My talk on Wednesday night to the Cobram Genealogical Group on researching military ancestors went well. There is an earlier version of this talk on my website under Resources. Cobram are a small and enthusiastic group who like most regional areas, struggle to keep their libraries open for research. As always it is the same volunteers who put their name down each month to open up and be available to assist others.
The Cobram group is co-located with the Cobram Historical Society (they don't have a website) and they share the old state school building and it was interesting to see some of the items held by the Historical Society. As you would expect, there was a heavy emphasis on old farming equipment especially dairying and of course, school items including an old school desk which was identical to the ones where I went to school. Hard to believe that I was ever that small and could fit into those old desks which were built for two children to share. The building is part of the Cobram Historical Precinct.
Another must visit place on the way to Cobram is the Byramine Homestead which was established in 1842. For those who know their Australian history, Hamilton Hume will be a well known name. Perhaps what is less known, is that he helped his sister in law Elizabeth Hume to establish the run "Yarrawonga Stations" after the death of her husband John Hume. She had nine children so obviously a determined woman.
She designed and had built the house she called Byramine which means rustic retreat. It had a range of safety features including wooden shutters and walls sixteen inches thick to help protect the family from bushrangers and Aboriginals. Husband John had been killed by bushrangers (the Whitton gang) so her desire to be safe in her new home and property is understandable. The home is privately owned although operates as a heritage tourism venture and was last for sale in 2010 and this Weekly Times property notice gives its history.
The final thing I did in Yarrawonga was to collect my father's cuckoo clock from the Clock Museum (it doesn't have its own website). On an earlier visit I had left it there for a clean and tone up as it is one of the few things that I have from my father. He was given the clock by my brother's first in-laws and Dad loved watching the cuckoo come out every hour but I don't think Mum was as enthralled. Certainly she didn't seem to mind giving it to me after Dad died.
The Clock Museum is a fascinating place and there are over 500 antique and novelty clocks on display and it is worth a visit as all clocks are in working order (that's a lot of ticking). It's privately owned and the owner knows everything about clocks which is why I took my cuckoo clock to him for restoration.
I had to be back in Melbourne for the committee meeting of the Victorian Association of Family History Organisations (VAFHO). Lots of things are happening with updates to the website, thinking about speakers for the next Don Grant lecture on Family History Feast day (30 July 2012 so save the date), planning for the next VAFHO conference in 2013 in Ballarat and also looking at a membership drive to get more representation across Victoria.
Back home I had a small mountain of snail mail, mostly bills, but one was an envelope postmarked Ireland and I knew it was my Irish marriage certificates. I ordered two a few weeks ago so with great excitement I opened the envelope to find two certificates but they were the same certificate, not two different ones. I'm not sure what has happened but I will need to contact them and sort it all out.
This weekend is going to be a catch up weekend with everything. It's nice having time away and sitting on an immigration channel bank fishing and watching the birds but now I have emails, newsletters, blogs and some new breakthroughs in my own family history research to follow up. Not to mention preparing my talks for the Unlock the Past genealogy cruise which is now only four weeks away and before that I am travelling to Pambula, NSW for the Bega Valley Genealogy Society annual seminar where I am giving two talks.
Although I have been saying I will take it easier next year, I find I am already committed to a growing number of genealogy events next year. I start out saying NO but then they seem to find my soft spot - I need to find it myself and concrete it over! Still it is nice to be in demand and I probably wouldn't like to see that change.