Posted by: peterhact | February 8, 2012

My Ancestors

With the recent activity at the Tent Embassy, I got a bit curious about where I came from – my ancestors who decided that old england was a bit cramped, and hopped on ships to come to a brand new life in the new country. Yes, I am a descendant of immigrant stock. There are two branches that go into my ancestry, my mother’s side and my father’s. The fact that the two families lived in the same town was a worry for a bit. Lets start with my father.

Holland, Hollands… what?

My family on my father’s side started off in brittany, the ancestral name is duHolland. The family, for whatever reason, moved across the channel to england – I have no information as to why or when. It got a bit interesting when I found that a distant ancestor was the Earl of Kent, and that the Holland family arrived in australia after a brother was transported to the colony of sydney. He set up in sutton forest, with his wife. The name change is believed to have happened here. He became a Hollands, we don’t know why. Anyway, my father’s ancestors received a letter from his wife, praising new south wales and the abundant farming land. When they tried to join them, new south wales and sydney town were considered overpopulated, and they were redirected to adelaide, a new colony. My ancestors settled there and built up a sizable fortune in land and title. They had dealings with the local indigenous population, but we don’t know whether it was good or bad.

My mother’s side were made up of the Cronk Family, all free settlers on the Buffalo, and they built and worked in adelaide to make a start. There is mention of a relative who learned the local indigenous people’s language, acting as an interpreter, as well as building wells to benefit these peoples. He was a respected member of the community, and his connection to the indigenous people, as well as the willingness to learn the language makes his story stand out. There are many other families who didn’t try or want to communicate with these peoples, and I am certain that this was in no small part due to the attitudes of the time.

My grandfather emigrated to australia. He married my grandmother, a cronk, and we became wilkinsons. I understand that there are many relatives in england that I am related to.

My family is an old one. the parts that it is made up of are old, the history is such that I am proud of my heritage.

AS I was born in Australia, does that mean that I am an invader? am I tarred with the sins of the governments before, who slaughtered, alienated and kidnapped indigenous folk? I like to think that for the work my ancestor did, I am an australian, one of many. Do the indigenous people of australia need an embassy? not really. they need the same as every other citizen here. Be treated with respect, treated with kindness, integrated into society with their rich culture and traditions, yet spend time in making this place their home, making friends and neighbors, and not get tagged as another group with their hand out, wanting compensation for the actions of a few.

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