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Rodney's Ramblings: My Australian Heritage (By A British Migrant To Canada)

"We seem to have been a much-travelled group well before my arrival, let alone since,'' writes Rodney Gascoyne.

My Great Great, Grandfather, John Macintosh, was born 1821 in Auldearn, Scotland and emigrated to Australia aboard the “Asia”, arriving May 1839. He worked for 5 years in the Paterson River district before returning to Sydney to start an ironmongery business. In 1870 he bought Lindsay, situated on the tip of Darling Point, overlooking Sydney harbour. He lived there till his death in 1911.

Another Great, Great Grandfather, Charles Sparshott, was from Worcester and he married Jane Alcock in 1860. The Alcocks were a family in the business of lace-making with interests in Worcester and overseas, in Sydney, started when brothers Thomas and John Alcock sailed out in 1853/4.

Jane and Charles’ son, Charles George Sparshott was born in 1861 and at the age of 24 was sent to Australia to meet his mother’s brothers in Sydney and, hopefully, return wiser. He was to learn what he could in a stay of maybe six months, then go home. (He was the first of a long line of English members visiting family in Australia, running through every generation right up to my own first visit in 1988. An earlier visit in the reverse direction in 1864 was recorded by Thomas Alcock, the uncle, when he and his family travelled under sail around Cape Horn on La Hogue to visit England. Their exploits on the fast, 90 day non-stop voyage were recorded in a special diary, referred to at the ende of another article in this column, a few weeks ago - http://www.openwriting.com/archives/2013/08/svalbard_the_no_1.php#more

As you might have guessed by now, the Alcocks were close neighbours of the Macintoshes, on Darling Point in Sydney, and Charles stayed at his uncle’s home Springfield, less than half a mile from Lindsay. He and Jessie met and socialized at each other’s houses and those of other friends in the area and the two became attracted. Jessie’s father was not in favour as she was his housekeeper and oldest daughter still at home; he did not want her to leave and go to England with Charles. Unfortunately for him, his daughter was as strong-minded as he. After Charles left for England, she made up her mind to elope and follow him. As she was under 21, she could not marry without her father’s consent, so she arranged for her older brother John to accompany her to England on the ship, and stay over till she was 21 and could marry in her own right. This he did and after the marriage in 1887, he returned to Sydney.

The worldwide family compiled data some time back and I published a Family Tree on the web many years ago. From this I know of far more Australian relatives, now and in the past, than those accounted for in England. I guess these facts also make me a part of an emigrant Australian family, from my Great Grandmother and her birth in Sydney, NSW, and since, I ventured farther afield by moving my own young family to Canada in 1980, where we all remained. We seem to have been a much-travelled group well before my arrival, let alone since.

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