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Saturday, 13 March 2010

We respond in a positive manner to attention. I know because I had an old school friend on my website looking for information on old buddies he wants to invite to a reunion in July. He told me he'd found one guy's phone number on my website.

Today I revisited the website, adding links to profiles of friends and then, inspired by the attention I'd gleaned, worked for a couple of hours on the forbears pages.

I added an 1892 wedding photo of my great-grandfather and -mother. They're formally arranged, as befits a young, up-and-coming couple. His dad was a Victorian gold miner. Her mother, as far as I know, worked on a South Australian farm. But John Henry was a school teacher and his starched shirt and her lacy dress befit their status as members of the gentry.

He ended up as the principal of a Melbourne primary school but died in 1922, before my mother was born. Alice outlived him by 28 years and both are buried in Brighton cemetary under a single headstone. That was the way then, and probably still is.

His father emigrated from Lancashire in 1852, a couple of years after gold was discovered and after penal transportation ended. William Warren and Henrietta were married in the Church of St Peter (C of E) at Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire.

In 1852 Elizabeth MacGugan made the voyage out to Portland, in the colony of Victoria, alone with five children. Her husband Archibald had died in 1850. I don't know anything else about this branch of the family.

John Henry and Alice, mum's grandparents, were married not in the Anglican Church, but by a Presbyterian minister at Archdale, Branxholme, Victoria. I don't know what caused the switch in religion, but it may have been due to Alice, whose family name was Scottish.

Her first child became a supreme court judge. His brother, Harry, my grandfather, became a socialist, although he was married within the Presbyterian Church. The two brothers apparently fell out over the politics. Arthur had fought in WWI and was very 'establishment'. Harry was a bit of a rebel, an invented a dispensing device - which was patented - for birth control pills.

An interesting bunch, anyway.

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