An Empty Bench
I saw this photo on Facebook and it really made me stop and think. My first thought went to my Great Great Grandfather, John Taylor, who came to Australia from Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, Wales in 1841.
John Taylor is my favourite ancestor. I’m not sure why really. Maybe it’s because there is a quite a bit of mystery and many unresolved facts surrounding him. Because of this, I’ve spent many, many hours researching him and his family, and feel I know him well. Perhaps it could be because John Taylor and his wife Martha Lloyd are from Wales, which is a country that I love. Or could it be that I have been to the city where he was born? Whatever the reason, there are a quite a few questions I would like to ask John Taylor if he was sitting on that bench next to me. In fact I know all of these questions couldn’t be answered in the one hour time frame. I would just be hoping that he would be interested enough in talking to me, to allow me a little extra time. I would even beg him for more time!
* When and where was your father, also John Taylor, born and when & where did he die?
* What was your life like as a child?
* Why did you and your wife, Martha decide to emigrate to Australia?
* Before you left Wales, what had you heard about Australia?
* Describe the voyage. How did Martha , carrying her second child, and with a toddler, cope with the journey?
* What was the name of the ship that brought you to Australia?
* How did you & Martha feel at the time of leaving, knowing that you would probably never see your family or friends again?
* On arrival, why did you decide to settle at Diamond Creek & what was life like as a Shepherd there?
* Did you miss the rolling green hills & damp country side of Wales
* Did you ever regret your decision to settle in this country?
* What are you thinking now, as you sit on that park bench and look out to sea?
There are many, many more questions I would ask my great great grandfather, but I would also like to thank him for making that decision to pack up his young family, leaving his family and friends behind, and travel to a far unknown country to start a new life. He couldn’t have known what life would be like for them here. I find it unimaginable today, when we know everything that happens,anywhere in the world immediately, to even contemplate making that journey. I can’t help thinking that life as they were living it, must have been very bad, to take that risk.
John Taylor’s huge family of descendants, including me, have him to thank for giving us the opportunity to live in this beautiful country and have a life that many others could only dream about.