Peter James Clarke
Some of what you read here is personal experience. I have sailed, dug for gold, lived and camped out in the bush, swum in Australian rivers, been to many of the places I write about, and been broke. Most of those things are fun.
William's and James' farms

William's Ireland

Wiliiam gives his origin as Belfast on his marriage certificate and Ireland on all his children's birth certificates except for the last two where he again states Belfast, Ireland. I spent two weeks at the Public Records of Northern Ireland (PRONI) in Belfast in the Irish winter of 2013. I stayed in an apartment very nearby and went to the PRONI whenever it was open. Searching the records is a daunting task.

The records are mostly on microfilm and you request what you want to see......

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The Voyage

Ireland is a country that is no stranger to war, famine and disease. However, the Great Famine in the years from 1845 to 1849 is the worst in their recorded history.

The potato is originally from South America and introduced to Ireland, so they say, by Sir Walter Raleigh in the late 1500's. The potato and Ireland go hand in hand to us, and so it was to the Irish by the 1840s. It grew well and plentiful in the soil, and was the staple diet for over half the population.

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Ballarat

Gold had been found in Australia years before its official acknowledgement. News of early finds had been supressed by the Authorities due to the nation being largely founded as a convict settlement. What would the convicts do if they found gold was there for the taking?

Convicts were on loan to free settlers for their labour and their numbers were such that they could easily overwhelm the settler, their overseers and families.

It's no wonder that when news of ...

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William's and James' farms

William's Farm

One of the intriguing things about William Thomas Stewart was the location of his farm at "Chain of Ponds", west of Bathurst. Why "Chain of Ponds"? The place appears on many of his children's birth cetificates. Yet, "Chain of Ponds" was a very popular place name at the time. A clue to the location came when I discovered that William had become insolvent in 1881.

I obtained the docments related to the insolvency....

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