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As I write this blog, I’m currently packing and moving as we’ve just sold our house and it’s times like these that a hidden treasure re-surfaces.
This hidden treasure has been sitting in a wardrobe in my office for the last 3 years with several boxes of office stationery.
Over the last weekend I decided that it was time to sort out those 3 boxes.
No doubt, there’ll be a lot of ‘stuff’ that’s no longer useful as technology has changed.
Instead of treating them like a precious heirloom, I really needed to do some serious culling and not carry them from place to place.
At the bottom of one of the boxes that I couldn’t even look into, because it was on a high shelf plus I’m too short, I could feel a huge book.
Now I’m curious.
When I managed to get a good hold of it and lifted it out it was like finding a hidden Treasure!!!!!
It was an old old photo album!
The album was bound in brown leather with embossing on the front and gilded edged pages and inserts. Unfortunately it is in poor condition.
I’d forgotten all about it.
This photo album was 1 of 4 that my cousin had which was our Grandmother’s who had been the custodian until she died.
An immediate observation was that this family were financially comfortable.
One of the photos had printed at the bottom, ‘Photographers to the Queen’ (Victoria that is). It was easy to see, by the way these people were dressed that they were not living in difficult times.
For me it was seeing these photos, and these people and knowing that they were relatives/ancestors that fascinated me and it didn’t matter how distant they were.
I was in awe to find that quite a few generations of family members were right in front of me and looking back at me.
While they’re connected from 4 or 5 generations ago and it puts a lot of people into the mix, the resemblances between some of the people in the photos and with the living generation is uncanny!
I’d forgotten all about this photo album.
But, here it is again.
Directly in front of me holding so many photos and holding so many stories.
So, instead of packing boxes I went down a rabbit hole with a coffee and I just looked at the photos hoping that some snippet of information would reveal itself.
I believe that some of the photos of these people go back to, possibly 1820s and if they are, who I think they are, they’re my 3 x G Grandparents the Fishers who ran a coffee house in Kensington West.
Apparently, coffee houses were the ‘trendy’ places. It was where, business men, politicians and the ‘well to do’ would congregate to catch up on the gossip – ah, business.
Learning what the conditions were like in Australia back then, my 2x G. Grandmother was sacrificing a very comfortable way of life to go to Australia.
Other photos were no doubt cousins (the resemblances were uncanny) and there were a few unknowns.
As there were no names written on the back of the photos I have to guess who they are except for 1 young family. It was my 2 x G Grandparents and my G. Grandmother as a baby who was born in 1870.
This was also the same year that the young Turner family travelled to Brisbane Australia to start a new life.
They lived in Petrie Terrace, Brisbane for quite a while and today it’s a wealthy area for the residents.
At this stage, the family was living comfortably as the photos in the album reflected this.
No doubt, thephotos were taken in their ‘Sunday’ bests, it appeared they went into town as they also showed a Brisbane address for the photographer.
I honestly don’t know how they coped with those heavy, long sleeved outfits in the hot Queensland weather.
Also, I wonder if they were truly aware of what lay ahead for them because the documents that I’ve found show incredibly sad circumstances.
After losing a couple of new-born babies, my 2 x G Grandmother lost her life during childbirth only 8 years after they arrived. She’d left my 2xG. Grandfather with 6 children between the ages of 2 – 17.
My G. Grandmother was 8 when she lost her mother and the pain of my 2x G. Grandfather’s loss was clearly written on his face in some of the photos.
He looked so sad and especially in the ones that were taken after losing 2 adult sons.
Poor and destitute
A few years later, the 2x G Grandfather spent time at an asylum on Stradbroke Island which was for the poor and destitute.
At the age of 80 he passed away and was buried where 2 of his daughters were living which is in Wondai, Queensland.
This album was 1 of 3 and the family was always well dressed but this one album had the oldest photos from an earlier generation.
I just wish I’d spent time talking to my grandmother about the family. She could’ve filled in all the details.
Although I don’t have the answers of who’s who, I’m feel fortunate to be given these precious memento.
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