John Alfred DAVIS
and Mary Louisa Catherine McDOUGALL
My father John DAVIS was born in Irvinebank in North Queensland and
my mother Mary McDOUGALL was born in Normanton, also in North
Queensland and I was born in Cairns. I have one older brother and
three younger sisters. This then was the extent of my knowledge of
our family history.
How did my family history get started?
During the week between Christmas Day 1997, and New Year's Day 1998
I find myself living in Canberra with a young girl who had invited
some of her work colleagues for dinner one evening. During dinner,
one of the visitors asked me what my grandmother's name was, to
which I replied with a shrug of the shoulders, ‘I don't know’. The
subject was politely dropped. After the visitors had left, we were
cleaning up in the kitchen and the young girl asked me what my other
grandmother's name was, to which I replied with a shrug of my
shoulders, ‘I don't know’. With that, she said ‘you’re 49, don’t you
think that it's about time you found out’.
In the first week of 1998 I went to the National Library in Canberra
and began the big search. At the time, I only had pencil and paper
and mistakenly thought that all my relatives would be easy to find
because we all lived in North Queensland and there were only five of
us children in the family. When I went to the library I found some
fische showing birth, death and marriage entries for Queensland and
not knowing which DAVIS and McDOUGALL names were related I began to
write all of them down. It became very messy very quickly.
You may well ask why I didn't know the names of my grandparents. It
is simple; I come from a family that doesn't talk to one another.
The best example I have to illustrate this, is on one occasion when
my mother and I went to the hospital to visit my father, when I was
at the tender age of 14. I was sitting at the bottom of the bed and
on one side of the bed was my mother, and on the other side of the
bed was my father's mother, and the two mothers were talking to each
My father's name was John, but everyone called him Jack and so the
conversation would go; one mother would say to the other, ‘Jack, you
tell your mother, blah blah blah’ and the other mother would reply,
'Jack you tell your wife blah blah blah blah blah'.
This went on for a whole two hours of visiting time and in all of
that time, neither my father nor myself said a word.
Although my father was not a religious man, I am sure that he was
thinking, ‘please God let it end soon’.
It did, he died three days later.
We still don’t talk to one another and it makes family research very