7th cruise home – program – presenters – the Astor – itinerary – shore tours – pricing & booking

Richard ReidRichard Reid (Australian Capital Territory)

Richard Reid is an Irish ‘assisted immigrant’ who arrived in Sydney, NSW, in January 1972. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and Queens University, Belfast, he taught at a state high school in Wollongong for 11 years before becoming the Secondary Education Officer at the Australian War Memorial. While at the Memorial he received his Ph.D. from the Australian National University for his work on Irish assisted emigration to New South Wales, 1848-1870, published in 2011 as Farewell My Children – Irish Assisted Emigration to Australia, 1848-1870. He has worked on many other Irish-Australian projects such as events for the Australian Bicentenary (1988) celebrations in Ireland, and was the Senior Curator for the National Museum of Australia’s major Irish exhibition, ‘Not Just Ned – a true history of the Irish in Australia’, in 2011. Richard also co-led the Society of Australian Genealogists first official tour of Ireland (with Keith Johnson) in 1984, and with Perry McIntyre has led a number of other SAG tours to Ireland. Among his publications on Irish-Australia are a decent set of girls – the Irish Famine Orphans of the Thomas Arbuthnot, 1849-1850  (with Cheryl Mongan) and Sinners, Saints and Settlers – a Journey through Irish-Australia (with Brendon Kelson, photographer).

Since his appointment to the Australian War Memorial, Richard has had a close involvement with interpreting the experiences of Australians in war, especially in World War I. In 1993, he was the AWM’s Executive Officer for the project that returned the remains of an Unknown Australian Soldier to the Hall of Memory at the Memorial. For the last fifteen years he has led Australian groups to Gallipoli and the Western Front (France and Belgium) and he is currently the Australian historian on the official tri-nation (Turkey, Australia and New Zealand) historical and archaeological survey of the Anzac battlefield. Since 1997 (with a break between November 2007 and July 2011 at the National Museum of Australia), Richard worked as the Senior Historian for the Commemoration’s Branch of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs where he authored a number of books and websites including anzacsite.gov.au (Gallipoli), ww1westernfront.gov.au (Australians on the Western Front, 1916-1918) and Gallipoli 1915 (ABC Books). Richard retired officially from DVA in November 2014, but he is still working on the Gallipoli battlefield survey as well as Irish projects relating to the emigration of orphan girls from Irish workhouses during the Great Famine (1845-1850) and the transportation of convicts from Ireland itself to the Australian colonies between 1788 and 1868.

Richard was a lead presenter on our 2nd cruise in 2011, an Irish and Scottish themed cruise from Auckland to Sydney.

Eric KopittkeEric Kopittke (Queensland)

Eric has been researching his family history in Australia, Germany, England and Wales since 1985. In the same year he joined the Queensland Family History Society where he has been convenor of the Central European Group for over 20 years. He is also President of the Baptist Historical Society of Queensland.

Academically, he studied at the University of Queensland where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science (Physics and Mathematics), a Bachelor of Arts (Geography and Computer Science) and a Diploma of Education. He currently teaches Physics and Mathematics at St Peters Lutheran College, Indooroopilly.

He regularly speaks at family history societies and at other events as his teaching commitments allow. In June 2012 he spoke on German research at the New Zealand Society of Genealogists Conference.

Eric has received the Queensland FHS Award for Services to Family History (1990); was made a Fellow of the Queensland FHS (2000); and in 2006 was awarded the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Services to Family History.


kopittkeRosemary Kopittke (Queensland)

Rosemary has been tracing her family history since 1985. A statistician by training, she has worked in that field as an hydrologist, teacher and biometrician.

Her tertiary qualifications include a BSc (Mathematics) and BA (Computer Science) both from the University of Queensland. More recently she has completed the Certificate in Genealogical Studies (English Records) with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. She currently works as a consultant for Gould Genealogy & History, is regularly invited to speak on findmypast and other topics at events in Australia and New Zealand and has presented on all the Unlock the Past cruises.

She has published numerous indexes to cemeteries and government records though is probably best known for her work with husband Eric on the Emigrants from Hamburg to Australasia 1850-1879 publication. She is editor of Unlock the Past publications and author and contributor to several.

A member of the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO) Council from 2009 to 2013 and a current member of the Queensland FHS Management Committee, Rosemary is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society and in 2006 received the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Services to Family History.


MurrayMike Murray (Western Australia) www.timetrackers.com.au

Mike’s interest in genealogy started in 1989, sparked by the sudden death of his mother and the realisation that she was the font of all family knowledge, which had now gone. Mike resolved to find out more about the family’s roots, and has been successful in tracing his mother’s side in Ireland for many generations and the Murray family’s Scottish roots back to the 1600s. Like many of us, the quest for his family roots aroused his passion for genealogy and history.

After retiring from a career in industry and international consultancy, Mike joined his wife Lesley in running TimeTrackers, which specialises in British and Australian research, education, publishing and film-making. Mike does the publishing and film-making.

Mike has had many speaking and educational engagements on a variety of genealogical topics, and is heavily involved with the WA Genealogical Society (WAGS), and is the Convenor of the Computer Interest Group and, with Lesley, the London and South England Special Interest Group. Mike’s engaging presentation and teaching style stems from his successful consulting background and passion for his subjects.

SilvesterLesley Silvester (Western Australia) www.timetrackers.com.au

Lesley’s a Londoner who came to Australia with her family in 1961. After a career in nursing and administration, Lesley’s long-standing interest in genealogy resulted in her starting the busy genealogical firm TimeTrackers in 2000.

TimeTrackers has helped thousands of clients across Australia and in the UK, New Zealand, USA and a smattering of other countries. Lesley’s interests are historical and genealogical research and education. As well as working for clients, she is also heavily involved in WAGS and is a regular volunteer helping people find their families at a support centre for Child Migrants.

In her later life Lesley took to tertiary studies with gusto: she gained a BA (Archaeology) from the University of Sydney, a Graduate Diploma in Cultural History from Curtin University (WA), an MA and most recently a PhD in Medieval and Early Modern Studies from the University of Western Australia. Her theses for both her MA and PhD both heavily relied on genealogical methods to address specific historical issues. Her PhD thesis was a longitudinal study of the poor of Norwich in the 16th century and encompassed issues of kinship, demography and survival strategies of the desperately poor.

Smith HHelen Smith (Queensland) helenvsmithresearch.blogspot.com.au

Helen has been researching her family since 1986 when her mother lamented the fact she had never known her grandfather, George Howard Busby. Helen found some information and a newspaper photo of him, was hooked and has been addicted ever since with research in Australia, England and Ireland.

She is researching the surname Quested anywhere, anytime and has registered the name with the Guild of One-Name Studies.

She is the author of Death certificates and archaic medical terms and has written for Inside HistoryAustralian Family Tree Connections and other family history journals as well as scientific publications. She is the author of a number of blogs which can be accessed via http://helenvsmithresearch.blogspot.com.au and you can follow her on Twitter @HVSresearch

She has spoken to a wide variety of audiences including Genealogical Society of Queensland Day Conferences, Library Technician Conference, all the Unlock the Past cruises, Unlock the Past Expos and Roadshow and numerous family history society meetings.

Professionally, she is a Molecular Epidemiologist specialising in Public Health Microbiology and has a strong interest in infectious diseases and Public Health through the ages.

She has a Graduate Diploma in Public Health, Bachelor Applied Science: Medical Laboratory Science and Associate Diploma in Clinical Laboratory Techniques. She is currently studying with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies towards the Certificate in Genealogical Studies: English Records.


… more presenters to be announced