3 Days in the Eternal City

The arrival of our small group of five in bella Roma was most welcomed by all. The twenty-two hours of flying from Sydney to Europe is always trying even for those of us who had the benefit of business class (some of us experiencing this for the first time) but there was also some pleasure and relaxation.

We had only three days here so where do we start? For the visitor, Rome is all about history either old or ancient and it is everywhere one looks. It reminds us of the length of its history and I am somewhat embarrassed by my lack of knowledge of it which probably lessened my appreciation and understanding.

2016-04-13 03.16.54We started with our quaint little hotel Antica Roma (ancient Rome) well placed in the city. The building has been a hotel for 100 years so it is not modern but still comfortable down to the fabric covered walls. The friendly concierge was helpful especially in terms of transport, eating places and a little bar across the road and down the side street that became our “local.” One evening, during happy hour we were entertained here when a young woman maneuvered her Smart car into the smallest space between other car and a scooter – amazing.

Making extensive use of the hop-on hop-off bus (and shank’s pony) we managed to see some of the many treasures that Rome has to offer. We walked the Roman Forum climbed the Palatine Hill to look down on the full extent of the ruins of that civilisation, gazed at the amazed engineering of the dome of the Pantheon, just to name a few.

We marveled at the splendor that is St Peter’s basilica and especially La Pieta, enjoyed a drink served by a cheeky Romanian waitress at Castel St Angelo, strolled the extensive park between the Villa Medici and Villa Borgese and dined al fresco in the Piazza Navona among Bernini’s sculptures. Meals of pizza and pasta were washed down with Moretti birra, chianti and pinot grigio – what else?

There is so much of Rome we did not see and if I ever have the opportunity to return to Rome I will certainly do more research beforehand to better appreciate the extensive history of this remarkable city.

60 Days Away – Prologue

Being away from home and travelling for 60 days requires quite a bit of planning. We seem to have most of it covered, but there are sure to be some surprises along the way. Isn’t that part of the charm of travelling?

The trip starts with our Mediterranean cruise; a round-trip itinerary from Rome including stops in Greece, Turkey and back to Italy. Day excursions in Turkey where the Smart Traveller status is reconsider your visit are still on the agenda at the moment.

Throughout our travels we will certainly be stepping back Across the Years both in a family history and general historic sense. Getting reacquainting with previously visited locations mixed with the idea of new experiences and discoveries is starting to get me excited.

Along the way I hope to document those experiences and discoveries as well as our reactions and what we might have learnt about the world both old and new.

A Jervis Bay Morning Walk

My watch showed 7:41 after an uncomfortable night on a hard hand-me-down mattress that sagged in the middle. The rain seemed to continue throughout the night. Each time I woke or was awakened there was the incessant drumming on the caravan roof.

There would be no more sleep and I needed some exercise to re-energise and get some movement back into stiff joints. Since there was now only a sprinkle of moisture a walk on the beach seemed appropriate. The January morning was kept comfortably cool by the rain but not cold enough for a jumper. Jeans and the protection of a singlet layer would suffice. With a Hahn Premium Light complementary golf umbrella, I set off along the short bush track to the Myola beach on Jervis Bay.

The storms of the last few days had washed up the red seaweed along the normally golden sands. Everything else was grey. The water was grey; the small shore break was grey between the low white curling waves; the sky showed several shades of grey from greyish-white to the angry rain-bearing grey.

Across the Bay, Point Perpendicular was struggling to emerge from the darkening grey but I decided to ignore the threat and set off northwards towards Callala Beach hoping the coffee shop would be open. The Hahn slung over the shoulder provided shelter to all but the jean legs as the rain increased with the southerly breeze. It was still pleasantly cool and breathing the freshness of the sea was both invigorating and relaxing. What a shame I had the whole beach to myself.

The potential coffee was still fifteen minutes away when I checked on the Point, but it was gone. The grey line between the water and the angry sky was now much closer, closing in on the beach towards me. Before long I was engulfed by the heavier rain but the Hahn still did its job, except for wet calves.

Approaching Callala, a number of other cheerful morning walkers has emerged with their brollies and one with only a “good morning” smiling face showing from her rain gear. Leaving the beach, I could see the shops where there was at least some shelter, before returning for breakfast, if not some coffee. At 8:20 and with very few people about, braving the rainy weather, I was not confident in getting a much needed cuppa. My luck was in and the flat white hit its spot.

Carwoola

On a recent drive back from Canberra to Sydney taking the road through Bungendore was hard to resist. The wood craft gallery in that village is one of my favourites but the area was also the stomping ground of my Cole and McFarlane ancestors. In this regard the main point of interest was St Thomas’s Church cemetery at Carwoola where many members of these two families were buried.

Across the years from the 1840s to about 1900 family records indicate events across the Molonglo region including locations such as Gidleigh, Carwoola, Foxlow, Black Ranges, Bungendore as well as others at nearby Gundaroo.

St Thomas’s Church

St Thomas’s Church is on the Captains Flat Road as are Carwoola and Foxlow stations. Captains Flat Road is a pleasant drive off the King’s Highway through undulating wooded country of the Cuumbuen Nature Reserve which then opens into the pastures of the “sheltered fertile” Molonglo Valley. St Thomas’s church is perched on a small rise surrounded by trees that conceal all but the spire and even though I had been there previously, I almost drove straight past it.

The first settlers in the Molonglo Plains area had arrived in about 1820. Thomas Rutledge, who was one of the earlier major land holders, lived at Carwoola and he gave land near the homestead on which the St Thomas’s church was built (between 1872 and 1874). Thomas Rutledge and many of his family were also buried at St Thomas’s cemetery.

The Carwoola station whose name comes from the aboriginal word Carrowillah and means “where the water meets the plains”. Thomas Rutledge commenced building the homestead in 1849 and extended to grand proportions in 1874. Foxlow is further south and was established in about 1835 by John Hosking, who gave his name to nearby Hoskinstown, and it was named after his wife Martha Foxlow Terry.

Gidleigh, Lake George – Watercolour by PG King c1840 National Archives of Australia
Gidleigh, Lake George – Watercolour by PG King c1840
National Archives of Australia

 

Gidleigh station which is closer to Bungendore was owned by Admiral Phillip Parker King, son of governor Philip Gidley King, from about 1833 and was named after his home in Devonshire and later sold to Thomas Rutledge. By 1870 Thomas Rutledge owned Gidleigh, Foxlow as well as Carwoola.

"Relatives"
“Relatives”

 

My third great-grandparents, William Cole and his wife Martha Sophia (Skinner) had arrived in Australia from Kent in 1838 aboard the Amelia Thompson. By 1847 they were in the Molonglo at Black Range and had started a family. My other third great-grandparents, Scottish Charles McFarlane and his Irish wife Elizabeth (Welsh) also arrived in the Molonglo within a couple of years.

The families were connected when in 1861 their children, Frederick William Cole and Ellen McFarlane married at St Philip’s Church, Bungendore. The children of Frederick and Ellen’s were recorded as being born variously at Gidleigh, Foxlow and Carwoola.

The drive through the Molonglo valley and Bungendore to visit my relatives was a pleasant detour which I know I will take again.

Blogging

I approach blogging as an opportunity to write, to communicate and to share thoughts, ideas, beliefs and accumulated knowledge of the history of my own and connected families, and of any other topic on which I feel the urge to wax lyrical. Basic summaries of connected families may be viewed on the www.morrisonfamilyconnections.net website which is updated on a regular basis. The family line that has proved the most enticing mainly because of the amount of information available and the length of its history was the Briscoes. Many years of stop-start research and writing has resulted in the recent publishing of Our Briscoe Family: Cumberland to Kilkenny to New South Wales. Both eBook and paperback versions are available through www.lulu.com as a means of facilitating distribution at a reasonable cost.
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