MY AUSTRALIA DAY 2013 TRIBUTE
I well remember the sob in mum’s voice as she spoke about how her Grandmother was abused and often called a “filthy Irish bitch” as she walked through the streets of her country town on the way to do the washing for the local hotel… with a child in tow and one on her hip.
My Great Grandmother Eliza Jane was a first born Australian with an Irish mother who had immigrated, at the age of 18, to escape the aftermath of the “Irish Potato Famine” into which she’d been born and had managed to survive. The family story is that her parents were told, by their Landlord, that at least one of their children had to emigrate or they would be evicted and so my Susan Kelleher, and her sister Bridget, headed for South Australia under an “assisted passengers” scheme.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that the following may contain names, images or voices of the deceased.
Part of my Family History narrative is also about the problems my pioneering ancestors had with “the Blacks“. Stories of how, as Eliza Jane would sit on the verandah of their modest homestead, whilst her husband was working away, with a babe in arms to try and escape the cloying nightime heat and being terrified by the eerie sounds of “the Blacks having a corroboree” in the nearby creek. Added to this was her fear, when she was home alone, and aboriginal women would come knocking on the door for “tea and baccy” whilst their men were standing further back with spears in their hands.
So many similar stories peppered my childhood. Added to this is that my very first personal experience was when I was about 10 years of age an Aboriginal family moved in nearby. It was not a positive one. However, what is also very clear in my memory is mum talking about the Aboriginal families, who shopped in the Port Adelaide branch of David Murrays where she worked, and how they were the best “payers” and the most honest of their shoppers.
Of course it’s not surprising, given my family background, that matters of Social Justice were always at the forefront of my professional life and so was delighted to join with others in agreeing to “pilot” the draft Aboriginal Education programme in our South Australian school. The “lightbulb moment” came unexpectedly and I burst forth with copious tears on the realisation that my GGGrandmother, who fled her home-land because colonisation had dispossesed her Ancestors of their land, then became an instrument for our Indigenous Australians to also have their land taken from them.
It’s such a joy to remember back to those years when we happily worked to educate the new generation about the culture, the spiritual “dreamtime” and customs of our “First Australians”. We read their “dreamtime” stories, sang songs, cooked their food, experimented with their art work
How wonderful it was to have teachers and students from the nearby “Kaurna” kindergarten come join us and teach some of their language. e.g. the well known “Heads, shoulders, knees and toes” ditty but sang in the language of the Kaurna people. What a privilege!
To read more about this programme please click HERE
There’s been a bit of “blah blah blah” circulating and some very blatant racist comments hitting the airwaves, and social media, recently as a result of Australia Day 2013 which is so expected it just about bores me “to smithereens”… but am delighted that the Reconciliation Australia Blog clearly describes how there has been a huge change in attitude with younger Australians which gives such hope and points the way forward for the continuing healing of our peoples.
Music and song has always been a wonderful way of reaching through differences, making connections and healing pain so, in closing, must share one of my most favourite songs… “My Island Home”. This is the original version by the renowned, and celebrated, Warumpi Band.
Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel
It is with great pleasure that I take up Helen Smith’s 2013 Australia Day Challenge. Helen writes:
“Australia Day, 26th January is a day we celebrate what makes us Australian.
Regardless of whether your ancestor came 40 000 years ago or yesterday and regardless of where they were from, together their descendants are Australian.
Your challenge (should you choose to accept it) is to tell the story of your first Australian ancestor.”
I began this blogging journey one year ago today, Australia Day 2012, as a means of sharing my genealogy research, and family stories, with my Ancestor’s descendants wherever they may be. In fact, the very title of this Blog, “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family” reflects this focus which has been described in ABOUT THIS BLOG
There are LINKS provided below to the many stories I’ve written already about the first of my Ancestors to migrate to this wide, brown land and settle in South Australia. Some may be of interest to you.
On my maternal side, the first to arrive was my Great Great Grandmother, Susan Kelleher, who at the age of 18 travelled from County Clare, Ireland, to South Australia, on the ill-fated ship the “Nashwauk”.
* To read about the shipwreck, as Susan was finally close to land, just click HERE
* Cc – is for Cousin Lizzie, provides a great deal of information about Susan’s life
* It’s an ongoing battle to ensure that the anchor from Susan’s ship, the Nashwauk, is indeed put back on public display and does not just disappear… You can read about this HERE
* This LINK will take you through to my attempts, so far, to locate Susan’s family in Ireland
* Lately I’ve become most interested in discovering how Susan’s life, just 19 years after South Australia was colonised, compared with that of one of our greatest explorers, John McDouall Stuart. It’s a work in progress and, if interested, just click HERE
The first of my paternal ancestors to arrive in Oz is my dad, Harry Scarborough Crout. Like Susan, he too was an “assisted migrant” although 73 years later but for exactly the same reason i.e. as an Agricultural Labourer to enable those who’d come earlier to develop their land… always with the hope/ promise that ultimately they too would become “landholders”.
* Dad was only 16 years old when he arrived in Sydney Harbor, NSW, as part of “Dreadnought Scheme” in 1928, just as the iconic “Sydney Harbour Bridge” was reaching it’s final stages of construction. You can read about it HERE
* This LINK talks about dad’s birthplace in Leeds, Yorkshire, England… which turns out to be his maternal Grandmother’s home and has recently provided me with lots of family links 🙂
* HERE I’ve written about finally locating dah’s beloved home in Mossman Street, Windhill, Shipley,Yorkshire, England.
* Dad’s first wife, Connie Evans, who was my mum’s beloved older half sister, died 2 months after giving birth to their still born “Baby Crout”. So grateful was I to be able to ensure that there’s a memorial to him, and his parents, at the West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, SA.
* THIS is a fun post about one of my dad’s “antics” with his mother-in-law (x2) whilst recovering from the trauma described above.
* Just click HERE if you want to read about the marriage of my beautiful parents.
To finish off, I MUST share this favourite song of my dad. Relates back to his mam’s Scottish heritage. Harry Scarborough Crout, from Leeds, Yorkshire, England, loved to challenge his Ozzie children to repeat the following words as quickly as they could:
“If ye can say it’s a braugh bricht moonlicht nicht t’nicht then ye alricht ye ken…”
Whilst being very proud of my Ancestors who fled often horrific conditions in their home – land and gave me, and mine, a better chance at life I am conflicted knowing that this was, and still is, at the expense of the traditional owners of this beautiful land we claim as our own – Australia.
Our previous Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, gave the apology. May it now be followed up with meaningful action.
Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel.
I’ll be off soon to enjoy my Australia Day “Aussie BBQ” … may it be a happy day for everyone.
To hear the designer, Dr John Blaxland of the Australian National University, explain the significance of the symbolism, please click on the link below:
<a href=”http://video.news.com.au/2328574946/New-Aussie-flag-design-explained”>VIDEO: New Aussie flag design explained</a></p></iframe>
The machine picked up the rather tentative message…
“Catherine, it’s David Ha(r)bel here”
and, as quick as “Jack Flash”, I was out of my chair, sprinting across the room and fumbling for the “talk” button. Hooley dooley… how exciting. As soon as I heard that correct German pronunciation of our surname I knew David was “the real deal” and way back in my memory box was the name David Habel.
Turns out that my children share their paternal Great Grandparents, Emil Wilhelm Habel and Maria Mathilda Grosser, with David. That’s where I’d seen his name; “THE GROSSERS FROM GRUENBERG: 1841-1991” Family History Book!!!
David found my story about Habel’s Bend online and thought he should make contact. Best of all is that, whilst I’ve only received info on my children’s Habel Ancestry via some rather scanty “word of mouth stories” added to by on-line research, David is his family’s “keeper” of the their Ancestral documents, photos, family bible, etc., and was part of the Habel family that didn’t re-locate from Loxton to suburbia. Even better is that he’s also most pleased to have made contact is very keen to share and help me get the stories straight. Thankyou David!!!
Even better than that!!!… and could it get any better???… is that my children and other Habel fam are equally as delighted. So… not too far down the track lots of laughter, clicking of cameras, scanning of pics will be issuing forth from a beautiful botanical garden setting here in South Oz. Maybe we should be “pre-emptive”, as they say, and hand out free ear-plugs to folks seated nearby.
Just can’t wipe the “smile off m’ dial” … and wonder if my extensive, and difficult research, to finally sort out our Habel’s immigration to South Oz, and then those who later beavered off into Victoria, will be news to David?
Oh… the thrill of it all.
Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel
“On behalf of yes
Yes, it’s okay to ship your work.
Yes, you’re capable of making a difference.
Yes, it’s important.
Yes, you can ignore that critic.
Yes, your bravery is worth it.
Yes, we believe in you.
Yes, you can do even better.
Yes is an opportunity and yes is an obligation. The closer we get to people who are confronting the resistance on their way to making a ruckus, the more they let us in, the greater our obligation is to focus on the yes.
There will always be a surplus of people eager to criticize, nitpick or recommend caution. Your job, at least right now, is to reinforce the power of the yes.”
This quote has been taken directly from the Blog of Seth Godin whose writing always nurtures and inspires me. You can Click here to go to this particular post where you might like to stay awhile and have a look around. It may just be your “cup a cha” too ….
Thanks Seth and thanks also to my eldest child, Cullen Habel, for the introduction.
Copyright © 2013. Seth Godin
On this very day, 150 years ago, my 26 year old Great Great Grandmother, Susan (Kelleher) Nicholls was plying her Needlework talents to feed her 3 daughters, Catherine Ann, Mary Anne and Margaret. Widowed for 2years, Susan had recently purchased a nearby block of land at Armagh, close to Clare in the mid-north of South Australia, and I do wonder if she had any inkling that 12months later she would marry my Great Great Grandfather, Timothy Rowen.
What seems most likely however is that, living so far out in the country, Susan would not yet have known about the excitement, celebration and jubilation that was playing out on the streets of Adelaide as she went about her daily work.
The South Australian Advertiser reports:
“WEDNESDAY, January 21, 1863, will be one of the most memorable days of South Australia. On that day the explorer, John McDouall Stuart, accompanied by his gallant band of fellow travellers, made his formal entry into the City of Adelaide, after having crossed the continent from the southern to the northern shore (and return). Stuart had arrived in town some time previously, with one or two of his companions – but the formal entry of the whole party – as such – was arranged to take place on Wednesday, and the citizens determined to give them a true South Australian welcome home.
It is not, however, merely the fact that Stuart has crossed from shore to shore, which entitles him to be placed amongst the heroes of discovery; – of still greater significance is the fact that he wrested from the interior its long hidden secret. What was the map of Australia in our school days? What was it ten years ago? It was a vast blank, having no line traced upon it, no mark by which an opinion might be formed of the nature of the vast interior.”
This was an amazing feat and of HUGE benefit not just to South Australia, but to the whole of Australia and even further afield.
The “Flinders Ranges Research” website tells us that:
“As a result of this journey, the opening up of the Northern Territory was made possible, and a route discovered for an Overland Telegraph Line linking South Australia with England and the rest of the world in 1872.
In 1863 Britain added the whole of the Northern Territory to South Australia, a decision greeted with great enthusiasm by most South Australians. George Fife Angas though believed the new area to be too big a responsibility for South Australia.”
It grieves me that this intrepid (Scottish born) South Australian explorer goes largely un-recognised not just in Australia but also South Australia. In my schooldays, during the 1950’s, we were still so attached to the British Empire/ Commonwealth that our History lessons were all about the Kings and Queens, of England, and I seem to remember something about some battles in a far off land somewhere.
John McDouall Stuart arrived in the fledgling Colony of South Australia in 1839, just 3 years after European settlement/ colonisation. My Susan arrived just 16 years later and I’m fascinated that they shared the same space in time as well as geographically.
This is a story I’m not going to be able to let go… how was my Susan’s life playing out as our intrepid explorer’s life was also unfolding?… be prepared for some follow up posts folks as the research continues 🙂
RESOURCES and FURTHER INFORMATION:
Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel