Copyright © 2014. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel
On South Australia‘s “birthday” last year, i.e. Proclamation Day, I wrote about the origins of European settlement in this particular part of Australia. Not a convict settlement but a planned “Utopia of the South” which you can read HERE.
Another year gone, we’ve just commemorated our 177th Birthday/ Proclamation Day, so I decided to trawl through TROVE to see how this occasion has been commemorated in days gone by. I LOVE Trove… 😆
South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), Tuesday 30 December 1873, page 5. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article39302450
TROVE also delivered up many wonderful photos, from the State Library of South Australia, showing how this day has been celebrated in the past at Glenelg beach (the Bay), where the Proclamation was read when the first “settlers” arrived.
Searching the 1873 newspapers around the rural area where my Susan settled shortly after arriving from Ireland, just 19 years after the Proclamation was read, there was not a mention of the celebrations which were clearly being enjoyed elsewhere. Seems it was simply “business as usual”. I wonder why???…
Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel.
“The Fields of Athenry” is a folk song about the Great Irish Famine (1845-1849), composed in the 1970s by Inchicore songwriter Pete St. John and first recorded by Irish ballad singer Danny Doyle. It tells the story of the famine through first-person narrative, recounting the tale of a prisoner who has been sentenced to being transported to Botany Bay, Australia, for stealing food to feed his starving family. The claim has been made that the words originate from a broadsheet ballad published in the 1880s by Devlin in Dublin with a different tune; however Pete St. John has stated definitively that he wrote the words as well as the music, so the story of the 1880s broadsheet may be false.
Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel
It was a dark Sunday morning, on this day 158 years ago, as my Great Great Grandmother Susan Kelleher and her sister Bridget were sailing north along the coast of South Australia and were only 40 miles from their final destination when the “Nashwauk” ran aground. The young Irish servant girls were carried ashore on the sailor’s backs and violent storms over the following days ripped the ship apart and all my Susan’s worldly goods went down with it. The emigrant ship left Liverpool on 13 Feb 1855 with Captain McIntyre, as master, and 268 mostly Irish emigrants aboard and now met its fate on this lonely strip of South Australian coast exactly 3 months later.
I’ve written about the shipwreck on many occasions and today, on the 158th Anniversary of that fateful morning, discovered some recent photographs of the location of the wreck and decided to share. They are taken by an amazing young South Australian photographer, Joel Dawson, and I encourage you to visit his facebook page to enjoy many more stunning sights Joel has captured of my beautiful state of South Australia.
“The night was clear, with starlight and a fresh breeze, and one yellow point of light glanced across the water from the shadow of the land. At 4 a.m. the watch was changed. Clouds obscured the coast. Less than an hour later the Nashwauk was aground off the mouth of a creek that wanders half heartedly through the Moana sand hills.”
View from the end of the Port Noarlunga jetty looking toward the wreck site.
“For half an hour after the Nashwauk struck the crew ‘made sail on her’ in a desperate effort to get her canted off, but, although her sails were all drawing, the surf, pounding in about her, shook the wind out of them and left her helpless. There she remained until the wind, setting in from the southward and westward next day drove her firmly on the reef, which in those waters lies some six feet beneath the sand.”
The passengers all made it safely to shore but one young woman, a servant girl Catherine Stanley, died later of exposure as did Captain McIntyre. The emigrants walked, or were taken inland by dray, to the township of Noarlunga and cared for overnight by the residents.
The Port Noarlunga jetty which was constructed in 1855 just prior to the wreck
The following morning the passengers were taken to the newly built Port Noarlunga jetty to be transported aboard the mail steamer “Thomas Melbourne” to be transported to Port Adelaide.
“Here the sea was so rough that boarding was impossible. The Thomas Melbourne had to be relocated at the mouth of the Onkaparinga. So the passengers trudged another four kilometres along the cliff tops from Harriott’s Creek and reassembled at Gray’s Store near the present day footbridge.”
My Great Great Grandmother spoke of the terror she faced walking along those cliff tops with the raging sea below.
Cliffs at Port Noarlunga
By the time they reached the boarding spot it was dark and only seventy girls agreed to get on the lurching steamer for the journey. The remainder were returned to Noarlunga and the following morning were taken overland, by dray, the city of Adelaide. My Susan, and her sister Bridget, were amongst those who refused to travel by sea and were lodged in the newly built “German Hospital” in, Carrington Street, until arrangements were made for their employment.
Some months later both Susan and Bridget travelled to the newly established “Servants Depot”, in the mid north township of Clare, and were soon employed within the district. However, that is another story… for another day.
Joel Dawson for the magnificent photos. Please visit Joel’s facebook page, to enjoy more of his work, by clicking HERE.
Jean Callen, author of “What Really Happened to the Nashwauk?” from which the quotes are taken. Printed by Butterfly Press, 225 Main North Road, Blackwood, South Australia. 5051. Tel: 08 8278 2899. ISBN 0-9595356-2-4 © 2004
Copyright © Catherine Ann Crout-Habel
Remembering my beautiful Mother… Kathleen Mary (Allan) Crout (31 Mar 1925 – 7 Sep 2007) and dedicating this enchanting song to her this Mother’s Day, 2013.
The lilting voice of “Geraldine Sexton” drew my daughter, Kirrily Ann, and myself to Geraldine as she sat perched on a stone wall adjacent to the Bunratty Folk Museum in County Clare, Ireland in 1994…. My first visit to the land of our Ancestors. This is for you mum…
Mum closely identified with our Irish Heritage which soon became part of my personal identification, through the stories passed down through the generations. We heard how the ship my Great Great Grandmother, Susan Kelleher, immigrated to South Australia on was wrecked as they were approaching their final destination. How everything she owned went down with the “Nashwauk” and especially meaningful was hearing of Susan’s reluctance to leave her family, and her homeland… but that the effects of the “Potato Famine” made this a necessity.
I dedicate this song to my Susan Kelleher, born Country Clare, Ireland in 1836 and died in Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia on 9 Apr 1922 leaving behind three living daughters and one son, with three daughters deceased. “The grandchildren and great grandchildren number 71.” Susan never did return to her native land.
Lastly I thank my precious children: Cullen Andrew, Jarren Vaughan (deceased), Kirrily Ann and Chad Sean Habel for enriching my life and loving me. This is for you my lovelies.
Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel.
The City of Onkaparinga,South Australia is taking it to public consultation and is seeking feedback which you can be a part of, regardless of where you live. However there is a tight time frame and the cut off date is, Friday 3 May 2013 but just click HERE for a link to quickly and easily provide your feedback online.
This would be of particular interest to those with Irish heritage and especially if their Ancestors were upon this ill-fated Immigrant ship when it was foundered and then sank off the coast of Moana, South Australia, taking all their worldly goods with it. Information of the history of the “Nashwauk Anchor”, and the sites proposed for it’s re-location, is provided below.
Many would remember my post of 12 months ago where I described the sinking of this immigrant ship on which my 18 year old Great Great Grandmother, Susan Kelleher, travelled from County Clare, Ireland to make a new life in South Australia. Susan and her sister Bridget were among the 207 single Irish girls who boarded this “bride ship” in Liverpool, UK which, after a three month journey, made its made its way up the Gulf St Vincent toward its final destination, Port Adelaide, South Australia. 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.
Childhood stories of the shipwreck, the girls being carried ashore on the sailors backs and especially our family visits to the Nashwauk Anchor, whetted my appetite for researching all aspects of family.
It was a sad day when, preparing to take my own children to visit their Great Great Great Grandmother’s Anchor, it was not to be found… No longer was it standing proudly and majestically on the foreshore adjacent to where the ship foundered and then broke apart, taking all of my Susan’s belongings with it. Also gone was the Moana Roundhouse which kept the Anchor company during its constant vigil as well as providing us with yummy icecreams and ice cold cool drinks on those hot summer days.
Sadly the Roundhouse is gone forever.. It was the first building erected in Moana. The stone laid on 19Nov1927 and this iconic building was demolished in 2006. To read about this sad event and view some irreplaceable photographs please click HERE. (please note: 2 days ago this links was working and now it’s not. I’ll leave it here for a while and see if it fixes itself) 🙂 …
Fortunately the Nashwauk Anchor has survived and has been in the custody of what was once the “Moana Caravan Park” but has grown and is now the “Moana Beach Tourist Park”. Although I was terribly disappointed that it had been reduced in stature, and no longer had a commanding presence, at least survived. I’m sure that those who dragged it ashore 73 years after the ship went down and then set it on its high concrete plinth, overlooking the sea, would be most pleased that it has not been lost or abandoned.
In 1927 the Noarlunga offerred a reward to recover the anchor and Mr Robinson, his brother, son and three horses successfully completed the task.
“Mr. Robinson said that one day in about every two years the anchor of the Nashwauk used to become visible about 50 yards from the shore off Moana, and when, in May of this year, he noticed the anchor showing, he decided that he would en- deavor to reclaim it. With his brother and son and three horses he set about the task, and after five or six hours of strenuous effort was successful. The anchor of the Nashwauk is 11. ft. long and weighs several tons, but Lake Beach Estate, Limited, which is developing Moana, has decided to transport it another hundred yards, and set it upon a pedestal to remain a link with history for all time. A concrete base to take the huge anchor has already been constructed.”
The entire newspaper report can be read HERE.
So highly regarded is the Anchor that it was taken to Canberra by Dr Richard Reid, restored by the National Museum of Australia, and put on display (17 Mar 2011)as part of the “Not Just Ned – A true History of the Irish in Australia” Exhibition. The Australian National Geographic reported on the significance of this Anchor as an important part of our South Australian heritage:
“Women were sent out on government ships to work as domestic staff on the new colony and to redress the gender ratio. The exhibition will display an anchor from the Nashwauk, a ship wrecked off South Australia in 1855, carrying 207 of these young Irish women. They were carried from the waters on the shoulders of men who swam out to rescue them – and they all survived.”
To read the entire Australian National Geographic article please click HERE
It’s wonderful that this precious relic has been cleaned, restored and has taken pride of place in such and important Exhibition but my fear, which I wrote about HERE, was that it would never come back to its rightful home in South Australia. Well, its back home and ready to go on display. To read about the “Not Just Ned – A True History of the Irish in Australia” exhibition, please click HERE. Thankyou Dr Reid. All that’s needed is a decision about the location which you, the public, is invited to be a part of. The City of Onkaparinga has listed 3 Potential sites:
a) Moana Tourist Park: approximate cost $4,000
The proposal was to return the anchor to the Moana Tourist Park and to have the anchor semi-enclosed in a recycled timber and galvanised iron structure which would give the anchor some protection from the environmental factors at the site. The cost of the structure and concrete plinth is approximately $4,000 but does not include any enclosed side panels on the structure. This site has existing lighting which will reduce costs associated with its display. This location would not address the concerns of some people in the community who have expressed an interest in the anchor being located in a more publicly accessible area.
b) Nashwauk Reserve: approximate cost $4,000 – $15,000
There is existing developed open space that resides between the Moana Surf Lifesaving Club and the Moana Tourist Park. This reserve was developed several years ago as part of the Coast Park program. The anchor could be located as a feature within the reserve. This location would not have the passive surveillance that it previously enjoyed at the Tourist Park to assist with avoiding vandalism. The cost of the structure would be $4,000 for the same structure as is proposed in the Tourist Park but would be increased if side panels were added to the structure to protect it from the sea environment. Lighting of the structure and anchor would also increase costs. For an enclosed structure with lighting the cost would increase to approximately $15,000.
c) Moana Pioneers memorial Hall approximate cost $4,000 – $15,000
There is sufficient area in the open space in front of the Moana Pioneers Memorial Hall to locate the anchor and this would also serve as an entry statement to the Coast Park area. The cost of the structure in this location would be as described in option (b) above, dependent on the nature of the structure.
The City of Onkaparinga has provided this “birds eye” view to help folks get their bearings.
However, thanks to the wonders of modern technology via Google Maps, you can go for a stroll down Nashwauk Crescent, Moana, South Australia towards the Esplanade and check out the sites for yourself. Just click HERE to begin your journey at the round-about, with the road to the Moana Tourist Park (proposal a) on your left, the Pioneer Memoral Hall (proposal c) on the corner… and as you travel down to the seashore Nashwauk Reserve (proposal b) is on your left. Enjoy…
The managers of the Moana Tourist park left a message, about this matter, on my blog… click HERE to read in the comments section. I phoned, we chatted and they took up my offer to publish their point of view which differs from mine, because we’re coming from a different perspective, but certainly is worthy of consideration before any decision is made. Thanks Daryl and Sandi-Kate. Their proposal is as follows:
Proposal for relocating the
Moana Beach Tourist Park
“As the current Managers of the Moana Beach Tourist Park, we would like to contribute to the community consultation process in regard to finding a new location to place the Nashwauk Anchor. There is debate about the length of time that the anchor has been displayed inside the Park, but it has been a significant number of years. During this time many a guest to the Park have taken photographs of their families with the Anchor, some of them repeatedly each time they visit. The anchor is a part of many guest’s childhood memories of summer holidays spent at the Tourist Park. Over the 12 months of 2012, we received a visit from 549 families that reside within the City of Onkaparinga. This accounts for over 30% of all reservations for the year, and demonstrates that the Park is accessed by a high proportion of local ratepayers who qualify to be part of this engagement process. The residents that live on the Park under a lease agreement are also used to the anchor being a part of their home environment, and some feel very connected to it and are prepared to put forward their ideas. Over the years, the Tourist Park has built an identity around the anchor, with it’s inclusion on the Logo and photographs on the Parks Facebook Page. We would like to continue marketing the Tourist Park with the anchor as our point of difference, as it gives a great impression of history and proximity to the beach.
We understand completely the views of those who have ancestors that were on the Nashwauk when it went down. They should be able to visit and view the anchor easily, and would choose for it to remain close to the actual site where it occurred.
Everyone shares the same concern for the safety of the anchor going forward, that it can be protected from the elements and also intentional damage caused by vandalism.
Daryl and I would like to propose an alternative site to the current 3 choices under consideration. We would love to see the anchor displayed at the entrance to the Park within close proximity to the visitor car park and Nashwauk Crescent. This would be a compromise to address the concerns of those in the community who have already expressed an interest in the anchor being located in a more publicly accessible area, and also allow it to continue the passive surveillance from Park Management in an endeavour to avoid vandalism. This location would also be ideal to serve as an entry statement to the Coast Park area from the south, along Nashwauk Crescent, while also highlighting and identifying the entrance to the Park.
This proposal would tie in comfortably with the proposed future upgrade of the Tourist Park entrance area and/ or the sealing of the dustbowl that is a visitor car park that has been put forward as a Capital Works Project for several years running. The associated costs in choosing this location would still be in the same vicinity as the other 2 sites that have been proposed outside the confines of the Tourist Park.
As with any issue that is undertaken, either by City of Onkaparinga or Moana Beach Tourist Park, you will not be able to satisfy each and every person with an interest in the outcome. However we suggest that this site would at least address the issues raised thus far by interested parties, and could be viewed as a positive result for all stakeholders.
Daryl and Sandi-Kate Hutchins
Managers Christies Beach and Moana Beach Tourist Parks.
To access the Park’s Facebook page please click HERE
My vision is to see the Nashwauk Anchor retured to its former glory before being removed from the foreshore, tucked away behind boom gates and removed from the public eye. It would be wonderful to see it returned to serve the purpose envisaged by Lake Beach Estate, Limited, which developed Moana when, in 1927, it set it upon a pedestal on the foreshore for it to remain a link with history for all time.
I envisage a future where exciting public events, celebrating this important aspect of our South Australian heritage, are held on Nashwauk Reserve… especially during May, which is South Australian History Month and also the same month the “Nashwauk” foundered and was torn apart by the stormy seas.
The 160th Anniversary of the shipwreck is only 2 years away – 13 May 2015– and is a perfect time to proudly showcase Moana Beach, and its environs, pulling in tourists from far away just as the summer season is coming to a close.
For these reasons, of the 3 Potential sites, my choice has to be Option b) the Nashwauk Reserve. However, like the Management of the Park, I have an alternative, and preferred site, which is right there at the corner of Nashwauk Crescent and the Esplanade… overlooking the sea, close to the Life Saving Club and the Australian flag. Family picnics, fetes and history festivals could be held on the Nashwauk Reserve with the Nashwauk Anchor in full sight.
Just imagine swinging around the corner of Nashwauk Crescent, travelling past the Pioneer Memorial Hall, and being drawn towards the beachfront by the stately majesty of this iconic piece of South Australian History… and to see it floodlit at night would add to its magnificence.
This position is more central and protected than the reserve as it is close to the Lifesaving Club, the car park and with buildings on this corner of the Esplanade. If the Lifesaving Club has security cameras, this would be an advantage… if not, installing them would provide extra protection for both structures. If funding is an issue, maybe other organisations would be willing to contribute a little to help offset the cost… after all it is a State Heritage item.
These are my thoughts and I hope the City of Onkaparing gives them due consideration. Your view may differ, and that’s OK… remember that the cut off date is Friday 3 May 2013 which is not far away. Just click HERE and you can download a hard copy of the form to provide feedback, or fill in an online survey.
On Saturday, January 26, 1929 – Australia Day… The Adelaide Newspaper “The News” featured a magnificent photo of the “Nashwauk Anchor” mounted high on its pedestal on the foreshore and the caption read:
MOANA BEACH LANDMARK
This old anchor has been mounted on a concrete base. It formerly belonged to the Nashwauk, which was wrecked at the mouth of the Onkaparinga in May, 1855. After 72 years the anchor was em-bedded upright in the sand, but it has been since mounted and will be suitably inscribed in the near future.
How wonderful it would be to once again see the Nashwauk Anchor return to its former glory as a Moana Beach Landmark.
UPDATE: The Councillors of the City of Onkaparinga met, on 23 Jul 2013, and decided that the “Naswauk Anchor” would be re-located adjacent to the Moana Pioneer Memorial Hall. Exact positioning not yet decided.
RESOURCES AND FURTHER READING:
To provide feedback on the Anchor’s placement: http://onkaparingacity.com/onka/council/community_engagement/project_status_board/nashwauk_anchor.jsp
Nashwauk Anchor Needs a New Home:
A True History of the Irish in Australia – Not Just Ned
Major Exhibition of Irish Australia to open in 2010:
ABC includes interview with Richard Reed:
Exhibition opened on St Patricks Day 2011:
The Irish in Australia:
Treasures recovered from the Nashwauk: http://maritime.historysa.com.au/collections/shipwreck-collection/moulded-bricks-nashwauk
Nashwauk Passenger List:
SAMemory – Shipwrecks:
Moana Lifesaving Club History:
Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel
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
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 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
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”
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.
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. “
“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.
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.
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.
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
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