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Oral History

Myself and Dad on his 92nd birthday, taken August 2019 at Warwick, Queensland

Preservation of Life.

Hello there,

Back in 2016 when I was studying for my Diploma in Family History I decided to put my studies to the test and do an oral history interview with my Dad, Jack Apps.

Dad was 89 years old when I interviewed him. He worked for another year before he retired.

I find it very comforting to listen to him talk about his life, especially now that he is no longer with us.

1926 International Truck with 1800 dry sheepskins loaded
This is the truck that Dad talks about that has 1800 dry sheepskins.
This is the coal truck that Dad spoke of that he drove for R. W. Miller. The little boy is my older brother, John. Taken about 1951 at Bay Street Botany.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed listening to his stories. Click on the triangle at the left of the box below to listen to the recording that is 33 minutes duration.

This is an oral recording of my father, Jack Apps, recorded 8 December 2019

It is my intention to collect more oral history stories.


It’s a busy life when one is retired.

Of days gone by.

When I was working I use to think that I could never retire. “What would get me out of bed each day”, I use to think to myself. I was so regimented that the norm was to get up, go to work, crave for the weekend and repeat.

Most of my travel is now done solo and I stay with friends or family or motel/hotel accommodation.

It has been over a decade since I retired and I have never missed working. Travel took over my daily work schedule. Travelling around the countryside in our caravan was a memorable time. We visited many beautiful places and met several like minded people of whom we are still in contact with. I have had two trips to the UK which were also very memorable times with lots of laughs and treasured times that will be with me forever. Bali was the place to go with my daughter and the USA was a fabulous holiday our family enjoyed on 2018/9 and made everlasting memories.

I often wonder how I found time to work. But, in saying that, my housekeeping skills have improved since retirement. When I was working time was of the essence and several chores were not completed as regular as they should have been done.

I enjoy my own company and on long journeys love to listen to podcasts or my selection of playlists that I have downloaded onto my phone. I am happy to take myself to a restaurant for dinner alone. I find it interesting to people watch, without judgment, of course.


Thinking about this week, there has not been a day without an event happening daily. Oh well, there is always next week and I’m sure the housework won’t disappear or the grass will stop growing.

Until next blog, enjoy yourself and keep smiling.



Another form or Oral History.

How many of you listen to podcasts?

I find them great to listen to when I am in the car travelling distances. Recently, I had a 3-1/2 hour solo trip. I listened to three podcasts. The time just flew by and I was at my destination in no time.

The Podcast I listened to was Australian Seniors, Life’s Booming with James Valentine. They are very different but the same and were all from different walks of life. By that I mean, they talk about people of every day life and how their lives differ so much. It certainly made me think about how fortunate I have been throughout the decades.

Listening to those podcasts also made me aware of other people’s ‘normal’. I believe that there is no such thing as normal as every one is unique and we all do and see things differently.

The first podcast was Tod Russell, one of the two men trapped for days in an underground mine in Beaconsfield, Tasmania and how his life changed in a single second.

Another was about Christine Henry, from Allora, Queensland (the town I am familiar with) and the events that lead her to a fruitful role in life.

Rosie Batty was another outstanding story. Her son Luke was murdered by his father. My heart went out to her as she tells of her struggle in life since 2014. A remarkable woman!

Bridget Sakr lost her daughter when a driver crashed into her and her cousins. Bridget is another remarkable woman who who draws on her faith and forgave the driver who killed her child. She taught me a lot about forgiveness!

Rosemary Kariuki, a lady who came to Australia from Kenya and what a difference she has made to the community. She now works with the police and community to educate people within the diverse multi cultural country we live. Her laughter is so contagious!

Tim Baker, a journalist, surfer and family man diagnosed with stage four cancer and how he has survived the diagnosis. A couragous man!

This is just one podcast station. Over time I have listened to podcasts on photography, genealogy, DNA, cooking. You name it, there is a podcast out there for you.

Most people have mobile phones today where podcasts are available to listen to when travelling by car, plane, train or boat. Download them to your device if you are going somewhere remote where wifi or the internet is not available.

That’s my view on podcasts and I think they have given me a better understanding of who I am and how we all deal with life challenges uniquely.

Don’t forget about your life! It is important to preserve your story for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and future generations.

I am very fortunate to have a recording of my maternal grandmother who was in Prince of Wales Hospital whilst recovering from a leg amputation, when a news channel was interviewing the wonderful work the nurses carried out and how they were understaffed. She was interviewed and our family can still listen to her voice and her beautiful laugh. Due to the technological age we live in, the recording has been shared around to her grandchildren. Her great grandchildren and future generations are now privileged to see her in an almost real live situation.

I also have a recording of my father. You can read about that in a previous post, Oral History back in September, 2022.


So, don’t hesitate in making a recording of your children, parents, uncles and aunts. Once they are deceased, you may recall ‘what’ they have said but their voice will fade over time.

Oral history is part of family history research. It is just as important as the names and dates.


The Living Years

Photo by Kaique Rocha on

Say it loud, say it clear, you can listen as well as you hear. Because it’s too late, it’s too late when we die. To admit we don’t see eye to eye.

Mike + The mechanics – 1988

It’s raining again, here on the South Coast of New South Wales. I was driving to the shop to get some comfort food as I have been stuck indoors for the past few days.

A song came on the radio that I had heard several times before. I have sung the words but the words had never really penetrated my subconsciousness. I just sang it! How many of us do that? I hear songs on the radio and I can sing them word for word but once it has ended, I can’t even remember the tune, let alone the words.

Well, not today! This song – The living Years by Mike + The Mechanics was released in 1988. No wonder I know the words! It’s an oldie.

You can find the lyrics and the song on YouTube or Google.

“You must always do what ‘you’ think is right”
Vidal Sassoon.

William Matuist or is it Mathews?

My 2 x great-grandfather is a bit of a mystery and a brick wall.

The family legend has it that he was born in Germany, married in England, had 3 children, his wife died and he migrated to Queensland around 1875.

In 1876 he married my 2 x great grandmother, Sarah Curry, and lived happily ever after. But…………. I have not been able to trace him by his German name as I believe the way it is spelt is the interpretation of his accent. So my search goes on.

Oh! He was naturalised in December 1876 and changed his name from Matuist to Mathews/Matthews. Or is it Matuist?

Let me know if you can decipher this, please.

I just purchased a marriage certificate from the QLD BDM online site. I had a choice of purchasing

1. Historical Marriage Source Image or

2. Marriage Image.

What’s the difference?

No. 1. is the document completed at the place and time of the marriage.

No. 2 is the Information supplied by No. 1 to the registry for the Marriage certificate documentation.

I also discovered why the bridegroom did not state his mother’s name. In pencil, at the bottom of the Historical Marriage Source Image was written: “Bridegroom has no recollection of his mother, she having died while he was an infant.”

Well, that’s new information to add to the records.

This is the Historical Certificate of Marriage compiled at time and place of marriage.
Purchased 2022

I now have 3 different copies of the above marriage certificate.

The first one was purchased from QLD BDM back in 1978 which is a typed certificate from information retrieved from the register.

Nothing about his previous name on this Certified Marriage Certificate. Purchased in 1978.

The next one was purchased from QLD BDM in 2003. This one was a scanned copy of the register. In the margin, it states the bridegroom changed his name 11 months after his marriage.

Marriage Certificate purchased in 2003 and here we have the name Matuist!
Or is it?

We know William married Sarah Curry in 1876 at Bowen Terrace, Brisbane on 14 January 1876. Their first child, Edward – my 2 x great grandfather, was born 30 November 1876. On 22 December, William filed for his naturalisation. This is when he could legally change his name as per his marriage information.

My next question is ‘why did he change his name and become naturalised?’ So, I looked at the newspapers for 1875 to see what was happening in the world.

It seems that Germany was preparing for war and was conscripting Germans men between the age of 18 to 40 years old. At this time, William was 38 years old and of German heritage. Perhaps he felt threatened! Perhaps he thought he may have been deported.

Apps Voyage 1839, Australia, Blogs, Brooklands, Brooklands, Kent, Camden Park, Convict, Family History, Genealogy, Kent, Royal George, William APPS

William Apps – England to Australia

Clipper Route from England to Australia. Credit to The Floating Brothel by Sian Rees. found on
Clipper Routes – the voyage of the convict ship, the Lady Julian to Sydney Cove, Australia arriving in 1790 via Tenerife, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Cape Town. (The Floating Brothel by Sian Rees)

Which William Apps are you researching?

In 2013 I purchased a book from a family history society operating in the area where my forebears originally settled when they arrived in Australia. There were at least three William Apps’ living in the Camden area. As I had prior knowledge of two of these Williams’, I noticed some errors. I made a trip to the area and was fortunate enough to speak to one of the authors of the book and mentioned the error. Unfortunately, the co author was not very interested.

My next step was the ensure this error was not continued down the line so I decided to document my findings and send it to the Secretary of the family history society so they could at least have this information in their files for future research.

My findings below:- Note: it will be easier to read this information in conjunction with the dropdown chart below.

Correction to entries on page 17 ‘They Worked At Camden Park’ produced by Camden Historical Society.

APPS, William. [3] b Brooklands, Kent, England c. 1812; arr free “Washington Irving” 05/08/1857 Labourer, farmer; d Menangle 24/01/1886 bur St John’s C/E Camden. Wife: Maria (Blundell nee Brooker). as per page 17 (should be: arrived 1839 “Cornwall”)

  • According to the shipping records for vessel “Washington Irving” arriving Sydney in 1857, William APPS [5] was 21 years old (b1836) and had an Uncle William Apps [3] in Camden. [NSWSA Reel 2138 4/4794; Reel 2476 4/4972]
  • The above William APPS [3] married 26 July 1855 in York Street Chapel, Sydney. [V1855 11 124]
  • The above *William APPS [3] is the Uncle referred to by William Apps [5], Shepherd, onboard “Washington Irving” 1857.
  • Both William [3] and Maria/Mary APPS are buried in St John’s Cemetery, Camden – Grave A127 – the same grave as William APPS [4] 1822-1870. In Grave A126 Thomas BLUNDELL – Maria’s,first husband is buried.
  • The above William APPS [3] is more than likely the APPS Snr. in the 1875 Electoral Roll with a lease at Razorback and his nephew/step son in law more likely to be William APPS [5] Jnr.
  • APPS William (Jnr.) b Camden 28/09/1856; Known 1875 Electoral Roll lease Upper Camden; Lease 1800s, 112 acres 83 cleared, £30 yearly; d Botany 22/06/1908; Wife: Annie (CHANNELL). This is the son of William Apps [4].
  • William APPS (1856-1908) Son of William Apps [4]would not have attained the age of 21 years to be eligible to vote in 1875. He married Annie CHANNELL 10 March 1883 [NSW BDM 4090/1883] and moved to Sydney.
  • All their children were born in Sydney between 1883-1897. Therefore, I do not think he would have held a lease in Camden in 1880s.

APPS, William (Snr.)

b Horsmonden, Kent, England 08/01/1822; arrived free “Royal George” 10/3/1839; Stock Keeper, known 1851-1852; Lease 80.5 acres Razorback 1860; Known 1875 Electoral Roll lease Great South Road near Razorback; Butcher; d Menangle 25/11/1870 bur St. John’s C/E Camden;; Wife; Mary (DAVIS); Children: Jane, Mary, William.

(Note: This is more likely to be William Apps [5] nephew/step son-in law of William Apps [3].)

Compiled by Maggie Hope – May 2020 p.1

  • William APPS [4] married Mary DAVIS in 1847 [NSW BDM V1847 573 32C] at Camden, died November 1870 [NSW BDM 3171/1870] at Menangle and his probate was proved in December 1873. Therefore, he would not be known as the above in the 1875 Electoral Roll.
  • His death certificate states that William APPS (1822-1870) occupation was a Butcher. Cause of death: From a fit to which he was subject as per report after inquest held at Menangle on the 25th November 1870.
  • His children as per his death certificate: David b 1849, Jane b 1851, Mary b 1853, William b 1856, Elizabeth b 1859, Ann born 1861- living. John born 1848 died 1856.
  • William [4] is buried a St John’s Cemetery, Camden in Grave A127. The same grave that William [3]and Maria/Mary APPS are buried. APPS, William [5] b 1836 Brooklands, Kent, England arrived “Washington Irving” 1857 [NSWSA Reel 2138 4/4794; Reel 2476 4/4972] parents Thomas & Ann, stated he had an Uncle William living at Camden. His Uncle was William APPS [3] (1812-1886).

• In 1859 at Camden William APPS [5](1836-1912) married Emily Jane BLUNDELL (1839-1911). Emily is the daughter of Maria/Mary nee BROOKER and Thomas BLUNDELL (1805-1853). After Thomas’ death Maria/Mary married William APPS [3](1812- 1886); i.e., Emily Jane’s Stepfather.

Additional information on William APPS’ found on Camden CD.

APPS, William Thomas.[6] Son of William APPS [5](1836-1912) and Emily Jane BLUNDELL (1839-1911). He was born at Cawdor 9 March 1862 and died at Razorback in 14 June 1929. William Thomas APPS [6] married Evangeline Jane DOMINISH (1862-1951) in December 1891 at Cawdor.

The above is likely to be William APPS [6]Jnr., who is referred to as having the lease in Upper Campen and is noted in the 1875 Electoral Roll.

APPS, William.

Son of William APPS & Philadelphia FOOTS born 8 July 1835 Brede Sussex, England. He died 1911 at Young. He arrived in Sydney with his parents and siblings 26 October 1839 onboard “Florist”. He married Julia BUTCHERS (1841-1913) April 1841 at Narellan. They had a child William Charles APPS born 1860 at “Gledswood” Camden. By 1864 they had moved to Goulburn then onto Young.

Compiled by Maggie Hope – May 2020 p.2


Below is a drop down-chart I have compiled defining the William Apps’ I have researched:-


I may add there is another William Apps that is a convict and to date, I have not made a connection to our family. See below:-

Please, if you find any errors in my research, do not hesitate to contact me at hopemargatgmaildotcom

The above can be very confusing. please read and refer to the dropdown chart for clarity.

You may wish to refer to my previous post The Saga of Six William Apps


Charles Gordon Parker

Charles Gordon PARKER

My maternal grandmothers brother.

11 June 1900- 28 November 1938

Charles PARKER was the fourth son and seventh child to Thomas PARKER and Jane WILLIAMS. He is my grandmother’s brother, my great uncle. I never met Charlies. Actually, I didn’t even know of him until I began my family research. As usual, I wanted to find out as much information I could on my maternal grandmother’s family. They were so interesting and every turn I made I seemed to unearth another story of another ancestor.
In 2019 I received my Diploma of Family History from University of Tasmania. During the Writing Family History unit I had to write a story about an ancestor. I chose Charley because I had recently found information about his death. He married, but did not have any children. Therefore, Charley may not be known by any living person today. Charlie needs recognition, so here is the story I wrote about Charles Gordon PARKER born 11 June 1900 at Carcoar, NSW, married Mary Veronica DOHERTY on 15 December 1920 at the NSW Registry Office in Sydney. Sadly, his wife died 15 October 1938 at Kogarah Hospital, Sydney and Charlie died forty four days later on 28 November 1938.
He Couldn’t See the Forest for the Trees!
By Margaret Hope 2018

As Charley shoulders hunched and his head slumped, he began sobbing as he watched his wife slowly succumb to a lifeless existence. He wanted to hold her hand forever. How could he live without her?
He didn’t know how long he had been by her side when a nurse came and took his wife’s cold hand from his grip when he heard a soft, compassionate voice say “Mr Parker, I am so sorry, but we have to take her now. Can I get you a cup of tea?” He bent down to kiss his wife on the forehead, stroked her blonde hair, knowing that this would be his final touch, he sobbed uncontrollably. The nurse gently took his elbow and ushered him into another room. He doesn’t remember how long he was alone, but his thoughts were interrupted when the nurse returned with a cup of tea. “I don’t know what to do now! My life will be so empty without her; it was just us, no babies, just us. What do I do now?” “Go home and rest Mr Parker, and in the morning, you need to go and see the Undertaker and organise her funeral” replied the nurse.
As he sauntered through the hospital corridors, his mind filled with memories of how they lived for one another, how they snuggled like a pair of spoons in bed at night. How they consulted one another about every plan. Their life was a duet! What was he going to do?
Sleep evaded him as he tossed and turned, wondering where he was going to find the money to bury his beloved Vonnie! They lived from week to week, and he hadn’t been to work for a fortnight as he didn’t want to leave Vonnie’s bedside while she fought incidious cancer in her cervix.
He must have eventually slept. He was dreaming that Vonnie was knocking at the front door when his sleep was interrupted. He threw the sheets from his body as he leapt out of bed yelling, “Alright, alright, I’m coming!” As he opened the door, he saw his landlord standing there. “I’m here to collect the rent Charley, you’re two weeks behind, and I can’t let it go any longer. You’ll have to find another place, I’m afraid”.
“Please, just give me a couple of more days. Vonnie passed away yesterday, and I have to organise her funeral today. I’ll have a cheque for you next week”. The landlord’s head dropped as he gave Charley his condolences but told him he would be back next week to pick up the rent money.

Closing the door, he walked back into the bedroom as he scratched his head. He was in such a dilemma as to how he was going to get out of this financial mess. Where could he get the money for the funeral, let alone the rent?
He found the chequebook and although he knew the bank balance was almost nil, he decided to write a cheque for the funeral and worry about where the cash would come from after he buried his wife.
Vonnie’s funeral was just a blur, the sickly scent of flowers made him feel ill. It was an occasion when Charley just wanted to curl up like a baby and sleep forever. He was lost and couldn’t think logically.
Two weeks after the landlord was rapping on the front door once again. Charley gave him a cheque for rent owed but said he didn’t have any more money to pay rent in advance. The landlord told him to find other accommodation and gave him five days to get out!
The following day Charley answered a rap on the door. There stood the Undertaker. “The bank dishonoured your cheque, Charley. You’ll need to find cash to finalise the account.” He broke down and told the Undertaker that he didn’t have the money. He said, “I don’t have a job I don’t have a wife, and I don’t have any money”. The Undertaker replied “Life goes on Charlie. You must honour your debts, I’ll see you in court”.
A few days later, the Sherriff arrived at his door with a summons to appear before the Court. The Undertaker wanted his money!
Charley just wanted to run away in the hope that he may escape this horrible life. He couldn’t see his way out. He had no money, no food. Life was not worth living!
On Monday 28th November 1938, the day before he was due in court, it was raining, and the southerly wind was blowing when Charley boarded the train late in the afternoon at Sutherland railway station. He watched the rain beating on the window, getting harder and harder as the train gathered speed. His destination was unknown. His body was numb, his heart was broken, and he was hoping this train may lead him out of his black hole.
The next day, the evening paper announced that when the official at Kogarah Court called Charley’s name, a Detective informed the Magistrate he had been killed at Central Railway Station when he fell under a train. The court papers were marked ‘defendant deceased’.
Charley left a suicide note in the band of his hat saying that he could not go on. He loved his wife and their people, and he knew they loved him, he left whatever money he had to his brother, Arthur. The last words he wrote were ‘don’t forget me’!

Maitland Daily Mercury Thursday 8 December 1938 p.10

Note: His wife had an older sister named Eliza. I have no idea who Ron was.
Another article published in Truth (Sydney, NSW : 1894 – 1954), Sunday 11 December 1938, page 15

Suicide Worried Over Money
LEAVING a farewell message in the band of his hat, Charles Gordon Parker, 38, laborer, committed suicide by diving in front of a train on November 28 last. He was almost decapitated. The City Coroner. Mr. E. T. Oram, was told that Parker had been worried over money matters, and was to have appeared at Kogarah Court on the day following his death to answer a charge of forgery. Parker’s last message read: ‘I want to say goodbye to all. Tell them I never touched that, book. Goodbye. Eliza. I love you. I loved all her people and I know they loved me, I can-not go on. Give Arthur all my money Arthur, get drunk on the day. son. don’t forget me.— Charley Parker.’
May you rest in peace Charley Parker along with your beloved Vonnie.

After reading this story, I hope you won’t forget Charley. 💞


Seeing the Beauty of the Rain

There has been a lot of sorrow since the relentless rain has devastated many peoples lives. For the sanity of humanity there is still beauty that surrounds us.

No mud, no lotus,

Both suffering and happiness are of an organic nature, which means they are both transitory; they are always changing. The flower, when it wilts, becomes the compost. The compost can help grow a flower again. Happiness is also organic and impermanent by nature. It can become suffering and suffering can become happiness again.

Thich Nhat Hanh


The Simple Things

Whilst standing at the sink washing the dishes memories flood back as I pick up the jug and immerse it into the suds.  It’s just a microwave jug with fluid measurements along the inside wall.  I turn it upside down to investigate the creator of this vessel. There is no brand name, place of creation or anything else identifying the vessel.  It is just a jug!

The Jug

Whilst holding this jug my mind is taken back to several years ago when my father lived on the hill in Warwick. In my mind, I can see the pantry door open and Dad getting out the Deb Instant Mashed Potato packet and placing the contents in the jug with some water, placing it in the microwave, closing the door and pressing the buttons for the desired time to cook. Beep, beep, beep, beep!

Oh, how he loved his Deb!  “The best thing since sliced bread,” he told me so often.  

He enjoyed cooking and he loved a quick and easy recipe.  His fruit cake made with just a few ingredients including chocolate milk was one of his favourites.  He also had a treasured signed book from the 4 Ingredients authors that he used on several occasions too. Yes, that one I have also.  

I remember when Dad went into care my sister and I had the job of clearing out Dad’s house which was opposite the racetrack at Warwick and when I opened the bottom cupboard and saw the jug, I put my hand on it and said to my sister, “ I want that jug!”

It’s just a 1.3-litre microwave jug but it was something my father used often. It was an object he favoured. I had to have it! It doesn’t sit on a shelf as a monument to my father. It lives in the bottom cupboard with the mixing bowls and gets used often. Every time it is used it creates memories of Dad and Deb! 

When a loved one is no longer with you it is comforting to have an object that they used to create those good-time memories that allow you to become reminiscent of that person’s being. 

Do you have a valueless piece of something that belonged to a loved one that is treasured?


Rosenia Maud/e Webber nee Matthews

Rosenia Maud/e Webber 1875 – 1927

Recently I was asked a qestion by my Aunty, about her grandmother, Rosina, as we called her.

This prompted me to dig a little deeper and document my findings for prosterity. Although I knew quite a bit about her, through research and information handed down by our past family historian Aunty Jan and other tid bits I had discovered but not really documented. So, the question asked pushed me to the keyboard!

Below you will find:

  • Documentation detailing my research.
  • A copy of Deeds to Lot 31 Government Road, Mascot – the property Rosenia Maude Matthews purchased in 1912 and details of her mortgage.
  • Rosenia’s Last Will & Testament dated three months prior her demise.
  • Rosenia and Edward’s Family Portrait taken in 1926.
  • Newspaper article published in Milton Ulladulla – The Times, Wednesday December 9, 2009.

This photo was taken in 1926, prior to Rosina’s death in March 1927.
I believe all the dresses were made by Rosina and family.