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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Missing Friends–Trove Tuesday

It turns out that I’m not the only one searching for my Ancestor, Catherine Lucy Darcy (married James Bennett). Look what I found in the “Missing Friends” section of The Australasian.


Advertising. (1894, June 9). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946), p. 1. Retrieved September 11, 2014, from

Unfortunately, I found this article 120 years too late. We could have helped each other. I could have told them where she was, and they could have told me more about where she came from.

In 1894 Catherine was still living in Avoca. She’d had three more children born after 1858. All six of her children survived to adulthood and had families of their own. By 1894 Catherine had a large number of grandchildren. She died in 1896.

I would love to pinpoint Catherine’s time and place of birth, and find out her mother’s name. Catherine’s mother is the most elusive of my 3 x great grandparents!

I have wondered what the trigger for this “Missing Friends” ad was. Did one of Catherine’s parents fall ill or die? It would have put her parents at a ripe old age, but it’s within possibility. Perhaps a sibling wanting to find her? Or perhaps really just a friend hoping to get in touch again.

I tried searching Trove for the post office box number given and found a few wanted listings, both before and after the date of the “Missing Friends” article. There’s a bit of a theme running through them…


Advertising. (1892, September 3). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved September 12, 2014, from


Advertising. (1896, March 17). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved September 12, 2014, from


Advertising. (1897, November 27). Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954) , p. 3. Retrieved September 12, 2014, from

I get the impression it’s a personal post office box, not a business one. I think that maybe just maybe they might have liked boats. Messing about with pleasure skiffs sounds to me like a pursuit of the wealthy.

There’s a name – A.G.Wood. Is H.A.S. a person’s initials, or some sort of acronym? The dates are too early for the electoral rolls, and I don’t fancy digging through directories searching out all the A.G.Woods at this stage. They could well have posted the “Missing Friends” advertisement on behalf of someone else. Maybe one day I’ll look into it further, when I don’t have dozens of other more promising leads all over my family tree to follow!


  1. Sounds like some entrepreneurial soul had a PO Box share scheme going.

  2. Possible sources that spring to mind: (1) Avoca and District Historical Society Index (described in the 1998 edition of my book Tips for Queensland Research); (2) Helen Harris's indexes, which include 'missing people' in Victoria and elsewhere; (3) Police Gazettes, which include many 'missing friends' notices (some with photos). Sometimes the same notice was published in Police Gazettes for several States.

    1. Thank you for the suggestions. I'll post if I come up with anything. :-)