Unlock the Past Cruises

New South Wales Expo (Coffs Harbour) - Program

 Click on the following for more information

  • Speaker notes
  • Talk summaries
  • FREE consultations with an expert - details below the program on this page
  • Treasure hunt and prize draw - details below the program on this page

BOOK NOW - click here 


9.00am   Exhibition throughout the day
10.00am 10.40am When widows and brides wore black – Dr Leigh Summers Regional libraries – several contributors FREE
10.50am 11.30am Asylums: looking for the sick, the poor & the aged – Shauna Hicks Social media for family and local history – Carole Riley
11.40am 12.20pm Soldier settlement in New South Wales, 1916-1939 Dr Melanie Oppenheimer
The Society of Australian Genealogists how its treasures will help your family history Heather Garnsey
12.30pm 1.00pm Findmypast.co.uk: an introduction – Rosemary Kopittke 1942: War comes to Australia – Alan Phillips/Jacqui Haraldstad FREE
1.00pm 2.00pm

Lunch break

2.00pm 2.40pm FamilySearch: ancestors at your fingertips – Paul Parton University of New England and Regional Archives – Bill Oates
2.50pm 3.30pm How to write and publish your family story in easy steps – Dr Noeline Kyle Regional family history societies – several contributors FREE
3.40pm 4.20pm Google your family tree: tips & tricks – Shauna Hicks Back alleys and research byways: Tips and tactics for chasing elusive ancestors in the NSW State archives – Christine Yeats
4.30pm 5.10pm DNA for genealogists – Kerry Farmer Connecting with family lines online – R. Kopittke
  5.30pm Exhibition closes
6.00pm   Expo Dinner - join the presenters, exhibitors and the Unlock the Past Team for a meal and informal networking



From To Series A Series B
9.00am   Exhibition throughout the day
9.30am 10.10am The National Library: family historians' treasure trove Jenny Higgins National Library of Australia
Which genealogy program? – Kerry Farmer
10.20am 11.00am Finding the address isn't enough: the links between local and family history – Dr Carol Liston Findmypast.com.au: what is there, what is coming and how to use it – Rosemary Kopittke
11.10am 11.50am Regional newspapers: their value for local and family history Nola Mackey Regional museums featuring Coffs Harbour Museum & Gallery – Dr Leigh Summers  FREE 
12.00noon 12.40pm Researching the lives of women ancestors in 2011 – Dr Noeline Kyle [note: this is a change from the brochure] Caring for your family history archives Shauna Hicks
12.40pm 1.45pm

Lunch break

1.45pm 2.30pm

Bound for Botany Bay: the Irish in Australia in story and song - Mark Cryle

2.40pm 3.20pm FamilySearch: more records to more people faster – Paul Parton German research – Eric Kopittke
3.30pm 4.10pm Its Not All Online: Where Else Can I Look? – Shauna Hicks Breaking down genealogy brick walls – Helen Smith
4.20pm 4.50pm ScotlandsPeople: the place to launch your Scottish research – Rosemary Kopittke
  5.00pm Exhibition closes

A time will be set aside for 15 minute consultations with an expert. A list of times and expertise offered will be posted on the day. Bookings will be taken on the day for a FREE 15 minute consultation with an expert of your choice. Expert advisers include:

  • Shauna Hicks (general research or the subject of any of her talks)
  • Carole Riley (NSW Land, NSW Brick Walls)
  • Helen Smith (Breaking Down Brick Walls, Kent, English, Queensland, Medical, General and Online Research Techniques)
  • Kerry Farmer (Australian, NZ,  English, Welsh and Scottish genealogy, The Master Genealogist, DNA, software guidance generally)
  • Eric Kopittke (German & Danish research)


On entry you will receive a form with a list of basic questions, the answers to which can be found at the various trade stalls. Forms with all questions answered will be eligible for a prize from one of four drawings

A second prize draw will draw names from all those who have pre-registered (by close of the day Monday 30 May)


  • There is a charge to attend each main presentation of $5 each and $10 for the special feature on Saturday.
  • Some presentations are FREE - as indicated.
  • The dinner after the expo close on the Friday is open to all. You are invited to join speakers, exhibitors, the Unlock the Past team and others. It will be held at the venue. Further details will be advised to all who have pre-registered near the Expo date.
  • SPECIAL FEATURE (Saturday 1.45pm). We are fortunate to have Mark Cryle from Brisbane to bring us a special presentation, Bound for Botany Bay: the Irish in Australia in story and song. Mark writes, sings, plays the guitar and the mandolin and tries to be good. Noel Mengel of Brisbane's Courier Mail reckons he's one of the best songwriters in Australia. He'll take the compliment. Some time back, he used to play in Brisbane based band Spot the Dog. That band recorded 3 succesful CDs Bedside Manners, Drunk on the Moon and Brand New Juliet. Click on Mark's web site  for further infomation. Mark has been manager of the Fryer Library at the University of Queensland, UQ's special collection of Australiana. From September 2008 until recently he was seconded to be Project Manager of a digitised portal of sources on Queensland history and politics entitled Queensland’s Past Online. Mark is an historian who has published research on Queensland's indigenous past and other aspects of Queensland's history. He is a member of the Queensland Working Party of the Australian Dictionary of Biography and has authored articles in that publication. He is currently doing a PhD.
  • Tickets for the main talks will be available for purchase prior to the Expo (by Monday 30 May) through this website or by phone; also at the Expo (subject to room capacity and numbers pre-booked). For those who book in advance, tickets will be available at the registration desk, with your registration kit when you arrive.
  • If you book online you will receive an email confirmation of your Expo booking with talks you have pre-booked. Please print this and bring it with you to facilitate entry.
  • There will be hundreds of dollars worth of Expo special offers, prizes and more
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SAG – topic to be advised - Heather Garnsey