A few months back, I asked the nice people at the National Archives of Australia if they could try to find some particular logbooks for 1948/1949 for the Howard Smith steamer S.S. Era (which I covered here at the beginning of the year).

The ever-Delphic Log of Logs said they should be there, but when I went a-looking, there was no matching record for the period we are interested in. To be precise, for the years 1930-1939, SP2/1 holds the logbooks, while SP290/2 covers 1940-1946: my guess (which proved to be correct) was that SP989/1 probably did hold the logs for 1948/1949 (but that they hadn’t yet been added to the database), so I asked the NAA to have a look for me.

Well, they found most of them in Sydney (which is really great), and have just this week added records to the NAA database (the easiest way to get to them is to click on RecordSearch, then “Advanced search for items”, and then search for the specific barcode).

* Commonwealth Record Series (CRS) SP989/1, SS ERA Log Book 14/10/1947 to 27/4/1948, barcode 13642543
* Commonwealth Record Series (CRS) SP989/1, SS ERA Log Book 27/4/1948 to 9/11/1948, barcode 13642540
* Commonwealth Record Series (CRS) SP989/1, SS ERA Log Book 10/11/1948 to 30/3/1949, barcode 13642541
* Commonwealth Record Series (CRS) SP989/1, SS ERA Log Book 10/11/1949 to 29/3/1950, barcode 13642542

All of which may not tell us anything at all, of course: but incidental details studded through the logs may possibly help add an extra interesting dimension to our understanding of what was happening in Risdon at the time. 🙂

16 thoughts on “Logbooks for the S.S. Era, the other Risdon ship…

  1. bdid1dr on May 26, 2015 at 3:33 pm said:

    Nick, if you should come to the conclusion that I am deluded, so be it. I’ve had to be somewhat discreet when it comes to various discussions in re certain visitors to Australia. Since my children don’t seem to be bothered by my family history of the marriage of their American grandfather ‘Shackelford’ to Miss Normaleen Park of Sydney, Australia, perhaps you may be able to find more information on the American scientist (part of a team searching for sources of uranium). It was after his disappearance, that their third child was born at White Sands.
    I hope I’m not being viewed as an ‘utter-nutter’.

  2. bdid1dr: I can see the announcement in the 23rd April 1945 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald, but I can’t obviously see any Air Force records for a Sgt W Shackelford before that date, never mind after it. May I ask how much else you have found?

  3. B Deveson on May 27, 2015 at 12:48 am said:

    Nick, bdid1dr,
    A John Joseph Murray married Aileen Teresa Park at Sydney in 1944. Reg. No. 637/1944. Sydney Morning Herald 16th July 1948 page 12. Also:
    MURRAY (nee Aileen Park). — July 13, at San Anselmo, California to Mr. and Mrs. John Murray a daughter (Elizabeth). Both well. Sydney Morning Herald 16th July 1948 page 12.

    Below this is the following announcement.

    SHACKELFORD (nee Normaleen Park) -April 10 at Vallejo California to Mr and Mrs
    William Shackelford-a son (Preston Park) Both well.

    Were Aileen Teresa Park and Normaleen Park sisters?

  4. Misca on May 27, 2015 at 1:12 am said:

    bdid1dr – I do remember you mentioning this a while back here on cipher but I cannot remember the context. Normaleen had three children. Lee (born in Australia), Preston (born in California) and Mark (born in New Mexico). I would be happy to do more research but it would be helpful if you would re-iterate a bit about why this is relevant??? I understand that you want to be as discreet as possible but my memory fails me even on the bits that you’ve divulged.

  5. Misca: if Sgt W. Shackelford was an American airman who dropped off the radar (if you’ll excuse the pun) in Australia in the Somerton Man’s time-frame, then I think there is reasonable historical interest in seeing what research resources are available for tracing him.

    Of course, I’m not suggesting that Shackelford is the Somerton Man: but if the Somerton Man was a similarly off-the-radar American (and the chewing gum, aluminum comb and American coat stitching all indicate that this is a far from crazy hypothesis), then we might well learn more about the one from pursuing the other into the archives. 🙂

  6. Misca on May 27, 2015 at 7:27 pm said:

    The third child was born in New Mexico in 1952. If he was legitimate, Sgt. W Shackelford was still around after 1948.

  7. Misca on June 3, 2015 at 4:31 am said:

    On ancestry there is a record of a Normaleen May Shackelford travelling from Brisbane to San Francisco with her son Lee Ervin/Erwin. The name of the friend/relative she states she is visiting is William Shackelford, 835 Oaklette Avenue, Norfolk, Virginia. A 1940 census document shows two William J Shackelfords living on Oaklette. One is 39 and the other is 17. Father and son. Further research shows the son as having been in the US Airforce in WW II. He is William Jesse Shackelford. He married three times. First wife unknown but I suspect it may have been Normaleen. Second wife (married in 1957) Leila Barnes Stewart (who seems to have died), third wife Catherine Anne Garrett.

    Most interesting – Have you seen some of the latest information DA posted regarding president Jefferson’s tree? He shows a possible 2nd – 3rd cousin connection between the “putative child of SM” and Isham Randolph in Virginia. There is a branch of Shackelfords (from Virginia) who are also connected to Thomas Jefferson’s family tree.

  8. Misca: I’ve seen some of it, but I suspect there’s a lot more to disclose just yet… 😐

  9. Misca on June 4, 2015 at 3:06 am said:

    Um. Yes Nick. I think you might be right. There must be something more to it that we will hear about eventually.

    bdid1dr – I’m confused by your total lack of response??? Why post if you’re not interested in discussing?

  10. bdid1dr on June 12, 2015 at 5:54 pm said:

    Yes — Normaleen’s sister Aileen married John Murray. The Murrays lived for many years in Marin County. Normaleen apparently lived with the Murrays for a short while. The only information I ever received from my first husband regarding his mother’s (Normaleen aka ‘Noele’ Park ) first marriage, is what I posted to you earlier.
    My apologies for not responding sooner. I had several medical and dental issues to resolve. I can now give a great big smile to my husband and our friends.

    I posted, earlier, about the Shackelford and Murray marriages because I finally got fed up with all of the mystery of his disappearance. Normaleen/Noele would not discuss her marriage to Lee (Erving?) Shackelford, Apparently he disappeared after their third child was born.
    The photograph of the dead man on Somerton beach bears a strong likeness to Shackelford who married Normaleen — and her son Lee E. Shackelford.
    I married Lee E. Shackelford before I ever met his mother. Yes, Normaleen (Noele) spoke at lenghth about her missing husband’s family being relations of the Virginia Shackelford family — and some ‘blather’ related to “Park” in Australia, and “Shackelford families” in Virginia — and mention of T. Jefferson’s family.
    Nick, Misca, and anyone still interested — I have been accused of being crazy, by my eldest child (Lee). However, his half-sister (Noelle) went to New York City several years ago to identify their father — who died a derelict on a street in New York City.

  11. Misca on June 13, 2015 at 1:08 am said:

    bdid1dr – I have some information that I will happily share with you about Normaleen and your ex-husband’s family but don’t think that this is necessarily the best forum for your personal information…Perhaps, if you give Nick permission for me to contact you, he can give me your email and I can write to you directly.

    Regarding SM – What is it that you think links Normaleen’s husband to SM? You’ve mentioned that there is an aesthetic similarly and that her ex was potentially involved in secret government work in New Mexico. Is there anything more concrete? How is it that you think he could have ended up back on a beach in Australia? Is there evidence that he went back to Australia? What year did you finally meet Normaleen? Which of the boys said that their father had taught them advanced mathematics? Did your ex-husband? Did you meet his brothers? Does “Pexa” mean anything to you?

  12. bdid1dr on June 14, 2015 at 3:20 pm said:

    Misca et al: Nick has been focusing on the “Somerton Man” mystery for quite a while, now. The time and place where Shackelford senior disappeared (a member of the team of scientists visiting Australia in search of uranium) is coincidental with the appearance of the dead man on Somerton Beach. I have no photos with which to compare to the man found dead on that beach.
    I posted on this discussion page, in the hope that some new clues might lead to Nick being able to solve the mystery of “Somerton Beach” man — and how he arrived there.
    In the same time period, we had German scientists experimenting with poison gas, and “heavy water” — and building concentration camps. I shudder at the gross inhumanity and dreadful deaths of millions of civilians in China, Japan, Poland, and Germany PRE-nuclear bombing — post-Japanese bombing of Alice Springs and Pearl Harbor.

  13. bdid1dr on June 14, 2015 at 3:33 pm said:

    For some twenty years, now, I go to Kolo Festivals and Greek Festivals. I dance the dances of Greece, Armenia, Macedonia, Turkey, Serbia, Croatia. I also learned a dance called “Little Foot” — which is still popular in Australia and the US (I think Canadians also remember the dance).
    Besides dancing, I listen to their stories/histories.

  14. bdid1dr on June 15, 2015 at 11:16 pm said:

    Addendum: My parents were competition ballroom dancers in Chicago in the 1930’s-40’s. First dance they taught me (4 y.o.) was “Little Foot”. Even today, Australians apparently still dance ‘Little Foot’ , as do various young dance performers (here, in the US) which I have recently taught the dance and the chant.

  15. bdid1dr on June 15, 2015 at 11:27 pm said:

    Misca, yes Pexa means something. He was “Noele’s” last husband. That is all I know of him (I never met him).

  16. Misca on June 20, 2015 at 1:01 am said:

    bdid1dr – Mr. Pexa was born in 1931 in Czechoslovakia. He was more than ten years younger than Normalee(n) “Noele”. In Nov. 1949 he travelled from Bagnoli Camp, Italy to Freemantle. He was 18 was listed under “Ex Butzbach – US Zone, Germany”. I’m not sure how Normaleen met him but after she visited Australia in 1956, she returned to the US (with her 3 children) on the Oronsay. Mr. Pexa was on the same boat. He died very young, shortly after Normaleen, in 1972.

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