Friday, 21 February 2014

Out of the slums...

I’ve been doing the family history when I have time on My mother had boxes of records and I’m bit by bit going through them – scanning, inputting and reading. Every so often I get messages from people, who are related in some far off way to me and who have stumbled onto me and my part of the family. It’s interesting. I’ve learnt that tracing back one branch of my family to 1025 to the Throckmortons – or the Throckers as I like to call them – once a titled noble destiny in the UK – that a huge spin off of people come from this family and that six degrees of separation does really exist.

I got a comment this morning from a woman related to the Anthes side of the family. It was in relation to a newspaper cutting dating back to 1905. It was a child neglect case in which a child was found in squalid/filthy circumstances living in the middle of a slum. No child then or now should have to live like that but having talked to Dad about his side of the family history and hearing about some of the rough as guts people who struggled at the turn of the last century to make their way in a world where there was no social welfare benefits and the slums were only for the strongest and the most rat cunning, I’m wasn’t surprised to read this 1905 article.

People were different back then. What appals us now, was part of struggling to survive in a bloody hard world back then. If you think you have it tough now, then I suggest you meander on back to the past and see how tough it really was. I know there were a lot of light fingered people in my family. I don’t have to read the police gazettes report of the time to believe it.  I know some of the women earned extra dollars ‘servicing’ Yanks who came to Sydney during the war. People did stuff to get by. I can’t condemn them. I look at the greedy and selfish around me and I wonder – firstly – how they would feel being descended from people who did what they had to do because there was no one to try and sponge money off of. And secondly – would those people have survived back then? I doubt it.

You are who you are. The truth is always just below the surface and it defines who we are as human beings.