Monthly Archives: September 2013

Beds, Bairns and Books

This was reblogged as it moves on to  children’s books from the 1930s.Jacqueline and book Roslyn RdThis week’s Sepia Saturday’s beginning point has a sick child in bed with his toys, attended by a doctor.  Fortunately in life that doesn’t happen too often . To me children and bed means bedtime reading.  But reading is also a daytine activity..  The lass above, now grown up and at University, obviously got pleasure from the sounds whch are telling the story., whereas her mother,  thirty years earlier preferred to concentrate on the pictures.

Barbara reading to Sally c June 1963That was, until she was old enough to choose her own book

Sally at bookshelfOr get an early education on how to avoid the traps laid in your path by the advertising industry by studying The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard

Sally book 9 months SunshineIt wasn’t long until she was reading to her dolls

Sally reading to dolls 2

But I would like to know why on her ninth birthdy she appears to be reading a book about Edmund Kean.  Where did that come from ?Sally reading 3-931970Seeing her sitting there with her legs curled up I wonder if that was the day that she stopped reading to find herself surrounded by water.  Her toddler brother had  brought the nozzle end of the garden hose in the back door and up the hall then gone back outside and turned on the tap.A silent flow crept through part of the house.

I’m pleased to say that she is still a reader.

But going back another generation …..

For  the previous generation  there are no suitable photos. But these books were gifts from the age of 5 to 10 in the 1930s  beginning from Santa, then from a very formal Mother and Father, followed by Grandma.

booksThe bottom book is The Children’s Treasure House all 768 pages published by in 1935 by Odhams Press of London.  It contains nearly 150 stories and poems by famous authors.

Pages 1The other big book, The Mammoth Wonder Book was published  the same year but was gifted in 1937..  These were gifts to an Australian girl who was to grow up reading little else but English stories. Is it  any wonder that the word paddock wasn’t in her vocabulary and who, when down on the farm, would talk about the cows in the meadows, apparently to the amusement of the adults ! “The Younger Sister” was given some Australian themed books.

It must have been some time before she could read those tomes for herself, but read them she did , again and again. By the time she was ten she was borrowing from the library in the Mechanics Institute.of  the small  Victorian country town of Castlemaine,   Only one trouble – the old spinster lady who presided over the books wouldn’t let her borrow the book Man-shy.  Never judge a book by its title.  Little did the librarian know, this one is about a red heifer who likes being free and escapes to the hills.

Here are some samples from The Children’s Treasure House.

Pages 2Pages 3Pages 4Pages 5Pages 6bPages 7Pages 8Pages 9Pages 10pages 11pages 12pages 13 pages 14pages 15pages 17

For more interpretations of this week’s theme  click on the links in Sepia Saturday .

196 Minibanner

Peace and Processions

195 minibannerYou lived in the small town of Apollo Bay on the south coast of Victoria. So what did you do when the need to celebrate arose..  The usual thing  was to hold a procession, follow it with a lunch,  then some sports at the oval in the afternoon and conclude with a concert at night.

This is how Apollo Bay decided to celebrate Peace in July 1919.   On June 28, 1919, Germany and the Allied Nations (including Britain, France, Italy and Russia) had signed the Treaty of Versailles, formally ending the war. The procession started from “Milford House,” headed by the Band, in the following order:—Returned Soldiers in charge of Lieutenant W. Vipont, decorated vehicles, fancy costumes, lady riders, and riflemen   Some distance away from Apollo Bay the Camperdown Chronicle later  reported  that  bad weather spoilt the planned sports events so the children spent the afternoon playing games in the Mechanics Hall.

ABProcessionStreetThe town had organized its first ever procession two years before in April 1917 to celebrate Anzac Day.  Not exactly a celebration of peace but remembering fallen soldiers and a we-are-hoping-that-one -day-there-will-be-peace celebration – in its way a rehearsal for the Peace Celebration.   I think that this image is possibly for that day in 1917.  They are marching towards the south, shops and houses on their right and the ocean just outside the picture on their left.  It typifies the way that a small community has of celebrating – let’s get together and do what we can with what we have available to us –  people, a community hall, a sports oval and some imagination.

A report by the Colac Herald said the procession was led by returned servicemen followed by boys in white, all riding  white ponies. Then boys representing the nation’s hope, carried flags on poles. The remains of the Rifle Club followed – married men and men over military age being nearly all that is left of the Rifle Club. Vehicles and banners and representations of the Allied nations followed.

ABProcessionCircleAnother photo was taken when the reached the Sports Ground high on the bluff overlooking the ocean.

This description seems to fit the above photo boys on white ponies and dressed in white.  But whether 1917 or 1919 is not the important as I am merely trying to show that when they had some news that was worth celebrating at that time they followed the same formula

In the following  photo the people representing the various nations can be seen more clearly. Boadicea is there with her shield, girls in white looking as though they are ready to dance a maypole, Anzac written on the front of a drum, blackface used to represent some friendly countries, a Scot in a kilt.

AnzacDay(poss)Australian Screen has a short  video of a 1915 Empire Day pageant which follows the same formula as was used for the processions in Apollo Bay.  Please watch it and you’ll see the similarlity between how different towns celebrated.  I don’t know which town had this pageant

1915 Empire Day Pageant

This is how the Peace Celebration was reported in the Camperdown Chronicle , 19 July 1919.


Peace celebrations were held here on Saturday, but were greatly Interfered with by the inclement weather. The procession started from “Milford House,” headed by the Band, in tho following order:—Returned Soldiers, In charge of Lieutenant W. Vipont, decorated vehicles, fancy costumes, lady riders, and riflemen. Mr. J. J. Cross was awarded the prize offered for the best decorated vehicle. Lunch was partaken of in the hall, after which the children proceeded to the reserve, intending to indulge In races and sports, but the rain drove them back to the hall and the afternoon was’taken up till tea time playing games, etc In the evening a concert was held, the hall being packed right back into the vestibule. The pro gramme was as follows:—Pianoforte duet, Misses Jessie and Blanche Mc Phee; song, Mr. T. Fonin; song, Miss D. G. Stanford; song, Mr. M. M’Phee; selection by the Band; song, Mr. J. Jforan (encored); song, Miss D. Q. Stanford. The Pierrots then gave a short entertainment as follows:— Pianoforte duet. Misses M’Phee; trio, “Tooraloo,” Messrs. Mitchell, Murdoch and Cross; song, “Susie,” Miss Mitchell; patter, “Kiver Y,” Messrs. Murdoch and Cross; song and dance, “Keel-row,” Mr. and Mrs. A. Murdoch (encored); song, “Mr. Bear,” Miss E. .Berry (encored); song, “Bllla bong,” Mr. E. Cross; burlesque, “Tip perary,” Messrs. Stone, Mitchell, Mur doch and Cross; finale, “Leader of the Band,” Mr. A. Murdoch and Company. Supper was then partaken of and the proceedings terminated with “God Save the King.”

And can you imagine any self-respecting store in Melbourne neglecting to try and cash in on the Peace celebrations ?  Ladies and Gentlemen, spend up big – we now have Peace !

From the Melbourne Argus after the November 1918 Armiistice.

Argus ad 1918For other stories centred around Peace click on the links on Sepia Saturday.

Flags of Australia


We’re back at Apollo Bay on the southern coast of Victoria and talking about flags   Here we have the turning of the first sod of the Anglican Church in Australia at Apollo Bay in 1905.  And the  babe in arms is none other than Charles Fricke who later lived in Castlemaine and volunteered in the Militia between the wars, and whom I’ve written about before


Here  Charles is held by his mother with his father. wearing his hat at a rakish angle,  standing next to her looking at the camera. There had been no Anglican Church for his parents to marry in so their wedding service had been held in the local Mechanics Hall. 

Australia had been a separate nation with its own flag since 1901 but the flag on display is the British Union Jack. At this stage the ‘Anglican Church in Australia’ was still organized by the church in England, hence the British flag and not the Australian one.  It remained this way until 1961 when the Australian church separated and had its own Primate, later changing its name to the ‘Anglican Church of Australia ‘.  Here is a more recent picture of the beautiful little Gothic-style church. It was  completely built from local timbers as the area had no all-weather roads to bring in other materials and is virtually unchanged since it was built.


Australia had had its own flag since 1901, the design being the result of a competition. An exhibition of the nearly 40,00 entries was opened at the Exhibition Buildings in Melbourne on September 3rd, 1901 and the winning entry flew for the first time above the dome of the Exhibition Building.


A flag is a symbol of a nation and our flag tells the story of how the British Nation established a new society across the seas under the constellation of the Southern Cross. A larger star, the Commonwealth Star at first had six points to represent the federation of the six states in Australia. A seventh point was added later to represent the Territories such as the Northern Territory, the A.C.T (Australian Capital Territory), Norfolk Island, etc. The wisdom of the past and the hopes of the future.

So far, so good.  But it’s amazing what a learning experience putting together little bits and pieces for Sepia Saturday can be.  I didn’t know that  the winning flag design was never debated in the Australian Parliament – it was sent to England to be approved and it wasn’t until late 1902 that King Edward VII formally notified the Australian Government of the approval.

But  the flag still had no legal status beyond the original British Admiralty authorisations which only related to use at sea. It wasn’t until 1953 that the Flag Act was passed by the Menzies Government and Australia finally had an official national flag, one that was required to be flown in a superior position to any other national flag (including the Union Flag). Good on you old Bob Menzies!

Which goes a long way to explaining how, while  having its own Australian flag, the Union Jack continued to be used.


In 1915, Britain could not supply money for war loans. The Australian Government, under Prime Minister Billy Hughes, put in place a series of War Savings loans at 4.5% interest which later rose to 5%.

Well I wouldn’t mind 4½% at the moment, thank you !

Concentric Circles

2013.08W.36Sepia Saturday says  ‘Some times you just need to be alone. You need space , space to think, space to breathe, space to contemplate your place in the great scheme of things’  Well there’s plenty of space in this photo which involves a visit to the river to escape the relentless heat.

Hay river 1924This boat  is  on  the  slowly moving  Murrumbidgee River  at Hay in south-western  New South Wales. In 2013  Hay recorded a maximum temperature of 47.7 °C (117.9 °F) but the average temperature for January, the hot month, is 33.0 °C (91.4 °F).  This family album photo was taken in  1924 and the people, protecting themselves from the sun with hats or scarves or towels aren’t identified but it could possibly be the two Rawnsley children with their parents But whoever they are  they are connected with Tom Tansey, the town-hopping bandmaster who brought a book on Shakespeare with him when he came from England in 1888.

Think of concentric  circles.  At the centre we have this drifting boat. The first circle is the Murumbidgee River, the second circle is the small town of Hay and the third circle covers  the agricultural district  near Hay and the wide open plains of the Riverina. It’s quite a long way from the bigger cities of Australia.

It is 1924, the year after Tom Tansey left Hay to move to Castlemaine. The First World War has been over for a few years but its effect is still felt in this district.

My interest in the photo comes from the fact that these people are living in a town which has had a town brass band since  1897 ,  and the unique place the town held  in World War I in Australia.  They had one of the highest losses in any community in Australia – from the 641 men who enlisted for service   one sixth of them were killed, over 100 young men missing from the post-war community.

This is shown in this brief film clip from Australian Screen, made in 1993.  I know that the big  award-winning brass bands are beautiful to listen to.  But I just love the small town brass bands, the mixture of young and old players, the variety of skills, the pleasure that they give to their listeners. The film clip then takes you back to the band farewelling the volunteers in 1914, sending them off in a train which doesn’t look as though it is usually used for  passengers, taking them off to fight a war on the other side of the world.

Enjoy Hay’s band in its wide brown space.

We will have music wherever we go.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

– Dorothea MacKellar, c1907