An inheritance of wanderlust

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Last weekend was dedicated to family history. With ANZAC day on the Saturday, we focused on my great grandfather, William, who fought at Gallipoli. We spoke about his wife, Otilga and their children, one of which was my grandfather. It was interesting sitting and listening the various generations talk about our relatives from their own perspectives.

One of the many things I learnt over the weekend was that although we have chosen very different lives, we have similarities in our personalities. One similarity would be wanderlust (another would be stubbornness, but thats another post!). And I thought it quite serendipitous that wanderlust is a german word, given our german heritage, thanks to Otilga.

Cimba (source:

Cimba (source:

William must have had some form of wanderlust as he became a seaman and joined the merchant service, arriving in Australia, as a crew member aboard the clipper Cimba in 1898. He then became a commercial traveller prior to settling in Wynnum.

After settling, he was active in sailing (an Honorary Secretary of the Wynnum and Manly Sailing Club) and his children learnt how to sail on Moreton Bay.  It was only a few years ago that I learnt (or had the headspace to appreciate) my grandfather and his sisters grew up sailing on Moreton Bay. We are continuing a family tradition and I think of them often when the sails are full and the sun is shining down on my own little family.

William and Otilga

William and Otilga

Unfortunately William died at Gallipoli, but his wanderlust lives on through his children, grand children, great grandchildren and his great great grand children.

We all have a desire to travel, to not sit still for too long. The only difference between us is the geographic scale of the travel and method of travel. For me, the geographical scale is what is around the next corner rather than a destination and the method of travel is sailing boat.

I think going cruising as a true example of wanderlust. Although we only have short term goals (from one anchorage to the next) and our timeframe is set by the weather, we are able to enjoy pottering around places and discovering their history, their beauty and the opportunities they provide.

So, this is my way of thanking William for his ultimate sacrifice and letting him know that he has given us a very special gift. One that is being passed on to the next generation. We won’t take for it for granted and we will make the most of it.

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