Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Marching Proudly for King and Country, and for War Savings

This week the photo prompt shows a protest march in Russia during the revolution, and the participants look quite determined to make their points forcefully.  I've decided to concentrate less on the protest aspect, but more on the fact that it was a march.  

Here is a photograph from the collection of my late father-in-law Robert Leslie Featherston. Bob was an airman. He enlisted with the RAAF on 3 February 1941 and after training in Canada, flew with the RAF Bomber Command. The Lancaster bomber of which he was the pilot was hit by shrapnel on the night of 17 January 1943 and the controls were shot away. Bob and the rest of the crew baled out safely but were captured a few hours after landing, and consequently became prisoners of war. They were interned in POW camps from that date then until the end of the war.

Nothing is written on the back of this photograph mounted on card to indicate when or where it was taken, but it was clearly of significance to Bob. I think he might possibly be the man marching fourth from the front in the left row, although it's hard to be sure. 

A pressing clipping about Bob Featherston, taken from the Geelong Advertiser in 1943.

 The marching airmen may have been taking part in a parade that took place in Geelong Victoria, Bob's home town, on 7 April 1941. They are making their point simply by marching, and the crowd would have been in solidarity with them, whether cheering with approval or silent but supportive of the daunting task they knew lay ahead.  The purpose behind such marches was to encourage members of the public to support the war effort in a practical way by purchasing war savings certificates, as referred to in the article below.  

A report from the Argus, dated 8 April 1941, of a rally for the war savings campaign the previous day, snipped from the trove web site.

I also found the following photograph on the National Library of Australia's Trove web site, which might have been taken at the same or a similar march.

This photograph shows elevated views of parades in Moorabool and Gheringhap Streets with cavalry and foot soldiers.It comes from the Argus Newspaper collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria. Date ca. 1940.

Moorabool and Gehringhap Streets Geelong are very close to where Bob and his parents lived in Little Myers St. If it was definitely 1940 it would be a little early for Bob to have been in uniform, as he did not enlist until February 1941. Perhaps he and his family were watching in the crowds. I like the way the office girls have climbed out the window and are watching the parade from on top of the shop awning, although this may not have been a very safe thing to do. They probably thought the men in uniform all looked very dashing.  The spectators are certainly dressed the same way as in Bob's photograph and the cars look similar too.  There are tram tracks in both photographs. Trams ran in Geelong up until 1956, when they were replaced by buses. I note there's also a tram track in the prompt image.  

I'll have to ask my mother-in-law Mary if she can give me any more details about Bob's photograph of marching airmen, although as she did not meet Bob until after the war, she may not know. 

 Incidentally, I wrote a blog for Sepia Saturday #254 last November  entitled Two Happy People, about another of Bob's photographs, but sad to say I have since discovered from Mary that contrary to our hopes, the couple pictured did not stay together. If interested, you can click here to see a 'post post script' that I added onto the end of the blog recently, just for the sake of completeness.

To see more marches, parades, protests, rallies, banner-waving and the like, just pound the pavement until you arrive at   

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Big and Little

Big and Little

I don't have anything to write about radio or television broadcasting, but the contrast in size of the two vehicles in the prompt photograph somehow reminded me of this photograph from the old family album that I inherited from my Aunty Pat, who in turn got it from her mother Mona Morrison nee Forbes.  Mona would have been given it by her mother Jane Isabella Young. The album itself was originally received on 17 January 1881 by Jane's brother Frederick, as a special prize in Standard VI at Kaiapoi Borough School, in Kaiapoi New Zealand.  I know this from the certificate pasted inside the front cover of the  album, scanned below, but unfortunately there is nothing else written in the album's photo index to identify any of the close to two hundred 'carte de visite' style photographs that have been carefully slotted into the album spots by someone, and I can only guess at who they might have been.

However, there is one photograph that stands out because it is so different to the rest, and here it is:


 I was pretty sure that these two people were not related to any of my Anglo Saxon ancestors, so I  googled and discovered that this gentleman was  very probably Zhan Shichai, known as Chang the Chinese Giant, and is pictured here with his diminutive Chinese 'wife' Kin Foo. Also known as Chang Woo Gow, Chang was reputedly over 8 foot tall and spoke about ten languages. He toured the world, visiting New Zealand in 1870, where some of the Young family must have gone to see him and obtained his card, which was then duly added to the family album. 

There are numerous other cabinet cards depicting Chang.  Different sites tell different versions of Chang's story, but some suggest that the Chinese lady Kin Foo may only have been only posing as his wife.  Chang could have become family of course. After Kin Foo died, Chang visited Australia in 1871 and met and fell in love with a Liverpool-born Australian girl called Catherine Santley. They married and had two sons.  After Chang retired the family settled in Christchurch Dorset, where Chang opened a tea shop and sold oriental curios. Sadly Catherine Chang Gow died unexpectedly in 1893 aged 44 and Chang died four months later, reportedly of a broken heart, although it was also suspected that he suffered from tuberculosis. He was aged 52, according to British death records. Their boys Edwin and Ernest who were of normal height were only 14 and 12.

For more broadcasts on this week's Sepia Saturday topic, just click here.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

True Love

The date of this week's Sepia Saturday coincides with Valentine's Day and Sepians are invited to blog about something connected to  the topic of the Valentine's day card pictured above.  Valentine's Day is grossly over-commercialised these days and we do our best to ignore it, or at least my husband does. Occasionally he might bring home a bunch of flowers and we might even go out to dinner together, but more often than not it's more or less a non-event, which is perfectly fine with me. I feel sorry for the young women who are pressured to feel depressed if they don't get cards from any admirers. 
Love is the theme behind the day, and to epitomize that, I thought you might enjoy seeing one of my favourite photographs of my parents Jean and Ian,  taken not on Valentine's Day but on 16 July 1949, the night they celebrated their engagement at  'Peter Pan' in Auckland NZ. 

 I love my mother's long fingerless evening gloves and her fur jacket, which I think one of her granddaughters may now own.  No fingerless gloves amongst her treasured possessions, but I really like this pair of long elegant gloves she had kept. I don't know how long ago it was that she wore them, but perhaps I'll recogise them in some other photo. I see you can still buy similar gloves, but I've never been to an occasion that required them.

From this fuller shot, it appears that although there were some other bottles on the table in the background, Jean and Ian had actually been drinking coke at this celebration, and perhaps they had been romantically sharing the bottle with two straws.. The good friends in the photo with them were Noel and Peggy Shannon, who had been married a couple of years earlier.  Peggy is also wearing similar long evening gloves. Like Jean and Ian, she and Noel are sadly no longer with us. 

I googled Peter Pan Auckland and discovered that it was a cabaret venue there. Here is an extract from a blog site entitled Heritage et Al.

"Established in the 1930s, the Peter Pan Cabaret in upper Queen Street was often booked for annual balls and private functions. The building had a large hall and a mezzanine floor with tables overlooking the dance floor. The Peter Pan Cabaret was a favourite venue for the thousands of American servicemen disembarking from troopships in Auckland from 1942 – 1944. The Cabaret’s swing orchestra struck up tunes such as “Chattanooga choo-choo”.
The Peter Pan Cabaret was an expensive nightclub venue due to the quality of the entertainment provided by Arthur Skelton and his dance band, who were the house band, and for the two course supper provided in the lower level room before the dance ended at midnight."
This paragraph from Wikipedia describes the Karangahape Road area, and I know my mother lived close by there in her early days of working in speech therapy clinics in Auckland.

"During the middle of the 20th century the Karangahape Road Area was a destination shopping centre, especially busy on late nights when family groups would travel in (often on public transport) and clog the pavements. A line was painted down the centre of the footpaths to regulate foot traffic and police were posted at the Pitt Street intersection to stop people being pushed out into the traffic. A typical late-night outing included seeing a Movie, shopping, a meal and promenading along the street window shopping and being seen. At this time the street had five Cinemas (The Avon, Vogue, Newton Palace, Playhouse and Tivoli) and probably as many Dance Halls (The Music Academy, Peter Pan Cabaret) including the Druid's Hall in Galatos Street which is still in operation as a music venue."

Jean and Ian first met at a tennis club dance, and my mother noted in her Life Album that 'it was a case of Some Enchanted Evening'. He rang her every day thereafter, and they were married on 22 April 1950, about 9 months after becoming engaged. I've previously blogged about their wedding here

As mentioned above, we have never really celebrated Valentines Day much, but I did find this photograph of us which was taken at home on Valentines's Day 1988. It looks romantic, and there's a balloon, card and bubbly to be seen, but I should probably explain that I didn't really make that heart-shaped cake specially for the occasion - it was in fact a left over from the one I'd made for our eight year old daughter's birthday party a few days earlier, as you can see in the bottom photograph.  That's one of our boys toasting us in the clown wig, and in the background you can just spot our little orange canary Fernando, who was a very vocal member of the family for at least 18 years. My mother gave him to us as a present because his colour matched the orange of our 1970s style kitchen in the home we built in Canberra. This photograph was two moves later, and he no longer matched the decor, but he was a great singer, especially if was music or other noise happening, and we named him after the Abba song. In the end he literally fell off off his perch, dying of old age.
 "If I had to do the same again, I would, my friend, Fernando!"

Funnily enough, we will be out this Valentine's Day, attending a class dinner organised by a group of my old school friends (Class of 1970), and the dress code inspired by the occasion is pink and black. Hopefully it will be great fun, and there will certainly be lots of old memories and stories told!
Happy Valentine's Day to all!

For more blogs that may or may not be about other peoples's delightful memories of Valentine's Day, just click here to be transported to Sepia Saturday #266

Friday, 6 February 2015

In the Workshop

The subject of this week's Sepia Saturday is a photo of  craftswomen in a pottery workshop.  We toured the Royal Worcester porcelain factory in the 1990s, and were able to watch the artists at work, hand painting their specialised fine designs onto the pieces before final firing, but I don't seem to have taken any photographs, or perhaps photography was not allowed. Sadly the old Royal Worcester company went into liquidation in 2008 and although the brand was bought by another pottery manufacturer, Portmeiron, it is now manufactured in Stoke-on-Trent and elsewhere, and only the Museum of Royal Worcester remains on the original Worcester site.

I thought I would post this photograph from my sister Louisa, which shows Louisa and her former husband Danny working away in their home jewellery workshop. At the time in the 1990s they were living in the little community of Totara North in the far north of New Zealand.  They sold their jewellery at local markets and art galleries and also made pieces on commission.  Louisa and Danny are no longer together and have both moved a little further south, but Louisa still creates lovely silver rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings in another home workshop at her home near Kerikeri. Danny lives in Whangerei and works out of a converted boatshed. He specialises in jade, also known as greenstone or pounami in New Zealand. You can read more about Louisa and see some of her recent work here, and she also has a Facebook page, Expressive Elements.

While looking for a copy of the workshop photograph in my mother's scrapbooks, I came across this page of postcards advertising my cousin John's jewellery shop, Youngs Jewellers in Christchurch NZ. They are not dated, but they refer to the time when the shop was located in Shades Atrium, Cashel St Mall, so it may have been while my Uncle Peter still owned the shop and specialised in antique jewellery, whereas today Youngs sells both modern and antique jewellery.  To read more about the history of Youngs in a blog I wrote recently, click here.  I would have included these postcards there if I had found them at the time, but they sort of fit in here too, being on the subject of jewellery. 

I find it interesting that one of the cards even has a photograph of an old sepia postcard within it, of a little girl at Christmas in her fur coat. From the stamp on the card, she is probably French and I wonder if this might have been a card sent to Peter by his sister Pat at some point, as she lived in French-speaking Geneva for many years. Then again, it may just be a random card found by Peter or John or one of their business partners.

For more Sepian blogs workshopping the topic this week, go to Sepia Saturday #265

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Sydney from the air


This week's photo suggestion is of a busy harbour with a couple of large ships in  port and no doubt lots of sea-faring activity going on all around them. 

When my aunt Patricia Morrison passed away in 2011, she left behind a wealth of  old photographs, family letters and other historical papers, but there was also a sizeable packet of old postcards which has recently been passed on to me. There are a a few that she received  from friends with brief messages in the back, but most of them are new, ie. not written upon or posted, and I think my aunt must have primarily collected them on her travels in the late 1940s, before she commenced studying for her MA at Oxford, and perhaps also on excursions while she was in England. Amongst the cards are lots of lake and harbour views of European cities such as Oslo, Geneve, Stockhom and Antwerp for example, but this week I thought I might concentrate on Sydney, which my aunt must have visited as a young woman, perhaps on her way from her home in Christchurch NZ to her studies in England in the late 1940s. I've scanned below what might be called a pictorial aerogramme, that folds up neatly to a small letter size, but when opened out has photographs of Sydney on both sides. The first two photographs together make up one page, with the third photograph being of the reverse side, with space for letter-writing in the centre. Somehow these sepia views of Sydney Harbour, Circular Quay and Manly beach for example don't look particularly enticing, at least compared with the colourful scenes depicted in today's photographs. I suppose people just had to try to imagine how the scenes would look in 'real life', and if such an aerogramme was sent to them and included a letter from friends of relatives extolling the virtues of Sydney and telling them what a lovely place it was to live, they might even be inspired to either visit or even emigrate, so that they could see the sights with their own eyes.  Sadly these days our government is not so welcoming as it was back then, if would-be migrants don't arrive through the right channels. As I've mentioned here previously, I very strongly disagree with their policies and their cruel treatment of asylum seekers. 

Here are the little paragraphs of information in the bottom corners of the front page above. Sydney's current population now approaches five million. Interesting that it was described as the fourth city of the Empire. I don't know what the other three cities might have been.

The following three views come from a fold-out set of photographs that could also be posted, entitled Scenic Sydney, together with other beach and city views, but two at least are the same as on the aerogramme above.

An enlargement of the bottom photograph in the aerogramme, viewed from across the harbour, above Milson's Point. What's missing here is the Opera House, which wasn't  completed until 1973.

Another little card that probably came out of a separate photo set, again viewed from the North.
Here is Manly Beach sparkling on one side, Manly Wharf on the other, with Sydney Harbour spread out in the background. Ferries bring passengers from Circular Quay in the city centre across the harbour to Manly,which used to be advertised as being  'seven miles from Sydney and 1000 miles from care'. The first time I visited Sydney as a child on a family trip from Canberra in the 1960s, I bought myself a little souvenir badge in the shape of a boomerang with the word Manly on it, but then was afraid to wear it, just in case anyone possibly joked that I was somehow manly myself!

We moved to Sydney on 1980 when our eldest child was two months old, and lived in a little semi-detached house in Rose Bay for a couple of years. No view from our house, but if we climbed up to the top of our street we could enjoy a great view of Sydney Harbour, the city and the bridge, as shown here In this photo of my husband with our daughter in the pram. She may not have been quite up to admiring the view at that stage!

I'm in Sydney for a few days right now and just took this photo of the harbour, showing Circular Quay with ferry traffic coming and going, and a lot more development than in past decades. The big ferry near the Opera House is heading out to Manly. There's a cruise ship berthed at the dock for the day too, although they also have a separate wharf nearby. Some of the bigger ships cannot fit under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The Opera House can just be seen on the left, with the arch of the bridge on the right. A lovely day for a train trip into the city and a walk across the harbour bridge, from where I took quite a few more photographs, including this one from one of the pylons. You can see climbers descending one side of the bridge arch. I have done the climb in the past, and you get a wonderful 360 degree view from on high, but unfortunately cameras are not allowed, in case they are dropped on cars or people below. Everything has to be very securely tied on, and the climbers themselves are attached to the railings by a sliding chain.

To finish, here is just one more pictorial view from my aunt's collection, this time of Falmouth in Cornwall. It's not an aerial view, but it is clearly a working harbour, and I like the  inclusion of a sailor and his friends in the foreground.  I wonder where he was sailing off to next?

For more scenic views, just strap on your wings and fly across to Sepia Saturday #264

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Low cost, low rent area means you save on diamond rings here!


My cousin John is co-owner in a stylish jewellery business in the centre of the city of Christchurch New Zealand. The business is called Youngs Jewellers and for a number of years now it has been located in New Regent St, selling both antique and contemporary pieces of jewellery. After a devastating earthquake struck  in 2011, the city centre was closed and unauthorised access was severely restricted, but John somehow managed to get inside the cordon and retrieve all the stock. He and his co-owner then operated the business out of a garage for over two years, until New Regent St was finally re-opened for business. It is still one of the few areas in the central business district that have been able to re-open, with much of the rest either destroyed or demolished. It's been quite a few years since I've connected up with John, but I've certainly admired the look of his shop on recent visits, and his mother has updated me on post-quake progress. 

Although John and I had a mutual great great grandfather called Charles Young, the business was not connected to him or any of his descendants. It was bought by John's father, my uncle Peter Morrison, in the late 1970s, and when Peter passed away in 1994, his son took over the business. Young's prides itself on having been a jewellery business since 1907, and I believe the original owner was A E Young. I haven't found out very much about A. E. Young personally, but I did find a few advertisements for the business in the 1920s, and I thought it was interesting that the main enticement to buy seemed to be that you could get jewellery there for less because they were in a low rent area.  You can see this in the following advertisement, for example, which refers to the practice of rack renting, which according to Wikipedia is an extortionate or excessive rent.

The Press 20 April 1926, snipped from the Papers Past web site
John Morrison, grandfather of John and myself, got married in 1919, and I wonder if he perhaps purchased a wedding ring for wife Mona Forbes from A.E. Young.  Out of interest, here are a few other advertisements that appeared on the same page.

Mona might have got her hair done by J.H. Ratcliffe, they could have munched on Griffins Nut-&-Raisin Chocolate
And the family pram which I've previously featured here could well have been bought from Henery Burson & Sons Ltd. It no doubt provided the six Morrison children, including my mother and Peter, with a comfortable ride.

However, I rather doubt whether either John or Mona ever frequented the Turkish Baths below. Probably not their style!


Here are a couple more advertisements for A.E. Young. At that time the business operated out of premises in Oxford Terrace, but it has changed address several times since then, and is no longer in a 'low rent'area.
The Press 19 Jul 1927, snipped from Paperspast web site

The Press 12 Oct 1926, snipped from the Papers Past web site

Here are some photographs I took in New Regent St in 2010, between earthquakes, and in 2013, after the building's renovation and re-opening.

My late aunt Patricia Morrison in front of her nephew John's shop, November 2010 

Jewellery display in Youngs, November 2010

Seen through Youngs' window with street reflections, October 2013.

View of  New Regent St, rather less than busy, and minus the tram that used to operate down the street, October 2013. Youngs is the second shop from left. You can read more about the construction and history of New Regent St here. The trams resumed operations in late 2013.

By contrast, I fear that a lot of the city centre still looks like it did in this final photograph from October 2013.  I'm in awe of the resilience and determination of the people who live there, like my cousin John.

Christchurch city centre, October 2013

You can find a recent photo and article in the Press mentioning John and the business here.

 To read more blogs based on this week's advertising prompt, just click and go to Sepia Saturday 263

Friday, 16 January 2015

Legal Luminaries

The prompt this week comes from a French postcard and shows two men sitting in a courtroom. They could be either solicitors or litigants, but the woman to their left and and the gentleman behind them are both wearing gowns and would appear to be barristers.  I don't have any courtroom photographs myself, as of course it's not usual for them to be allowed to be taken, but I thought that the photograph below was relevant here. It's just a small picture and I don't know where it was taken or what the particular occasion was, but it is dated 11 February 1929, and shows my grandfather John Morrison looking rather young and inexperienced, seated here with a group of worthy gentlemen.  According to my late mother, these men were all leading lawyers of their time in Christchurch New Zealand, and the fact that my grandfather was photographed in their distinguished company showed the esteem in which he was held by his contemporaries. He would have been 39 when the photograph was taken.  He had educated himself at night school after leaving school aged 14, obtained his law degree and went on to become the Commissioner for Stamp Duties in Christchurch in the 1940s. When he retired he received many letters congratulating him on his very successful career achievements.

The names I have for the gentlemen pictured are, from left to right (not including the man who is only half in the shot on the far left): Mr W.D, Allard, Mr J. D. Harman, Mr Bruge, Mr Douglas, Mr Hill, Mr George Harper, Mr Morrison [my grandfather John], Mr Izard and Mr Neave.

Without knowing what the reason for the photograph was, I have so far only managed to find out about one of the other gentlemen here. George Harper, as he then was, is seated next to my grandfather, with his bowler hat and cane beside him. It would appear from the obituary published in the Evening Post of 13 March 1937 that he must have been about 86 at this time. He was not a Knight of the realm in 1929, because that honour was only bestowed on him about six weeks before he passed away.  He certainly does appear to have had a distinguished career, and no doubt held sway in many courtrooms.
This portrait accompanied an article in the Evening Post of 1 February 1937, in which the award of the knighthood was announced.

 Another portrait from the New Zealand Herald of the same date.


(By Telegraph—Press Association.)
The death occurred this evening of Sir George Harper, who was knighted in the last New Year's Honours in February. He was in his 95th year.
Sir George Harper, K.B., 0.B.E., was one of the best-known and most highly esteemed citizens of Christchurch. To the end of his life his vitality and undiminished interest in public affairs were remarkable, for, while many younger men had retired from active work, Sir George continued to serve the community in many capacities.
He was a member of the Christchurch Domains Board, the board of governors of Christ's College, the Cathedral Chapter, the board of trustees of the McLean Institute, and he served for some time on unemployment relief organisations.
The fourth son of the Most Rev. H. J. C. Harper, Primate of New Zealand, and first Bishop of Christchurch, Sir George was born on April 24, 1843, at Stratfield Mortimer, Berks, England, of which parish his father was vicar from 1840 to 1856. He received his early education at St. Peter's College, Radley, Berks, and Eton, and was the oldest living Etonian. Bishop Harper arrived at Lyttelton on December 28, 1856, but Sir George did not come out until 1858. He attended, the upper department of Christ's College for several years, and in 1866 he went to London and studied for the Bar at the Inner Temple. In June, 1869, he was called to the English Bar, and a year later, on his return to Christchurch, he was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of New Zealand. 
Between 1870 and 1880 he was engaged in most of the principal cases in Christchurch and in the Court of Appeal. In the' eighties he was a member of the Royal Commission consisting of Judges of the Supreme Court and certain members of the legal profession set up to- assist in the revision of the Supreme Court Acts and in the framing of a new code of procedure. For many years Sir George was a member of the New Zealand Law Society, and the Canterbury District Law Society, of which he was president for two years. He was a member of the governing body of Christ's College since 1900, and sub-warden since 1920. He was also a Fellow of the College. He joined the Christ's College Rifles Volunteer Company in 1883 as captain. At the beginning of the Great War Sir George, with several others, founded the Citizens' Defence Corps, of which he was president. This organisation was instrumental in recruiting more than 5000 men for active service and in establishing a club for returned soldiers. The club was afterwards merged into the Returned Soldiers Association. For services during the war period Sir George was awarded the 0.B.E. He retired from active legal work in the firm of Harper, Pascoe, Buchanan and Upham in 1930, and had often been called "the father of the legal profession in Canterbury."

Here's a photograph of my grandfather John Morrison in his retirement, looking quite distinguished himself. It was 1972 and he was in his early 80s, having just stepped off a plane to visit us in Canberra.  If only I could have asked him more about the earlier photograph, but I was a young university student and unfortunately old photographs and family history were not matters that interested me back then. When the Paperspast web site extends to coverage of the Christchurch newspaper The Press beyond 1928, hopefully there will be more to be discovered. 

My grandfather was probably pleased that I had followed in his footsteps by studying law, but sad to say I didn't go on to pursue such an illustrious career as he did. Here is a photo from about 1977, showing yours truly all kitted up in gown and wig, on the one and only occasion that I was required to appear in court as a junior barrister in support of the QC that my employer hired to defend a client who was charged with stealing material from a building site, namely a type of scaffolding known as acrow props. The rule is that QCs can't officially appear without a junior, but this 'so-called' junior had had no previous court experience. The case went on before a judge and jury for about a week, and I think our client was found guilty in the end.
 I found working for a sole practitioner who defended all sorts of characters to be a very chaotic experience every day, and must confess that I only lasted about a year before deciding that becoming a public servant was a better option. Working in the Tax Office was nowhere near as exciting, but when my former employer was struck off a couple of years later for breaches in relation to keeping of his trust accounts, I was relieved not to be still working with him! 

For more Sepia Saturday blogs on matters legal or otherwise this week, just click  here