Thursday, 7 May 2015

Found behind the Mantlepiece



Damaged photographs are the subject for this week. The following two examples from my collection were discovered behind the mantelpiece in a bedroom of my grandparents' former home in Christchurch NZ, when some new owners were preparing to do some renovations.  Jack Morrison built the family home at 2 Aylmer Street in about 1925 and he and his wife Mona brought up a family of six children there. They both passed away in the 1970s and since then ownership of the house has changed several times. A couple of years ago I happened to notice that it had been on the market again, and I thought the buyers might like to know a little about the history of the house and its first occupants, so I contacted the agent, who said she would pass on my details. The new owners were interested and we exchanged several emails and photographs. When these two photographs were found, they kindly posted them over to me, and my mother Jean was immediately able identify the child on the right as her younger brother Derek, who was born on 15 March 1929 and passed away in Wanganui NZ, shortly before his 76th birthday in 2005. The photograph is not is bad condition, considering that it had lain hidden where it fell for at least forty years and possibly much longer. Young Derek grew up, married and became a father of three and grandfather of five. I haven't tried to photoshop the photo, but have forwarded copies on to Derek's daughters, so they could do so if they wished. Sadly he didn't see very much of them in his later years, as he and his wife were no longer together and she and the girls had all moved to Australia.

 The photograph on the left is is very good condition, and is of a little boy called Keith, according to the inscription on the back of its folder : "Kind Regards. Keith aged 19 months". Apparently Keith was the son of  a friend of my grandmother Mona Morrison, but that is all I know about him.



Young Derek has featured in a few of my blogs on the Morrison family, and I think have shown this picture before somewhere, but it is one of my favourite photos, showing him playing cricket in the garden at Aylmer St with his older siblings on Christmas Day, 1932.  For more about the family home at 2 Aylmer St, click here.




Here are Derek and Jean together  in Wellington NZ in 2002, which was probably the last time they saw each other. To see another nice photograph of Derek with his older sister Pat, click here.



One more damaged photograph comes to mind here. It is of my great great grandfather Charles Young, 1818 - 1898, and was found languishing in my aunt's garage after she passed away in 2011. It was printed on what I would describes as a large glass plate, which was cracked in several places and was threatening to fall apart if moved. It could not be glued together effectively, so something needed to be done to save or preserve the original image. The husband of  a distantly related cousin in New Zealand who works in digital design very kindly offered to fix it up for me. All I had to do was email him a photograph of the original plate in large format and you can judge the result for yourselves from the before and after shots.   Charles in all his original glory is now framed and hanging proudly on the wall beside his wife Jane, as you can see here from an earlier post. Thankfully Jane's original matching photograph was not printed on a matching glass plate.  Thank you once again, Kim and Zane Fletcher-Purdom, from Rangiora NZ!

Charles Young on the original glass plate

Charles Young, 1818-1898, after digital restoration




More blogs on photos in less than perfect condition can be examined at Sepia Saturday #278. 

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

A Variety of Sports


This week the prompt shows a game of Canadian Gridiron players In action. Their superhero style outfits make them look very strange, although I realise that the helmets and heavy shoulder padding are designed for ultra protection from possible injury. Here in Australia four major football codes are widely played, and the players wear comparatively little protection, apart from occasional headgear. Aussie Rules players specialise in sleeveless jumpers and short shorts!  Depending on State preferences, they play Aussie Rules, Rugby League, Rugby Union and soccer. Gridiron is not widely played in Australia, but we do have a relative who plays in a local competition.

  My late father-in-law Robert Featherston appears to have been a keen sportsman in his younger days and I thought you might enjoy seeing some evidence of this from his photo collection.  The first photo is of him on the field, ready for action. I'm not sure where or when it was taken, but it may have been before he joined the RAAF in 1941. His son/my husband says he was told that his father played rugby for Victoria, and this may well be what Bob is dressed and ready to play here, although there's no accompanying description. If that is correct, it must have been pre WW2.



The next photograph is an action shot, with a prematurely balding Bob down on his knees in the thick of things, during what I think is an Aussie Rules game, as some of the other players look to be the same as in the following team photo. When Bob returned to Australia after 3 years of imprisonment as a POW in Poland, he was sent to a one teacher school in the small town of Willing South, in Gippsland Victoria. His wife Mary says she always felt  that in light of Bob's gruelling experience as a POW, it was rather mean of the Education Department to send him away to such a small and isolated place, far from his family in Geelong. He joined and played Aussie Rules with a local  club, Gormandale FC, probably for companionship as much as a desire to play, and as the third photo shows, the team won their local premiership that year, in 1946. Strangely, when I had a look on the club web site, I saw that the honour board records recorded that a premiership had been won in 1947 but not 1946, so I've sent the secretary a copy of the photographic evidence and am hoping the records may be set straight as a result.  Credit where credit is due!







Some fifty years later in the mid 1990s, several of Bob's grandchildren showed sporting prowess too. One swam competitively and a couple of the girls became gymnasts. Kim, one of our boys, was good at a variety of ball sports, playing  tennis, soccer, baseball and later volleyball at district representative level,  while his sister Claire played a good left-handed catcher for her softball team, the Kissing Point Black Sox, and was also part of a state championship winning team. Below are a few sporting photos of Claire and Kim.

Winners are grinners - U14  State Softball champions, Dubbo NSW 1993. Claire is on far left, 2nd row. A black and white photo that has effectively become sepia toned.

Claire the catcher in action, c. 1994/5


North Shore baseball rep players in the dugout, c. 1996


Soccer U14 Ku-Ring-Gai district winners - not surprisingly, Kim has the ball.

Sadly their grandfather was no longer around to enjoy their achievements, but I'm sure he would have approved.

Here is another action shot for you, showing a rugby lineout. I took it at the high school one Saturday afternoon in the winter of 1996 when the Barker College Rugby First XV were playing.  The school was running a photographic competition at the time and surprisingly enough I won that week with this photograph and scored myself the prize of a handy little pair of binoculars. My photo was also printed on the cover of the weekly football program a few weeks later. Meanwhile our son was playing soccer, not rugby! Both this and the  b+w soccer team shot were taken and developed by yours truly at a time when I was into that kind of thing. 



On a previous trip to London last year, I looked out a window overlooking Peckham Rye Park and spied this set of four Aussie Rules goalposts in the nearby park, so clearly someone must be playing the game over there. Then just this week we received this appropriate photo of our little cutie, with her uncle Kim's Aussie Rules Sherrin in hand, getting in practice for her grandfather's upcoming visit.

Go Geelong! Not doing too well this year, so they need a bit of support!




                             

   Geelong socks for Isabelle when she's watching on TV with her English Dad, who is a Liverpool fan.

For other sporting blogs this week, get your kit on and play around at Sepia Saturday #277

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Newlyweds, babies or big hair?





This week's prompt comes from the cover of a old book of cartoons that seem to be all about a very mischievous and not particularly attractive baby. I thought of writing about big hair, but hair was a previous topic. I did find this illustration in the reprint of a little book of advice I bought at the National Library of Australia bookshop recently, entitled "A Book for Every Woman", which was originally published in 1924 by the Associated School of Dressmaking, Sydney NSW.


A sweet sketch on p 43 of the reprinted book, credited as having been an illustration in the Myer Emporium Ltd, Melbourne, catalogue, Spring/Christmas 1925.


 "Don't wash any oftener than once a month and exercise by brushing rather than massage" were the words of wisdom given in the chapter on caring for your hair, and in the end they really recommended only washing it once every three months! Here is a short extract from p. 40:


Advice on hair care has rather moved on since those days!

I thought I would move on too, and change topics to that of newlyweds and babies, especially when I remembered that today (22 April) would have been the 65th wedding anniversary of my parents Jean and Ian Cruickshank. Perhaps they are now celebrating together somewhere up above.


Wedding Day 22 April 1950 in St David's Presbyterian Church, Colombo Street, Christchurch NZ


Jean and Ian with their parents, Oliver and Myrtle Cruickshank next to their son, and Jack and Mona Morrison next to their daughter. Mona looks pleased as she glances across at the happy couple, while Myrtle seems a little less so, but that's probably just my imagination. Oliver Desmond Cruickshank was an ANZAC, having fought in France from mid 1916 until the end of the war. I understand that he had shrapnel in his forehead for the rest of his life. I included a detailed account of the wedding festivities in an earlier post here last year.
.

Jean and Ian's first born child arrived 2 and a half years later.  Here she is following her christening, looking wide-eyed about all the attention she would have been receiving. Looking at the baptismal certificate that Jean naturally saved, I'm sure my parents did their best to bring me up accordingly, but sad to say I've rather strayed since then.


Here's another extract from the previously mentioned  Book for Every Woman, this time from the chapter entitled 'How to Make Baby Happy':

pp. 22-23.   I hope the reference to whipping didn't relate to baby care, but it does appear on the same page!

I don't know whether my grandparents strictly followed similar recommendations when bringing up little Jean and Ian, or if my parents did so with me, but my relatively lax child care methods certainly would not have passed muster with the editors of that book. I didn't prevent our first child Claire from sucking her thumb for example, but it didn't seem to do her any harm, as she had perfect teeth, with no braces required. 

We didn't have any formal portrait shots taken of the three of us, so normally one or other of us would be behind the lens, but I do like these informal snaps with Claire in 1980. If I wanted to follow the SS prompt strictly, I'd probably be looking for photos of babies getting into all kinds of trouble, but of course I don't have many of those.  



Photo by Shutterbaby Baby and Child Photography.

Claire and her husband now have their own little baby and here is a lovely portrait of them together, taken at home in London when Isabelle was very new. That was over a year ago, and we are soon to visit her again. Meanwhile we get daily photos and updates on her progress.


Enough nostalgic photos from me - click here for other probably more -lighthearted blogs from other Sepians. 

Best wishes to all Australian and New Zealand bloggers on the centenary of ANZAC Day, 25 April 2015. We plan to commemorate it by attending a local ceremony in the Victorian town of Bungaree, where a memorial to local people who have served in world conflicts will be unveiled. Four of Isabelle's great great great uncles from the Bungaree district volunteered for WW1, and one of them, Robert Oliver Calwell, did not return. RIP Robert and his brothers William, Charles and Harry, who also served.   

Lest We Forget.





Friday, 17 April 2015

Pesky poles





Of course we need light, electricity and telephone poles to enable us to enjoy a comfortable modern lifestyle, but they do have rather a habit of getting into photos that would look better without them.  I've recently been going through some of my late father-in-law Bob Featherston's old negatives from the 1940s and scanning them to computer on a fairly basic little device and have come across a few examples that I thought I would put up here. The first three photos come from Bob's time in Canada when he was sent there for pilot training in 1941, prior to serving in the RAF flying Lancaster bombers in WW1. It was in the area of Jasper in the Rocky Mountains and it all looks pretty cold and bleak. There are quite a few interesting shots of people in uniform enjoying themselves in what for many of the Australians at least was very probably  their first experience of snow, but I'll save those for another time. Meanwhile the poles in these shots stand out. Sometimes they can be hard to avoid!




                              





A view of Ottawa with a light pole and wires taking prime position.



Another example from Bob's negative collection, this time from post war England, A solitary ubiquitous pole stands sentinel beside bombed out buildings in Southampton.  The sign in the church refers to 'A Prayer for Our Nation'. Some of the older negatives were too big to fit in the scanner holder, so I've had to divide them into two, as here, and I don't presently have a program that will join them up neatly. but here they are separately:





Bob met Mary in England after the war and at 21 she ventured out to Australia aboard a ship full of English war brides. They were married a few weeks after she arrived in the country, at the Yarra Street Methodist Church in Geelong on 25 January 1947. I really like this shot of them outside the church, but it is a pity the photographer got that pole practically in the centre of the frame, looking like it is virtually attached to Mary's head, and the spire of a distant church is also a little unfortunately positioned, but they don't really detract from the happiness of the couple. Young Mary will celebrate her 90th birthday in July.  Bob passed away in 1992, but if he were still with us he would have been turning 98 a couple of weeks later.


For more related blogs on this topic, just click here to go to Sepia Saturday #275, but watch out for any pesky poles that may well get in your way!








Thursday, 9 April 2015

Clean, Cheap and Cheerful?



The poster in our prompt shows a man and his horses delivering coal, and urges people to order their supplies. I'm grateful to Maree for posting this photograph of a poster for Wonthaggi Household Black Coal on a blog she wrote in 2010, whilst cycling around Australia.   I think the poster depicts a happy cat in front of a raging hearth. 'Clean,cheap and cheerful' is not quite the image we have of coal these days!  Maree says she saw  the poster on the wall of the Wonthaggi Library back in 2010.


 
Poster thanks to Maree's blog,  at http://mareebiketouroz.blogspot.com.au/2010_10_01_archive.html
According to the web site of  Museum Victoria

"The State Coal Mines at Wonthaggi were established as an emergency measure to provide urgently needed black coal for the Victorian Railways during a protracted strike by New South Wales coal miners. Opening on 22 November 1909 on coal seams that had earlier been proved by a Government drilling program, the mine dispatched its first consignment just 3 days later with the coal being taken to Inverloch by bullock wagons for loading onto ships. A branchline from Nyora on the South Gippsland line was built in 1910 by the time production was in full swing. As further shafts were opened up, production increased from 41,000 tons in 1910 to reach a peak of 662,000 tons in 1930.
Initially the mine was highly profitable but production declined in the 1930s as larger seams were worked out and the mine was hit by industrial strife. Although operations became unprofitable, the Railway Commissioners opted to subsidise the mine in order to provide a guaranteed coal supply and the State Coal Mines remained in operation until 1968 when regular steam locomotives operations were finally phased out."


The following two photographs come from the Museum Victoria web site:

  • Rail trucks at State coal mine, Wonthaggi, circa 1919.
  • Inscription: STATE MINE, WONTHAGGI, NO. 5. SCREENS.
  • Description: RAILWAY TRUCKS AT THE STATE MINE. POPPET HEAD AND MINE BUILDINGS IN THE BACKGROUND.
  • Location: WONTHAGGI, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
  • Date: circa 1919


  • Steam locomotive hauling coal from State Coal Mine, Wonthaggi, 18 July 1928.
  • Description: TRAIN LOAD BLACK COAL STATE COAL MINE WONTHAGGI 18TH JULY 28
  • Date: 18/07/1928



 When my husband's grandfather Joseph Henry Featherston became engaged to his wife-to-be Grace Eleanor Calwell, the following paragraph appeared in the Ballarat Courier of 11 March 1916: 

AFTERNOON Tea
The engagement is announced between
Grace E Calwell, second eldest
daughter of Mrs M. W. Betteridge and
the late Mr Dan Calwell, of Bolwarrah, to
Joseph H. Featherston, Victorian Rail-
way, Bairnsdale, eldest son of Mrs and
the late Mr Joseph Featherston, Eureka
Street, Ballarat East.

Joseph Henry was born in 1982, and according to his birth certificate, his father Joseph was an engine driver at that time. His ancestors from Weardale in County Durham were lead miners, but grandfather Ralph  somehow escaped the mining life and became a joiner before he and his wife Mary emigrated to Victoria in 1853.  In 1919 Joseph Henry's occupation is given as fireman, and then on subsequent electoral rolls between 1924 and 1949 he was a driver. According to his daughter-in-law Mary, Joe worked on the Victorian railways, driving the trains that brought coal from Wonthaggi back to the cities of Melbourne and Geelong. Perhaps he drove the train pictured above.  The hard work took a toll on his health and he died in 1951 aged only 59, with his wife Grace outliving him by almost 25 years.  Here is a photograph of Joe with his new granddaughter Ann, taken in late 1949 or early 1950.


Joseph Henry Featherston and granddaughter Ann. RIP to them both.


I visited Wonthaggi just a couple of weeks ago.  Unfortunately I didn't have time to visit either the mine or the library, but I did manage to take a photograph of this large mural above one of the town buildings, depicting a steam train crossing a trestle bridge beside the Bass Coast on route to Melbourne. The banner on the train is advertising the Workmen's Club Picnic, and coincidentally we enjoyed dinner at the nearby Wonthaggi Workmen's Club that night. The trains don't run to Wonthaggi any more, but the bridge is still there, now converted into a rail trail that we rode over on our bikes.  




To read more blogs about coal, horses, workers and other related matters, just haul your load over  Sepia Saturday #274


Postscript:

I found this photo last night while scanning some old negatives to computer. It shows Joseph presumably relaxing on the beach at Ocean Grove near Geelong with his wife Grace and daughter Dawn, although he looks a lot more relaxed in the photo a couple of years later with his granddaughter!  Sadly we have no photographs of Joseph as a younger man.



pps. I just remembered another family connection to coal, sort of, in that my grandparents in Christchurch NZ lived across the road from a Mr Wendelken, who was a coalman. My mother wrote in her life book that Mr Wendeken "was always 'dirty', the coaldust covering him from head to toe - his eyes staring out of his blacked face as he lugged the coal sack on his back, up the path and round the back, to upend it with a crash into the coal box, a specail little house attached to the shed. When Mr Wendelken eventually retired he became a transformed person - always clean, and quite friendly". No photos, but I think Mum painted a good word picture.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

"You'd be Better off on a Malvern Star"





The ladies in the Sepia Saturday prompt this week look very stylish. I don't know how they managed to keep their voluminous skirts out of the spokes even assuming that skirt guards were in use in those days! I don't have any old photographs of grandparents or previous generations riding bicycles in my family collection, but I do know my grandmother Mona only learnt to ride in her fifties. I also don't remember seeing either of my parents riding, and if they did, there's no photographic evidence of it, although I have previously shown a photo of my mother's brother Ken riding his bike in Christchurch in the snow in about 1930, which you can see here.. The photo below shows my mother-in-law Mary and her brother-in-law Winton on bikes outside the home of their parents-in-law, in Little Myers St Geelong, in about 1947. They were probably setting off on a ride around Geelong, perhaps including a picnic by the river, presumeably with their respective partners Bob and Jean.



The shot is taken looking cross the street to the houses opposite, next door to Taylors timber yard that was located there. Mary well remembers that loud hooters sounded from the yard signalling early morning starts, lunch and finish times.  It's hard to read the brand on Win's bike but I think it could possibly be a Malvern Star, which I find interesting because we now live close to the Melbourne suburb of Malvern, where those bikes were originally manufactured.

According to the local Stonnington History Centre web site, "[t]he first Malvern Star bicycle was made in a shop [at]185 Glenferrie Road, by champion cyclist Thomas Finnigan in 190[2]. World champion cyclist (Sir) Hubert 'Oppy' Opperman joined the business after it was sold to (Sir) Bruce Small in 1920. The partnership of 'Oppy' and Small made Malvern Star a household name and the business grew to become a bicycling empire unequalled in the Southern Hemisphere." There are several photographs on the site on the subject of the Malvern Star, including this one here of Tom Finnigan on his bike, and of course there is more information about the history of the company he founded on  Wikipedia.

Advertisement from the Argus, 21 Oct 1955

Above and below are a couple of advertisements for Malvern Star from the Argus newspaper.

From The Argus, 14 Dec 1940, Malvern Star advertisement, found on Trove web site.

                                                          

The place where Malvern Star bikes were first made. Those 3 Rs don't stand for Ride, Ride, Ride, but for Readings, a Melbourne book store which has been there since 1969, Malvern Star has been re-born since then however, and for yet more information and old photographs click here to go to the company web site.

Following on from the second advertisement, here is a photo of yours truly with the Christmas present I received in 1962, which may or may not have been a Malvern Star. I'm sure I wanted one, as that was THE bike to have, but I have a feeling that Dad may have bought mine second hand and done it up for me. I enjoyed riding it to primary and high school. I remember learning to ride in a vacant block near where we lived, with the help of some neighbourhood friends, and once you learn, you never forget how to ride.

                           

                            

Daughter Claire with her new bike, Xmas 1988


Here's a collage showing a few family riding trips in various locations over the years, such as along the beaches of Barcelona, beside the Mosel river in Germany, around  Dubbo Open Range Zoo and along the Bass Coast Rail Trail in Gippsland Victoria.


We are off to Canberra for the Easter weekend, with our bikes loaded onto the car bike rack. Canberra these days has a very good network or cycle paths, although that wasn't the case when I grew up there. 

To read more blogs relating to cycling in parks, mass riding, ladies in long skirts, or other similar subjects, just get 'on yer bike',  head over to Sepia Saturday #273 , and have a very happy Easter!

            Postscript: just remembered this photo in my mother's collection from her college days in Auckland including a couple of the students' bikes, from a similar time to the first photo here, circa 1946. Good to begin and end in sepia.