Sepia Saturday – Postcard from Tasmania

When my husband’s grandmother Ann Boyd married Phillip Craine on 18th April 1906 they chose to honeymoon in Tasmania. Ann sent this postcard home to her sister and that is the only reason I know they were in Tasmania. I think the vehicle might be called a charabanc.Mt Wellington ride


Mt Wellington ride reverseand I have often wondered – why did they choose this destination, why not go to the seaside, or a chalet in the hills around Melbourne? much more likely places for a honeymoon or holiday. A trip to Tasmania would have been quite daunting – a long train journey and then the crossing of Bass Strait, a trip which even today I don’t like to do by ship. Could Philip afford a trip like this on the wage of a shop assistant or did his mother–in-law assist them financially as she had an ulterior motive?

As a genealogist I have to stick to facts according to the documents I have and here they are:-

Ann’s mother was Selina Barnes, who according to her obituary had been born in Launceston, Tas. There is no record of this birth in the Indexes.

On her marriage and death certificates Selina’s parents are listed as Sarah Bunston and George Barnes and her death certificate suggests she had arrived in Tasmania at the age of 2 years – but there is no documentary evidence to support this  ie no arrival of a George and Sarah Bumstead and daughter Sarah age 2.

On Sarah Barnes death Certificate her maiden name is listed as Bunstead

But there is a marriage in 1849 near Hobart of a Sarah Bumpstead to a John Duson, but no further documentary evidence about their lives.

What I do have of course is all the evidence which supports that Sarah Bumsptead accompanied her convict mother Elizabeth when she was transported on the Mellish in 1830. I wrote about this family in last week’s post.

So now as a Blogger I can wander around the facts with some daydreaming.

Is the Sarah Bumstead who arrived on the Mellish in 1830 with her convict mother the same Sarah Bumstead who is listed as the mother of Selina Barnes who was the mother of Ann who sent the postcard. The dates certainly fit.

Did Sarah Bumstead and John Duson who married in Hobart, move to Beaufort in Victoria and change their names to Sarah and William Barnes? There is a precedent for this, as Sarah Bumstead’s sister Caroline and her husband had changed their names when they moved interstate.

There was such a stigma to having a convict in your family background in those days so was there some fudging with the facts when information was being given for certificates?

What did Selina know or suspect, what did Ann know or suspect? Was the visit intended for her to try and find something of her ancestry? Was she to make contact with second cousins in Tasmania?

I will never know the answers to these questions – oh how I wish there had survived a letter from the Tas branch to the folk in Victoria, but no such document exists.

Daydreaming over!

As there are some post card collectors who contribute to this blog site I would now like to add a footnote. There are other Post Cards stamped with P.M. Koonin on view at

and some other information here

 Other postcard collections with fascinating histories may be seen at Sepia Sat April 12





16 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday – Postcard from Tasmania

  1. I do remember being young and trying to hide from “big brother” of government and authorities. So I’m not in every census, and my descendents will have to wonder how and where. That’s fine by me, because I do the same about my ancestors!

  2. Searching out the stories behind one’s genealogical ancestors’ lives can be tricky, but it’s hard not to daydream and theorize about how things went with them and who knows, sometimes you might have at least a handle on it. And if not, who will know . . . except perhaps another member of the family who has proof your happy version isn’t quite right which can be a bit disappointing but – oh well.

  3. Not totally knowing is what I find so darn interesting in old postcards! I like the handwriting, as so many of the letters remind me how we were taught in third grade!

    • One wonders how many decades it will take before we forget how to write – or read handwriting. We read very little these days which is hand written – the blackboard menu at a Restaurant? the shopping list? and many young ones probably have that on an electronic device. We use emails for our correspondence, people even send their Christmas greeting this way, we no longer need to sign for credit card purchases etc

  4. A great post. I find it interesting that postcards and letters like this had brief and sometimes inscrutable messages, almost as if the recipients were expected to read more description and sentiment in the author’s few words.

  5. My parents went to Tasmania for their honeymoon. My grandmother stayed at a pub in South Australia. Seemed like a strange place for a teetotaler to stay! Surprised her father allowed it!

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