I find it interesting the variety of people who contact me about my family tree and in helping them I gain new information for my family research and a new perspective on who these ancestors are. I have been contacted lately by;
- Sports historians
- Friends of my relatives
- People looking for living family members
- A group researching the street they live in and who lived there previously
- A person researching an old photograph of a pub
What I Found Out
There were four publicans in the Townson family – James, the father, and three of his sons Robert, Francis and Christopher. Going by the 1901 English census the brothers did well for themselves, each working as a publican and employing at least one servant, at home, and sometimes a nurse also. This was a pleasant surprise for me and a change from the norm.
Loma Street, Cottesloe – The Goodalls
This Facebook page, Loma Street, has been created about the street and its inhabitants. William Charles and Margaret Annie Goodall lived in Loma Street, Cottesloe a suburb of Perth, Western Australia circa 1907 to 1914. A number of their children were born there. William was a brass founder and iron moulder.
Pearlers in Broome
I knew absolutely nothing about the pearling industry in Australia until I was asked about John Bertie Miller. John was a pearler in Broome, Western Australia. John, like many other pearlers, enlisted in the AIF in 1915.
By 1910, nearly 400 pearling luggers and more than 3500 people were fishing for shell in waters around Broome, making it the world’s largest pearling centre.
Just what is ‘pearling,’ exactly? Pearling is simply the act of diving for pearls. But pearling has a special meaning for Broome, particularly given Broome’s pearling history.
As with all industries, pearling became much more sophisticated and modernised around 1881, when various ships arrived at Roebuck Bay with never-before-seen equipment for the pearl divers.
World War I changed everything. When war was declared, hundreds of pearl divers hurried to enlist, shedding their pearling careers quickly. This had a huge impact on Broome’s pearling industry and with economic strife brought on by the war, mother of pearl was no longer in high demand.
I wouldn’t mind reading this book, The White Divers of Broome “twelve British Royal Navy-trained divers and their tenders were sent to Broome, urged by a Federal Government deep in the grip of the ‘White Australia Policy’ and anxious to rid the country of the last remaining Asian ‘taint’. Their task was to master the perilous art of pearl shell diving, and overcome the Asian stranglehold on the pearling industry, proving once and for all the supremacy of the white man over the coloured.” It sounds both horrific and interesting at the same time.
John Bertie Miller and Mabel Ruck
Obituary for John Bertie Miller