DIANE CUMMINGS - Proud to be Australian

"This lady not only collects dolls and other treasures, she finds time in her busy life
for all manner of things, such as reading, sewing tapestry and and 'organising' things'."

We lived in Black Rock and Frankston (suburbs in Melbourne, Australia) - my parents, my sister and I, and two brothers.
My parents both worked. After school we kids often went down to the beach with our dog.
During school holidays, our two wonderful grandmothers looked after us.
At Frankston High School I spent much of my time in the Library,
having discovered the joy of books and the power of the written word.
At my first job in 1966 I received Nine Pounds a week,
I worked as a Telephonist for about 8 years before discovering the joys of parenthood.
I also discovered the challenge of the unknown, of not knowing what might happen next.
Maybe that's why I like puzzles and detective stories.

My husband Ken and our three daughters Sally, Jenny and Heather are wonderful.

They learnt to cope with 'Mum and her Shows'
and the trips away sharing our love of collecting dolls and other treasures.
They have put up with my love of the unknown,
discovering new and not so new ideas and stories of days gone by;
discovering books I haven't yet read and ideas for my tapestries.
My family announced the other day - cushions we have enough.
I said - I've got this great idea for another one - they groaned.
Proud to be Australian
Jenny, Sally, Ken (my darling hubby), Heather and Diane (me)

Diane has been collecting dolls, old china and other related accessories
for many years. On thinking back, she realises that her family,
especially her three daughters were probably the cause of all this.
What could be more natural than to look at, buy and end up
falling in love with the dolls bought for a daughter or three.

Diane said "I guess more than anything I love CHINAS AND PARIANS,
because these dolls "talk" to me. Most collectors of antique dolls
seemed to prefer the pink bisque dolls, with their "warm/real/living" pink skin.
However the prices wanted for these bisque dolls was always more
than a "mum" could spend out of the housekeeping,
but I knew I could afford these china and parian dolls
- "so unloved and unappreciated".

She joined The Doll Association of Victoria Inc. in 1980
and was a Committee member for much of that time
(nearly 10 years as Editor and Public Officer, and 2 years as President).
She enjoys discovering the history of our dolly treasures
- the who/where/why and when, and loves people who are prepared
to share their love of dolls.

Whilst looking after her family takes up much of her time,
they have had to share her with "school".
In 1994 Diane took the big step of going back to school after 30 years.
As well as learning about current trends in the marketing world,
she discovered another love - computers.

"Little did my family know, when I bought my first computer in 1985,
how much time I would spend, working into the wee small hours,
in my little office, writing newsletters, researching,
'doing' my family tree and the latest project
or, for a little light relief, a game of Scrabble or cards."

There was a time when Diane used to feel "not included".
'Everyone thinks about themselves'.
Most people don't realise how hard she has worked at being accepted,
at encouraging others to 'do the right thing'
or what courage it takes to speak out, especially when she knows
some would wonder "what's her hidden agenda".
Whilst some people have caused her anger and pain,
she has grown more mellow as time marches on,
and now enjoys each day and accepts the things she cannot change.
Her friends are finally beginning to understand her quirky humour,
and to realise how valuable a friend she is (and so they should).

It seems such a long time ago when I first began 'organising'.
Whilst organising is part of any mother's life,
I added to it by volunteering to help with the local festival
held in late March each year. I learnt Stalls Management the hard way
and thoroughly enjoyed 'doing the Festival' for the next fifteen years.
Mind you, I wasn't happy when it rained on our Parade or when we all got sunburnt.
Imagine how thrilling it was for me in 1995,
to receive an Australia Day Award for Services to the Community.

This festival experience, plus that of attending Australia's first Doll Convention
and a number of other events, inspired me to try it on my own,
and after seventeen years of this, here I am - a sometimes tired
but undoubtedly happy lady who helps out whenever/wherever she perceives a need
- tho' I sometimes wonder if those I want to help actually want me to help.

Way back in 1985 we had hardly any shows (just a couple in Melbourne),
and the countryfolk really wanted one in their area.
I looked at areas, costs, etc and developed a Five Year Plan.
Little did I know it would mushroom threefold plus.

Our first fair was in 1985 - Victoria's first Doll Convention at the Old Ballarat Village,
where many of us made staunch friends and over the years have learnt a lot
and had heaps of fun. Over 500 stallholders have become part of our 'family'.
Many have move on as their interests or committments change, but quite a number
of those original stallholders were still attending our Fairs when I retired in 2001.
My family and I appreciate your support for all those years and wish you well
as you continue to support us and our hobby.

"One of the main things I learnt as a 'mature student'
was the importance of constantly focussing on my 5 Year Plan.
Until then I just plodded along - taking each day as it came.
However one of my best friend just cannot cope with my future plans.
She thinks five years from now is just too far away."

Since 1985 we have organised 75 shows for the Doll & Toy industry, in Ballarat, Wangaratta, Box Hill,
Brighton, Warragul, Heidelberg, Morwell, Echuca, Mentone, Horsham, Flemington, Apollo Bay, Sorrento,
Ringwood, ABOP (Australian Bears On Parade At The Old Melbourne Inn), Ivanhoe and Bendigo.

Trying to keep the costs down means that even after 17 years and 75 shows
I am not a rich woman moneywise, but I am rich in friends.

I've met thousands of lovely people over the years
and fully expect to meet as many more now I have retired.
Retired from what - there are still so much to see, or do, or learn.

Diane loves music, particularly the 'golden oldies'. She loves the stirring scottish bagpipes, the haunting welsh choirs
and especially 'pure' music sung or played by soloists, such as "Pachelbel", "Ave Maria" and "On the Wings of a Dove",
Also loved are the crooning lovesongs by Bing Crosby and Andre Bochelli
and many of the pieces sung by Lotus Moon, John Cash, John Denver and even Billy Connolly.
Diane also looks forward to the gurgling laughter of her currently non-existent grandchildren.

"Be assured - Diane won't be sitting back taking it easy,
not when there are so many exciting things happening around her, all issuing the challenge to be involved."

2009: I've just been reading the above, and realise that I have not mentioned three important things.

My Shipping Website
Since 2003 I have been working on a project called BOUND FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA - PASSENGERS 1836-1851.
Known to many as B4SA, this project has involved transcribing over 3000 passenger lists, containing about 60,000 families.
Thus I learnt how to share my research - by creating webpages then putting them "online".
I've learnt one way of securing my database - by copy/pasting my lists from Excel into Paintbrush, and saving each one as a gif file.
I also learnt how to minimise spam [make a graphic of our email address].

This website BOUND FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA - PASSENGER LISTS 1836-1851 was launched in 2003.
Soon after that, the State Library of South Australia were delighted when I offered to transfer my work onto their website.
CLICK HERE to learn more

Please note that these webpages are in need of a major overhaul, especially as we have discovered hidden treasures

held at the SA State Archives and in the homes of many family researchers.
Hopefully this update shall happen within the next year or so.

This work, available on CD at www.gould.com.au, is currently being updated:
Pioneers and Settlers Bound for South Australia - Volumes 1-6 [1836 to 1853] will be available soon at Goulds.

It seems I have helped solve many a family riddle - when did they arrive in South Australia, and on what ship - or did they swim ??

Live one day at a time. Cling to the faith of your own worth and build on it, no matter how slowly or how little each step.
You cannot go backwards. Have the courage to go forward well.
At the end of each day - pause, reflect, then praise yourself for that and then let go.
Rest and hope - never let go of hope.

My darling hubby suffered from MND and sadly, after two years, he passed away in October 2008.
We who are left behind are slowly coming to terms with this empty space in our hearts.
So many things remind us of him - our favourite music, walks in the park, hearing a steam train, seeing a motorbike
and 'cheering on' his favourite football team - Melbourne STORM [NRL].

The decision to stay here now was not dificult.
He loved this house for sixty-eight years. Our home. Our daughters love this place too.
Our 1927 Californian Bungalow has received a bit of a facelift so that I can continue to enjoy living and working - here - at home.

CLICK HERE for an update "On the Home Front"