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Keeping up with the Joneses

Keeping up with the Joneses
The Jones Olympics’ three-legged race, part of the five day family reunion where 150 Joneses converge on a sheep property. Photography Rhiannon Jones.
Rhiannon Jones
Rhiannon Jones Murwillumbah
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Imagine the logistics of hosting 150 family members on a sheep property for five days. The Jones family shows how it’s done.

FOR years, the descendants of John McFarland Jones gathered only occasionally, usually to mourn a family member at a funeral. But one day, one of the many Joneses decided that life was too short to gather once in a blue moon. And so the triennial Jones family reunion was born. 

The first reunion was held in 1992 on the family farm, named Rosewood, a 526-hectare sheep property in the Tomingley area in central western New South Wales, 54 kilometres south-west of Dubbo. 

John McFarland Jones was born in Wagga Wagga in 1883, and married Margaret Helen O’Bryan in  Parkes in 1907. They had 12 children at Rosewood, which now belongs to John’s grandson, Graham Jones, and his wife, Janet. 

This year, 150 family members gathered for the 11th Jones family reunion. Our family of four travelled 12 hours by car for the Easter gathering, which is not uncommon. One family drove from Perth, a distance of 3511 kilometres. The oldest attendee this year was Nola, aged 91, and youngest, Ruben, aged one. It’s a tradition to get a photo of the oldest and youngest members of the family together. 

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