28 March 2015

#FearlessFemales - Day 27 - Immigration Stories

March 27 — Do you know the immigration story of one or more female ancestors? Do you have any passenger lists, passports, or other documentation? Interesting family stories?

Mum came out from England to Australia on the Oronsay - and there is a passenger list record that confirms that she did:

Source FindmyPast.co.uk

But there is a mystery that I never heard any stories about - A few weeks earlier she is listed on the passenger list, though crossed off, of the ship Majola also bound for Australia. I don't know whether something went wrong getting her fare in time (she'd asked one of her Uncles already in Australia to pay for her to come out) - but I wonder how her life would have changed if she'd arrived that 3 weeks earlier?

Source FindmyPast.co.uk

There is another Fabulous Female who took the journey into the unknown as an 18 year old travelling from Scotland to Australia. She came out to live with a brother who had left home, married and had children before she was even 10 years old.

That Fabulous Female is my aunt Jane Martin (know to family in Australia as Janet) - youngest sister of my father John Martin

Born in Glasgow in 1938, Janet was only 7 when my father married for the first time and 10 when her nephews (and my 1/2 brothers) John and Andrew were born. 

Dad worked "on the ships" and had been in Australia for 4 years on the fateful day when her mother, my grandmother Annie, told her to pack her bags as she was going to Australia to live with her brother.

How scary it would have been! She had to travel from Glasgow to Southampton to board the ship - which would have been a huge thing for someone who'd never really been outside of Glasgow before - then get on a ship that would take over a month to get her to her destination; the other side of the world away from everything she knew.

Departure record - Source FindmyPast.co.uk

Arrival Record - Source NSW State Records Authority

But there is still more to this story....

Aunty Janet may not have received the greeting she was expecting from my Dad on her arrival - because it wasn't Janet Dad thought was coming but rather his brother Eddie.

Here's the story as I remember it being told - my cousins may have different recollections:

Once Dad had settled in Australia he sent money back to his mother, Annie, in Scotland and asked her to send Eddie out to him. He thought Eddie, being 19 would be able to "make a go of it" in Australia. Annie, however, thought it would be better for her if Eddie stayed in Glasgow as he had was working and was giving her most of his income as "board". Janet, who was likely earning much less, sadly wasn't as "valuable" (in a financial sense) so Annie used the money Dad had sent over for passage to send Janet to Australia - but didn't tell Dad this was what she had done. She just told Dad the name of the ship and the date of arrival and left the rest to fate.

Sadly Eddie died in 1960 in Glasgow in a dreadful attack by local "thugs".

Janet went on to a long and well-lived life here in Australia - though of course it wasn't always an easy life. She married my mother's brother Andy just over a year after arriving. By the time she passed away in 2010 she had 5 living children, 4 grandchildren and a great grandson.

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