Unlocked Diaries

A diary may include a person's experiences and thoughts or feelings about how events during a particular period of time are impacting on them and the people they care for. A diary or journal may be written by an individual for personal record or satisfaction, but often becomes an important and informative insight for the writer’s contemporary or descendant family and friends. Indeed, many diaries of famous people have enabled the broader population to enjoy an intimate insight into their relationships and provide a history of what they were doing at particular times in their lives. If you have copies of interesting diaries, share them for the enjoyment of others through Unlocked Diaries.

Pop’s Diary

By Jul 3, 2014

A hand written diary by our father and “Pop”, James (Jim) Bowe, records his journey from Paddy Foley’s pub in Dungarvan, County Waterford, Ireland to Melbourne, Australia. With a start date of 25th November 1926, this diary, hand written in a note book, was the beginning of his new life and our family’s good fortune. The diary came to life after his death in 1975. Our dad never wrote his story. And he never returned to Paddy Foley’s pub, nor indeed any of his birthplace, during the remaining 49 years of his life. Perhaps that is a book in itself which was never unlocked. Everyone who started on a journey to a new life had their own Paddy Foley’s Pub from whence they ventured. A sad, but wonderful place to start a journey and begin a story.

It would seem by the abrupt ending to this diary that it was his intention only to record his journey in a rudimentary fashion for the benefit of his family back in Ireland and was not necessarily something that he enjoyed doing. Indeed, some of his entries from time to time are testament to an awful homesickness and sadness. It would seem that as soon as he reached Melbourne he mailed the note book back to his family. We do know that he kept in regular correspondence with his sister Mary with whom he exchanged letters on a very regular basis. She would send him newspapers from “home” which provided him with much enjoyment.

Ours is not an epic story. And this diary is not the journal of a man with a high profile or someone that would be likely or even willing to wander into the spotlight. He was a good man who made a decision that changed his life. He met his wife Frances Handley in Melbourne and together they spent nearly all of their married life in Kyneton, Victoria. Together they had eleven children and left a legacy of a life well lived by their family, and dozens of grand children and great grand children. It’s a story not unlike millions of others around the world.