Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Birthday Mum - 91 years young

A special girl in our family is celebrating her birthday today. When I got home from lunch with Mum and some of the family I dipped into the family photo archive to see what I could find.

Elsie (right) and her sister Eileen

Elsie and Allan
Wedding Day

And then there were three: Elsie, Allan and Me.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How much is enough?

I look after a Facebook page for my local historical society.   From that account I have liked several repositories, organisations and societies. I select a few of the posts that appear in the stream to share on our society Facebook page but this task was becoming rather difficult.

Today I unliked Sydney Living Museums not because I don't like them but because of the number of posts they make on their Facebook page, these posts represented more than 50% of the items appearing in our society stream pushing more meaty posts from other organisations further down the stream and perhaps causing me to miss some gems. I have liked organisations like the National Library of Australia and State Records and find that they may post just a few items per day. If all of the places I like on our society page posted as much as Sydney Living Museums then the task of keeping up with news would be impossible.

How much is enough?

I would suggest that repositories, organisations and societies take a look at their posting policies and consider how many posts per day will get them maximum impact. I'm all for responsible posting.

Perhaps I am just turning into a cranky old bag or do you think there is a limit to how many posts an organisation should post per day?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Take your Laptop with you.

I note in Pauleen Cass's blog post today that she is bringing her laptop on the Unlock the Past Genealogy Cruise - now she is one smart cookie. The following points indicate why I believe that is so.

Some of these points apply equally to those heading to Rootstech.

Why bring a laptop?

* Firstly you will have plenty of spare hard disk space for backing up all those photos you take during
the conference or cruise.

* It is easier to type up your notes using a laptop keyboard than using a tablet or smartphone. (You should be able to rest your laptop on a table in the Research Help Zone on the ship)

* Some presenters may make copies of their presentations available if you bring along a USB drive. You can then copy and back them up quickly on your laptop.

* You will need to have all your notes and genealogy database available when you ask for help in the Research Help Zone.

* If you want help with your genealogy software (or any software package for that matter) in the Research Help Zone then you will need to have your laptop with you.

* You will want to write lengthy blog posts about the great experiences you are having.

* Most importantly if you intend going to any of the sessions about software it is useful to have the software preloaded on your laptop so you can practise in your spare time when the learning is fresh. If things haven't been clear in a presentation then you can seek clarification in the Research Help Zone.

If you are coming to my Evernote session then sign up and download Evernote onto your laptop. If you are going to Jane Taubman's sessions on the sensational genealogy package Family Historian you could download and install a free 30 day trial of the software before you leave home.

In fact I have done such a good job convincing myself that I might just take two!

Arriving Early for Rootstech?

Don't forget to check out the schedule of free classes on offer in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in the days prior to and after Rootstech.

On my last two visits I have attended some of these classes and found them most valuable.

Family History Library Lecture 2012

Monday, January 27, 2014

Hangout Habit

I've got it bad, the Hangout Habit that us.

I just love logging on to a scheduled Hangout on Air and seeing who will join me to chat about Genealogy topics. It's such a lottery as one doesn't know who will join in until their image pops up on the filmstrip at the bottom of the screen. I am always relieved when the first person joins in prior to starting the recordingas I know I won't have to deliver a monologue.

I seem to be developing a group of Hangout regulars who have joined me on a few occasions and in each session a couple of newbies appear - what a nice mix that is. As we are all learning about the medium the sessions are quite casual and we often digress to learn about and master some part of the Hangout setup.

Tonight was a bit of a challenge when I, as host, dropped out of the Hangout. Thankfully tthe others realised I was missing and carried on valiantly. Although our topic was packing for a geneajaunt we did stray a little and discuss things that were specific to the cruise some of us will soon be taking but amongst the chatter I picked up a few excellent tips for organising myself, preparing for visits and notetaking for all my geneajaunts. There was also some specific advice given for people attending Rootstech.

Thanks to the fabulous group of ladies who hung out with me tonight. You are stars that make the GeniAus Hangouts on Air so bright.

You can view the video from here or on my Youtube Channel.

Ethically challenged?

I have just emailed a copy of the issues we will be discussing in the "Dealing with Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy" panel on the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise to the panelists for the session.

Joining me as panelists will be three eminent genealogists from Australia and the UK:

Pauleen Cass
Kirsty Gray
Maria Northcote

This session promises to be a cracker as there are some curly questions for the three panelists to ponder. Most genealogists will have been confronted with one or more of the dilemmas to be discussed. 

If you are cruising I suggest that you highlight this session for attendance. I am a fan of panel sessions because they give the audience an opportunity to hear a range of opinions on a subject rather than a one-sided view. I must remember to get the panelists permission to record it.

Panelists in a session on the 3rd UTP Cruise
The issues we will be discussing are so interesting that I will schedule them for discussion in a future GeniAus Hangout on Air.

Friday, January 24, 2014

C'mon Mate - Win a Prize valued at $239

I have been reminded by the generous folk at Rootstech that I have not awarded the Free Registration to Rootstech 2014 that is to be held from February 6th to 8th at the Salt Palace Convention Center In Salt Lake City and that I have at my disposal as an Official Blogger. This prize can be taken as a new registration or a refund of a registration already paid. Of course if you paid a discounted fee then that is what will be refunded.

I need to run a competition to award this prize. As it is the Australia Day weekend the competition will have an Australian theme.

For your chance to won this super prize please share on your blog or favourite Social Media site something with an Australian connection to Rootstech. It could be a photo you took of one of the Aussies you met at Rootstech, it could be a blog post written by an Australian about Rootstech, it could be a recount of a meeting with an Aussie at Rootstech, it could be some information you learnt from an Aussie who attended Rootstech or it could be information on a product you heard about from the Aussie vendor who was at Rootstech 2013.

So that everyone has a whole weekend to dream up their entry the competition will close at:

Honolulu (U.S.A. - Hawaii)           Sunday, 26 January 2014 at 11:00:00 PM HAST UTC-10 hours 
Sydney (Australia - New South Wales) Monday, 27 January 2014 at 8:00:00 PM  AEDT UTC+11 hours 
Corresponding UTC (GMT)              Monday, 27 January 2014 at 09:00:00  

I don't want to miss your entry so please email me at with your details and a link to your contribution.

The judge's decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into. If it is too difficult a task for me I will pop your names in a hat and draw one at random. Once a winner has been selected I will forward their details to the Rootstech folk who will take care of the business end of things.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sneak peek

I was privileged this morning to have a play on the new Claim a Convict website.

When Lesley Uebel was ill some generous souls volunteered to take over the Claim a Convict site that Lesley had curated for many years. I was one of the genealogists who was able to make connections with distant cousins via the site, I know that many other genealogists have benefitted over the years from all the work that Lesley put into the project. It is fitting that Lesley's memory will live on in this new site.

The URL for the site that will be launched on Australia Day is .  At the moment the link only shows a countdown to the launch time. The new Claim a Convict team of Michelle Nichols and Jonathan Auld have given the site a new look that is crisp and clean with a few graphics designed by a local Hawkesbury artist.

I have been playing around on the site this morning, it was easy to register as a user (I had dropped off probably because I hadn't notified the site about a change of email address), claim a few convicts and change the password I was issued with to something a bit easier for me to remember. The site is easy to navigate and all of the links I tested worked. Not being able to help myself I did make a couple of suggestions that Jonathan swiftly implemented.

Richard Aspinall - One of the convicts I have claimed on Claim a Convict
I am not going to steal the thunder of those who are working on this project but I urge you to save some time in the near future to visit the site and claim your convicts. Several of my convicts are not yet listed and Jonathan is working on a mechanism for people to contact the site with details of those convicts who are missing from the list.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Australia Day Challenge 2014: C’mon Aussie


My blogging mate Pauleen from Family History Across the Seas has issued this dinkum challenge for Australia Day. 

I am a great fan of geneamemes, I guess that I am an old stickybeak because I love to find out all about my geneablogging friends and their backgrounds. 

So even though I am flat out like a lizard drinking I just couldn't resist this challenge.
My first ancestor to arrive in Australia was: James Westbrook on 9 October 1813 per Earl Spencer
I have Australian Royalty (tell us who, how many and which Fleet they arrived with):
12 direct line convicts so far (and a a couple of maybes)
Richard Aspinall - Bengal Merchant
Margaret Blake - Need to do some work here
Patrick Curry - Hooghley
Robert Hayward - Sir William Bensley
James Homer - Elizabeth 1
William Magick (or could be Westbrook) - General Hewitt
Catherine Jane Maxwell - Caroline
Ellen Moore - Mariner
Elizabeth Phipps - Wanstead
James Pusell - James Pattison
John Tucker - Hercules 11
James Westbrook (or could be Magick) - Earl Spencer

I’m an Aussie mongrel, my ancestors came to Oz from: England, Ireland, Scotland
Did any of your ancestors arrive under their own financial steam? The bluebloods got a free trip. Of the remainder some were assisted and some were mighty good swimmers.
How many ancestors came as singles? The twelve convicts (although two pairs claimed to be married there is no evidence to support this). All others were single except for one married couple.
How many came as couples? Denis Tierney and Eliza D'Arcy were married in Ireland before they left for Australia in 1839.
How many came as family groups? None
Did one person lead the way and others follow? The Irish Kealys, Ryans and Tierneys came in dribs and drabs with several siblings in each family moving out to call Australia home.
What’s the longest journey they took to get here? All of their journeys were mighty long.
Did anyone make a two-step emigration via another place? They all did the journey in one hit.
Which state(s)/colony did your ancestors arrive? New South Wales and Victoria
Did they settle and remain in one state/colony? They all moved to New South Wales
Did they stay in one town or move around? Some followed the gold.
Do you have any First Australians in your tree? I am 95% sure that I have an aboriginal ancestor, Biddy Sergeant, who was Robert Hayward's partner for a while.
Were any self-employed? Yes.

What occupations or industries did your earliest ancestors work in? Brickmaking, Bushranging, Carpentry, Farming, Labouring, Mining, Undertaking.

Does anyone in the family still follow that occupation? I still have some distant cousins 'on the land' but most of us are city dwellers.
Did any of your ancestors leave Australia and go “home”? No-one was tempted by the climate "back home".
What’s your State of Origin? New South Wales
Do you still live there?  Sure do.
Where was your favourite Aussie holiday place as a child? We only went to Ettalong for a beach holiday so it was no contest.

Family Holiday at Ettalong, 1955
Any special place you like to holiday now? The world's my oyster. Tripadvisor tells me I have visited 48% of the world. I'm aiming to increase that statistic.
Share your favourite spot in Oz: Home but Sydney Harbour runs a close second.

Any great Aussie adventure you’ve had? Life has been one big Aussie adventure.
What’s on your Australian holiday bucket list? North-Western Australia and a big road trip round Australia (but no camping please).
How do you celebrate Australia Day? For years we had to attend Official Australia Day Ceremonies as part of Mr GeniAus' work. These days it is just a day like any other but we might include some Aussie tucker on our menu.

GeniAus, John Howard PM, Phillip Ruddock, Mr GeniAus - Australia Day 2002

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I went shopping today

Guess what I bought?

HINT: There will be a bunch of bejewelled bloggers on a forthcoming genealogy cruise

Lesley Uebel

A note just came through on the  AUS-NSW-HILLS-HAWKESBURY-HUNTER-VALLEY Mailing List  from Coralie Hird:

"It is with great sadness that I have to inform the list that our beloved
Lesley Uebel passed away peacefully on Monday evening the 20th of January.

Lesley was not alone on her final voyage and she has sailed away with a full
pardon and is now a free settler in the bosom of her family and friends."

Those of us with Convict Ancestry will remember Lesley for the wonderful work she did on the Claim a Convict site which enabled us to connect with other descendants of our miscreants. The site which has now been archived but I believe that the site will be relaunched on Australia Day.

Michelle Nichols has taken over the administrative role for two Rootsweb lists that Lesley looked after.

Condolences to Lesley's husband, Colin, and family at this difficult time.

Chris Dancy, the "World's Most Quantified Man," to Kick-off Innovator Summit Preconference at RootsTech

Sorry I won't be at Rootstech to hear this guy.

Treelines Spotlight at RootsTech

Chris Dancy, the "World's Most Quantified Man," to Kick-off Innovator Summit Preconference at RootsTech

Salt Lake City, Utah — The RootsTech family history and technology conference is getting a jump-start a day early with Innovator Summit, a half-day event featuring Chris Dancy, “The World’s Most Quantified Man.” The event will be held on Wednesday, February 5, 2014, from 11:00 AM to 5:30 PM, at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
Debuting in 2014, Innovator Summit builds off of what was formerly known as the RootsTech Developer Day and is focused on expanding technology and business opportunities that leverage family history data. Speakers such as Dancy and classes throughout the day will create a unique opportunity for software developers, entrepreneurs, and technology business leaders to network, explore and influence family history innovation.
Dancy serves as a director in the office of the chief technology officer of BMC Software and has been featured in WIRED, TED NYC 2013, PBS, and Dreamforce. Known as a data exhaust cartographer, Dancy keeps metrics on himself for every moment of every day. He knows the number of steps he travels in a day, his average heart rate, and the amount of food he’s eaten—every phone call, every appointment, every piece of quantifiable personal data possible, he knows it. He will kick off the day with his keynote address titled, “Facebook of the Dead.”
By bringing in keynote speakers such as Dancy, Innovator Summit aims to inspire new ideas, new discussions, and new connections that will drive technology and business opportunities both inside and outside the traditional genealogy marketplace. “We want to bring technology thought leaders, innovation experts, and entrepreneurs to the discussion of what’s happening in family history,” said Thom Reed, a marketing manager with RootsTech. “Innovator Summit creates a new venue to showcase innovative ideas and foster collaboration in the genealogy space.”
There will be 16 Innovator Summit classes on Wednesday, February 5, as well as 15 additional classes offered during the remainder of RootsTech (Thursday, February 6 through Saturday, February 8), which is expected to draw over 9,000 attendees. In addition to Dancy, other business and technology speakers at Innovator Summit include:
  • John Spottiswood, executive vice president of business and corporate development at Inflection LLC (the parent of company of, which was sold to for $100 million).
  • Cydni Tetro, entrepreneur in residence at Disney and cofounder and executive director of the Women Tech Council.
  • Jesse Stay, social and growth strategies consultant for Stay N' Alive Productions, LLC, former director of digital media for Deseret Digital Media and author of Google+ Marketing for Dummies.
One of the most popular elements of Innovator Summit is the annual Developer Challenge. New apps, software, or other products are unveiled, and three winners will receive cash prizes and the chance to show their winning entries to media, bloggers, and RootsTech attendees. Past winners, such as Tammy Hepps of, have gone on to successfully launch their products.
For more information about Innovator Summit or to get registered for the conference, please visit
About RootsTech
RootsTech is a unique global family history event, where people of all ages learn to discover and share their family stories and connections through technology. The first annual conference was held in 2011, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hosted by FamilySearch and sponsored by leading genealogical organizations, the conference includes hands-on demonstrations and forums to provide a highly interactive environment and accelerate learning.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Glutton for Punishment

When I debark (American term for disembark - sounds like something one does to a noisy dog) from the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise in Sydney next month I am not racing home to be reunited with my family.

Mr GeniAus is going to collect me from the dock and whisk me out to Parramatta for the Chris Paton and Thomas MacEntee Downunder Sydney event

Why am I doing this? It is simply because the program on the cruise is jam packed and I can't get to see all of Chris' and Thomas' presentations while on board. Additionally, as a user of Family Historian software I need to attend any presentation that English expert Jane Taubman is giving while she is in Australia.

I have previously heard Chris and Thomas speak, they are both knowledgeable, entertaining and accomplished speakers. I have spoken privately with Jane in a Google Hangout and  follow her posts in the Family Historian forums, she has an amazing depth of knowledge on Family Historian software.

If you can get to Parramatta on Thursday 13th February why not join me. We do not get many opportunities in Sydney to hear three international speakers like Chris, Thomas and Jane all in one place (and for a modest entry fee).

Details can be found here on the Unlock the Past Website. 

Don't live near Sydney? Thomas and Chris will also be presenting workshops in all capital cities except Darwin. See here for details.

2012 Unlock the Past event at Parramatta

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Big Crash

While sitting quietly at my desk the other day I was astonished to hear a big crash behind me. I swivelled around on my chair to find that the door of the old wardrobe in which I store a lot of my tech toys and genie loot had sprung open. On inspection I noted that one of the shelves had collapsed and that some of my gear had spilled out and onto the floor while some remained precariously perched on the now crooked shelf.

After the crash - tech toys scattered

Now this got me thinking about the history of the Yellow wardrobe will be celebrating its 40th birthday this year. We purchased this Everett Worthington wardrobe and a matching set of drawers for our first son just prior to his birth and it has served us and our family well. I now notice these wardrobes being advertised on eBay as "Retro". You will note that the wardrobe has had a colour change, Mr GeniAus painted it white several years ago.

The first time the wardrobe appears in my album is early in 1974, My son will be pleased to know that, for modesty's sake,  I have cropped this image.

GeniAus, son and the yellow wardrobe 1974 
By 1976 we had moved to a new home. The yellow wardrobe is in the background of the next photo. My son was able to sleep with that wild wallpaper, red sheets and yellow wardrobe.

The wardrobe moved house with us in 1979 and served our son until 19987 when we put an upstairs extension on our that home.  As  the four new bedrooms had built-in wardrobes the yellow model was banished to the basement playroom for toy storage.

When we moved to our present home on 1993 the wardrobe came with us and found itself used as storage in the garage here where it languished for a several years. Five years ago son number two moved to a house without built-ins so Mr GeniAus gave the wardrobe its paint job and moved it to a new home where it served our grandson for four years until it was replaced by a  newer model.

The wardrobe once again came home and sat in the carport right where it was offloaded until I had a brainwave. I gave it a new home as tech toy storage in my study. Those who have viewed some of my GeniAUS Hangouts on Air will have noticed the wardrobe in the background - it scrubs up all right for a 40 year old.

When I have a full day at home next week I will have to empty the wardrobe and get Mr GeniAus to strengthen the shelf that collapsed. I hope that it will serve our family for a few more years.

I wonder what family stories the yellow wardrobe could tell.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Follow Friday - Worldwide Genealogy

I have just found the time to sit and read the first fifteen or so posts on the Worldwide Genealogy Blog and I am gobsmacked. What a diverse and interesting range of people are participating in this amazing activity. 

So what is Worldwide Genealogy? 

To quote its founder, Julie GoucherIt is really quite simple! Each day a blogger from across the genealogy or historical community will post to Worldwide Genealogy. The posts will be about something related to either genealogy, history or local history."

Most of the bloggers including me have committed to a monthly post. So far there are bloggers from Australia, England, Scotland, The United States and Wales. It would be grand to have some other countries represented. Julie still has a couple of spots vacant and would love to hear from you if you are interested.

When the word gets out and others bloggers start reading the posts I am sure there will be a queue of bloggers anxious to join in.

Worldwide Genealogy demonstrates the value of collaborative projects in genealogy.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

It's a bit of a lottery

Each month I host a Technology Special Interest Group at a local society. Sometimes I have a set agenda and sometimes it is a bit of a free for all.

At the December meeting I had planned to teach people how to set up a free email account but a fellow member had encouraged a dozen members who were interested in the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner to come along. I ditched my plan and spent an hour demonstrating and passing a Flip-Pal around. The fellow member then offered to put in a bulk order for Flip-Pals to Gould Genealogy (Cheaper postage if you buy in bulk). I volunteered that I would show them how to use their new scanners once they arrived and didn't think any more about it.

I didn't have a formal agenda for today's meeting I just said on a Society blog post entitled Did you get a new gadget for Christmas? "All members are invited to join us. Please be ready to share news of any new resources you have found or gadgets you have acquired."

Flip-Pal Bag
When I arrived there were three new faces and a couple I already knew. They all had something in common - they were clutching Flip-Pal bags in mint condition but none as pretty as my pink one. They had come along to learn how to use their new toys. (I don't know how many of our members actually bought Flip-Pals on that order - perhaps Alona from Gould could tell me).

So the agenda for our meeting was set. It was fantastic because the attendees really wanted to learn, it was a small group so I could give individual attention and it was on a topic that I like and know a bit about.

As the day was hot and I had to leave Mr GeniAus in charge of the three grandchildren we are minding I wasn't too enthusiastic about attending the meeting today. But after that successful, impromptu workshop I am feeling quite in the pink.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Last week I blogged about my visit to Gould Genealogy's shop which I described as an Aladdin's Cave.

Are you wondering if I came away with any booty? I did but I had to exercise restraint as Mr GeniAus was watching over my shoulder and wondering why I needed any more genealogy books.

I came away with three titles. Why did I choose them?

GeniAus' Booty
Tracing your Irish Family History on the Internet is by Chris Paton. I have a couple of his other titles on Scottish research and I have found them easy to read and useful resources. I need all the help I can get with my Irish side so hope that this will act as a little sledgehammer for me.

I bought How do I prove it? by Dr Penelope Christensen because I wanted a book about genealogical proof that was not from the US. I am not convinced about the emphasis on proof in American books and wanted to see what someone with an English background had to say on the matter. Dr Christensen is an English expert who was born and lived in England before emigrating to Canada.

Your family history archives; a brief introduction is by my good mate, Shauna Hicks. With her background as an archivist Shauna is well qualified to write this booklet.

When I find time to do more than flip through these books I may let you know how I found them.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Virtual "Meet and Greet"

Oh, boy, am I nervous and excited.

Tonight I am hosting a Hangout on Air about Genealogy Cruising for Unlock the Past. I am nervous because Mr Unlock the Past, Alan Phillips, has put his faith in me to carry out this task for UTP. I will try my best no to besmirch the reputation of his organisation.

Sometimes the Google Hangout application can be a bit flaky and sometimes my internet connection is dodgy (I do have a backup plan) so that adds to my anxiety. I also don't know exactly who will be on the panel until they actually join so I can't really script the activity. I just make do with a rough runsheet.

Overriding all of this is my excitement. I love the Hangout tool which allows people from distant places to join together in an online teleconference that is livestreamed to the world. Potentially thousands of people could watch our little broadcast tonight.

I am excited because I am going to meet fellow presenters and cruisers prior to our cruise in three weeks time. I know that presenters from three countries will join me (technology willing) as well as seasoned cruisers and some first-time sailors. We plan to chat for 45 minutes (but may have to stretch to 60) about who we are, why we love geneacruising and what we expect to get out of the cruise. We hope that our newbie or any potential cruisers come armed with questions to ask.

This Hangout will be of interest to anyone who wants to meet some renowned genealogists, find out about geneacruising or just spend some time with fellow family historians. While the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise will be our focus we will share details of future cruises and geneacrusising in general

You can watch this event at 8:00pm Sydney time tonight directly from here on the Unlock the Past Youtube Channel.  If you wish to comment or pose questions during the event you should join the Unlock the Past Hangout Community on Google+. You need to have a Google account for this, if you have a Gmail account you can log in to with your Gmail username and password.

Disclaimer: As their Hangout Host I am being compensated by Unlock the Past. The excitement is all my own.

Trove Tuesday - Farm Cove

In a couple of weeks I am going to the movies. The setting for the St George Open Air Cinema on the shores of Farm Cove in Sydney Harbour is stunning. While waiting for the movie to begin we sit and sip on mineral water and drink in the view of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

As the Cinema season opens today I thought I would look for an image of Farm Cove on Trove. One image I found from The National Gallery of Australia appears to have no copyright restrictions so I am sharing it here.

The view I see from the cinema site today is so different from what was painted in 1891.

Sydney Harbour from Farm Cove February 2011

Monday, January 13, 2014

An Alumni Tree

Flipping through one of my university Alumni Magazines, unsworld, I found something with a genealogical flavour on the back cover.

I don't know that I'll fill out the tree but, as we have five alumni from the University of New South Wales in the family, I thought I'd take a look at the site.

A message on the home page of the site states:
We are searching for graduate family stories to share with our students and alumni community. The Chancellor, Mr David Gonski is proud that 12 members of his family are UNSW graduates. Share your UNSW family tree and we will be in touch to feature some of our newly discovered UNSW families in the UNSWorld alumni magazine.

After reading this I took a look at the data entry page on the site. 

UNSW Family Tree Data Entry Page
I wonder if David Gonski is into genealogy?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pre and Post Cruise Accomodation

I posted this information for those who were joining the 3rd Unlock the Past Genealogy Cruise in Sydney last year and, as it is useful for those joining the 4th cruise, I am reposting it with a few amendments (in italics).
I received a message from a genealogy contact " XXXXX has asked me for suggestions re accommodation in Sydney before and after the above cruise. His preference is downtown prior, and maybe near the beach after. As I am more QLD'er than NSW re this thing, if you could offer him some suggestions, I would appreciate it."

Rather than just sharing my ideas with one person I said I would put some thoughts in a blog post that may benefit others.

For someone with an unlimited budget who has never been to Sydney there is one standout option. It is the Park Hyatt on the Harbour Foreshore in Sydney Cove in the shadow of the Harbour Bridge. I stayed there once for a birthday treat and it was awesome, I was able to repose on the bed, sip my Moet, and look across the bay to the Opera House while watching the Sydney ferries coming and going. An added bonus is that this is just a short walk from the pier where the ship berths.

The view I had from my room at The Sydney Park Hyatt
The Sydney CBD is dotted with hotels with most of the major international chains being represented. I have stayed in a dozen or more city hotels and serviced apartments ranging from 3 star to 5 star and they 
have been fine except for a couple. A free city shuttle bus, Route 555,  is available during the day, 7 days a week so wherever one is in the inner city one can avail oneself of free transport. The main areas for hotels are the CBD, Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and Railway Square. There is more chance of getting a view in Darling Harbour or around the Quay but also note that the City Centre is a few blocks uphill from Darling Harbour. I would give the area around Railway Square and Kings Cross a miss. B&Bs can found in inner city suburbs a few kilometres out of the CBD. 

Sydney City (Darling Harbour is bay at bottom left)
From Google Maps

For the budget conscious traveller theTravelodge Sydney Hotel is a 3 star property that I have stayed in. It is down a side street just a couple of hundred metres from Hyde Park. The Travelodges at Wynyard and Phillip Street are also conveniently located. 

The cruise departs before the Sydney Mardi Gras Festival commences on the 12th February and schools resume at the beginning of February so there is no need to book a hotel way in advance. There are many hotel rooms in Sydney.

Tripadvisor has reviews of Sydney Hotels but check where the hotels are on a map before proceeding with a booking so as to avoid the more dodgy areas of the city.,, and similar sites offer great last minute offers. Audrey Collins, on her recent trip to Sydney, snagged a room at the Radisson with a partial view of the Harbour Bridge at a really great rate. 

When the cruise returns to Sydney the Mardi Gras will be in full swing so hotel rooms may be in shorter supply. The problem with Sydney beaches is that many of them, especially the Northern Beaches, don't have good hotels nearby. B&Bs can be found in beachside suburbs but I don't know about these. It depends on how far from the city the visitor wants to be. Coogee is a nice safe little beach (not good for the serious surfer) not too far from the city (8 km) that has a Crowne Plaza and Medina Serviced Apartments. There are plenty of restaurants and the Coogee Bay Hotel Beer Garden is a local institution. Nearby world famous Bondi isn't too well served with accommodation. Manly on the northside has both a surfing beach and a harbourfront beach. Cronulla in Sydney's south (29 km from city) has a beautiful beach and some good accommodation options. 

I haven't really given any clear advice in this post just a few pointers. I would be happy to field questions about Sydney from any other genealogists who are joining the cruise.


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