Friday, 29 June 2012

Janet Reakes Memorial Award, 2011, & Dr George Young

During my recent seven week stint in Hong Kong, I was thrilled to receive email notification that I was placed second in the Janet Reakes Memorial Award for 2011. Entries for that Award closed last December and the results were announced on page 5 of Australian Family Tree Connections, May 2012. The full details will eventually be posted on the Janet Reakes Genealogy website.

In deciding to write on the competition's nominated topic, My Most Unusual Ancestor, I chose Dr George Young. He fascinated me because of his links to Sir Joseph Banks and an early Australian Governor, Captain William Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty fame. Both Banks and Bligh were men of great influence in Australia's early history, on which topic I've already published two non-fiction books, and one of my favourite books is 'The Conjuror's Bird', by Martin Davies, an imagined version of a mysterious part of Banks' life. I'm currently writing about another figure of influence in the world of botany, the botannical artist Margaret Flockton (see my Flockton Family History blog).  Margaret's grandmother was a granddaughter of Dr George Young.

It was difficult to meet the guidelines for the Janet Reakes competition within the required maximum of 2,000 words, excluding citations. The article not only needed to present an interesting biography, it needed to explain the genealogical steps involved in 'uncovering' the story. Should you read the 'uncited' version of my competition entry I hope you'll agree that Young's life was unusual, worth researching and worth writing about.