Monthly Archives: March 2015

Tractors and Steamrollers

My late father-in-law  had a small farm just out of Kyneton for his spare time.  Mostly it was for sheep and cattle.  So he didn’t have a tractor but he did have what we called a traction engine but which others might call a steam roller.   It had previously been used in the construction of local roads.

I had my driving lessons in that car,

Not all the time was spent playing with the engine though.  Animals need attention.

Farmer NormBut then it was back to the traction engine.  What could be more useful for supplying the home with the unlimited  pile of wood needed for the wood stove, and the wood fires, and the wood copper, and for the fuel to run the steam engine which worked the steamroller.  No petrol needed.  This can be seen in this 1959 home movie clip for those who like fuzzy images of things moving up and down and round and round.

Other people’s engines can be found on this week’s Sepia Saturday



Beethoven, Bach, Bartok, Brahms and Berlioz

Sepia Saturday this week is mainly about dogs and perhaps other pets. We were never a dog family.  Friends had dogs, but not us.

There was Lanham’s dog in the 1950s, which the children used to ride like a pony.

Or going back to about 1920 my mother’s friend, the Rawnsleys in Hay, had the  ugly pooch on the right.

Some people have both a cat and a dog as found on the internet in 2008 but uncredited.

How to tell of your dog's a loser

How to tell if your dog’s a loser

On the other hand  we were a cat family.  Even my great grandmother’s second cousins in the Borland family, included their cat in a family photo

Borland, R. W. family b

We had a cat most of the time, sometimes black and white but mostly tabby.

But the highlight came in 1975 when we had two Siamese cats.

Let me introduce you to Mumma Mitzi and her five kittens.   A good education for the children.

IMG_0150And what did I name the kittens – Beethoven, Bach, Berlioz, Brahms and Bartok.

There are five kittens in the box but one of them has her head tucked down.

Good homes were found for all of them.

Meanwhile it’s raining cats and dogs over at Sepia Saturday this week.



Polka Music in Geelong

The railway line between Melbourne and Geelong opened in 1857 and in 1866 von Rochlitz published the Geelong – Melbourne Railway Polka, this copy from the National Library of Austtalia.   It was a common practice for a new song to be  commissioned for the band to play at the opening of a new railway.

Geelong-Melbourne Railway Polka

Over the years Polkas appear in the programs of musical entertainments in Geelong including performances by Geelong’s Volunteer Rifle Band, the oldest Victorian Militia unit, first raised in 1854 in Geelong as a Volunteer Rifle Corps

The Volunteers were present for the arrival of the first train and the official opening of the Geelong Railway Station  and so was a band who played some spirited items.   A huge banquet was arranged but unfortunately the train was late and the locals had their fill of the feast before the  invited guests arrived, including the Governor, Members of Parliament  and other dignitaries.

The Geelong Artillery Band , as the Volunteer Rifle Corps band later became,  is commemorated in the Bollard Walk along the seafront.  The band played its  first recital in 1861

bollard band

And what could they possibly be playing ?

Geelong Polka music  Flickr 3374324250_5290276276_z

My grandfather, Tom Tansey, joined this band some time after arriving in Australia in 1888  and was with them until 1899.  This photo of the Artillery band was taken in 1890

Artillery-1890And was Tom with the band when this photo was taken ?  I don’t know. His portrait (below) was in the uniform of the Geelong Town Band c1900.




This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday for this week but there are plenty more examples of polkas, violets, music and mystery posts to be found in the links on the Sepia Saturday page.