Our History, our future

It is with great pleasure I welcome my first Guest Blogger, for the Year 2013, Josephine Masciantonio. This Essay, written whilst Josie was studying with the University of South Australia, also won 2nd Prize for:

The Italian Embassy in Canberra: Italy Award 2011
“The Italian Risorgimento and Australia”

Copyright (c) 2013. Josephine Masciantonio

Copyright (c) 2013. Josephine Masciantonio

Titled “Our history, our future“, Josie’s Family History is also that of my three eldest Grandchildren, Edan, Mia and Jonah, for she is their Auntie… the sister of my beloved daughter-in-love, Sylvia.I am greatly honoured to have permission for the publishing of Nonno Giuseppe’s beautifully written recollections, translated from Italian for this purpose. Thankyou far more than I can ever say… so over to you Josie


EDITORIAL NOTE:  Please be aware that Josie intends to correct this rather poor “automatic internet translation” very soon. Thanks Josie. Readers may like to check back once it has been updated. Cheers, Catherine … 7 Jan 2013.


Usually, stories start from the beginning, but this story will start from the end. This is the story of my history, my family history and the story of how I got to this point. A new beginning: the unity and hope. These are the ideals of my history and the ideals of the Risorgimento. The history of a nation, of a family and the ties that bind us together.

I come from this new beginning, a life linked to hope for improvement in the future. I am writing this essay as to what Italy was, is and will become. I have been studying precisely the language that is the result of this unit to improve my Italian, so I can speak the language of our ancestors with my children. Without the Risorgimento characters who have dedicated their lives to the cause of Italian unity, I would not be here to tell my story.

Giuseppe Masciantonio (c) 2013. L.Masciantonio

Giuseppe Masciantonio (c) 2013. L.Masciantonio

Mine is the story of a family in Italy which barely overcame many difficulties and eventually emigrated to Australia. My grandfather liked to tell stories to anyone who would listen. Especially on his feast day he liked to boast that of all men, the most famous and capable, were called ‘Joseph’, like him and claimed with pride that opinion.Thanks to my grandfather Joseph, who shared the story of its history and its hardships, these events have become an integral part of me and my family. It was through the stories of my grandfather that I knew of the Italian unification. He told me that his grandfather had told him:

“Giosina-beautiful, you’d think that after the fall of the Roman Empire, Italy has always been fragmented. At the time of my grandfather, ‘Italy’ existed only as a geographical term. “

He continued:

“Our ancestors suffered and had a great desire for certainty for the future. Giuseppe Garibaldi, Giuseppe Mazzini and Cavour – even though it was a Joseph – they offered the hope of this certainty and prospects for the future. “

Grandfather Joseph told me again:

“They were difficult times, when my loved ones could not speak aloud about their feelings of the Risorgimento. My great-grandfather was a member of Young Italy. He, like many Italians, aspired to a united Italy and dreamed without fragmentation. Times were lovers because people had a common hope. “

He explained that:

“Mazzini was the father and founder of Young Italy. And it was truly a visionary! Mazzini also predicted the United States of Europe, a precursor of the ‘European Union. My grandfather was a very religious man and the slogan of Mazzini ‘God and the people’ was very important to him, my great-grandparents and grandparents could not imagine a life without a homeland and Catholicism. “

Another of the heroes of my grandfather was Garibaldi. He loved what he symbolized, and that for which he fought. He admired the fact that Garibaldi had gone as far away as Australia. “Just like me!” exclaimed my grandfather.

The link of my family with Australia began during the Second World War my grandfather – Joseph Masciantonio – and my maternal great-uncle – Cosmo Fardone – fought side by side in the same regiment in North Africa and later were taken as prisoners to Australia. They became close friends.

Grandfather told me stories of the war:

“Fifty years after the Risorgimento, Italy, directed by Giolitti, invaded Libya. And here we were, in 1941 the Italians back into Libya. We did not lose hope, even in the most serious times. I saw my fellow soldiers suffer and die. I had to overcome the wounds, and often we were thirsty or hungry, but we forged ahead with the knowledge that so many great Italian men had walked the same path and had suffered much more than we do.

On January 4, 1941 my grandfather and my uncle were captured by the Allies during the Battle of Bardia, Libya. They were then sent to Australia as prisoners of war. My grandfather and my great-uncle spent three years in a prison camp in Hay before being sent to work on farms and in other remote places in Australia. My grandfather was sent to work as a beekeeper in Mount Barker district, around Adelaide, until 1946 when he was repatriated to Italy.

Italian prisoners in the prison camp at Hay, NSW - 9 Sep 1943. Cosmo Fardone (2nd row, 5th from left) Joseph Masciantonio (front row, 2nd from left)

Italian prisoners in the prison camp at Hay, NSW – 9 Sep 1943. Cosmo Fardone (2nd row, 5th from left) Joseph Masciantonio (front row, 2nd from left)

Back in Italy, grandfather Joseph, found that the dream of his grandfather and his great-grandfather had been made and that the ideals of Mazzini had become reality. He returned to the Republican and an Italy united with Rome as its capital. It was then that he met, for the first time, his youngest son – my father – who was six years old.

After the war, however, life was very hard. At the end my paternal grandfather decided to leave his homeland, in 1961, just as his admired countryman Garibaldi had. So it was that he came to Australia with his entire family. The choice was obvious enough. He knew Adelaide, although he had been a prisoner and had such terrible memories of his years there. The ship crossed the Suez Canal, the channel for which he and his companions had risked their lives many years ago.

He told me:

“For centuries we Italians have left our homeland either by choice or by necessity. We spread our work ethic, spirit and hope for a better future in all countries that we have reached, including Australia. If we had not sacrificed all emigrants leaving our home, in your opinion, Giosina-bella, would Italy have become what it is today? “

The family Masciantonio were safe and happy and he worked tirelessly for years, in Adelaide, for their future.

Carmella and Giuseppe Masciantonio (c) 2013 L. Masciantonio

Carmella and Giuseppe Masciantonio (c) 2013 L. Masciantonio

On a hot summer’s day in 1966, an extraordinary event happened in the central market of Adelaide. Joseph Masciantonio was struck by a vision – a man ran up to him – copious tears came from his eyes and he hugged him. His friend was moved. His comrade, Cosmo Fardone, stood before him.

Unbeknowns to each other, the Fardone and Masciantonio families had emigrated to Australia. They organized a big party to celebrate that they had found each other and  honoured the life and destiny. So it was, at this party, that my father and mother met and then married the following year.

Dora Martino & Luigi Masciantoni (c) 2013. Luigi Masciantonio

Dora Martino & Luigi Masciantoni (c) 2013. Luigi Masciantonio

I feel fortunate because my grandfather made me proud to be Italian, speaking proudly of his origins. He told me of artists, composers, musicians and inventors, such as Giuseppe Meucci-another! – The inventor of the telephone, instilled within me a strong and lasting feeling of being Italian.

For me it is a wonder that the Italo-Australian of the second, third and fourth generation still feel ‘Italian’. This Italianità is deeply rooted even in those who have never been to Italy or even speak the language.

My grandfather was a singer and musician and did not spend a day in which he was not heard singing his usual hymn. When reflecting on the war, and feeling sad and melancholy, he would sing:

“The Piave whispered” foreigner shall not pass! ‘”

And other times, his favorite composer, Verdi, Va’ pensiero:

“Go, thought, on golden wings …. O my country, so lovely and lost!”

Grandfather Joseph explained to me:

“In the days of my grandfather, Green symbolized the patriotism and nationalism. People shouted “Viva Verdi!” To sympathize secretly with the king, Vittorio Emanuele II, and for Italian unification.”

It would be impossible for anyone not to be moved to the tune of this song. My grandfather explained that he, his parents and grandparents always were moved to tears when they sang “Va’ pensiero”, imagining and remembering the suffering of the Italians.

I will never forget his voice and his words:

“Giosina, do not forget that you’re like me, Giuseppe, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Giuseppe Mazzini and Joseph as Verdi!”

I am proud that the spirit of the Renaissance – and that of all the great ‘Giuseppe’-is still alive in me.


Copyright © 2011. Josephine Masciantonio

Belli, B. (2010), ‘Notes Risorgimento II: The “Va’ Pensiero” and other choirs Verdi ‘accessed on 14 May 2011
Chiro, G. and Smolicz, J. J. (1998), ‘Evaluations of language and social systems by a group of tertiary students of Italian ancestry in Australia’, Altreitalie 18 (July-December), p. 13-31.

Castles, S., Alcorso, C., Rando, G. and Vasta, E. (Eds) (1992), Australia’s Italians: Culture and Community in a Changing Society, Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli, Allen & Unwin, North Sydney.

Dewhirst, C. (2003), Italian Roots: Family History, Inter Generational Experience, and Identity Centre for Social Change Research, School of Humanities and Human Services Queensland University of Technology. Accessed on 12 May 2011 http://eprints.qut.edu.au/130/1/Catherine_Dewhirst.pdf

Duggan, C. (2008), The Force of Destiny: A History of Italy since 1796, Penguin Books, London.

Formichi, G. (2003), The Renaissance 1799-1861, Giunti, Florence.

Hibbert, C. (1966), Garibaldi and His Enemies: The Clash of Arms and Personalities in the Making of Italy, Little, Brown and Company, Boston.

O’Connor, D. (2003), Flinders University Languages ​​Group Online Review Vol 1, Issue 3, December. Accessed on 22 May 2011 http://ehlt.flinders.edu.au/deptlang/fulgor/

Passerin Entrèves, E. (1970), ‘Ideologies of the Risorgimento’, History of Literature, edited by Emilio Cecchi and Natalia Sapegno, Seventh colume The nineteenth century, Garzanti, Milan.

Rando, G. Italo-Australian and After: Recent Expressions of Italian Australian Ethnicity and the Migration Experience University of Wollongong, Australia. Accessed on 6 May 2011

Rando, G. (2005), ‘Italian Australians During the Second World War: some perceptions of internment’, University of Italian Studies in Southern Africa / English Studies in Southern Africa, Vol 18, No. 1 pp. 20-51.

Rando, G. (2008), ‘Raffaello Carboni’s perception of Australia and Australian identity’, Flinders Univeristy Languages ​​Group Online, vol. 3, issue 3. Accessed on 4 May 2011 http://ehlt.flinders.edu.au/deptlang/fulgor/volume3i3/papers/Randov3i308.pdf

Rubino, A. (2002), Proceedings of Innovations in Italian teaching workshop, Griffith University Pages 1-15 Italian in Australia: Past and new trends, University of Sydney. Accessed on 8 May 2011 http://www.griffith.edu.au/centre/italian/pdf/1_rubino.pdf

Vasta, E. (1995), ‘The Italian-Australian Family: Transformations and continuities’, in R. Hartley (ed), Families and Cultural Diversity in Australia, Allen & Unwin, St. Leonards, NSW, p. 144-166.

Vasta, E. (1993), ‘The socio-cultural change: the Italo-Australian women and the second generation’, Altreitalie, no 9, pp. 69-83.

Vasta, E. (2003), ‘The Italian immigration in Australia: the Second Generation’ in Italian emigration overseas nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the history of the community derived, Marcello Saiya (ed), Trisform, Messina, Italy.

Happy Birthday South Australia!!!

Today is South Australia’s “Proclomation Day”, our birthday, and a time for much rejoicing by many.

Governor John Hindmarsh

Governor John Hindmarsh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On this day, 176 years ago, South Australia was proclaimed a British Province by Captain John Hindmarsh alongside the “Old Gum Tree” at Glenelg.

The proclamation included the same protection, under the law, for the local native population as for the settlers although I’m sad to say that the enforcement of this law did not reflect the intent as described in the legislation.  

South Australia has a unique heritage. Unlike British settlements on the east coast of Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia, South Australia was not a convict settlement and so tends to not attract the same interest nor fascination.

My schoolday history lessons, in the 1950’s, were totally focussed on British history and Australian history was not part of the curriculum. Needless to say, the uniqueness of our South Australian history was never a part of my learning. It was only when accepted as a “mature aged student” to Tertiary Education in the late 1970’s (thanks to the Australian Labour Party and our Prime Minister Gough Whitlam) that I learnt about our unique South Australia history.

Edward Gibbon Wakefield (* 1796; † 1862), Brit...

Edward Gibbon Wakefield (* 1796; † 1862), British statesman and promoter of colonization of Australia and New Zealand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the years pass I still never fail to be fascinated by the origins of this planned “Utopia in the South”, nor of Edward Gibbon Wakefield who conceived the plan whilst serving three years in Newgate Prison for abducting Ellen Turner, a 15 year old heiress, and narrowly escaping a hanging or transportation.

His simple plan was that  instead of granting free land to settlers, as was the practice in other colonies, the land would be sold at a ‘suffient price’ and  this money would then be used to provide free passage to labourers and their families. It was envisaged that after working for a few years these labourers would then be able to buy land for themselves.

“The object is not to place a scattered and half-barbarous colony on the coast of New Holland, but to establish…a wealthy, civilised society.” Edward Gibbon Wakefield

After being released from Newgate prison in 1830, Wakefield became involved in several attempts to promote his scheme for the colonisation of South Australia but as his influence waned he severed all connection with the scheme.

Robert Gouger, who was Wakefield’s secretary, then promoted  Wakefield’s plan and the South Australian Association was formed. With the aid of several influential figures the  British Parliament was  persuaded to pass the South Australian Colonisation Act which incorporated Wakefield’s plan to devolp the colony with the best qualities of British society.  The reality, however, did not match the ideals as land speculators moved in but Wakefield’s plan certainly gave the European colonisation of South Australia a different flavour to that of other Australian colonies .

So today many South Australians will gather again under that “old gum tree” in Glenelg to remember and to celebrate the Proclomation, 176 years ago, of South Australia as yet another British Colony but with it’s own unique flavour.

The Proclomation of South Australia. 28 Dec 1836

The Proclomation of South Australia. 28 Dec 1836


Copyright (c) 2012. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel.

Yy is for – Yesterdays in Windhill, Yorkshire.

He died 5 years ago, in his 95th year, but my dad’s words, “I’m BRITISH and proud of it!”, still ring in my ears. In this post to Gould “Family History Through the Alphabet” Challenge I’ll share just a snippet of his story and dedicate this post to my dad, Harry Scarborough Crout (1912-2007) and his beloved “mam” Marie (Ogilvie) Crout (1880-1931).

Harry Scarborough Crout aged 29years. (c) C.Crout-Habel

Those who are not family members might also like to join me, and mine, in this remembering of my dad’s “Yesterdays in Windhill, Yorkshire”.


First matter I want to address is why would my dad be so vehemently proclaiming such pride in his heritage? … Easy answer to that is that, after being lured to Australia, as a 16 year old lad in 1928 …  a “Dreadnought Boy”, he was constantly battling the put-down names of cocky little pommie bastard” etc. Just click here to read about his experiences as part of the “Dreadnought Scheme.”

My memory is that dad started loudly proclaiming, “I’m BRITISH and proud of it!” when we, his Ozzie children, picked up the derogatory terminology… i.e.  “pommie” to describe someone born in England.  It was then that dad began to slowly give us his side of the story and, over time, I’ve researched and come to truly appreciate this wonderfully unique part of my Heritage which I’m now passing on to my children/ grand-children and all of dad’s descendants via this blog.

My dad, Harry Scarborough Crout, was indeed  a “Yorkshire lad” , born in Leeds on 4 Mar 1912 to Marie (Ogilvie) Crout and Henry Eden Crout (Jun). You can read about this HERE.  His mum, Marie, was a “Yorkshire lass” who was born to another “Yorkshire lass” Emma Chadwick (1854-1919) whose parents were also Yorkshire born.

Dreadnought Boys arriving in Sydney on the “SS Ballarat” – 1928

Dad came to Australia as a 16 year old and never intended to stay. His intention was to make lots of money to take back home to his beloved “mam”. He steamed into Sydney Harbour, Australia, with other “Dreadnought Boys” aboard the “Ballarat” on 13 Jun 1928 just as the inconic Sydney Harbour Bridge was in it’s final stages of completion and, unfortunately, the Great Depression was starting to take it’s toll.

Nab Wood Cemetery, Shipley, Yorkshire, England

Australia was not the Utopia dad had imagined and his beloved “mam” died in the North Brierley Workhouse and buried in a Pauper’s Grave in Nab Wood Cemetery, just 3 years after dad left his homeland. He was just 19 years old, adrift in a foreign land and orphaned. Well, I’ve since learnt that his dad was still living but that’s another story for another time.

So, that’s the background and now moving onto Windhill, Shipley, Yorkshire, England. 🙂


As I wrote in ABOUT, on this blog … as dad’s health & senses were declining he became more and more agitated that no-one in the family had been able to find his childhood home. On my return to Ireland, in 1995, I just HAD to take the trip across the Irish Sea to check out this matter, in Yorkshire, which was causing dad such anguish.

“Shipley” can be seen just above “Bradford” on this West Yorkshire County map from Wikipedia.

A ferry trip from Dublin, Ireland to Holyhead, Wales. A  bus trip across England to Leeds and the train to Shipley, soon had me close to dad’s childhood home However it soon  began to seem like a HUGE “wild goose chase” and still remember how much my hips began to ache as the “backpack” was weighing me down … then almost like magic the most amazing of people came to my aid.

Map showing 42 Mossman Street, Windhill before the re-development of the 1960’s.

The young woman in the B&B said how her Aunt knew all about Mossman Street. I was sent to the Library and given maps to show how the re-development had removed the street of dad’s childhood home. It now became clear why nobody had been able to find 42 Mossman Street (off Crag Road) Windhill, Yorkshire, England.

Crag Road Methodist Church, Windhill, Shipley, Yorkshire, England

Crag Road Methodist Church

This same map also shows the location of dad’s school, Crag Road Primary School, as well as the Methodist Church where he attended Sunday School and the empty field he used as a short cut.

Dad’s Sunday School teacher, Miss Murgatroyd, continued writing to him until way into the early 1960’s.

Windhill Community Centre

I visited the “Windhill Community Centre”… met with some people from the  “Memories Group” and was told that one of their friends remembered my dad who had gone to Australia, but it didn’t end there.  On my return home, I began receiving letters full of information from other members of the “Memories Group” which is how I located my Grand -mother’s burial spot.  

As a child dad loved books, reading and writing, and was proud of winning an essay competition at school.  He spoke often about his weekly visit to the library, down the hill, and his battle up Crag Road laden with books.

Carnegie Library – 1900 (http://yorksphotos.blogspot.com.au)

I would to laugh when he’d speak about how on very windy days he’d get blown over. Well, I never knew what a long contuinuous haul it was up that Crag Road until trekking it myself. What a delight it was to turn right off Briggate and almost in front of me was the Carnegie Library, with Carr Lane forking off to the left and Crag Road to the right, just as dad had described it. 

I saw the remaining “back to backs”,  like dad’s home in Mossman Street, and remembered his stories about the washing stretched across the road, on washing day. The walled middens at the front, which were emptied weekly and his frustration that “mam” would not allow him to wear “hob nailed boots”, like those of “the Mill children.” How he envied them making sparks as they scraped their boots across the street which I seem to remember dad described as “cobbled.”  He also laughed when talking about how his Auntie would often say … “You could eat your dinner  off Marie’s doorstep!” It seems my Grandmother was seen to be extremely house proud.

Well, I came home with a pile of photographs and maps to share with dad. I’ll never forget the look of wonder on his aged faced as he smiled, pointed at the photos and shared so many memories that came flooding back along with those pictures of his childhood. e.g he actually remembered his mother’s number which she used at the Co-op on Briggate.

As I’ve already written,  I am sure it was the spirit of dad’s beloved “mam” which kept me going as I struggled up that seemingly endless hill. Maybe she knew that it was only a short time before the dementia would over take her little boy and his memories would be lost forever? 

Dad aged 17, riding pillion, with Sammy on their first Australian adventure – NSW 1929 (C)2012.C.A.Crout-Habel

Dad was delighted with the booklet I made for him with the photos, and his words, which not only brought many of his memories back but helped keep them alive. Eventually, Mum advised that it was probably time for me to take the book back as dad had lost interest and other family had their eyes on it. Well, I didn’t because I figured that maybe he still needed it and it did disappear, which is pretty sad, however no-one can take away the joyous rememberings of that special time with my dad. 

I can still hear his proud, young, strong voice loudly declaring,
“I’m BRITISH and proud of it!!!”
May you always RIP, Harry Scarborough Crout
© 2012. C.A.Crout-Habel 

Ss – is for Sailing South and Single

Did Amelia and John know each other back home in Wedmore, Somerset, England? Was it Serendipity that they travelled separately, and single, to a new life in South Australia and then met and married “within the blink of an eye”?  Did they travel separately to avoid detection or is there a simpler explanation? Some things we can only wonder about as we explore the lives of our Ancestors. In this post to the Gould “Family History Through the Alphabet” challenge it’s a pleasure to share a little of the lives of my children’s paternal Great Great Grandparents, John and Amelia Hembury, when they chose to emigrate and create a life far from their homeland. Am also delighted to introduce the amazing book “A 300 Year History of the Hembury Family”, which has been a long time in the making and is soon to be released.


The history of Wedmore, the birth place of both John and Amelia Hembury/ Hembry, goes way back to the Iron Age and, as I understand it, the Hemburys have been an integral part of this rather small community, in Britain, for many hundreds of years. So it seems rather unlikely that John and Amelia did not know each other before both deciding to emigrate to South Australia separately and within about 5 weeks of each other.

John (aged 23) left the shores of Britain, from Plymouth aboard the “Adamant”, as a single man & Government assisted migrant on 4 Jul 1863. He arrived at Port Adelaide, South Australia on 25 Sep 1863.

Amelia (aged 15) left her homeland with her sister Jane (aged 16) aboard the “Sir John Lawrence” arriving in Port Adelaide just 6 weeks later – 30 October 1863. 

Within 6 weeks of Amelia’s arrival in South Australia she and John were wed in the beautiful “Holy Trinity Church”, North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia – 17 Dec 1868.

Amelia and John Hembry/Hembury had 16 children – 9 survived infancy. Their sixth child, William Henry Hembury, is my children’s Great Grandfather.

William Henry Hembury married Emma (Amy) Kowalick at the residence of Amy’s mother Mary Ann (Forster) Kowalick at Margaret Street, North Adelaide, South Australia on 25 Dec 1894 and they celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1944. Within a few years both “passed on” and share a burial place in the Dudley Park Cemetery, South Australia.

Amelia Hembury(c)K.Francis

William Henry and Emma had 3 children; Mary Eveline, Vera Adeline and Beatrice Amy Hembury. Mary Eveline, known as “Ev“, is our Nana Andy, my children’s great grandmother, on their father’s side, and a very special lady indeed.

Enough now about who is related to whom… except to say that when Amelia and John Hembury/Hembry decided to sail south and create a whole new life here, in the Antipodes, their descendants have never forgotten that their origins go way back to Wedmore, Somerset, England.

Kay Francis has been working, for 16 years now, on compiling detailed documentation of our Hembury Family which takes us back 300 years. The book “A 300 Year History of the Hembury Family” has grown to 461 colour/ black and white A4 paqes with many pictures, anecdotes etc. to enthral and intrigue. I can hardly wait to get my hands on it 🙂

Here’s how to order a copy:

PLEASE NOTE:   Postage to UK and USA  (on top of price of book)
                             – $30 Sea Mail and takes 3 months
                             – $50 Air Mail (which includes a surcharge for customs declaration, payable on Air Mail only) and takes 3-10 days.

Here in info about the book launch and reunion:

 Am so looking forward to the publishing of the book, and the family reunion and pleased to be given the opportunity to put our Nana Andy’s “Hembury line” into this publication. Sincere thanks to all whom have helped with this GIGANTIC task 🙂

Maybe we’ll catch up at the Book Launch/ Reunion on 25 Nov 2012? … Sure hope so.


Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel

Nn is for – No News on the “Nashwauk” anchor

Hopefully the old proverb “No news is good news” will prove to be correct regarding the whereabouts, and well-being, of the “Nashwauk” anchor. The plan has always been that this “Family History Through the Alphabet” post would be titled, “News on the Nashwauk anchor”, as a follow up to my initial post “Safe Return of the ‘Nashwauk’ anchor”, but I’ve been forced to change the plan because, try as I might, no news is forthcoming.

My Susan, one of the people for whom this Blog is named, arrived in South Australia in a “bride ship”, the “Nashwauk”. It ran aground/ was wrecked off our south coast on 13 May 1855. You can read about the wreck, the young Irish girls carried ashore on the backs of sailors and the recovery of the ship’s anchor, some 70 years later, by clicking HERE. You will also read about the sterling work of the Australian National Museum, under the direction of Dr Reid, in restoring and putting the anchor on display last year as part of the splendid Irish in Australia Exhibition titled, “Not Just Ned”.

With my 3 brothers, mum and the Nashwauk Anchor circa 1954. (c) 2012. C.Crout-Habel

After following up the concerns of a number of people I was delighted to report, in April 2012, that the anchor was safely back in South Australia, there would be a “consultation process” re: it’s eventual placement and all was well with the world. That was four months ago. The last news I had, from the person in charge of the Project, was two  months ago and his advice was:

“No news as yet just waiting on engagement strategy to be signed off from Senior Management. Will let you know when I have something to show you.”

With this blog post coming up I contacted him about three weeks ago and no reply. Then I wrote to the Lady Mayor of the City of Onkaparinga advising of the situation and that I had a Blog post waiting to be written. Ms Rosenberg’s reply was immediate in letting me know that this gentlemen had left the employ of the council and she would follow up on my request. Hearing nothing further, for almost 2 weeks, I emailed again and was informed:

“I am waiting for a staff response.”

So, yesterday I rang the Moana Caravan Park, whom I understood had the “Nashwauk” anchor in their safe-keeping, and was told they knew nothing other than that the Council was planning to consult with the public. grrr… My next “port of call” was the receptionist at the Council and, “bless her little cotton socks”, Crystal was the first person who talked any sense and actually got some action happening. Within half an hour the young woman, who had taken on the Senior Project Manager’s job, was on the phone to me. She had only started work the previous day but was meeting with her manager the next day (today) and that was high on her list of priorities for discussion. I was assured she would phone, or email, immediately after the meeting. The silence is deafening.

So, there you have it folks. It’s now been 2 years since our Anchor was taken to share with the rest of Australia and I’m losing patience. It may be said that “No news is good news” but, for me…

© Copyright 2012. C.A.Crout-Habel.  “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family”

Ff – is for Fabulous Finds from afar…

Family History Through the Alphabet

It arrived… or to be more precise, “they” arrived, bringing memories from afar. There they were sitting snugly, or maybe even smugly, inside my letter box, safely wrapped in their own cocoons, just waiting to be dis-covered. Eureka!!! … all the more of a delight for having arrived so un-expectedly. Two battered and careworn Cookery Books, the topic for this week’s Family History Through the Alphabet post – I could hardly believe my eyes.



… after that moment of musical madness with our late, and great Ozzie, Heath Ledger… back to the story.

A few days after receiving some rather sad news I needed a dis-traction, so logged onto eBay and began trawling through a list of old recipe books. Up she popped, like a blessing from the deep – The Barossa COOKERY BOOK”. It was clearly quite old and sadly attracting very little attention from the “punters” so, with less than an hour to go, I whacked on a modest bid and went back to blogging. Hours passed before I remembered, so logged back on and was greeted with the words:  

“Congratulations! You have won…”              

Whooo Hooo!!!   Amazingly no-one had placed a bid after mine – it seemed that this little old book “had my name on it”, so to speak. 

About to click over to “Pay Pal” and up popped an advertisement, of the eBay kind, advising of another old Cookery Book which was a “Buy Now” offer. What could I do, eh? Another old dear quietly saying, “Looka me!!!”. I looked: it was a 1939 South Australian Education Department text book with the title, “MANUAL of DOMESTIC ART (COOKING)”. Within the blink of an eye I’d clicked on the “Buy Now” button and was immediately the anticipated owner of two old Cookery Books. Two old Cookery Books which woud describe the type of food our Ancestor’s ate, and the manner in which it was cooked, not to mention the addendum of “Household Tips” which was always included in Cookery Books of the past.

Well, it turned out that “The Barossa COOKERY BOOK” certainly was almost “…too good to be true”, in more ways than one. Along with the recipes of the first Barossa Valley settlers, my children’s Prussian Ancestor’s, comes a shameful story of intolerance, abuse and dis-crimination. A story which must be told and must be remembered.

Skjold – 1841

Fleeing religious persecution, these intrepid souls travelled aboard the “Skyjold” with Pastor Fritschke, arriving in Port Adelaide, South Australia on 27 Oct 1841. You can read how intitially they stayed with Pastor Kavel and his first wave of Lutheran immigrants at Klemzig, before heading north and settling in the historic Barossa Valley. An area which is now widely re-cognised as the home of fine wine and gourmet food. The settlers named their town Bethanien which,

… was the name of the Biblical village where Jesus was a guest of honour in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus” (1)

and set about working hard, re-paying their land debt to speculator, George Fife Angus, and prospered. South Australia’s “German” settlers soon became highly regarded and recognised as hard working, reliable and valuable citizens and many took out Australian Citizenship within a few years of arrival… then things changed. The cause?… the First World War. Australia was an ally of Great Britain and at war with Germany. Overnight these trusted and highly regarded citizens became “the enemy”.

Barossa men from German backgrounds fought with the Australian Army – some died, yet still their communities were suspected of dis-loyalty and persecuted. Lyn Leader-Elliott writes;

“The ethnic base of the Barossa has a very strong German component, and the events of the two world wars had a bigger impact on these communities than any other in the twentieth century.” (2)

Throughout South Australia the names of these towns, settled by these Prussian / German pioneers, were anglicized. Bethanien was no ex-ception. It was renamed Bethany which still stands today.

Tanunda Soldiers’ Memorial Hall

So, what does all this have to do with my modest little Cookery Book? … Well, the “Tanunda Club”, just outside of Bethany, was a centre for community activity and in 1913 they proudly built their own hall, prior to the start of World War 1. However, it didn’t take long for the anti-German suspicions to have a profound effect and the military authorites forced its closure just two years after opening. At the end of the war, and five years after the closure of Tanunda’s German social Club, the hall was bought by the Tanunda Insitute committee and re-named “The Tanunda Soldiers’ Memorial Hall”. Clearly my modest little Cookery Book was one of the Insitute’s fundraising activities, for printed in the front is:

“Proceeds of the sale of this book devoted to
Obtainable from:

How I love reading the recipes and might even try a few 🙂  The donors clearly show their German/Prussian heritage with names like; Miss Esther Nietschke, Mrs U.R. Heinze, and Gladys Spaetz, however Anglo-Celtic names also feature. I especially like that the recipe for “Scotch Shortbread” was donated by “Mrs Frank Cowan, Edinburgh Scotland” and can’t help but wonder if Mrs Frank Cowan was a Scottish immigrant within this strongly German community, and was proudly announcing her heritage, or was the recipe sent from relatives in Scotland? 

What is a story about an old Cookery Book without a recipe?… I ask. There are many interesting dishes to share, eg, Mutton and Tomato Pie, Mock Tripe and Jugged Hare but it’s the following which “wins the guernsey”;


     Cover ox tongue with water, 1 teaspoon of peppercorns, a little salt, 1/2 doz. Cloves, 2 bay leaves, 2 onion, a little carrot and parsnip. Simmer for 3 hours. Strain it and skin the tongue and cut into slices. Mix in saucepan 2 tablespoons butter with 3 tablespoons flour, stir until it browns and then add the stock the tongue has been boiled in. Add a little milk extract if liked. Salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Add enough stock to make it a nice thickness, then add about 2 tablespoons of sweet wine, then add tongue. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve with small squares of pastry or toast.

  – S. Seppelt, Seppeltsfield

This recipe was chosen mainly because of its donor, S. Seppelt from Seppeltsfield. Seppeltsfield is, of course, both  location and name of the famed “Seppeltsfield Winery” of South Australia. I’m guessing that this S. Seppelt was probably born about 1880-1890 and can’t help wondering where he/she fits into the Family History of the Seppelts of Seppeltsfield, Barossa Valley, South Australia.   

A modest little old Cookery Book, picked up on E-bay “for a song”, and carrying so much history. I’m still smiling about this “Fabulous Find from afar”.  


(1)  THE GROSSERS FROM GRUENBERG 1841-1991, Roy Grosser, ed. Lutheran Publishing House, 205 Halifax Street, Adelaide SA 5000. (0977/91) ISBN 0 646 05329 9
(2)  This is an author produced postprint of:
Leader-EIliott, L 2002. Changing Heritage, Changing Values, Memories of Two World Wars in the Barossa Valley. In D.Jones (ed.), ’20th Century Heritage – Our recent Cultural Legacy’, School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban design and Australia ICOMOS Secretariat: Adelaide, 109-115. Archived at Flinders University: http://www.dspace.flinders.edu.au 

Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

Aa – is for ALLAN, Frederick Alexander


Pauline’s “Merry Month of May Musical Meme” was so enjoyable that I’ve decided to take up Gould Genealogy’s “Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge”, and what a challenge it’s been simply choosing the first topic and getting started. Whenever I think of the letter Aa, and my Family History, it’s precious memories of my maternal Grandpa, Frederick Alexander Allan, which leap to my mind leaving no room for any other thoughts. This is his story.


As the “Crout-Habel” Family Tree” spreads its roots, is nourished, loved and tended there remains a huge gap right there at the base.  How embarrassing to confess that I know so little about my maternal Grandpa’s origins, despite him living with us throughout my childhood and me with a host of memories to continue writing.

The only documentary evidence located, so far, is Grandpa’s Death Certificate.  However, as with many Death Certificates, some information is incorrect.


NAME: Robert Alexander ALLEN, also known as Frederick Alexander Allen
AGE:  78 years
DIED:  12 Jan 1966 at Wodonga Hospital, Kent Town, South Australia
CAUSE OF DEATH:  Coronary Thrombosis – sudden, and mycarditis – 2 years
BURIED:  13 Jan 1966, Cheltenham Cemetery, South Australia
OCCUPATION:  Retired Waterside Worker
USUAL RESIDENCE:  34 New Street, Queenstown, South Australia
BIRTHPLACE:  London, England.  Resident in Commonwealth for 50 years
INFORMANT:  W.S.Taylor, Funeral Director, Port Road, Queenstown, South Australia
REGISTERED:  17 Jan 1966 by A.Evans
ENTERED INTO DISTRICT REGISTRY OFFICE:  20 Jan 1966 by A.Evans, District Register

Clearly the Funeral Director did not get this information from my mother for she never would have given her father’s name as “Robert Alexander Allen”. I remember how this new name came into my Grandpa’s life. For

Frederick Alexander Allan

years mum had been trying to persuade him to apply for the Aged Pension and finally he agreed. The Waterside Workers Union Secretary wrote to “Catherine House”, in the UK, for his birth certificate but they sent the certificate for his brother “Robert Arthur Allan”. Grandpa objected and said Robert was 4 years older and had emigrated to the USA. Wanting no further delays mum lodged the application, using this birth certificate, and every time the cheque arrived the arguments would start up again – Grandpa quietly refusing to sign “R.A.Allan”, saying “That is not my name, Kathleen!”

There is no Marriage Certificate to provide information as Nana and Grandpa never married. My Nana, “Mary Elizabeth Murray”, remained legally married to Alfred Evans and it seems that Mum’s Birth Certificate names her as “Kathleen Mary Evans” with Alfred Evans as her father. Apparently this was done to ensure that she was not labelled “a

Grandpa and his stepson Eric Evans

 bastard”. Mum told of the shock, when first sighting her Birth Certificate, whilst preparing for her marriage to “Harry Scarborough Crout”. She knew of her mother’s previous marriage and was very fond of her three older half siblings; “Eric, Norman and Connie Evans”, knew she was Frederick Allan’s daughter and had always been known as “Kathleen Mary Allan”.

Incidentally mum’s name for her father was “Olpell”. That always intrigued me and was told she thought it came about because her mother had always called her husband “the old fella” and mum’s baby language had interpreted it as “Olpell“. What a disappointment that was – I’d fancied a far more exotic explanation.

The other questionable information on Grandpa’s Death Certificate is his age. Was that based on the Birth Certificate of his brother, “Robert Arthur Allan” who was, according to Grandpa, 4 years older? Also, had he really been “a resident in Commonwealth for 50 years”? If this is correct, and not just an estimation, he would have arrived in Australian about 1917. Well, at least we know that he was here before 31 Mar 1925 because that is the day his daughter, my mother, was born 🙂

“SS Edwardes” at Port Pirie

Grandpa told us he was a sailor and first went to sea as a “cabin boy”. For some reason I have the age of 7, in my head, but I don’t know that he actually said that… possibly I dreamt it. Some of my siblings think this was just a “tall story” but, for a variety of reasons, I tend to believe it’s true. Firstly he constantly used expressions such as, “Aye, Aye”, “Shiver m’ Timbers” and “Batten Down the Hatches”… not that you have to be a seafarer to utter these words… Furthermore, a meal that Grandpa would cook and was his specialty was “Scouse”. It was delicious. I knew no-one else who ate “Scouse” and it was many years later that I discovered it was first taken to Liverpool, England, by Northern European sailors, was originally called Labskause” and later adopted by other seamen.

Another factor with suggests my Grandfather was indeed a sailor is that Nana was living in Port Pirie, the second largest seaport in South

Fred Allan middle back behind his “beloved” Lizzie (Murray) Allan

Australia,when they met, fell in love and ran away to Port Adelaide. I’ve often wondered if he was a “deserter” and “jumped ship” in Port Pirie. A good reason to not hang around the port, I reckon. Mum said that her dad had promised to take his beloved on a ship to explore wild and wonderful places and is why, when she left her husband and three children, they headed to Port Adelaide. However, he took sick , she nursed him back to health, mum was born, the “Great Depression” hit and nobody was going anywhere. True or not? … I don’t know. That’s for others to decide. My job is to pass the family story on to my children, and grandchildren, for them to pass onto their descendants.

Was Frederick Alexander Allan born in London, England, as stated on his Death Certificate? I think he most probably was. According to Grandpa he was a true Cockney born within the sound of the Bow Bells”. I now know what that expression means but, as a child, I had no idea what he was talking about. Also, meeting with some of my mum’s elderly cousins just last week (for the first time in about 50 years) they talked fondly of Grandpa and mentioned his “strong cockney accent”. Me, the child, heard no accent.

Grandpa had a strong dislike of the British Royal Family and spoke about being a child and seeing Queen Victoria riding along in her carriage with her fingers, “like big fat sausages”, covered in jewels whilst people were starving and dying in the streets. He said his mother was a “Midwife” and saved to pay for “reading and writing” lessons for her children. He did say how much she paid per lesson which I think was a farthing, but I’m not sure.

Well, those are some of the memories of my dearly loved Grandpa and serve as “clues” when seeking documented facts. So far I’ve had no luck discovering his origins but recently a newspaper article, in “Trove”, caught my eye and has given another avenue to explore. Mum had told me about Grandpa’s terrible accident, on the wharf, and why the Union was SO important in improving working conditions. 

Now I know the date and place he was treated, a trip to the South Australian State Records” to access the “Adelaide Hospital” patient records for Tuesday 25 Aug 1936 might just give me a little more valuable information and bring me closer to discovering my “Allan” ancestry.  

May you always Rest in Peace, Frederick Alexander Allan and know you are loved and remembered.


Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family 

Pioneer Women’s Trail – walk back in time

Our South Australian German/Prussian immigrants are a crucial part of the successful settlement of this State. The first wave arrived, as religious refugees, with Pastor August Ludwig Christian Kavel in Nov 1838.  They travelled on two ships, the “Prince George and the “Bengalee just two years after the first settlers arrived on these shores.

Kavel’s people rented 150 acres of land, for seven years at 5/- an acre three miles up river, from South Australian Company” director George Fife Angas, who had sponsored their assisted passage to the new colony. They named it “Klemzig” after their village in Germany.  It is said that the aboriginal people called it “Warkowodli Wodli”.

Most of the English settler were builders, engineers and land speculators not farmers, and relied on their food being brought by ship from New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania).  This became increasingly unbearable when,

“Even their bread tasted of seawater and pitch from
the barrels in which the flour was shipped.” [1]

The new arrivals set to work building and farming and within a month were selling radishes, the first freshly grown food in South Australia, at a shilling a bunch.  They were well rewarded for their hard work – a cucumber was also worth a shilling, and 7 equalled a worker’s daily wage.  These hard working peple certainly needed the money as Angas had to be repaid for their ship passage and also for the lease of the land.  A young man often acquired the “ship debt” of his new bride upon marriage.

Captain Dirk Meinhertz Hahn

The ship, the “Zebra”, arrived the following month with another 187 Lutheran migrants on board.  It was captained by Dirk Meinhertz Hahn and, after a brief stay in Klemzig, 38 families left and settled on 150 acres in the Adelaide Hills, purchased from William Dutton & partners for $14 per acre.  They named their township Hahndorf” and they too had a huge debt to repay.  The Hahndorf Pioneers soon set about clearing the land, planting crops, breaking in the cattle and milking the cows. They built their first houses with any avaliable materials to quickly provide protection from the very different climatic conditions in their new country.

“Their first winter in the Adelaide Hills was far from what they had expected. Food was often lacking and many went without at times.
Some even died of hunger. Eventually the new migrants managed
to produce a surplus of farm products which were sold in Adelaide
by their women. They walked all the way through the hills to town
in the hope of selling them to pay pay off their husbands’ or
fathers’ loans or to buy more land.” [2]

These pioneering women followed the 36km “Paramuk Aboriginal trail” [3] in the dark, arriving at Beaumont at dawn, where they’d freshen up in the creek before walking the final 5 kms into the Adelaide markets.  Often they carried bricks back 36 kms to Hahndorf for the building of more substantial homes.

The “South Australian Road Runners and Walkers Club”, along with the “Burnside” and the “Hahndorf” branches of the South Australian National Trust” have organised a run/walk for Sunday, 13 May 2012, aong this “Pioneer Women’s Trail” as part of the About Time: South Australian History Festival”. [4]

Commencing at the Hahndorf Institute” in Main Street, Hahndorf, the route follows the main road out of Hahndorf, crossing the Onkaparinga River before joining the official trail at Verdun.  This historic trail winds its way through the back streets of Bridgewater and Stirling, traverses the beautiful bush trails of Mr George Conservation Park and Cleland Conservation Park before finally opening out onto stunning city views and the descent to Burnside.  Following the run, a BBQ will be open to the public all day at historic “Beaumont House” to bring the event to a celebratory conclusion. Participants requiring further information, just click here.

Historic Hahndorf

Johann Caeser

Our German/Prussian immigrants are not only an important part of South Australian History but aso my own Family History. Wilhelm Emil Habel, my husband’s Grandfather of “Habel’s Bend”, is the eldest child of Johann Friedrich August and Johanne Henriette Siefert. They travelled from Brandenburg, Prussia aboard the “Johann Caeser” with family and some 260 other German/Prussian immigrants, arriving at Port Adelaide on a hot summer’s day, 1 Jan 1855 and settling in Dutton, South Australia where Wilhelm was born.


Wilhelm Emil Habel married his second wife, Maria Mathilde Grosser, on 19 Jul 1890 at Dutton.  Her father, Hermann Eduard Louis Grosser, arrived with his parents and 5 siblings aboard the “Skyjold” on 3 Jul 1841.  They were amongst the congregation of Pastor Gotthard Daniel Fritzschke whom Pastor Kavel had encouraged to emigrate.  Whilst his congregation was committed to making a new life in a new land, their Pastor was initially undecided.  Fritzschke’s people settled at Bethany, in the Barossa Valley, and experienced many of the same difficulties as the Hahndorf settlers.  They too owed a “ship debt” and land lease payments to their sponsor, George Fife Angas.

Maria, Wilhelm’s second wife, bore him 9 children bringing the total number of children he fathered to 16.  Eight of their children survived childhood and little Elisabeth Clara, is buried near the “Habel Homestead” at Loxton, South Australia. You can read about Elisabeth by clicking here

Wilhelm, like many descendants of the German/Prussian Pioneers prospered and he displayed the fruits of his labour in a lavish celebration for the Wedding of Lina Martha Habel, his third daughter with first wife Marie (Martha) Emilie Fielke. Click here to read about this extravagance.

We, the descendants of these courageous pioneers, owe our Ancestors a huge debt of gratitude which is described movingly in the poem posted here on the first day of this blog, Australia Day 2012.


[1] “God’s Lost Acre” by William Reschke, Sunday Mail, 9 Mar 1975, p. 11.
[2] Flinders Ranges Research – Hahndorf
[3] “On the trail of settler history” by Sam Kelton, The Advertiser, 10 May 2012, p 15.
[4] South Australian Road Runners and Walkers Club 

Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family     

Safe return of the “Nashwauk” anchor.

The anchor is safe !!! – a phone call to the City of Onkaparinga and
I was assured that the “Nashwauk” anchor has been returned
to South Australia and that a safe, secure, prominent and
well lit site is being prepared for its final resting place …
now I’m smiling…

 The “Nashwauk”, a three masted wooden sailing ship built in 1853 at River John, Province of Novia Scotia, with a tonnage of 762, measuring 144.1ft in length, 29.ft in breadth at the widest part, with a midships depth of 2.7ft and a lower deck of 140ft, left Liverpool on 13 Feb 1855 under the command of Captain Archibald McIntyre, bound for South Australia. Aboard were over 300 “assisted emigrants, mostly from Ireland.

My Great Great Grand-mother Susan Kelleher and her sister Bridget, from County Clare, Ireland, were amongst the 207 single Irish girls aboard this “bride ship” when, three months later, it made its way up the Gulf St Vincent toward its final destination, Port Adelaide.  It had been an uneventful voyage and was a dark, but clear, moonlit night when at 4am the watch changed, clouds obscured the coast and the “Nashwauk” was wrecked adjacent to Harriott’s Creek (Pedler’s Creek) at the mouth of the Onkaparinga River, some 40 miles short of it’s destination.

It remains a mystery as to why, having successfully navigated the dreaded Troubridge Shoal, it foundered so close to the coast, at what is now suburban Moana.  There are many tales of smuggling, of the ship being lured by strange lights from Mr Harriott’s farmhouse, of the misbehaviour of the girls and crew but it’s all speculation and can be seen as newspapers, and reporters, simply trying to outdo each other with the more sensational stories. As N. F. Goss reports in “Drama of Moana Wreck: The End of the  Hoodoo Ship” (The Advertiser, Saturday 13 May 1933, page 9),

“There was obviously some rumor current at the time, but as there is
no later reference to it, and as the two sources disagree, it is
possible that nothing happened that cannot be explained
by the confusion natural to
the occasion and
overwrought condition of the women.”

My Susan spoke of cutting her sister’s hair when the ship struck and being carried ashore on the back of a sailor with ony the scissors in her hand and the clothes on her back. The beautiful painstakingly embroidered linen, of her trousseau, went down with the ship. All made it safely to shore but sadly two later died of exposure – the Captain and the single Irish girl Catherine Stanley, aged 23.

Horseshoe Inn 1865

The passengers assembled on the beach and walked, or were taken by dray, to the nearest township of Noarlunga where they were accommo-dated at the Horseshoe Inn.  In her book, “What Really Happened to the Nashwauk?”, Jean Callen writes,

“The residents of Noarunga had killed and roasted eight sheep,
brewed bucketsful of hot tea and baked many loaves of
bread to feed the distressed victims.” 

The following morning the Government Schooner “Yatala” and the Mail Steamer “Thomas Melbourne” arrived and ancored near the wreck, preparing to take the passengers to Port Adeaide.  However, the sea was so rough that boarding was impossible and Jean Callan confirms my Grandmother’s story of having to trudge miles back along the cliff tops.  Many of the girls were too terrified to take to the sea again and drays were finally brought to convey them to Adelaide.

It would seem that there was great chaos at the site of the wreck.  Strong winds had strewn debris for a mile along the shore.  The Captain desperately tried to recover whatever baggage he could, for the passengers, and the accessible cargo, unloaded by the crew, was closely guarded by police and customs officers.  Some three weeks later, on 29 May, the cargo was advertised for sale and all was purchased by Mr Harriott for £65 and the hull for £70.  With a shortage of material in the Colony, it was said that Mr Harriott made a tidy profit from the wreck which fuelled even more rumours of him being involved in a smuggling ring, although there is no official evidence of this.

The two official enquiries into the wreck, one by the Trinity Board and one by the Immigration Board, could not investigate fully because of the death of Captain Archibald McIntyre on 3 Jun 1855.  However, with the evidence already suppied it was concluded that complaints of the surgeon being drunk were to be dismissed and that there was no foundation for any complaint against the captain.  Sadly, dying from the effects of anxiety and exposure whilst attending to his duties after the wreck, Captain McIntre left a wife and 4 children in Glasgow, Scotland. He was 38 years old.

The “Nashwauk” was considered an unlucky ship as she had been driven ashore once before, badly dismasted and on fire four times.  A North West gale finally broke up the remains on 26 May 1855.

For 72 years the ship’s achor lay 200 yards off shore and, in 1927, the Noarlunga Council offerred £20 for its recovery. A local resident, Mr W. C. Robinson, who owned and worked a farm close to the place where the “Nashwauk” met her fate and set about the recovery task with the help of his son and brother.  They used 3 horses and, with the anchor being 11ft long and weighing several tons, it took 5-6 hours of strenuous work to haul it in. It was duly erected majesticaly on a plinth on the foreshore, next to the “roundhouse” kiosk where the memory of that fateful day, 13 May 1855, was kept alive.

Copyright(c)2012.Catherine Crout-Habel

I well remember our first family trip to Moana, in about 1954, to see “the anchor”. Cherished photographs were taken of it with mum, my three brothers and myself. The story of the wreck of the “Nashwauk” and the recovery of the anchor is where my fascination with Family History started, my sense of “Irishness” took root and the “search for Susan” began.

Some 20 years ago, on a nostalgic trip back to “the anchor”, I was horrified to discover it had disappeared.  Questioning the locals we found it standing rather forlornly, at ground level, at the entrance to the Moana Caravan Park.  Gone was the majesty … gone was the sense of reverence and nobody could tell me why it had been removed from the foreshore.  However it was comforting to know that, at least, it was safe and hadn’t been destroyed.

Then, a couple of years ago the “Nashwauk Anchor” did another disappearing act.  This time it was taken to Canberra by the National Museum of Australia, restored and put on display (17Mar-31Jul 2011) as part of the “Not Just Ned – A true History of the Irish in Australia” Exhibition. Pauline wrote about this Exhibition, and the “Nashwauk Anchor” in her blog “Family history across the seas”.  It’s wonderful that this precious relic has been cleaned, restored and has taken pride of place in such and important Exhibition but the the fear has been that it would never come back to its rightful home in South Australia.

Many expressed concern – both local residents and descendants of the “Nashwauk” passengers. Some lobbied to prevent it being sent interstate and others wrote letters to the local paper. The last I heard was that it had come back to South Australia, was in the care of the City of Onkaparinga (Council) but the decision was yet to be made as to where it would be placed.  Apparently the owners of the Moana Caravan Park wanted it back but others were saying that it did not belong to them and should be honourable placed on public display and easily accessible to all.

Hip, hip, hooray to the City of Onkaparing and three cheers for all those involved in the decision-making.  No doubt my Susan Kelleher is not the only passenger of the ill-fated ship who is smiling down on us today.

SOURCES:  The Ships List:
“A Smuggler’s Home Claimed a Wreck” : Trove  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article43749058
“Moana Mystery Explained” : Trove
“Drama of Moana Wreck” : Trove
Family history across the seas: http://cassmob.wordpress.com
“Not Just Ned – a true History of the Irish in Australia” : http://www.irish_in_australia/home
“What Really Happened to the Nashwauk?”, © 2004 J. Callen, ISBN 0-9595356-2-4  Printed by Butterly Press, 225 Main Road, Blackwood, South Australia, Australia. 5051. Tel: 08 8278 2899


Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family