Fin­nish cou­ple re­search their roots in re­gion

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Jessie Tol­son

FOR one cou­ple from Fin­land, their visit to Port Dou­glas was not just a hol­i­day but a chance to find out some fam­ily his­tory.

Anita and Roger Bengs have spent a week in the re­gion, re­search­ing Anita’s un­cle Evert Snick­ers (or Ned as he was af­fec­tion­ately known to ac­quain­tances in this coun­try) who worked as an engi­neer and it is thought that he ended up for the Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil as an over­seer and engi­neer around 40 years ago.

The one and only time Anita saw her un­cle was when he re­turned to Fin­land for a visit when she was just two years old in 1958.

‘‘Evert was just 21 years old in 1927 when he went to Aus­tralia. Fin­land was in bad times, they couldn’t get any work,’’ she said of Evert and his 12 sib­lings.

‘‘One brother went to Canada, a few went to Swe­den and Evert went to Aus­tralia.

‘‘ We are not sure if he came straight to the far north or not, maybe he was in Syd­ney or Mel­bourne first.

‘‘He came back to Fin­land in 1958 to see his fam­ily and when he re­turned to Aus­tralia he mar­ried his wife Maria, but we don’t know much about her.

‘‘Grow­ing up I knew he was in Aus­tralia, he had con­tact with his broth- ers and sis­ters and even some of my cousins.

‘‘We heard that Janet Goodall had known him and so we emailed Anich’s Moss­man Phar­macy to see if any­one knew her so that we could con­tact her.

‘‘Eigh­teen months ago they were in con­tact with Janet where they learned Ned had lived next door to her and her fam­ily some 40 years be­fore.

‘‘We have talked to some peo­ple who knew him here and we have learnt a lit­tle more about him and saw the house he built in Moss­man, but we still don’t know much.’’

In a twist that shows just how small a world we live in, Janet’s mother now lives in Ned’s old home. Ned passed away in 1980, be­fore mak­ing it back to Fin­land to see his fam­ily again. Janet has fond mem­o­ries of Ned hav­ing lived next to him for many years.


AN­CES­TORS: Roger and Anita Bengs

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