Sometimes life takes you in unexpected directions. Well it feels unexpected, but in some ways, like there is some kind of draw to back full circle as well.
I only lived in my place of birth, Fern Tree Gully, Melbourne, until I was about four years old. My immediate family then moved to Queensland. In my teen years I very much missed out on getting to know the extended Melbourne based family.
I knew a bit about them and I have been working on a family tree for my late fathers side of the family. But I don’t know them and they don’t know me. Most of both sides of the family only know what my Mother tells them about me and I rarely know what is going on in their lives. The lines of communication have been closed for many years and I am not really sure why.
There is a part of me that wants to reconnect with family here, but a part that wonders if I am too different, too strange. I am in no way like anything I know my family to be.
Another part of living here fascinates me more than the family connections and that is the history. Particularly the places Dad would talk to me about. His childhood.
His time at Collingwood tech. His apprenticeship at WL Ryan and Sons at 590 Elizabeth Street in 1939 (he is pictured above – sitting in the foreground on the box at the back of the workshop).
I still have his letter of reference from WL Ryan written in 1949. I have searched for the premises, but they have been replaced with a modern building. But I will go for a look and I am thinking about taking Dad’s old apprenticeship papers to the Victorian Museum for safe keeping. They have some photos of inside the workshop, so they might be interested in his documents to add to the collection.
I am performing comedy in September in North Fitzroy, where my father was born.
I know so little about getting around Melbourne and I feel as though life is just starting again, despite the family history here back to the gold rush in the 1860’s.
It’s an exhilarating but most unexpected turn of events. Everything is new and interesting and a touch daunting. But I am very glad to be here, just a little bit away from my late father’s early life.