Thursday, 17 January 2013

2013 Australia Day Challenge: David Smith

Leslie Smith & David aged 3

The 2013 Australia Day Challenge  is to tell the story of your first ancestor to come to Australia.

I have chosen to do both the male and female sides which will be in two posts.

On my Father's side I have a very short Australian pedigree.

David Smith came to Australia in 1949 with his mother Lilian Maud Smith aboard the Asturias.  The exact date and name of ship was discovered in two days searching at what was the New South Wales Archives office at the Rocks going through every microfilm passenger list for 1949 (and there were quite a few of them!) Then the trek out to Kingswood to get a copy of the card file with two photos.

They came as Ten Pound Poms!  

It was a major change of life for David. He had come from a time of rationing, to on board the ship, where he saw white bread for the first time AND he could have as many helpings as he wanted! It got tot he stage the waiters just gave him double helpings. He had very fond memories of that voyage!

David and Lilian were sponsored by Lilian's brother-in-law Frank who had himself emigrated to Australia in 1934 aboard the Largs Bay.

I found Frank's shipping details from FindMyPast passenger lists leaving England. Luckily Frank's address in England prior to the voyage was listed so that I was able to determine this was in fact the correct Frank Smith which is not an uncommon name! These passenger lists leaving England are now also available on Ancestry.

Leslie, Lilian and David
By arriving in June 1949 they were not automatically made Australian citizens, you had to arrive in Australia prior to Australia Day 1949 for this to occur. David however believed that he was an Australian citizen, served in the Army and became a Justice of the Peace. It wasn't until he applied for an Australian passport in 1990 that he found out he was not an Australian citizen. In reality this did not cause him any issues to that point and only caused a issue in the late 1990s when he was on an invalid pension and Centrelink said they were revoking his pension as he had a gap in electoral enrollment and thus was not eligible. This gap was found to be a mistake on their part.

I have written about David before and the work he and Lilian did to survive and their trip back to England in 1954.