B is for a Better Life and Bucasia. First, a better life. By this, I mean the chance of a better life as the reason my ancestors travelled across the seas, a long and dangerous journey in the 1850s - 1870s when many of my ancestors arrived.
I find it hard to imagine the journey today when I shudder at the long flight - 24 hours plus - it takes to get me to the UK. Their journey was as long as four months in calm weather while a clipper could arrive in half that time in favourable winds. Also, the conditions onboard ship were extremely poor for 'steerage' passengers and most of my ancestors were poor immigrants and arrived via the 'steerage' berths.
So, why did Alex Walker and Mary Jane Young come? The conditions in Ireland during and after the famine or 'Great Hunger' were appalling - little work available, little or no opportunity to own a farm or to advance in prosperity.
For Alex and Mary Jane, they came separately, they undertook the long journey across the oceans to Australia seeking fortune, opportunity and freedom. Mary Jane had her sister, Elizabeth Hannah, already in Australia and no doubt she had written back to Dublin encouraging her sister to join her in Queensland. Alex as previously mentioned went first to New Zealand and then to Victoria and finally to Queensland
Their journeys must have been accompanied by feelings of sadness, excitement, fear, and hope - after all they knew they would most probably never see their family or homelands again. How brave they were, I don't think I would have been as brave.
And, what did they find? Well, Alex and Mary Jane met in Mackay, Queensland, married, established a farm near Walkerston and raised three daughters, had 28 grandchildren and 40 so far identified great-grandchildren. Not bad!
On to the second B post - Bucasia.
|Bucasia, Google Map accessed 2 April 2016|
In 1874, Bucasia was originally called Marara but was later named Seaview. In 1938, it was decided that there were too many places called Seaview and so it was renamed Bucasia after Father Pierre-Marie (Paul) Bucas, the first Roman Catholic priest in Mackay. (Wikipedia - here)
The reason I have included Bucasia in the A to Z Challenge is that in the 1922 Queensland Electoral Roll for the Division of Herbert (now Dawson), Mary Jane Walker was residing with a daughter on the Esplanade. I wonder if she was just having a seaside break or if she was living with her daughter more permanently. I hope she was enjoying the sea view and the sea air.