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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Of Beds, Patients, Children, Toys, and Bedfellows



Bed is the best place for rest and recovery. Beginning on a serious note, I've gathered together a few photographs of  patients recuperating in their hospital beds, of which there are many, from the Australian War Memorial Collection found on Trove.

Kantara, Egypt. July 1941. A patient in 2/2 Australian General Hospital giving the thumbs up gesture. He is happy because he is going home on a hospital ship tomorrow. A gramophone is playing on his bed.

Harefield, England. A patient in his bed at No 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital writing letters home.


NEW BRITAIN, 1945-09. RELEASED POW RESTING HIS LEG IN BED AT THE AUSTRALIAN 2/8TH GENERAL HOSPITAL. (RNZAF OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH.)


QFX22911 Sister Eileen Short, of 2/10 Australian General Hospital recuperating after her release in a hospital bed after her release from Belalau, a Japanese prisoner of war (POW) camp outside Loebok Linggau, Sumatra. She had been aboard the Vyner Brooke when it was sunk by the Japanese on 14 February 1942 two days out of Singapore.


The captions tell us a little of these people's stories, but we can only imagine what harrowing experiences they must have gone through before reaching the safety of hospital, and they all appear fairly happy and thankful to have survived and hopefully to be on the mend, although the patient above has a rather wistful expression, and the chap below does appear rather startled to be 'captured' in bed!

HEIDELBERG, VIC. 1943-01-20. PRIVATE C. MARTIN, AIF, IN HIS BED AT THE 115TH AUSTRALIAN GENERAL HOSPITAL. HE WAS WOUNDED BY A JAPANESE SNIPER IN NEW GUINEA.

Now for some children and their toys:
The children who appear in my old photograph album from the 1880s are mostly formally posed just like the adults, but here is a sweet one of two little girls with some toys, which may or may not be their own. I'm not sure what the older girl is holding, or what is in the cart the younger one has, but I do like the way she is standing on a block so that the height difference between the two sisters in their matching dresses is reduced. If only I knew who these young ladies were!

My mother aged about 4, in the 1920s

 Having fun in the 1950s:

Entertaining a visiting friend with teddy
and with a favourite doll

And on a lighter note, just a few family photos from the 1980s onwards, for your entertainment:

On  Mum and Dad's bed at eight weeks old, this premature arrival was barely bigger than her sister's cabbage patch dolls

No really, we're just friends!
Doesn't look too comfortable, but it works!
Why fight when you can sleep? Thanks to 'the cabbage patch kid' for this recent photo of  her two pets Buddy and Holly.
Here's my favourite bed photo from our travels, snapped in the guesthouse where we stayed  in Kitzbuhel on a skiiing and tramping holiday some years ago.

 I just love the imaginative arrangement of those continental pillows! 



And finally, I can't think of any Australian bed songs, but here's one from John Denver, performing a classic in this country :-)

For more takes on the topic for this week, just go directly to Sepia Saturday #196





18 comments:

  1. I'd never have thought of hospital patients, but what interesting pictures. Those people in prison camps really did suffer didn't they? Lovely pictures of the family with their favourite toys. I think the legs through the side of the cot is a common one.

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  2. I think the only thing worse than being sick in bed in hospital is not being sick in bed in hospital when you need to be. Your photographs do show people who are pleased and relieved to be there.

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  3. My favorite is the girls in plaid dresses. That is an interesting comparison of the baby with the Cabbage Patch dolls.

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  4. Considering what those people experienced, they were probably glad to be in a hospital bed!

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  5. The people you show must have been happy to survive.

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  6. Quite a contrast in topics related to the theme in different ways.

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  7. I've seen hotel & motel rooms & bathrooms done up invitingly in a variety of ways, but that pillow décor is something new & you're right - very imaginative. I wonder how it came about? I can almost 'see' a maid accidentally dropping a pillow on the floor & having it wind up in such a configuration. She looks at it & thinks "Hmmm?"

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  8. Yes, i decided to go from serious to humourous, hopefully not making light of the hospital patients' situations however.

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  9. Those AWM photos are so precious aren't they? I've seen some of them before (not the ones you showed today though) and they are very powerful indeed.

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  10. Thank you for a moving post. Those hospital photos are very poignant, especially the one of the nursing sister. How she must have suffered, yet able to smile for the camera.

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  11. Your Mom was adorable! Thanks for the post, listened to John Denver clip, hadn't heard that song in a month of Sundays!!!!

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  12. I like the diversity of your photos, bringing it around from the extreme to the vernacular.

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  13. The POWs were so very thin weren't they - a wonder they survived.
    My brother and his son are well known for their amazing contortion acts through the sides of cots and beds - like your legs through the bars shot.

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  14. Sister Eileen Short looks very thin and frail. It is terrible to think what she must have been through.

    That is a gorgeous photo of your mother.

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  15. Those pillows like crowns are quite something.

    And photos of kids with toys is a category I find myself always collecting. Some grand shots here.

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  16. The Sister seemed to have had the hardest time there, all skin and bones,
    but still cheerful at the possibility of putting all this behind her...
    Do I see a Shirley Temple look-a-like?!?
    :D~
    HUGZ

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    1. Yes, I followed up on Sister Eileen Mary Short and found that she was the matron of a country hospital in Queensland before the war and returned to that position afterwards. I believe she lived until 1975, so she was clearly made of strong stuff! My father-in-law was a POW in what is now Poland, and there the POWs mamaged to survive the meagre internment rations witht he help of Red Cross parcels, but the Japanese did not allow their prisoners to access such assistance.

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  17. Thanks for the post.Hospital images are adorable!!

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