Sunday, October 18, 2009

Jack and George

A busy few weeks, I’ve been dividing my time between work, studies and calm birth classes (we’re currently at week 29), so there hasn’t been a lot of time for genealogy. Despite that, I have slipped in a few moments here and there, including some time dedicated to helping a friend with her own research inquiry.

I’ve been digging through New South Wales and Victorian Police and Government Gazettes among other files, hoping to find traces of my great grandfather, and I’ve had some success, although, as expected I didn’t come across his photo anywhere.

Apparently, a photo of my great grandfather at one stage was on the wall of the police station at West Wyalong, in Western NSW, where he served as a tracker, but today there appears to be no trace. Hopefully that photo still exists, somewhere, and hasn’t been thrown out, like many photos are, ever so thoughtlessly.

My favourite site for research at the moment is the Australian newspapers website http://newspapers.nla.gov.au I’ve been checking it out, on and off since its inception, but until recently it has been of very limited use, containing a limited number of newspapers, focused on a particular swag of years, which are less than helpful.

That however has been changing lately with the introduction of Argus newspapers from Melbourne, and a greater number of files from the Canberra Times. In the last two days I’ve also noticed that the Sydney Morning Herald files for late 1842 to about 1846 (possibly further) are also coming online, once they have been checked for quality.

The Argus files have been a goldmine, with many articles dedicated to both my grandfather, “Jack” John Thomas PATTEN and his younger brother George Middleton PATTEN. Most articles relate to the Cummeragunja Walk-Off of 1939, the Aboriginal Day of Mourning, and both brothers speaking about Aboriginal Australia, pushing for citizen’s rights and for a chance to determine their own futures. In addition, I also found a few mentions of George having been an actor in a play.

I’ve yet to really find much on my mother’s side of the family in the archive, but I’m sure that I’ll be more successful as more editions of the Sydney newspapers and those from Western NSW come online.

2 comments:

Tapgenie said...

Congratulations on your pending descendant! They're much harder work than ancestors, but a lot of fun too. I've heard that calmbirth is excellent. A midwife friend said that she'd seen some really good results from it. I wanted to do it myself but never got around to organising it.

I agree wholeheartedly - the NLA collection is great!

John Patten said...

Thanks, and I agree, they are definitely harder work, but probably more fun too - well, mostly, haha. My stepson keeps me on my toes and he's 3 and a half.

Calmbirth classes were highly enjoyable, and it made so much sense to my wife and I. Time is moving too slowly toward January!

Yep, I'm finally getting a great deal out of the NLA newspaper archive. I know that's only going to get better, and for you as well as I've seen from your own post!