The Teeth Broke in version 2

The teeth broke in through the wall. “They tore the walls down like paper as they came crashing through them”. That was how she described the experience.

For months now neighbours had been complaining. The smell pervaded the atmosphere outside the unit as people passed on the walkway. Glimpses through the door and the grimy windows showed years of old newspapers, documents and garbage spilling out of the rooms into the hallway, or off surfaces and out of cupboards. The unit was a fire trap and the neighbours worried about insects and small animals, such as mice, living in the garbage. At night they could hear scratching and screeching within the walls. If they went too near the doors of the unit cockroaches would run out from under the doors and up their legs.

Complaints to the authorities finally resulted in the arrest and forcible detention of Linda for being a danger to society, as a result of her hording and filth. Linda was to be taken to hospital for a mental health assessment.

The police arrived one morning, knocking at the door and calling out to Linda to let them in. She didn’t answer, she never answered. You never knew who you would get when you answered the door. So after a short wait the police broke through the door where they arrested her and had Linda taken to the nearest hospital.

Linda saw it differently. In her confused state she did not recognise police. She saw gigantic teeth, with huge hats on, bursting through the walls. Not the police coming through her door. She didn’t hear what they had to say. Everything happened so fast and with a sound that assaulted her ears. Screaming, she tried to fight off the giant teeth and protect her house and all of the history that she had acquired over years of collecting. But the teeth had their way and she was dragged out of her home. The home that she had known for decades.


The walls were bare and stark, it had the antiseptic smell of an institution. Someone had tried to liven it up by placing a Monet print above the bed that Linda sat in. All it did was highlight the contrast between the colour in the picture and the drabness of the rest of the room.

Linda was sat up in bed, held up by plain white pillows propped behind her. Shaking she described her experience, the teeth, a sound like thunder as they broke through the walls. As her story progressed her hands started to shake and the tears in her eyes gradually wandered down her wrinkled face onto the bed cover. In turn, her granddaughter sat in the only chair, by the bed, looking at the frail woman. She caught her breath as she listened to her grandmother and tried to make sense of the story.

It had been years since she had seen her grandmother. Linda had been isolated from the family, due to her mental illness, for a very long time. So here she was now listening to her grandmother’s story and trying to figure out what it meant. What teeth? Why were they coming through the walls? Why would her grandmother think that teeth had broken into her home? She stayed trying to talk to Linda, trying to find out more. After all, this was the first time in a very long time that anyone had been able to talk to Linda. There were so many stories that Linda may be able to tell. So many memories.

It was as Linda looked at her Granddaughter and said “you look so like your photo” holding up a magazine picture of Princess Diana, that she finally realised that Linda was not capable of remembering reality as it truly was. Instead, she was still living a life outside of the world, one that was hidden by those pale weeping eyes. Not the real life that others knew.

Even with the realisation that Linda was not living in the same world as others, it took a long time for her to equate the story of the teeth with the reality of a woman being forced from her home by the police.



Linda had severe schizophrenia. For many years she was able to live by herself in her own unit. However, gradually her hoarding and the squalor that she lived in resulted in increasing complaints from people living in the same complex that she was living in. This led to her being arrested for being a danger to society and being assessed as schizophrenic. Linda was never allowed to go home, she was medicated and looked after in a locked nursing home from that point on.

Writing this story was difficult. It is an emotive story that needs a lot of back story for it to make sense. I tried playing around with the pace and feel that by doing so I have slowed down the initial action at the beginning of the story, decreasing the hook and the impact of the story. However, overall I felt that this story really lent itself to a very descriptive style of writing with a focus on Linda in her room and the confusion, starkness and loneliness of her life.



Bean, C. 2005. Interview between C. Bean and L. Bean nee Pratt. Hand written notes.

John Carter

“John, John where are you”? She screamed.

He was gone, just like that he was missing. John had been with Edward Hope and now he wasn’t anywhere to be found. Maybe it would be easier once it was light and they could see what had happened.

The ship had struck Lonsdale Reef early in the morning and was now sinking fast. The whole family had been rushed off the ship and in the process, John had been separated from the rest of them. The last thing Ann could recall seeing of him was as Edward Hope had grabbed him saying that he would help to get him to safety. Edward was here, but where was John?

Ann looked for John for as long as possible the next day. Everyone was loaded onto drays and taken to Queenscliff. She waited as long as possible, checking all of the drays as they were loaded up. Trying to find John. She had the other children to watch out for including the young ones Joseph and Elizabeth, so she could not wait much longer. James was getting much older now, he was searching for his brother, as was her husband.

How could this happen? Here one minute, gone the next. They had spent all this time on the Sacramento, the ship that was to bring them to Australia, only to be ship wrecked in sight of the coast. All of the children made it safely half way around the world and now, at the last, John was gone. What had happened to him?

1854 ‘Advertising’, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 14 September, p. 6. , viewed 18 Jan 2017,

Victorian Index to Registers of Assisted British Immigrants 1839-1871 Record Series Number (VPRS): 14 SACRAMENTO April 1853.

I found this story much harder to write than the story for last week. The e-tivity didn’t just jump out at me like the previous one did meaning I had to struggle a lot more for a sense of what I was going to write. As it is, I am not happy with the story. I feel that the third paragraph, in particular, needs a lot more work.

The Fractured Family

He wasn’t in the Will. Percy Bean had been in his father’s Will but when his mother died a few years later Percy wasn’t mentioned at all. Instead, she left what little she had to “her three children, Ethel, Lily and Horace”. Percy was still alive but he wasn’t mentioned.

The family were shattered. Raymond and Ivy Bean, children of Percy, kept in contact, but Lancelot had committed suicide and Leonard had little to do with the family.

His children wanted nothing to do with him! Raymond spoke to his eldest son but his other children wanted nothing to do with him.

Tony asks- “what is your problem, why won’t any of you talk to me?”

Is it our problem? Is it his problem? Does the problem stretch back much further than that? Four generations that have not wanted to talk to each other. Four generations of family history that have disappeared and that other family members know nothing about. Does the question “what is your problem” demonstrate the problem? Is that the best way to open contact with a daughter that is trying to reach across the divide and piece the family back together? Is it too late?

A family divided by mental health and divorced from each other. Each generation the family says, this time it won’t happen. This time we will keep in touch, this time it will work. But four generations say it hasn’t so far. The fifth generation is here. Will it work this time?


NSW State Archives Bean, Annie. West Kogarah 10/12/1928. Pre A 041103 [20/1345]

NSW BDM Bean, Percy. 12022/1954

NSW BDM Bean, Lancelot Sydney. 10426/1953

NSW BDM Bean, Leonard. 42017/1966

Family Stories and Oral Histories and personal knowledge and memory


I wrote another e-tivity before this one, I wasn’t happy with it. It seems that my father’s side of the family is calling in this particular unit. It was only after I wrote this that I realised that there was another generation that could probably be included in the dissociation that has occurred between each generation with this family. The first generation mentioned is the first one that arrived in Australia. Yet that generation did not talk to their parents once they arrived. Communication was all with the current generation of the time.

The teeth broke in!

The teeth broke in through the wall. That is how she described the experience.

For months now neighbours had been complaining. The smell came out of the unit as they passed on the walkway. Glimpses through the door showed years of old newspapers, documents and garbage spilling out of the rooms into the hallway. The flat was a fire trap and the neighbours were worried about their health living so close to a place that stank so much.

Complaints to the authorities finally resulted in the arrest and forcible detention of Linda for being a danger to society, as a result of her hoarding and filth.

Linda saw it differently. In her confused state, she did not recognise police. She saw gigantic teeth bursting through the wall, not the police coming through her door. She didn’t hear what they had to say. Screaming, she tried to fight off the giant teeth and protect her house and all of the history that she had acquired over years of collecting. But the teeth had their way and she was dragged out of her home, the home that she had known for decades.


The walls were bare and stark. Linda sat up in bed shaking as she described her experience. In her turn, her granddaughter sat by the bed, looking at the frail woman. She had tears in her eyes as she listened to her grandmother and tried to make sense of the story. It took a long time for her to equate the story of the teeth with the reality of a woman being forced from her home by the police.


At the end of her independent life, Linda was beyond being able to recognise daily activities. She was eventually arrested and forcibly detained for being a danger to society. This was due to the squaller that she was living in and the impact it could have on the health of others. Her story, told by her, was heartbreaking. She had no understanding of what had really happened to her and why and how she had ended up in a nursing home. Writing her story is a challenge as I am unsure if it will make sense.

A Tantalising Tart

“A Tantalising Tart wants her old man bound over”. That was the heading in the News Papers.

Case dismissed!

Years of being the punching bag and hearing herself described in vile and despicable ways by her husband and now she had finally gone to court. This time George had gone too far, this time he had threatened her with a gun.

Mary had gone to her daughter’s house because she wanted to see her daughter. She hadn’t seen her for months. She tried to go only when her husband, who lived with her daughter, was not at home. This time she had misjudged the time. George had been there and as soon as he saw her he started to swear at her. He swung at her and missed, he then went to get his gun. Her children had held him off and she had run back to her home shaking. This time she was going to do something about it. This time she was going to call the police.

The police came and took her statement and she told them that she wanted to follow it up. So the case went to court. It wasn’t even heard. The judge looked at her from on high, in that dark room with his wig on, making his judgment without even asking her what had happened. The Judge, Mr. Isaac declaimed, “on the evidence of the complainant, you have frequently gone to the house where your husband resides, even though you know your presence annoys him. It is ridiculous for you to come to court and swear that you are in bodily fear of him. You went to his residence, not he to yours. I will hear no evidence”.

Mungo Park, the Leopard Boy

In a box of old photos that were handed to me for all of 10 minutes to do a quick scan was a few photos that were a bit unusual.

Mungo Park, the Leopard Boy. Abt 1875

I had not thought that I would ever identify more than one or two of these photos. I had, early on identified one as Robert Gransden. He had been easy as another relative had a similar photo and we had been able to compare them and confirm. There are a few other photos that are of similar looking people that are obviously Gransden family members. Over time I will, no doubt, begin to identify who they are. But the vast majority of the photos I have no idea of even where to start.

Today I decided that it was time to identify one of those photos. I wanted to know if it could help me to place one of my ancestors in Victoria in the early 1860’s. Edwin Gransden had worked on Edward Stone Park’s Run. Edward Park had been the Aboriginal Protector for the area, so if the photo that I had could be identified to a time when Edwin was on Edward’s run, then it would give me more of a sense of how close his contact with the Indigenous group was. So I decided to put the photo that I had, up onto the ‘Unknown Photos of Australia’ FaceBook site.

Within a short time, I had responses, asking questions and making suggestions. One of the first things we looked at was the boys spotted skin. On researching, we quickly found that the skin discolouration he had was called Vitiligo.  This information gave us some different directions to research in. Another person pointed out that the boy’s boots looked pretty good and that he looked like he may be a boxer rather than an itinerant worker.

Shortly after that, it was pointed out to me that the features of the boy were not Indigenous Australian, but rather more African. I can’t determine faces very well, so I am unable to pick up regional differences like that.

Further searching revealed another photo of the same boy but about ten years later. It was possible to determine that it was the same person because of the pattern of spots on his torso, face, and arms due to the Vitiligo. This photos came up on that of a ‘Circus Freaks’ page. I then found another photo, doing similar searches using the words Troupe and Freak, etc, of the same boy younger, but this time with a large snake.

Finally the Jackpot. Another researcher found a name, ‘The Leopard Boy.’ Along with that name was another photo and a history of the boy. All of which meant that I could then search for him on Trove and find an article about his travels in Australia.

After we found a name for Mungo, it was easy to go to Trove and find when he was in Australia.

Some years ago one of our explorers was heartily laughed at for stating that spotted aborigines had been seen in the far interior, and though the exception cannot be said in this instance to prove the rule, it would be well for those who doubt the existence of such queer people in this world- to inspect the ” spotted boy” now on view at the waxworks, Bourke street.) This young gentleman, who, is said to be eleven years of age, though he appears to be considerably older, is a native of Caffraria, and for some, time formed one of the chief attractions in the collection of Barnum. He has come to this, country in company with a dwarf lady, 31 inches high and 19 years old who besides being shorter than Miss Minnie Warren, has a much more comely figure and attractive face. Mungo Park, for such is the name of the ” spotted ‘ boy,” is certainly a good show. .With the exception of one while spot on his cheek, his face is perfectly black, but his curly locks are not uniform in color, a large white patch being visible on the top of his head, at the sides and back of which his head is quite white, the colour of his. eyebrows and lashes being also mixed.
His shoulders and the skin over the collar bone are also black, but the lower part of the chest is white, scattered-over with black spots, the cuticle being as soft as that of a child. His arms are, perhaps, the most curious part of his body, one of them being variegated much like a boa constrictor, while his legs are a mass of spots. He was on Wednesday examined by a well known medical man who states that the variegations are natural, and that the boy is perfectly healthy.
1875 ‘THE SPOTTED BOY.’, Avoca Mail (Vic. : 1863 – 1900; 1915 – 1918), 8 June, p. 3. , viewed 18 Feb 2017,

So the boy in the photo is called Mungo Park. His stage name is ‘The Leopard Boy, ’ and he was in Australia around 1875. All for the price of asking. Such an amazing result.

All of the photos in this article should be out of copyright and in the public domain. However, I was unable to locate correct sources for the photographs. Most of them were on Pinterest with no attribution. If there is a problem with the use of any of the photos please contact me. The top one is in the Gransden Family personal collection. It is the two below that I do not have details of.

Are you Our William Russell? Part 2

So who is William Galloway Russell or William Russell Galloway?

William Russell arrived in Sydney on the 11th of March 1833. William and two other men William Russell Galloway Snr and Richard Fulmer Paice had been sentenced to 7 years Transportation in the Surrey Quarter Session of 3rd of July 1832. The early records show their crime as stealing fixtures, later that crime was described as stealing timber.

William Galloway Russell Snr and Richard Fulmer Paice were sent to Van Diemen’s Land and arrived on the Enchantress on the 31st of July 1833. On the 30th of April 1848, William Galloway Russell Snr received permission to marry Elizabeth McLaren who had arrived free on the Navarino. Their marriage was registered on the 10th of June 1848. Elizabeth was 38 and William was 35. William had spent a number of years in the convict system and his record showed that he was not always an exemplary convict.

William Galloway Russell aka Russell William Gullaway was a regular low-level offender during his time as a convict. His behaviour report includes charges of being “drunk and disorderly” on a number of occasions. William was also charged with making “frivolous and impertinent” remarks about his master, for which he received 50 lashes. Further “drunk and disorderly” charges resulted in William spending time on road gangs. William also incited some of this Masters servants to be rude to him and make “gross and violent threats”. At this point, is seems that William was returned to the Government to then be moved to a more remote part of the Island. After this removal, there are no further negative entries in William’s behaviour record. One wonders if the issue may not have been as much the Master as the Convict. However, by 1839 William did indeed receive his certificate of freedom[i].

Richard Fulmer Paice was leaving behind a wife, Celia, and two children when he was transported to Australia[ii]. Paice was a large man, over six foot, with brown eyes and brown whiskers. At the time he arrived in Australia he 30 years of age, considerably older than the two William Galloway Russell’s that he was transported with.[iii] Richard Paices’ conduct records do not show any incidents of poor conduct and there is, at this stage, no evidence that he married in Australia, or of where, or if he died in Australia. However, Richard did receive his Ticket of Leave and was still in Van Diemans land in 1841[iv]

William Galloway Russell Jnr, from now on just called William Russell, sailed from Portsmouth on the 13th of November 1832 and arrived in Australia four months before the other two that were sentenced with him, on the 11th of March 1833.[v] Once the Andromeda arrived, William, along with the other convicts aboard ship marched to Hyde Park Barracks on the 13th of March. [vi] William would have remained at the Hyde Park Barracks for some period and then been assigned to a “Master.” It is unknown at this stage if William was assigned to multiple people or his first assignment was the last one he went to. However, at some stage, William Russell was assigned to James Whalan and went to live in the Bathurst area on James Whalan’s property according to the 1837 Convict Muster. [vii]

James Whalan lived on a property called Ginkin in NSW. [viii] James Whalans property was near Bathurst and had strong links with that community. James was also linked to Fish River and Oberon with his brother living on a farm in an area that is now known as Oberon. James and Charles Whalan are credited with the discovery of the Jenolan Caves.  (WHALAN, James (1806-1854), n.d.) Although James Whalan’s property is south of Bathurst on the 1837 Muster William is noted as being assigned to James Whalan in Bathurst.[ix]

By the 3rd of July 1841, William Russell had received his Ticket of Freedom. At the time he was described as five foot five and a quarter inches, ruddy and freckled with brown hair and grey eyes. He had a mole on his right cheek, another mole on the inner corner of his right eye, two moles on his left cheek. He had one small raised mole near his right elbow and had a large scar on his right leg.[x]

Are you Our William Russell? Part 1
[i] (Conduct Record CON31/1/16, n.d.)

[ii] (CON27/1/6 01 Jan 1822- 31 Dec 1833 Z2040 CON27 APPROPRIATION LISTS OF CONVICTS., n.d.)

[iii] (Tasmania, 2016)

[iv] (New South Wales and Tasmania, Australia Convict Musters, 1806-1849 [database on-line]. , 2007)

[v] (Australian Joint Copying Project)

[vi] (Advertising. They Sydney Herald (NSW: 1831-1842) p. 3, 1833)

[vii] (Person ID: U#11072220101)

[viii] (WHALAN, James (1806-1854), n.d.)

[ix] (Person ID: U#11072220101)

[x] (New South Wales, Australia, Certificates of Freedom, 1810-1814, 1827-1867, n.d.)

A New Life

This is one of a series of e-tivities that I am doing, or have done, for the latest unit of the Family History Diploma that I am doing. In this case the challenge was to use three documents to compose a story about an ancestor. I chose Mary Ann Russell nee Adams nee Gransden.


She was leaving her home forever.

Years of listening, first to her Uncles stories and then, more recently, to her brothers’ stories, of their adventures sailing around the world, had contributed to her, Mary Ann, wanting to do the same thing. So when the chance came to do just that, she took it. But was it the right thing to do?

What was this new country going to be like? Would she even make it the huge distance to Australia? Would she find friends and a job, maybe even, eventually, a family of her own?

She was travelling with so many women, all wanting the same thing. All excited by what they were doing, at the same time scared that they were leaving everything that they knew behind. The family, the places, the friends. Like the rest of the women, she didn’t know if she would ever see her family or friends again?

Too late to back out now. The Layton was pulling her away from the home she had always known. Looking back as the ship moved further out to sea Mary knew she would never see the place that she had called home again. A new life beckoned with a new future, a different future in a different land.


Three documents were used to compose this piece. The shipping arrivals for the Layton, the female immigration ship. This had Mary Ann as one of the passengers aboard the ship. To find out about Mary’s Uncle a newspaper from Sydney provided the details of his position aboard a ship and the fact that he had visited. Finally a ships surgeons log provided the information that her elder brother had also gone to sea.

I find the story of this particular ancestor fascinating. She was a single female that travelled to Australia on one of the first female only immigration ships. Because this ship was one of the first female immigration ships to leave England Mary would have had little, if any, knowledge of what was going to happen to the women as they arrived in Australia. This would have been an incredibly courageous decision to make and I am sure that Mary Ann would have second guessed herself throughout the entire experience

Are you our William Russell? Part 1.

A few months back I wrote a post saying goodbye to William Russell. Many with Australian Gransden family links had thought of him as our William Russell for a long time but the proof had been mounting up that he was not our William Russell. But of course the story doesn’t stop there, no story ever stops there. Myself and others have continued to look for our William Russell. A number of potential William Russells have come and gone and a number of different people have followed up on likely William Russells. In particular Sylvia Murray was incredibly helpful with suggestions and with one potential William Russell that looked a very good candidate for some time. But the more we found out about that William Russell the less likely he looked.

One William Russell I had discounted some time ago started to come up as more likely than was originally thought. His name was William Galloway Russell and as the middle name seemed to be important but then didn’t appear in any records other than his convict records I had come to feel that William Galloway Russell was an unlikely William Russell but all of that has changed recently.

Some time ago I found a newspaper article about a William Russell who had come in from Rockley to Bathurst as a Vagrant claiming that he had no friends in Rockley and was unable to look after himself any longer.

VAGRANCY. – William Russell, 70 years of age, was charged with vagrancy. He had come into town from Rockley and applied at the lock-up for relief, seeking admission into the Benevolent Asylum. He said he was without friends and was suffering from rheumatism.

The Bench gave him an order for admission into the Bathurst Hospital, from which place he could be forwarded to the Benevolent Asylum if proved to be a fit subject.

1882 ‘POLICE COURT.’, Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (NSW : 1851 – 1904), 18 November, p. 2. , viewed 17 Apr 2016,

This seemed like a very likely candidate for our William Russell. He was in Rockley a known area for our Russell family. George, Isaac, William, Charles and Catherine Russell had all been born at Rockley. Later family members were married and Christened in Bathurst but as Rockley is in the Bathurst district this was not unusual. But, having one newspaper article does not prove a link and does not give any indication of what may have happened either later or earlier in life.

The obvious place to search was the Benevolent Society of NSW on searching through the records for the Benevolent Society I came across three William Russell’s that I though may be the William Russell from the News article. So I wrote to the Benevolent Society researches to get more information about the William Russell’s that had been in their records. I received a lovely email in response that explained to me that the Benevolent Society of New South Wales had stopped taking men in during the 1860’s and all of the records that I was interested in referred to children rather than elderly men. This was a disappointment.

At this stage I left the News Paper clipping for a while. I was unsure what to look for next and had other priorities, so like many research questions in Family History, sometimes it is best to give them a bit of space. A couple of months after I received a response from the Benevolent Society Sylvia Murray contacted me with some details on a possible link to Mary Ann Russell- written about here, and a possible William Russell. This enthused me to start hunting again. First I focused on Sylvia’s possible William Russell who sounded so promising but in the end it was decided that it was unlikely to be the correct one. So back to the Newspaper article.

At this stage I decided to contact the NSW State Archives and talk to someone in person. They went through the search process for Asylums and Hospitals with me but despite doing a number of searches we came up with a blank. However, the lady I was talking to explained to me that there were a lot of local Asylums and they did not come under one State Body. So I decided to do a search for a local Bathurst Benevolent Society. It appeared that at in the 1880- 1890’s there was no Benevolent Society Asylum operating in Bathurst and instead people were sent to either Parramatta or Liverpool. Another newspaper search lead me to believe that the most likely place that the William Russell from the above newspaper clipping would have been sent was the Liverpool Asylum rather than the Parramatta Asylum.

Back to the New South Wales Archives as they were supposed to have records for the Liverpool Asylum but they did not. So I did a more detailed search into the records that they held. Under “I” for Infirm were the details for the Asylum Records that have been digitised. There was a nice little line that said-

  • Volumes [7/3801-3805], alphabetical listing of surnames commencing C-D; H-O; S-U only

As I was looking for Russell the surname I was after fell in between the books that had been digitised so my William Russell was not going to be in the records. But that didn’t mean that he wasn’t going to be there. So now I had a likely institution- Liverpool Asylum and as New South Wales Archives has been working with it was just possible that there were copies of the record books on Ancestry.

I did a couple of searches on Ancestry and managed to find an admission for William Russell, just a couple of days after the newspaper article, in the Liverpool Asylum. This seemed likely but I could not confirm that this William Russell had come from Bathurst. Further searches page by page of the registers showed me another record, less than a year later. This had William Russell same admission date but with discharge details as well. This showed that William Russell from Bathurst had died on the 16th of July 1883. The admission date was the same as the one I had found earlier. The register also gave when William Russell had entered the country and the ship that he had arrived on, the Andromeda in 1833.

So, now I had a date of arrival and a ship, this is like gold for a family historian. I didn’t know if this William Russell had been a convict or a free settler but having a ship and a date made it easy to find out. So I did an internet search for William Russell Andromdea 1833. A number of pages came up, all convict pages with this information-

Convict Name: William Russell (The younger) Gullaway
Trial Place: Surrey Quarter Session
Trial Date: 3 July 1832
Sentence: 7 years
Arrival Details
Ship: Andromeda II (2)
Arrival Year: 1833

This gave me a whole lot of new directions to search in. I now had another name to search under- Galloway. A series of searches gradually helped me to flesh out William Russell and piece together whether or not he had been in the Bathurst region for a long time or if he has just turned up in his later years before being sent to the Liverpool Asylum.

Are you our William Russell? Part 2

The Carters; Story in history

Back at the University of Tasmania for the final unit of the year. This time around I am doing a unit on Writing Family History. I am really looking forward to this unit.

One of the first activities that we have been requested to do is to write about one of our ancestors and one of their experiences in a piece of ‘Flash Fiction’ of no more than 250 words. So this is my piece of ‘Flash Fiction’ about the arrival of the Carters in Australia, as they are the family I am currently doing some work on.

The Carters

Welcome, welcome to the country that has taken almost everything even before we arrived.

Wrenched from our crowded hammocks by the screams and the noise. The screech of wood and metal on rocks, the crash of waves, pitching and tossing us like leaves in a storm.

Everywhere the smell of fear intermingled with that of salt. A waking nightmare in the dark. Dragged onto boats in only what we wore to sleep in. Grabbing for each other, grasping for the children, terrified that at some point someone would let go and be lost.

Finally, we are here, but where is here? Nothing remains of the ship, the small airless boat that has carried us halfway across the earth, through blistering heat, bone chilling cold and days where the ship felt overpowered by the elements. In its final hours, within sight of our destination, the ship foundered in the depths of the night.

Nothing now remains, just some splinters of wood and a memory of jaw clenching terror. Here we stand in our night shirts, one pair of boots between two boys and the will to keep on going. All five of us made it. That is the best that we have.