Yesterday was VP/VJ Day — Victory in the Pacific/Victory over Japan. 74 years! And yes, I was alive at the time, doing what I have told before:
I do remember sitting on my dinkie on the gravel drive, near the Dorothy Perkins climbing rose which I called Mrs Perkins and confused with the lady next door who I thought was also Mrs Perkins. A yellow biplane flew over very low and the pilot leaned out and waved to me. My mother later told me that must have been the end of World War II.
And here I am close to that time with my sister Jeanette (1940-1952):
My dad was still in the RAAF in Papua. Here he is in the cockpit of a Kittyhawk in Port Moresby:
And here he is in uniform:
My uncle, Neil Christison, turned 21 in July 1945 — I was named after him — was around Moratai at the time. His was a hard war. Here he is out of uniform in the backyard at Auburn Street, Sutherland.
Another uncle, Keith Christison, was in the army on the home front.
Yesterday there was a commemoration at Wollongong City Diggers. To be honest, it wasn’t until I saw footage on the local WIN News that I remembered what the day was! Not many WW2 vets left now. The scene at City Diggers yesterday, photo from our local member of parliament Sharon Bird:
You can find quite a few posts on Indigenous Austalians here, some of them dealing with a probable (in my case) family connection and in the case of my brother’s descendants a certain one. The critical point in my story is knowing for sure who was the father of my grandmother Henrietta. I have renewed a search for that information in the past few days, but to no avail.
You will find among other posts this from 2011: Family history and mystery–the Indigenous connection. And this is said grandmother, whom I never met:
Henrietta Bursill (Whitfield) 1874-1931
Someone rather well known read that post, I think, and emailed me just now.
Wallangang Eorah Muttong Yagunah.
Hello Neil want to know about my Ancestor I can show a male to male line back to
Pemulwuy & his father Bediagal, Tedbury whom was later recorded as Timbere a black Joe a term used by white people along with young Bundle they were the chiefs of the tribe.
His family is indeed well-known. He is quoted in a Choice article on real/fake Aboriginal art.
The State Library of NSW has an interesting exhibition now: “Dead Central, a new exhibition that opens on Saturday, pays tribute to the lives of those buried at the cemetery between its opening in 1820 and closure in 1867.” See also the exhibition site.
A vast cemetery once sprawled across the land bound by Sydney’s Elizabeth, Pitt and Devonshire streets — where Central Station now stands. The Devonshire Street cemetery opened in 1820, but the city’s major burial ground filled up quickly in the decades following, only to become overgrown and abandoned. In January 1901, when the state government announced its intention to clear the cemetery, well over 30,000 bodies were buried there.
It is most likely that Jacob Whitfield, my convict ancestor who arrived in Sydney in 1822, was buried there, though there is no record of this. Many of the records are lost.
Here is an image from the exhibition site:
Last November I posted Hey you! That might be my great X3 grandfather!
Bizarre story from the Sydney Light Rail project a few days ago….
My great-great-great grandfather Jacob Whitfield was buried there. Or so we believe. See my series of family history posts, particularly on Jacob.
There is a Wiki Tree page on Jacob too. I first accessed it last Friday. An extract:
Death date and place unknown – Jacob is found still living in 1851 according to a news article. This would make him 92 years old !
Death and Burials : Friends Burial Ground – Old Devonshire Street Sandhills Cemetery, reference : “Burial Notes missing : Jacob Whitfield” no indication of his date of death or burial….
Friends Burial Ground – Old Devonshire Street Sandhills Cemetery, reference : “Burial Notes missing : Jacob Whitfield” no indication of his date of death or burial. Burials took place in the Friends Burial Ground from after 1851 ..
The Devonshire Street Cemetery (also known incorrectly as the Brickfield Cemetery or Sandhills Cemetery) was located between Eddy Avenue and Elizabeth Street, and between Chalmers and Devonshire Streets, at Brickfield Hill, in Sydney, Australia. It was consecrated in 1820. The Jewish section was used from 1832. By 1860, the cemetery was full, and it was closed in 1867….
That Wiki Tree page has lots of information congruent with the researches of Bob Starling and other family historians, and some that isn’t. Interesting. See also my Family stories 3 — About the Whitfields: from convict days which features quite a few contributions by those family historians…
Back when I was 15/16 I attended the centenary of Shellharbour Public School. I was in the company of my parents, Jeff and Jean Whitfield, my grandfather Roy Christison and various Whitfield relatives in Shellharbour, such as Una Gerke. My grandfather was there as the oldest living headmaster of the school. Here are some images I posted last year:
A post on Facebook’s Shellharbour History and Pictures has generated this wonderful war-time picture of my uncle Roy Christison Junior, my grandmother Ada Christison, and my grandfather Roy Christison Senior in Sydney. (Note the tram!) Posted by my cousin Linda Christison.
In that same Facebook thread someone asked if anyone had seen a photo of Ada and Roy taken in the 1930s when Roy was headmaster of Shellharbour Public School. Well, I have: it is in my collection. That is the headmaster’s residence in Shellharbour.
So I looked over Trove and found three items. The last one should say Caringbah, not Callimbar! The middle one refers to my aunt Beth, Beth Heard in later life.
From my archive.
Sutherland sunset 21 May 2014 – Woronora Cemetery:
Rose garden, Woronora Cemetery:
East Parade, Sutherland: grand Federation house repurposed as a Thai restaurant:
In the Sutherland United Services Club:
What took me back to Sutherland. See Ian and I have just run out of uncles.