This magazine is for people passionate about Australia and New Zealand's genealogy, history and heritage. Whether you want to explore convict history, find your Anzac, identify photographs or trace your family tree, our trusted expert advice will help you discover your past.
Welcome to the third edition of Traces !
Letters to the editor • What you thought of Traces Volume 2
What’s new online? • This year’s newest updates and additions to historical collections available online.
WINDMILL TOWER • In this edition, we take a look at how a familiar location has changed over 133 years. Read on to find out more about Queensland’s Windmill Tower.
Her story, our story • The voices of at least 9000 convict women living in female factories in the 19th century are now being drawn into the larger narratives of Australian history.
The search for an Australian witch bottle • Somewhere, buried under the hearth or front doorstep of an old Australian cottage, a rather bizarre object may be awaiting discovery.
Sym Choon Changing fortunes in white Australia • Within two generations, the Sym Choon family went from humble vegetable peddlers to well-known Adelaide society figures. Here is their story.
Australia’s forgotten whalers • Working on a 19th-century whaling ship was a gruelling ordeal, and desertions were frequent. The lives of crewmen were of little interest to captains, who rarely recorded their experiences. As a result, the fascinating stories of this diverse group of people exist only in the smallest snippets awaiting discovery.
A GLIMPSE OF THEATRE HERITAGE • JC Williamson Ltd (JCW) was one of the most successful theatrical organisations in the country in the early 19th century, shaping the future of the Australian performing arts industry. In May this year, 10 of JCW's scene books were discovered, offering a glimpse of 19th-century theatre, and the artists behind them.
THE CONVICT BED • In Sydney 1788, a young convict couple faced the death penalty for a petty crime. The testimony of a witness at their trial reveals poignant details of convict life – including a reference to possibly the earliest uniquely Australian furniture.
Exploring the legacy of Australia’s last convicts
Rewriting the convict experience • Convict Australia has been variously depicted as both a place of brutality, repression and exploitation, and one of relative freedom, where exiles enjoyed higher living standards and better life opportunities than the British and Irish labouring poor.
The Irish famine orphan girls • A short-lived scheme in the late 1840s saw more than 4000 Irish orphan girls emigrate to Australia, where they faced and overcame huge odds, leaving an indelible mark.
Research tips for tracing the orphan girls
A soldier’s story immortalised in a photo book • Bob – His Story is a printed memoir of war veteran Robert King Sligo, created with Momento’s photo book software, by his son John Sligo. Here is John's story.
A TALE OF TWO SOLDIERS • During the 70th anniversary commemoration of the Cowra Breakout, a touching impromptu reunion took place between two 90-somethings who, as young men, had been on opposing sides of the conflict: an Aussie soldier and a Japanese prisoner of war. Here is their story.
Skeletons in the closet • Approaching the Irish coast for the first time, I could barely contain my excitement. I was finally visiting the land of my ancestors. But rather than filling in my family tree, this visit to my supposed ‘motherland’ was the first step to unravelling a complex web of lies woven by my grandmother almost 100 years ago.
Uncovering ancestral truths
A hidden gem • Melbourne’s settlement on the banks of the Yarra River in 1835 might...