Day 2 – Victorian Expo

I’m sitting at my keyboard wondering where I’m going to find the strength to get off the chair and crawl into bed!  I’m totally physically and mentally exhausted … but what a magnificent couple of days!

It’s all over and it went so well – the photo shows the section occupied by most of our Geelong & district groups [there were another 4 in the sections above and below ours].  Our main section had our groups on both sides of the rectangle marked by the red lines and arrows!  This was a quiet time – the only time I managed to get the camera out and take a couple of snaps!  There were 200-300 people in the 2 presentations going on at the same time but still plenty of people in the exhibition area to keep us all busy.  Also, the photo shows about one third of the total exhibition area – it was huge and buzzing over both days – it was a terrific vibrant feeling.

There might be a “recession” in the book selling industry but that definitely wasn’t apparent at the Expo – we did an absolute roaring trade with our huge range of local & family history books from our Geelong & district groups.  And more importantly our groups had heaps of interest in their brochures, membership and research options.  And the comment we heard again and again and again – “we didn’t realise there were so many groups in the region”!  That alone makes the Expo a huge success – a lot more people know that our local groups exist and I’m sure there’ll be plenty of follow-up communications for them all.

And as tired as I am, I couldn’t end this without mentioning the terrific show by Colin Mockett & Shirley Power last night … “Hit the Road, Digger”.  Everyone who was there thoroughly enjoyed it.  Entertaining, full of interesting history, wonderful historic images and of course the wonderful voice of Shirley Power singing songs from the 1920s & 30s … and yes, we had a good old sing-a-long.  Congratulations to Colin & Shirley for adding a wonderful evening to our Expo.

I’m sure there’ll be plenty of photos appearing in the next few days on the Unlock The Past web site, so keep an eye out for them.

In case you hadn’t worked it out – I enjoyed the last couple of days – they were wonderful!

Day 1 – Victorian Expo

Wow – day 1 of the Victorian Expo (Geelong) was terrific – caught up with heaps of friends, didn’t stop talking ALL day [surprise anyone?] and we launched our new “book” [CD] … Irish in Geelong & District.

What a great day – and there’s still time for anyone to get along to the second day – today – and that’s where I’m heading now.  Hope to see some of you there.

I know I’ll be doing plenty of talking again today – 2 presentations – “Look local: it’s not all on the web” and of course my favourite “Sewerage records” – the one that has everyone laughing and completely gobsmacked by the end at this wonderful resource.  And if anyone has heard this before, you might want to hear it again – some terrific news about Sewerage records – something exciting that happened VERY recently that you might find just a tad interesting!

Irish in Geelong & district – NEW publication

Am I excited?  You bet I am!  Just over a year ago Pam Jennings & I published Scots in Geelong & district to 1860.  The obvious question from people was when are you going to do the Irish one?  Of course we replied – “can’t be done”!

OK – we’ve proved ourselves wrong.  At the Victorian Expo tomorrow we’re launching Irish in Geelong & district.  This publication will ONLY be produced on CD and there will NOT be a print-on-demand version.  Why?  Because there are 1,711 pages!  That doesn’t include an index because the book is in Acrobat (.pdf) format and is fully text searchable.  Also the A-Z section is in surname order for easy browsing.  Mind you, it takes a while to browse 1,700+ pages.  At a later stage the full index will be added to the Geelong & district database.

It isn’t a list of ALL Irish who came to Geelong & district but a HUGE number of records that may include your ancestors – if not you’ll certainly get an understanding of the wealth of information available in our region.

The CD will normally be $30 and details on how to purchase a copy will appear on the Geelong & district web site after the Expo, but for an Expo special it can be purchased at the Victorian Expo on Friday 2nd or Saturday 3rd September for $25.00.  Visit us at the Geelong & District Historical Association stand at the Expo – Table 18 – and make sure you visit all the other Geelong & District Historical Societies and Family History groups in our block of tables 13-24.  We’ve got heaps and heaps of books for sale from our region.

And if you haven’t booked to attend the Expo, don’t worry.  Anyone can come and it will only cost you $5.00 to get in.

It’s now less that 24 hours to the start of the Expo – and I’m sure my to-do-list includes more items than there are minutes before it all starts!

See you there!

Unlock The Past Victorian Expo (Geelong)

Unlock The Past and the City of Greater Geelong have issued a HUGE invitation to anyone wanting to come to this terrific Expo.  It’s a banner across the Melbourne-Geelong Road – on the footbridge spanning the main road into Geelong – you can’t miss it!

If you see the banner and you’re coming to the Expo, you’re on the right road!  Stay on the main road, follow the bends as you go up and over the railway line, then start working your way into the left-hand lane.  Yes, I know The Arena is on the RIGHT but you have to go LEFT from the service lane at the Victoria Street exit [3rd set of traffic lights after the railway overpass].  Then turn hard right into the Margaret Street overpass to go up and over the Melbourne-Geelong road.  Turn right at the end and The Arena main car park is on your right.  See the map.

Look forward to seeing you all there.

Unlock the Past Victorian Expo (Geelong)

Well I really can’t quite believe that it is SEVEN months this week since I first posted the news of the Unlock the Past Victoria Expo to be held in Geelong on Friday 2nd & Saturday 3rd September!  And now it’s only a week and a half away.

Already we have 74 exhibitors and lots of people registered.  Don’t forget that if you register before 30th August you get into the Expo for FREE!  And don’t forget to book for any of the sessions you want to attend to ensure you don’t miss out.  There are some free sessions with others at $5 each.

I really hope to see lots of you there.

And just to share something funny with you … this afternoon I was testing some computer equipment we’ll have on the Geelong & District stand so we can do lots of lookups of databases etc.  I had previously used my Netbook and USB dongle for Internet connection.  Unfortunately the Netbook has a rather insignificant display card and when a larger screen is attached for people to view it looks a tad … well … AWFUL!

The screen looks great with my Notebook but I had never used my USB dongle on it.  So, there I was trying to get my Internet connection working on the Notebook computer.  You see, where I live in Ocean Grove, we’re in a shadow and sometimes struggle to get digital TV reception, let alone a wireless Internet connection.  If you can picture me standing on tippy-toes on a chair on the verandah AND holding my Notebook as high as I could while still reaching the touch-pad and keyboard to try to get a connection … well I nearly fell off the chair laughing – it looked pretty silly and obviously my neighbours thought the same.

The good news – it works!

See you there … Susie Z

Darwin – NOT in Geelong and District!

It might sound funny talking about Darwin on the Geelong & District blog site but there is definitely a connection!

I try to get in a quick trip to Darwin once a year to visit family – preferably in June when the weather is terrific – low humidity and maximum of about 28-30 and minimum about 18.  Mind you, yesterday morning [Saturday 11th June] you could pick the locals a mile away – they were all wearing jumpers, cardigans or coats!  I was pleasantly comfortable in trousers and t-shirt.  Of course that’s fairly understandable as it was 3 degrees when I left Melbourne a week ago!

Back to the connection with our region!  The Genealogical Society of the Northern Territory are hungry for visiting speakers – if the opportunity arises, they go all out to plan a seminar around the speaker.  This is the second year I’ve done a seminar for GSNT – and they certainly make you feel welcome and appreciated.  Shauna Hicks is another “annual” visitor and GSNT make the most of her visits as well.

Last year I did 3 presentations for them.  This year I gave them a list of 10 or 12 to choose from and they chose 4!  I certainly found it interesting to see the ones they chose and their order of preference [in case I couldn’t manage doing 4 plus a general Q&A session with no limitations!]

Their first choice?  Scots in Geelong & district to 1860.  It’s normal to ask people living in Darwin where they come from – because there aren’t that many actually born and bred there – but there are a LOT of people whose ancestors spent time in Geelong & District!

The second presentation was Look Local: it’s not all on the web – one of my favourites highlighting the importance and the benefits of local & family history societies.

The third one was back to Geelong & District with the presentation I’ve given well over 100 times – Point Henry: an amazing place.  Again many of the audience connected with Point Henry as it was the landing site for their immigrant ancestors in Australia.

The last presentation was one of my “left-field” ones – can guarantee that the majority of the audience may have never heard of this resource and like my Sewerage Records presentation, it’s a bit of an eye opener for everyone … Heritage Studies: a great resource.

As I said earlier, the Darwin locals are so appreciative of speakers from down south.  I even had one lady drive up from Katherine the day before [300+ Kms], stay in a hotel in Darwin overnight, and drive back after the seminar.  She said how it was worth every cent and every kilometre!  I think I was the privileged one with someone prepared to go to those lengths to come to a seminar.

I had a ball at the seminar yesterday – terrific audience, lots of great questions, and well looked after by the GSNT – what more could you ask for?

So if you or a friend is planning a trip to Darwin, and you have experience in giving talks to those in the Genie world, why not get in touch with the GSNT and offer your services!  You won’t regret it!  They do a terrific job up here and deserve the support from the rest of Australia.

Oh – I’ve been invited back again next year – and I’m looking forward to it.

In the meantime it looks like we might get a couple of Darwinites visiting Geelong in September for the Victorian Expo – and we’ll certainly welcome their to our region.