Thanks to everyone for your responses to my last post. People were so very frank about their life experiences. I appreciate that.
I love history. I studied it at university and I think that if life (my Pete) hadn’t drawn me away, I probably would have taken my studies a lot further. Lately I have been reflecting on the fact that historical events – conflicts, conquests, discoveries and inventions, tell the stories of men, particularly white men. I have watched historical documentaries on TV and consider this fact a lot, and more and more this worries me. One voice should not be louder than all other voices. I believe that women hold a vital place in the development of societal attitues. Each of us holds influence over the next generation and their expectations of life. The study of generational attitudes may well be a reflection of the previous generation of women.
Recently a publication was included in our local paper. This was called ‘The Pioneers’ and told the stories of families who had lived here in Townsville’s infancy. The Petersen family was one that was included. My husband’s family has been here for a very long time. His father was born here into a large extended family. He has photos and stories and momentos of this time. He has given us a family tree which traces the family history to Denmark. This man is my husband’s great-great-grandfather. He was born in Hoptrup in Denamrk, married in New Zealand, lived in Brisbane, Charters Towers and in Townsville. He is buried at the Townsville cemetry along with his wife who was born in Haderslev, Denmark.
Out of interest we went to google earth and looked at Hoptrup and Haderslev. We then followed a series of links to discover that this area of the world had been claimed by both Germany and Denmark throughout history. At the time of my Pete’s g-g-g grandfather’s / mother’sbirths the area was involved in the second Schleswig War. I don’t know why they chose to leave this area and make their way to Australia via New Zealand. But I can’t help but wonder whether the unsettled political landscape was a contributing factor.
It took us just two hours to discover all of this, and more, over the internet. I love that we were able to look at Hoptrup and Haderslev as they stand now using google earth. People are able to add their own photos to show the sights and vistas. Although there were none at Holtrup there were others nearby and it gave us a real sense for the area. My Pete would like to go there. I’d like to go there too.
I love the internet.
Three generations of Petersen men. L to R My son, his grandfather, his father. Taken at Mission Beach 2005