Feb 032016

When researching you have to keep rerunning your searches in the various databases that are being added to constantly.

We all know and love Trove which is full of treasures. The site is more than just newspapers with photos, theses and much much more.

My treasure yesterday was from a paper. New papers are being added and kind volunteers are correcting the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) which can be a bit variable depending on font and age of paper.

My George Howard Busby was in the 15th Battalion that landed on Gallipoli on the 25th April.

I found this letter snippet (wish it had all been printed!)

Like a Hailstorm
The following is an extract from a letter received by Mrs G.H. Busby, James Street Kingsholme from her husband (Mr George Busby) who at the time of writing was laid up at Courtaulds Hospital, Coventry: –
 “You will know by now that the Australians got a terrible cutting up. Bullets were flying around like a hailstorm. While we were landing the water was white with shrapnel shell. Whole boatloads of men were blown up and sometimes a boat would come ashore without a man alive in it. There were six killed in the boat I was in – one was sitting next to me. I got three bullets through the pocket of my coat, but they did not touch me. We had to jump out of the boats up to our necks in water and make a bayonet charge. The Turks do not like cold steel. I was in for nine days before I got hit so I had a good run for my money. If it had not been for the battleships we would never have been able to hold the position. It was a great sight to see their shells bursting among the Turks. They would be coming up in close formation , a couple of shots would come over from the ships and what was left of the Turks would be running for their lives.”

STORY OF THE WAR. (1915, August 24). Daily Standard (Brisbane, Qld. : 1912 – 1936), p. 4 Edition: SECOND EDITION. Retrieved February 2, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article179903211

Apr 132013

For those who have been following me the name George Howard Busby will be very familiar!

He is my great-grandfather and was the reason I started researching my family history back in 1986 trying to answer a query from my Mother. 

There had been a family split and she had never known her grandfather and she wanted to see a photo of him . 

His funeral notice seen two hours after his funeral showed he had been living for the previous twelve months within 20km of the family.

I have written about him a number of times before: here, here and here as he was a very interesting person who seems to know I am looking for him. He drop hints and snippets of information here and there to keep the chase interesting.

I did manage to find a picture of George in the Queenslander. 

This was back in the days before we had our wonderful digitised papers on Trove.

It was thanks to the fantastic Library staff at the John Oxley library in Brisbane. They had indexed the photos of servicemen leaving for World War 1 in the Queenslander and had written them up on a card index. 

I had come across another photo of George in a group shot of the Queensland Ambulance transport Brigade but George was not able to be distinguished as he was standing in the shadows.

I have a Google alert for George and regularly run searches for him.

Luckily Busby is not that common a name so searching as Busby, GH Busby, Busby GH, Busby G, G Busby, George Busby isn’t that difficult.
(Remember to search all variations of the name as names can show differently in lists,)

Today I struck pure gold as TWO images showed in a search.

15th Battalion 4th Brigade Military Band Ennogera Camp 1914

The image had the  names listed but not in any particular order. So I reviewed the image and picked this gentleman out as my George

In a newspaper report which mentioned that George was a drum-major in the 15th Battalion.

I was pretty happy about this and then looked at the second image.

This one is not as sharp but has a major advantage as the individual names had been written around the photo.

15th Battalion 4th Brigade Military Band Ennogera Camp 1914


So the next thing to do when I can get an afternoon off is to visit the John Oxley Library to see the originals and buy good copies.

These are both wonderful finds and prove the old adage of never giving up!

It is a shame that my Mother passed on last year and wasn’t here to share in the joy of this discovery but I am sure she is observing from above. Maybe she has even had a chance to meet her Grandfather at last.

Jan 252012
Shelley, of    Twigs of Yore  has issued another exciting invitation to bloggers with Australian roots to celebrate Australia Day, 2012 Wealth for Toil

To participate, choose someone who lived in Australia (preferably one of your ancestors) and tell us how they toiled. Your post should include:

  1. What was their occupation? 
  2. What information do you have about the individual’s work, or about the occupation in general?
  3. The story of the person, focusing on their occupation; or
    The story of the occupation, using the person as an example. 
Responses may be as long or short as you like, and as narrow or broad as you wish.

I spent some time thinking about occupations, what they can mean and how that meaning can change over the years, how people stayed with an occupation and how sometimes it took a while to find your occupation.
My William Busby was a stonemason and I have spoken before about him.  He came from a long line of stonemasons. 
William Busby
Caskey Memorial
When he first emigrated he got a job as an Inspector of Works with the Brisbane Council which still related to stonework. After being dismissed from that job (for rudeness per the report in the paper. I still have to do some research and see if I can gain access to the Council minutes). He worked as a monumental mason and did this until his retirement from work and then death in 1928. After winning the design competition for the Caskey Memorial he made a number of very large ornate memorials.

So he was a tradesman and kept to his trade.

His son, George Howard Busby never went into the stonemason business, the reason for this is unknown although I have my suspicions that George had a bit of a taste for adventure.

George had joined the 1st Queensland Regiment, a militia force in Queensland, pre-Federation. He did not got to the Boer War with the official Queensland Contingent, perhaps because he was too young as was only 16 in 1900. However per his World War 1 enlistment papers he served in the Cape Mounted Rifles, during the Boer War, a group that was established in South Africa. I am having trouble confirming this enlistment as so far we have found no records in South Africa but I live in hope.

Also on his WW1 papers he said he had served in the New Guinea Police, again currently I have not been able to confirm this but am still looking.  
In this time period before WW1 he joins the Fire Brigade and was based at the Fortitude Valley Station. He gave evidence at inquiry into the Overells department store in February 1904. A body was found in the burnt-out building and and an inquiry was held as the owner felt that the Brigades response was too slow. 

George was a member of the Brigade for a few years, long enough to get a tattoo of crossed axes and helmet which was listed on his WW1 records which gave me the clue to start looking for his employment information. Ken Capell co-author of Brisbane Ablaze was able to give me some information about the working conditions. 

As a brigade member they were required to stay onsite and as George got married in 1904. He is listed in the electoral Roll for 1905 as a fireman. I can understand why he did not stay in the job too many years post marriage. We believe he left sometime in 1906-7 as he is not listed in the 1907 employment list.

George completed a st John’s First Aid course in 1909 which was a requirement to be in the Ambulance service. I have this certificate but it didn’t mean anything in particular until I found in Trove that George had his service terminated with the ambulance Brigade in January 1911. 

In the 1913 electoral roll he is listed as being an engineer

In 1914 when he joins up he is listed as being a motor-mechanic. He goes to Gallipoli and that story has been told.   

He was wounded at Gallipoli and returned to Australia as being unfit for further military service. He then acted as a recruiting sergeant around the southern half of Queensland.

After the war George is listed as being an engine driver in the electoral rolls. This would have been a stationary engine driver rather than a railway engine. He had completed his steam ticket certification. I don’t know where George was employed.

I do know that George also was into photography and supplied photos to the Brisbane Courier. I do not know whether this was a freelancer or as an paid member of staff. In 1920 George obtained a Press Photographers pass on the occasion of the Prince of Wales’ visit. I have a letter from the Prince of Wales’ secretary thanking George for the photos he had sent.
It took George a fair while to determine what occupation he was going to follow but he did stay in that until after the Second World war when he splits from his family and ends up in Bundaberg as a fisherman

It is interesting to compare William and George’s experience with modern times when it is almost expected that people will have four to five career changes in their working life.

These changes are not like Richard John Rollason’s  forced career change in 1863 when he changed from being a silk ribbon weaver to a labourer as his profession did not exist in Queensland.

Sep 162011
I am hoping that someone may be able to identify the uniforms/badges in this photo.

Is this possibly around 1930’s? Possibly 26th Battalion?
I believe it may possibly be a photo of the 26th Battalion which George joined in 1930 and re-engaged in 1933 Militia record at National Archive.
I base the probability of this date simply on the number of men who appear to be wearing service ribbons and their approximate age. This photo was found in a box of treasures among George’s possessions that I inherited from my grandmother along with the below photo. Both have the same backing and look as though they were taken at the same time.
I am hoping that some knowledgeable person may be able to enlighten me further about possible dates for these photos.
George’s  Background
George Howard Busby was born in Brisbane in 1884 to William and Anne, George grew up around Toowong where his father was a monumental mason. He married Nora Courtenay and had three children.
George enlisted 29 September 1914, eight weeks after war was declared, into the 15th Battalion 4th Infantry Brigade at the Exhibition Grounds Brisbane. The personal details in his enlistment papers (available online at the National Archives) were fantastic: 5 foot 7, fair complexion and grey eyes. Under distinctive marks: on left arm tattoo fireman’s helmet and two crossed axes (which clue led to more research) and a bullet wound (scar) over left knee (not what I was expecting).
The other really interesting information given in his enlistment papers was his previous military service:
2 years 1st Qld Regt (Moreton) (confirmed by Queensland Govt gazette)
1 year 3 months Cape Mounted Rifles (unable to confirm at this stage)
3 Years New Guinea Police (unable to confirm at this stage)
3 months 8th Infantry (Oxley) (Confirmed by National Archives and also have a badge)
There is still more to be found out about his previous military service.
George was wounded at Gallipoli  and was sent to Edgbaston Hospital in Birmingham then to Epsom then to Courtauld’s Hospital in Coventry before coming home to be discharged. he then spent the rest of the war as a recruiting sergeant.