Thursday, July 26, 2012

Team Players

Sepia Saturday 136: 28th July 2012

This week I have a selection of cricket photos from the family albums but there isn't a single baseball photo in the albums.

My Grandmother wrote about her father, James (or Jim) Pilgrim, whose father's was also named James
Dad said cricket was often played behind the stables and someone keeping nit" and also "Dad couldn't stand the lime light except at cricket."  

All the Pilgrim brothers played cricket.  I am not sure if it was official or unofficial but the team was called the "Pilgrim Seven" and in addition to the seven brothers, also included a brother in law, Ern Muller.

My Great Grandfather, Jim Pilgrim is holding the cricket ball in the centre of the photo below.  I just love the moustaches, braces and ties.

Can you pick the twins?

Pilgrim Seven
The Premiership photos feature members of the Pilgrim family repeatedly, year after year.  Nearly 20 years later, Ned, Jim (my great grandfather is now age 47) and Bert were still playing cricket. But now Bert's sons Clarrie and Roy are in the team too with their brother in law Bob Handyside. My Great Grandfather may be older but he is still holding the cricket ball in his hand, is still sporting braces, a tie and a big moustache!

1926 - 1927 Winiam Cricket Club - Premiers
Back: L Clark, A Wohlers, P Warner, Bob Handyside, Clarrie and Roy Pilgrim.
Middle: Ned Pilgrim, Jim Pilgrim, Bert Pilgrim, H Warner.
 Front: L Gilchrist, H Warner

Cricket medals won by Bob and Jim Pilgrim
Jim had his made into a brooch for his wife.
Click to enlarge

My Grand Aunt wrote:
"When I was a child, Uncle Bert was the only one that had a wireless so the Pilgrim men-folk would go over and play cards while they listened to the test cricket from England.  One night the commentator said 'There's a storm coming in'.  Uncle Bob said ' Be jinks Perce, we better get home before that road gets wet'.  When the others laughed, Uncle Bob tried to make out he was only joking"

Winiam 128 defeated Diapur 56

And finally a picture of my Grandfather, Allan Scott.

Back: Mr Obrien (Sec), Frank McCrae, Bill Thompson, Wally Huf, Gordon Huf, Allan Scott, Len Furfy (Pres)
Front: Norm Baker, Stan Maddan, Ossie Smith, Alf Baker, Bill McCrae, Allan Baker

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L is for Life Expectancy

I was shocked to see that my average life expectancy is 68 years old.  There is also a 40% chance that I will die from heart or lung related issues.

Based on my direct line of ancestors
This improves to age 76 when I take out those ancestors who died prior to 1900 but still well below my expectations and the average life expectancy for a female, which is age 86!

In doing my research, I have found that many ancestors have lived to a ripe old age, well beyond average, so these results surprised me.  At a recent family reunion on my mothers side, we had four relatives attend who were over age 90, which didn't include my grandmother, who lived until she was age 96.  It is the several ancestors who have died of heart attacks in their 50s, which brings the average down.  When I took out the male and female who were the youngest when they died, the life expectancy only came up a few years, to age 80.

I feel that I take after my mothers side of the family, where the life expectancy for a female is age 85 compared to age 81 on my fathers side of the family (excluding the youngest to die).

The pie chart below shows the causes of death for my direct line of ancestors.

Click on the image to enlarge

So how does this compare to averages?  Lung & Respiratory issues and Heart issues meet Australian averages but Cancer and Stroke are below Australian averages.  Although several family members have had a stroke, it has not been a major cause of death in the direct family.  Two of my uncles died of cancer but surprisingly it has not been a significant cause of death among my direct line of ancestors.

The graph below is from information obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2010 figures).

Click to enlarge
If I follow the trend of my ancestors, there is a 48% chance that I will live past age 80.  Here's hoping that life expectancy continues to improve like it did last century, then I may make it to age 92 and hopefully tell my great great grandchildren stories about how things have changed.

10% of my direct line ancestors have lived past age 90

After all this talk about death, it is time for me to get off the couch and go for a walk, to reduce the chance of having heart or respiratory problems!

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

K is for KILLED

Edith and her sister Milly
Edith Bound and her twin brother Ernest were born Hurlands Woods, Liskeard, Cornwall on the 27th March 1870.  According to family stories, Edith was a small sickly baby and it was thought that she would not survive.  There were no humidicribs in those times so she was placed under the vest, on the chest, of an old bedridden man, to keep her warm.

This was the first evidence of her strong will and she survived, while unfortunately her twin brother who was born a strong and healthy 9lbs died five months later.

When Edith was seven years old, her father, age 43, caught a chill and died from pleurisy, leaving a grief stricken widow with 8 fatherless children (3 children had already predeceased him) with Edith's youngest sister Lilly being born 2 months after her father's death.

"The Lord Provided" and 10 months later, on the 5th July 1878, the family were on board the barque Oaklands for the voyage to Australia.  According to information handed down through the family, the Oaklands was becalmed near the equator for several days and drinking water was rationed, with the younger children nearly perishing in the heat.  Additionally, the newspapers reported that there were several cases of whooping cough on board and many children died from various infantile diseases.  However the Bound family arrived safely at Port Adelaide on 21st September 1878.  Edith was now eight years old.

The family initially resided at Macaw Creek in South Australia and were initially frightened by the aboriginals  but this changed as the aboriginals provided them with rabbits and birds for the cooking pot.  Little is known about Edith's childhood but we can only imagine that it was quite tough without a father to support the family.  The older boys became farmers and supported the family, moving across the border to North Western Victoria.

When she was nearly eighteen years of age, Edith married Edward Ernest Edmund Geyer at Miram Piram, Victoria and their first child, my great grandmother, was born soon thereafter.  The family grew steadily and by 1898 Edith and Edward Geyer had six children with another on the way.

Geyer Family
Back: Art, Mel, Lloyd & Ern
Front: Soph, Edith, Lil & Mabel nursing my grandmother, Eva
According to my grandmother, Edward Geyer was the Chief Mechanic/Miller at the local flour mill in Nhill and was at home sick in bed.  There were urgent mechanical repairs needed at the railway station, which was part of the flour mill and he was called in.  Edith didn't want him to go but he did.  He died two days later on the 5th May 1899 from exhaustion & intestinal haemorrhage due to Typhoid Fever, which had also claimed the life of Edith's mother and youngest brother six years earlier.

At age 29, Edith who was two months pregnant, was left a young widow with six children to care for. One month later on the 8th June 1899, Edith made "an application to the justices to be relieved of the care of five of her six children (the eldest 11 and the youngest 18 months), she being without means, and quite unable to support them."  

Horsham Times
6 Feb 1914
Within a week, £14 was donated to the "distressed Geyer family".  Although this may not seem like much money today, in those days it was sufficient to feed and clothe a family for some time and Edith was able to keep her children with the youngest born in December 1899.  She called her Lilly, which was the same name that Edith's widowed mother had given to her youngest daughter.

My great grandmother, being Edith's eldest child, left school at age 11 to help her mother with the younger children.  The family moved to Mildura in 1901 with her brother. You can read more about their remakable journey here.  Edith took in washing and picked fruit to provide an income.

By 1908, when Edith was 38, she was back  in Nhill and taking in boarders.  With the help of her doctor, she had become a registered mid wife.   My grandmother wrote "I think she brought all her grandchildren into this world - and there were many."  She was also quite handy with a hammer and nails and from donated timber she built additional rooms on the house.
Horsham Times
17 May 1949

Although she wasn't registered as a "maternity & medical nurse" until 1915, she established her first private hospital in 1914.  She operated several private hospitals in Horsham, Victoria;
1914 "River View" McPherson Street
1916 "Harlington House" Wilson Street
1920 "Liscard" Baillie Street
1924 Temporarily relocated to "Weymouth" Baillie Street
1925 "Liscard" Baillie Street

"Liscard" continued to operate until 1931 when Edith, who was 61, became the matron at the Goroke hospital for several years before her death in 1937 at age 66.

It was a car accident which killed Edith.  According to the inquest, Edith was sitting in the front passenger seat of a car driven by her son in law, Victor.  A truck coming in the opposite direction swerved on to the wrong side of the road.  At the last minute, Victor veered to the wrong side of the road trying to avoid the collision but at the same time the truck corrected and hit the front passenger side of the car, with the impact throwing Edith around causing broken ribs and internal haemorrhage, which killed her. The driver of the truck was fined £1/10/. for failing to report the accident, £2.10/. for driving on the wrong side of the road and £1/7/6 costs.

Nursing was a saviour to Edith Geyer.  She saved many lives and brought even more into this world but medicine could not save her. 

Nurse Edith Geyer with baby Lay, Mrs Reid, Mrs Hobbs with baby Hobbs, Soph (Edith's sister), Mrs Heard and baby Heard and Esther and Little Stan Walter
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Little Pansy Faces

Sepia Saturday 135:  21st July 2012

This weeks theme photo with all the kids sitting on stage with the "Health Fairy" reminded me of Sunday School concerts.

I have one lonely photo from my grandmother's album this week;

Winiam Methodist Sunday School concert
Emily Pilgrim, Edie Gniel, Doreen Wohlers, Ella Voight, Dorrie Westendorf,
Eva Pilgrim (my Grandmother), Sylv Rowett & Myrtle Pilgrim

From the Back of the photo;
"All the Little Pansy Faces
Growing in the garden there
Look at you with eyes of longing
For you are their lady fair
And when you come out to greet them
leaning like a queen above
All the little pansy faces
Look at you with eyes of love"

My Grandmother's cousin wrote about a School concert:
"We had great concerts at the school,   Marge and I tried to sing a duet once but Marge's voice squeaked and we got the giggles; with Marge singing a line while I was giggling, then I would sing a line while she giggled.  Was supposed to sing 2 verses but struggled to get thro one.  We got a great ovation tho with the audience laughing at us".

This post may have nothing to do with the "health fairy" but if you have time, please take a look at my post about my great great grandmother, Nurse Edith Geyer.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012


Sepia Saturday 134: 14th July 2012

A selection of photos of Prams from family albums:

You've seen this one previously but I couldn't resist including it again.
1936 - My Uncle Don is the boy standing

1940 - My Aunt with her toy pram

1943 - My Great Aunt (Nhill)

The advertisement below is from The Argus (Melbourne) newspaper 16th May 1944.

1946 - Mum

And finally, the photo below is baby me with my mother and our dog Rex.   I have very fond memories of growing up with Rex.  He was my best friend for many years.  When I started to emulate Rex and cock my leg, Mum decided it was time that I had a brother or sister.

Back to the pram.............It was a gift to my parents from my paternal grandparents.  My grandparents gave a pram as a gift upon the arrival of the first child born to each of their children.

I still have the pram but it doesn't look as nice now.  I used it for my eldest child but it was too heavy and difficult to maneuver and get in and out of the car so I opted for a newer model when my second child joined us.

1967 - Mum, Rex & I

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Thursday, July 12, 2012


I could write alot more about James Pilgrim but decided with over 30 photos of old cars that this weeks subject would be "Jalopies".  Please click on the images to enlarge.

My grandmother was born in 1910 and she was a teenager before her parents had a car.  She never drove. The first car that my grandmother's parents owned was an "Overlander".  I think that this could be an "Overlander" below, but I am not sure so am happy to be corrected.

1928 - Coming home from cricket
The second car was the "Studey" - A Studebaker.  I am not sure how reliable it was as there is another photo of it being towed across the paddock by an old tractor in 1931.

1930 -  The Studebaker
Their third car, being the first brand new car was "The Chev"

1928 - My Great Grandparents and Grand Aunts in the Chev.

My grandmother wrote: "I am quite convinced that little people never think of hurting themselves.  I had finished my family before the others started, so Mum and Dad loved to have them up there and the car was often overloaded, so we used to have them standing behind the front seat.  One day Dad looked around and said to Don 'Don’t lean on the door mate, if it came open, you’d fall' and Don said 'It wouldn’t matter grandpa, I know my way home from here'."

1929 - Victoria Street, Nhill
Nhill- Bob Pilgrim's car

Mum reminisced about the old car they had when she was a child (pictured below).  Mum didn't like it and was embarrassed to ride in it.  She thought my grandfather was a dangerous driver and would overtake when he felt like it, saying "There is plenty of room for three cars on the road".   One day Uncle Rob and Uncle Don (my mothers brothers) were playing around with the car and mum was getting in their way.  Uncle Don had a hand on the spark plug and a hand on mum’s shoulder.  Uncle Don cranked the engine (no key in those days) and mum got a shock.  She cried and ran in and told Gran.  The boys got into a lot of trouble.

1949 - My Grandparents with my mother, aunt and uncles

My grandfather's Austin at Tarraville Church (built 1856)
The photo below is also my grandfather's car.  When my father was 17, he wanted to take a girl out so took the car without his father's permission.  He reversed out of the driveway without lights on and hit the fence, scratching the car.  He "copped a hiding"
1960 - My father

This post has also made me reflect on the many cars that I have owned over the years.  Unfortunately I didn't think to take photo's of them all but I will going forward.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Illuminating Blogger Award

It is an honour and very humbling to be nominated twice for the Illuminating Blogger Award by Alona at LoneTester HQ and Merron at Western District Families.

It was Alona who got me started with blogging about 2 months ago with the Gould Genealogy "Family History Through the Alphabet" challenge.  I now really enjoy blogging about my family history and sharing photos.

Alona wrote "Sharon started blogging at the beginning of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge a few weeks ago, and has truly embraced her ‘inner geneablogger’, sharing many stories about her ancestors. Each post is well written and is illustrated with photos, maps or documents".

From Merron "Strong Foundations  – This is another blog I have recently discovered and really enjoyed.  Sharon, a fellow Victorian, has the best photos on her blog. She also uses maps and newspapers articles to illustrate her posts which I like.  I particularly enjoyed her post H is for…Horses".

Thank you very much Alona and Merron.

Now as part of this award, I must share something random about myself...........In the 1980s I was a "Potato Princess".  And no, I didn't wear a sack.  It isn't a very flattering title but it was all in good fun and raised money for the Koo Wee Rup Hospital.

Another condition of accepting this award is to nominate 5 other blogs.  Many of the blogs that I read regularly have already received a nomination (or more) so to share things around, I will nominate alternate blogs that have made an impression on me. In alphabetical order;

Finding Eliza by Kristin Williams.  I have found every one of Kristin's posts very informative and interesting.  She comes from a very different background to me and although some of her tales are confronting, like the "baby with the bottle full of milk so spoiled it was like cottage cheese", they are very honest and heartfelt and provide an insight and understanding into a different way of life.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy: The Online Diary of a Central Oregon Grandmother by Kathy Matthews.  In particular, I thoroughly enjoy reading the stories of  "Tin Pot Valley" written by Wilfred Brown, Kathy's distant cousin.

Postcardy who has a huge range of delightful postcards from all eras to fit any topic.  Always an interesting blog to visit.

Savethephotos and Forgotten Faces and Long Ago Places. I couldn't choose between these two blogs as they both have a similar theme and are both inspiring.  As someone who loves and appreciates the importance of old photos, it is very admirable to see Sharon and Teresa rescuing old forgotten photos, investigating and researching the photo, telling their stories with the goal of returning to a descendant.

Sepia Saturday - Established by Kat Mortensen and Alan Burnett, the theme of the blog is "Using old images as prompts for new reflections".  I have really enjoyed participating in their weekly challenges and the blogs of other participants are very interesting and varied.  It is also an opportunity to go through my photos and bring them to life.

If you are nominated then you have been awarded the Illuminating Blogger Award. Just follow the steps below:
  1. The nominee should visit the award site ( and leave a comment indicating that they have been nominated and by whom. (This step is so important because it’s the only way that we can create a blogroll of award winners).
  2. The Nominee should thank the person that nominated them by posting & including a link to their blog.
  3. The Nominee should include a courtesy link back to the official award site ( in their blog post.
  4. Share one random thing about yourself in your blog post.
  5. Select at least five other bloggers that you enjoy reading their illuminating, informative posts and nominate them for the award. Many people indicate that they wish they could nominate more so please feel free to nominate all your favorites.
  6. Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog, including a link to the award site (

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Click on the picture above for more Sepia Saturday posts

I don't have any pictures of elephants in my albums but do have some pictures of trunks so have taken a lateral theme this week (and no I didn't go with tree trunks, which was my first thought).  
Please click on the images to enlarge.

Do you think that perhaps my grandmother tried to destroy this photo?  I am glad it survived.

Nanna in her swimming trunks

Pilgrim brothers in their trunks

From The Argus newspaper in 1938; "by-laws provided that people had to be 'decently dressed'."  and "while he approved of trunks being worn when bathers were in or near the water, he objected to people wearing them when they 'paraded all about the beach frontage'."

I wonder what our ancestors would have thought about the bathers on our beaches today?  

The Argus (Melbourne) - 23 November 1938
Source: National Library of Australia (Trove)

The Argus (Melbourne) - 11 February 1921
Source: National Library of Australia (Trove)

And to finish, a photo taken in 1948 of relatives in the farm irrigation channel.  
February 2012; "With recent hot weather around the State, SunWater is reminding the general public that irrigation channels are not safe to swim in under any circumstances"  


I is for IMMIGRATION - Colonization Circular

Click on images to enlarge

In researching the immigration of my ancestors, I have spent many hours reading the Colonization Circular on the National Library of Australia website.

To me, it seems that the circular started as a report back to England on the progress of the various colonies but then it seems to develop into a resource for those intending on travelling to new colonies.

You may have read my blog about my grandfather?  He built a boat which was launched in the Tarra River near Port Albert.  I grew up in the area so it was very interesting to read  about the town of "Albert" and the potential for the area; "it is considered a better and safer harbour than Port Phillip"

I find the reports from the early explorers fascinating. The final of page of the July 1843 circular shows a map of NSW in 1843 (before Victoria became a separate state).

I can just imagine my ancestors reading the circular, to investigate the opportunities available in the faraway lands, to find out about the conditions on the ships, the cost of the voyages and what conditions awaited them.
From the 1858 Colonization Circular: “Candidates must find their own outfit, which will be inspected before embarkation by an officer of the Commissioners.  The smallest quantity that will be allowed is for each male over twelve – six shirts, six pairs of stockings, two warm flannel shirts, two pairs of new shoes or boots, two complete suits of strong exterior clothing, four towels, and two pounds of marine soap; and for each female over twelve – six shifts, two flannel petticoats, six pairs of stockings, two pairs of strong boots or shoes, two strong gowns (one of which must be made of a warm material), four towels, three sheets for each berth occupied on board ship, and two pounds of marine soap.
Two or three coloured shirts for men, and an extra supply of flannel for women and children are very desirable.”

If you are interested in the past, then you will surely find something of interest in the Colonization Circulars.  Happy reading :)
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I is for IMMIGRATION - James Pilgrim

James Pilgrim
On the 20th June 1858, when James Pilgrim was 22, he left his family, job and home town to take a dangerous voyage to an uncertain future on the other side of the world, knowing that he would never see his family ever again.

It was such a long and costly journey in the 1800s, that once you left England; it was unlikely that you would ever return.

James was one of 39,295 people who emigrated from United Kingdom to Australia in 1858, hoping for a better life.  His decision would have been made easier as his elder brother John had immigrated to Australia three years earlier.

The voyage from UK to Australia, which on average took 3½ months in 1858, was fraught with danger and many passengers died.  Sea sickness was a common problem but even worse, gastro, scarlet fever, measles, typhoid and small pox plagued many ships.

The steerage passengers lived below deck in conditions that were most often dark, damp and cramped.  Vermin such as rats, lice and cockroaches infested most vessels. 

James chose to make the voyage on the two year old Lady Milton, which was described as a “first class British Clipper” in the London Times.

The Lady Milton
Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
Reference Number: NON-ATL-0065
James was an “unassisted passenger” and paid the full fare for his ticket to Australia.  The cost of passage on the Lady Milton was 14 guineas and upward (14 Pound, 14 Shillings), which was equivalent to about six months of wages for an agricultural labourer like James. 

The Lady Milton left London a week late, on the 20th June 1858 and sailed for 113 days, reaching Melbourne on the 10th October 1858.  The ship was fully laden with cargo but unusually, there were only twenty three people onboard; Captain Benjamin Stacey, a surgeon, two other crew and nineteen passengers, including one child. 

It is likely that this was the maiden voyage of the Lady Milton and passengers were reluctant to board the ship until after she had proven her sail worthiness.  In future voyages, the Lady Milton was primarily used for government and assisted passengers with up to 320 immigrants on board.

30 November 1865
The South Australian Advertiser
The choice of the Commissioners certainly fell on an eligible vessel when they selected the Lady Milton for it has not lately occurred that such roomy tween decks have been seen by the officers boarding. They even exceed those of some of the old ships we were wont to eulogise”.

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