SS Orcades

Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of when my dad, his five siblings and his parents left for Australia.

The eight of them had only ever known the hilly lands of a town called Coulsdon in Surrey. I suppose my grandfather thought it was time to seize the opportunity of the 10 pound pom scheme and get aboard a ship to the great unknown. He made an appointment at Australia House in London, and the plan was set in motion.

My aunt, grandfather, two great-aunts and my grandmother in London.

My aunt, grandfather, two great-aunts and my grandmother in London.

My dad, the second oldest out of his siblings, was just seventeen at the time, having only been in the workforce for a year or two. He remembers telling his friend that he’d see him later, just out of habit I suppose, but they never did see each other again. I imagine it was a big upheaval for them all, especially the older kids who had mates they were leaving behind. It isn’t like these days where communication is as simple as an email. Many of those friends were never heard of again.

My aunt (Dad’s older sister), being the eldest, found it especially difficult as her roots were embedded deep in the English soil. I think she’s always had a hard time letting her home country go. She goes back there on average about once a year, and she’s about the only one who keeps in contact with the few threads of family that still remain in Surrey. My dad has no interest in going back to England because he chooses to remember the places how they were, and not how they are now. I’m still trying to convince him that there’s other places to see in England besides Surrey, but he is hard to coerce!

1965_Waters48_0001 copy

At the train station to catch the ship.

At the train station to catch the ship.

The ship they came out on was grand, at least compared to their standards. The Orcades was furnished to the nines, and had many luxuries they had never seen at home. It was about four weeks of restrained bliss. I believe it was also the last ship that sailed through the Suez canal for many years before war broke out.

The Orcades in all her glory

The Orcades in all her glory

When the family arrived in Melbourne they were supposed to be split as part of the Fairbridge scheme. The two older kids were supposed to go work on a farm. My great-aunt had come over from Adelaide to meet them, and after a bit of quick talk, it was decided the whole family would take the bus to Adelaide instead. What a different life they all could have had, and most likely not for the better, if my great-aunt hadn’t spoken up!

The family arrive in Melbourne

The family arrive in Melbourne

They all ended up in Pennington migrant hostel, which wasn’t too pleasant. Apparently the goverment deliberately made things expensive at the hostels to discourage the immigrants from staying for extended periods. One good thing my aunt remembers about the place was that it was the only time in her life that she got a room to herself.

Pennington migrant hostel

Pennington migrant hostel

After some time my grandfather decided on a house he wanted to live at in Athelstone, and with the exception of a move to a house not so far away (next door, in fact!) he lived there for basically the rest of his life. His wife and children took a while to adjust, but eventually they flourished. Though it was tough on the family to tear themselves loose from England, I think it turned out to be one of the best decisions my grandfather made.

I, for one, know there’s no other place I’d rather be.


The “When I Was Young” Geneameme

Ok, let’s do this. Meme questions can be found via Lonetester here.

Do you (or your parents) have any memorabilia from when you were a baby? (ie. baby book, lock of hair, first shoes etc.)

I have a calendar somewhere that shows stickers for things such as ‘baby’s first tooth’. There’s a scrapbook full of cards from my Christening. I think I also received a small silver-plated cup too, though I have no idea where that is!

Do you know if you were named after anyone?

Absolutely. I was named after my grandfather, who died just six weeks before I was born. His name was Lawrence, and I got the name Lauren.

And do you know of any other names your parents might have named you?

If I was a boy I was going to be called Joshua. I don’t think this was for any particular reason; my folks just liked the name.

What is your earliest memory?

I truly can’t think of one specific early memory. Everything I can think of relates to a photo or a Super8 movie, so I think they aren’t ‘real’ memories as such.

Did your parent/s (or older siblings) read, sing or tell stories to you? Do you remember any of these?

Sing? Lol, no. Apparently I wouldn’t go to sleep until Dad read me a story though. I remember having a thick yellow book with hundreds of bed-time stories in it.

When you were young, do you remember what it was that you wanted to grow up to be?

Nothing adventurous, because I was sickly shy, and I still am. I thought I could be a hairdresser – until I tried working for one after school. I also wanted to be a florist – until I got obliterated by hayfever.

Did you have a favourite teacher at school?

Miss Miller was my reception teacher and probably the nicest one I had. Mr Gleeson from Year 5 wasn’t bad either as he tried to make things as fun as they can be.

How did you get to school?

I was driven to school by Mum during the Naracoorte years. For the four years at Lucindale I rode my bike or walked, all while trying to avoid vicious magpies.

My first day of school...I think

My first day of school…I think

What games did playtime involve?

Oh so many! There were a myriad of phases of what was ‘in’ during school. Activities ranged from climbing trees, hanging upside down on various pieces of equipment, the swings, elastics, yo-yos, retreating to the library, hopscotch, My Little Ponies, kites, red rover, dancing, playing on the tunnels, and a helluva lot more.

Swing time

Swing time

Did you have a cubby house?

Hmm, not as such. I had a space between a tool shed and a huge lemon-scented gum tree that served as a cubby for a while. I would make indoor ones a lot, working in the design of the bunk beds so that I could try to get away with sleeping inside the cubby for a night or two. Pegs really come in handy for blanket cubbies.

What was something you remember from an early family holiday?

Five us were crammed into a small maroon hatchback, which we took all the way to Port Lincoln. I remember staying with my Nanna there. She lived near a cemetery, and I saw one grave covered in small glass chips. I had never seen such a thing before and I yelled out to Mum to come look at it, all the while running on a concrete path. I went splat and had to be taken back to Nanna’s to be Band-aided.

What is a memory from one of your childhood birthdays or Christmases?

I remember getting a pink bike when I was about 5 and sitting on it in the lounge room in my pink pyjamas.

What childhood injuries do you remember?

The black eye stands out in my eye. My brother was responsible for that. We were playing chasie and I hid on the bottom bunk. He yanked my arm and my face went into the base of the top bunk. Ouch!

What was your first pet?

Ginger was a ginger cat (fancy that!). He’d had a mate called Meggs, but Meggs went missing before I was born. We had Ginger all through my childhood until he had to be put down when he was around thirteen.

Ginger up close

Ginger up close

Me with Ginger

Me with Ginger

Did your grandparents, or older relatives tell you stories of “when I was young ..?”

Nah, not really.

What was entertainment when you were young?

Mostly it was entertaining yourself. We had a great garden to explore and play in. I spent a lot of time on the trampoline or out riding the bike through the garden paths. Indoors I would watch a bit of TV or a video. We also had an Amiga computer that was fun to play on.

Our old driveway

Our old driveway

Do you remember what it was it like when your family got a new fangled invention? (ie. telephone, TV, VCR, microwave, computer?)

I remember we started out with a Beta video player, but I don’t know when we made the switch to VCR. The telephone and TV were already there. We went through a few computers, from the Dick Smith Wizard to the Commodore 64, followed by the Amiga and CD32. Mum received a microwave on her 40th birthday and I barely used it, except to heat up some Weat-Bix in the morning.

Did your family have a TV? Was it b&w or colour? And how many channels did you get?

Yes, we had a TV. It was colour. I think we went from an old TV with no remote to a newer one with a remote when I was about 8. We had two channels to start out with – ABC and Channel 8 (later WIN). We got a bigger aerial which allowed us to get a couple of Victorian channels, but it was very weather-dependent.

Did your family move house when you were young? Do you remember it?

Yes. Unfortunately. It wasn’t the best time of my life, that’s for sure, but it worked out well for my parents, so I’m glad for them. We moved from my childhood town to one half an hour away when I was 11 then moved back to the childhood town, to a new house, when I was 15.

Was your family involved in any natural disasters happening during your childhood (, flood, cyclone, earthquake etc)

Thankfully no.

Is there any particular music that when you hear it, sparks a childhood memory?

Puff the Magic Dragon by the Seekers and Alexander Beetle by Melanie Safka seem to compete in my head for the first song I ever remember hearing.

What is something that an older family member taught you to do?

One of my brothers taught me how to play a lot of sports. That’s about all I can think of!

What are the brands that you remember from when you were a kid?

All the ones I can come up with are probably still around! Is Aeroplane Jelly still going?

Did you used to collect anything? (ie. rocks, shells, stickers … etc.)

What didn’t I collect? Haha, I went through many phases. Cat stuff, zebra stuff, smiley-face stuff, Slinkies, yo-yos, stamps, shells, Glow-in-the-Dark things, beach huts, The Lord of the Rings stuff, movie tickets, business cards, etc.

Share your favourite childhood memory.

I think I was ten when I had already received a bunch of a great things for Christmas, but then Dad came walking through the door with a shoebox in his hand. He handed it to me, and inside were two kittens! They were gorgeous and I remember them walking and playing in the Barbie van I’d also got that same morning. Good times.

Carlo the kitten

That’s all for now! This was a nice trip down memory lane. The good thing about this meme is that I know the majority of the answers my parents would give because I’ve sapped them of all the information I can already!

Congress 2015

I’m pretty sure that every Aussie geneablogger knows about Congress. Word of it has done the rounds. I wonder, though, if not for my current employers, who happen to be exhibiting at the event, whether I would have ever heard about Congress.

Luckily, I did hear about it.

I had a huge inner debate about whether to go or not, and whether I could justify spending that much money on one weekend (and the extortionate airline flights). But, with a bit of coersion from those around me, I decided it would be very worthwhile to go.

And go I shall.

To start with I was hesitant about getting excited, because I can be a bit guarded like that, but now I just can’t help it! It’s a week to the day that I fly out. I’ve started thinking about what clothes to wear, and what notebooks to take, and trying to work out if my shoes will be comfortable enough. I want to make a good impression and try to network as best I can, which means I need to update my business cards and print them as soon as possible. I also want to take a version of my tree somehow, perhaps on an app like ezGED Viewer.

It’s going to be great to be in amongst a myriad of people who share similar – if not the same – interests as me, and to be engrossed by that sort of environment. I’m looking forward to all the talks and to being bombarded with a plethora of information.

I’m not really going to get a chance to go to any of the national repositories around Canberra, as I won’t have a lot of spare time, but the good news is that I’ll be returning to our capital city again at the end of September, so I’ll pursue some research then.

Hope to see some of you there!

Albert Frederick Starke

Supposedly my great-great-grandfather, Albert Frederick (/Friedrich/Friedrick/etc) Starke was born 9 Feb 1858 in Tucheim, Saxony, Prussia. Tucheim is a village and a former municipality in the Jerichower Land district, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Since 1 July 2009, it is part of the town Genthin.

I know very little about Albert’s birth and upbringing. I do however know that he came out to Australia when he was but 18 years old. He traveled alone, though he met his future-wife-to-be on the very same ship that brought him to this fair country.

First Name Albert
Last Name Starke
Town Tuchheim
Departure State Sachsen
City Hamburg
Standing Schneider
Age 18
Gender Male
Destination Pt. Adelaide
Destination Country Australia
State South Australia
Ship name Esther
Year 1876
© Queensland Family History Society Inc via FindMyPast

Albert was listed as a “Schneider” which translates to a tailor. While, so far as I know, Albert pursued other means of making money other than tailoring, his granddaughter would later become a tailoress without even knowing that Albert had been of a very similar profession! She was quite pleased to hear about this little discovery.

If not for having found his obituary, there are many things I never would’ve known about Albert. He clearly loved to travel, and explored a good part of Australia in his youth, while also taking up the habit of ‘kangarooing’, which I presume in those times meant hunting kangaroos.

One thing I’d ask Albert, if given the chance, would be why he came to Australia by himself? Later, I believe, some brothers of his also came out to Australia, though I don’t have clear sources about that. Was Frederick Wilhelm Starke his brother? What about Karl August Starke? They lived in the same area, but I’ve not found anything certain that locks them into the same family.

If other trees are to be believed, Albert’s father, Freidrich/Frederick Starke, was born in Oldenburg, Germany, and ended up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1888!  I wonder.

One of my Mum’s cousins (Albert’s great-grandsons) was supposed to be researching the Starke family. Years ago he wrote to several relatives requesting information, which he intended to use for writing a book on the Starkes. He was also supposed to go to Germany to explore the roots of the family. Alas, I have lost contact with this man, and all details I once had for him are no longer in use, and, with him being a bit of a recluse, I have found him impossible to track down.

My favourite part of Albert’s tale is that he ended up marrying Caroline Pauline Scholz who came out on the Esther with him. I do not know for sure if they knew each other on the boat, or whether it was by coincidence that they met up later. I would love to know. I’m very glad they found each other in any case.


Albert’s Naturalisation from The National Archives of Australia


Albert in his later years. Image courtesy of dannikay81 from Ancestry.


Albert with his wife Caroline Scholz and their troupe of nine children.


AlbertStarkeObit2 Albert’s extensive obituary from the Port Lincoln Times on the 15th of March 1935.


I’ve been sitting here for several minutes now wondering what to write. I don’t have a huge list of ideas for my posts, nor do I have a set direction for where I want to take this blog. I just want it to be.

I don’t have a lot of time to write this, as I want to go to bed soon, and I guess therein lies the problem. I have a hundred things I could write about, but all of them are very involved. There are ancestors I am excited to talk about, but their stories reach out further than my bed time. They will have to wait another day. They have waited this long.

I’m also in the process of moving houses. This makes for a chaotic headspace, which is going to take a while to de-clutter. Why is there not yet an easier way to transport my goods than in a bunch of cardboard boxes bundled up in uncooperative tape? Teleportation should surely be an option by now.

But I digress. My point is, well, I have no point, and that’s the point. I suppose this blog isn’t strictly directed at genealogy, but that’s what it’s main focus will be. I daresay, in time, at least 90% of the blog will be dedicated to my genealogical pursuits.

I will remain patient for now.

Lawrence Ralph Henry Jones

Lawrence Ralph Henry Jones was my grandfather. He died six weeks before I was born, and hence he is my namesake (my name is Lauren.)

My mother’s father, Lawrence, also known as Snow or Laurie, died much before his time in Port Lincoln, South Australia, on the 7th of January, 1984, after an all too long illness. It’s horrific to think of losing my dad at my current age, but that’s what happened to my mum. Her dad had died of cancer in the lungs and kidneys by the time she was 30.

I’ve heard a lot about Papa over the years. Mum has shared many a story with me, and she has always been fascinated by his war years, which, as was often the case were strictly off-topic while he was alive. I wanted to pursue this interest, to see what I could find out and satisfy Mum’s curiousity.

Guess what? I found my way to the Australian War Memorial website, and after a fairly comprehensive search I stumbled on the following image.


(c) Australian War Memorial

The man standing in the shadows is Papa. He was on leave from the war and was catching a ride on a train near Townsville, Queensland. I wasn’t sure it was him at first, but I gathered Mum from the lounge room and showed it to her on screen. She confirmed it was him, tears in her eyes, a hand covering her mouth. “I’ve never seen him with a moustache before,” she murmured. She was delighted to have this picture and immediately we ordered a copy from the AWM and distrubted it to the family. I imagine for my mum, nanna and aunties it was like discovering a whole different side to Papa they never knew. I’d always known him to look more like this:


Well, with that kind of reaction, you see why I have been addicted to research ever since. Not all my family share my enthusiasm for genealogy, but Mum gets quite excited at times and I still look forward to sharing things with her.

Speaking of sharing, I’m certain I’ll be sharing more on Papa in the future.


Some details about Lawrence (Snow) Ralph Harry Jones. Born 27 April 1920 in Kensington Park, South Australia, son of Ralph James Thomas Jones and Sarah Katherine Wright. Laurie married  Joyce Muriel Thorpe (still living) in 1947 at St Mary of the Angels, Port Lincoln, South Australia.

Obligatory Welcome Post

Greetings, World

Welcome to my first blog post on WordPress.

I have started this blog in order to perhaps catalogue and share some of my genealogy interests. I hope perhaps I will find some people searching the same families as I am also.

A bit about myself. Well, I am 30 in the age department, though I act and feel as though I’m in my low 20s. I was formed in South Australia, and still live here to this day. All of my primary research is in South Australia, with a few exceptions.

Genealogy means the world to me. It has given my moments of spare time a purpose and have steered me away from being bored. There’s always something to do! Genealogy has probably also sapped me of a social life, but they’re a bit overrated, aren’t they?

Well, that’s all for now! I hope you’ll join me in this genealogical adventure.