Australia Day Challenge 2014: C’mon Aussie

Here are my responses to the Australia Day Challenge 2014: C’mon Aussie geneameme conceived by Cassmob and posted on her blog, ‘Family history across the seas’.

Gum tree I planted about 20 years ago when it was only a few cm high.
Gum tree I planted about 20 years ago when it was only a few cm high. I have no intention of climbing it!


My first ancestor to arrive in Australia was: Esther Ferres who arrived in Port Phillip 11th August 1848.on the ‘Cornwall’. She was 64 years old and listed as a laundress.

I don’t have any ‘Australian Royalty’ (convicts) amongst my known ancestors. The possibility still exists, as details of one line are unknown.

Neither can I claim to be an ‘Aussie mongrel’ as all my ancestors came to Oz from the southern counties of England.

Did any of your ancestors arrive under their own financial steam? Most were ‘assisted’ immigrants but some paid their own fare and one family is said to have been brought out by an organ-building firm to work on the town hall organ.

How many ancestors came as singles? Two

How many came as couples? Two couples

How many came as family groups? I have found six, quite varied, family groupings:

  • Married couple and child/ren (3)
  • Mother and daughter (1)
  • Three generations together (1)
  • Single woman with her brother and his wife (1)

Did one person lead the way and others follow?

  • One father came seven years before his wife and daughter
  • One son and daughter came four years before their parents

What’s the longest journey they took to get here? 112 days

Did anyone make a two-step emigration via another place? No

Which state(s)/colony did your ancestors arrive? All came to Port Phillip/Victoria.

Did they settle and remain in one state/colony? Yes

Did they stay in one town or move around? It varied – some stayed put for a few generations, others moved from place to place.

Do you have any First Australians in your tree? No

Were any self-employed? My earliest Australian ancestors seem to have been a fairly independent lot and mostly worked for themselves.

What occupations or industries did your earliest ancestors work in?

  • Most were farmers.
  • Some combined farming with gold mining.
  • There was also a printer, a baker, an ironmonger and a jeweller/watchmaker.

Does anyone in the family still follow that occupation? Some descendants are still farming. There have been lots of teachers in the family in more recent generations.

Did any of your ancestors leave Australia and go “home”? No


What’s your State of Origin? Victoria

Do you still live there? Yes

Where was your favourite Aussie holiday place as a child? We didn’t go on holidays when I was a child. As a young adult, I developed a love of bushwalking holidays.

Any special place you like to holiday now? Anywhere with family and/or friends. I also enjoy geneacruises!

Share your favourite spot in Oz: Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges (where I live) – wonderful scenery, good climate, lovely gardens, friendly local communities, great restaurants and cafes – and only an hour from Melbourne!

Any great Aussie adventure you’ve had? Still thinking about this question!

What’s on your Australian holiday bucket list? Kakadu and the Kimberley region

How do you celebrate Australia Day? Barbeque with friends


15 thoughts on “Australia Day Challenge 2014: C’mon Aussie”

  1. Don’t you admire the resilience of a woman who will emigrate by sailing ship at 64 years of age!! It took me time to think of taking a geneacruise for only 10 days.

    I was intrigued by the mixed composition of the emigrants and who lead the way. Don’t you wish you could ask them why? I guess the parents felt if they didn’t come, they’d never see their children again.

    Love the story of the organ expertise.

    Thanks for joining in!


    1. Thanks for your interest, Pauleen.
      Esther had family with her but it still must have been hard. The more I investigate, the more pleasure I get out of trying to find evidence of the whys and hows – not just the whats! I remember being told that the organ was the old one in the Melbourne Town Hall. Will have to check it out one day.

      1. I agree having family would have helped but it was a big step in those days when 64 was not as “bright and sprightly” as maybe these days. There’s always more to find out isn’t there? Good luck with the organ.

        1. The ‘more to find out’ is what keeps us so interested in following up leads about past members of our families and the lives they lead.

    1. I hadn’t thought specifically about being monocultural, Jill.
      Of course there is still more to find out. Just because my ‘boat people’ ancestors all came to Australia from England, doesn’t actually mean their ancestors originated there, although most probably did! One family, with Jewish origins, lived for a few generations in the East End of London. I haven’t managed to track them back further but expect that their origins will be from elsewhere.
      A DNA test could be interesting.

  2. WOW that is amazing that they are all from England.

    I can’t imagine being separated from your wife and child for 7 years! The daughter would not have known her father! Did they have more kids later?

  3. The Dandenong Ranges are certainly beautiful…no wonder you list them as your favourite place… I, too, was fascinated with Esther migrating at 64, back in 1848… she would have been considered an old lady in those times.

    1. Thanks Crissouli. Amazingly, Esther wasn’t my only ancestor over 60. Another was 61 when he arrived!
      The more I think about it, the more that I am in awe of the individuals and families packing up and travelling in steerage half way round the world. They must have really believed that they, and their children, would have much better life opportunities as a consequence of the move.

    1. Thanks Jeanette. I’ll get to them in the next few weeks, I hope.
      Might need to pick your brains about some of them!

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