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Saturday, 24 May 2014

College days

I really don't have much in the way of bed photos, and nor does my mother, but the girls in the prompt photo are apparently college girls, which set me thinking about photos and friendships that can be made in those days.
I didn't get to have the experience of living in a college myself because the Australian National University where I studied was in my home town of Canberra, so I just stayed at home while studying and saved my parents the expense of boarding fees.  My mother Jean on the other hand lived in Christchurch on the South Island of NZ and in 1946 aged 19 she needed to leave home and move to the North Island in order to attend the Auckland Teachers Training College, as it was called.  There she specialised in speech therapy, which was her chosen career path. When we moved to Australia Jean found that her NZ teaching qualifications were recognised but not those in speech therapy. For many years she worked at a school for developmentally challenged children, doing speech therapy with them. Initially she worked voluntarily, but was paid as a teacher when a staff vacancy arose.

 Jean's photo album from her days in college from around 1946 / 1947 contains quite a few photos that show Jean and her college friends having fun, and in  a number of cases those close friendships endured for many decades.

The caption for this first photo from 1946 is "The girls of the 'Cottage' Cannon Hall" and their names are provided: Mary, Raynor, Margaret, Fin, Colleen and Nona. Jean must have been the photographer. Sadly she is in poor health  these days, so I can't ask her for any more details about the other girls or the 'Cottage' or Cannon Hall. She has certainly kept in touch with Colleen, the girl seated in the centre front, but she is also not well. 

The description of the next two photos above is "3rd Years' Shack, Teachers College 1946". There's a lone male student amongst the group, and they look like they are having fun. I can't quite decipher what is on the board they are holding up apart from the word MILK and a glass, but it must have been something funny, because all except one seem to be pretending to suck their thumbs, but unfortunately Jean can't tell me  any more. She is on the left standing in the doorway, and then directly above the sign.

This shot is described as "Snow, 1946". It's on the same page as the previous three photos, although it's hard to believe it could be in Auckland, as they have only had snow there very rarely. According to Mr G, it last fell there in the 1930s. Yet another question that may remain unanswered.

The next group of photographs taken by Jean are from 1947, and captioned "The cottage and its inhabitants". This cottage is clearly a different cottage to the one referred to above, and the address is given, 147 Khyber Pass Road Auckland, where Jean and her friends flatted together.

The final blurry picture is described as "A party in the Cottage, with Colleen, Betty, Brenda, Jean and Loma."  They look happy, sitting around the table with their future lives ahead of them. It was sixty seven years ago now. Cheers to them all!

To finish on a lighter note, here are a couple of bed photo from my own albums.

This is our second daughter and last child Laura, who was born 9 weeks premature. She's reclining on a luxurious big hotel bed while her father is on the phone of course. She must have been around four months old here in 1987 and still quite tiny, when we left the other three with their grandparents in Canberra and 'escaped' to a weekend conference. It was held at an art deco style resort at Sherbrooke in the Dandenongs called Burnham Beeches Country House, which was built in the late 1920s for the Aspro brand sales magnate Alfred Nicholas and his wife.  Burnham Beeches was named after the forest of beech trees near the Aspro factory in Buckinghamshire. Nicholas died in 1933, but his wife continued to use to as one of her residences until about 1954. Here's a photo from Wikipedia Commons, circa 1947. A far cry from the Cottage above, photographed around the same time! That large bed was very comfortable, and I made the most of the luxury break for a couple of days - well, as much as I could manage to do with a small baby to care for!  I'm sure Laura and I must have gone for walks in the beautiful surrounding gardens built for Nicholas.

Burnham Beeches Country House ceased operating in 1991, and has been empty since then, although apparently it has been purchased by a businessman and a well-known chef who propose to re-invent it as a resort, spa, wellness centre, restaurant, bakery etc, but so far it remains closed.  You can read more about it and the lovely surrounding gardens open to the public in a blog I found called Weekend Notes.

For completeness, here are the three we were escaping from. In this photograph taken the following year (1988) they are leaning against their cabin bunk beds. We had taken them on a week long island cruise and they were about to attend  a shipboard fancy dress party.  

Introducing our new granddaughter Isabelle, surveying the scene from her parents' bed in London last week. At 2 months of age she is much bigger than her aunty Laura was at the same age, or probably even at 4 months, but is still very cute. In a previous blog I posted a photo of Isabelle's mother and aunty on a bed here.

For more beds, colleges and other vaguely related matters from other Sepian contributors, click here