Trams, Surf Boards, Slices of History and a Bridal Veil at the Gold Coast
Many footsteps were heard making their way to the Southport Community Centre on the weekend of the 19, 20 and 21 May for the “Footsteps in Time” Conference and Fair. Trams trundled past the nearby corner, surfers carried their boards past the door, and inside, historians gleaned fascinating slices of information from our past.
State Library of Queensland was the gold sponsor of this fully subscribed event, and worked in close partnership with Gold Coast City Libraries and the conference organizers, the Gold Coast Family History Society. The Conference celebrates the dual streams of Family History and Local History, both so incredibly important to the study of Genealogy. Senior Librarian Stephanie Ryan gave a paper on the birth of the first white child in Moreton Bay, appropriately named Amity Moreton Thompson. Niles Elvery spoke about our QANZAC project and images.
State Library staff were on hand over the weekend to offer assistance at the State Library stall. The fair was open to both conference attendees and interested members of the public. Among the stalls at the Fair were the Queensland State Archives, Queensland Family History Society, Gold Coast Family History Society, second hand book stalls (very popular), Gould Genealogy, and at all of the stalls, lots of questions were being asked about the new magical tool of family history – DNA searching.
Senior Librarian Christina Ealing-Godbold staffed the State library stand on a busy Saturday, answering questions about our resources and encouraging clients to become members of State Library. Questions were many and varied and included everything from the early history of Nerang and Mermaid Beach, the ship that brought great-grandparents to Australia in the 1870’s, photographs of ANZAC soldiers, information on church records in the Gold Coast area and the history of land and land sales in the Gold Coast. Photographs of early Surf Life Saving clubs were also sought. It is amazing what you can answer with a mere iPad and the State Library catalogue!!
The most interesting question was more a chat than a question – A lovely lady brought a truly exquisite full length bridal veil, hand embroidered to the State Library stand just to show us a different kind of history. The veil had its own leather travelling case, and inside, beside the veil which was wrapped in blue archival tissue, was a photograph album documenting the life of the veil, including photographs of all of the brides who had worn the veil– a different kind of family history.
The most topical paper, by all accounts was by Dr Jonathan Richards – it put a new perspective on the search for dead relatives. Dr Richards studied the Queensland Inquest Files and selected a hierarchy of those unfortunate persons who qualified for a “Darwin award” – that is, they unwittingly contributed to their own demise. The best award qualifier was undoubtedly the man who poked a cassowary with a bridle and was summarily deprived of his head.
Conference participants were invited to enter a “lucky door prize” – a selection of books from the State Library book shop. State Library’s sponsorship of the fair provided a valuable way to continue to provide support for Queensland’s history community. Gold Coast Family History Society are to be congratulated on organizing a great conference, enjoyed by many.
If you are interested in following up on any family or local history questions please visit the desk in the Micrographics area on Level 3 of State Library, which is staffed Monday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Otherwise we would love to hear from you through our Ask Us service.
Family history information: http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/resources/family-history
Senior Librarian, Information Services