Posts filed under: ‘Family History‘

Meeting Parp

My paternal grandfather, Parp, died just before I was born, so I never knew him. By all accounts he was a larrikin, and a storyteller, and my dad is just like him. Before he died though, my aunt convinced him to write down some of his anecdotes and experiences of life as a pioneer in the Pilbara.

My aunt was the family historian  – she was the one who researched the family tree, and I think she had intentions of doing something with these recollections but time got away from her. It seems they may have sat in her office for decades, because when she passed almost two years ago my cousins found the half edited notes and decided to finish what she had started.

And so, at Katink’s funeral last week, all the siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews received their own copy of the book they had put together.Image

It’s full of Parp’s photos and remembrances, albeit some not quite politically correct now days, stories of station life, and even some stories about his father.

And this is my favourite photo in the book! My dad is the toddler. He is 86 now.Image

And so now I get to know Parp, just a little. And so do my kids.

1 comment December 30, 2012

In which I get morbid….

Today I went to a funeral.

It was sad, as these occasions are wont to be, but for me I found the sadness reached a new level. Uncle J was the first of The Next Generation of my maternal family to pass away.

Earlier this year, Aunty P died. She was my dad’s only sister, and she was 89, so she had a good innings.

Uncle J on the other hand, was the husband of my mum’s oldest sister. He was not quite 70. (Yeah, work the maths out, there’s a big age gap somewhere that maybe I’ll tell you about one day.)

He’s been battling cancer for the last six months, in a not very pleasant kind of way. So in the end, it was a blessing really.

Anyway, it occurred to me in the last few days that this is the beginning of the end of my mum’s generation. Yeah, I know, rather morbid, really, but the reality is that all mum’s siblings and partners are of an age that really they are going to start passing away.

In fact, the maternal side of my family has done rather well really, when I think about it. My mother has five siblings, and each of them is married. So I still have two parents and nine aunts and uncles. Pretty good really, in the scheme of things. My grandparents were both close to their 90’s when they passed away, but other than that the only death in the subsequent generations has been my brother, Brusome.

And while one side of me is saying “Come on! They are entitled to grow old!” and “Really!? One person out of twelve family members! Be thankful!” the other is doing the math (1) and saying “Time is running out!”  But despite this, I’m being all morbid, and looking at the prospects of my various family members:  My aunt has recently been diagnosed with ovarian cancer – some incredibly rare form that even her specialist has only ever read about, so they are totally unsure of how it will respond to treatment. My uncle has some lung disease that requires some heavy duty treatment every couple of months. Closer to home, my dad is 86 now and his health issues over the past few years have really started to slow him down and turn him into an old man, and this isn’t to mention the health issues mum has accumulated since her car accident.

So, yeah. Possibly over tired from a big weekend, and emotionally drained = morbid.


(1) Have I told you one of my motto’s is ‘Maths is evil’, and I’m not very good at maths!?

1 comment October 1, 2011

End of an era…

In a quiet, leafy suburb of Perth, is the Riley Road House. It’s a quaint, cottage style home with polished floorboards, on a true quarter acre block. It’s the home my Aunty and Nan moved into over fifty years ago, and where they lived until their deaths.

It’s the house where we had family reunions. Family lunches under the almighty grapevine become legendary and expected.

Last night we said good-bye to the Riley Road House.

It was a lovely gathering – cousins, neighbours and friends all came to pay their respects.

As did the new owners.

They’re a lovely couple, with two little girls, and I think it was nice that they had the opportunity to experience the love and laughter in the house, to see what it could be.

But as sad as it is to say goodbye to The Riley Road House, there have been some big wins in the booty sector. Tangible items that allow me to learn just a bit more about my history, and my forebears.

It seems that both Nan and my aunty were hoarders of a sort. When Nan died, my aunt kept nearly all of her things – the granny-flat was tidied and sorted, but all the furniture and photos and knick-knacks stayed.

And so did the paperwork. My goodness – it’s awesome! I now have a partial copy of the family tree, and can get far, FAR more if I want 🙂 My aunty did the various trees at one point and there are dozens of archive boxes of information that she has collated.

And there are letters to and from various family members that go back fifty years and more I think – including an awesome eight page handwritten gem of a letter from my mum to my aunty telling her in no uncertain terms what she thought about something. Dad is making noises about destroying some of the letters, but I will drive to Geraldton and tackle him before I let that happen!

I’ve been enjoying reading my Nan’s travel diary from her 1964 cruise to Japan, and now I also have HER mother’s travel diary from her year long tour around New Zealand in 1935 – all beautifully typed out on her little portable Corona Typewriter that she took with her.

I scored a few OLD books, including one that is in really bad condition, that looks like it may have been one of my Great Grandfather’s school textbooks. And this school project of his from when he was eleven:

It’s about A3 in size, is all hand drawn and inked and very detailed.

It’s beautiful!

Add a comment July 23, 2011


I’ve Said It Once…

Past Ingredients