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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Australia Day 2014: Climbing the family gum tree

Pauleen at Family history across the seas has issued an Australia Day Challenge with 26 questions to test Aussie bloggers’ true blue status!

I can’t claim “Australian Royalty” but I do have Australian foundations going back over 150 years. Thanks Pauleen for the challenge!


My first ancestor to arrive in Australia was:

Probably John Lee in around about 1846. He seems to have swum here. 

I have Australian Royalty (tell us who, how many and which Fleet they arrived with):

I have no known convict ancestors.

I’m an Aussie mongrel, my ancestors came to Oz from:

England, Ireland and Scotland.

Did any of your ancestors arrive under their own financial steam?

Yes, Robert Couper travelled on his own account with his wife and young son. They arrived on the Dominion in 1852.

How many ancestors came as singles?

About eight.

How many came as couples?

None known at this stage.

How many came as family groups?

About fourteen ancestors altogether.

Did one person lead the way and others follow?

In some cases, yes. Richard Robotham came to Australia about four years ahead of his wife and children. Other families had several (grown) siblings come to Australia at different times.

What’s the longest journey they took to get here?

Hmmm… I haven’t logged this clearly in my database. I might skip this one!

Did anyone make a two-step emigration via another place?

Sort of. One of my ancestors leads a merry dance through the records from Scotland to England to Gibraltar to the Channel Islands then on to Australia – but after all that settled in a different State from his children!

Which state(s)/colony did your ancestors arrive?

Mostly Victoria.

Did they settle and remain in one state/colony?

Generally yes. The ones that arrived in other States travelled to Victoria soon after, and stayed.

Did they stay in one town or move around?

A bit of both. The general picture is that they had a few moves until finally settling in a town.

Do you have any First Australians in your tree?


Were any self-employed?

Yes – Daniel Couper was a butcher.

What occupations or industries did your earliest ancestors work in?

Gold miners, farmers, labourers, a few servants, painter, couper, butcher.

Does anyone in the family still follow that occupation?


Did any of your ancestors leave Australia and go “home”?

None that I know of. I’m still trying to find out what became of James Bennett!


What’s your State of Origin?


Do you still live there?


Where was your favourite Aussie holiday place as a child?

Pambula, New South Wales.

Any special place you like to holiday now?

We mix our holidays up a bit now. There’s no one special place.

Share your favourite spot in Oz:

Don’t make me choose!

Any great Aussie adventure you’ve had?

I think that what makes an adventure great is the people you share it with. My adventures haven’t been all that adventurous, but I have great memories of little adventures with family and friends to beaches, snow, rainforests, big cities, cultural institutions – we are lucky to have such a broad range of experiences available to us in one country.

What’s on your Australian holiday bucket list?

This is hard. I’m at a stage now where I’m thinking about what places I’d like to share with my children – the childhood memories I’d like them to have - so I think more about favourite places I’d like to revisit. These are the places I grew up in, also the Blue Mountains and Tasmania would be at the top of my list.

How do you celebrate Australia Day?

No special celebration. We sometimes go out to whatever festivities or events are happening around the place. We always eat a lamington or two!


I’m so pleased that the Australia Day Challenge has taken on a life of it’s own since I issued it in 2011. I felt sad to have missed it in 2013. It’s great to feel that Australian geneabloggers (and geneabloggers generally!) have such a sense of community.


  1. I always associate the Australia Day challenge with you Shelley, so I hope it's okay that I started the meme this year. Next year someone else may pick up the baton.

    It's good to see another peasant Aussie with no royalty :) Your roots certainly go deep though. Maybe John Lee swam here with George Kunkel and John (?) Goopy...all wish to remain elusive!

    I love how you're planning your holidays where they'll give special memories for your children and family as a whole. Those days are long gone in our empty nest, but I think it's so important to have those special events -daily or holidays, expensive or cheap. Sometimes just being in the bush camping or picnicing is the best thing. Take lots of photos too! You're very right, we're spoiled for choice with Australia's natural heritage and scenery...such diversity.

    Lamingtons, yum yum!! Beats lamb hands down!

  2. Shelley your "two-step emigration" ancestor certainly sounds interesting

  3. Settled in a different state to his children? That is a story/blog of its own! I want to know more.

  4. Shelley, Thank you for starting off the Australia Day blogging tradition - an activity which brings our geneablogging together and each year finds some new faces to join in.