Barbara Ziymack – an Unlikely Millionaire

This post includes a download link to a short biography of my great grandmother Barbara Ziymack. It’s a rags-to-riches story that contains elements of great strength in the face of difficulties and also great misfortune, sadness and, I suspect, bitterness and disappointment. You can download the mini-biography here, or continue … Continue reading

Dene Hollow – the story of a Mosman mansion

The subtitle of this post could have been “Almost Rich”. It tells the story of a mansion bought by my great-grandmother in about 1909. Here’s the quick story. You can read the full story here. My great grandmother Barbara Herring was the granddaughter of a convict transported to Port Jackson (Sydney) … Continue reading

Terry Pratchett and the random life we live

About the time of Terry Pratchett’s death earlier this year I came across a blog written by one of his fans. The author of the blog set out on a mission to read and critique every one of Pratchett books, with the target of one book every week. Here’s the blog: … Continue reading

More convict ancestors

I’ve known for many years I was a descendant of a convict, Isabella Tyson. She was my 3rd great grandmother. What I didn’t know until recently was there were two other convicts in my ancestry: William Henry Diogenes Herring, my 2nd great grandfather, and James Hill, another 2nd great grandfather. Isabella Tyson … Continue reading

Three Days with Tyson

This story is about James Tyson, my 2nd great-grand uncle. It’s from The Queenslander newspaper dated 1894. It’s written by an anonymous drover who claimed to have spent three days travelling with James Tyson on the Steamship Arawatta in about 1889 when Tyson was 70. I’m guessing from the context they were going … Continue reading

There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza

Two of our granddaughters stayed overnight with us a few days ago. For some reason we started singing “There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza” and we were surprised that the youngest, who had just turned six, knew every single verse. So we sang it over and … Continue reading

School vacation, bored kids and my grandparents

  Yesterday afternoon I was listening to James Valentine on ABC radio  702. The topic was school holidays, and James asked kids to call in to talk about just how boring their holiday was. One girl phoned in and said she was bored beyond belief: all she’d done all day … Continue reading

Recollections of Patonga

Patonga is a village near the mouth of the Hawkesbury River.  On the eastern side of the bay, reachable at high tide only by wading through a lagoon, is Dark Corner. Relatives of ours had a weekender there. Actually the term weekender was a bit generous; in the absence of … Continue reading

The Late Hon. James Tyson – a Sketch of his Family History

I was searching the internet for some photos of or about James Tyson and accidentally tripped over a scan of an amazing article in a newspaper called The Queenslander. It was published on Saturday 10 December 1898, just six days after Tyson’s death. Here’s the link to the scan of … Continue reading