Jul 222012
Due to the Second World War, my Grandmother Myrtle stayed living with her mother, Violet Weeks, in Violet’s house on the corner of Craig and Cochrane Streets, Red Hill even after her marriage to  William George Busby in 1939. 
Corner of Cochrane and Craig Streets, Red Hill

My Grand-Aunt Gladys and her husband Walter Trost also lived in the house so my mother, born in January 1940, had plenty of relatives at home. Walter was in a reserved occupation and did not go away.

While her husband William was away, in Darwin then New Guinea and Borneo, Grandma worked towards the idea of a home of their own with their daughter, Violet, my mother.

You have heard of girls putting together a Glory Box ready for their marriage? 

Well my Grandmother put together a Glory House!

While William was away, Myrtle gradually put on lay-by furniture, and utensils ready for their new home. She used a firm, Trittons,  which was well known in Brisbane, but which sadly no longer exists

Among the treasures Mum and I have inherited were lots of lay-by receipts like the one below.

Grandma made regular payments off items for their future: a bedroom suite, a kitchen dresser and table and more.

Ready for time after the war when they could be a family together in their own home.

It took time after the war. Getting yourself back into civilian life was not easy. Granddad was trying to find out if he could take over the payments of the house which had been lost when his father had an accident but that was not successful. (This is a whole other story that I still need to do further research upon.)

In 1949, this deposit was paid on 1 James Street, Fortitude Valley. The house was owned by William’s uncle Edward Courtenay and it was to become William and Myrtle’s family home for the rest of their lives.

Jul 222012

Thanks to Alona for thinking of this Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge  I am continuing, a bit late, with F.
My Grandfather, William George Busby, loved his football. 

He attended all the home games and listened every weekend (in fact most of the weekend, even when he was in the garden with his beloved roses he had the transistor radio blaring the game) to all the other games.

He followed the Fortitude Valley Team known as the Diehards although they were generally just known as Valleys.

I am sure modern supporters would like to pay $1.50 for a Grand Final ticket!
As part of his football fever he played the Courier Mail’s  Find the Ball competition every week.  A photo was published of a moment in a game with the image of the ball removed. You had to guess where the ball was to win a weekly prize. The prize was quite good, as was generally over a thousand pounds. 

Finally in the week 30 October 1954 he hit the jackpot! That week the prize would be

As you can imagine there was lots of excitement in the house with plans being made as to what to buy.

There was only one slight problem:

So his share was only 127 pounds, still a nice windfall but not the jackpot for which he had been hoping!

The dreams had to be reined in a bit but he did use the money to buy Grandma a nice watch!

Feb 162012

Courier Mail 20 February 1942
William George Busby
Seeing this Courier Mail headline 20th February 1942, you can imagine his Brisbane based wife Myrtle’s extreme worry for the husband that she had last seen 25th January 1941. She knew  he was with the 20th Platoon E Machine Gun Company 19th Battalion based in Parap, Darwin as he had been a regular correspondent.
I don’t know how long she had to wait to receive this letter.
Pte WG Busby
20thPlatoon E (MG) Coy
19thBattalion Darwin
20thFebruary 1942
Dear Myrtle,
Just a few lines to let you know that I am still OK. I heard that the mail will be going any old way now so am writing to you tonight just in case it goes tomorrow. By the time you receive this you will know we have had an air raid and because of it the mail will not run to time. It may go tonight or it may not go for a week or two. I did not like to send a telegram, as when you received it, you would have taken about six fits and I didn’t want that. So I think a letter would be much better for everybody.
When the raid started we were out on a working party, we saw a lot of planes and before you could say ‘Jack Robinson’ we had disappeared and stayed hidden until all was over.
What with A.A guns firing, bombs dropping and planes roaring all over the sky, the noise was like fifty trains blowing off steam and blowing their whistles all at once.
After all the noise had gone and everything was quiet it was great fun talking about how we felt while the raid was on. Well, I for one had the wind up properly, but after it was over I was fine again but while it was on I hugged the ground pretty close.
Then after, we came back to camp had a wash, had tea, we were told there was a free picture show on at the church army hut so what started as a bad day finished up all OK and as the saying goes, all’s well that ends well. I cannot say more than I have already said as we are not allowed to tell any rumours because you cannot say too much or too little after things like that.
So Toots keep your chin up and do not believe any rumours down there. I and all my cobbers are all OK and still smiling. Above all don’t believe too much of what you read in the papers, because they have to sell their papers and they will print anything in them. 
Remember I am thinking of you as much as you are thinking of me. Cheerio darling until I write again and that will be as soon as possible.
Hoping this finds you in the best of health as it finds me at the top at present.
With lots of love from your loving husband Bill. xxxxxxxxxxxx
PS. Give my love to Pansy and family xxxxx
For Tuppence xxxxxx
My Grandmother had had heart troubles which is one reason he was worried about the telegram as receiving a telegram in war time was a traumatic event. 
I am very lucky in that I inherited about 200 letters from my Grandfather written to my Grandmother during WW2. He was based in Darwin then New Guinea then Borneo. The censor was very active and a number of William’s letters have been carefully excised of information. A couple have had whole paragraphs removed. Information was scarce for the people involved in the action as well as the people at home. All news released to the newspapers had to be cleared by the censors.
The bombing on the 19th was the start of over 60 attacks on Darwin (other areas in the North were also attacked) over 21 months. The actual casualty figures from the bombing were not released for quite a while (initially it was stated that only 17 people died) and even today there is discussion about what the total really was. 
Officially today 243 people were killed while some historians have estimated between 500-1000. My Grandfather always said many more people were killed than were officially reported.
We are lucky today in our research as a lot more information is available to us. I have William’s service records, not that they give any detail of the bombing. 
I have downloaded the units diaries which are available online from the Australian War Memorial as PDF files, the below is the detail from the War Diary for the Unit for the 19th February.
From AWM Item Num 8/3/58 19 February 1942

2012 is the 70th Anniversary  of the bombing and there is a lot going on. http://www.frontlineaustralia.com.au/  gives information about events and links to further information.  

 A book has been published: ‘An Awkward Truth. The bombing of Darwin, Febuary 1942’ by Peter Grose gives a lot of detail particularly about the political decisions at the time.
Jan 182012

My Grandfather, William George Busby, served in World War 2 and was based in Darwin at the time it was bombed in 1942. The bombing continued from 19 February 1942 to November 1943. Darwin was bombed 64 times during this period. 

Other areas also bombed were Townsville, Katherine, Wyndham, Derby, Broome and Port Hedland.

William is the only son of George Howard Busby and had a long interest in the military. He had joined the militia between the wars. I was able to access his between the wars service record online at the National Archives of Australia NAA: B4747, BUSBY/WILLIAM GEORGE

Militia Form obtained from Australian National Archives

I  have his WW2 service records although these are not available online. William also served in New Guinea and Borneo. 
William wrote regular letters to his wife Myrtle and I am lucky enough to have inherited many of these letters (over 200). The plan, when I have time, is to transcribe the letters. 
William’s handwriting was not the most legible and my experience in reading Doctors’ handwriting over many years will be very useful!
This is one of the letters dated 1 August 1942 and this one has been very lightly censored in comparison to some of the others! William may not have thought too much about the phrase ‘Loose Lips Sink Ships”
I suspect this may be an even longer job than I had first thought!
Q70473 Mr W Busby
21 Platoon E( ?)Coy
19 Aust Inf Bn
Australia 1 Aug 1942
Dear Myrtle,
Just a few lines to let you know that I received your welcome letter  last night. I have a spare moment so I am writing this.
Well, Toots, we are back from another walkabout.
This time we went to […..] and had a bit of excitement.  We left here on Wednesday afternoon by truck arrived in the [….. ] about tea time.
After tea, we bunked down for the night about half past four on Thursday morning , the Japs came over and we watched them bomb the […..].
After it was all over we rolled over and went back to sleep. We got up at six o’clock, stand to till seven then had breakfast. About twelve o’clock we started to attack […..] so off we went. Our first target was the […..] we took it, we just got past it and the place was bombed again, nobody was hurt. So the game went on we mounted our guns and stayed where we were. About a quarter past three on Friday morning we left there and off we went to [……], took the town had breakfast and watched for the trucks to come and take us back to camp.
Now there is another watch about coming off now, and oh boy is she going to be a long one. I’ll say it fast I may not be able to write next week. The arm goes to sleep, ?? I carry the rifle that side, it is Ok otherwise. I seem to be in the news as everybody is asking after me.
So poor old grammie (?) is just about to go, well the poor old soul has had a hard life. I don’t see the old man taking that job as he likes his bed.
What unit are they in as I cannot place the names.
Well Toot I will have to close now, as I have run out of news.
Hoping this finds you in the best of health as it leaves me at the top at present. With lots of love from your loving husband, Bill xxxx xxxxxxxx  To Tuppence xxxxx
PS Give my love to ??? and family Bill xxxx
(Toots is William’s name for his wife and Tuppence is his daughter, 17 months old at this time)

Dec 252011
The above card is from the early 1900s and was sent from Mary Christensen in the USA to her parents in Brisbane Australia. It is very colourful and pretty.

Another pretty card is this one  from Lucy Rollason’s niece in London again from the early 1900s.
Christmas is a time for families, for friends near and far away and for thinking of a better world.

It is also a time to think and pray for our servicemen and servicewomen especially those who are far away from home and their loved ones. So below is the postcard sent as a Christmas Card sent from Darwin by my Grandfather William George Busby to his wife Myrtle Christmas 1941. 

Sep 052011
Part of the Postcard Album Collection
I have been very lucky as I inherited a number of boxes of documents from my Grandmother, Myrtle Doris Busby nee Weeks, when she died in 2001.

Among these documents are many, many letters from her husband William George Busby when he was on service during World War Two which ranged from Darwin during the bombing in 1942 to New Guinea to Borneo.

2012 is the 70th Anniversary of that event.

My grandfather could  have been a doctor if the quality of writing was the only criteria! One day I will sit down and start transcribing them but not today, although I hope to have some done by the Anniversary of the bombing of Darwin.
Today I am interested in what I am going to do with some postcard albums. Postcard collecting was a popular past-time. There were many different types including local scenes, pretty puppies and kittens, film stars, embossed patterns, celebrating occasions such as Christmas and Easter. and sentimental poetry.
As a family historian what is even more interesting is that the postcards are almost the Twitter of the day as you had to write on them in the restricted space available so less than a letter but still potentially full of genealogical information.
Brisbane Central Station about 1910
I have a number of albums from three of my female ancestors, my grandmother Violet Busby nee Weeks, great-grandmother Violet Weeks nee Rollason and great-great grandmother Lucy Rollason nee Evans.
The first important thing to do was to photograph each page to ensure I had a record of where the cards had been put. These albums are a bit different to a photograph album in that, it is not unusual for the pages to be themed, such as butterflies together, rather than simply in date order. In one album I had ten cards ranging in date from 1909 to 1930 on the same page, the theme was cute kittens.
Happy Eastertide 1912
Dating the Postcard
Check the date written or the postmark if the postcard was posted to get an idea of date.
Another way is to determine the approximate date is by the value of the attached stamp or by the design on the back of the postcard. Dating the postcards when your ancestor hasn’t can be approximated by style of the card such as whether the back is divided into an address field and writing area, copyright date and there are some sites which can help such as this postcard site  Another way is to determine the approximate date is by the value of the attached stamp
The style of card can change depending on the country of origin so that is worth keeping in mind if you are using this to get a date.
There are clubs devoted to postcard collectors so it is worth doing a Google search. Here is  a Queensland club whose pages have some great early Brisbane images.
Used as a Christmas card 1941
So my plans for the postcards?

Well serendipity has played a part as I have just made contact with a descendant of my great-grandmother’s sister who had emigrated to the USA in 1904. 

So I am setting up a blog where I will be sharing Mary’s postcards with my new-found cousin and showing the amazing variety of these postcards to the world (well at least the select few who care to read the blog!)