Unlock the Past Cruises

Queensland Expo (Cairns) - Program

Click on the following for more information

PRE-BOOKINGS HAVE CLOSED, but tickets for all talks will be available on the day

PLEASE NOTE - the airport closures and other late developments have affected the five talks to be given by Shauna Hicks, who is now unable to get out of Melbourne, and some others. Three of Shauna’s topics will still be given – but by others. We have also recently added two new talks at 12 noon on the Saturday. The changes made are shown by coloured text in the program below. Anyone, including those pre-booked for other talks, may get tickets for these on the day ($5 each).

Those pre-booked for the cancelled talks (Asylums, Genealogy on the Cheap and North Qld at War and Ancestry) will receive a special ticket with three options – entry to any other $5 talk, $5 off any purchase from the Gould Genealogy table or $5 refund.


From To Series A Series B
9.00am   Exhibition throughout the day
10.00am 10.45am Social media for family historians – Carole Riley Cairns Libraries - collections for local and family history FREE
11.00am 11.45am Newspapers: bringing your family history to life – Helen Smith Family history at the State Library of Queensland - Stephanie Ryan, State Library of Queensland 
12noon 12.30pm An introduction to Findmypast.co.uk – Rosemary Kopittke 1942: War comes to Australia 70th anniversary commemorations – Alan Phillips/Jacqui Haraldstad FREE
12.30pm 1.30pm

Lunch break

1.30pm 2.15pm Australian government & police gazettes – Carole Riley Organising your family history  –  Helen Smith
2.30pm 3.15pm FamilySearch: ancestors at your fingertips – Paul Parton Family history societies - Cairns and District Family History Society and Queensland Family History Society FREE
3.30pm 4.10pm Google your family tree: tips & tricks – Rosemary Kopittke DNA for genealogists – Kerry Farmer
4.20pm 5.00pm Breaking down brick walls (Australia, England, methods) - Helen Smith
Connecting with family lines online – Rosemary 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



Note we have added another two talks into the Saturday program at 12noon - and adjusted the talks times before this.

From To Series A Series B
9.00am   Exhibition throughout the day
9.30am 10.10am Are you making the most of Trove? – Stephanie Ryan Which genealogy program? – Kerry Farmer
10.20am 11.00am Findmypast.com.au: what is there, what is coming and how to use it - Rosemary Kopittke Shipping and immigration to Queensland - Stephanie Ryan, State Library of Queensland
11.10am 11.50am  The Immigrant journey to Australia: what was it really like - Stephanie Ryan Cairns Historical Society and Museum - Suzanne Gibson & Pauline O'Keefe FREE
12.00noon 12.30pm Military records for World War I and II - Stephanie Ryan
Wild colonial boys: Eureka, the Fenians, Ned Kelly and others - Mark Cryle
12.30pm 1.30pm

Lunch break

1.30pm 2.15pm

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

2.25pm 3.05pm FamilySearch: more records to more people faster - Paul Parton Convicts, from trial to freedom - Kerry Farrmer
3.15pm 3.55pm Its not all online: where else can I look? – Helen Smith
Tracing your ancestors in England - Rosemary Kopittke
4.05pm 4.45pm ScotlandsPeople: the place to launch your Scottish research - Rosemary Kopittke Death certificates & archaic medical terms - Helen Smith
  5.00pm Exhibition closes


  • 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 closes 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 1.30pm). 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 three successful 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 close of Tuesday 21 June) through this website or by phone; also for purchase at 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.
  • You will receive a 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.