Category Archives: True Stories

Not your Everyday Clothing

No fans, and no national costumes among my family memories to match this week’s theme in Sepia Saturday.   After all this is Australia and we have no national costume.  All we have is embarrassment at some of the outfits worn by the  Australian finalists in the Miss Universe or Miss World competitions when all the young ladies turn  out in their national costume.

National costume mostly means something different to your usual everyday dress, some form of dressing up,  and so I turn to other forms of dressing up at Castlemaine High School (Central Victoria)  in 1946.  The occasion was either the mid year Concert or the end of year Speech Night, both of which took place in the Castlemaine Town Hall.

Chs 1946 speech night play b

From left to right, Margaret Bearlin, Barbara Fricke, Joy Cooper, Norma Woodward, Leonie Bryson

When I went searching for this photo I had thought the young lady was holding a fan, but no, she is just clutching her skirt.

Those were the days when, although it was a co-educational High School, it wasn’t thought proper to have both boys and girls in the same play.  The girls had their one act play and the boys had theirs.

Prior to that c1938 , once again in Castlemaine,  it was a case of dressing up as Grumpy (a bit of type-casting there) not long after the movie Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs came out.  I don’t know what the occasion was.

Sniow White and The Seven Dwarves Castlemaine c 1938

Or you could go back to about 1910 at Murtoa when Vera and Hilda Tansey were all dressed up.  I can’t  explain why they were wearing  these costumes.

Vera & Hilda 1911 Murtoa Fancy DressHilda on the right wears a sash saying M.B.B .for Murtoa Brass Band  and is holding her father’s baton.  She also has her father’s South Street medals pinned on her bodice.    Vera on the left  is  wearing   ????? .  I think perhaps  she is dressed as a flower, possibly a daffodil, with that frilly skirt.  A lot of effort had gone into both costumes – i don’t think they came from any hire shop.  And of course the dog had to be in the photo too.  They were a doggie family.

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And for more flirting with fans, national costumes or other forms of dressing go to the links on this week’s Sepia Saturday.

 

 

A Letter from Welcombe

Grandpa Tom Tansey is turning out to be a good source of family stories, which is surprising because when he died his daughter found her mother busy tossing photos and papers into the incinerator  Fortunately she was able to rescue many of them.

Tom had migrated from Snitterfield in Warwickshire to Australia in 1888 as a 16 year old and came to Geelong to live with his aunt who had migrated many years before and married.  The next year he received the following letter.

Letter from Welcombe 1

Letter from Welcombe 2Letter from Welcombe 3

Welcombe   April 29 1889

Dear Sr

I was very glad to receive your letter of 19 March & find you were doing well.

Enclosed I send you a £5 note to help you on.

I send you a Stratford  paper with an account of a Sham fight here on Easter Monday –

Things are rather better here than when you left, there is more work as prices seem better and generally speaking everybody is more cheerful.

I shall be glad to hear how you get on. I trust you will keep your health which is very important.

I am truly Rob N Philips

The family story is that Tom was promised that £5 note if he wrote to Squire Philips to let him know how he was getting on in Australia.   But was he normally a good correspondent ?  Again the family story tells us that  after he was married it was his wife who was responsible for any correspondence with his mother.

Welcombe House was a  country mansion  near Snitterfield and Stratford upon Avon, built about 1835 by the Philips family. The Welcombe estate  included the village of Snitterfield.   It has some interesting associations.  Robert Philips was grandfather of the historian G.M.Trevelyan, and  a subsequent owner, Sir Archibald Flower, financed the original Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford  on Avon.  Welcombe  is now a hotel.

(c) Bury Art Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Robert Needham Philips in 1875, from the Bury Art Museum

But at the time of the letter Welcombe  was owned by Robert Philips.  He formally addresses Tom as “Sir”,  to someone who had just had his seventeenth birthday.  And he mentions sending a newspaper which reported on a “sham fight” at Welcombe on Easter Moday.

Now I promptly thought pugilists and fisticuffs but I was wrong.  I couldn’t find the Stratford newspaper he mentioned but I found plenty of others reporting on these sham fights taking place around the country over Easter, the manouevres being practised by the various regiments.  At Welcombe it was the 1st and 2nd Warwickshire Volunteers.  You can read the reports in the transcripts from the LEAMINGTON SPA COURIER Saturday 27th April 1889  and the Coventry Herald Sham fight.  They sound very like a setting for Midsomer Murders.

But it was this sham fight carried out at Welcombe which led me to the Worcester Cyclist Corps.  1889  .

Cyclists on Singer bikes

When you stop and think of the times, the use of bikes for reconnoitering  and passing on communications makes sense.  Most photos you can find show bicycles, not tricycles,  in use by the armies so I wonder how long the tricycle mentioned in 1889 lasted in use,

Singer tricycle 1889

The Singer Tricycle in 1889 from the Stilltime Collection

This Singer is not to be confused with the Singer of sewing machine fame.

After  the demonstration of military prowess suitably watched by the gentry there was the matter of some refreshments to be had.

Snitterfield band entertainedSo the Snitterfield Band “discoursed music”.  Tom had been a member of this band before he left for Australia. and perhaps he played for the Sham Fight at Welcombe the previous year or at one of the many other times the band played at Welcombe.  R,N,Philips  had given the village a full set of  instruments in 1883 so they could form a Brass Band. Tom would have been 11 then.  I wonder how old he was when he joined the band .

why not cycle for the kingMore letters can be found on this week’s Sepia Saturday

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Tom Breaks the Law

Subtitled,   A Fishy Tale from Traralgon  in south-eastern Victoria

I had posted this story earlier in the year but I didn’t link it to Sepia Saturday at the time so perhaps you haven’t seen it. But it fits in to this week’s theme of All Things Criminal so I will re-blog it.

In February 1916 the fishing in the river at Traralgon in Gippsland was going well and was reported in the Gippsland Farmer’s Journal on February 8th, mentioning Bandmaster Tom Tansey and two of the bandsmen.

Feb 1916 fishing Traralgon 1But lthe following year it was a completely different story.

In the Australian song Waltzing Matilda the trooper comes riding down on his thoroughbred to the billabong and asks the swagman to show him the stolen Jumbuck (sheep) that he has stowed in his tuckerbag

In this story the policeman rode down to the riverbank and asks the fisherman to show him the undersized trout that he has stowed in his tuckerbag. On Feb 27th 1917 the Traralgon Record screamed the heading

Heading feb 27 1917The local resident in question was the town’s Bandmaster,  my grandfater, Tom Tansey, one of the local “fisher folk” who “betook themselves” to the banks of the Traralgon Creek to fish but not observing the regulations as to size.

Even the Bairnsdale Advertiser on March 3rd, 1917, gave a full report.

… and there espied John T. Tansey dangling a rod and line in the placid waters of that stream near Koornalla. The inspectors approached the fisherman and the constable remarked. “Hullo, got any fish. Mr Tansey, ?” The angler confessed that he had “one:” and on being asked to produce it for inspection he fumbled about his bag and then presented one about 14 or 15 inches long. That’s well over the size,”said the Constable “You’ve got some more there, let’s see them.” The sportsman demurred but on being pressed produced another fish, ..

Gradually more and more fish were produced from the bag, all of them undersized, i.e. less than 11 inches long. The Constable took possession of the fish and promptly took them to the local butter factory so they could later be presented in court in a nice fresh state as evidence of Tom’s naughty deed. He was brought to court in front of three local magisgrates, and was fined £2 plus costs.

What the newspaper doesn’t say is that Tom and at least one of the magistrates knew each other. Dr McLean was President of the Town Band, of which Tom was bandmaster, and may have played a part in bringing Tom to Traralgon. Dr MacLean had come to the town in 1904. as a young doctor, fresh from the Geelong Hospital and was the only doctor in Traralgon during the years of the First World War. He had also played football for.Geelong

So he had been living in Geelong at the same time as Tom, when Tom was well known for his skill as a brass instrument player. Tom had been winning medals for his solo performances at the National Band Championships at the beginning of C20th, a time when the bandsmen were revered in the same way that pop idols are nowadays. When the Geelong Town Band was leaving for competitons crowds would follow them as they marched up the street to the railway station and greet them on their return.

Here they are in the same photo when the Traralgon Band and Members made a presentation to Dr McLean. with Dr McLean in the centre, Tom with his medals to the left and a young Hilda Tansey at the top.

McLean PresentationIt is interesting to wonder if the news of Tom’s fishing trip made it back to his mother, in England, or to his younger brother William. At the time William was Gamekeeper at Cotterstock House in Northhamptonshire. Tom and William, oppposite ends of a spectrum but half a world apart. What would William have done if he had been inspecting the creek and had come across Tom fishing ! And as a bit of trivia, Cotterstock House is where the movie Woman in Black with Daniel Radcliffe was filmed.

Transcript from the Bairnsdale Advertiser and Tambo and Omeo Chronicle, Saturday, March 3rd, 1917

UNDERSIZED FISH.
TRARALGON RESIDENT PROSECUTED
For some time past, says the Record, there has been a suspicion amongst members of the Traralgon, Fish and Game Protection Society that all the “fisher folk” Who betook themselves to the banks of the creek for the ostensible purpose of fishing for trout were not observing the regulations as to size ,of the fish they took from the creek. During last month Constable Lineen, an inspector of the Fisheries Department, and Christian Stammers, an honorary Inspector, paid a visit to the upper reaches of the Traralgon Creek and there espied John T. Tansey dangling a rod and line in the placid waters of that stream near Koornalla. The inspectors approached the fisherman and the constable remarked. “Hullo, got any fish. Mr Tansey, The angler confessed that he had “one:” and on being asked to produce it for inspection he fumbled about his bag and then presented one about 14 or 15 inches long. That’s well over the size,”s aid the Constable “‘You’ve got some more there, let’s see them.” The sportsman demurred but on being pressed, produced another fish. “That seems to be undersized remarked the constable. “Have you any more ?” “Uh, no” replied the fisherman “only a salmon trout”. “Well, let’s see it” persisted the policeman. A trout, somewhat smaller than the other one was produced. The constable informed the angler that he would have to take possession of the fish. He measured them in the angler’s presence, one measuring 10 inches and the other 9 ½ inches in length and both were cleaned and ready for cooking. In explanation of having these fish in his possession the fisherman said he had caught several smaller ones and had thrown them back, but the two in question were so badly hooked that they died when the hook was extracted and he put them in his bag. Such was the summary of the evidence given at the petty sessions when Tansey was called upon to answer to a charge of being in possession of certain fish of a less length than that prescribed by section 28 of the Fisheries Act, the said fish being indigenous to Victoria. Defendant was fined £2 with £14/- costs.

More Criminal Tales and more Non-Criminal Tales are to be seen on Sepia Saturday.

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A Postcard …… from Jack Findlay

Murtoa is a small town at the centre of a wheat growing district in Victoria.   It is 305 km to the north west of Melbourne and this postcard, showing the railway station, was sent in 1913.

Murtoa Railway Station postcard 1913

We can see the two platforms, and a couple of horse drawn drays.  As yet I haven’t identified the billboards.  But  Murtoa hasn’t had a passenger train service  since 1993 though the lines are still used for freight.  It now has a population of less than 1000 people.

When the Tansey family shifted from the port town of Geelong to the flat plains of Murtoa in 1909 the young man Jack Findlay went with them. I don’t know why he did this.  His parents were still living in Geelong.  Jack  worked as a driver in Murtoa,  So who was this friend of the family, Jack Findlay ?

By 1913 the Tansey family had moved to Traralgon but Jack remained in Murtoa.  He posted the card the day before Hilda’s 12th birthday.

Murtoa Railway Station postcard 1913 BACK25.2.13

Dear Hilda

We are having warm weather up here.  Billy Heal is working for Wynne and Scott.  If you and Vera like to send views of Traralgon I will send you some views of Murtoa.    enclosing 5/- P.N. for your birthday.

Jack

N.B.     5/- P.N.  –  five shillings postal note

Wynne and Scott were coachbuilders.  13 refers to 1913  !!

But Jack eventually followed the Tanseys to Traralgon and married there to Fordyce Brereton in 1921.  But by that time the Tanseys had moved on to Hay in N.S.W.   Here  is Jack’s  wedding photo. He was 35 and Fordyce was 33.

 

Findlay Brereton 1921The Electoral Roll shows Jack  as a grocer in 1924 then a labourer in 1931.

A transcript from the Traralgon Record of  Tuesday, 18th October 1921, tells us

Wedding. FINDLAY-BRERETON.   A pretty wedding was celebrated at the Presbyterian Church on   Saturday last. when Mr John Findlay was united to Miss F. Brereton daughter of Mr J. H. Brereton, of Traralgon. The officiating clergyman was the Rev. James Smith. The bride, who was given away by her father, was attired in ivory crepe do chene, with Georgette over-skirt, and wore a handsomely worked veil (loaned by Mrs H. Campbell.) The court train was lined with shell pink crepe DE chene, embroidere with pearls and orange blossoms. She carried a nice shower bouquet. Miss Ruth Phillips rendered “Because” while the bride was signing the register. The bridesmaid were Misses Main and Pearl Elliott (friends of the bride), and they wore pretty frocks of lemon and lavender crepe do chene, with black tulle hats., and carried posies of pansies and sweet peas. The train bearer was little “Diddy” Rogers (niece of the bride), who wore a pretty frock of shell pink crepe do chene and hat to match. She carried a basket of pale pink carnations and Mr Ed. Findlsy was best man, and Mr Alf. Brereton groomsman. The reception was bold at “Loch Gorm,” the residence of the bride. The usual toasts were enthusiastically honored. The reception room wee prettily decorated with ferns and pink roses. The bridegroom’s gift to the bride was a pair of pearl ear rings, and the bride’s gift to the bridegroom a pair of gold sleeve links. The happy couple left by the even- ing train for Lorne, where the honey moon will be spent. The bride traveled in a smart navy coat and skirt,   with hat to match.

They were singing “Because” at weddings even that long ago.  Those naughty Beatles pinching the name of the song for one of their jingles  !

So this little mystery remains. Why did Jack Findlay follow the Tanseys around Victoria.  The Tansey girls were only children and Tom Tansey was 16 years older than  Jack. There is no obvious connection between the two.  But friends are friends so who am I to question that.

Other interpretations of postcards and proverbs, many humorous and some serious, can  be seen on this week’s Sepia Saturday..

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And the sign said ….. Bootmaker

The Aston family of Carisbrook in Central Victoria has been well documented by its descendants and others, particularly as their blind daughter Tilly was so well known.  But this week I chose this photo to represent Sepia Saturday’s Theme of “Signs” as we can see Edward Aston’s sign of Bootmaker on his place of business (and home)  in the 1870s.

Aston ShopStanding in front of the shop in Simpson St, Carisbrook, are Sophie (b1862) and William (b1860) with their parents Ann and Edward Aston, some time in the 1870s. Ann and Edward had eight children, the youngest being Matilda, born in 1873.  When Tilly (Matilda)  was seven she became blind but was an inspiration as she overcame her difficulties and became well known as an author and teacher , and establishing organizations which were later to become the Victorian Braille Library and Vision Australia. An Electorate in Melbourne for the Federal Parliament is named Aston in honour of Tilly.

At the side we have an early example of a photobomber – I don’t know who she is  !

I am interested in this family as when my great-grandmother Eliza Bosley arrived from Coleford in Gloucestershire she stated when she landed in Melbourne that she was travelling to her Uncle Edward Aston in Carisbrook.

In fact Edward was not Eliza’s uncle but her cousin – their mothers were sisters.

Back in Gloucestershire there had been four  Baynham  sisters. Any of the following names which are underlined are people known to have lived in Carisbrook.

Amelia Baynham  b 1808 became Edward Aston’s mother

Ann Baynham b 1815 became Eliza Bosley’s mother (my great grandmother)

Charlotte Baynham b 1812 married Samuel Attwood  and Charlotte herself came to Carisbrook, the only one of the sisters to do so,  She was Charlotte Amelia Attwood’s mother and Charlotte Amelia married Frederick Eager who, prior to their marriage had been a partner with W.R.Smith in the shop  from the  photo lower down.

 Frances, Baynham b 1819  married William Thomas.

There is always a mystery, an unresolved issue with my ancestors.  In this case Tilly Aston had said in her Memoirs that her father, Edward Aston,  had come to Carisbrook in 1857  because he already had an uncle in Carisbrook. Originally Edward and Ann had  spent 2 years in South Australia before coming to Carisbrook, so who was the uncle ?

I think it most likely that it was someone on his Father’s side of the family, either Samuel Attwood  or William Thomas.  In the 1856 Electoral Roll for Carisbrook where is a William Thomas living at nearby Alma, who is on the Roll as he is the possessor of a Miner’s Right. And there is plenty of evidence of a Samuel Attwood with a nursery at Carisbrook. As yet I have found nothing similar on his mother’s side of the family.

Or was Edward just using the term Uncle in a creative way as Eliza did when arriving in Australia.

As with all family history research there is always room for the next person to continue the research.

Store

F. Eager, connected to the cousins by marriage, was a founding partner of the W.R.Smith shop.

A theme like Signs leads to infinite varieties of interpretation – serious, historical, humorous.  Check out what other Sepians have found through the links on Sepia Saturday.

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Glaud Pender, and the Duke of Edinburgh

Pipes, Handshakes and Politicians I have but few so instead  to satisfy Sepia Saturday this week I will tell about an occasion when I’m sure there would have been many handshakes and greetings as the members of a Victorian mining community came together.

On the morning of Tuesday, 17th March 1868 my great great great grandfather,  40 year old Glaud Pender of Browns and Scarsdale,  had one thing on his mind. He was preparing to stand up in front of a meeting of his fellow citizens, after having been introduced by the Mayor, to propose  that they send a Get Well message to the young Duke of Edinburgh.    Browns and Scarsdale was an early gold mining town in Central Victoria and at the  time the district had about 4000 residents,

GPenderAn older Glaud Pender

Alfred Ernest Albert, the second son of Queen Victoria, was born in 1844 and joined the navy as a midshipman,. By 1867 he was both a captain and the Duke of Edinburgh. He sailed his first command, H.M.S. Galatea, from the Mediterranean to South America and after two months at the Cape reached Adelaide in Australia in October 1867 to begin the first royal tour of Australia.

Duke ofEdinburgh 1867Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1867, from the State Library of Victoria

He then visited Melbourne, Hobart, Sydney, Brisbane then Sydney again. This time in Sydney he went to a charity picnic at Clontarf on 12th March. where Henry O’Farrell shot him in the back. The Drawing Room at Government House was converted into an operating theatre. where a couple of days later the bullet was removed  by the Royal Navy surgeons with a special gold probe

Henry James O'Farrell SLNSWHenry James O’Farrell, thanks to the State Library of N ew South Wales.

The Government tried to show an Irish conspiracy theory but O’Farrell said he acted alone. He had been mentally ill but this wasn’t sufficient to prevent him from being found guilty and executed., even though the Duke of Edinburgh  requested the sentence not be carried out.  The Duke came back to Australia the following year and dedicated hospitals, the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, in both Sydney and Melbourne to commemorate his safe recovery.

And this is why, five days after the shooting, Glaud Pender found himself on his feet in Scarsdale proposing a Get Well motion. Australia had been very embarrassed by the incident and towns and cities, large and small, were quick to rush to express their horror and indignation and confirm that they were very loyal to Queen Victoria.. The following
week Glaud’s motion was reported in the nearby Ballarat Star from Ballarat, where O’Farrell’s  brother had a branch of his Melbourne law firm.

A transcription from The Ballarat Star, Friday 27th March. 1868

INDIGNATION MEETING AT SCARSDALE.

Mr Alexander Young,  Mayor, occupied the chair. Mr Glaud Pender moved—”
That the inhabitants of Browns and Scarsdale beg most respectfully to express their utter detestation o£ the cowardly attempt upon the life of his Royal Highness tho Duke of Edinburgh, their profound sympathy with him in his sufferings, and their fervent prayers for his speedy recovery.” Mr M’Vitty seconded, Mr John Ward supported, and the resolution was carried unanimously, amid great applause.

Mr Knights then moved the second resolution as follows—” That the inhabitants of Browns and Scarsdale take this opportunity of expressing their heartfelt and unabated loyalty to their beloved Queen and tho Royal family.” Mr Hawkes seconded, upon which the motion was put and carried unanimously.

The Rev Sam Walker (Church of England) was then called upon to move the address to her Majesty and Prince Alfred as follows:—”I, the Mayor of Browns and Scarsdale, in the name of the inhabitants of the borough, in public meeting assembled, beg most respectfully to express their utter detestation of the cowardly attempt upon the life of his Royal Highness
the Duke of Edinburgh, their profound sympathy with him in his suffering, and their fervent prayers for his speedy recovery. They also take this opportunity of expressing their heartfelt and unabated loyalty to their beloved Queen and the Royal family.” Mr Donaldson seconded the resolution, which was put and carried with enthusiasm.

Mr Turner moved the third resolution as follows—”That a copy of the address be forwarded to his Excellency the Governor for transmission to her Majesty the Queen and his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.” Mr Hugh Young seconded, and the resolution was carried unanimously.

The singing of the National Anthem closed the proceedings.

And then, if they’d had the internet they would have raced home  to find the links to more handshakes, greetings and politicians  on this week’s Sepia Saturday

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And the Bride was …..Eliza

I don’t think any Saturday Sepians will have trouble coming up with a nice wedding photo to satisfy this week’s theme.  My choice is the 1901 wedding of Eliza Fricke and Robert Butler  in Central Victoria.  They married at Christ Church in Maryborough then this photo was taken in  the garden of the bride’s home, Park Farm  in Carisbrook.

The wedding of Eliza Fricke and Robert Butler in 1902

The wedding of Eliza Fricke and Robert Butler in 1901

I have Eliza’s granddaughters to thanks for this lovely photo of the two families.    Let’s look at the bride’s relations in the photo.

Ann Eliza Fricke 1873The Bride, Eliza Fricke, born in 1873, grew up at Park Farm in Carisbrook and married to shift a few miles down the road to become the wife of a butcher and farmer at Newstead. She was the seventh child of eight surviving children and we have seen her before playing croquet in the front garden of her home while her father watched on.

 

George Alfred Fricke 1867

Alfred Fricke , born in 1867. was the oldest boy and  is seen sitting next to the bride.  As his father had died in 1899 Alfred escorted his sister down the aisle for her wedding..  He now owned Park Farm and wasn’t to marry for another 10 years.   We have seen him before with guests in the garden of Park Farm

 

 

. Eliza Fricke (Bosley) 1843 Eliza Fricke, nee Bosley, the mother of the bride, is sitting next to the bridegroom    Eliza Bosley had come to Australia from Coleford in Gloucestershire in 1863  with two of her sisters.  Both of her parents were dead and she  came to Carisbrook as she had a cousin Edward Aston living there.  There was also another cousin Charlotte Eager and the cousins kept the school well supllied with pupils.

 

Charles Frederic Fricke 1869

Seated on the ground at the right of the photo is Eliza’s brother Charles Fricke, born in 1869.  He now owned the other Fricke farm at Apollo Bay and would marry in tthree years time.  He is my grandfather.

 

 

Matilda Louise Fricke 1877

Seated on the ground at the left side is the youngest of the family, Matilda Louise,  born in 1877 and known as Tilly. She married in 1903  to F,W. Wangman and went to live in Melbourne.

 

 

Frederick Thomas Albert Fricke 1872In the back row  behind the bridegroom is Eliza’s brother  Albert , born 1872.  He had already been married for 3 years.  He started work with the Lands Department in Melbourne, later represented  the Victorian Government in the USA encouraging immigration to the irrigation areas of Victoria.  He was theri Representative for Victoria at the opening of the Panama Canal and finally became Head of the Lands Department in Victoria.

 

Not present that day were another brother and two sisters.  The rest of the people in the photo are Butler relations.

Meanwhile part of Eliza’s life was the Butcher’s van and a visit from a a niece, Enid Fricke, from Apollo Bay, one of many visits between the two families. Before the days of Health and Safety Regulations the butchers did their own slaughtering on the farm then travelled around  selling the meat.

Then from the oldest wedding photo in my family collection to the latest in 2014.  This time it is of the newly married couple with the bridegroom’s family in the shade of some gum trees in the middle of a paddock  on the Bellarine Peninsula.  Grandma is happily clutching grandson’s arm.

Full Family Group 2014You are now invited to  join in more weddings through the links in Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday