Getting To Congress 2015

I’m planning on driving to Congress next year.  I’ve driven from Adelaide to Canberra and back once before so I already know I can do it.  Congress runs from 26th to 30th March so my travelling dates will be roughly either side of that.



I’m looking for any ladies who would be interested in sharing the driving and petrol cost.  Adelaide to Victoria, then Victoria to Canberra and return.  It can be for part or all of the trip.  It doesn’t matter to me if you’re attending the genealogy conference or you just need a lift.

I’ve been inspired by Community Exchange Road Trip to share the ride and try and use my LETS units as much as possible to pay for my accommodation and food and then I can save my cash to pay for the conference and petrol.

cyberscooty-cartoon-carYou can contact me for more details by leaving a comment on this post, email kira0030 @, or Google +.



Rowley Park Speedway Reunion 2014

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On Sunday my brother Michael and I went to the Rowley Park Speedway reunion.  Now this might seem like an unlikely place to go for a genealogist however my Dad’s cousin, Don Willison, raced motorbikes there and at other tracks in South Australia and nationally.  We had a wonderful time at the reunion talking to several of Don’s mates and co-riders who were very pleased that we were so interested in Don and his career.

Don was born in 1926 in Gawler, South Australia.  I don’t know exactly when he began racing however I have found newspaper articles dating back to 1948.  He won sidecar championships and also rode solo as well as having a foray into stock cars, winning a Stock Car Title in 1968.  Rowley Park Speedway opened in 1949 so I think it’s safe to say that Don was there from the start.

A replica of Don's JAP bike

A replica of Don’s JAP bike

One of the stories I heard was that Don bought the original of the above bike from Jimmy Davies (USA) later that same night that Jimmy beat him on it.  Apparently it was important to buy a bike and take possession of it straight away so that no changes could be made to it.  Don wanted to own the exact bike which had beaten him.

Built from a bike and collection of parts that have been in a collection for many years, reputed to have belonged to past racing legends Jimmy Davies and Don Willison. From Youtube

In the video the sidecar has been removed for testing.  When the video gets to 1:43 you can see Don and Jimmy’s names on the bike.

It seemed that everyone had a nickname, Sprazza, Chook, Eagle Beak, Tubby and more and Don’s nickname was “Willo”.  Saturday must have been hangover day because there was plenty of drinking after racing on Friday nights and well into Saturday morning at Rowley Park.  Don had several bikes and a number of men who rode them for him – Bruce Kelly, Ron Wakefield, Vin Ryan, Stan Smith, Len Bowes, Mal West, Alain Thain and Morrie McMillan are the ones we were told about.


Don Willison


Left to right - unknown, Tommy Davies, Don Willison, Joe "Tubby" Francis, and Malcolm Bunny

Left to right – unknown, Tommy Davies, Don Willison, Joe “Tubby” Francis, and Malcolm Bunny

I’ve had a digital copy of this photo for some time now but never knew who the others in it were until Sunday.  Ian Parrish and Stan Smith were very helpful in identifying them.  There was some discussion as to the location of the photo which was taken either at Park Tce, Bowden or at Port Adelaide.  Mr Parrish told us that he believed this photo was taken the day the motorbike was delivered to Don.  The photo proved a very useful tool in engaging people in conversation and I would recommend it to anyone going to meet new people to take along an item to ask about.

We also found out about two of Don’s living relatives his younger sisters who we will now be able to contact!!  This may even lead to further contacts! Woohoo I’m doing my genealogy happy dance!


Inside History’s 50 Best Genealogy Blogs

Inside History magA big thank you to Jill Ball aka Geniaus for nominating my blog for Inside History’s 50 best genealogy blogs list!!!  It’s a great honour for this little blog to be on the list.

Congratulations to all my genimates whose blogs are also on the list!  I won’t list you all because I’ll be sure to miss someone out.


Find My Past Subscription Price Comparison

I use both Ancestry and Find My Past because they use different search algorithms so that what you can’t find on one site you may find on the other and they also have some unique data sets too.

My Find My Past subscription is due so I checked the subscription prices for, and  Here are the results for a twelve month worldwide subscription.
£129.50 converts to AU $223.28
US $59.99 converts to AU $64.11 (and a small currency conversion fee depending on how you pay the sub)

For the last two years it has been cheaper to buy the twelve month world subscription. I’m really not sure why there is such a price difference. Does anyone have any ideas? I hope this helps others to make the choice between the subscriptions available.

Thanks for this comment from Judy Webster, “I don’t know the answer to your question, but… anyone who is undecided about FindMyPast may be interested to know that they can get 50% off a one-month ‘Britain subscription’ (£5 instead of the usual £9.95) if they join during September 2014. The link for this offer is on the Discounts and Freebies page at


A Lost Photo Album

I found an old photo album at a market today and on looking through it realised that my Mum may know the family pictured therein.  I bought it with the hope of returning it to a family member.

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The album belonged to a Miss Elizabeth Rachel Cornell and Mum and my Grandma both worked for Cornell’s a well known South Australian business.  The album contains a guest list for Elizabeth’s 21st birthday as well as photos, telegrams, letters and newspaper articles.  The party was held on 10 Aug 1945.  Elizabeth’s parents were Frederick William and Marjorie Cornell nee Fox.

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This newspaper article which is in the photo album I also found on Trove

If any Cornell descendants would like this album please leave a comment with your email address and we can make arrangements for its return.  I’ll also be persuing any leads my Mum and Stepfather can give me.



The Mystery of Mary’s Mother

There are three daughters of Edward George Clerk for whom I haven’t been able to ascertain the mother.  They are Mary Emily Clerk 1838, Susan Bundarra Clerk 1839 and Anna Maria Clerk 1840. From what I’ve been able to determine they were all born in New South Wales, Australia.

Edward George Clerk was born in Somerset, England in 1813.  He married Anna Maria Stafford on 9 Apr 1835 in Winscombe, Somerset, England.  I found out, in researching this blog post, that Anna and Edward set out for Tasmania, Australia on 19 Jul 1835 but tragically Anna died at sea on 31 Jul 1835.  They had been married for only three months.   I had initially thought that Anna Maria might have been Mary, Susan and Anna’s mother.  Here is a partial timeline of Edward’s life.EdwardGeorgeClerkTimeline


I haven’t been able to find birth registrations for any of the three sisters.  In Mary Emily’s marriage notice it states that her father is E.G. Clerk Esq. of Clerkness, Bundarra.  (Clerkness is the name of the family property in New South Wales) but it doesn’t list her mother.   I obtained a transcription of her marriage certificate but her mother’s name wasn’t listed.


1859 ‘Family Notices.’, The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 – 1893), 24 May, p. 3, viewed 20 August, 2014,

In two documents I found reference to Mary Clerk visiting or living at Clerkness, Bundarra in 1839/41.  They are Clerkness Station and a memoir by Susan Bundarra Young (formerly Buchanan, nee Clerk).  I bought a copy of Susan’s reminiscences from the Royal Australian Historical Society.

So this leads me back to the date of Edward George Clerk’s marriage to Mary Ann West.  I know plenty of children are born outside marriage but in this case I don’t think it is so with Susan and others stating that Mary Ann Clerk was at Clerkness from around 1839.

My conclusion is that there was an error made in recording the date of Mary Ann West and Edward George Clerk’s marriage or a very early transcription error which has been copied many times over the years.  I now believe that they married in 1837 not 47 and I will be ordering the original marriage certificate to verify this.  I started out this blog post with a question but now I have a possible answer!!  I’ll post the result when I receive the marriage certificate.  Although this is part of a tree I’m working on for someone else I’m enjoying it almost as much as researching my own family as the stories and people are all fascinating to me.