Diary of a Genea-cruise: Day 3 in Melbourne

Today is….Thursday crop

It must be Melbourne. And OMG, I’ve just woken up and there goes the ….

Welcome to Melbourne

sign. After a few nights with four hours’ sleep the alarm plainly couldn’t succeed in waking me, so it was a whirlwind tour through the shower to be ready in 15 minutes.DSC_0845

My friend Sharn (from Family History 4 U) and I went to the National Gallery of Victoria to see the Art Deco exhibition which included some magnificent costumes from the 1920s. Some I’d be happy to wear today but sadly I’ve no longer got the 1920s figure I had in my youth. The photographs by Edward Steichen were amazing –dramatic and full of character, and none really the same as another.

What a lovely start to the day! Melbourne had turned on magnificent weather, not too hot, not too cold and lovely and sunny. I had a little wander through one of Melbourne’s lovely arcades…how good does this cake look?

choc fig tart

I was lucky enough to meet up with my new-found cousin Bev and we had a lovely lunch and exchange of news and a bit of family history over lunch at St Kilda. People were actually swimming in the ocean …how weird is that!! No stingers, crocs or sharks!!St Kilda beach

Back on board we had a post-dinner session hosted by Thomas MacEntee in which a panel were asked for their opinions on the “Future of Genealogy”. The panellists were Shauna Hicks (Qld), Mike Moore (I think, WA), Chris Paton (Scotland) and Kirsty Gray (England).  I’m not going to attempt to give you much on that but here are my take-home messages.

  • Social media was the tie-breaker on opinions with some being devotees and one panellist scoffing at it. Blogging, tweeting and Google+ing are still seen to be frivolous wastes of time. But then which group had the greatest solidarity on the ship….hmmm, the Geneabloggers!
  • Genealogists should consider using more people power to convince governments of the errors of their ways when implementing legislation which runs counter to our interests (eg the SSDI in the States).  Seems to me this is where social media just might be helpful.
  • Chris Paton emphasised his view that more attention needs to be paid to improving cataloguing in archives rather than just digitising records. After all if other records can’t be found, what’s the point. Without understanding the context the documents lose their “sense”.  Couldn’t agree more Chris.
  • Societies need to look at how they provide value to their members and look beyond those in the immediate area. This might include digitised records which are available online only to members. Every time a member pays their next membership fee they are saying “You’ve given me enough info/services to stay with you”.
  • Long term interest in genealogy: will it change with the demise (ultimately) of WDYTYA etc. My view is that we all started our family history because we wanted to know about our families and learn their stories. I doubt that will change though it may cause some leaf-collectors to drop away.
  • Shauna promoted Family History Month in Australia and encouraged everyone to support it within their societies.
  • Several speakers commented on concerns about dropping numbers of volunteers in today’s busy lifestyles. I suspect it’s more complicated than that.
  • I did like Chris Paton’s frankness in saying he didn’t have a clue as to where we’d be in five years.

Thank you everyone for thought-provoking responses to Thomas’s questions. I think there’s food for thought in the days and weeks ahead.

Good night, sleep tight.

Here I was thinking I was on the briny deep with the smell of the ocean in my nostrils. This little fellow on my bed made me wonder if I’d strayed back to Africa.


8 thoughts on “Diary of a Genea-cruise: Day 3 in Melbourne

    1. It’s a gorgeous clear day in Hobart, Pete, with the seagulls shrieking around the harbour, Mt Wellington draped in a thin veil of cloud (much better than snow which can occur here anytime!), and another mega-liner has arrived over night. Hobart’s shopkeepers will be very happy. Sorry to hear about your cold weather -perhaps a winter holiday in Oz next year?


  1. Thanks for this excellent report. The little towel elephant was perfect for you with your African interests! I was sorry to hear (from others as well as from you) that Mike thinks social media is rubbish. (I believe he actually used a stronger word!) Until I tried it, I was sceptical too, but I now realise that it can be a powerful tool for ‘cousin bait’ and for learning (and for making new friends). However, it needs to be used appropriately and in moderation. I have stopped following some high-profile genealogists because they post a lot of what I personally rate as ‘trivia’ or ‘excessive grandstanding’. Maybe I’m being harsh, but I feel I can use my time more wisely. 🙂


    1. I understand what you mean Judy in the sense that one needs to be selective about how one uses social media or one winds up feeling like a tiger has you by the tail. for me blogging is the way to learn from others, and the bonding from that was evident on the cruise.


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