Family History Road Trip

October 2018 School Holiday’s, main plan was to get on down to Canberra, the National Capital to visit Alex and the Boys’s Aunty Judith, which is definitely what happened.

Out Front of the National Museum
At the Planetarium
Yum Cha at the Tang Dynasty in Kingston

Awesome catching up with you Aunty Jude! But I may have hijacked the itinerary a little.

Of course we knew that George Nicoll’s manuscript was going to be on the agenda in Canberra but we were also aware that the Macvean clan had settled in the Holbrook, Albury and Wagga Wagga area back in the late 1800’s and being that Canberra was so close (sort of ) it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

As if viewing George’s manuscript wasn’t enough for this trip, the Macvean’s threw out some great surprises as well. I have to start in Holbrook for this post to give some context but on our road trip we headed straight to Wagga Wagga as it was the furthest West. That way we could work our way back East towards Albury, Holbrook and then Canberra.

The family lore I grew up with was that Holbrook was the Family seat of power for a number of decades and that the Local Historical Museum had some great info on the Family. I knew from previous Trove diggings that the property that my Grandfather grew up on was called The Rooksdale Estate.

Courtesy of Greg Palmer
Courtesy of Greg Palmer

I’m aware I say this a lot but I’m so lucky again, to have this photo. It is the only photo I have of most of the Family together and the only one I can find of Rooksdale.

My Grandfather, John Hugh Macvean is the boy sitting down on the right. Next to him is his Sister, Marjorie and then his Brother, Alexander Douglas Macvean next to her. The two women behind are their older Sister’s Jessie and Jean. No names for the blokes unfortunately but assuming that they might be their partners and eventual husbands, John and James Moffatt. Yes the Macvean Sisters married the Moffatt Brothers.|||l-year=1924#

A B S Macvean is my Great Grandfather and Mrs Macvean, my Great Grandmother is Agnes Brookman Macvean nee Cox. This fantastic picture below is the only photo I have of her, again thanks to my Cousin Greg Palmer for sharing.

Courtesy Greg Palmer

You can’t fight genetics, a friend who saw this said that it looked like me in drag. I think I can see the resemblance. This is from a while back, when my Son Calan was born but it might be a good comparison.

For many years the was no picture of my Great Grandfather, I searched to no avail and then all of a sudden Trove updated its content and this came up

A very grainy newspaper print from 1938 of a photo that was from 34 years earlier.

I counted and counted to make sure I had his position correct and came up with the fact that my Great Grandfather was the bloke leaning against the post, at the bottom of the stairs with the bowler hat and his left leg up on the first step.

No way to trace any original source material as the Paper was long gone

Now to the first of the Macvean surprises. You know where this is going right?

This is us on our road trip in Holbrook. About 96 years give or take since the Macvean’s left.

The Local History Society is in this beautiful old former pub called the Woolpack Inn.

The place is filled to the rafters with antiques and every single room is set up as it most likely would have looked in the 19th century. They have these amazing old shop display counters filled with items and look what appeared.

I was stunned. It was like winning some contest. The excitement was a little much for the poor old volunteer on that morning. It was locked in this cabinet, did he have the key, can I get it out, can I take a picture? No, no key, wouldn’t be able to take it out anyway, it’s a permanent display item. After about 10 mins of trying to photograph it through the glass, Volunteer comes back, they have a digital copy of it in their records, would I like a copy? I don’t think he appreciated the wet kiss on his bald head.

Do you think I could find a thumbdrive? No! Newsagent open at other end of town, Xander and Calan very kindly went and purchased. Meet my Great Grandfather, Alexander Ballantyne Macvean.

Courtesy of the Woolpack Museum Holbrook

Wouldn’t you know it, 10mins later came across another one in the bottom of this cabinet.

Courtesy of Woolpack Museum Holbrook

My Great Grandfather is on the top left with the wing collar and white bowtie. In the next cabinet this was resting on top.

Courtesy of the Woolpack Museum Holbrook.

Parish map with the landowners names marked on it. This shows exactly where the Rooksdale Estate was and bloody hell, look how much of it there was. Of course now I want to know as much as I can about the place. Take a look at what I just found on Trove.

One line from 1895 and it just emerges from the depths of time with a couple of key strokes. Mr A McVean is my 2x Great Grandfather he owned Howlong Station for over 40 years. My Great Grandfather, worked very closely with him before taking over Rooksdale.

Alexander Macvean Snr

This is my 2x Great Grandfather, Alexander Macvean Snr, shared with me by another very generous Cousin, Sally MacPhee.

I was aware that he owned a property called Howlong but hadn’t done any digging on that. Look what I have uncovered in the last 24 hours

I have just realised that this post is becoming a novel, not sure what the rules are but I will give you a break, for now. Road Trip to be continued……

5 thoughts on “Family History Road Trip

  1. This collection of photos and posts are extremely interesting. You much be spending you whole days working on this. What dedication, well done you, hugs… Miss Kay x


  2. His daughter pearl Maclean who was married to John smith burnet and resided in wagga is a great great uncle. He died a few months after Alexander Macvean and is buried in wagga cemetery.
    My son which would be a 3x great nephew is now a horse trainer in wagga.


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