1000 years of fam­ily

North Bur­nett man spent a decade writ­ing the story of his an­ces­tors

Central and North Burnett Times - - LOCAL - Anas­tas­sia Perets anas­tas­sia.perets@cnbtimes.com.au

WHEN Peter Pow­nall’s chil­dren and grand­chil­dren first started ask­ing about their fam­ily his­tory, Mr Pow­nall didn’t have any an­swers.

So he set him­self a chal­lenge to write a book about his an­ces­try.

The now-fin­ished pub­li­ca­tion, ti­tled The Pow­nall Fam­ily of the North Bur­nett: From the Cot­ton Mills of Eng­land to Queens­land Cat­tle Sta­tions, has taken Mr Pow­nall a decade to re­search and write.

It tells the fam­ily his­tory from the year 1006 right through to 2006.

“I started off by sign­ing up to an­ces­try.com and heav­ily used the help of Google and Wikipedia, and Trove to look at past news­pa­pers,” he said.

“I’m a one-fin­ger typ­ist so used the Dragon Dic­tate app to help the writ­ing part.

“With Dragon Dic­tate, you speak into it first and it learns your voice, and then it writes out what you say.

“If you make a mis­take you can say scratch that, or to cap­i­talise a let­ter, you say cap­i­talise.”

The 1000-year fam­ily story starts in Nor­mandy, France. Mr Pow­nall’s an­ces­tors then went to Eng­land, tag­ging along with Wil­liam the Con­queror.

“My great-grand­fa­ther and his brother were in the cot­ton famine when liv­ing in Eng­land, dur­ing the Amer­i­can Civil War,” Mr Pow­nall said.

“They were the ones that came to Aus­tralia, ar­riv­ing in Bris­bane in the 1800s.”

Soon af­ter, the Pow­nall fam­ily came to be pi­o­neers of the North Bur­nett, op­er­at­ing cat­tle sta­tions.

Along his re­search jour­ney, Mr Pow­nall stum­bled across some rather in­ter­est­ing facts about past members of the fam­ily.

“In the Pow­nall fam­ily, there was an adopted daugh­ter that no­body ever knew about,” he said.

Mr Pow­nall was 64 when he started work­ing on the project, and now aged 74 he was ex­cited to share it with other peo­ple.

“With some­thing like this, it’s hard to know when to stop as you can keep on re­search­ing and writ­ing, but I de­cided to take it up to 2006,” he said.

“It re­ally feels won­der­ful to have fin­ished it.”

Writ­ing out his­tory for the years since 2006 will be left to the younger gen­er­a­tions of the Pow­nall fam­ily to do.

The book is avail­able for pur­chase from Heil­bronn’s Mens­land in Monto.

“It was pub­lished by lo­cals too, with big thanks to Markus and Judy Ab­der­halden,” Mr Pow­nall said.

PHOTO: AN­NIE PERETS

PUB­LISHED AU­THOR: Peter Pow­nall has spent the past 10 years re­search­ing his fam­ily's his­tory and writ­ing it into a book. It's now avail­able from Heil­bronn's Mens­land in Monto.

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