— Seems appropriate for the beginning of the year. I am going to start with Joseph Antoney my maternal great great grandfather.
|Fiery Star (ship) - Wikimedia Commons|
What made Joseph leave his ship and settle in Australia? I will never really know. From his naturalisation papers in November 1921 he had been on sailing ships for many years and had shipped to America, New Zealand, Calcutta, China, Hawaii, Nantucket Island, and Mauritius. Joseph had certainly travelled the world from the Azores. On these papers he stated he had spent 2 years in and around Brisbane, 3 years in and around Bowen (Port Denison) and the remainder in and around Mackay. He selected some land near Bowen and married Elizabeth Hannah Young on 30 July 1867 at St Mary's RC Church in Bowen.
|Joseph & Elizabeth Antoney with Annie Jacintha|
Joseph selected land at Eton outside Mackay in late 1870 and farmed there until he retired from farming in around 1918.
|North Eton Mill c1895|
I did not know Joseph and only know of him from my maternal grandmother, Dorothy May Thomas. Dorothy May (Nan) told me many a story about her grandfather Joseph. Nan told me that her grandfather grew tobacco, grapes and sugarcane on his farm. She also told of him employing Japanese labourers and was fascinated about them having very hot baths in big tubs. I have since found that Japanese were in fact employed in the Mackay region. There is evidence of Joseph growing tobacco as he was required to have a government licence for same. I believe the grapes were used for wine.
So why did Joseph leave the sea? I think he saw an opportunity for a fresh start in a new land with endless opportunities for hard work. I don't know if Joseph spoke English when he arrived in 1864 but I expect he quickly learned as he took up land and married in 1867. My grandmother said he had a musical voice and loved telling her stories. At the time of his death in 1923 Joseph left four surviving children, twenty-two grandchildren, and fifty-five great grandchildren.