Congress 2015: The Carnival Is Over

Kerrie Gray in pre-injury mode on Day 1.
Kerrie Gray in pre-injury mode on Day 1.

Congress 2015 has come and gone and The Carnival is Over.

I imagine Convenor Kerrie Gary and her team of “green people” and “purple people” have all collapsed in a heap after a job well done…they certainly took care of us very well and provided us with a luxury smorgasbord of speakers.

So…what of my thoughts on Congress? I’ve been so absorbed during the event that I haven’t blogged but let me try to give you a summary of what I’ve enjoyed most about Congress. Feedback on individual sessions will need to wait until some mental digestion has taken place I think.

The Humorous

The welcome to Sydney Congress 2018 by Bridge Climber Gerhardt (aka Martyn Killian from SAG) was very funny and provided levity just as everyone’s brains had gone into meltdown. I wonder what fun and learning Sydney will have in store for us?IMG_0862

The quirky green-haired “So Long, Farewell,  Auf Wiedersehen, Good Bye” from the Congress 2015 team was also fun.IMG_0868

Not so much humorous as hilarious was the finale of the Congress dinner with Canberra comedians, Shortis and Simpson, in an  irreverent mockery of Australia’s Prime Ministers past and present. It says a lot for our country that our national leaders can be satirised from within its very halls of power…in many countries it would merit a firing squad.

The Friends

Fellow blogger, Fran aka Travelgenee, was pretty pleased with her beads and ribbons.
Fellow blogger, Fran aka Travelgenee, was pretty pleased with her blogger beads and ribbons. Read her blog at

One of the joys of Congress is meeting fellow obsessives with whom we can swap notes and experiences. I wonder how many people met cousins or others with fellow research/family interests?
I had a great time catching up with people I’ve met online or at past events, especially those who have become online friends via hangouts or blogging. I really enjoyed catching up with mates I’d made at RootsTech only a month or so before hand.

DSC_3196For those who are still wondering, the black and gold beads worn by some were generously provided by GeneaBlogger guru, and good mate, GeniAus aka Jill Ball. The pale blue Kiva ribbons tagged onto name badges were to promote the Genealogists for Families lending team about which the members are passionate. Hopefully our promo spiel may have encouraged some new members to join us. Since I was ordering those, I also ordered some Queenslander ribbons which caused some consternation among my Blues friends. Thanks to fellow GFF member and Kiwi blogger, Roger Moffat in the US who helped minimise postage costs. Kiva1

The Learning and the Passion

Mum and I outside the Broadford Catholic church cemetery 1989.
Mum and I outside the Broadford Catholic church cemetery 1989.

Of course the real reason we all attend Congress is to benefit from the knowledge and passion of the wonderful speakers who talked on their fields of expertise.

From my point of view this was a great conference with so much expertise condensed in one place. It was especially enjoyable and educational to hear more from my history hero, Richard Reid (even if he did try to embarrass me in his presentation! Was I ever so young, and skinny, as in that photo?!). And then there was the opportunity to speak with Irish experts Perry McIntyre, Cheryl Mongan, Jenny Harrison and Nick Reddan. Heaven on a stick for me.

The Extras

Sunset illuminates Parliament House.
Sunset illuminates Parliament House.

I learnt a lot from my lunch sessions especially Paul Milner giving us tips of preparing and presenting at a Conference…a little intimidating when I was speaking an hour later…too soon to assist, too late to change much.

Who could forget the imposing surrounds of the Australian War Memorial’s aviation hall or the Parliament House dinner setting?

During the Congress dinner, winners of the AFFHO Meritorious Service award. past and present, were given the new, very impressive badges.

Jan Gow, NZ, proudly displaying her medallion at the dinner.
Jan Gow, NZ, proudly displaying her medallion at the dinner.
2015 AFFHO Meritorious Awardee, Heather Garnsey, from SAG.
2015 AFFHO Meritorious Awardee, Heather Garnsey, from SAG.










Touring and Research

The film show during the Congress welcome.
The film show during the Congress welcome.

I did get to do a little research at the National Library and the National Archives but there will be more to do another time. The Australian War Memorial is, as always, inspirational and moving, especially the Remembrance Garden. As always I placed poppies on the walls for family members James Gavin, Thomas Paterson, and Robert Kunkel.

James Thomas Paterson is remembered.
James Thomas Paterson is remembered.

Once again, thanks to the Congress organisers for a great time of learning and fun in Canberra. Thanks also for the opportunity to be an official blogger for Congress 2015.

Apologies for this delayed posting – despite writing it on the train from Canberra to Sydney, the iPad defeated me in finessing the presentation.

10 thoughts on “Congress 2015: The Carnival Is Over

  1. Cannot believe I missed this post until today. So glad I finally got here! Great summary that reminded me why you have to attend these events. Thanks so much for including me and a link to my blog. xx


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.