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Ancestry part 1

My pop died in 2008 and I miss him a lot. We spent a lot of time together, fishing, playing snooker, fishing, watching cricket, watching league, fishing. On what would have been his 100th birthday the family and I went to the jetty where we used to go fishing, ate food from his favourite fish and chip shop and we shared favourite memories about him with each other.

I wasn't into metal detecting when he was alive but I think he would have enjoyed seeing my finds and telling me stories about what he could buy with four pence when he was a kid. I daresay he'd also be able to identify a lot of the unknown items I find as well.

Two years ago I was metal detecting a beach in suburban Adelaide when I received a call from my uncle. He knew the person who owned the land where Pop's first home was and was going to ask if we could go there and do some metal detecting. The land owner is a friend of the family and we were granted permission.

The past two years have been a source of great anticipation for me. When I go detecting and find relics I have no idea on who they may have belonged to. It was exciting to potentially find something that was related to my own personal history. After a quick weekend trip to Gympie my dad and I drove to central western NSW on our personal pilgrimage.

Day 1. Pop's First Home.

Pop was born in the early 1900s in Parkes, NSW but grew up in a place about 50 minutes (by car) from Orange. His first house was a slab hut atop a small hill. No evidence of the house is visible from the roadside, we only knew it was there because Pop and my uncle were driving past it one day and Pop pointed to the hill and said "my first house was on that hill". During the research for this trip I checked Google Maps and there was no evidence of a house there either. We drove into the paddock and started looking for evidence of a dwelling, the land was flat save for a few rocks that had been placed into piles by the land owner. Some pieces of rusty iron could be seen but there was no way of telling if it was a century old and could very easily have been more recent.

After a few minutes of walking around we found a small low structure with a small number of bricks, approximately 1.5m x 1.5m which we suspected could be a footing for water tank. We concentrated our search in this area and soon enough we started to find broken pottery - this was the place to start swinging.

The first find was awesome. A tailor's button with the words "HOLLE SYDNEY" on it. There's not a lot of information on the internet that I could find about who Holle was, but I did find an interesting blog article here at It was definitely an indication we were in the right spot.

There were two more buttons found, an EXCELSIOR button (which I have found similar before) and a NSW Mounted Rifles button which predates federation. I'm yet to confirm if this belonged to any member of my family, but so far I can't find anyone who may have served in the NSW mounted Rifles. If I do find someone I will update this entry. Still, I was very excited to find this item and it was my favourite find of the day.

No day of treasure hunting is complete without silver. I have no idea what this item is nor who the maker JJ is (I couldn't find a similar maker's mark online), but I estimate it to be 1907 based on the "h" mark (if you have any other ideas please get in touch).

I am unsure what this item is, but it looks like it is gilded. It was most likely tubular in shape, but it's now flattened.

We found quite a few buckles and rings, I was surprised at how many iron buckles and rings there were (I didn't take any photos of the iron ones) but we did find a few brass beauties.

I also found my first stirrup!

Clock parts are a common find, but I rarely find clock parts with clock maker names and patent dates on them. I date this Ansiona clock to be patented in 1877. Ansiona was started in 1851 and went out of business in 2006. Since there was no dwelling on the property in 1977 I'm confident the patent date of March 27, 77 is March 27, 1877.

The old faithful harmonica reed also made a show...

Here are the remaining unknown items (except the lever lock item, that's a padlock cover). If you have any ideas on what these could be please let me know.

I want to finish this particular post off with a huge thank you to the land owners - I cannot them enough. They treated me like family, let me camp on their land, listened to my stories, gave me information about the land and what they knew of my family's history, supplied power, water, fed me and shared their own histories. Truly wonderful people.

Stay tuned for day 2... a different house

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