Do Virgin Airlines have ANY compassion?


, ,

Sometimes you just have to speak up – this is one of those times.

Back on 17th May, although I really couldn’t afford it, I booked cheap flights to go to Adelaide to spend my 65th birthday with my older brother.  I hadn’t seen him for some time and he is not well enough to travel.  Instead of spending my birthday on my own in Geelong I could think of nothing better than spending it with my brother and his family in Adelaide.

It wasn’t going to be a long trip – Friday 9th June to Adelaide on Jetstar and back on Sunday 11th June on Virgin – mixed flights to get me there and back.

YES – today is my birthday, and NO – I’m not in Adelaide.

What happened?  

On Thursday 25th May I had a fall – broke my right ankle and had tendon and soft tissue damage in my left ankle.  Absolutely no mobility!  Spent 24 hours in hospital.  Follow-up appointment with orthopaedic surgeon on Monday 5th June – under no circumstances could I fly, apart from the problems of getting from Geelong to Tullamarine Airport.

Both legs were cheap fares that did not allow changes to the dates / times etc.

I even paid for travel insurance just in case.


Travel Insurance – I have to pay the first $100 to change or cancel and get a refund.

Jetstar – after reviewing medical certificate etc., on compassionate grounds they have given me a Travel Voucher for the full amount paid, valid for 6 months.

Virgin – said the equivalent of “stiff xxxx”!  They want $80 to change the date / time of travel.  They do not accept the medical certificate as grounds for leniency!

So Jetstar can show compassion but Virgin CAN’T? – exactly the same scenario – one a flight from Melbourne to Adelaide, the other a flight from Adelaide to Melbourne – just 3 days apart.


I want Virgin to show they have some compassion, just like Jetstar did.  I can’t afford to pay another $80 and I certainly can’t set a future date for my trip until after I have clearance from the orthopaedic surgeon.

I am unemployed – looking for work but difficult to get to interviews at the moment.  Today I become an old age pensioner!  That’s my income.

I have found the ‘Complaints and Compliments‘ form on Virgin’s website – I will be attempting to get them to show some compassion and give them a link to this blog.

Can you help – not sure if they are interested in hearing from others but at least I’m going to get my message out there!

Gosh it would be a great birthday present if Virgin actually replied and showed some compassion.  I don’t want my money back – I just want to be able to book a flight after I become mobile again, at no extra cost, so I can visit my brother and his family for a very belated birthday celebration!

Susie’s Five Faves Geneameme


, , , , ,

If there is one thing that GeniAus could really get me motivated about it has to be books – but what a challenge … FIVE????  … Five Faves Geneameme.

FIVE books?  My Library Catalogue contains 3,008 items.  Oh, I have heaps more – they’re just the ones that are catalogued at this stage!

How is it humanly possible to choose just FIVE from that collection?  Now that’s what I call a challenge.

I have other priority things I should be working on but decided doing this blog would get me in the right mood!  So here is how I reduced it from 3,008 to just 5!

First I tried the books I pulled off the shelves more often than others.

Then I looked at the books that weren’t fully available on the web.

Next I looked at the books that I used for ‘local’ research [VICTORIA] when I did research for others, and my own personal family research [NOT local].

Finally I tried to look for a real variety.

GeniAus I hope you realise the sleepless night(s) you caused!  So finally here they are …

Book No. 1
Title Pastoral Pioneers of Port Phillip
Author(s) R V Billis and A S Kenyon
Description From the foreword: In this work the names of the true pioneers of Port Phillip, and of the properties they held under depasturing licenses, are perpetuated.

It is in two main parts: Part I – Pastoral Licensees [the people]; Part II – the Port Phillip Runs [the property names].  And don’t skip the Notes at the end – additions to both Parts.

Details include the name of the District and potentially a number of different runs.  Other information could include: years / dates the run was held, arrival, birth or death, and sundry other data.



Book No. 2
Title Dielheimer Familienbuch 1648-1900 mit Horrenberg, Balzfeld, Unterhof und Oberhof
Author(s) Klaus Ronellenfitsch
Description If you don’t have German ancestors then you mightn’t be interested in this one.  BUT if you have any non-English speaking ancestors this may perhaps get you thinking and encourage you to tackle this type of research.

To ease you into the Familienbuch, have a look at ‘The Ortssippenbuch (OSB)‘; and the ‘Local Family Books (The OFBs of Germany)‘ on Family Search.  Then get a little more adventurous with the ‘Family Book‘; the Dielheimer Familienbuch 1648-1900 and the ‘Online Local Family Books‘.

How did I learn about these books?  Jenny Paterson from the Burwood and District Family History Group has written many excellent articles on (Australian) German research for their journal ‘Ances-tree’.

I can’t stress how important it is to follow every ‘lead’ – footnotes, references, sources and bibliographies.  This is the golden rule for every book, database, website etc. – you will learn so much doing this.

I believe that because of Jenny’s work, the Society of Australian Genealogists has the larges collection of Famillenbuch in Australia.

I was able to purchase the one relevant to my own family and location of Oberhof in Germany via the web direct from the author.  Using the book I was able to confirm a possible ancestor from Family Search adding siblings, parents and another generation to my family.  I can’t wait until someone produces the book for Epfenbach!

And don’t forget to use Google Translate and/or the browser Chrome to translate entire web pages and site.



Book No. 3
Title London’s East End: Life and Traditions
Author(s)  Jane Cox
Description How good does it feel – browsing through maps, sketches, history and lots of photographs from the East End of London where my French Huguenot Silk Weaver ancestors lived for so many years? From the various Censuses I know that for some years they lived in Brick Lane – 37, 43, 45-7, 49, 117, 120, 142, 147, 179, 186 – all entries from the index.

Using this book I can immerse myself into their world – an absolute joy that literally gives you goose-bumps.



Book No. 4
Title A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland
Author(s) Brian Mitchell
Description  If you don’t love maps you are really missing something in your family history research.

Some people put Ireland in the ‘too-hard’ basket, however understanding the various geographical, ecclesiastical and administrative boundaries will help you with your research and selecting the right resources.

Bounties, Baronies, Poor Law Unions, Civil Parishes, Dioceses and Probate Districts are all important to your research.

It is also so important to become familiar with ‘the neighbourhood’ – those places that are so close to where your ancestors lived.



Book No. 5
Title Shipping Arrivals and Departures, Victorian Ports

Vol. 1 1798-1845

Vol. 2 1846-1855

Vol. 3 1856-1860

Author(s)  Marten A Syme
Description OK – I know there are three physical books but it IS one series – you just can’t separate them.

Just because you’ve found a digital copy of a passenger list which shows your ancestor you haven’t finished your family history research if you haven’t looked at the entry for that specific journey in Syme’s books.

What port did it come from, when did it depart, when did it arrive, and where did it go next and when.  What was the cargo?  Was it a special voyage for Assisted Immigrants? Who was the Master?  What was the source of the information provided?

And Volume 3 includes a huge amount on the minor ports of Victoria – you will learn so much from the cargo on arrival and departure.

Don’t rush – absorb and learn from this wonderful series!


Don’t forget to use your local library or inter-library loan to access these books!

What you discover when you read the fine print!


, , , ,

Billing - larger houseThere I was re-sorting my collection of research CDs when I turned one over and actually read the BACK of the cover!

I KNEW what I would find in a Sands and McDougall’s Melbourne and Suburban Directory!  I had used so many over the years.  I also knew how important it was to use the STREET directory part and not just the SURNAME part.  I researched houses so often that it was crucial that I use the STREET directory part to ensure I didn’t miss anything important.  So how could I have ignored the “blurb” on the back of the 1884 CD – especially when it featured a sketch of a house complete with floor-plan.

What did the “fine print” tell me – if I’d bothered to read it in the first place?

A fascinating feature is a Universal Building Societies Supplement which includes 15 pages of architectural house plans of the day – layouts and elevations – with the house price for each.  These have estimated prices ranging from £150 for a basic wooden house to substantial brick dwellings for just over £1000 – with servants room included.

Billing - small wooden houseWow – what an amazing supplement – 31 pages in total.  And what was even more fascinating were the plans for the smaller wooden cottages – designed by an architect!

It was also a chance to learn about Building Societies and mortgages and how our ancestors may have purchased or built their home in 1884.

Billing had been an architect of interest for some time and even more so last year when I was researching a house associated with Swinburne University in Hawthorn.  I had located the sewerage plans which gave the footprint of a “mystery house” until photos were uncovered to show the house in all it’s glory.  Research showed that the house was possibly built or enlarged by the architect Nathaniel Billing.

The lesson?  READ THE FINE PRINT and never presume you know what a publication really contains.

I had even ignored the Bookmarks contained in this Sands and McDougall’s CD – I confess I hadn’t click on the bookmark titled “Universal Building Society” – the bookmark was totally correct for the title in the Directory – it just didn’t jump out at me and I had never clicked on it.

Will I learn my lesson – I really hope so.  In the meantime I’m sharing this with you to encourage you to read the fine print and click on “boring sounding” titles – you just never know what absolute gem is hidden there!

Girls Make History


, ,

Girls Make History WorkshopsLast week I had the pleasure of participating in the “Girls Make History” Workshops at Deakin Waterfront.  It was presented by Deakin Contemporary Histories Research Group and the Master of Applied Learning and Teaching.

As part of my workshop I promised to provide a number of links for further research.

Starting with some of the case studies I used:

Some other links that will help with your research – PLENTY here to keep you occupied for some time:

Enjoy your research!

Louise King Funerals for WomenI greatly appreciate that my time participating in the “Girls Make History” program was sponsored by Louise King Funerals for Women.

Heritage environment, cemetery, and award – WINNERS!


, , ,

Moonah Walk, Queenscliff CemeteryBack on 25 September 2016 I posted a blog with the above title minus the last bit … [ – WINNERS! ] .

The new title with its addition says it all – the Geelong Cemeteries Trust won the 2016 Premier’s Sustainability Award for the category of Environmental Protection.

Congratulations to the Geelong Cemeteries Trust.  And for all of you family history researchers make sure you look at the GCT online searchable database for the large number of cemeteries that come under their care.

You’ll also find some very useful background information on their research page.

GCT recipientsThe award

It’s history week and this is OUR history


, ,

2000 - Ocean Grove races

Image: downunder exposures

By “our” I mean Ocean Grove – a lovely corner of Paradise on the Bellarine Peninsula – right beside Bass Strait.

Because it’s unique in Australia, it really is wider than our “local” history so I’ve put it up on my Geelong and District Blog and decided it should also be here.

And there is no denying that the annual even drew the crowds – just look at the photo!

The FULL story and digitised Race Books can be found on my web site.

A VERY unique and important part of our history!