My paternal grandmother was very artistic (family members have a lot of her paintings mostly done when she was at MLC in the early 1900s). Although I had done and enjoyed art at High School, I did not continue on with it or feel that I had a lot of talent.
She was also musical and played the piano very well and gave me a piano when I was 8. I did learn to play and completed all the official exams to Grade 6. However she and my youngest uncle (her son) and his children were easily talented – they learnt by ear and could play a range of instruments. I was too busy being technical.
My maternal grandfather whom I never knew was involved in the newspaper printing process as was an earlier ancestor on my mother’s side from Ireland who never emigrated and lived to 102 years of age. No inheritance for me from there, however I and my mother in particular were/ are prolific readers!
Quite a few of my ancestors were gardeners particularly my maternal great grandmother whose diaries detail things she planted and awards she won for her flowers and vegetables in local shows. Several of her descendants are good gardeners too, a love of which I share.
The love of horses feature in both sides of my family – one cousin has a very successful horse stud and lots of other family members love and keep horses. Although I have ridden a bit and we had horses when I was young (my mother was a good horsewoman), this has not been a natural ability I have inherited.
Proposals to build railways in NSW first emerged in 1841. A public meeting was called to present the surveyor’s report on the route for a railway from Sydney to Goulburn. A prospectus was issued on 31 October 1848. From the outset the primary aim of the colony’s railways was to assist inland primary producers to transport their produce to the Port of Sydney for export and to open the country up for closer settlement. Improved transport for urban residents was a low priority.
On my mother’s side of the family, two ancestors from one line emigrated from Lakenheath in England in September 1853. The young couple had no friends or family here but two of their young children had died not long before. I suspect they may have wanted to escape poor living conditions which encouraged outbreaks of infectious diseases rampant at the time as their two young children were not the only deaths in the family at that time. Matthew Stubbings was also attracted to Australia as the new colony of NSW was advertising for people with experience in railways to come to the help build the network. I’m not sure where they lived when they first arrived, but it wasn’t long before they settled in Moss Vale and he worked for the NSW railways for 45 years.
My grandfather from my father’s side of the family arrived in Sydney Australia as a teenager with a younger brother and his parents in 1911. Not long after World War 1 started and he enlisted. By then his family had arrived in Melbourne and settled in the same street in Malvern where my grandmother’s family lived. On his return from the war, he and my grandmother married. Again I’m not sure when he started with the railways, but he and my grandmother moved to Korong Vale in Victoria which was a major railway hub for the network and they brought their young family of three sons there. Unfortunately my grandfather died from cancer when his youngest son was 8 and he is buried there.
My love of railways is long standing and Bev suggested that this might be my ‘inherited’ trait! The more I thought about it the more I thought she might be right. I certainly prefer the historic engines especially the streamliners and steam engines and go on many of the historic trips that Steamrail Victoria and the Seymour Historical Railway Society conduct. When I travel on organised trips here and overseas I always try to find the train journeys to do and to get me to and from places. So I can include the Indian Pacific, the Ghan, The Great Southern and the Overland plus the XPT and the Queensland Spirit amongst my list of Australian journeys. Quite a few are still on my wish list.
Overseas I have travelled on the Orient Express and the Arctic Circle Express. I have done a lot of train excursions around the USA on Amtrak from one side of the country to the other and the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada. I’ve done trips around Scotland and England plus some in France, Japan and China including the fastest train in the world.
My main wish list overseas includes the Glacier Express and the Via Rail trip across Canada as well as the Trans Mongolian across Russia.