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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Days in the hills

No mountaineering composers or telescopes in my mother's collection, but I did find a few photos that include climbing and rocks. The first two were taken by Ian of Jean on their honeymoon in April 1950, on top of Botanical Hill in Nelson, in the north of the South Island of New Zealand. It's an easy climb, only 147 m, but a plaque at the top proclaiming it as the geographical centre of New Zealand, although in fact the true centre is some 55 km south of this point.

At the trig station on Botanical Hill

A pensive study of Jean

I thought this next little series of snaps would also be appropriate for this week's theme, as again it depicts a climbing expedition. In August 1951 Jean and Ian were able to enjoy a few days away, staying in a cabin at Mountain View Camp, Hanmer Springs, north of Christchurch NZ. Hanmer Springs is best known for its hot springs and thermal pools, but the area is also popular with skiers in winter and hikers in the warmer months. Jean's parents Mona and Jack Morrison and her youngest brother Peter came up to stay a night in the cabin with them and the next day the party climbed up nearby Conical Hill. There are no pictures of Jack on the climb however, and I wonder if perhaps he stayed on guard down at the cabin, having retired a few years earlier with apparent heart trouble. The loss of his eldest son Ken in the RAF and the stresses of his job as Stamp Duties Commisioner had taken its toll, but he then took up lawn bowls and lived to enjoy almost 30 years of retirement.

Peter, Ian and Jack at the cabin, with Mona peeping out the doorway

The view from Mountain View Camp. Presumably Conical  Hill is either the first or perhaps the second hill in the foreground, but definitely not one of the snowy peaks.

Jean perching on the rocks

Mona in sight of the summit

Peter conquers the summit rock, with a plaque commemorating an early settler in the Hanmer district

Peter standing in the tussock grass, with snowy peaks in the distance

Scenic view from the top of Conical Hill

Ian and Mona resting at the summit

Not sure what the purpose of those wires would be, perhaps to secure it in strong winds?

Ian giving Jean a piggyback ride on the way down? Meanwhile Mona ploughs ahead in the background, perhaps anxious to get back to Jack at the camp and head home to Christchurch

A dignified portrait of Jack Morrison in later life, stepping off the plane in Sydney c 1973. After Mona passed away in 1972, he came over from NZ on a visit to Jean, Ian and family, suitably behatted for the occasion. Jack died in 1977.

Another rock sitting shot that I couldn't pass by, of Jean with some friends up in the Cashmere Hills on the outskirts of Christchurch. They look rather well-dressed for climbing though!

Addendum, 28.2.2014:
Forward to 2002, and here are some descendants of Jean and Ian, namely their 2 daughters ,3  grandchildren and son-in-law, conquering a hill called St Paul's Rock, for obvious reasons, which is a volcanic plug in the Bay of Islands in the far north of NZ. We were visiting my sister who lives in the area.

Spectacular views of Whangaroa Harbour, as you can see from this photo taken on the way up. A short climb, but quite steep in parts.
A storm was threatening, and I remember we had to scramble to get back down before the rain arrived. We almost made it, but did get a little wet before reaching the car.

It was windy up there!

Now, make like a rock wallaby and hop on over to Sepia Saturday 217

Rock wallaby and baby, from Wikipedia. Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0
Rock wallabies are an endangered native species in Australia, but some were successfully introduced to New Zealand, where on some islands their numbers have reached pest proportions and are regularly culled. New Zealand has no native animals, so introduced species there such as possums and wallabies  have no natural predators. Out of interest, the original name of our house, Wirreandah, is an aboriginal word meaning 'gum tree where rock wallabies hide'. No gum trees here now however, and I haven't noticed any rock wallabies hiding anywhere, although we certainly have possums aplenty. 

Thursday, 20 February 2014


I didn't think I had very many family  photographs of hat wearers, but in fact discovered quite a number of them, although not really in groups of the same style, so here they are.

The blurry photograph above is believed to be of Joseph Featherston, 1864-1914. It's the only one we have of him, and was received by email from a distant cousin some years ago. It looks to have been cut from a larger photograph, but sadly I don't have that, and know very little about Joseph. He and wife Margaret, nee Neilson, of whom we have no photographs, lived at 65 Eureka St Ballarat. Joseph's occupation was recorded as groom on the last electoral roll before his death, and as carter in previous rolls.

Here are Joseph's eldest son Joseph Henry and his grandson Robert, who was born 3 years after his grandfather died. Joseph Henry Featherston was a fireman who worked with the Victorian Railways, and whose health was much affected by his occupation, looks small next to his son the returned airman. Joe died in 1951 aged 59. I imagine he was justly proud of his son Bob, who served in the RAAF and RAF and survived 3 years as a prisoner of war in Poland. For more about Bob, see Swimmers with arms folded.

Here are Joseph Henry Featherston with wife Grace and daughter Dawn a little later, about to attend son Robert's wedding in 1947. It looks like Joe could well be wearing the same favourite hat as in the previous photograph, although here he is naturally more formally dressed to suit the occasion.

To my side of the family now, and here is my grandfather Oliver Cruickshank, sporting a smart hat and looking quite rakish on his wedding day in Wellington NZ, together with with his new wife Myrtle.
Oliver and Myrtle Cruickshank, Wedding Day, 7 April 1921

Oliver with son Ian, circa 1925
 This photo has featured before, but then the focus was on the braces worn by both father and son.

Here's Myrtle with son Ian - are she and Oliver sharing the same hat? The photos don't seem to  have been taken at the same time, as I think young Ian may be wearing different clothes, but I'm not sure, maybe they were.

Myrtle, Ian and Oliver Cruickshank, at son Ian's graduation from the University of Canterbury, NZ in 1947. Both Oliver and Myrtle are once again proudly wearing their best hats.  It's unfortunate that there's something behind Myrtle, perhaps part of a gate, that looks as if it's attached to her hat, but of course it is not.

Myrtle and Ian are looking very smart here. Ian with his hat and briefcase may have been on a break from work, but Myrtle appears to be out shopping, wearing her fur coat again, with another elegant hat. This photograph was probably taken in Christchurch, as the family lived in the nearby town of Rangiora. It's similar in style to one I posted of  my mother an her aunt last week (Busy, busy, busy..) and I think it must have been common for photographers to set up their cameras in the city streets and take pictures of passers-by, and perhaps for people to dress up specially and seek out such a photograph. The  picture below from Jean's album is labelled 'Street Photo 1949'. Keeping the picture on theme,  a couple of hatted gentlemen can coincidentally  be observed in the background.

Here are Ian and Jean out for the day at some popular event, with some friends. Ian is wearing that hat again, at a similar jaunty angle.

Jean and Ian were always a well-dressed couple, but here they are, off to a garden party at Buckingham Palace, dressed up in sartorially elegant style. Meanwhile yours truly was off to be babysat - boo hoo!

Strahan, a great grandson of both Joseph Henry Featherston and Oliver Desmond Cruickshank,
 is a regular hat wearer, and shows that pork pie hats are back in style.

I'll close with this classic folk  rock anthem from the 60s:

On that note, put on your hat and coat, if you feel so inclined, and check out more hats etc  at Sepia Saturday 216

Friday, 14 February 2014

Busy, busy, busy...

For this week's topic, it's the crowded footpaths, old vehicles and trams that stand out for me in the photo prompt, and I found three similar streets in a calendar featuring old photographs of New Zealand.

Lambton Quay, Wellington in the 1920s, photographer Sydney Charles Smith

 Wellington is the capital of NZ, and in the 1920s it was clearly a busy place, with people intently going about about their business, whether it was work, shopping or socialising.  Below is a photograph from my mother's album of her out shopping with her Aunty Ethel. Ethel Clarence Morrison, born in 1892, was the tenth child of Daniel and Mary Bridget Morrissey, who changed their surname to Morrison when they arrived in NZ from Ireland, apparently for ease of spelling.  Ethel married John Thomas George Smith in 1924. The couple lived in Wellington and had no children themselves, but were enjoyed having their many nieces and nephews visit them for holidays. My mother Jean would have come up from Christchurch on such a visit, in the mid 1930s, a little later than the photo above, and they were smartly dressed and out on a shopping expedition in the city. Aunty Ethel looks determined to get whatever she is looking for!  The tram tracks in the centre of the road are clearly visible in the photograph above, but the last tram in Wellington ran in 1964.

Colombo Street, Christchurch in the 1920s, looking towards the Cathedral. Photographer unidentified.

Another 1920s photograph, this time of Christchurch around the same time period. Municipal trams ceased to run in 1954, and few if any of these buildings remain intact today, as a result of the devastation earthquakes that struck the city in 2010 and 2011.  The cathedral itself was severely damaged, and the city centre still remains a scene of devastation, but the tourist tram that was introduced in 1995 on a short route around the city has resumed partial operation. My grandparents Jack and Mona Morrison lived in Aylmer St, which leads directly off Colombo St, about four kilometres south of Cathedral Square. In 1926 Jack Morrison proudly purchased the family's first car, and here he is showing it off outside their home, with his first son Ken standing on the running board. Who knows, it could even be that car seen turning into  Colombo St.

The extent of the recent devastation can be seen in this post-earthquake photo from 2011 taken by BeckerFraserPhotos showing a digger beside the rubble of the former Union Centre Building, 103-107 Armagh St, on the corner of which
the business of  T. Armstrong  & Co. Drapers was formerly located. Part of the building appears in the left foreground of the 1930s photograph.

Queen Street Auckland city, 1949. New Zealand Freelance photograph. Photographer unidentified.
The final photograph of the three from the calendar is a little later, taken in Auckland in 1949, and is a good example of the types of cars of the period, and shows how popular they were. The tramway system in Auckland closed down a few years later, in 1956. While I really don't have any family history connections to Auckland, a couple of my nieces currently live there. I doubt if they take much notice of the historical parts of the city, or would believe that traffic congestion was a fact of life over sixty years ago.

  Melbourne in Australia is the only city in Australia or New Zealand that still operates a widespread and effective suburban tram network. Below is a photograph taken in Glenferrie Rd Malvern in 1911, on the occasion of the opening of the Dandenong Line. 

Photograph from the online collection of the State Library of Victoria

Here's a photograph I took this morning from virtually the same view point, at the corner of Wattletree and Glenferrie Roads. The Tivoli Theatre is no longer there, but a fair number of the other buildings dating from the 1880s onwards still exist, and you can glimpse the town hall tower in the far distance, as per the original. 

 In colour: 

And in black and white:

Below is a view of the major central intersection of Flinders and Swanston Sts in Melbourne City. Workers and shoppers would be coming or going from the impressively built Flinders St railway station. I didn't take a tram or train into town for a present day shot, but the scene today is much the same, minus the horses and carts, although there are horse drawn carriages that  run through the city for the tourists. A design competition was recently held for extensive modernization of the station interior, but hopefully the historic facade of the Edwardian Baroque building built in 1905 will be preserved. 

Flinders St Station intersection, c. 1927, unidentified photographer
Flinders St intersection February 2014

Here's another photo from the SLV collection, of Balaclava Junction, North Caulfield, which is notable for being the only remaining 'grand union tram junction' in Australia, at which trams coming from any direction can go straight ahead or turn either left or right.

Here it is today, seen from another aspect. With that hazardous maze of overhead wires, oversize semi-trailers are definitely not welcome here! I was hoping to 'catch' several trams approaching from different directions to come into shot, but on a warm day the wait was too long. However google+ automatically added my various shots together and produced this motion video:

For more traffic chaos, drive over to Sepia Saturday 215 and check out other Sepians' blogs.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Oh dear, no musicians to be found in this family, but there might have been ...

This week's theme photograph shows a gentleman playing the piano while a lady watches on, perhaps singing to the music. I've searched through both my mother's albums and my own and sad to say I haven't come across any photographs of people gathered around the piano, or even playing any kind of instrument. Sad to say, we appear to be a most unmusical family,  and although we enjoy listening, we have no musical talent! The photograph below is the only one I can find that features any kind of musical instrument at all. It's of the Christchurch City Highland Pipe Band, circa 1945, and my mother's then boyfriend Bruce Clarke is playing and marching in the front row, second from right.  I think his being a piper installed in Mum a love for all things Scottish. Her maternal grandfather Charles Forbes was a Scot from Glenmuick, Aberdeenshire and her great grandparents on her mother's mother's side Charles Young and Jane Paterson were also from the same area, although she never knew them. Mum could well be in the stands watching the band, but I can't identify her. The photo was professionally taken, by Green & Hahn.

Here are Bruce and Jean together at the Teachers College Freshers Ball in 1945.

The following year Bruce was replaced by Allan, and the story goes that on one occasion one beau was being farewelled out the back door while another was ushered in at the front.  However in 1949 Jean met Ian at a tennis dance, he swept her off her feet and that was it.

I only have three other photographs that feature a piano of any kind. The first two are of a piano shaped cake that I made for one of our daughters for her ninth birthday party, which she celebrated with a ten pin bowling party. I think she was having Suzuki music lessons at the time, but wasn't inspired to continue for long. It was an easy cake to make! That's the stool in front, just in case you were wondering, and although it looks a bit like she is sucking the bowling pin she was given by the centre, she is in fact blowing out the candles. Not sepia, and nor are they the greatest of shots I'm afraid, but they do feature a piano of sorts!

The last photograph was taken on New Years Eve 1999 at a family gathering in the Herefordshire home of my husband's English grandmother Doris Olds. Doris was 96 at the time and lived to see her 101st birthday. She certainly enjoyed our visit and the NYE celebration, complete with tiaras, blowers and even a sparkly vest or two.  In the background sits the family piano, covered with Christmas cards and photographs. I've never seen anyone actually playing it, and the same goes for one in my mother-in-law's home, but perhaps someone did in the past.
Claire and Laura with Great Grandma Doris and Great Aunty Mags, partying like it's 1999!

Post script:
 While searching rather fruitlessly for music related photographs, I came across more aprons, more snow occasions and even a couple more bag photos, so I've belatedly added them in at the end of the relevant blogs, as they are quite appropriate and amusing. If you have a spare minute to check them out, click here for pretty in pinafores,  here for funny white stuff and here for happy travellers and just zoom down to the bottom of each post for the additions.

When done, go to Sepia Saturday 214 for no doubt more seriously musical contributions.