Making Wings The New Album from Judy Jacques  

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The Story of Making Wings
W./O Vernon Marcel Jacques is on the left together with Flt Lieut.D.A.McDougal and Sgt.N.G.Hildyard.

This photograph shows the men after being ‘lifted to safety' aboard the New Zealand steamer Hororata. An article in the Melbourne Herald dated July 6, 1945 tells of their rescue, how ‘a sailor looking through a porthole saw Albatross circling far off'.
I occasionally ask my mother to tell me again how she felt then, waiting for news of the lost men. She talks about the long nights, sitting at Nanna's small fire, not warm enough to keep out the cold, or to give comfort. My Pop, silent as always, staring into the coals, his index finger in his mouth. '...and in the water, in the middle of Bass Strait with the sea rising as high as a mountain, three men sat huddled inside a rubber dinghy, hanging on for dear life through storms that sent big ships to safe harbours. Their anson bomber ditched in a sea wilder than cape horn. One of those men was my dad, my dad...' 'Albatross' (Making Wings)

The picture on the right shows the sensitive face of a young John James Jacques, my great grandfather. He and his brother William were Lighthouse keepers on most of the islands and coasts around Tasmania.
An obituary dated the 8th October 1908 speaks of his early days, ‘the many exciting whaling experiences whilst sailing between Fiji, Mauritius and Hobart'.
In finding his grave in 1997 at the Bluff Lighthouse Devonport Tasmania, I felt a shift, a sense of belonging that I'd not experienced before, about my own past and place. These were people, ancestors, with connections to the sea and to Tasmania, a whole history to explore that maybe, will bring answers.

John James Jacques

Thomas Brown
Thomas Brown
My first visit to Flinders in May 1998, was shared with my son Yuri. Mother and son on tour of discovery!
At the Emita museum, we came across the history of the Brown family, Lighthouse keepers from the 1800's. Charles Christie Brown, a Norwegian captain, had married Maria Louisa Jacques and together they had nine children. Thomas Archibald the youngest, born on Goose Island, had written a poem 'The Lightkeeper's Lament' when he was sixteen.
He was then, living with his family, on Deal Island in the Kent group. The Brown's history included a newspaper account of Thomas'death. Ten years later, in a freak accident a calm sea 'suddenly rose' drowning Thomas and his best friend Leslie Wynne. Both were buried on the Inner Sister Island off the north end of Flinders Island.

I read the poem into my tape recorder and also the poignant and detailed newspaper report. Maria Jacques, I later discovered, was a daughter of Mary Mann and John Jacques, my great great grandparents.

This photograph of Thomas and his fiancee' 'Sissie' Florio, had been in the Jacques/Green family album as unknown for many years, it wasn't until I came across the same picture in the Port Welshpool Museum four years later that I was able to name it.

'...Nothing but the deep blue ocean. Greets his eye from year to year. What a dismal dreary outlook. His lonely life to cheer...'

The Lightkeepers Lament, Making Wings

John Jacques Grave

The Bluff light beats a warning
Mirrors the lantern where no man now keeps watch
Or shouts for help or
Hoists the black sphere that marks the tides
Here in the click of hot shadows
In the pounding current of fear
Ghosts trace foundations
Move through dark caves
Dance needle sharp grasses
Sing home the albatross
Somewhere here
Through trees lying flat against the wind
Maybe a sign
A path that shows the way
Or the smell of memory kept
For five generations
Voices curl and whisper
on the slap of the sea
Play on feathery wind
Bob and knock, and now
On it's ledge of rock
The anchor hooks in, holds fast
Name the voices
Lean to the curving moon
Breathe stars
Run a vein through the ragged sea
For I've found it
Faint words in grey stone
Broken on a rise of grass
The grave of the lighthouse keeper

Thomas Brown and Leslie Wynn’s grave
I had made plans many times to go out to both Goose Island and the Inner Sister. Each time, the weather made the trips impossible. The stretch of water between Flinders and the Sister Islands, is narrow and the sea can be treacherous. Go with 'local knowledge only' was suggested and in May 2002, the plan and 'local knowledge' came together. Alan Wheatley, a fourth generation islander would take us across the following day, to look for the grave of Thomas Brown and Leslie Wynn. we crossed the sisters passage to inner sister island, the deepest waters in bass strait, a whorl of oily sea, rising and falling, like the breast of an unseen monster... jj journal

It was not that easy. After trekking almost the whole of the island, stepping with care through vast snakey tussocks, we met with, and were given directions from two fella's who just happened to be on the island hunting. Thank you! Both men knew the grave well and had even 'fixed it up a bit', without knowing whose grave it was. It was a moving experience, finally standing at the grave of this distant cousin of mine, paying respect. we crossed the sisters passage to inner sister island, the deepest waters in bass strait, a whorl of oily sea, rising and falling like the breast of an unseen monster...(jj journal notes)


I'm standing on the beach at Thunder and Lightning bay Cape Barren Island. My son Yuri took this picture. We'd flown over to the island in Hugh Sinclair's single engine plane, four of us squashed into the cabin along with supplies for the island. After bouncing across the airstrip (paddock) to land on Cape Barren, Hugh suggested we walk down the track, not far, to Thunder and Lightning Bay' Two hours and many kilometres later, we found ourselves scrambling through the undergrowth and on to the beach, exhausted. Funny one Hugh, but it was worth it, an extraordinary place that holds powerful feelings. Recently, a friend sent me information about the descendants of Mannalargenna chief of the Ben Lomond Tribe (Plangermaireener nation) Tasmania. His forth daughter was Wobberertee, there are different ways of spelling her name, however, they translate as Thunderstorm, Thunder and Lightning. Thunder and Lightning Bay is named after Wobberertee.


May 2002 I'm standing on just one of the many majestic orange lichen granite rocks on Cat Island in the babel group of the Furneaux Islands. Lindsay Luddington from Flinders Island, was going out in his boat, Strait Lady, to pick up a group of young scientists and botanists who had been on the islands for a week weeding out the box thorn. What a lively and inspiring group of young people, all dedicated to caring for these pristine areas. Sandro and I were invited to go along for the ride to help load up the gear. They didn't need any help at all, so we were sent off to explore Cat Island. These remote islands have not altered since they came out of sea, except for box thorn and other introduced weeds. Also changed, possibly forever, is the depletion of seal and gannet colonies on these islands.


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