Monday, March 17, 2014


In Memory of all our Irish Ancestors
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I have chosen just two amazing women to feature. 

Our Irish ancestry begins with Bridget Heslin/Eslin/Haslin, born 1766 in Dublin, 
who was awarded a free passage to Australia in 1793 via the OLD BAILEY booking office. 
She travelled on the "Sugar Cane"with a 7 years free accommodation voucher.

"Bridget was tried in July 1792 in Dublin Ireland and was then transported to Cork by ship to await transportation aboard the Sugar Cane.  The ship sailed on 13th April 1793 so she would have been in custody for about 9 months waiting to sail.  Sh e was only 18 years old but at least had a friend or relative, Mary Hughes on board with her, along with Joseph Kearns who would have also been known to the family.  Bridget's brother, Patrick, was aboard another ship of that fleet, The Boddingtons, but whether Bridget knew this or not is unknown. Unlike Robert's trip, all aboard the Sugar Cane arrived on the 17th September 1793 in good health with the loss of one life (execution) on the trip.
Never-the-less Bridget was only 18, her father had been executed, her mother and another brother (John) had been transported elsewhere and she and Patrick were now in a new colony just over five years after it had been first settled.  Things would have looked so alien, I can only feel that she felt scared and frightened at what lay ahead of her.  At this stage we can only guess that she was either sent to the Female Factory at Parramatta or to the farms at Toongabbie, however sometime possibly in in late 1795 she met Robert Hobbs and their first of nine children was born (registered Sydney) on the 19th September 1796.  All other children after that were born in the Hawkesbury area, most of them at Pitt Town.
I often sit and think what they may have felt, initially elated that the trip was over, scared about the prospects for spending the rest of your life in a strange alien place.  Sailing into Sydney Harbour they would have seen nothing but bushland , with strange trees and huge rocky outcrops, strange birds with strange sounds, strange beasts (kangaroos), aborigines quietly observing this strange sailing vessel and the white people on board, and on arrival on shore, looking aghast at the pri mitive conditions that they would have had to accept in their daily life. They were plunged into a society primarily made up of the military and convicts - and they would have been plunged into the middle of the worst of society, all battling to cope with their own nightmares.  Hopefully for Bridget some kindly person gave her a roof over her head and helped her through these first couple of years until she married Robert.
What is known after that is that she lived the rest of her life with Robert, raised nine children, lived and laboured at Pitt Town on their own land and died in on the 25th October, 1843, four and a half years after Robert who died on the 23rd February 1839.  They are both buried together in Pitt Town Cemetery although there is no mention of Bridget on Robert's well preserved head stone. We should all feel very proud of what this couple endured and that they fought hard to survive and raise a family in the harshest of conditions."
Courtesy of Bev Woodman

Old Dublin Town

Our Irish Grandmother was Bridget Theresa/Teresa Dillon,
 born in Clonboula, Kilmaley Parish, Co Clare on Feb 10th 1901.

 She married Roy Leonard Swadling on Aug 21, 1924, had four children, 
but sadly passed away on Jan 11th, 1942, a month short of her 41st birthday.
She rests in Dorrigo cemetery, New South Wales.

I have written about her a number of times, including this recent post.

Around County Clare, Ireland

Saturday, March 8, 2014


not filtered by license


 Funnily enough, the first woman in my life was my Mother
at the very early stages of my life, I knew no other

She was my everything, and as I grew that didn't alter
in my eyes, she could not falter.
We laughed, we cried, we yelled out loud
my much loved mother stood out in a crowd.. 
she was always ready to lend a helping hand..
to explain all things I didn't understand.
She picked me up when I fell down
she could tease a smile from the saddest frown..
a hug, a kiss and the world was fine
I am so blessed that she was mine…
© crissouli Mar 2014

(c) crissouli 

Simplistic verse, for a very complicated woman.. Mum didn't have an easy life. She was just eleven when her much loved mother Bridget Theresa (Dillon) succumbed to the scourge of that time, tuberculosis… a disease rarely seen these days in most countries, but in 1942, there was little that could be done to ease the dreadful pain and save the sweet Irish lass, aged just 41, who was to leave her husband, son and three daughters far too early. Mum and her sisters were left in the convent to make their own way in the world, and that they did. My Mum also left us far too early, at just 51.. I will love and miss her always. 

(c) crissouli

So many wonderful women have been part of my life, my much loved daughter, my wonderful granddaughter, my aunts, my numerous female cousins, friends all over the world, teachers.. particularly Patty (Bruce) Keating, and Miss English.. I won't even try to name them all for fear of missing someone…  but I am ever grateful for the inspirational women in my life, those who have passed included…

So, whatever you do this International Women's Day, spare a thought for all those who have entered and influenced your life, for all who have paved the way to make the world a better place for women and all who continue to do so...

Helen Reddy "I am Woman"

Friday, February 21, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014



(c) expired Wikimedia Commons

One of Australia's most famous poets, known mostly as a bush poet, was born 150 years ago today.
I imagine that he would have been totally amazed to know that we still celebrate his works all these years later.

Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson was born in Orange, NSW on 17th February, 1864.

To quote Wikipedia...

"...the eldest son of Andrew Bogle Paterson, a Scottish immigrant from Lanarkshire, and Australian-born Rose Isabella Barton,[3]related to the future first Prime Minister of Australia Edmund Barton.[4] Paterson's family lived on the isolated Buckinbah Station near Yeoval NSW [5]until he was five when his father lost his wool clip in a flood and was forced to sell up.[6] When Paterson's uncle died, his family took over the uncle's farm in Illalong, near Yass, close to the main route between Melbourne and Sydney. Bullock teamsCobb and Co coaches and drovers were familiar sights to him. He also saw horsemen from the Murrumbidgee River area and Snowy Mountainscountry take part in picnic races and polo matches, which led to his fondness of horses and inspired his writings.[3]"

 The link above gives a summary of his life and works,  one of his most famous has to be the words of Waltzing Matilda...

However, one of my favourites is 
"The Man From Snowy River"

I just love the rhythm of it.

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses - he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stockhorse snuffs the battle with delight.

Banjo rests at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium, Sydney.

                               May he Rest in Peace.

Sunday, February 9, 2014



I love visitors... these are just  few that love to wander over at night....

Three sets of eyes watching and waiting...

Hiding behind the top of the pole looking out...

I'll be brave and lead the way... ringtailed possum.....

Here comes the family.

Finally in the tree and the camera's still there...

They can have the front yard, I'll take the back...

Feeling a bit washed out tonight...

Don't forget the rest of the family

They're on their way...

Right, here we come...

Last of the family... let the party begin....

Saturday, January 25, 2014



How many footsteps have traipsed this vast land in search of shelter, love and hope...
from the original inhabitants to those, who over time, ventured from far off lands, looking for a better life - just as they do today.

 This is a land of contrasts, vast desert to rainforests, majestic mountains to golden sands, towering water falls to trickling streams, vast cattle stations ... where to reach the boundaries, you have a day's ride... tiny villages and bustling cities...

 There is still room for homes on acreage, as well as highrise apartments towering in to the sky or homes on the typical suburban block.

Australians are a friendly lot, unless you beat them at sport, then it's a grumble and a groan, before they pat you on the back with a "she's right, mate... your shout".

We love our country, in a laid back kind of way... we are creative and innovative, we are descendants of many lands, of many cultures, but most of all, we are proud Australians.

So, raise a glass and help celebrate our past, our present and our future... and we'll welcome you with open arms.

(c) copyright of all photos remains with Crissouli with one exception
(c) photo of Uluru is licensed for free use by Thomas Schoch 
    refer Wikimedia

Friday, January 24, 2014


She's done it again...the ever busy, ever creative Cassmob, alias Pauleen, has set us an Australia Day Challenge...

 She has given us a set of 26 questions to answer or gloss over as we will... Let's see how I go...



(c) Photo by Crissouli

My first ancestor to arrive in Australia was... as far as I know...

Robert Hobbs, immigration in Sep 1791 on the ship "Active"

I have Australian Royalty (tell us who, how many and which Fleet they arrived with):
Robert Hobbs (see above), Bridget Heslin/Eslin Sep 1793 on the "Sugarcane"

 Others to be added

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

Ireland, England, Wales, Greece, 

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

 Yes, several including my Greek grandfather, Theodore H.  Catsoulis, who arrived on the "Kurfurst" in 1904.
How many ancestors came as singles?

I'm going to be vague here, and in some of the other questions for now,  as I need to be able to check the exact details. There were quite a few singles, mostly my Irish ancestors.
How many came as couples?

Some of my British ancestors, including  Swadlings.
How many came as family groups?

Swadlings from UK, one lot that come to mind arrived on the "James Pattison"
Did one person lead the way and others follow?

 Yes, with regards to my Greek grandparents... my grandmother, Chrisanthe Catsoulis nee Coroneo, followed my grandfather, but I've been unable to find just when as yet... after 1904 and before 1910 I would think.

My Dillons also followed Michael Dillon, who it appears was the first to arrive in Australia, though he moved back to Ireland. I think John (Jack) was next... sadly he was killed here in an accident. Molly (Mary) McDermott, their sister arrived here next, as a young widow of Gerard McDermott, who was killed in WW1. She remarried later to Tom Foley.   The next was my grandmother, Bridget Teresa Dillon.
What’s the longest journey they took to get here?

From Ireland I would think. I haven't checked the length of the journey.
Did anyone make a two-step emigration via another place?

 More or less, as Bridget Dillon was travelling to Australia with her sister, Susan Dillon, and they stopped over in New Zealand, where Susan decided to stay, as another brother, James, was already living there. Bridget was very close to Molly, so she continued to Australia.
Which state(s)/colony did your ancestors arrive?

Western Australia and New South Wales
Did they settle and remain in one state/colony?

They mostly ended up in New South Wales.

Did they stay in one town or move around?

Few stayed in the one area, nevertheless town. My Greek grandfather, then my grandparents tended to move a bit more than most, though my maternal grandfather did also. The former moved from Sydney to Grafton, to Whiporee, near Casino, to Bellingen, to Aberdeen, then to Urunga. The latter moved wherever the sawmilling was in his early days.
Do you have any First Australians in your tree?

 Not that I know of in a direct line, but, yes, through marriage.
Were any self-employed?

Many of them were, mainly cafe owners and farmers.
What occupations or industries did your earliest ancestors work in?

As above.

Does anyone in the family still follow that occupation?

Not now.
Did any of your ancestors leave Australia and go “home”?

 Only my Great Uncle Michael Dillon, who returned home to work the family farm.
What’s your State of Origin?

New South Wales
Do you still live there?

No, I'm almost a Queenslander now, having lived here since I was 12.
Where was your favourite Aussie holiday place as a child?

Anywhere my parents decided to take our truck, with a tarp and beds and all on the back. Our holidays weren't that often, and were mostly to visit relatives.
Any special place you like to holiday now?

I do like going back to Urunga, but I'm happy to just get a break... it's been quite a while.
Share your favourite spot in Oz:

As above, but I love Mt. Tamborine and the Northern Rivers district of New South Wales... 
Any great Aussie adventure you’ve had?

 Not really, the closet we've come to that was a 6,000km driving holiday when my husband took long service leave.  
What’s on your Australian holiday bucket list?

I've always wanted to go to Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory... I've been to a lot of the rest, though would be happy to revisit. Norfolk Island is also on the list.

How do you celebrate Australia Day?

Quietly in the main... if we have done anything, it's been a get together with friends. The only year we really celebrated was when our daughter and family returned home after living overseas for some years... now that really was a day of celebration!

If you would like to participate, please let Pauleen know at

Australia Day Challenge 2014: C’mon Aussie