25 June 2012

John De Bruno Austin WWII medals

QX2399 John De Bruno Austin was a man of many parts. He was born in Gisborne NZ and with his parents, a brother and two sisters the family moved to Australia in the 1930. One sister remained in Gisborne.
The family settled in Sydney but the first independent evidence I could find on John was than in the mid 1930s he was living in Hidden Valley, Queenslnad. I've driven through Hidden Valley, which is near Townsville, and know that there is not much there. My immediate thought was that he was a miner. Sure enough the electoral rolls showed that John moved around the country and is listed as a prospector.
From the other records I could find I established that his brother Edward did not marry and that his sisters, Mary and Cora married late in life and didn't have any children. 
John died in 1973 and I was lucky enough to find his death notice in the paper. As well as the siblings that moved to Australia with him there is also mention of another sister, Mrs Dorothy Winter, of Gisborne. I then started searching down that path and found a story about a Mrs Dorothy Jane Winter who celebrated her centenary in 2006. This story also gave me the name of a daughter of Dorothy. By searching the NZ electoral rolls I as able to confirm the address Dorothy lived at and I then searched the daughter's name in the NZ White Pages. I found her living at the same address as Dorothy did for many years. One phone call later I had confirmed the family connection and John's medals will soon be returned to his niece.
John's medals are in rather poor condition and it looks like they might have been painted at some time.
These medals are from the NSW RSL box and the returned medal tally is 1167.

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