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Friday, 19 February 2016

Getting ready to dance

I posted a photo of our daughter Claire admiring her reflection in the mirror before a school formal in an earlier blog here, and a photo of my elocution teacher Yetty Landau with her beloved dog Sandy in another blog post here, so I was struggling to think of anything else that was vaguely relevant to this week's Sepia Saturday prompt. The pineapple on the makeup bench prompted me to search for photos of family visits to the Big Pineapple in Nambour Queensland but to no avail. Just as I was about to pass on this week's Sepia Saturday prompt, I came across these two photographs from December 1992, showing Claire and her fellow dance students getting ready for their annual jazz and classical dance concert. I don't remember what song it was that required this 60s style teased beehive hairstyle, but it definitely gave Claire a look of maturity well beyond her 12 years.

 I have included a small picture of the group in performance, and  I think this jazz ballet number had something to do with a hairdressing salon. Perhaps Claire will remember. It must have been first up in the show, as I know that beehive had to be rapidly brushed out for the remainder of the dance programme. We always enjoyed the performances, which were very professionally choreographed, produced and directed by the teacher Jill McHugh, who owned the Kuring-gai School of Dance and taught students jazz and modern dance as well as classical ballet. 

To finish, here is an entertaining clip of one of my favourite singers that you might enjoy - to tell you what it's about would spoil the surprise, but trust me, it is relevant to this week's prompt!

For more reflections on the prompt photograph above, showing Billie Holiday and her canine friend Mister, just take a look in the mirror that is Sepia Saturday 318.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

St Valentine's Day in words and pictures. A post for Trove Tuesday

 Around 1880 St Valentine's Day was a day that everyone seems to have genuinely looked forward to. Here's a very small selection of articles I found on Trove, beginning with a couple of drawings.

Comedy from Melbourne Punch:
St Valentine
A Letter Day Saint

A poem for St Valentine's Day that might have been a description for the above sketch, some five years later:



Alexandra and Yea Standard, Gobur, Thornton and Acheron Express (Vic. : 1877 - 1908) Friday 13 February 1880
 An extract from a piece in the Ballarat Star of the same year:

                       by the pungency of the perfume, and if they were well backed up
                   by a good sentiment, such as "I love thee ten thousand maids among", 
                   these young men were " [illegible]" straight. 

The article then goes on to discuss reasons for the existence of St Valentine's Day at some length.

Here's another cartoon from the Melbourne Punch, 14 February 1889, which may indicate that the decline of the celebration had begun. It gives cynical suggestions for cards to send to various well-known figures of the day.

Sadly things went downhill from the 1880s, and forty years later the final extract comes from The Journal (Adelaide SA, of 17 February 1923.  It's a recollection of the author's happy memories of St Valentine's Day and and reasons for its subsequent decline.

                      Valentine's Day has had a revival over recent decades, although many people consider this is just due to commercial influences. Thankfully the ugly Valentine has not returned to any degree, or at least not as far as I am aware. I don't celebrate the event, but here's wishing that those who do 
enjoyed a very happy Valentine's Day!  

Monday, 8 February 2016

An Australian winner at Westminster School on Shrove Tuesday, 1913? A post for Trove Tuesday

Today being Shrove Tuesday, I decided to search Trove for some relevant item, and came across this small article in the Geelong Advertiser in 1913. According to the article, the boy who won the prize for securing the largest piece of pancake at the annual tossing of the pancake event at Westminster School was an Australian named Ealand, who had cunningly thrown himself down on the pancake as it fell.

Article from the Geelong Advertiser, 7 Feb 1913,  snipped from Trove web site

Here is a more detailed report of what occurred, published in the Manchester Courier and Lancaster General Advertiser, and it  gives the boy's name as V F Ealand. 
Manchester Courier and Lancaster General Advertiser, 5 Feb 1913 (from
British Newspapers Archives via Findmypast web site)  Unfortunately the photograph did not accompany the article

 Just for fun, I searched Findmypast for VF Ealand, and located him in the 1911 England Census as follows:

Victor Ealand, grandson, Student Westminster School,  aged 15 born 1896 in Hertfordshire Tuckridge

14 Sheengate Gardens Mortlake Surrey England

residing with grandparents Thomas and Annie Coad

I then found him, Victor Fawsit Ealand, in the 1901 Census, aged 5,  living with his parents Hugh Fawsit  Ealand and Eva Agnes Cochrane Ealand at 5 Castle St, Farnham, Surrey. His father Hugh's place of birth is recorded as being Holloway Middlesex and that of his mother Eva as Newcastle on Tyne. Hugh Ealand married Eva Agnes Cochrane Coad  in Wandsworth London in 1984. Hugh's parents were Frederick and Elizabeth Ealand. Both sets of Victor's grandparents were also born in England. 

  This leads to the rather unsurprising conclusion that you can't believe everything you read. Someone at  the Geelong Advertiser apparently thought it would be a good idea to add interest to the article by claiming the victorious young Victor as Australian, and that none of their readers would ever know that this was not the truth. Little did they know!

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Aunty Pat's Postcards: Episodes of What?

This week's Sepia Saturday prompt shows a film maker and camera crew filming part of a documentary on Bondi Beach, Sydney, in 1951. 

Below are four  postcards from my late Aunty Pat's collection. They show episodes 2, 4, 5 and 6 of what looks like some medieval drama series, but the cards don't reveal anything further.The cast are all elaborately costumed and seem to be involved in some kind of formal ceremony that includes dancing. Many male cast members are wearing tunics, fancy headdresses and collars, and a group of monks can be seen in Episode 2. Although some of the boys holding heraldic scrolls are quite young, this appears to have been quite a professional production.  It must have been important enough to be filmed, photographed and recorded on postcards and must also have been of some particular significance to Aunty Pat, for her to have saved the cards in her collection. It's a shame I don't have cards for episodes 1 and 3, but I'm not sure they would be of much assistance in solving the mystery. 

All I can discover from the information on the reverse of each card is that they are English Series postcards and were photographed, printed and published by Photo-Precison Ltd, St Albans. No clues as to a date or location for the scenes,  According to this web site on Publishers and Postcards of the Past, Photo-Precison Ltd was founded by two RAF photo reconnaissance officers, and in 1963 the company bought fellow postcard publishers J B White of Dundee. Photo-Precision was itself taken over by Colourmaster Ltd in 1969. 

  •  Does anyone have any suggestions as to what the title of this series might have been and/or  the film location?  That church in the distance could be located almost anywhere in England. It looks like there is a  long hessian screen hiding some structures in the background that probably weren't considered appropriate to the time period of the series, and there may be some onlookers in the background of Episodes 4 and 6. Most of the cards in Aunty Pat's postcard collection date from the 1940s and 1950s.
  •  I wrote a tribute to Aunty Pat here in 2013. If only I could ask her to solve this mystery, although of course, if she were still with us, I wouldn't yet have her postcards to peruse and wonder about!
For more blogs this week on cameras and camera crew, or on films, filming and film locations of subjects known and unknown, just roll cameras over to Sepia Saturday #316.

  • Postscript 5.02.2016: Fellow Sepian Barbara Fisher was able to identify the event and location very quickly, and directed me to the web site called The Redress of the Past which features Historical pageants of England, and explains all about the post-war historical pageant that took place in St Albans in 1948, commemorating 1000 years since the town was founded.  You can read all about it there, and my Aunty Pat would very likely have attended a performance, as she was studying at Oxford at that time. Thank you so much, Barbara!  
Here is an online photograph of the Cathedral of St Albans. The tower and rear wing  appears in the background of the Episode 2 postcard.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Next Door Neighbours. A Post for Trove Tuesday

The house next door to us has been in the hands of the same family for the last 100 years. Below is a detailed and descriptive report of the wedding of Arthur John Long and Ethel Maude Stewart, which took place on 9 February 1909. The report includes an extensive list of the wedding presents received and the names of the donors. Gifts included such items as salad sets and servers, jardinieres, jardiniere stands and pot plants, numerous dishes and trays, a dinner gong, vases, silverware,photo frames, marmalade jars and pickle jars,  

 I wonder whether any of those wedding presents given to Arthur and Ethel might have been passed on with the house and indeed could still be there, more than a hundred years later. Perhaps some of the jardinieres might be adorning the back verandah for example. 

Malvern Standard, 13 Feb 1909, snipped from Trove web site

 A daughter Dorothea was born to Ethel and Arthur in 1910, and in 1916 the Longs moved into their home in Turner St, and remained in residence for many years. Arthur's occupation according to the electoral rolls of the relevant time period was manufacturer.

Meanwhile, a year earlier in 1908, Arthur Jennings Price, solicitor, had married his second wife Constance Faerie Clark and moved into Turner Street in 1910. Together with their little girl Constance Thura b 1911 they were living next door when Dorothea and her family moved in. Both houses together with another neighbouring property were  originally owned by a Mr Thomas Gill, Commission agent but he transferred title to Arthur John Long in 1921 and to Arthur Price's widow Constance Price in 1923, Arthur Price having passed away in 1922.  Constance moved away after she remarried in 1925, although she did not re-sell the property to her tenants until 1941.

 Ethel died in 1946. Son Jack and his wife are registered as living in the Turner St house in 1949 and 1954. Arthur passed away in 1961 and in the 1960s a nephew and his wife moved in. In 1964 they also purchased the Price property, which we bought from their daughter in 2008. The nephew's widow is our next door neighbour.

 It's nice to imagine that from 1916 until 1925 these two little girls whose fathers were both called Arthur became friends and played together in the gardens of one home or the other for the next few years, together with Dorothea's younger brother Jack,