27th April 2010

A cool agreeable breeze greets me upon my visit to the Woronora Cemetery in Sydney where my parents are resting. The sound of the whispering wind in the trees could well be the collective spirits of all those ancestors I have briefly brought back to life during my journey of discovery. That journey is now over.

It is just over five years since my “accidental” discovery of the Barbe headstones in the Forbes Cemetery. I’ve been back to Forbes and Bedgerabong three or four times since then my most recent journey, with my sister Sandra, being two weeks ago. 

I uncovered past lives, past joys, past sufferings and past relationships that will not go unremembered. I’ve discovered that when looking back, history more than not will judge you kindly. All those that went before us did the best they could under the circumstances they found themselves in and I hope that generations in the future will view the mistakes that I have made with kind eyes. 

Some say Reuben William Barbe was a philanderer, some call him the fence jumper others say he could be charming and still others will remember the hurt they felt when he left and for some , the parting is all they know. 

All I can say is that without him I would not be here. My father would not have been born and I would not have known the two beautiful children I have, so perhaps the gift of a chance to live is the best gift anyone can give. My father was a kind, generous and loving man and it’s a shame Reuben Barbe did not witness his life. 

During my last journey to Bedgerabong I took a small piece of wood from the original home of William and Harriet Hodges my father’s Great Grandparents on his mother’s side and today I have placed it upon my father’s grave at Woronora Cemetery.

My dad knew of his sister Yvonne and so thought he was one of two, –  family history now shows that he was perhaps one of twenty, but to my sister and I our father, Reuben Barbe Fraser, will always be one in a million. I am moved to ask myself:

“Can time really separate us when you are still in my heart and my mind?”

Thanks DAD, Thanks MUM.





  1. Thank you Sean. All your hard work has helped me emensly.
    Cousins I guess we are.
    My journey is nearly at an end.

  2. Good morning Sean,
    I have just finished reading your journey into your family’s history. Your final entry on 27 April to Woronora Cemetery completed your story and was just beautiful, quite moving for me. How nice it was for me to have at least known your mother for some years prior to her death and to feel a connection to the family, such a pity that your father died not knowing all that history. What a wonderful legacy to leave to your 2 children and how blessed they will be to know so much about their family due to the many hours of searching and travelling by you to uncover the story. Your friend Joan

  3. have just read your final family blog, it was my pleasure to have been there and helped you uncover the mystery. I especially like the final words “can time really separate us when you are still in my heart and my mind”. You have done a beautiful tribute and I think you have done your father proud. I was blessed to have known and loved your Mum so I am thinking she would be saying ……… Well done :))

  4. I just finished reading the last of these. Good job Sean, and thanks for sharing this path of family and discovery. I think it touches a note for many people.

  5. I just read your Heading West series of entries. Thoroughly enjoyable – I hope you keep making posts on your family history.

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