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Thomas Waters 1829 – 1913

Thomas Waters was my great great grandfather. He was born on 05 October 1829, at the family farm, ‘Newtonbury’ Dunton, Bedfordshire, England.  He died on 28 June 1913 at Rochester, Victoria, Australia

Some years ago, I obtained from the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, letters that Thomas had written from Kyneton to his family in Bedfordshire, between 1862 and 1874. I have copies of these letters at hand. They make very interesting reading, giving a glimpse into the life of a battling newcomer to Australia and his difficulties in trying to support his family without economic or family support.  The homesickness Thomas is feeling for his family in England, is very obvious and heartbreaking to read. .
HSV Location: Box 79-2
Item Type: MSS Collection
Item No: MS000976

I have decided to publish these letters over a series of blog posts, in the hope that family members may see them and contact me. I am very interested to make contact with other researchers of this family, so we can compare notes about the Waters family. I have started compiling articles for a book detailing the life of Thomas Waters and his family, both in Australia and England. 

Following is a very brief timeline for Thomas Waters


06 June 1841
Age 11, living with parents at Newton Bury, Dunton

 15 January 1851
Took over license of the ‘Castle’, 98 Kent Street, Borough, St.George-the-Martyr

28 July 1852:  Gave up Licence at the Castle, Kent Street, St.George-the-Martyr Parish

Cir 1854:  Emigrated to South Australia

Cir 1854 – 55:  Working at Strathalbyn as a court bailiff

12 January 1857
Married Elizabeth Ann Cock in Strathalbyn, South Australia

1860:  Left South Australia and sailed to Melbourne.

Cir 1861:  Settled in the area of Kyneton, Victoria

18 November 1864:  Injured his left hand and lost the sight of his right eye in an accident involving blasting powder. Admitted to Kyneton Hospital.

30 December 1864:  Discharged from hospital

10 June 1865: Lost everything in house fire in Kyneton.

Mar 1865: Working for solicitor, George Booker, copying deeds, leases etc

Dec 1865: Received 100 pounds legacy which was used to buy a land and with a small house.

1868/70: Working as a clerk in Kyneton

1871: Working as a Commission agent in Kyneton

28 June 1913: Died at Rochester, Victoria, Australia

Thomas Waters

Thomas Waters 1829-1913

The first of the letters will be published in the next post




Hell Ship by Michael Veitch

The true story of the plague ship Ticonderoga, one of the most calamitous voyages in Australian History.

Earlier this year we visited Point Nepean National Park, which is the most southerly point of Port Phillip Bay. Unfortunately most of the National Park was closed over the time we were there, but we were able to look through the Quarantine Station. While there I was interested to read about the ship Ticonderoga, also known as the plague ship.

I was specially interested in the passenger list as I noticed many onboard were from Inverness and Ross-Shire, in the Scottish Highlands. My MORISON ancestors were from that same area, which is why I was so interested. I found there were passengers named MORISON and McRAE, onboard. My 3X Great Grandfather William MORISON was married to Jennat McRAE. I really don’t know the connection with my family, or if there is a connection. But this will be my next area of research.

Shortly after our visit to Point Nepean, I heard Michael Veitch on the radio, talking about his new book Hell Ship which tells the story of this dreadful voyage which left England in 1852, with a record number of passengers on board. The story of the Ticonderoga has been told for generations in Veitch’s family, as his great great grandfather James William Henry VEITCH was the junior doctor onboard, who had to take over caring for the sick and dying when the senior doctor was also struck with disease.

As the ship sailed into Point Nepean, after it’s long and disastrous voyage, it  was flying the yellow flag, a universal sign that there was an outbreak of disease onboard. During the voyage, more than one quarter of the travellers lost their lives to typhoid. At the time of arrival, there were hundreds onboard who were very ill, and the ship wasn’t given permission to pull into port and disembark for days. Meanwhile many more died, while the ship was waiting for permission to dock and unload.

Most of the emigrants onboard the Ticonderoga, were victims of the Scottish clearances and the potato famine, travelling to Australia with hopes of finding a better life, after being victims of dreadful circumstances in Scotland. It seems very cruel, that these people who had already suffered so much, then had to face more suffering and sadness on this voyage.

Hell Ship gives a very detailed account of the voyage, from official records. This voyage, was one of the biggest stories of the time, that is now almost forgotten. Not only is this account about the voyage and the disasters the emigrants faced, it is also about the people who were on the ship, and the tragic losses they faced, as the huge Ticonderoga made it’s way across the ocean, with it’s numbers of passengers decreasing quickly, as they were buried at sea.

Hell Ship is much more than the story of Michael Veitch’s family history. The book gives a remarkable insight into the hardships and horrors endured by emigrants on all ships, as they travelled to the other side of the world in the hope of starting a new and better life for themselves and their families.

This extremely well researched and historical document will now enable the story of the Ticonderoga to live again, and not be forgotten.

Published in 2018 by Allen and Unwin


A field of red poppies at the Australian War Memorial: a sea of love and thanks

This post is reblogged from Booming On Blog. I had been intending to post about the Red Poppies as we got closer to Remembrance Day on 11 November. I couldn’t possibly do a better job than this blogger.

If you enjoy it, click on the Booming On Link to read more of her posts.


Sea of red knitted poppies planted at the Australian War Memorial

More than five years ago, two sisters-in-law – Lynn and Margaret – began knitting 120 poppies to honour their fathers who died during the Second World War. Those poppies grew into a community movement that’s collected hordes of volunteers, crossed oceans and spawned the creation of hundreds of thousands of poppies seen in gardens, ceremonies and displays across the world to honour our soldiers.

Last week in Canberra, a garden sea of these beautiful handmade red poppies was planted on the lawns of the Australian War Memorial, on their final stop in their world travels.


There are 62,000 poppies in the garden, knitted or crocheted by loving hands, each poppy representing an Australian soldier who died in the First World War. The display is part of the commemorations of approaching centenary of the armistice, which marked the official end of the First World War. That was ‘the war to end all…

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Vietnam War Memorial – Seymour

This is the first in the series of War Memorials in Victoria. The war memorials will appear in no particular order. However when the series is complete there will be an alphabetical list linking to each War Memorial for easy access.

Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk at Seymour

This Memorial begins with a wall of plaques, outlining details of individual battles such as The Battle of Long Tan and others. This gives a great overview of the history of the Vietnam War. I came away with a much better understanding of this conflict.

The walk commences with a winding path backed by native trees and grasses which represent the rubber trees and rice paddies of Vietnam.


The main focus of the walk is the winding, commemorative wall, made of glass, and inscribed with the names of every serviceman and woman who served in the Vietnam War. Behind the names are images of black and white photos, depicting the events of this conflict. I found many of these to be very haunting.

I was truly amazed at how many people served in this war. Both sides of the wall were filled with their names. They number 60,267. Of these, 496 lost their lives. The 11 tracker dogs who served were also memorialised.

Various armed vehicles are installed along the walk. There are also quiet places for private reflection.

Poppies are available at the nearby Tourist Information Centre to be left below this cairn

This Memorial to the Vietnam War can be found at High Street Seymour.

source: o My own field trip and www.

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Traditional Naming Pattern – Lloyd

My main area of research is my TAYLOR family. John and Martha lived in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales. They married in 1839, and arrived in Australia in 1841/42

Martha’s maiden name was Lloyd, a very common surname, in the area where they lived in Wales. They had a large family of twelve children. The first two sons were born in Wales and a further ten children were born in Victoria, Australia.

Each of their sons was given the second Christian name Lloyd. This was to begin a traditional naming pattern that would to continue in every family of each generation to come.

Children of John Taylor and Martha Lloyd:

James Lloyd TAYLOR

John Lloyd TAYLOR

William Lloyd TAYLOR



Thomas Lloyd TAYLOR

Charles Lloyd TAYLOR

George Lloyd TAYLOR

Henry Lloyd TAYLOR



Arthur Lloyd Taylor

It’s interesting to note that none of the girls have been given second Christian names. This tradition also continues in future generations though not to the extent of the Lloyd tradition.

Almost every male child in every generation since has been given the second name of Lloyd. The tradition continued as recently as the generation before me.

My father was named Thomas Lloyd Jones. All of his brothers, were given Lloyd as their second name. It made no difference that their surname was Jones. My father’s mother was Emily TAYLOR.

Lloyd isn’t a really common Christian name, so this naming pattern has at times been an advantage when researching the family. However, in the earlier generations, families were large, and usually the same Christian names were used in each family. Just keeping track of who belongs to who, and to which generation can be very challenging at times.

Do you have any unusual naming patterns in your family? If you belong to the Taylor family, I’d love to hear if this naming tradition continues today. . I love it when you comment and promise to reply to all comments.

Ancestry Ethnicity Update

A few days ago, I received an email from Ancestry, giving me the information that they have further developed their DNA testing techniques and are now able to give More Detailed and Precise Ethnicity Estimates Than Ever Before. 

So, off I went to check out my new ethnicity results. There were a couple of surprises. My ethnicity percentages from Ireland,, Scotland and England have increased quite a bit.

The Scottish ethnicity is traced to the Scottish Highlands and Eastern Nova Scotia. This is the first time, I’ve come across a connection with Nova Scotia, but I definitely have Scottish Highlands ancestry. My Morison family came to Australia from Scotland during the Highland Clearances in the 1850s.

The English connection traces to Devon and Cornwall. I’m aware of Cornwall, but as yet haven’t traced back to Devon.

I was surprised to see that I have 8% Swedish in my DNA. I have been studying up on Welsh history recently and coincidentally, just last week learned that there was a small settlement of  Vikings in the area of Wales that was home to my ancestors. The Vikings came from Sweden and other Nordic countries.

The following confirms where my Swedish ancestry comes from. My Welsh ancestors were from Haverfordwest in Wales

“Wales was not colonized by the Vikings significantly as in eastern England. The Vikings did, however, settle in small numbers in the south around St Davids, Haverfordwest, and the Gower. Place names such as Skokholm, Skomer, and Swansea remain as evidence of the Norse settlement” – Wikipedia

Note from Ancestry, about the update: “Your DNA doesn’t change, but the science we use to analyze it does. Your results may change over time as the science improves”

Writing Memoir Update


Writing Update

Regular readers will know that I have been completing the exercises in Patti Miller’s book Writing True Stories, and posting them here. The original plan was to post two exercises each week, as I completed them. This was very easy at the beginning, when the exercises were more simple.

The exercises have now become a little more complex and require more thought however, I ave still been completing them as planned. But due to the subject matter of the last few exercises, I have decided that it’s not appropriate to post them at this time. My life is an open book, and I really don’t mind sharing all, but I’m conscious that family members and friends may not feel the same.

I want these exercises to truly reflect my life, so some writing will be confronting for me, and perhaps at times, for others. So for now, I will keep the completed exercises back that I feel may cause concern or worry to anyone close to me. In the future, I will revisit them, and either post them here or save them for my ‘actual’ memoir.

Links to completed exercises

Writing Memoir

Writing Memoir -Childhood Story

Writing Memoir – First Fact

Writing Memoir – Parent

Writing Memoir – Symbol

Writing Memoir – Ramble

Memoir Writing – Take An Object

Writing Memoir – Records

Writing Memoir – Ordinary Life

Writing Memoir – Uncommon Experience

Writing Memoir – Appeal To The Senses

Writing Memoir – Process

Editing process

As I glance back at the above writings, my first thought is how raw they are. Immediately, I find myself wanting to edit and improve them. The instructions given in the book are to write as the thoughts come, and not to edit. As I understand it, the editing will come in later exercises.

Have you ever thought of writing your memoir? I’d love to hear your thoughts and will reply to all comments.


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