Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Genealogy notes 24 Sep - 3 Oct 2012 Townsville genealogy expo

Nearly two weeks since my last Diary post and it's been full on as usual. We have been moving around different caravan parks on the Sunshine Coast while we look at houses and so far we haven't seen anything that totally meets all our criteria. It is amazingly time consuming - first finding ones we want to look at and then travelling to them etc etc. Still we can't live in a caravan forever, can we? At least not with his toys and my family history!

The only genealogy in my life at present was the Unlock the Past Townsville genealogy expo which to me was exhausting and disappointing. Exhausting because it was a long trip. We had to travel down from Tewantin to Burpengary where we left the caravan and then we had to travel on to Brisbane. Max dropped me off at the airport and then continued down to the Gold Coast and northern NSW where he was catching up with friends. On boarding I caught up with Alan Phillips and he kindly let me have his window seat which was great as it allowed me to have a close up look at my Carnegie ancestors land at Toorbul which is still largely undeveloped. It was great seeing it from the air.

The trip to Townsville was only two hours and we were met at the airport by Rosemary and Eric and a hire car to take us to our motel. Dinner that night was a blast from my past as we went to the Townsville Sizzler - these were a favourite family eating place while I was growing up and Mum still likes me to take her to the Mitchelton Sizzler for lunch when I visit. They were advertising a Pale Yak ale which I thought was a new Queensland beer but it turned out to be a Victorian ale; still it went well with my fisherman's platter.

It was an early start the next morning as we had to get set up before the doors opened at 9.00 am and about 70 people were expected. As usual people were early and started swarming around the display tables and talking to other people. I was the first speaker at 9.30 am with my It's Not All Online talk and just before I started I realised there was no microphone. While someone went to get that sorted, I started my talk to keep to the timetable. A few minutes later the microphone arrived and I swapped over and that's when my problems started.

The microphone kept fading in and out and the audience including the organisers all believed it was me not holding the microphone correctly so I had a number of people come up and tell me to hold it this way, people continually telling me they couldn't hear me and the organisers clearly indicating from the back of the room that they were blaming me for the poor quality of my presentation. BUT I knew it wasn't me as I have given lots of talks over the last 30 plus years without those problems. All of these interruptions also impacted on my delivery of the talk as it broke the flow of my thoughts. Afterwards during the break I was subjected to a lecture on professionalism, other comments I won't repeat here and how if people pay good money, they expect to get someone who knows how to give good talks and hold a microphone. Needless to say I was hurt, disappointed, angry, frustrated and at a loss as to what was wrong.

While I was outside trying to calm myself back down, someone suggested that it was the battery in the microphone that was at fault. He was spot on and when the battery was replaced both Eric and Rosemary were able to do their talks with no microphone issues at all. Eric's talk was on locating German ancestors and each time I hear it, I think with Irish examples and resources it could easily be a talk on locating Irish ancestors. Rosemary's talk was on the new site which seems to change almost every day so I picked up some more hints on how best to use the new website which has heaps more records in it too.

After lunch it was my turn again with my making the most of Google talk and it was with some trepidation that I picked up the microphone again. I held up the faulty battery and explained that this had been the culprit in the first session and that we wouldn't have the same issues this time and thankfully we didn't. So the audience and the organisers could see that I did know how to give a good talk. Although some people did come up and apologise for their earlier comments it still doesn't really take away the hurt of the words in the first place. Other people also apologised for the actions/comments of the rest of the audience and still others actually said that they liked both my talks and got a lot from them. So there were some good moments too.

Rosemary finished the day with her talk on Scotland's People. The exhibitors were Unlock the Past and the range of UTP publications continues to expand and they were also demonstrating the Flip Pal mobile scanner which seemed to be very popular with people. The Family History Association of North Queensland had a display table as did the Townsville City Council library. It was held at the Townsville RSL which meant that it was easy to get something to eat at lunchtime.

After the talks were over, we quickly packed up and Alan dropped Rosemary, Eric and I at the airport for our flight back to Brisbane. They kindly dropped me off at Mum's for the night and the next day Max joined us. I also got to catch up with my son and his girl friend over breakfast, they are house hunting too so we commiserated with each other on how hard it is to find what you want in the area you want at the price you want to pay. My brother came over at lunch time so that was good and we had a quiet evening with Mum.

Next day it was back up to Burpengary to get the caravan and we are currently in a caravan park on the Maroochy river, another nice area of the Sunshine Coast. We leave here on Saturday to head back down south for the Deniliquin genealogy muster, talks in Wagga Wagga at their monthly meeting and Milton/Ulladulla and then the Cornish Cultural Celebration in Nowra. I'm giving talks at all four events so I'm hoping for no more microphone dramas!

As the next few weeks are almost non stop travelling these Diary entries may be less regular but I will try and report on each event as I go. I keep telling myself that life will be normal from the start of November when we will be based permanently in Queensland but I suspect in reality it won't be until we have a house and everything is unpacked and easily found! Until next time.


  1. Hoping that October brings brighter things for you.

  2. Hopefully you will find the perfect house soon!

    It is unfortunate that people make hurtful comments without knowing the facts and while it is hard to not take these personally, anyone who knows you, knows how professional you are and how seriously you take every presentation.

  3. Fortunately I was near the front in Townsville and heard you perfectly all the time. Amazing, how a little thing like a battery can cause so much problem. (but then I know how crazy a computer mouse goes before I realise the problem).

  4. Thanks for your presentations, Shauna! The circumstances were difficult and not of your making. Knowing the venue, I always expect the unexpected!
    It was a long way to come, hopefully we will see you again in the north. You might even find a house you like in sunny North Queensland!

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