Kathleen, your aunt is looking for you!

Joan searched for her niece for 41 years

Joan Dunbar of Cairns in Far North Queensland, started searching for her niece, Kathleen, after her brother Charles died in 1980.  Joan knows that her niece’s name is Kathleen, and that Kathleen was born in the mid-1960s, but she doesn’t know exactly how old Kathleen is, what her surname was, where she lives or how she can identify or find her.

Joan is now 91, and Kathleen – presuming she is still living – is Joan’s next-of-kin.  Joan would dearly love to find her and meet her and/or her children if she has any.  [EDIT: Joan has since passed away; see note further below].

Do you know Kathleen or her mother?  Check the photos and clues below and please contact me if you do, or ask Kathleen to contact me.  If you don’t, please share this page in case someone you know does know Kathleen!

Here is Joan’s brief but heartfelt video message to Kathleen:

Joan’s younger brother, Charles Raymond Goodall, was born in Cairns in 1931.  He spent time working in Cairns, Sydney and Melbourne as a salesman, storeman and warehouse manager.  He was good at his job, and he was very social and had a lot of friends.

Charles returned to live in Cairns around 1978 when he became ill.  He spent those last couple of years living with friends in Cairns, as well as living at a Cairns boarding house he had lived at years earlier.

Not long before he died, Charles told his sister Joan that he had a daughter named Kathleen.  He was very proud of her, and showed Joan photos from his wallet and some letters from Kathleen’s mother.  At one stage Charles was believed to be living with Kathleen, her mother, and possibly her mother’s extended family as well (or her family may have been visiting).

Just days after Charles told Joan about Kathleen, he lost his wallet in Cairns CBD and it was never recovered.  His precious photos and letters, containing clues to Kathleen and her mother’s identity, were gone.  One of the lost photos was of Kathleen, aged about 4, nursing a new puppy that had been given to her – so Joan wonders if Kathleen has a love for animals like she does.

Joan regrets that she didn’t find out Kathleen and her mother’s identity in the short time Charles had left – even just a surname, or Kathleen’s mother’s name, or an address off the lost letters.  After Charles died in December 1980, Joan found some other photos amongst his possessions, which is when she started her mission to find Kathleen – and 38 years later she is still searching for her niece.

Four years ago, The Cairns Post published an article about Joan’s search in the hope that someone locally might remember something that might help find Kathleen, but unfortunately it didn’t generate any leads.

Since 1981, Joan has sent letters to newspapers, lawyers, genealogical societies, researchers, and even to Charles’ former employers looking for any clues, but all leads have been explored without success.

Clues about Kathleen and her mother

Below is a photo of Kathleen’s mother, probably taken in the early 1960s:


Below I have colourised and enhanced the black and white photo of Kathleen’s mother using the MyHeritage In Color and MyHeritage Photo Enhancer tools.  Click to view the before and after comparison with the interactive slider.

Below is a photo of Kathleen as a baby, with her mother, around the mid-1960s:


Charles and Kathleen’s mother and Kathleen may have lived in or near Kingsford, Sydney in the 1960s when Charles lived and worked there.

Joan recalls her brother Charles going to Ipswich, Queensland for holidays several times in the 1970s, so she wonders if Kathleen and her mother may have lived in Ipswich QLD.

Below is a photo of Kathleen taken at Seaworld, QLD.  If she was aged about 10 years in the photo, it may have been taken roughly around 1974 or 1975.  Handwritten on the back of the photo is ‘Peter S’ – which is part of a sign in the background behind Kathleen, and ‘Juicy’ – which appears to be printed on her hat.


View the enhanced and colourised version of the above photo, created using the MyHeritage Photo Enhancer and MyHeritage In Color tools.

Charles and Kathleen’s mother corresponded by mail, as Charles told Joan about a couple of letters he had received from Kathleen’s mother (while he was in Cairns in the last year or two before he died; and they were in his lost wallet).

One letter informed Charles that Kathleen had an accident that required knee surgery, and Charles obtained a bank loan to pay for the surgery, but Joan has no details or bank information to help.  Kathleen’s mother may have married someone else about or after that time, but again there is no information.

Kathleen’s mother may have been from or somehow connected to New Zealand (even if just for a holiday), as one photo (below) shows her in front of a New Zealand aeroplane – a TEAL Lockheed 188 Electra.  Kathleen’s mother’s hair is obscuring the last letter of the aeroplane’s registration code (ZK-TE?), but it is one of two or three that operated between New Zealand and Australia between Nov-Dec 1959 and 1 Apr 1965 when TEAL became Air New Zealand.

Many thanks to Neil, Bob & Paul from the AussieAirliners.org research team, who generously examined the photo and suggested it may have been taken at Christchurch Airport NZ (due to the steps, departure area fence and other elements that match other photos they have from the time, and don’t match those at other airports).

About Charles Raymond Goodall

Kathleen’s father Charles Raymond Goodall was born in Cairns in 1931.  His mother died shortly after childbirth later the following year, when Charles was just a baby and Joan was only two years old.  Below is a photo of their mother, Clara, holding baby Joan. 

Clara was Kathleen’s paternal grandmother, so perhaps she can see a resemblance to her:


Below are photos of Joan and Charles taken when they were children (click to enlarge):

Below are photos of Kathleen’s father Charles (click to enlarge):

Click image to view interactive before & after comparison at MyHeritage

In the photo below, Charles is seated on the right, and an unknown man – presumably one of Charles’ many friends, is on the left.  If you recognise the man on the left, perhaps that could be helpful too, in case he is living and remembers something!

Charles told many of his friends about Kathleen, and one of them may have known her surname or perhaps even known her mother, particularly if they lived in Sydney or wherever Kathleen and her mother lived with Charles at some stage.

Click to view the interactive before and after slider comparison at MyHeritage

Joan recalls that after Charles’ death, she asked several of his friends and associates from Cairns, including a friend who he’d been living with at the time, but he didn’t know Kathleen’s surname or exact age.  He thought she was aged about 15 at the time, making her birth year approximately 1965… but that was just a guess.

Joan was the informant on Charles’ death certificate, and note that her estimate at the time was 18 years.  No marriage record was found.


The photograph on the left is of Joan – Charles’ sister and Kathleen’s aunt, when she was a young woman…  just in case Kathleen shares any resemblance (click image to enlarge).

Other leads exhausted

Prior to and after working and living in Sydney (where Kathleen and her mother may have lived with Charles in the late 1960s), Charles worked in Melbourne.  He is recorded in the 1963 and 1977 electoral rolls (they could have been a year out-of-date if there was a delay in voter updates).  Joan and Charles had cousins in Melbourne who they were close to, and it is not believed that Kathleen or her mother were in Melbourne.

1968 Electoral Roll – Charles Raymond GOODALL was registered at 46 Martin Road, Centennial Park, NSW.  Browsing that roll found two others living at the same address:  Agnes HOGAN (Home Duties) and Jock McKEE (Motor Industry).  Further research found that Agnes Hogan (possibly nee Nolan) was the widow of Edward Hogan, and she died the following year so Charles was most likely just boarding, as was likely for Jock McKee who had been residing there in earlier electoral years as well.

1985 letter from Charles’ previous employer, Clisdell Import Pty Ltd of King Street, Sydney.  Joan wrote to Clisdell Imports and received a nice reply in 1985 (see extract below).  Electoral roll searches identified several people living at or near 3/2 Harbourne Road, Kingsford over a number of years, but nothing came from researching them.

This letter was 20 years after Charles lived in Kingsford, so the phone number and address may not have ever been his.  If anyone can match an address for this phone number in 1965, that could be useful:

1989 letter from R D Urquhart & Son Pty Ltd, employer of Charles in Melbourne:

1995 letter from International Social Service Australia, to whom Joan had written enquiring for assistance:

BDM Registries:  Joan also engaged lawyers to check the NSW and QLD Birth, Deaths & Marriages Registries, but official letters returned from each Registrar confirmed that no births were registered between 1960 and 1970 with Charles Raymond Goodall as the father (that is to be expected though, given that Kathleen’s parents were not married).

Can you help?

If you know a Kathleen born sometime around 1963-1965, do any of the clues fit?

Joan would be very grateful if you could share this post with any women named Kathleen aged in their mid-50s, who could have come from Sydney, perhaps lived in Ipswich, or might even live in or be from New Zealand.

Do you recognise Kathleen or her pretty mother from the photos?  Or do you know a Kathleen who looks a bit like Charles or Joan?  Perhaps Kathleen has children that might recognise their grandmother or one of the other clues?  Please encourage any Kathleens to contact me if they think Charles was their father.

"There is a very special Kathleen out there somewhere ...unaware that her aunt has been searching for her for more than 41 years. Do you know Kathleen?"

Joan's DNA is waiting for a close match

After reading Joan’s story in the Cairns Post three years ago, I offered to test her DNA in the hope that Kathleen or any of her descendants might one day test their DNA and appear as a match to her in one of the databases.  So far Joan has plenty of good genealogy DNA matches to known cousins, but neither Kathleen nor any of her descendants have done a genealogy DNA test yet.

If you are Kathleen please do contact me. Or if you think this might be you but you don’t want to get in touch unless you are sure, you can do a simple saliva or cheek swab test at AncestryDNA, MyHeritage DNA or Family Tree DNA, or test at 23andMe or Living DNA, and then upload to GEDmatch.  The right Kathleen (or one of her children or grandchildren) will see Joan as a close match at the top of her DNA match list.

If you already know you are the right Kathleen, please contact me.  I’ll even send you a DNA test kit if one is required or preferred.  Joan is waiting for you!

If you’re unsure about DNA testing, read What is an AncestryDNA test? to give you an overview of what it is and what you get in exchange for a spit of your saliva.

Please share this post with your friends and family, in the hope that Joan can finally meet her long lost niece, Kathleen!  Use the share buttons below and/or the easy Click to Tweet button above.

It is with great sadness that I report that

Joan Hazel Dunbar passed away on

2 December 2021, aged 91 years.


What about Caroline from Essendon?

While we are searching for Kathleen, I’m also looking for Caroline born in mid-October 1983 in either Dandenong or Essendon Maternity Hospital, Melbourne.  I can verify her birth date and birth surname privately, but I don’t know her current surname.

Caroline can contact me directly, and/or she can test her DNA at one of AncestryDNA, MyHeritage DNA or Family Tree DNA which will reveal who is looking for her.

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