Many years after my mother died, I came into possession of a number of folders in which she had researched our family history. Done by hand, the folders contain charts, faded letters and postage stamps, articles, convict records, marriage and death certificates, and much more.
It’s taken a long time to bring my attention to these, but as I sit in my apartment in New York City, restricted under COVID-19, and with America reckoning with racial justice, I look to myself to ask what is my role in this. And one role tells me to acknowledge my own past.
My ancestors were among the first colonists to come to Australia, mostly as convicts and then freed people. The content here focuses on my maternal grandmother’s line. These are the Greens, Bell’s, Gibbon’s and Cochrane / Carr’s. The families were mostly located in Sydney, Bathurst, and Bourke.
In creating this History Writing Project, my aims are:
To share the information with friends, family and those interested;
My mother was a china painter in the Blue Mountains and I am looking for any information people can offer on this group of women between the 1970s-mid 1990s.
To bring to light the unheard stories of the women in my line.
To acknowledge the history of the Aboriginal people whom my ancestors directly or indirectly committed crimes against.
TOP IMAGE: My mother (looking at me) with her women’s painting group in our home. Grandmother (Joan Davy) is by her knee. In an attempt to replicate my mother’s artistry, I drew black circles using permanent marker on mum’s wall painting. That’s why the couch is up against it.
SIDE IMAGE: My grandmother, Joan Davy (nee Carr)