My Family History - by my 10 year old daughter
MY FAMILY HISTORY
I am part Scottish and part Estonian. On my mum’ s side runs the Scottish Douglas blood and on my dad’ s side runs the Estonian Borkman blood.
THE DOUGLASESThe Douglases were once the most powerful family in Scotland. The earliest ancestor my family can remember is James Stuart also known as the Black Douglas. He was called that because he had dark skin and hair. He also had a bit of a dark temper. He was the right hand man to Robert The Bruce, the King of Scotland. So when The Bruce died James took his heart on a Crusade to the Middle East, where James was killed fighting the Muslims.
We also got in trouble for being on the wrong side of a war and were banished to the Isle Of Man for trying to kill the king.
Another famous Douglas was the Marquis Of Queensberry, a famously horrible man, who also came up with the rules of boxing. His son, great-great-grandfather Archibald Douglas migrated to Australia and his son Clifton was mum’s grandfather.
THE BORKMANSThe Borkmans come from Estonia which is a small country in the far north of Europe which is FREEZING cold. We don’t know much about the Borkman’s history in Estonia because many records have been lost and destroyed by the Communists. We do know that my grandfather (in Estonia you say Pa) came here when he was three to escape the Soviet Union.
He fought in World War II flying bombers from Darwin. He died on Anzac day 10 or 11 days before my birthday (which is very sad) because of a blood clot. Oh yeah. You know the footie team St George Dragons? He was their team doctor during their 13 year Premiership winning streak.
My dad played the keyboard and guitar in famous Aussie bands like the Divynls,Dragon and James Reyne. Keith Urban supported my dad and James Reyne at the Tamworth Country Music Festival (before Keith went to the US and became very famous).
An important ancestor of my Ema (from the Estonian for Grandma - Vanaema) is Captain John Shortland who was the first European ever to find coal in Australia. Another person was Thomas Taber who was the first school teacher in Australia in the late 1790s.
JOBSDad’s first job was an electrical engineer and it was so boring that he quit. He sat four floors beneath the ground and watched dials to make sure that the Sydney Stock Exchange building didn’t blow up (not ACTUALLY blowing up just getting too hot). Mum’s first adult job was a technical writer for IBM. Ema’s first job was a nurse’s aid which she did for 3 months. She got 1 pound and 7 sixpence a fortnight. She then trained as a nurse and is still doing that as a volunteer at the Queen Victoria Nursing Home.
TRANSPORTWhen dad was 10 and at school he would catch the bus to Cronulla station, get the train to Museum Station, get another bus and then walk.
When my mum was a kid she mostly walked when dad was older he would do the same thing as when he was 10 minus 1 bus trip.
I wish I lived in Ema’s childhood because her friends got to drive a horse and sulky to school, and tied the horses under pepporcorn trees for the day.
SCHOOLDad went to Sydney Grammar School. Mum went to Allambie Heights Public School, then Beacon Hill High School, which she hated, and then Galston High. Ema’s father was the headmaster of her school so she lived in a school house. They used the cane. The girls never got hit but the boys did.
- Ema ran away from home taking only a box of dolls.
- Dad bleached his hair to make it look like uncle Mark’s and it turned green.
- Ema stuck a needle in a classmate’s knee on purpose when the classmate annoyed her.
- There were mouse plagues in Ema’s school.
In 1934 Atatürk, the enemy commander, wrote a tribute to the ANZACs killed at Gallipoli:
"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives… You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours… you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land. They have become our sons as well."