Saturday, 13 August 2011

Genealogy notes 10-13 August 2011 Toowoomba seminar

When I started this blog back in July, I should have probably called it a travel and genealogy diary as I seem to have done nothing but travel since then. It's been hectic over the last few days with 10-11 August spent up at Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast catching up with friends. The weather has been absolutely wonderful, blue skies and very warm for winter and it is easy to see why Queensland is the Sunshine State.

Perhaps the highlight was the sunset cruise on the Noosa River on board the Noosa Queen where they take you up river to the mouth of Lake Cooroibah and you arrive just as the sun sets in a fiery red ball on the other side of the lake. A must see event and our photos don't do it justice, although the one on their website is pretty close to what we saw. The bird life is also amazing and it is all so quiet with just a few fishermen here and there and a houseboat or two. You arrive back at Noosa Marina just in time to see thousands and thousands of flying foxes (bats) fly out of the trees and head inland for a night of feasting. Another amazing sight and there was almost a full moon which added a touch of spookiness.

After our relaxing two days at Coolum we had to head over to Toowoomba and rather than take the highways, we went via Kilcoy, Esk and Crow's Nest, all haunts of mine during the 70s. It was nice to see that not a lot of change has occurred and driving past Ravensbourne National Park brought back many memories of a time before family history.

Toowoomba was still largely as I remember it, Picnic Point is still there and the main streets in the CBD are all the same but some of the roundabouts and one way streets tricked us up a bit. Roadworks and detours were another hazard. On the Friday night we did something I haven't done in over 30 years - we went to the incredible seafood buffet at Weis Restaurant at the Top of the Range.

Walking inside was a real trip back in time and it is better than ever I think. Our table was just near the fire in one of the main dining rooms and it was only a short walk to the next room where the buffet was set up. Nothing frozen there and everything we tried was delicious and the dessert table has to be seen to be believed. It is also as popular as ever as we were at the early sitting and most tables were occupied. I want to go back again!!

Saturday was the reason we were in Toowoomba in the first place. I was giving three talks and John Graham from the Ryerson Index was giving two talks in an all day family history seminar organised by the Toowoomba City Council Library. It attracted 76 people which is about the limit of the room but people didn't seem to mind the closeness. It was good to see the folks from the Toowoomba & Darling Downs Family History Society there and I hope they picked up a few new members.

My talks were all well received ( a beginner's talk, genealogy on the cheap and a brick walls talk) and I have put copies of the slides on the Resources page of my website as attendees were writing notes down furiously and finding it hard to keep up with all the new ideas and suggestions. I had heard John's basic talks before (one on the Ryerson index and the other on the value of country newspapers) but I am not sure if he has added new information or I just didn't take it in the first time. You can now link from the Ryerson website to digitised newspapers by going to the Request a Lookup link. Fantastic.

Copies of my books all sold well and we soon sold out as we could only carry so many up from Melbourne. They are available online from Gould Genealogy, look under the link for Unlock the Past publications. It's odd but they don't have an author search facility. I think the Library organisers were all pleased with the day and I suspect there will be many attendees online today trying out the new sites.

Three museums also worth a visit in Toowoomba are the Cobb & Co Museum, the Highfields Pioneer Village and the Southern Cross Museum which is part of your ticket to the Village. Just leave plenty of time to see everything.

On the way back to Brisbane we stopped at the Big Orange (another one of my favourite places from the past) and brought some really fresh and cheap fruit and vegetables). We are at Mum's for another week so have lots of time to eat everything we bought, although we may have been a bit over enthusiastic.

After a very big day I was in bed by 8.30pm on a Saturday night! There's a big genealogy week coming up so stay tuned.

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