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An Anderson Abroad: The Journey Begins

In this section, Tom Anderson writes from Australia regarding his family’s historical connection with Penicuik. Over the coming months he will invite us to relive over one hundred years worth of historical goodness. This month we will commence the journey with an introduction to the Anderson family tree.

My name is Thomas Anderson (b 1962 – Greensborough, Victoria, Australia), I am the grandson of Thomas Anderson (b 2-7-1883 – Digby, Victoria, Australia) and I am the great great grandson of Thomas Anderson (b 25-1-1825 – Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland) who was the husband of, Janet Jesse Blamyre (b 8-4-1823 – Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland). Together they left Penicuik to travel to a faraway British Colony on the other side of the world, Australia, in 1852.

The Anderson family home in Penicuik was known as, as it is still to this day as ‘Venture Fair’ in Howgate near Penicuik. ‘Venture Fair’ is often described – but not confirmed – as the oldest known still existing dwelling in all of Scotland.

When they left Penicuik in 1852 that was just a mere 64 years after the European colonisation of Australia at Botany Bay in 1788.

He swapped his country of Scotland, a place with a history stretching back over a 1,000 years, the land of his forefathers, for a new world with a European history of colonisation of just a mere 64 years.

He did not leave to go ‘to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilisations, to boldly go where no man had gone before’, he left to save himself and his wife from the epidemic that was rife throughout the Midlothian, Scotland area during the 1850’s.

But he is not the original Thomas in the long least of Thomas’, part of that honour belongs to his Grandfather, my great great great great Grandfather Thomas Creack (other spellings Creak or Craik) (b 4-11-1773 – Berwickshire, Scotland), whom in family records it is said that it was from him that he was given the Thomas name.  Another part of the honour of the source of the family name Thomas could also possibly belong to his great great great Grandfather (my great great great great great great great Grandfather Thomas Dickson) (b About 1680 – Temple, Scotland), who also had a son named Thomas Dickson (b 1711 – Temple, Scotland).

So I am in the fact the direct descendant of at least 5 other people that have shared the name Thomas and the 4th Thomas Anderson.

When Thomas Anderson left Penicuik, Scotland in 1852 to travel to the British Colony of New South Wales (the birthplace of what we now call Australia), he endured a travelling time of at least seven months, that equates roughly to a mere travelling time of approximately 5,136 hours.

I cannot imagine that his form of transport would have had any features that could be described as luxurious, even by the standards of the time. I also cannot even possibly contemplate the challenges of that seven month sea voyage; how he managed to survive, the conditions that he endured and worst of all the standard of the shipping line food.

So it was with great excitement that this Thomas Anderson, born in Australia, the 4th generation of Anderson’s to be born in this lucky country, decided to return the favour of my great great Grandfather and make the arduous and long trip home.

As I said earlier, his trip to Australia was made in a mere time of approximately 5,136 hours aboard a ‘luxurious, state of the art and fully equipped with all necessary and required gadgetry’ sea going vessel. I on the other hand, to make the return trip, had to endure a long and arduous method of transport in a dilapidated plane with no working in-flight video. Can you even possibly contemplate the monotony of that 36 hour flight? How it was that I even managed to survive, the conditions that I had to endure: no internet access, no Facebook, no Twitter, cut off from the world I live in, completely isolated and worst off forced to survive only on all the poor quality airline food.

However I did. I landed in London and then after a long overland voyage through the wild country side of Great Britain from Old London town to Edinburgh, I then sat astride a sturdy double decker beast, a Lothian Bus travelling on route 15, travelling from Edinburgh to Penicuik. I arrived, or as I like to believe, Thomas Anderson returned to Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland on the 15th August, 2011.

One-hundred and fifty-nine years after Thomas Anderson departed, his direct descendant, his great great grandson Thomas Anderson returned to Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland.

To be continued next month …

(Disclaimer some facts quoted may or may not actually be true, or may have been embellished upon. But all care and responsibility has been taken to maintain the accuracy of the above events).

(Also thanks to my cousin Richard Greene for helping with and supplying a lot of the Family Tree historical data)

[Image: Left – Thomas Anderson outside ‘Venture Fair’, Right – George Anderson (1853 – 1908) son of Thomas Anderson & Janet Jessie Blamyre]