Discover Challenge – Transcript – The Ghost in the Machine

For this week’s challenge, we ask that you, too, take something ephemeral and non-digital and bring it to your blog for all of us to enjoy and reflect on. Of course, not all of us have access to a collection of century-old journals. So let’s define “transcribing” as broadly as possible: you could share an old photo from your childhood album, or snap a photo of a handwritten note from your best friend when you were 11. Record yourself singing a tune that hasn’t made it to iTunes, draw a sketch of your favorite room in your grandparents’ house, or simply write down a memorable conversation that would otherwise be lost to time.

I am using this old  photograph to share a family story from the past.

My mother's family
My mother’s family


This is a scan of a photo of my mother’s family. My mother is the tall, dark one in the back. She was about fourteen  when this photo was taken she told me. She looks older than the others I think but she was actually the second to youngest child in the family. Her two sisters were about sixteen and her brother would have been around twenty or twenty-one when this picture was taken. The little girl, mum’s younger sister, was about eight years old. The photo was taken  around 1934 after the family returned from India where my grandfather was serving with the British army.

During their last year in India the family suffered a tragedy. Mum’s oldest sister Marjorie died after contracting malaria. She was twenty and I believe that she was engaged to a soldier.

The story about this photograph is that when the family first saw it they noticed that  there was a white shape in the background roughly in the place where Marjorie would normally have stood in family portraits. You will notice that they have left a space behind my grandfather. They liked to say that Marjorie’s ghost was standing in her spot.

I can’t honestly say that I can see what mum could see in that picture but I think that all of them liked feeling that Marjorie was still with them and that is as good a reason as any to have a family ghost.


I was born in England in 1957 and lived there until our family came to Australia in 1966. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where I met and married my husband, David. We came together over a mutual love of trains. Both of us worked for the railways for many years, his job was with Australian National Railways, while I spent 12 years working for the STA, later TransAdelaide the Adelaide city transit system. After leaving that job I worked in hospitality until 2008. We moved to Tasmania in 2002 to live in the beautiful Huon Valley. In 2015 David became ill and passed away in October of that year. I currently co-write two blogs on with my sister Naomi. Our doll blog "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls", and "Our Other Blog" which is about everything else but with a focus on photographs and places in Tasmania. In November 2019 I began a new life in the house that Naomi and I intend to make our retirement home at Sisters Beach in Tasmania's northwest. Currently we have five pets between us. Naomi's two dogs Toby and Teddy and cats, Tigerwoods and Panther and my cat Polly. My dog Cindy passed away aged 16 in April 2022.

One comment

  1. I enjoyed reading this and seing the photo. Has a bit of everything, history, tragedy and mystery 🙂 I like these old photos, makes me want to add some retro digital effect in Photoshop to one of my family photos right now. There is something appealing about the old cameras that were used.


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