Using Annotated Maps to track your ancestors

Studying the Diploma of Family History at Utas, I learned an exciting way to discover more about our ancestors. This technique helps bring them historically to life.

I had read the court report of what transpired the night John Prendergast was arrested in Dublin. Click for court report

Although I have visited Dublin on 5 separate occasions, the location where John Prendergast was caught, after quite a chase, was mere words to me.

Because I wanted to visualise the scene, I decided to write a story speculatively of what John was doing that night and plot his route on a historical 1798 map of Dublin.  I became quite the detective and was surprised at what I discovered.


The 250 word essay written for the Writing your Family History Story for Utas Diploma of Family History follows.

The choices we make.

Wearing a half smile and feeling smug because he had once again outsmarted the Guarda, John hummed to himself as he jauntily wandered along the Cobblestone streets of Dublin. He had met with the other United Irishmen in secret at the “Sun Inn” that afternoon. Luckily, John lived just up the street from the “Sun Inn”, the assembly point for the United Irishmen in Francis Street. When questioned by the Guarda, John was always able give a plausible excuse for being near the “Sun Inn.” After the March arrests, the United Irishmen were aware that they were being watched.

As the cool April breeze swirled round him, John pulled his coat collar up to keep out the chilly air. The evening fog was descending as day turned into night.

Admiring the tall steeple and architecture of St. Nicholas church, he felt secure in the knowledge that there had always been a Catholic church here since the 12th century. His family were staunch Catholics who worshipped here and had been baptised, married and buried here for many generations. He planned to marry Catherine here if her father would give him permission.

Passing through the Coombe, on his way to visit Bishop Troy of St. Mary’s Cathedral, he thought about the large linen order he had secured. This was quite an achievement for a young Dublin weaver.

Turning into Marlborough Street, John heard the shrill whistle of a Guard as his terrified friend appeared.

“Run, the Guards are on to us!” screamed Edward. Without thinking, John ran.

Catherine Prendergast – One of the first female Land owners in Australia.

In researching Catherine Prendergast and the role she played in the establishment of the Prendergast family in Australia, I needed to “time travel” back to an era in our history where married women, by law were considered part of the goods and chattels that were OWNED by their husbands. This doctrine was a rule of law associated with the common law doctrine of coverture outlined in this paper written by Andrew Cowie, School of Law, Murdoch University.  

Cowie goes on to explain that Coverture is “the state of being under the protection of one’s husband. The term can also mean marriage. Marriage can then be categorized as a contract between a wife and husband where the wife gives up certain legal powers to the husband in return for being under his protections. Until the late 19th century, the marriage contract was the last contract a woman would ever enter”. Women lost their legal identity when they married.

This law, which I found quite shocking, was further explained to me by a volunteer at the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) during my visit to their Library in Sydney, Australia on 16 December, 2017. This law changed in 1918 allowing women to own land in their own right.

When we opened the ‘’Mutch’s” Muster book of 1800-1802 and viewed the entry recording the details of John Prendergast and James Clark leasing property at Mulgrave place in 1800 whilst still convicts, “that can’t be right!”, exclaimed Alan. “A convict with a 7 year term could not lease land until he had been granted his freedom”. “Could his wife Catherine, the unnamed female on the land have leased the land”, I asked? “Yes and no”, replied Alan. He then went on to explain that if a wife had a guarantor, she could lease land but usually that guarantor was her husband. In this case her husband was still a prisoner so no, she could not own land.

So, how did John Prendergast and James Clark lease land at Mulgrave place in 1800?

I decided to delve deeper and googled the  the New South Wales Government State records and Archives site. Here I made a discovery.

New South Wales Land Grants Guide, 1788-1856

On page 2/36 it states that “Women were entitled to receive a grant of land – the first possibly being Ellenor Frazer on 20 February, 1794”. Fantastic! Now we know that Catherine Prendergast could own land. But why were we not finding anything with her first name, Catherine, on it?

Remembering that Catherine Prendergast was referred to as “Wife of John Prendergast, Windsor” and also “Wife of Jno Pender, Windsor” on the two documents referring to Catherine having Jane Williams assigned to her, I decided to take a look at the Land Registry Services NSW, Land and Property Information. The document “How to Search the Old System Grant Index 1792-1862” has been superseded now but is still available on line and has a wealth of information.

Keeping an open mind and thinking laterally as impressed upon me during my University College Cork genealogy course in 2015, I decided to trawl through the pages of beautifully hand written historical documents at the NSW Land Registry. My husband Barry became as interested as I am and continued the search when I took a break. Over the last five days we have viewed thousands of documents.

I have to admit that the Land Registry Services NSW site is not the most user friendly site that I have used. It is quite complicated to use and to find information the user needs to have a prior understanding of the what he is looking for.  For instance, the volume and Folio numbers or the serial and page numbers of a particular document. The surname initial is usually not enough. When I phoned the NSW Lands department for help I was advised that I might be better off to employ a conveyancer or a solicitor.

Not to be deterred I soldiered on and low and behold – Drum roll please – I have made two invaluable discoveries.

  1. As shown below, this property was listed under Jno Prendergast but the contents of the Deed clearly states “…..links to Prendergast’s 60 acres farm”
  2. The next Deed refers to “Prendergast’s 60 acre farm” and yet when there is a male owner, the first and surname is mentioned on every document that I have viewed.InkedJohn Prendergast index_LI
  3. John Prendergast land register
    The next Deed states “…links to land of Mrs. Pendergast”. and yet when there is a male owner, the first and surname is mentioned on every document that I have viewed.

    catherine prendergast land
    So, it was with great delight, on my 2019 visit to the New South Wales State Archives  and Records, that with the help of Jenny, John and Emily I discovered the document below that indicates the three parcels of land purchased by Mrs (Catherine) Prendergast from the original grantees of the land.

It appears to me that although Australia in the colonial days was liberal in allowing women to own land, where a woman was legally married to her husband, she, as was common law doctrine, lost her identity. Her Christian name was no longer used, she was addressed as Mrs. Prendergast in this instance and all her possessions were amalgamated with and under her husband’s ownership and control.

This might explain why her son, baby John when he grew up wrote his Will with strict instructions that his daughters were to inherit land in their own right and that their husbands were to have no control over it. But, that is another story, one I will post at a later date on my blog.

Enniscorthy here we come!

Click to go to the 28th. May  –  Click to go to the 29th. May

Saturday 27 May 2017

History is in the making! Preparations for the High Tea in Enniscorthy Castle are to be finalized. Today we will travel from Dublin to Enniscorthy by Wexford Bus.

Continue reading “Enniscorthy here we come!”

Radio Interview in Ireland

The Quest to find Prendergast ancestors continues. Radio Interview in Ireland

Lorna Moloney has been presenting the genealogy radio show on Raidio Corca Baiscinn since 2014. Raidio Corca Baiscinnin is based in South West Clare, Ireland.  Lorna has invited all the leading genealogists from around the world as her guests on her show.

Lorna Maloney1

I was first interviewed on Radio Corca Bascinn in 2014 when I had just started out on my journey to find out more about my Irish Roots and at a time when my father Jim Prendergast was gravely ill and losing his battle with Parkinson’s disease. Continue reading “Radio Interview in Ireland”

Following the Prendergast trail down the East Coast of Australia.

The Quest to find Prendergast family continues.

Genealogy begins with you! To ensure that no stone is left unturned, we begin the challenge of putting the family history pieces together with the information that we already know but may not have collated about our family. Our siblings, parents and grandparents are our most immediate source of information.

We then move on to the next generation who by the time we commence our genealogy research may have passed on and we are relying on discovering details of their lives through older living relatives or at the various on line sites or at various repositories.

The most accurate way to gather information is to visit your living relatives and in a relaxed atmosphere, talk about their memories of family members. Along the way they may dig up documents to show you that you can then photo copy and add to your research. Nothing beats sighting a primary document.

It is always a good idea to let your relatives and the various repositories know of your plan to visit well in advance. Tell them what you are hoping to discover and enlist their valuable help. Once you have set your dates ask them to keep these dates free so that you don’t miss seeing them as they have prior engagements for these dates. This saves a lot of time and disappointment in not seeing that very special person that you really want to find that important detail from!

And so, the quest to find Prendergast family continues.

I decided that the fastest, most accurate and fun way to piece together the missing parts of my Australian branch of the Prendergast family is to visit them, sit down over a cup of tea and chat about what they know of the Prendergast family.

I have let them know that I am coming to visit through other relatives, emails and telephone calls. I have advised the dates that I will be in the region and when booking accommodation in these regions have let the owners know of my quest to find Prendergast family. Already I have had success!I have a team of very enthusiastic Prendergast family members, Archivists, Librarians, Conservationists and even local Mayors awaiting our visits. This is so exciting.


As you can see from the Map above this will be one epic journey. We will travel through 4 states, stay in 12 locations and stop every two hours while we are driving. We will cover more than 6,000 kilometers in 27 days and we will stay in 12 different types of accommodation. Everything from Riverside cottages, City Executive Apartments, B&B farm stays, Self catered duplexes, country homes, grand country homes to hotels and Motels. Continue reading “Following the Prendergast trail down the East Coast of Australia.”

Catherine Prendergast – Where are you ?

catherine-prendergast-biographical-pdfThe quest to find Catherine Prendergast has become an obsession of mine. Catherine is my 5x Grandmother and deserves to have her rightful place in our family recognised.

In the Biographical Database of Australia, Catherine has been identified as Person ID: X#91011106202. spouse (1) Catherine Prendergast (-c1801); married RC, IRL issue by (1) John (c1800-1867) we know to be John Prendergast Jnr born in the colony of New South Wales in 1800 shortly after the arrival of his parents John and Catherine Prendergast.

John Prendergast Jnr. went on to become a very wealthy land owner and respected community philanthropist in both the Campbelltown and Monaro districts. He married firstly Elizabeth Dwyer and following her untimely death he later married Emma Shiels nee Taylor. He fathered 12 children.

What do we know about Catherine? Actually very little. We do know that John Prendergast Jnr. was recorded as BC –Born in the Colony. This proves that Catherine was living on Australian soil at the time she gave birth to Baby John. Did she arrive as a free settler on board the Minerva? We know that no rebel worth his salt would have willingly left behind his wife and family following the 1798 Rebellion because they would have received retribution of the most vicious kind.

In the book that John Washington price, the Ship’s surgeon penned, “The  Minerva Journal”, he states that there were 4 unnamed passengers. Could Catherine have been one of these passengers? And if so, why is she not named?

There is a female (unnamed) listed on the 1802 Muster  at John Prendergast’s property. Again why no name? For that matter, how could John Prendergast, as a Convict have another convict Jane Williams assigned to him as his Governess and Housekeeper – after all, only free settlers were afforded this privilege? Did Catherine hand-pick Jane to take care of Baby John and to be housekeeper to John Prendergast Senior knowing she had to return to Ireland to take care of their other children?

If John Prendergast (Senior) followed the Irish custom of naming his first born son after his own father, then by rights Baby John should actually have been named Patrick after John snr’s father who was also baptised in Dublin at St. Nicholas of Myra church.

Were there other children from John and Catherine Prendergast’s marriage in Ireland? I have found a Patrick Prendergast born 1766  in Dublin who was recorded as a Soldier. He became a discharged soldier due to ill health. Patrick Prendergast had been working as a Weaver. John Prendergast was also recorded as being a Weaver. Patrick later in life was recorded as living in a workhouse in south Dublin. This Workhouse is located in the same area that the Prendergast family home was. However they lived in a large house in the Mansion Ward. Patrick  may well be an older brother of our John Prendergast thus his name following in the family naming pattern.

I have also found the marriage and death record of a Patrick Prendergast born in Dublin 1797.Could this child be the son born to Catherine and John Prendergast prior to John’s third arrest and subsequent transportation to Australia?

A Librarian in Wexford believes that John Prendergast may have been married to Catherine Fitzgerald. Brian Cleary, a Historian from Wexford linked the Prendergast family and Fitzgerald family with several recorded business transactions. The Fitzgerald family was a very influential family in Ireland-in the 1700s. Lord Edward Fitzgerald who was a leader and died as a consequence of the 1798 Rebellion. He was also the brother of the Duke – the highest aristocracy in Ireland.

In the biography of John Prendergast’s wife,Veronica C.E.O’Brien Sitton states that John Prendergast came from one of the  distinguished Norman-Irish families of Ireland. We know that John Prendergast was a descendant of Maurice and Philip de Prendergast. These Knights came from Wales with Strongbow in 1169 to help the King of Leinster, Diarmuid MacMurrough  to regain Leinster. They were rewarded with land and built Enniscorthy Castle amongst other Castles in Ireland.

Also,was there money brought out to Australia by Catherine who travelled as a free settler and assisted John Prendergast to start buying land shortly after his arrival in Australia? Under early Colonial laws, John would not have been permitted to own land until he was a free settler? What proof do we have that John Prendergast actually earned his freedom?

Another question that a number of Genealogists have asked is, if John never received his Ticket of Freedom, could he have received Land Grants? We have proof that he did receive Land Grants on a number of occasions. This would not have been possible if he was still a convict.

Could land have been bought in Catherine’s name? Could grants have been received in his sons names? Recently I have noticed that a number of former convicts have purchased land or applied for grants in their children’s names. I noticed that John had written a memorial on behalf of his son Thomas.

Because Catherine vanishes from the Australian records following John Prendergast jnr’s birth in 1800, I have made extensive enquiries as to where Catherine Prendergast might be buried in Australia. I checked the records for Sydney’s first official cemetery dating back to the 1790s. It was known as the “George Street Burial ground”, the “Cathedral close Cemetery” and, retrospectively, the “Town Hall Cemetery”. It was used for 27 years. It is situated where Sydney Town Hall now sits in George Street Sydney.

By 1820 the cemetery had reached capacity so an alternative site was chosen. It was named Brickfield Hill. The human remains from the Town Hall were re-interred here but later, when the need to establish a new Cemetery due to the decision to build Central Railway on the location of Brickfield Hill was made, the bodies were once again exhumed and re-interred at Rookwood Necropolis in 1869.

I have made contact with all these Repositories who hold records for these Cemeteries but there is no listing of our Catherine Prendergast.

Knowing how strong the Prendergast Catholic faith is, I believe that John Prendergast would not have laid Catherine to rest in unhallowed ground and there would be a record of her Catholic burial if she died in Australia. I am aware that the Catholic Religion was banned from 1804 until 1814 due to the continued battle of Vinegar Hill staged at Castle Hill in Sydney’s Outer Western Suburbs.The records for Catherine cease in 1801 well before the ban in 1804 began.

When I visited Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin in July 2015, Lynn Brady,  the archivist felt sure that it is my Catherine who is buried in K64. As she explained, the address on the Cemetery Record of Catherine along with her Prendergast family and servants  is in the Francis Street Parish which is the right area of Dublin. They lived in a Mansion house in Peter’s Row which is now a backpackers Hostel. Catherine died in the June of 1833 and John Prendergast died in January 1833.glasnevin-cemetry-k64

I have discovered two Wills, one number apart. They were both made in Dublin. One for a J. Prendergast and the other, a Catherine Prendergast. Grant dated for both 1833. As they are recorded one number apart, it sounds as if they made their Wills together and on the same day. Is this our John and is this his Catherine?.

Also, the records all show that John Prendergast Snr. died in Australia Intestate. He had distributed most of his property prior to his death. William Prendergast, the youngest child still living at home inherited that property. In 1839 John Prendergast jnr. Bought a large quantity of land in several regions. Was this due to an inheritance from Ireland?.

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Sydney Family Genealogy Research


Visit to State Records of New South Wales.

Friday 4th November, 2016.

Excited to be visiting the New South Wales State Records today, I was running on Adrenalin. I had wanted to visit State Records for so long to conduct research. I needed to check out some details that did not make sense.image16

My walk to Town Hall station was very enjoyable as the weather is just beautiful. Warm and sunny with a gentle breeze – a perfect spring day. My train trip to Penrith from Town Hall went very smoothly.

The train departed on time and arrived in Penrith on time as well. I even managed to sit in one of the four “quiet carriages” that are allocated on longer distance Sydney trains for people like me who wish to Spend their travelling time reading or studying

I will be presenting the latest family history information at my Workshop in the Whitsunday Regional Council Cannonvale Library on my return. It is scheduled  for Wednesday 9 November which is the day after I arrive home. I intend to research and develop my course content along the way and then record the information as I discover it. You could not ask for more up to date information than that.

I have taken this travelling time to put in writing the questions that other Prendergast family Researchers have asked over the years.

These questions refer to what appears to be the incomplete records regarding the Minerva ship’s index. There has always been the belief that John Prendergast died intestate – is this so?Was there a Will for John Prendergast senior? Seeing  the number of pages for John Prendergast (jnr) Will, when Cousin Mark transcribed it, he believed that some pages are missing. If we find those missing pages,  what will they tell us.I have always wondered what the relationship between John and John junior was like? Will we find any documents that reveal their relationship? I will view several original documents that The State Records of New South Wales Repository is holding and has agreed to take out of their Safe to have ready for me.

Cousin Mark collected me from Penrith Railway station and I was grateful for the lift as the NSW State Records Repository is quite some way out of Penrith.

Our arrival at State Records was greeted by a very friendly and helpful Security guard who provided a vistors pass and registered our presence in the Repository.

We walked up the stairs to the Reader’s room, leaving my bag in a locker and received my pre-booked Readers card  so that we could view the pre-booked original documents. This is not permitted if you do not hold a Reader’s card. Mark who has visited the Repository on several occasions, already holds a Readers card.

There is no comparison to putting your hands on the original documents written by your ancestor, in my case, over 200 years ago. It is almost a spiritual sensation as you become witness to the lives they lived so long ago, written in their hand and using the language of that time.

Mark and I had a very exciting day making discoveries that have eluded the Prendergast family Researchers over many years. If there is anyone who would like to share our discoveries, please leave a comment and I will get back to you.

By viewing documents, reading the fiche reels and being guided by staff, I made some incredible discoveries about John Prendergast’s ships indents, John Prendergast’s Will, a dispute between John Prendergast and son John and I gathered quite a considerable amount of information not seen previously.

By donning the white gloves and trawling through the original, often delicate documents that the kind staff at State Records of NSW had taken out of their safe in preparation for my visit, I was able to put further pieces of the puzzle together. As my excitement grew, the staff offered us several other documents that they thought I would like to view. 

It was a very satisfying trip to the State Records of NSW and I hope to make another visit soon.

SAG Seminar

Saturday 5th November, 2016.

The sun shone brightly as I made my way to the Mitchell Library for the SAG Seminar “Lost in Immigration and Travel”

All along the way, I stopped to take photographs of the beautiful historical Sandstone buildings that mean so much more to me now that I realise they were built in my 5x Grandfather John Prendergast’s time. I now know that the Prendergast family contributed to the cost of building St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral.image7

Several other ladies heading in my direction stopped to say hello and introduce themselves to me. They really are a friendly group.

On arrival at the Mitchell Library, it was lovely to be greeted by my friend Christine whom I have been keeping in touch with since our meeting at UCC Genealogy school last year. We could’nt wait to catch up on all our news.

The Seminar commenced with a warm welcome by Martyn Killion the president of SAG.

Also, I was pleased to hear the “Äcknowledgement of country” and the respect  paid to the “Traditional Custodians” when Michelle Patient commenced her presentation.

Michelle continued by giving an overview of the day’s proceedings. I was  not surprised when Michelle asked all in attendance to put our Cameras away and not take photos and to not copy any handouts from the Seminar.

Having just completed two Genealogy courses in the UK and having  plagiarism explained in the strictest terms during my UNE advanced diploma course, I realise that there are severe penalties for  stealing Intellectual property.

As a qualified Work place Trainer and assessor, who is also a qualified Mature age student teacher with qualifications accredited through Melbourne University, I understand the hours that an Educator and Genealogy  Researcher puts in to Research develop and deliver a bespoke course and  also the cost involved.

Along with every other Blogger I put away my camera and took out my pen and paper and made copious notes that I will use to construct the contents of my Workshop.

Michelle Patient then delivered her paper “Exodus to the Southern Seas”using information that she has researched throughout Australia and New Zealand. She made a point of telling us what media she had used and whether it was from her own private collection or free public access.

The well regarded writer and speaker Kerry Farmer then shared her research  into 19th Century Immigration Schemes to Australia. Like the experienced Genealogist sitting beside me was over heard to say to her neighbour “I have never heard of half these Organisations” I started hastily recording the names of these schemes to share at the a workshop on Wednesday as I believe they will be of enormous help to all the attendees.

After lunch, Emily Hanna who has been of enormous help to me during the times that I have emailed her, gave us a handout freely available at the NSW State Records and then went on to explain Shipping And arrival Records and how to locate them.

A very informative paper was presented by David Berg of the NSW State Library who showed many slides of historical ships during his talk and advised the availability of the photos in the Mitchell Library and where we can locate this information on line.

Brian Scales of the National Archives, NSW State office, yes not in Canberra at present but in every Capital city of each State in Australia, shared his extensive knowledge with us. His expertise is in the field of 20th Century Migration. He explained that their Website was designed to cater to all the demographics, school children, casual researchers, Genealogists and Statisticians doing serious Research. step by step we progressed through their website dealing with Genealogy. He simplified what could be a laborious task.

All in all, my attendance at the SAG Seminar on Saturday has proved to be invaluable and tomorrow promises to be just as exciting. 

Sunday 5th November, 2016.

imageAnother beautiful day in Sydney. It is so delightful strolling through the beautiful Hyde Park gardens to get to the Mitchell Library where our SAG Seminar is being held.

Today our Presenters included Ralph Hawkins who divulged what a varied collection SAG holds in their Library and Midas collection. It will be well worth a visit to Richmond Villas where the collections are held.

It was interesting to listen to another of the Australian Genealogists who provided information in their area of expertise on “Who do you think you are?” Christine Yeates did not disappoint. Her presentation “Soldier, sailor, exile or convict: how did you get here? Was very well delivered and I felt that I came away with a greater knowledge and a brilliant “select list of references”

Martyn Killion who began his illustrious career in Genealogy at an age so young his mother had to chauffeur him around to Repositories, gave some very practical advice on how to search for those Ancestors who are well and truly still swimming.

At the conclusion of the SAG Seminar, we were guided by a think Tank with all the presenters on a panel discussing and answering any questions that the Attendees still had.

I have met some other Genealogists and made many new contacts during the SAG Seminar.

I have a wealth of new ideas and some announcements to make on the latest developments in Genealogy research and will delight in sharing them with the advanced family historians on Wednesday at the Workshop at the Cannonvale Library.

The Mitchell Library Reading Room


The Land granted to John Prendergast 1816


Grant Signature Lachlan Macquarie fifth

Governor of New South Wales from 1810 – 1821


The large Colonial seal of N.S.W Government


Sydney Central Railway Station,

previously Sydney Burial Ground

until all remains exhumed 1901.

Monday 7th November, 2016.

The weather again was perfect and I enjoyed my stroll through Hyde Park to The Mitchell Library. I have an appointment to meet Cousin Mark in the Special Collections area of the Mitchell Library so that he can get a Special Collections card in order to view the documents I have requested to be taken from the Safe. I have held a Special Collections card for a number of years now and it allows me to view information restricted to other Library card holders.

On time at 12.45pm, we both proceeded to the Special Collections area to sign Mark up for a Special Collections card. The process was very swift and expecting it to take longer, I had planned to speak to the lovely Librarian of Information and Access Julie Sweeten when she arrived for work at 2pm. Julie has provided excellent service regarding my pre-order for the original documents of John Prendergast.

Firstly Julie rang me here in the Whitsundays to ensure that she had the correct details for the documents. Then she emailed me the night before my arrival to ensure that I had directions for where to collect them. She also added that she hoped to see me when she arrived for work.

Because we were a little earlier than expected and Julie had arranged our pre-order, the other staff at first had difficulty locating the documents. To be fair, some did not have access permission to the Safe as so many valuable documents are held there and along with all Repositories these days, there is tight security.

We initially started viewing the Microfilm but found that when printed, the copies came out too dark to be able to read.

Julie arrived at 2pm and the staff rang her from the Reading room. When she came downstairs, she warmely greeted us and happily retrieved from the Safe, the 1816 Land Grant of John Prendergast for us to view. Again we donned the White gloves.

It was so exciting being able to view the large and original document printed on beautiful cream coloured parchment, the flowing and elegant hand writing, use of historical legal jargon and the authentic signature of Lachlan Macquarie, the fifth Governor of New South Wales.It made it well worth the trip to the Mitchell Library.

Julie asked if we would mind if the rest of the Staff could take a look at the document and like me, they were so excited to be seeing it. They commented that we must be very proud of our 5x Grandfather being granted land at Airds so early in the history of the Colony and I must admit that I do feel enormous pride in my Ancestors as they all played a significant role in making Australia the wonderful country it is today.

I was sad to learn that the other records I requested could not be taken out of the safe as they are too valuable, fragile and delicate. The fear that they might crumble prevents them from being viewed.

after our Preservation, Conservation and Restoration Workshop with Rachel Spano of the Queensland State Library, I do wonder what steps to remedy this situation can be taken. After all, what is the point in keeping documents in the collection if no-one is able to view them?

The wording on the Grant of Land “I DO BY THESE PRESENTS, GIVE and GRANT JOHN PRENDERGAST , His Heirs and Assigns to HAVE and to HOLD FOR EVER, Fifty Acres of land” etc. reminded me that we do not own our family or country’s history but are custodians for future generations. The greatest legacy that we can leave our children, Grand children and the people of Australia, is the recorded history of their family.