The Society held a highly successful Gathering in Sydney, Australia on Saturday 3 January 2004. This was hosted by Australian Secretary, Maureen Collins at her home in Mosman on the north shore of Sydney Harbour.

The event was attended by around 20 people in total. These included Michael Dalton, the Chairman of the Society, with his wife Kate, and Howard Dalton, the Society’s Treasurer, and his fiancée Jenny Redpath, who had travelled from England.

Whilst the meeting was kept as informal as possible, the relatively small numbers meant that there was the opportunity for each person present to talk about their Dalton forebears, background and interests and this ensured that there was a very useful exchange of information.

Amongst others present were:

Vernon Dalton and his brother Barry Dalton, together with their respective wives, Robyn and Fay. Vernon and Robyn live in Castle Hill, New South Wales and Barry and Fay in Blayney, NSW on the other side of the Blue Mountains. Vernon and Barry are fourth cousins of Michael Dalton and, of course, share the same Welsh Dalton descent. They were very interested in details from the 2003 Wales Gathering.

Barry, John, Vernon, Michael
Fay, Barry, Robyn, Vernon

John Daniel Prytherch. John lives in Lower Plenty, near Melbourne, Victoria and is also a cousin of Michael’s and of Welsh Dalton descent through James Dalton who married Augusta Ritso. Of course he also was keen to pick up on all the Wales Gathering details. John has done a formidable amount of his own research and he kindly passed copies of some of it to the Chairman.

Virginia Higgins. Virginia lives not far from Maureen and is thrilled that the DNA testing has linked her Manchester Daltons with DGS member, David Dalton of Huddersfield, and with Daltons of Oldham.

Wendy Fleming and her cousin Helen Smith. Wendy lives near Melbourne and Helen in Sydney and they are cousins of Leo Dalton in Sydney who has taken a DNA test.  This has identified opportunities and lines of research to pursue Irish Dalton descent.

Karen Hill. Karen is from Sydney and has now become a member of the Society. She is descended from Daltons of Barwell in Liecestershire and at the meeting she found references to these in back issues of the DGS Journal, which extended her knowledge considerably.

Margaret Dalton. Margaret travelled to the meeting from Canberra and has also now joined the Society. Her husband’s Dalton line originates from Edinburgh in Scotland.

Karen, Michelle, Howard, Michael
Back: Helen, John, Virginia, Howard
Centre: Kate, Michael
Front: Wendy, Margaret, Maureen, Judy

There was considerable interest in the DNA pboject and the Chairman gave a short overview of its potential to help family history research. There was also much interest shown in the website and the Dalton Data Bank both of which were demonstrated on line.

The meeting was shown a video of a talk given by committee member Lucy Slater at a meeting in Lancashire in 1993. This gave a good background and introduction to Dalton family history and the origins of the Lancashire Daltons and was much appreciated.

Maureen, ably assisted by Jenny Redpath and another Robyn, worked very hard to make the day such a success. As is the custom at DGS Gatherings, no-one starved with a sandwich buffet served at lunchtime and a magnificent hot supper in the evening. This was a full dawn to dusk meeting and, by the end of the day, we all felt that much had been achieved to move things forward.

Maureen, as Australian secretary of the Society has a platform on which to build things up further in Australia. There is no doubt that everyone who attended learnt something that they would never have found out if they had not come along. Letters, emails and telephone conversations have their place, but this proves the great value of meetings and gatherings as a method of communication. We look forward to many more.