Monday, 8 February 2016

An Australian winner at Westminster School on Shrove Tuesday, 1913? A post for Trove Tuesday

Today being Shrove Tuesday, I decided to search Trove for some relevant item, and came across this small article in the Geelong Advertiser in 1913. According to the article, the boy who won the prize for securing the largest piece of pancake at the annual tossing of the pancake event at Westminster School was an Australian named Ealand, who had cunningly thrown himself down on the pancake as it fell.

Article from the Geelong Advertiser, 7 Feb 1913,  snipped from Trove web site

Here is a more detailed report of what occurred, published in the Manchester Courier and Lancaster General Advertiser, and it  gives the boy's name as V F Ealand. 
Manchester Courier and Lancaster General Advertiser, 5 Feb 1913 (from
British Newspapers Archives via Findmypast web site)  Unfortunately the photograph did not accompany the article

 Just for fun, I searched Findmypast for VF Ealand, and located him in the 1911 England Census as follows:

Victor Ealand, grandson, Student Westminster School,  aged 15 born 1896 in Hertfordshire Tuckridge

14 Sheengate Gardens Mortlake Surrey England

residing with grandparents Thomas and Annie Coad

I then found him, Victor Fawsit Ealand, in the 1901 Census, aged 5,  living with his parents Hugh Fawsit  Ealand and Eva Agnes Cochrane Ealand at 5 Castle St, Farnham, Surrey. His father Hugh's place of birth is recorded as being Holloway Middlesex and that of his mother Eva as Newcastle on Tyne. Hugh Ealand married Eva Agnes Cochrane Coad  in Wandsworth London in 1984. Hugh's parents were Frederick and Elizabeth Ealand. Both sets of Victor's grandparents were also born in England. 

  This leads to the rather unsurprising conclusion that you can't believe everything you read. Someone at  the Geelong Advertiser apparently thought it would be a good idea to add interest to the article by claiming the victorious young Victor as Australian, and that none of their readers would ever know that this was not the truth. Little did they know!

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Aunty Pat's Postcards: Episodes of What?

This week's Sepia Saturday prompt shows a film maker and camera crew filming part of a documentary on Bondi Beach, Sydney, in 1951. 

Below are four  postcards from my late Aunty Pat's collection. They show episodes 2, 4, 5 and 6 of what looks like some medieval drama series, but the cards don't reveal anything further.The cast are all elaborately costumed and seem to be involved in some kind of formal ceremony that includes dancing. Many male cast members are wearing tunics, fancy headdresses and collars, and a group of monks can be seen in Episode 2. Although some of the boys holding heraldic scrolls are quite young, this appears to have been quite a professional production.  It must have been important enough to be filmed, photographed and recorded on postcards and must also have been of some particular significance to Aunty Pat, for her to have saved the cards in her collection. It's a shame I don't have cards for episodes 1 and 3, but I'm not sure they would be of much assistance in solving the mystery. 

All I can discover from the information on the reverse of each card is that they are English Series postcards and were photographed, printed and published by Photo-Precison Ltd, St Albans. No clues as to a date or location for the scenes,  According to this web site on Publishers and Postcards of the Past, Photo-Precison Ltd was founded by two RAF photo reconnaissance officers, and in 1963 the company bought fellow postcard publishers J B White of Dundee. Photo-Precision was itself taken over by Colourmaster Ltd in 1969. 

  •  Does anyone have any suggestions as to what the title of this series might have been and/or  the film location?  That church in the distance could be located almost anywhere in England. It looks like there is a  long hessian screen hiding some structures in the background that probably weren't considered appropriate to the time period of the series, and there may be some onlookers in the background of Episodes 4 and 6. Most of the cards in Aunty Pat's postcard collection date from the 1940s and 1950s.
  •  I wrote a tribute to Aunty Pat here in 2013. If only I could ask her to solve this mystery, although of course, if she were still with us, I wouldn't yet have her postcards to peruse and wonder about!
For more blogs this week on cameras and camera crew, or on films, filming and film locations of subjects known and unknown, just roll cameras over to Sepia Saturday #316.

  • Postscript 5.02.2016: Fellow Sepian Barbara Fisher was able to identify the event and location very quickly, and directed me to the web site called The Redress of the Past which features Historical pageants of England, and explains all about the post-war historical pageant that took place in St Albans in 1948, commemorating 1000 years since the town was founded.  You can read all about it there, and my Aunty Pat would very likely have attended a performance, as she was studying at Oxford at that time. Thank you so much, Barbara!  
Here is an online photograph of the Cathedral of St Albans. The tower and rear wing  appears in the background of the Episode 2 postcard.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Next Door Neighbours. A Post for Trove Tuesday

The house next door to us has been in the hands of the same family for the last 100 years. Below is a detailed and descriptive report of the wedding of Arthur John Long and Ethel Maude Stewart, which took place on 9 February 1909. The report includes an extensive list of the wedding presents received and the names of the donors. Gifts included such items as salad sets and servers, jardinieres, jardiniere stands and pot plants, numerous dishes and trays, a dinner gong, vases, silverware,photo frames, marmalade jars and pickle jars,  

 I wonder whether any of those wedding presents given to Arthur and Ethel might have been passed on with the house and indeed could still be there, more than a hundred years later. Perhaps some of the jardinieres might be adorning the back verandah for example. 

Malvern Standard, 13 Feb 1909, snipped from Trove web site

 A daughter Dorothea was born to Ethel and Arthur in 1910, and in 1916 the Longs moved into their home in Turner St, and remained in residence for many years. Arthur's occupation according to the electoral rolls of the relevant time period was manufacturer.

Meanwhile, a year earlier in 1908, Arthur Jennings Price, solicitor, had married his second wife Constance Faerie Clark and moved into Turner Street in 1910. Together with their little girl Constance Thura b 1911 they were living next door when Dorothea and her family moved in. Both houses together with another neighbouring property were  originally owned by a Mr Thomas Gill, Commission agent but he transferred title to Arthur John Long in 1921 and to Arthur Price's widow Constance Price in 1923, Arthur Price having passed away in 1922.  Constance moved away after she remarried in 1925, although she did not re-sell the property to her tenants until 1941.

 Ethel died in 1946. Son Jack and his wife are registered as living in the Turner St house in 1949 and 1954. Arthur passed away in 1961 and in the 1960s a nephew and his wife moved in. In 1964 they also purchased the Price property, which we bought from their daughter in 2008. The nephew's widow is our next door neighbour.

 It's nice to imagine that from 1916 until 1925 these two little girls whose fathers were both called Arthur became friends and played together in the gardens of one home or the other for the next few years, together with Dorothea's younger brother Jack,

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Playing House

In my husband's late grandmother Doris Olds' farm kitchen there's a lovely solid old Aga style double stove that isn't used any more, but in the past it served to provide both heating and cooking and to make the kitchen the warm and welcoming heart of the home. Unfortunately I don't appear to have ever taken any photographs of it, or to have any photographs of any other real ovens in my collection, apart from a few that I have posted here previously.

Instead I thought I would post this one from 1986, which shows our younger son Strahan checking out what's cooking in the play oven made by his grandfather Bob Featherston. Bob was retired by that time and enjoyed making wooden toys such as this for his grandkids. He also made them a doll house, a ride-on truck and a multi-car garage for example. All were greatly appreciated and provided many hours of fun, out on the side verandah of our 1930s California style bungalow in Gilroy Rd Turramurra. 

Here's Strahan at Ikea recently, all grown up and having a look at a play kitchen like the one that his English niece Isabelle will be receiving for her second birthday. It was meant to be delivered for Xmas but was unexpectedly left with the neighbours on the wrong day and then somehow got stolen from their porch overnight. After some discussion over liability, Ikea agreed to provide a replacement. Of course young Isabelle was none the wiser.

Meanwhile here are Isabelle and her nursery friends Felix and Florence, playing house with Felix's kitchen, which is the same Ikea model. Play kitchens seem to be the 'in thing' right now, and there are many different styles available. With a sink, lights, and a mock microwave up top, this one looks rather more high tech than Bob's simple handmade version, but his was solid and served us well. Eventually we gave it away, hopefully to be enjoyed by others, although we do still have the dolls' house and garage. Thank you Bob!

Many hands make light work? 
Photo taken by Claire Featherston

To see what other Sepians have been cooking up this week, head over to Sepia Saturday 315

Monday, 25 January 2016

A gathering of the Clan

Our Sepia Saturday prompt this week shows a rather motley group of Irish family members who  apparently have plenty of freckles between them, although I can't really see this from the photograph. 

My group family photograph must have been taken in about 1934, when my mother Jean, on the far right, was aged about eight. She and her siblings had three aunts and two uncles on their mother's side. Jean's father John aka Jack Morrison was no stranger to large families himself, coming from a family of eleven children. Here he is holding Graeme, his youngest son at that time. Jean's mother Mona, nee Forbes, wife of John, is between her daughters Jean and Patricia, who is next to her brother Ken. Cousin Dossie is between Ken and his brother Derek.  Jack and Mona are flanked by Mona's two unmarried sisters Flo and Bess Forbes. Behind Dossie is her mother Dorie, nee Doris Elsie Ivory Cone, a divorcee whose second husband was John Middleton Forbes aka Jack Forbes, brother of Mona and her sisters. Jack, stepfather of Dossie, has his arms around Dorie and his sister-in-law Margaret, who had recently married his brother Charles Seddon Forbes, aka Dick, who,was the photographer on this ccasion. Margaret was a nurse who survived the catastrophic Napier earthquake of 1931. She had been living in the recently bulit Napier Hospital Nurses Home, when it collapsed, killing twelve of the nurses there. Margaret and Dick met in the aftermath of the disaster and were married in September 1934. Jean was a flowergirl at their wedding and the first of their five children was born in 1935. 

The gathering of Forbes families would have been in Christchurch NZ, probably at the Morrison family home, around the time of Dick and Margaret's wedding.  The  only Forbes sibling not present was their sister Ruby, who resided down south in Invercargill with her husband William Henry Berry and their three children. 

I would love to have known my Nan Mona Morrison when I was growing up, but We left NZ when I was three and I only saw her three times after that. I was nineteen when she died, 44 years ago last week. I remember I was in the middle of making myself a certain dress when Mum went home to Christchurch for the funeral and to help Jack sort through Mona's things, and when I had problems with the sewing my father was not much help.  I know about Mona mainly through my mother's stories, pen-pictures and photographs such as this one. She was an avid letter writer, and of course later that was the only way she could keep in touch with her two daughters and her son Graeme who had grown up and left NZ in the 1940s and 1950s. Mona never learnt to drive, because "she didn't have hairs on her arms", according to her son Derek when he was a small boy. She took to riding a bike in her fifties so she could visit nearby family whenever she wanted to. This included my family while we still lived there, and I in turn was allowed to ride my bike, a three wheeled chain-drive Humber, all the way on the footpaths from our house to my grandparents' place, where they would meet and look after me for the day. From looking on a map, I must have needed to cross a street en route, but nothing major!!

Now I too have a granddaughter who lives overseas, but the arrival of a local grandchild is in fact imminent. We are anxiously awaiting news, but it's on its way and we should know very soon, either today or perhaps tomorrow. Another Forbes descendant, another great great grandchild for Mona and Jack, and another great grandchild for Jean.

For a wide variety of blogs prompted by the Sepia Saturday photo for this week, visit 

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Meeting the Neighbours Pt 1 - A post for Trove Tuesday

This blog was previously entitled  "Turner Street Topics", and in light of that I thought it might be interesting to search Trove for snippets about past residents of the street in which I've lived for the past seven years.

Here is the first instalment:

The following obituary appeared in the Argus of 14 February 1941, or Mr William Wright Senior, who was living at #24 Turner St at the time of his death.  I haven't been inside #24 Turner St, but I imagine Mr Senior may well have maintained quite an extensive cellar either in or under his house, being in the wine business and having developed great expertise in judging of wine quality.  Indeed, the web site of the Royal Agricultural Show of Victoria in its history section describes him as legendary, and says that "he never made a mistake".

Here's another article, this time from the Western Mail, WA. His fame as a wine judge was clearly known across the country.

                     William Wright Senior: Definitely a noteworthy past resident of Turner St Malvern East.  He and his wife Adelaide had lived at #24 since at least 1924, according to the Electoral rolls, and prior to that had been living in the area of Malvern East since at least 1903.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Who were they?

This week's Sepia Saturday prompt shows two little French boys, survivors of the Titanic disaster. At the time the photo was taken, their identity was unknown, but publication of this photo and others resulted in them being identified by their mother in France, after their father had taken them away from her with the intention of emigrating to America.

Here is a photograph of two sweet little sisters, dressed in identical check print dresses. The younger child is holding what looks like a pull-along toy of some kind, and the older one is possibly holding a small bag. The photo appeared in an old family album given to my cousin Kim in Christchurch NZ. She and I are doubly related, through my 2x great grandmother Mary Anderson being her 3x great grandmother through Mary's second marriage to Charles Paterson, and my 2x great grandmother Jane Paterson being her 4x great aunt. Hence we have quite a few relatives in common, but despite this we don't know who these two little girls were. We can surmise is that the couple in the following photograph were very likely to have been their parents, because the studio background is the same and they were consecutively placed in the album. Unfortunately we don't have a date for the photographs but they are likely to have been taken in the 1870s or 1880s. I have a similar old family album originally given to Frederick Young in 1881, and although it doesn't contain these two photographs, I was wondering whether they could be Frederick's sisters,  my great grandmother Jane Isabella Young and and her little sister Mary Euphemia. They were born in NZ in 1860 and 1862 however, so they were probably a little old for the photograph to be of them, even though the father in the photograph does look rather like my 2x great grandfather Charles Young, father of Jane Isabella, Mary Euphemia and Frederick, and husband of Jane Paterson.

Could these older girls who are also wearing matching clothes be the same children? I believe they may be Jane Isabella and Mary Euphemia, mentioned above

I'm fairly sure that this is a photograph of Jane and Euphemia's parents Charles and Jane Young (nee Paterson).

There were two other sets of sisters who are possible candidates, namely Elizabeth and Rachel Nancarrow, born 1876 and 1878 respectively, and Leah and Mabel born 1885 and 1888, daughters of Michael Nancarrow and Margaret Paterson, who was a daughter of Mary Anderson and her second husband Charles Paterson.Unfortunately I don't have an identified photographs of these sisters. I do have a photograph of their father but he doesn't look like the same man as the father of the little girls.

So sad to say, unlike the little boys in our prompt, I can't identify who these two little girls were with any certainty. Perhaps publishing their photograph here may help.

For more blogs on this week's topic,
be sure to have a look at Sepia Saturday #313