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Antipodean murmurs

One branch of my family came from Australia, and my great grandfather had a very interesting and varied life, but I believe that many people in those days had a varied and interesting life as things were not as structured as they are now.
   My great grandfather ran away from home at the age of ten, and spent two years living with the aborigines in Tasmania. When the railway was first built he and a friend went to look at the train as it went past, but before it got near them they were already running away in terror. He tried his hand at a variety of enterprises, but essentially struck gold with his daughters. One married my grandfather who was at the time obscenely rich, another married a mining engineer who also made a fortune and the third, who earned the accolade “The Perth Belle” (admittedly at a time when the population was only five thousand or so!) married another extremely rich and very much (more than twice her age!) older rancher. This last one surprisingly was the one he crapped out on as the husband got ill and died, but between the time that he first got ill and his end the law on inheritance was changed. Previously the wife had dower rights as to one third of the estate. Afterwards she had none. Since he was in no fit state to alter his will to include her, and the family understandably viewed her as a gold-digger, she got squat.  (She became the “aunt from hell”, this may have made her a bit annoyed!)
   My grandmother was first a journalist and then an author, and she wrote a book that the publishers in Australia said was too good to be published in Australia, and they recommended that she bring it to England to be published. She embarked on a ship called the “Pericles”. It sank, and so did the only copy of my grandmother’s book. She never did get around to re-writing it as she met my grandfather, and she then had no need! As a typical Australian, she called up her bookie and bet the horses every day of her life!
   My great-grandfather therefore followed his other daughters to England where he turned his hands to a variety of enterprises and played poker for a living (you knew there would be some more gambling involved somewhere!) when he was not otherwise employed. I don’t think he actually made much money at it – after all he had my grandfather to tap, but he did acquire a certain notoriety. His main claim to fame thereafter was that there was a letter addressed to
    “Tom Brown of Australia
          London”
He got it.

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