They enjoyed reminiscing occasionally, as they looked through the album and remembered the six-week long voyage with their three little girls. For my family, it had been a major life change for them all, as they said goodbye to their friends and family in the country of the birth, to begin a brand new life on the other side of the world.
There came a time in our lives when my sisters and I were obliged to remove all of our parents belongings from their home. Remembering back to the time, I recall the anguish we felt, knowing our parents would no longer have a need for any of the possessions they had left behind here on earth. Yet the time is also tinged with happiness, for it was a few days in time when my sisters and I reminisced together, of the days we remembered which would never be again. We girls were in this together, and we felt a sense of unity in our task.
With me being the sister with the interest in family history, my sisters felt that I should keep our parents photo albums, all bar one ~ the album from the “New Australia”. My eldest sister had been old enough to remember their days spent on the journey to this country and it would only be fitting that she kept this album. Besides which, I wasn’t born when the journey had been made.
Four years ago, however, my eldest sister departed from this world herself. The album no longer belonged in our family. After a divorce from her first husband, she had remarried, to a man who had not the slightest inclination to become a part of his new wife’s family.
Unfortunately he kept all of my sister’s possessions. He felt that not even my nephew and niece were entitled to their mothers belongings, giving them a few odds and ends of his choice, which, as my niece told me, mostly should have been discarded.
Even though I had remembered my parents old photo album I had not been on speaking terms with my sisters second husband for some years, finding him unpleasant and rude towards myself and most members of my family. One of my older sisters, however, who had been on the ship from England, had no qualms in asking for the album to be returned to its rightful owners.
Surprisingly, he returned the album. Unfortunately, it had been damaged.
My sister asked me to take the album, even though it had been returned to her on the condition that I did not get it. Who was he to say who the album went to? It wasn’t his in the first place! My sister and I were horrified, although not surprised, by this statement.
Many of the old, irreplaceable photos have been randomly ripped from the pages of the album; some still remain.
Going through all of the other photos from the same era, which I had been given many years ago, I think that I have managed to find enough replacement photos, to cover the destroyed pages. I have even found a couple of photos of the ship itself on the internet, which I will have printed, to add to the album.
A part of the history of the old album has been lost, but it will soon be as good as new again. It is far too precious, in terms of our family memorabilia, to remain disfigured.
This album will be returned to its former glory!