Sometimes you discover a photo of a relative you have been researching, or a postcard of your ancestor's hometown, or a bathing suit you saw in an old photo. And sometimes, you find a cigar box with a letter and a one hundred twenty one (121) year old lizard skin.
Our first Brisbane Picnic. We had just found the church being baptized October 24, 1894. There was present Elder Daniel Livingston S.L.S. Elder John F. Burton of Ogden and the Rowley family the Atkinson family and the Downes family. We started very early in the morning having Ben's little billy goat cart well loaded with picnic, and started off along Cooparoo Rd to the Bush (the bush is miles and miles of nothing but bush and tall trees and all kinds of beautiful ferns and beautiful plants of nature) I have heard tell of people being lost in the bush it being so thick that if they get too far they cannot find their way out. They have a certain call for them to make called the Australian Cooee. Anyone wanting help puts their two hands to their mouth in a trumpet shape and calls cooe as long as they can and then open and release the front part of the hand and calls a little sharp e on the end of it and if anybody hears it they will cooee back again and keep on cooeing until they find each other. We found a beautiful spot all covered with maiden hair fern and every other kind
of ferns and flowers. The elders and the boys, Ben, Will, Andy Rowley and a few more soon cleared it up and then they made some swings up in the trees. We had a glorious time and then we had lunch. We had just got up from lunch when Ben spied a great big Gohanna that is like a snake only it has four feet on it. We was all scared to death and the women and girls all screamed and ran. The men and boys all got sticks and ran after it. At last it ran up a tree and Ben went after it determined to get it. Well it went out on a limb and Ben got out on the limb and shook it and shook it until we thought sure he would fall off what with our shouting for Ben to come down and him shaking the limb the Gohanna fell off. the elders and boys below were waiting for that. they went after it with their sticks and one hit it on the head and another on the tail and killed it but they did not break it's body. So Ben got a long piece of rope and tied it to his tail and sure had some fun with it. he chased the women and girls and children all over with it.
At last our beautiful picnic was ended and we all wended our way home tired out. We would be walking along the road laughing and chatting together when all at once Ben would sneak up and pull the rope and pull the Gohanna in amongst our feet. We would all scream and run. Well, we took it home with us and skinned ut and tanned it and brought it with us when we came to Utah in 1900. Now he (Ben) is the father of five children and two grandchildren and it is now 1932. He is going to nail it on a nice strip of veneer wood and hang it up in his den so he can show it to his boy Bob and tell him all the fun he had with it.
Signed by Mary D. Atkinson from memory.
Why They Were In Australia
My great grandfather, Charles Atkinson Jr., moved his family from the UK to Australia in the early 1890s, then in 1900 to Salt Lake City. My dear cousin, Barbara, is far ahead of me on research and shared the following along with the photos below. She said, As the story goes... - Charles Atkinson Sr. (my great great grandfather) was recruited to Australia because of his carpentry skills and was given free passage from UK to Australia as Australia was trying to populate and build up the country. My great grandfather, Charles Atkinson Jr., paid his own way along with his wife, Mary Draisey, and their children, Martha Jane, Benjamin and Charles, to join Charles Sr. There was a lot of construction and the opportunity to make a good living. While there, they were converted to the Mormon church and later moved to Salt Lake City.
I'm not sure how they ended up in Brisbane having started in Sydney. While there, Annie Charles William, Lillian were born. After they arrived in Utah, Nellie and Clifford were born.
There is so much more to learn and so many finite details to clarify. I can't wait!
A few other misc. notes on the letter:
How lucky am I that Cooparoo Road still exists as seen below?
The Australian Cooee is still a shout used in the Bush to attract attention, find missing people or indicate your location.
Goanna Lizards are any of several Australian monitor lizards. There are around 30 species of goanna known, 25 of which are found in Australia. Based on the pattern of the skin, I think this was a lace monitor lizard. They are the second largest in Australia.
Until the next find,
Happy Genealogy Hunting!