Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Dirigible on wheels?

The Sepia Saturday prompt above is for the Christmas and New Year period, and features Christmas Greetings from Loon Lake Lodge. Where this was I'm not sure, as there seem to be many different Loon Lakes in both Canada and the United States, although the options would seem to be considerably less if restricted to North American resorts that enjoy mild weather over Christmas. That's not particularly important however, it's the greeting from the people in the wheel that counts.

Today I received a Christmas present of sorts. It is a digital copy of a family photograph that includes some wheels, very kindly sent to me from New Zealand by my cousin Elizabeth. It appears to be a souvenir of a family visit to the NZ & South Seas Exhibition, which was held in Dunedin NZ from November 1925 until May 1926. Shown in the picture are my grandmother Mona Morrison, her first two children Ken aged 2 and Pat aged 4, and Mona's sister Ruby, who lived with her husband William Berry and family in Dunedin. 

Pasted on the back of the photograph is a delightful drawing and identifying caption that must have been added by one or more of Ruby's children. Her daughter Ruth would have been about 10 at that time, so perhaps it was she who added the caption to the drawing by either Doug or Jack, her brothers, who would have been 8 and 5 respectively. My second cousin Elizabeth is one of Ruth's daughters and she discovered the photograph amongst her mother's memorabilia. She and I met once when we were children. Mona's daughter Pat was born in Dunedin, but by 1925-26 the Morrison family had moved to Christchurch, so Mona and the children must have gone on a visit back to Dunedin to see Ruby and family. 

I looked on the website of the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington NZ and found the following record of a photograph held in its collection. From the description it sounds very like the photo above, but I had to submit a request for digital access as it was not immediately available online and I couldn't visit the library to view it in person. Hopefully I will receive access to it soon and can check whether or not I am right. I imagine there would have been thousands of similar souvenir photographs taken.

Souvenir photograph from the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition, Dunedin 

Ref: PAColl-D-1098
Hand coloured souvenir photograph from the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition, Dunedin. The image shows three people in a dirigible-like aircraft flying above the exhibition buildings.
Quantity: 1 b&w original photographic print(s) hand coloured.
Physical Description: Silver gelatin print
Access restrictions: No access restrictions

It looks as if the dirigible 'passengers' might have been required to climb up behind a billboard of the scene and look out through a cut away area with their arms hanging over the side. Quite well done and effective really and young Pat seems to be enjoying herself.

Below is an extract from the nzhistory web site about the Exhibition that the family attended. It was certainly a popular event, with large numbers of people attending over the six month period that it was open, showcasing all that New Zealand, and Dunedin and the surrounding region in the southern part of the South Island in particular, had to offer, and in addition providing lots of family entertainment.


The photograph above appeared on the Paperspast web site in a Supplement to the NZ Herald, 27 March 1926. Perhaps Mona, Ruby and children were among these or similar thronging crowds, and might even have purchased a souvenir handkerchief or two like the one shown below, but most likely they were satisfied with the dirigible photograph as a souvenir of their visit. Thanks so much for sending it, Elizabeth!

New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition, Dunedin, 1925-26. Kathleen [Handkerchief]. Ref: Eph-C-EXHIBITION-1925-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23163934

We had our granddaughter Lucy together with her parents, aunty and uncles here last weekend for an early Xmas celebration and tomorrow we are wheeling our way north to our unit at the beach north of Sydney, where we hope to enjoy a relaxing break.  Mona, Ruby, Pat and Ken would no doubt join me in wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a safe, happy and healthy 2018. For Christmas messages from other Sepians, just click here.

Granddaughter and great great granddaughter of Mona Morrison (nee Forbes)

Postscript, 16 January 2018:
I have just received a copy of the corresponding dirigible photograph held by the Alexander Turnbull Library, the details of which are recorded above..As I suspected, it is the same thing, apart from being hand coloured and having a different number, (H 15 instead of F 11), and of course, showing different people. I wonder how many more of these souvenir photographs are out there, hidden away in albums or boxes of family memorabilia?


La Nightingail said...

The first card is just perfect for the prompt, and the ensuing pictures showing the exhibition go right along with it. Nice post! Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Wendy said...

Oh Jo, that souvenir photo is the BEST! Souvenir photos have certainly come a long way, but they cannot compare to the charm of those early ones. Merry Christmas. Enjoy your sunny and hot days at the beach while we bundle up and shiver here in Virginia.

Barbara Rogers said...

Great photo, and that crowd! People definitely thronged to events (and still do) of that sort. Never seen a souvenir handkerchief before! Happy holidays to you and those you love!

Jo Featherston said...

From La Nightingail( this comment somehow mysteriously disappeared, so I'm adding it back):
The first card is just perfect for the prompt, and the ensuing pictures showing the exhibition go right along with it. Nice post! Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Susan Kelly said...

These exhibitions were thrilling. Now we don't hear much about most of the ones held around the world. Shanghai's had a lot of fanfare, but not the ones after that.

ScotSue said...

That first photograph is great fun - I love the cloche hats, and even the wheels match the prompt.

Mike Brubaker said...

A perfect fit. Aviation design has certainly come a long way in 100 years! And the crowds pictured in earlier decades always seem more concentrated and dense than today's public.

I wish you and yours all the best for the new year.

diane b said...

A great souvenir photo . Lovely to have in your collection.

tony said...

I Love The First Photo......Reminds Me of H G Wells/spaceships/ &suchlike! Wonderful!
My Best Wishes For 2018 to You & Yours.

Lorraine Phelan said...

Love the little child's drawing on the back of the card.