This Website

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Title

This Website

Description

Jeff Robinson describes his interest in Mary Wade, and how he brought together a new Mary Wade History Association to continue the work of bringing together descendants of Mary.

Creator

Jeff Robinson

Language

en-AU

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No

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My family line to Mary Wade comes from my mother, Rita Florence Hurst, who grew up in North Wagga as part of the Brooker/Angel/Hurst diaspora to the Riverina.  Her father, Robert John Hurst, was a wheat breeder who worked with William Farrar in developing the ‘Federation’ strain of wheat that enabled the wheat industry to survive the harmful ‘rust’ that ruined many early Australian wheat crops.

I grew up in the beach town of Port Macquarie and for many years travelled Australia and the world.  For most of my life I had little interest in my family heritage, even though it was well known to other family members.  It was only when I saw the television documentary, ‘The Floating Brothel’, that I realised how lucky I was to be here at all.  I was a descendant of an 11 year old girl who had survived being sentenced to death!

I was fortunate, in that one of my brothers had a spare copy of the publication ‘Mary Wade to Us’.  After quickly reading it, I felt that all of Mary’s descendants should have their own copy.  Unfortunately the book was out of date, out of print and no longer available.

I had recently sold our family business and retired, but my working experience included many years of database marketing.   I knew about computers and the Internet and about email communication.  I decided to see if I could put a revised version of the book onto the Internet so that it would be up to date and available to everyone.

Like most things, that was easier said than done.  First I approached the surviving members of the Committee who put the book together.  Marjorie Morrow, their leader, had died in 2004, aged 93.  Only Keith and Judy Amos and Shirley Webb were still alive, but they pleaded age and lack of computer savvy to take any further part in what had been a huge research and publication enterprise.   They did encourage me though, and gave me all the left over material they had from the original research 20 years prior.

Where to start?   I put an RSVP notice in the Sydney Morning Herald and that led to a few contacts and an enquiry from the St. George and Sutherland Leader.  The Leader came and took a picture of me, holding a copy of ‘Mary Wade to Us’.  They published the picture and an article on what I was trying to do.   That led to more contacts.   I set up a Mary Wade Family Tree on Genes Reunited and found other family members with matching names in their trees.  I established a Facebook Group called the Mary Wade Family Association and people joined up.  I trawled the Internet and came across Sue Perry in London who had her own family tree on the web and she was willing to help set up a website.   

I now had over a hundred email contacts and tried to interest them in forming an Association which would take responsibility for the website.  Most were interested but few wanted to accept any responsibility.

Just on two years ago I found I had a life threatening form of bone cancer in my hip.  After a couple of months of unhelpful chemotherapy, my Surgeon decided to operate.  They took the bones out from my pelvis, radiated them in a radiation ward across the road, mended the hole where the 75mm tumour had been, and then put them back in my pelvis with a replacement hip.   I spent 8 weeks in RPA Hospital and a further three weeks in a Rehab. Hospital.  Since then I have had months of rehab. physiotherapy and a second operation for another tumour in my sacrum.  Before the second tumour I was walking with a walking stick but I am now restricted to getting about on crutches.

I am now back at work most days, working on our Mary Wade website.   Sue Perry put the first edition of our website up using the material we had and did a great job.  Toby Griffin then came on board and he was responsible for setting up the Family Tree.   A number of us have been inputting data from ‘Mary Wade to Us’ and other sources and we now have well in excess of 2000 names entered.   Toby revamped the layout of the site and I am now busy putting more material into it.

We still don’t have an Incorporated Association that will guarantee us any continuity, if something should happen to me.  About twenty people have volunteered financial assistance but that is not nearly enough to keep an Incorporated Association going into even the forseeable future.   I would like to see a groundswell of interest among Mary Wade descendants that would keep us going indefinitely.   I would estimate that there should be more than tens of thousands of us alive today.   Tell your kids and siblings and nieces and nephews about it and get them to have a look at this site and take an interest in it.

I would like to suggest that we consider another Family Muster.   So far as I am aware, our last Muster was in 1984 at Campbelltown.  Surely it must be time for another one.   After all, it is not often that a Prime Minister is a descendant of Mary Wade like the rest of us.  I would like to see us issuing Certificates to Family Members showing membership of an Association of people descended directly from Mary’s blood.  I would like to see badges for 11 year old kids showing they are Survivors; and for teenagers showing they are Pioneers; and for new families, a Certificate showing that they have begun a New Generation.

The above are just a few of my own ideas for our potential Incorporated Association but at the moment I feel like a one man band.    I am seventy two years of age and of only middling health.   I am looking for a new generation to take up the leadership of this fledgling organisation and make it into something we can all be proud to be members of.

Jeff Robinson, Convenor
Mary Wade Family History Association

Footnote: It is very sad to note that Jeff Robinson passed away on 7 June 2010 after a long fight with cancer. Jeff’s energy and enthusiasm will be greatly missed. There is a small group of us who are committed to realising Jeff’s dream by ensuring the continuation of the Mary Wade Family History Association.