmear, and they had not proceeded more than a quarter of a mile from the Commercial Hotel, when the gruesome spectacle of poor Joe’s dead body, in a very advanced stage of decomposition, barred the way.  The unfortunate man, who was known by the sobriquet of ‘Joe the Quacker’, had taken this track as a shortcut to his temporary home on the Goulburn River, never dreaming, no doubt, that instead of reaching his camp in good time, he would never see it again; that he would die a lonely and miserable death, within sight of the houses and active bustling humanity.  He was about 60 years of age and though not of robust constitution, was lively and active but….Ah, the but….Joe had periodical failings. ‘Tis the old, old, very old story; an empty whiskey bottle; an empty pain killer bottle; a grinning corpse; a ghastly spectacle; a  noisome thing; a hideous putrid mass to be tumbled into a coffin to fill a pauper’s grave; just one more nameless mound, which will for a short time mark the spot, where a little of the flotsam and jetsam of the bush were covered up out of sight.  But the remains of unfortunate Joes are not buried as I write.  The putrefactive remnants lie in an outhouse at the Commercial Hotel awaiting official enquiry. 

My Great Great Grandfather Joseph Henry Jones, for many years, was my brickwall. I had followed his life until he seemed to disappear, after the death of his wife, Ellen Virginia Lowe,  in 1872. This was followed soon after, by the death of  his youngest child, Avonia, who was only 4 months old at the time her mother passed away.  Sadly Avonia died from starvation, or  ‘want  of breastmilk’, as stated on her death certificate.

Joe was left with seven children to care for, ageing from 16 years down to Avonia aged 4 months.  Unfortunately there was more tragedy and sadness for Joe in the coming years.  In 1974,  daughter Catherine Virginia passed away from epilepsy, age 12, followed by their son William Lowe at age 18, in 1893.

I had given up searching for any trace of Joe, after losing his trail, until another researcher alerted me to the death of his oldest child, Thomas James in a mining accident at Darlingford, Victoria in 1893.  It was both exciting and sad to read the evidence he gave at the inquest. It seems father and son had been working side by side in the mine. While Joe went to put the billy on there was a landslide in the mine, and his son lost his life.

This led me to his death certificate, where I found that  sadly, Joseph had been lying dead in the bush for a number of days before his death was discovered.

The lesson in this story of my brick wall is to keep in contact with other researchers who are following other branches of  your family.  You just never know what tiny snippet of information might  be exactly what you are missing. This is the only way I found old Joe again. If not for comparing our research and keeping each other up to date with our progress, I would never have found Joe or read his obituary.

And what an obituary it is.  I love the colourful writing and the dramatic tone of this obituary. How the obituaries we read in old newspapers differ from today.  They make much more interesting reading than those of today, and definitely leave us feeling that we know the person being remembered”


The Jamieson and Woods Point Chronicle, Saturday November 9, 1895
Victorian BDM Records
Victorian Inquest Records


Blogging hiatus is over

I am very surprised to see that my last post was on 05 August. That’s three months ago! I can’t believe that I’ve neglected my much loved blog for such a long time.

So to my excuses – life has been busy as I’ve been adjusting to a new job. This new position has me working in the evenings quite often which has thrown me out a bit. Also I’ve been training for  The Bloody Long Walk Melbourne  This is a 35k walk which requires hours of training most days. The event is on this weekend so it won’t be long now until I get some time back. Also it’s spring and my large garden has been taking up much of my time.

Due to all of the above, I have also put all my research aside for the now.  Really looking forward to getting back to it. Today is as good a day as any to do my first blog post in some time.

Today is the 22nd anniversary of the death of my son. I have written many posts about him over the years so today in his memory, I thought I would republish a post that I wrote in 2011.

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This is Craig my second child born on July 14, 1977. Craig was the middle child, born between Steven and Lisa. The photo of the older Craig here, is not good quality, and quite blurry, but it’s a favourite of mine as it was taken from a video which was filmed two weeks before his death,  in 1995. The quality isn’t good, but it’s best that they could be done with what was a grainy film.

My memories of Craig are of a happy, slightly wild toddler, who grew into a laid back, laconic teenager with a true Aussie ‘she’ll be right’ demeanour, and a quirky sense of humour. Craig was very kind to animals and younger children loved him. It wasn’t at all unusual to find him out in the street with BMX jumps set up and organising the young kids from blocks around who rocked up with their BMX bikes when word got out that there was some bike fun to be had at our house.

Craig loved bikes. He was always in the garage messing around with them. Most days after work, I would go bike riding. Quite often, though, I would find my bike sitting there waiting for me with no seat or no chain or no front wheel or with some other vital part missing. My bike part would have been put onto some weird and wonderful bike project that Craig was building.

Craig loved animals. I can remember when we went for a family holiday in Tasmania, he w became besotted with the Tassie Tiger and for months would read anything he could get his hands on about them. Craig usually didn’t like to read, but we found a book about the Tassie Tiger, and he read it over and over.

Craig loved dogs.  When he was about 15, a neighbours dog had pups and he asked me could he have one. As we already had two dogs, I said no. The next morning,  I found him in bed asleep with one of those pups beside him.  I will never forget the impish smile on his face when he saw my shock.  Of course we kept the pup, and he and Jess became inseparable.

Craig died in a car accident, in which he was the driver at about 5.30pm on Thursday November 2, 1995. Most people assume, as he was 18, he was hooning or doing something stupid to cause the accident. But at the inquest,  the Coroner found that this accident was a rare true accident, where there was no speeding, hooning alcohol or drugs involved. The Coroner concluded that Craig must have been distracted, causing him to cross to the wrong side of the road. Perhaps he leaned down to adjust the radio, or was distracted by his dog which was always on the back seat when he was driving. Or maybe he turned to speak to his girlfriend, who, sadly died in the accident with him.

On this 16th anniversary of Craig’s death I remember him as a son that any mother would be proud of, who was beginning to show signs of becoming a caring adult when his life was sadly cut short.  To me, Craig will always be a carefree teenager”.

Today on the 22nd anniversary, I am remembering the day my life changed forever. Today I choose to remember the joy, laughter, proud moments and fun times during the 18 years Craig was with us. Very much a proud mum. 14.07.1977 – 02.11.1995

Ancestral Places Geneameme

Fellow Geneablogger Alona from Lonetester HQ has challenged us to another Geneameme, and as usual, I can’t resist joining in the fun

From Alona’s blog: ‘As family historians we come across all sorts of interesting people and places during our research. In this geneameme I wanted to focus on the places. The countries, the states, the counties or provinces, as well as the parishes, the towns and villages. Our ancestors have a connection to these places.
What places do your ancestors come from?’

National flags of the different countries of the world in a heap. Top view

A – Australia
B –  Bedfordshire, England (Waters)
C – Cowies Creek, Geelong, Victoria, Australia (Louden)
D – Donegal, Ireland (Boyle)
E – Echuca, Victoria, Australia (Morrison)
F – Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia (Taylor)
G –  Glenshiel, Ross-shire, Scotland (Morison)
H – Hobart, Tasmania (Jones/Lowe)
I – Ireland (Boyle, Gallagher, Calnan, Lowe, McClintock)
J – Jamaica (McQueen/McQuinn/McEwan)
K – Kilkenny Ireland (Calnan)
L – Lanarkshire, Scotland (Louden)
M – Mount Pleasant, Victoria, Australia (Gilmour)
O –
P – Pembrokeshire, Wales (Taylor/Lloyd)
Q –
R – Rochester, Victoria, Australia (Waters)
S – Shepparton, Victoria, Australia (Jones/Waters/Morrison)
T – Trelawny, Cornwall, Jamaica (McQueen/McQuinn/McEwan)
U – Uzmaston, Pembrokeshire, Wales (Taylor)
V – Violet Town, Victoria, Australia (Boyle/Calnan)
W – Wild Duck Creek, Victoria, Australia (Morison)
X –
Y – Yarrawonga, Victoria, Australia (Taylor)
Z –


Bridging The Past & Future Sydney 2018

Looking forward to this conference at the brand new International Convention Centre in Sydney in March 2018.

Places of interest

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks, tying up loose ends in my research. Of which there are so many! And also reflecting on the places that were the birth place of many of my ancestors. Here are just a few places of interest to my family history and the surnames associated which each place.

Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire – Taylor and Lloyd

Glenshiel Ross-Shire  – Morison
Lanarkshire – Louden

Inver, Donegal – Boyle
Kilkenny – Ireland
Cork – Ahern

Bedfordshire – Waters
Guilden Morden, Cambridgeshire – Izzard
Gamblingay, Cambridgeshire – Waters
London – Jones
Kent – Lowe
Steeple, Ashton, Wiltshire – Cox

Jamaica – McEwan/McQueen

As you can see, most of my acestors originate from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Except for the Jamaica connection. My great great grandfather, Thomas James Jonathan McQueen was born in Jamaica, but his father was born in Scotland.





Researching Abroad Roadshow #utproadshow17

UTP home page roadshow banner3

I posted here recently,about Researching abroad: Finding British Isles and European Ancestors being presented by Unlock the Past.

As an ambassador for this event, I will be attending both days. I’m very excited to hear the international guest speakers Chris Paton and Dirk Weissleder.

I’m a huge fan on Chris, as I regularly follow his British Genes Blog which is a wealth of information about English, Irish and Scottish research. I’ve also attended his seminars previously and read a few of his books. Meet Chris in the video below.

I will be attending the Melbourne Roadshow, on 18 and 19 August 2017.

I’m not so familiar with Dirk Weissleder, so am looking forward to hearing him speak.  Meet Dirk in the video below.


Tickets can be booked at TryBooking



My Bastille Day baby

CRAIG GEOFFREY DEMPSTER  14.07.1977 – 02.11.1995

My son, Craig was born on Bastille day at about 2pm. I remember very clearly that the day was very wet and wintry and while I was in labour the power went out at the hospital. Of course the hospital had a generator, so that wasn’t a problem.

Craig weighed 9lbs at birth and due to the cold he was put in a premmie humidicrib.  His body took up the entire space, with his legs, which they covered with blankets, hanging out openings at the end. I will never forget that sight.

The following is a repost from 15 July 2015.  The only change made is to update the number of years that have passed since Craig’s death. Craig is my second son and the middle child of two boys and a girl.

Yesterday was Bastille Day and on that day 40 years ago, my son Craig was born. I’ve posted previously about Craig  here


This photo is bad quality as it was taken from a VHS tape featuring Craig just a few days before his death

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This song of Nat King Cole’s  says it all. I heard it on radio recently. It says everything about how I feel about losing Craig, and living the past 22 years without him.

I’ve spent those 22 years trying not to think every day about the way Craig died or the fact that he died. When I think of him, I try to think about the good times and how much joy he bought to my life, and how lucky I was to have him for 18 years.

I don’t want anyone to think that I’ve always been sad for the past 22 years. That isn’t the case at all. But there is a tiny piece of me that will always be just a little bit broken.

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

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