I was always an avid fan of mysteries as a child. I couldn’t get enough of books like ‘The Famous Five’ – to the point where (for a time) at school, a group of us would “play” (ahem) the characters at lunch time. I have no idea what we did – possibly solving ‘The case of the stolen marbles!’ – but I do know that I always wanted to be George. Possibly because she was a tomboy with the amazing Timmy the dog.
Then there was T.A.C.K. Another series of books about a group of kids solving problems. To this day, I can still tell you:
- how to know if a skunk has left your circus tent (while you’re not watching),
- how to get a jammed truck out of a tunnel (that overestimated the clearing space above), and
- how to transport four people in a two-seater canoe without getting wet or leaving anyone behind.
All useful stuff; hit me up if you’re ever in need.
If I wasn’t reading, there were jigsaw puzzles to solve, or other games to play – including a favourite: ‘follow the clues’. I would write and hide the clues (they always rhymed for some reason), and my brother would patiently go from location to location until he found the prize.
So I guess it shouldn’t have come as any real surprise that I am now here, (many) years later, totally immersed in this consuming ‘business’ of finding folks in my family tree.
I am still on the trail of a good mystery, and what better than one that links you back to the past. What I didn’t expect was to feel so strongly for some of these people. To want to know their stories, and to want to find out more about their lives.
My journey so far had been full of questions and full of stumps, but also full of richness, happiness, pride and sadness. Their stories are worth being told – or at the very least, remembered.
I want to remember Arthur; the Anzac soldier who died at Gallipoli in World War 1 following the battle of Lone Pine.
I want remember Archie; the ‘Tap Boy’ who was convicted of pick pocketing at Glasgow and sentenced to transportation to Australia as a 12 year old.
I want to remember Ann; the Irish lass who committed Arson in order to escape a life of poverty for the hope of a better one in a distant, unknown land.
There are so many stories waiting to be told, and so many mysteries still to solve.
I hope that over time, I can do just that.
Photo: Tasmania Weekly Courier, 30 Sep 1915.