Thursday, 20 November 2014

Let's rock!

This week's prompt was a bit tricky for me. I haven't come across any photos of silhouettes or silhouettists, so I've decided to focus instead on the little fellow on the left, who appears to be sitting on a toy horse of some kind. I've found quite a few photos in my albums, showing children of successive generations of family and friends enjoying  themselves on their rocking horses, with a few merry-go-round varieties for good measure.

I have featured this first photo before, but have cropped it here to show just this little late 19th century miss and her puppy on a rocking horse, c. 1898, and her brother Arnold standing beside her with his kitten. Her name was Charlotte Petrie and she was a daughter of my great grandfather Charles Cruickshank's sister Jessie. She became an artist when she grew up, but she was not a silhouettist as far as I am aware.  Her horse has only a tiny head, but it does have one. To see the full photo and read a little more about Charlotte and her family, click here.

The next photo is of my father Ian and must date back to about 1926 or 1927, when he would have been around two or three years old. I imagine Ian was rather a reserved child but he has a whimsical smile in this snap. Those double style horses for younger children to sit in rather than ride on seem to have been a popular choice.

The next photo is of my Uncle Derek riding on a merry-go-round and probably dates back to about 1931, as Derek was born in 1929. Not a rocking horse, but similar in style.  A  great deal of craftsmanship would be involved in making all the horses here, but particularly those on the merry-go-rounds.

Here I am with my mother Jean, posing on what looks to be a nice simple little model, c. 1955.

The son of a friend enjoying his ride on a spotted steed, around the same time.  Giddy-up, horsey!

 I don't know who owned this next horse, but my next-door neighbour John and I were obviously having fun together here and giving him a good workout.

Yours truly on another merry-go-round, c. 1957.

The following rocking horse is definitely ours ...

because I'm riding it above, c. 1957 and my sister is doing the same, a few years later, c. 1961.

 Here's a big brother giving his little sister a helping hand to balance on her horse. They were the children of Jean's old college friend Colleen and the little girl's name was Robyn. 'Rockin' Robyn' perhaps, as the song goes!

Our first daughter Claire enjoying this simple sit-in version, c. 1980, which we rescued from the nature strip after it was thrown out in a council clean-up. We repaired, repainted and gave it a new lease of life. It probably ended up on the nature strip again a few years later,but may well have been rescued again.

Here we are on a couple of different merry-go-rounds in Sydney and Canberra I believe, c. 1988. Daughter Laura looks a little apprehensive and for that matter so do I, but her brother Strahan seems to be having a good time.  The horses in the second shot are all named after past Melbourne Cup winners, and Strahan is riding the great Phar Lap.

 Laura enjoying her grandmother Jean's little rocking horse, c. 1989. This sturdy little horse is no heirloom, but  he's now resting in our attic, ready to be brought down for Jean's great granddaughter and the rider's niece to try out on her upcoming visit. At nine months she'll probably still need a helping hand to hold on, and I'm sure Laura will be ready and willing to show her how.
 No doubt photos will be taken to add to the family collection.

The last couple of photos are of my aunt's cat Tussy, who was clearly accustomed to commandeering this lovely old steed, whether to survey the room or look out the window. I don't know whether or not Tussy could rock, but she must have had a good seat, as horse riders say. No hands needed! I took the photos in 1997, but this rocking horse was an antique model. Good horses are crafted to last for generations, and this one would have outlasted many of its young  riders. A granddaughter who arrived in 2007 would no doubt have competed with Tussy for prime position on that saddle.  My aunt also bred real miniature ponies, but I doubt Tussy could ride those.

A classic song to finish up with, appropriate to one of the photos above - well, sort of anyway! 

So now you're in the mood, rock on over to Sepia |Saturday #255
where you might actually find some silhouettes and lots more.

Postscript: here is a photo just received, of my little Canadian great niece Eloise, about to climb on the little pink pony that her Mum bought for $5. She's only just one but can get on and off by herself and loves to rock. Her great grandmother Jean would have been proud of her!


It reminded me of the rocking horse cake in the Australian Women's Weekly birthday cake book, which was my birthday cake 'bible' for many years. I don't think I ever made it, but here is the picture from the book:


Thursday, 13 November 2014

Two Happy People

My  post this week will be very brief. From the look of the terrain behind them, the couple standing in the river shallows might have been in some danger from a landslide, and neither of them look dressed for a planned river crossing. 

My photograph, in contrast, is of a young pair who look very happy, with no threats to be seen, although of course they would not want to have been standing anywhere near that huge tree trunk behind them whenever it came down. Their names were Joey and Win, probably short for Joseph and Winifred, and the photo comes from a little album lovingly put together by my late father-in-law Bob, beginning with the arrival in Melbourne on New Year's Day 1947 of Mary, his English bride-to-be, and her meeting his family, their wedding later that month, their honeymoon and several other holidays that year. The page on which the photo appears is very neatly captioned "Lorne 12 January". Lorne is a seaside town on the Victorian coast, about an hour away from Bob's family home in Geelong, close to the Great Otway National Park. Bob and Mary had obviously gone out with their friends for a relaxing day in the countryside, before they got too busy with pre-wedding preparations. It doesn't look as if there's any real danger of Joey and Win falling in, and they just look like they are enjoying being together. I don't think Joey was Bob's best man, and as far as I know, he and Bob weren't related. I could ask Mary if she remembers who they were and whether or not they remained a couple, but it doesn't really matter. They were happy at that moment in time.

Joey and Win

                   For more takes on this week's theme, just wade across to   Sepia Saturday #254

Post script:

For completeness, here is a photo of Mary, Bob the photographer's 22 year old bride to be on the day, newly arrived from England and showing off her culotte type shorts which I think Win was probably also wearing. That log she's walking across and the wire fence she's leaning against look a bit precarious to me!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Fishing for something

I've been fishing through photo albums for any photographs that I might have that could relate to the prompt this week, but without much success, which doesn't surprise me. I know my late father-in-law enjoyed fishing when staying at the simple beach house at Malua Bay on the NSW South Coast, which he built himself in the early 1960s, and which is still standing, now amongst a lot of much more recent and more permanent homes, but I don't have any photos of him fishing, and my own father was never a fisherman. Gardening was his recreational activity of choice, and the only fish we had were some goldfish in an ornamental rock pool in the back garden. I remember one unfortunate occasion when the pool had to be covered with netting after some large birds flew in and decimated the resident fish population.

This photograph in my mother's album was taken when Jean was about 10 and her mother Mona had taken her to visit Mona's sister Ruby and her family at Invercargill, down at the southern tip of the South Island of New Zealand.  A suited gentleman, who I think may have been Ruby's husband William Berry, appears to be using a line or rope, either to fish or to pull something out of the water, and the process is being keenly watched by half a dozen boys. No rod to be seen. The boy in the hat standing next to the gentleman looks like Will's son and Jean's cousin, Jack Berry.  This and the next two photographs appear on a page that Jean has captioned "Picnic at Invercargill".  In the background you can see what looks like a white tent, with possibly several more a little further away. Perhaps the boys were attending a camp or some similar event, especially as another boy is wearing what looks like a scout hat. My mother's older brother Ken might have been attending the camp, but but without the benefit of any further explanation from my late mother, I can really only guess at who is in the picture and what they were really doing. Taking the photograph from across the water enabled good reflections to be captured.

The next photograph shows Jean, Ruby (behind), Mona and Jack relaxing on the grass after their picnic. Will was probably the photographer.  Son Jack's full name was John Waldwyn Berry, He was aged 23 when he was killed when serving in Italy with the NZ forces in 1943. He and his older brother Doug were two of my mother's favourite cousins and I've previously written a little more about him here

In this photo Jack is surveying the rural scene, with the river and the tents or huts in the distance.  Another photo which I haven't included shows him attending to a boiling billy, no doubt so that the picnickers could enjoy a nice hot cuppa. Perhaps they had a bacon and egg pie for their lunch, as that was always one of Jean's favourites.

I remember taking out a fishing licence one summer when we were spending time at Hawks Nest NSW with the children, but our overall lack of success at catching anything did not encourage me to renew it the following year. Here in Victoria holders of Seniors Cards do not require licences, but despite hearing enthusiastic reports of where the fish are biting on the bay and elsewhere, every Saturday morning on my favourite radio station at around 6 a.m., I'm still not tempted!

Here is a collage of photos taken last evening near Dendy Beach, Port Phillip Bay. A lone fisherman had a couple of rods in place, but we didn't see him hauling in any fish.  We sat on the step of one of those bathing boxes to watch the sun set. I saw someone catch a sizable fish last Sunday over on the other side of the bay but didn't think to snap off a photo.

To see photos posted by others who have better lucking at fishing or perhaps entertaining tales of the ones that got away, just cast your line in at  Sepia Saturday #253

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Weddings, parties, anything ...

This week's prompt shows a number of men wearing name tags, busily serving themselves from a generous spread of food. It was a 50th anniversary dinner, which made me think immediately of the following photograph taken on the occasion of my great great grandparents Adam and Charlotte Cruickshank's golden anniversary on 19 January 1906. They celebrated the momentous achievement with a large gathering of family and friends at their property known as Oakdale, near the town of Gore on the South Island of New Zealand. You can see a painting of Oakdale by Adam and Charlotte's granddaughter Charlotte Petrie here.

Unfortunately for me, no one at the celebration was wearing name tags. No doubt they all knew each other.

Adam and Charlotte with their immediate family members. My great grandfather Charles Murray Cruickshank is second from right, with his wife Elin seated in front of him. Their son and my grandfather Oliver is lying down on the right, with his two sisters next to him. His two brothers are nearby in the second row.

I don't have any photographs of the tables that must have been groaning with food, but I do have copies of an invitation to the celebration, and of the banquet menu, which included roast goose, roast duck, roast fowl and roast beef, pickled ham and ox tongue, together with potatoes and vegetable salads. The desserts included cream kisses. The guests at their golden wedding celebration were treated to a sumptuous banquet laid out in the barn and 'catered for by Mr McFarlane in his characteristic complete style'.

Invitees Mr and Mrs Gavin Dickson were the parents of Helen Warner Dickson, wife of Adam and Charlotte's son James Alfred Cruickshank. James and Helen had been married 3 years earlier.

Thiis scan of the menu is  cropped slightly, but is still legible.

 According to a detailed report that appeared in the Mataura Ensign the following day, the guests numbered over 100 and included shipmates of the Cruickshanks from when they arrived in Invercargill NZ in 1863, aboard the New Great Britain. They had been married in Monquhitter Aberdeenshire  on 19 January 1856 by the Rev. James Adam, with Mrs Cruickshank, whose maiden name was Charlotte Joss, having to ride 35 miles by stagecoach to be present on the morning of the ceremony.

  Naturally the numerous speeches were highly complimentary to the host couple. The chairman said he thought it was 'a peculiarly auspicious  occasion, and all their friends would rejoice to see, after fifty years of happily wedded life, Mr and Mrs Cruickshank looking so well and hearty. One could scarcely realise that they were more than fifty years of age.' He trusted they would all be spared to return in ten years' time for the celebration of their hosts' diamond wedding day. One reason he thought 'they looked so well and were so strong was that they had employed their youthful days wisely. A wasteful youth led to premature old age, but there was no evidence of weakness in either Mr or Mrs Cruickshank.' He trusted they would long preserve that activity. All wished them every happiness and days to come full of blessings from the Lord, and that 'in the end God would bless them with His grace and would finally take them into His peace for ever more'.

Another speaker remarked that while he had 'heard it said that "Happy the bride that the sun shines on", happier still was the bride upon whom fifty summers had shone and who had brought up such a family as Mrs Cruickshank had'. Yet another said that in his bachelor days he invariably made for Mrs Cruickshank's hospitable homestead on a Sunday, being sure of a good meal  The couple had raised one daughter, seven 'stalwart' sons, and 'a great array' of 30 grandchildren. After the speeches, the guests adjourned to the garden where photographs were taken, and then guests repaired again to the banqueting hall.

During the afternoon songs were given by several guests, and 'at a later hour young people to the number of over one hundred were entertained at the Cruickshank residence to join in further celebration of the notable event, The evening was devoted to dancing and singing ... Miss Dickson danced a  highland fling and Mr H. Milne a hornpipe.' Excellent music was provided by various guests on the piano, violin and bagpipes, and proceedings lasted until daylight. The Cruickshanks may have been dour Presbyterians, but they certainly knew how to celebrate!

Despite all those fervent good wishes for continued good health, Charlotte passed away two years later in 1908 and Adam followed on 11 October 1914, just over 100 hundred years ago now. He actually married again in 1911, but when he died he was residing at the home of his daughter Jessie Petrie and it is not known whether or not his second wife Janet was living there with him. Just a few days after Adam's death, his grandson Oliver embarked from Wellington with the NZ Machine Gun Corps, bound for Egypt.

The next photograph is of the 25th wedding anniversary celebration of  Doris and Frank Olds in Hull, England in 1949. Doris in particular has featured in  previous blogs, for example here on her 100th birthday, and also here. Frank and Doris's eldest daughter Mary left England for Australia as a war bride in late 1946, but she made and posted that cake back to England as an anniversary present for her parents, who are seated at the far end of the table. Ingredients would have been easier to come by in post-war Australia than in England with the rationing system still in force.

Another golden wedding anniversary -  Mona and Jack Morrison, parents of Jean Cruickshank nee Morrison, celebrated sedately in Christchurch NZ on 2 April 1969

Here are a couple of informal photos of another anniversary celebration from more recent times, namely my in-laws' fortieth wedding anniversary, which they celebrated near Canberra in January 1987.  The trolley table on which the cake stands was a gift from their children and has seen good service in back garden gatherings at the family home ever since.  It's very likely that Mary made that cake too, and perhaps Doris gave her a hand.

Some happy family members at the lunch, including the bride's mother Doris Olds from England, (standing behind one of the twins in their high chairs), who had not been able to attend her daughter Mary's wedding back in Geelong in 1947. Jean and Ian Cruickshank are standing on the far left and 3rd from left respectively. I am in blue, holding our then 3 year old. I can think of at least three others who must have been there but missed being in the photo.

Neither my father-in-law Bob Featherston nor my own father Ian Cruickshank made it to their respective fiftieth wedding anniversaries. Bob died in 1992, and Ian in February 2000. Like her parents pictured 2 photos previously, Jean had been greatly looking forward to celebrating that landmark on 22 April 2000 but sadly it was not to be.

Now here are a couple of name tag photographs. Surprisingly the photos themselves aren't labelled in my mother's album, but were taken in the late 1960s and show my father Ian Cruickshank attending some sort of scientific conference or gathering, In the first photograph everyone is looking intently at the experiment on display in a lab, while in the second shot they are relaxing and enjoying social drinks in a marquee afterwards. Ian in his checkered blazer typically has his camera slung over one shoulder, although clearly these are not his own photos. If only I could read the name tags I might have more clues as to what the event was.

And finally, a small but colourful 'smorgasbord' selection of party tables from the eighties and nineties, at events that included a first, a fourth and a seventieth birthday, plus a couple of children's Christmas functions. Not a lot of healthy food to be seen here!

When Adam's four year old 3x great granddaughter (seen in pink in the previous collage) celebrated her 22nd birthday in Sydney in 2002, we lashed out on a home caterer for once, because it meant that  we were able to relax and enjoy the party ourselves, at least after the house had been cleaned, set up cafe style and decorated appropriately. I think everyone enjoyed the night. It was effectively a very belated 21st, because Claire had been studying overseas at the relevant date the previous year.

If this whets your appetite and you want to see what other Sepians have laid out for us this week, just click here, and don't forget your name tag.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Arresting ancestors

This week's Sepia Saturday photo prompt features three Tasmanian policemen in Hobart in 1900. The title of the photograph is the name of the chemist whose shop is seen in the background, but it is hardly the main subject of the photograph. I have Scottish relatives whose family have run a chemist shop in Turriff Aberdeenshire for several generations, have shown their shop previously. Just click here to see three photographs of it at the end of my blog about doorsteps. 

Instead I offer this newspaper photograph of five brothers, three of whom were serving policemen, one a former policeman and one who had never been in the Force. They are not actually direct ancestors, but I thought the title was a good one all the same! 

 In October 1938 Senior Sergeant Davis Lewis Calwell (1885-1956) visited Australia on holiday from New Zealand and while in Melbourne he took the opportunity to catch up briefly with four of his Australian brothers, whom he had not seen fo rmany years. The other brothers in the photograph are Constable Allen George Calwell (1891-1959), Charles Percival Calwell (1887-1947), Henry Edward Calwell (1890-1956) and Senior Constable Archibald Frank Calwell (1898-1963).
Davis would no doubt also have caught up with various other members of his large family, including his sisters Grace Eleanor Featherston (1896-1975) and Edith Mary O'Connor (1900-1973), known to the family as Aunty Dulce. A third sister, Florence Alice Everleigh, had died in 1933.

As the article says, Charles Calwell, aka Charl, had previously been a policeman but had subsequently become a warder in a mental asylum, and Henry, aka Harry, was an osteopath. Uncle Harry gave my mother-in-law away on her marriage to his nephew Robert Featherston, because she was a war bride with none of her own family able to be present at the wedding. 

As is often the case with newspaper reports, there were a few inaccuracies in the articles. For example, only four of the brothers in the photograph had ever been in the force, but there was a fifth policeman in the family who was not present at the reunion, namely the eldest brother, William Arthur Calwell (1883-1972), who also lived in New Zealand. 

 The seventh and second youngest brother, Robert Oliver Calwell (1894-1917) was killed in World War 1, in which his brothers William, Charles and Harry had also served. 

The two uncles who were also on the Force, as mentioned in the first article, were their father Dan Hogue Calwell's brother George Lewis Calwell (1861-1955) and their mother Annie's brother Robert Corrie (1868-1922).

Photo above and article below, published in The Sun Pictorial, October 19, 1938

Article from the Argus, 18 November 1938

Davis Lewis Calwell, second son of Dan Hogue Calwell and Annie Corrie, was named for his grandfather Davis Calwell and grandmother Elizabeth Lewis. They were American and Welsh immigrants who had both arrived in Australia in 1853 and had met and married in Melbourne in 1856 at St John's church in La Trobe St, which was only a block or two away from where their grandsons held their reunion some eighty years later. Their son Dan Hogue Calwell died in 1903 aged 44 of rheumatic heart disease, leaving his widow Annie to bring up her large brood of 10, the youngest of whom was only 3 at the time.

Davis Lewis followed his brother Will to NZ in the early 1900s, where he married and brought up a family of three children. He joined the police force and before he retired after 42 years' service he became Superintendent in Charge of the police district of Dunedin.  Here is a photograph taken from his obituary.

Davis Lewis Calwell

William Arthur Calwell 
 Unfortunately I don't have any identified photographs of William in police uniform. Together with his wife and their children Dan and Roa, William had in fact visited the wider Australian Calwell family just a little earlier than Will, in January 1938, travelling to both Melbourne and Sydney, and he wrote afterwards that he had met 80 relatives on the trip. His son Dan turned 100 last year.

The Calwell siblings, photographed in the Botannical Gardens when William and family came to visit. Will is on the left, Grace is 3rd from left. All present apart from Davis in NZ , and Robert and Florence (both deceased), so there would be three serving policemen in this photo too. The other four men are a bit hard to identify from this photocopy, but it is all I have, and I think the men on either side of Grace are Charl and Harry. Clearly the other two are minus their helmets and are enjoying a family day off. 

The following two shots snipped from Google Street View show the corner on which the Calwell brothers met. In 1938 numerous other older buildings would have stood between the Town Hall on the left and St Paul's Cathedral on the right, but sadly a lot of demolition occurred in the 1960s and 1970s and they have since been replaced by a city square and a Westin Hotel. In the second shot you can even see a chemist opposite the Town Hall, which is hidden behind a passing tram.

For more police matters, chemist shops or anything else that fellow Sepians may be prompted to discuss, just button up your jacket, smarten up and plod on over to Sepia Saturday #251 - but  please, no J-walking, because you know, they can book you for that!