Happy 4th Birthday to Us





Can you believe that it has been four years since I started The Keeper of Stories!!  I’m amazed, as the time has passed so very quickly.

I haven’t been posting in the last few months, as I’m afraid that life has just gotten in the way.  I have been having such a marvellous time with travel, family & friends, and cooking, but I will be starting back to blogging next month, November, with an account of our trip to Fiji.  This will be following by a month long blog in December of all things Christmas,  and how to save money but still have a blast.  We will then return to family history stories in January. 

I have re-vamped the blog giving it a fresh new look so stay with me folks, it’ll be great fun.



Photo:  Photo taken from : http://www.passportmagazine.ru/article/914/


Marriage of Christina Di Salvia to Henry Callan Schofield

Christina Di Salvia &  Schofield wedding

Isn’t the bride just beautiful, such a pretty face, shinning with happiness and full of hope and trust that life will be good to her new husband and herself.   Christina Lorna Di Salvia was just 21 years old when she married Henry Callan Schofield who was 25 year old.  Their bridal party consisted of (from l to r) Walter Di Salvia, Gwen Schofield, Henry (groom), Christina (bride), Joseph Di Salvia (father of the bride), Juanita Di Salvia, Stan Hunt, flower girls – names unknown.

Christina and Henry were married at the Parramatta Seventh Day Adventist Church, which is where my own family attended church for many years.  The church was a magnificent old building, built in a very dark brick with lots of windows letting in sunshine.  Sadly it is no longer standing.

This couple shared a long and happy life together raising two children, my cousins Raymond (b. 1937) and Beryl (b. 1942).  I remember that they had an orange farm at Windsor.  My mum and dad visited the farm rarely, but I have distinct memories of eating juicy oranges straight from the tree, and oddly – the old grandfather clock  which kept me awake at night!!  Silly that I can’t remember where the clock was within the house, only that it made a lot of noise.

Below is the wedding announcement that appeared in the church paper – The Australasian Record, on 26 Aug 1935, page 7.  The charming “old style” wording is definately from a time long past.  Referring to the couple as “contracting parties”, “reverence and charm” and “bower of beauty” hint at the gentle, loving and serious nature of the event.

Wedding Announcement

My Aunty Chris passed away at the age of 81 years and my Uncle Henry passed away at the age of 101 years and they are buried together in the Tweed Heads Lawn and General Cemetary.

Postcard of General Kuroki

General Kuroki 1844 – 1923

I have decided to showcase this postcard of General Kuroki from my grandfather’s postcard collection.  This of course led me to “Google” him to find out a little more about the person behind the postcard.

I learned that General Kuroki was the Commander-in-Chief of the 1st Japanese Corps at the beginning of the Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905.  Then I looked up the Russo-Japanese War, of which I knew nothing.  Sometimes I think that a person could do nothing but study history for a lifetime, and still not know it all!

Kuroki Tamemoto was born in May 1844  and was the son of a samurai.  It would seem that he was in the Japanese army for most of his life, gaining the rank of Lieutenant in 1869, Captain in 1871 and Major in 1872, and then at the age of 31 he was made a Lieutenant-Colonel.  Skipping through the ranks he finally made General in 1903.  His forces had a series of battle successes during the Russo-Japanese War including the battle of Yalu River, the battle of Liaoyang, the battle of Shaho and the battle of Mukden.  General Kuroki retired from military service in 1909, dying of pneumonia in 1923 at the age of 79.

At the time of the Russo-Japanese war my grandfather was only 16 years old and living in the Tamworth area and in July of 1904 snow was clearly seen on the hills around the town.   The Australian Prime Minister was Alfred Deakin;  1904 saw the women’s suffrage granted in Tasmania and Ipswich in Queensland was proclaimed a city.


Snow: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/14661550

1904: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1904_in_Australia







Frances Genevieve Di Salvia and Basil Hilton Mobbs

Wedding Bells – Mobbs-Di Salvia

The above wedding notice appeared in the Australasian Record on July 14, 1930.

Basil (Bart) & Frances Mobbs nee: Di Salvia 1930

This gorgeous photo of the wedding party is 87 years old today!  The bridesmaid was her sister Chris and the groomsman was Henry Schofield.  Henry & Chris married  each other some years later in 1935.  On the far right is France’s father Joseph Di Salvia.  Frances looks pretty and very happy, as all newly married women should, and Basil is seated in the middle.  Below is a photo taken of Frances with her bridesmaid outside the family home, presumably in Celia Avenue, Granville.

Frances Di Salvia with sister and bridesmaid Christina Di Salvia

My Aunty Frances would sometimes come to visit us at Bogalara Road, not very often, but sometimes.  I had a “soft” memory of her, I thought she was really gentle.  She genuinely seemed to like visiting us, and I remember mum and dad enjoyed her company.  I remember Aunty Frances as a happy person; it seemed to me as a child that she laughed “sweetly”, and I liked her.

Family Photo – Asthore Campbell Pengilley

Asthore Campbell Pengilley

Asthore Campbell Pengilley was born in Quirindi which is not far from my own home town in 1907 to James Campbell Pengilley and wife Mary Jane Merrick.

I never met Asthore Campbell Pengilley who married my uncle Clarence Edward Bailey on Christmas Eve, 1934 in Parramatta, but what a magical time of year to be married!  Fancy waking up on Christmas morning as husband and wife.

Uncle Clarry and Aunt Asthore had two children – my cousins Brian Edward in 1935 and Raymond James in 1936. But Aunt Asthore’s life was destined to be short.  She became ill and passed away on 29 Dec 1944 and it must have been such a sad time for her boys.


wmcmullen45 Originally shared this article on 26 Oct 2013 on Ancestry.com

Living In A Cave

My Grandparents, Christina and Joseph Di Salvia, lived through the depression in Australia from 1929 to 1933 and I cannot imagine how hard life became for them as they tried to make ends meet.  Yet again my cousins and I are left to wonder how our parents remembered the depression, and of course, our parents are no longer with us for us to ask questions.  How sad.

My cousin Lynette Gleeson and I have tried to piece together what we do know about the events that took place during this time and I have put together a timeline to try and pinpoint when the family had to move from the family home to live in a cave at Maroota!

Joseph and Christina had 9 living children at the time of the depression and they were purchasing a house in Celia street, Granville (NSW).  In 1930 the Australian Electoral Rolls – 1903 – 1980 states that Joseph was working as an engine fitter. My best estimation is that Joseph lost his job at some point in 1932 when unemployment in Australia due to the depression was at an all time high of 32%.

Our family doesn’t know exactly when Joseph, Christina and the children moved into the cave at Maroota.  The decision to move out of the house in Celia street, and to rent it out, was made in order for the family to preserve the family home.  We do not know the exact location of the cave although Lynette has made numerous enquiries relating to this and our research efforts continue in this endeavour.  What we do have is a few snippets of information that have filtered down through our fathers, and a precious photograh.

The Cave That Became A Home

The above photo shows Joseph sitting at the front with Christina standing, broom in hand, directly behind him.  My Uncle Keith is standing at the back in the middle of the photo, with Aunty Thel standing in the shadows at the back and to the right of Christina.  My dad and my Aunty Esma are sitting at the makeshift table, but it is unclear who the gentleman on the left side of the photograph is – could it be the pastor from the local church?  My dad would have been around 16 years old.

My Uncle Walter, who would have been 22 or 23 yrs old, remembers that there were hessian bags hung up in the cave to make “rooms” for the family.  He remembered helping Joseph with planting a garden with some vegetables and fruit. Uncle Wal said that on more than one occasion he would strap a watermelon on his back and ride his bike 50 miles to the Clyde to work.  He would sell the fruit for a small sum of money and then ride home to the cave at night.  Finally, the family of his sweetheart took pity on him and let him board at their home, so that he didn’t have to make that long journey each day.

My dad, Ronald, remembered that a Pastor of the local church helped the family to fell some trees to build a small bridge across the creek, so that a horse and cart could get down to the cave.  The cave was very near the creek and dad remembered that his mother used to wash in the cool, flowing water, as well as use it for drinking and cooking which was done on an open fire.  One of dad’s fondest memories of this difficult time was of his father playing the violin, some of the children playing the spoons and comb, and everyone else joining in to sing.  Those moments must have seemed like a little light in the darkest of times. A table was set up at the front of the cave for family meals. 

We do know that the family managed to survive, although they did end up selling the house in Celia street.  By mid to late 1934 they were purchasing a home in Wentworthville and Christina had fallen gravely ill, passing away in April of 1935.

Money Raisers Send Help to Kurds

Help Kurds

My mum, Madeleine Ines Di Salvia nee: Bailey, worked with other Dorcas volunteers to raise funds for Kurdish refugees in 1991, toward the end of the Gulf War.  The Dorcas volunteers worked for many hours to make these beautiful doll bassinettes  and then spent more hours standing on a stall in the main street of Parramatta selling them, as well as other hand made crafts.  They did so with happy and willing hearts.  Mum is the second lady from the right and always hated having her photo taken!

This article appeared in the church magazine, The Australasian Record, on 21 May 1991 featuring on page 8.  I am proud to think that my mum was community minded and committed to trying to help others who were less fortunate.  She worked as Dorcas Leader in both Tamworth and Parramatta for many years, and later in life when she felt she could no longer carry on in that role mum worked along side the new leader.

Creating Memories

Each day of our lives

we make deposits in the

memory banks

of our children

Charles R. Swindoll

Author, Educator & Radio Preacher

The Preston Family abt. 1985 – Creating Memories by spending time together

I remember about 33 years ago my dad, Ronald Norman Di Salvia, came to stay with us for a couple of weeks, and some of the time he was with us I had to go to work.  One evening I arrived home late after a tough day with a cantankerous 15 month old son in tow.  All I wanted to do was sit quietly for a few minutes.  My son had other ideas though, and the upshot was that I yelled at him to keep quiet.

Dad came out to us and picked Lucas up from the kitchen floor. Tuning to me he said   “Just remember Julie, every minute of every day you are creating memories for this little fella.  How he remembers his life is actually up to you”. 

When I saw the above quote by Charles R. Swindoll it immediately took me back to standing in the kitchen of our old house with my son and my dad; if I really listen hard I’m sure I can still hear dad’s voice even though he passed away not long after this incident took place.

Preston Family – All Dressed Up! 2014

The words dad spoke all that time ago are still vivid in my mind and it made me think about the memories I had created for my children during their lifetimes. Have I added precious memories to their “memory banks” that built their confidence and moulded their character positively?  I do hope that each of my children can claim at least a few memories that will be uplifting, and will cloak them in happiness for just a short time during a dark, cold day. I realised that it is never to late to add precious memories to their bank account and sometime in the earliest hours of this morning I came to understand that adding to our children’s memory banks is a lifetime role.  For all of your breathing days you can add to your child’s perception of self worth, perhaps influence their point of view on an important issue, and teach them.  These things become memories!

Your Memories From Your Early Childhood Seem to Have Such Purchase On Your Emotions.  They Are So Concrete – Dana Spiotta 1966 –    Author

I am lucky enough to have some beautiful photo’s of my children which I just love to look over every now and then.  It reminded me that I have some lovely portraits of children, with or without their parents, in my family history collection.  I cannot imagine that these children were loved any less than I love my own children and thought that Mothers Day would be an excellent time to share just a couple of my favourite photo’s with you all. 

The One Thing I need to Leave Behind

Is Good Memories

Michael Landon (Eugene Maurice Orowitz) – 1936 – 1991

Actor, Director, Writer, Producer

Granma’s Tapioca Cream

Here is another of Granma’s recipes; this time for Tapioca Cream.  Around our family dinner table it was known as Tapioca Pudding and mum would use the same recipe using either Tapioca or Sago – whichever was in the cupboard.  It didn’t matter to me though – I loved both tapioca and sago!

Granma’s Tapioca Cream Dessert


3 tbsp. Tapioca (note: tablespoon measurement was bigger. Equalled 1/2 cup)

Quart of 1/4 of milk  (nearly 4 cups= 946 mls)

3-4 eggs (I used 3 eggs)

1/2 cup sugar

Vanilla, Almond or Lemon essence (I prefer using finely grated lemon rind)


Soak tapioca 3 hours or overnight (in water).  Drain off water and cook tapioca till it is quite tender (in milk).  Beat yolks of eggs and add sugar, and then stir into tapioca.  Let it cook for a minute or two to set the eggs but on no account let it boil. Remove from fire (OMG Surprised smile) and add essence and stiffly beat egg white.  When cold place in glass dish.

Recipe Reiview

My husband Terry (a chef) and I trialled Granma’s recipe choosing to make the vanilla version, however we also made a modern day equivalent recipe using the lemon rind for flavouring.  When we compared both recipes we found the following:

  1. Granma’s recipe had a little more of the custard, which both my husband and I found more to our liking
  2. Granma’s recipe was slightly less sweet, whilst still providing plenty of sweetness for a dessert.  Terry and I found the more modern recipe to be sickly sweet.
  3. In terms of flavour Terry and I discovered that we preferred the Lemon Tapioca Pudding to the Vanilla flavoured version, however this is purely a preference of taste.  We both felt Granma’s version to be the superior for flavour and texture
  4. I cooled the tapioca slightly before adding the egg mixture so it wouldn’t curdle
  5. I found that I did not have to soak the tapioca – just cook on very lowest heat setting.  It took around 45 minutes
  6. Obviously where Granma says to remove from fire – I removed from stove!  This could be a good campfire recipe though.

Julies Stars Out Of 5 Rating

Granma’s Recipe                    StarStarStarStarStar

Modern Recipe                        StarStarStar

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The Journal of Julie Preston

Narrandera Garden Club

Friendship through Gardening

The Family Kalamazoo

A genealogical site devoted to the history of the DeKorn and Zuidweg families of Kalamazoo and the Mulder family of Caledonia

Pacific Paratrooper

This WordPress.com site is Pacific War era information

Andrew's Archives

Unforgetting family


she's a threadhead

More Than Greens

Mostly vegan/always vegetarian food, cruelty-free beauty, travel, and nature.

The Armchair Genealogist

The Preston & Di Salvia Family Trees

Hoosier Daddy?

The Preston & Di Salvia Family Trees