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We are more than half way through November and I have not written a blog post. Life goes on as usual: Mondays and Tuesdays I teach dance. W...

About Me

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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia. You might enjoy my books - The Dagger of Dresnia, the first book of the Talismans Trilogy, is available at all good online book shops. Book two, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available again shortly. Book three, The Seer of Syland, is in preparation. I trained in piano and singing at the NSW Conservatorium of Music. I also trained in dance (Scully-Borovansky, WAAPA) and drama (NIDA). Since 1987 I have been writing reviews of performances in all genres for a variety of publications, including Music Maker, ArtsWest, Dance Australia, The Australian and others. Now semi-retired, I still write occasionally for the ArtsHub website, and I still teach dance at Trinity School for Seniors, an outreach program of the Uniting Church in Perth.

My books

The first novel of my trilogy, The Talismans, is available as an e-book from Smashwords, Amazon and other online sellers. I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $AU25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. Book two of the trilogy, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available again shortly. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. Book one, The Dagger of Dresnia, is up on the usual bookselling web sites as an e-book, and I have a few hard copies to sell to those who prefer Real Paper. Book Two, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available soon. The easiest way to contact me is via Facebook.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia
Want a copy? Contact me at satimafn(at)gmail.com

The Cloak of Challiver

The Cloak of Challiver
Available again as an ebook soon!

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

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Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong,  Australia

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've Lived - Sydney

Places I've Lived - Sydney
Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier
Blue Lake

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day
From Kings Park

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night
From Kings Park

Inner Peace Blog

Inner Peace Blog
Awarded by Joanna Fay. Click on the image to visit her lovely website!

Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award
Awarded by Kim Falconer. Click on the pic to check out her Quantum Astrology blog!

Fabulous Blog Award

Fabulous Blog Award
Awarded by Kathryn Warner. Click on the pic to check out her Edward II blog!

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Monday, 26 July 2010

Genealogy in a multicultural world

This is another post that I've copied over from my old WordPress blog.

When I was a child, ethnicity was a relatively simple matter. England was full of English people, Chinese people lived in China and in the south sea islands there were people who wore grass skirts and possibly ate missionaries. Of course, it wasn't really quite as simple as that, but that was how it appeared to me at three or four years of age.

I remember Mother calling me to the window one day, saying, "Look, there's a Chinaman!" I leaned over the windowsill and gazed down at the street below, but all I could see was the back of the man's head as he hurried along like everyone else in the bustling crowd, heading for a bus stop, his workplace or the shops. (I should explain that we were between houses and at this stage were living in a flat over a butcher's shop. It was at 26 King St, Stretford, Manchester, if you'd care to consult Google Earth!)

My illusions were shattered! The man wasn't even wearing a long robe like the mandarins in my picture book.

The world was already changing. The end of World War II left millions of people displaced, and they often ended up somewhere far from their place of birth. Other emigrations involved young women from Japan and Germany who had married soldiers from the UK, America, Australia and other countries. My own eldest sister married a refugee from Serbia and our house was often filled with his friends, many of whom spoke little or no English. And when we emigrated to Australia in 1952, we already found the beginnings of a multicultural society.

It was largely European multiculturalism, of course, for at that time the White Australia policy was in force. It suited the authorities to forget the Aboriginal people their ancestors had displaced, the Chinese adventurers who had settled here during the Gold Rush of the mid-C19, the Kanakas from the south seas islands who had been kidnapped and brought to Queensland as slave labour, the Afghan camel-drivers of Australia's Red Heart and the Japanese divers who worked in Broome's pearling industry. No, Australia was White, and White it was going to stay.

But Australia was flourishing and people all over the world were on the move. Laws had to change to bring in much-needed labour. Young people of the developed nations discovered the joys of travel, and many of them brought home foreign partners or settled in other countries. Students began to attend universities in lands other than their own, and by the 1960s countries that had been reasonably homogeneous, population-wise, found themselves turning into melting pots. Multiculturalism had arrived.

Now we have second and third generations of children whose parents or grandparents came from other lands. In some families, the immigration took place long ago, as in the the case of the Chinese gold-diggers' descendants. Some time ago, I met a girl from Broome whose four grandparents were Japanese, Aboriginal, Afghan and Irish. She was, I might add, extraordinarily attractive!

Two of my children descend from a part-African slave trader from Jamaica, who brought his family to Australia in the mid C19 when that terrible trade failed. Two more of my children are part-German. I have nieces and nephews of two generations who are part-Serbian, part-Greek or part-Polish, and step-grandchildren who are part-Italian.

All this has made for some interesting research in my family tree! I have not attempted to follow the Italian, Serbian, Greek and Polish laterals, leaving those for closer relatives to investigate, but I have found out a great deal about the ex-pat Jamaican line and that of my German children. Family historians are incredibly generous in sharing their research, and in fact my German cousin-by-marriage, Elfriede, came to visit me with her husband, who is Indian, a few years ago and I was fortunate enough to visit their lovely home in the Rhine Valley in 2006.

The ever-increasing mixture of nationalities must surely strengthen the gene pool, although it might create problems for genetically-based medicine in the future. Already we occasionally hear of someone who cannot find a tissue match because of their unusual bloodlines. But as genealogists, we face our own challenges. We are very lucky today in having access to so much information from all over the world. Not all of it is readily accessible, but even so, many of us can trace our ancestry back for at least a couple of centuries if we are determined enough. But who knows how long this happy state of affairs will continue? Borders alter, governments fall, mass migrations of people can happen almost overnight, especially in the event of war or natural disaster. All these things can mean gaps in the records. Anyone with any sense of history, anyone with any feeling of family pride, anyone with any sense of curiousity and wonder, wants to know about their ancestry. It is of vital importance, therefore, that this lucky generation of family historians should collect and preserve all the records they can for their multicultural, multi-coloured descendants! Write down everything you can remember of the stories your parents and grandparents told you about life in the old country, and their difficulties in learning to live in a new culture. Don't throw out those old photos, documents and letters Opa Jan, Aunt Mary, Uncle Ngobo or Cousin Takeko left in the garage. Rather, preserve them in archival quality folders and albums. Your great-grandchildren may well thank you for it.

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