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Thursday, 12 October 2017

Sitting Pretty

The little girl in our prompt this week is clearly posing for her portrait in a photographer's studio and she looks very sweet. Her beautiful dress reminded me of the following portrait of my aunt, Joan Patricia Morrison, who must only have been about a year old when it was taken in about 1922. As the first surviving child born to my grandparents John and Mona, she would have been their pride and joy.  Pat as she was always known is not sitting at a desk here, but she did grow up to become very studious and obtained her Masters degree at Oxford in the 1940s. 

        Here is Pat working away on some manuscript, with all her papers spread out in front of her. I imagine her desk was not big enough!


                          Here she is again, still sitting pretty in later life.

When Pat passed away in 2011, it was a very big task for my mother, sister and others to sort through all Pat's documents, photographs, books and other memorabilia, as she had thrown out very little, despite residing in a small council flat for many years.  I thnk my mother found it all rather daunting, and also it was quite emotional for her to read through many years' worth of  correpondence between Pat and their parents while she was working overseas.

  I've previously written a tribute to Pat and her life achievements which you can read here.

Continuing with the theme of the prompt, here is our son Kim, Pat's great nephew, at the computer desk in 1997.


and our daughter and Pat's great niece, Laura the teacher, at her desk in her classroom. With a class of 20 or more six year olds, I don't imagine she gets to sit down there very often!

Finally two photos of our granddaughter Isabelle, who is Pat's great great niece. This first photo was taken on a visit to us in Melbourne earlier this year. What Google Photos identified as a desk is in fact a dolls' house that was made for her mother by Isabelle's paternal great grandfather. It was placed on the table so as to be out of her curious little brother's reach.

Here is Isabelle back home in London, sitting at her mother's computer desk and wearing a dress that I made for her Aunty Laura above, back in 1989.

For more posts that may or may not be prompted by that pretty little girl sitting at the writing desk, go to Sepia Saturday #389

Friday, 6 October 2017

The romance of snow

The prompt above shows us the perspective of a street view in Sheffield on what looks like a rather dismal and wintry day, with remnants of snow lining the pavement. I think old grey snow was one of the sights I was least prepared for when I went on my first trip to Europe, specifically Germany, as a teenager back in 1969/1970. Up until then I'd had very limited experience of snow, and in my mind it was always pristine white and magical, so it was a shock to see it shovelled into dirty piles along the roadsides in an industrial town like Solingen, where I spent three months as a exchange student. 
I didn't take many photos on the entire trip, probably because my camera was very basic and perhaps the grey winter weather didn't inspire me to capture them, but the photo below is one of my favorite memories, which I believe I took on my way to an afternoon wander in a nearby wood. The snow on the footpath still looks reasonably fresh and clean despite being a little downtrodden.
Here's another of my 1976 photos, showing a monument of some kind, taken from the road. The second image has taken on a distinctly sepia tone, despite it having been taken around the same time as the first. Others have too, as shown below

Ducks and reflections in a snowy stream running through the woods where I walked

A snowy walk and an encounter with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

More snowy scenes from my walk

The Solingen home of my hosts during my stay, the Felix family
Just today I discovered  an article published in 1972 in the Australian Women's Weekly about one of the first German students to come to Australia on the same exchange scheme and she mentioned that she had wanted to get on the scheme ever since an Australian exchange student came to her school in Solingen a couple of years earlier. Can you guess who that must have been?  Nice to know that my visit had some effect on at least one person there! The relevant article can be read here, plus one about my being awarded the scholarship here.

The sepia Saturday prompt above also brought to mind our first trip overseas with our four children in December 1992, and in particular a walk we took from the village of Fussen up to King Ludwig's fairytale castle Neuschwanstein. Apparently the walk was only around 4.5 km long, but at the time it seemed endless and the fun of trudging through the snowy landscape did not last that long, with the cold temperature and some very wet feet getting the better of us all before we reached our destination.

Setting off, and resting en route
The views when we finally got there, of Neuschwanstein Castle (bottom) and of Hohenschwangau (top), another castle further away also owned by The mad King Ludwig, 

An easier way to make the journey.  I think we caught a bus back down the hill.

The walkers have recovered, back in the pretty little village of Fussen. Happy birthday to our son Strahan
here, who turns 33 today.

Map of our walk

The further walk we did not take, from Neuschwanstein to Hohenschwangau Castle. In the circumstances it was a few steps too far!

That's enough of snowy roadsides and snowy walks from me, now just 'let your fingers do the walking' and head over to Sepia Saturday #388 for more posts prompted by that snowy road in Sheffield.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

In Control

 Sepia Saturday prompt #387 shows the cockpit of a 1948 B-36 bomber. I think I have a pretty good match in my family history collection this week.

The photographs below were taken by my uncle Kenneth Forbes Morrison of other planes that were flying alongside his, when he was training to be a pilot in Canada in WW2. They are Cessna Cranes, as shown here on the Canadian War Plane Heritage Museum site. The Cranes were used by the RACF in Canada to teach recruits from allied Commonwealth countries to fly multi- engined aircraft. Ken from New Zealand was one of those recruits, as was my father-in-law Bob Featherston from Australia. Ken took quite a few snaps of his time in Canada and the US and I think that after his death either my mother or another member of the family must have lovingly placed them in an album of which I am now the keeper. I've blogged previously about Ken, the uncle I never knew.

This photograph of the Cessna controls is also from Ken's album. The clue to the type of plane it was is the word Cessna, which appears on each of the foot pedals below the control panel. 

I don't think this is Ken but it may be a snap he took of one of his fellow pilots, standing in front of a Cessna Crane and proudly displaying his graduation certificate.

After Ken qualified he went to England where he flew a Halifax heavy bomber. It was in one of these much larger planes that he was tragically shot down and killed while taking part in a bombing raid over Germany, along with all his crew and so many other young men, on 23 June 1943. 

  • Last week we were in London and took the opportunity to visit the RAF Museum at Hendon, which has a lot of old aircraft on display. I don't believe they had a Cessna Crane in their collection, but they did have this unrestored Halifax, which had been salvaged many years later from the depths of a Norwegian lake. It is one of only three surviving examples of the Halifax. Here are a couple of photos I took of it.

View inside the cockpit of the recovered Halifax, which a friendly volunteer guide pointed out was very spacious, compared for example with the Lancaster bomber flown by Bob Featherston.  

The insignia of the 78th RAF Squadron to which Ken was seconded

 This restored Lancaster heavy bomber was also part of the collection

For more blogs prompted by Sepia Saturday #287, just check those dials, pull the levers, raise the flaps, prepare for take off and go up, up and away to your next destination here

"They had bombed London, whether on purpose or not, and the British people and London especially should know that we could hit back. It would be good for the morale of us all."
— Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister, ordering the RAF to start bombing German cities, cited in M. Hastings, Winston's War, 25 August 1940

It may have been good for British morale generally but it was far from good for all the families of those thousands of young men who were to lose their lives as a result of Churchill's order, not to mention all the civilians on the ground who must also have been killed.

Here is a song for Ken, Blue Yonder, sung by my favouite Canadian, David Francey.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

One in front and one behind

Cute kids indeed! Those two terrors like they would be getting into mischief just as soon as they climbed off that make-believe axe-headed horse of theirs.

I've posted about kids on rocking horses before here, and I'm presently on holidays but before I left home I found this sweet little studio portrait of my mother's sister Joan Patricia and her brother Ken. The photograph was probably taken in about 1925 or 1926, the year my mother was born. I've blogged about both Pat and Ken before. I never knew Ken, because he was killed in 1943 in WW2 at only 19, well before I was born, but my Aunty Pat almost made it to 90 and achieved much in her long life.  Here they are just innocent little children looking angelic and natural together, even though this is a posed shot. I love it.

For more posts on the theme for Sepia Saturday #384, click here.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Happy Father's Day!

We're away on holiday in England at present but back home in Australia it's Father's Day today, so here are a few favourite old photos of my Dad that I just happen to have access to online.

New father

Granddad, Dad and daughter, March 1953.

Dad with daughter Louisa

With one of his granddaughters

                 And one of his grandsons

               Happy Father's Day Dad,
           and thanks, for all you did for us!
             I know you would have loved all                     your great grandchildren too.                                       Six at last count.

            Ian Alfred Murray Cruickshank
            5 Aug 1924 - 17 February 2000

Postscript: Not to be entirely at odds with this week's theme, I just found this relatively recent photo of a husband, father, grandfather and a penny farthing :

For other posts on the Sepia Saturday theme below, click  here:

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Gazing into space and time: who were these people?

Our Sepia Saturday prompt this week is a cabinet portrait or carte de visite, in which the gentleman is adopting a pose that was quite popular with photographers of the period. The card below shows a lady in a similar leaning pose. It comes courtesy of my distant half cousin Kim in New Zealand. This photo and the others I've included were taken in Christchurch New Zealand by photographers Grand and Dunlop, who operated there from about 1875 to 1887. There is some interesting information about Grand and Dunlop in a blog about early New Zealand photographers
together with a number of their photographs showing subjects in poses very much like the ones I have from Kim. The question of course is, who are they? The only one of the set that we believe we've identified so far is Margaret Nancarrow nee Paterson, who emigrated to NZ in 1861 with her parents and siblings. Two more daughters were born after the family arrived in New Zealand. It could be that the other four photographs are of Margaret's sister Mary Shaw and their three Scots born brothers John, James and Alexander.  If this is the case, the first rather weary looking lady could possibly be their mother Mary Anderson, who was my 2 x great grandmother and would have been in her mid fifties in 1876.  Mary was previously married to another Charles, Charles Forbes, with whom she had already produced five children, the youngest of whom was my great grandfather. I think having borne 12 children would be enough to make anyone look care worn!


Margaret Nancarrow nee Paterson

The problem with my theory as to the identity of the lady above is that I am reliably advised that the photograph below is definitely of Mary Paterson nee Anderson, previously Forbes. So I'm not convinced that this is the same person as in my first photograph above, but whoever that lady was, she matches the prompt. Other Sepians have likely also found matching photographs from a similar time period, as you may discover if you read their posts at Sepia Saturday #380.

My 2x great grandmother, Mary Paterson nee Anderson, born Deskford, Banff, Scotland 1821, died Amberley, Canterbury NZ 1899 

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Down on the farm

I've posted about sheep and goats here and here  in earlier blogs, but I still have a few more farm animal photographs to use in response to the Sepia Saturday prompt for this week. This first photo is from my mother's second photo album that covers the 1940s and is captioned "The Bull and Uncle Bill". I think the bull is on the right of the picture. Uncle Bill was Daniel William Morrison (1877-1956), older brother of my mother Jean's father John Morrison. Bill married Violet and they had seven sons and three daughters. He and his family farmed in the Rai Valley, located in the Marlborough district in the northern part of the South Island of New Zealand. Bill and John's parents migrated from County Cork to new Zealand in 1875 and apparently Bill became known as Billy Ireland, although he was in fact born in New Zealand. I know Jean enjoyed going up from Christchurch to visit her country cousins and their families, but I imagine that as a city girl she would have been wary of getting too close to that bull. 

The next photograph is a little later, and is labelled Holiday at Locksley Downs, Christmas 1951.
My parents were visiting Dad's newly married younger sister Nella and her husband Bert,  who at the time was working as a shearer on this New Zealand sheep station. It shows my father Ian with a friendly lamb,  and a sheep dog beside him keeping a watchful eye on the flock in the distance. Apart from the fact that this is a lamb rather than a goat and that Dad is not in uniform, it is not a bad match for the prompt.  Dad is looking suitably rural and seems to be wearing a vest with an interesting pattern under his shirt. He passed away in 2000 but would have turned 93 this Saturday 5 August. RIP Dad, 1924-2000.

Fast forward to recent times and here are our daughter Laura and myself in 2015 with some calves that she and her husband were raising on their country property near the town of Bunyip in Gippsland Victoria, about an hour away from Melbourne where we live.

And thanks to Laura, here is a very recent photograph of our granddaughter Lucy feeding the next generation of calves, who were born on the property two or three months ago. Little Lucy loves being outside helping with farm tasks!

Click here for more blogs prompted by Sepia Saturday #379