Discovering family roots...

September 29, 2017

Dipping back into NSW as we turned off the motorway on the way to Coolangatta last week, made me wonder whether I should make a pilgrimage to Hillgrove near Armadale, where my Great Grandfather settled. My dear Dad Bob and my Great Aunt Mary travelled over here 10-15 years ago to find out more. 

 

My Great-Grandfather moved to Australia in the 1890's and invited his fiancé over once he was settled. They got married in Sydney and went on to have 6 children, one of them being my Grandfather Herbert Maddox who was born in 1898. Sadly three of those children didn't survive and their names are on my Grandad's gravestone.
My Great Grandfather set himself up as a Barber with a tobacconist shop, though ĺater made cordials (or liqueurs), in Hillgrove, a town that had grown (and would later decline) through local gold mines at Bakers Creek nearby. On researching the area, my Dad came across a blog (details at the bottom of the page), which happened to have a photo of the shop, with the family name 'MADDOX' clearly visible. The wonders of the internet! 
 


When he died suddenly, my Great-Grandma had to return to England with her 3 chìldren. Not an easy prospect in the days before the welfare state!

When Dad went to visit, the actual shop as shown in the photo was no longer there, but the building in the foreground is still standing as a post office. It being 3-4 hours away from where we were staying and with no car, I decided not to make the trip, and felt my Dad and Aunt had found out all there is to know. My Aunt still has the letters my Grandfather sent to his fiancé when he'd arrived in Australia and I look forward to reading through them when we return to England. 

More about the nearby Goldmine and about the cordial manufacturing business is on Wikipedia and the blog;
http://rainbowrobstravels.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/hillgrove-ghost-town.html 

 

So strange to be visiting the sister of my husband, who married an Australian from only a few hundred kilometres away from where my family settled, on the other side of the world. A small world indeed. 

 

Today we had a beautiful day visiting Brisbane. As we walked over the bridge from the city to the Southbank it felt a little like being back in London. We took

In the Queensland museum which was fascinating and full of dinosaurs discovered here, native animals and a wonderful exhibition on the solar system. 

 

 

After lunch the children enjoyed swimming in the pools by the river on the southbank and there was a lovely buzz about the city as it was the arts festival. Dave met Hik who he used to work with at Salomon Bros 17 years ago and who has lived in Brisbane since finishing in London. 

 

 

We're making the most of our last few days here before getting back on the road. It's always tinged with sadness when we leave the family here as we miss them so much, but we're looking forward to New Zealand and a campervan for 4 on Wednesday. 

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We are a family of 4 who are travelling around the world to broaden our horizons, experience new places and visit family and friends.

 

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