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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

What's that funny white stuff?

We don't get a lot of snow in Australia, and here in the heat of summer the thought of snow is really quite refreshing!  We have some mountainous ski areas of course, but for snow to fall and settle outside those regions is quite unusual. Neither Sydney nor Melbourne ever experience it, but occasionally Canberra does, and Hobart in Tasmania has even been known to have it fall on Christmas Day. I've been looking through my mother's old albums and have discovered the following few photographs of snowy days from her childhood in Christchurch NZ in the 1930s, showing Mum and her five siblings having fun after a snowfall at their family home there at 2 Aylmer St. 

Ken on his bike, ready to ride to school. Apparently little brother Derek in the background had the mumps at the time.
The Morrison children posing in the snow. My mother stands ready for action with a large snowball in her hand.
 Peter born 1937 in the family pram, parked in the snow
Graeme and Peter on another snowy day
On to the 1950s, and I had to go to Cambridge to experience my first snowfall, as documented by my mother in her trip scrapbook, complete with an added poem and wisps of cotton wool for visual effect.

Here's a group of New Zealanders, including my parents and yours truly, well rugged-up for the Cambridge winter of 1954

The next photo is a sweet one of my sister in about 1960, looking rather nonplussed by the snowy scene confronting her around our home in the Canberra suburb of O'Connor.

Fast forward 20 years to 1982, and here's our first daughter enjoying her first taste of snow when visiting her grandparents in Canberra. I lived there for 25 years and can only remember snowing falling on a handful of occasions, so naturally they were captured on camera! My mother had brought back that sweet little duffle coat from England for her, but it only got warn rarely, as Sydney wasn't cold enough to need it, and it must have been given away when outgrown which is rather a shame, because the wearer now lives in England and is expecting her first child soon, and it could have had a lot more use over there.

Right on cue, Google+ adds the snowy effect to the outlook across the street from my parents' house

Over the years we were lucky enough to be able to take the children on various skiing holidays in Australia, NZ and overseas. Their father learnt to ski as a child in Austria and they have all became competent skiers. but I must confess it's not for me. I'm happy just to watch and take photos or sip hot chocolate in front of a warm fire!

Our younger daughter learning to ski on the 'pulli' in Wengen, Switzerland, 1993.

Plenty of snowy peaks in NZ, and here is a recent photo of Mt Cook, the highest at 3754 metres.

Now for more snow, no doubt a lot more than you can see here, just ski on over to Sepia Saturday 212

Late final extra: More snow photos discovered, 7 February 2014!

While searching for other things, I came across a few more snow photos in my mother's albums. Clearly I should have checked them more thoroughly. Firstly here are a series of three from a good snowfall in Christchurch NZ  on 6 June 1955, when I was two and a half. In the middle picture it looks like I'm talking to that snowman! Interesting to see that I'm wearing a duffle coat here, just like my daughter in the photos of her around the same age that were taken about 27 years later. I imagine my mother had not forgotten that first coat of mine when she bought the second coat for her granddaughter. Maybe in a couple more years we'll have a matching photo of the next generation.

The other set of appropriate photos I should have discovered relate to a snowfall in Canberra in August 1965, which I believe was quite substantial by Australian standards at least, and shows my brother, my sister and myself playing on the snow up a nearby hill, and with the snow people we made then. Clearly they were friendly folk, as they hung around for a while after the snow had gone.

That's it, no more additions here, I promise!


  1. Great old snowy photos. I was interested to note that in the photos of your mum and siblings in the snow the children have shorts on.

    1. Ha, I didn't even think about that - either it's because they were hardy little souls of good Irish and Scottish stock, or it was a mild day to follow the snow - or perhaps they just didn't own/wear long pants!

    2. By the way, Diane, I can't seem to open your blog, unless it is the one on the picnic in PNG, which I have to get to via your blog site, but I get knocked back when I click on the SS#212 link.

  2. Lovely snowy memories and I particularly liked the scrapbook you made..

  3. I was going to say the same thing Diane said...shorts in snow, oh my, those kids didn't make any angels I'm sure. But it's great that you do have so many great pics of snow and your family. Very well done!

  4. Wow, I love it, my sister-in-law named her son Graeme and it's not that common spelled like that. Your photos are so precious, even your snow falling picture, I like those action photos.

  5. Great photos. I grew up in a non-snowing place, but once married, I've lived nowhere BUT snowy places come winter. My biggest challenge was learning how to drive in the snow. There's a 'fun' time if ever there was one!

  6. Your Mum and her siblings look like they didn't know how to dress for cold weather. I guess they rarely had a need for cold weather clothing.

  7. Diane and I are on the same wavelength. I was puzzled too by the kids in shorts and no coats. But we get goofy weather here too. In fact, this past Tuesday it was 50 degrees with snow warnings, and sure enough on Wednesday we had 3 inches of snow.

  8. I'm not surprise at the short trousers in the early photos; only a little while later it would have been the same for me. Now children all seem to have long trousers as soon as they can walk.

  9. The 1954 card is precious, the tots remind me of the Campbell soup kids. The collection of snow photos is very nice especially back to the 30's.

  10. I was surprised to see them in shorts on on tricycles in the snow. Not a scene I have seen here during snow falls.

  11. Love the scrap book page. Up until I would guess the 60s it was shorts for all seasons. Maybe it was a form of toughening us all up:-)

  12. Cambridge winters can be cold as the wind sweeps in across the fens. A great selection of old photos Jo.

  13. You have some great shots and so many in the snow. The extended room off the front of the house is a marvelous looking part of the house. I like the snow effects that Google gives.

  14. Kids here need more clothes to survive our winters.
    But surely they enjoyed the novelty of a snow day.
    Here, kids pray there'll be just enough for schools to close.
    I know I did back then!!
    Nice architecture on that house.
    And that Mt Cook picture,
    simply splendid!!!

  15. For someone who doesn't get snow often, you and your family were champs at building snowmen.