Monthly Archives: September 2015

Sisters – Vera and Hilda Tansey

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Sepia Saturday  has suggested that we explore Sisters this week and so my photo of my mother Vera Tansey (on the left) with her younger sister Hilda.

Vera was born in Geelong  in 1899 and Hilda  fifteen  months later. But being so close in age Vera was held back so that the sisters would start school together.

But this lovely photo was taken in 1915 when they were living in Traralgon, in Gippsland. The photo was in postcard form and had been sent to a friend.  So how did it come back into Vera’s possession ?

Vera Hilda 1915 Traralgon postcard backVera has later added 1915 and Traralgon.  I believe Hilda had written the original inscription.  Who would they have sent it to, someone who Vera would see later in life for it to be returned.  Before coming to Traralgon they had been living in Murtoa  where they were friendly with Jack Findlay. He had come with them from Geelong to Murtoa but remained behind in Murtoa when they shifted to Traralgon.  However he kept in close touch with the Tanseys and later he shifted to Traralgon and married a local girl, Fordyce Brereton.

Vera kept in touch with Fordie (Fordyce) for most of her life and I think it highly likely that was how the photo was returned to Vera.

A younger Vera (on the left) and Hilda had also been photographed while living in Murtoa, on this occasion dressed in fancy dress.  Murtoa was also the place where Vera suffered from Scarlet Fever and was given daily twenty minute  cold baths containing ice, as part of the treatment.   Murtoa had recently acquired an Ice Works.

Vera-&-Hilda-1911-Murtoa-Fancy dressAnd we can follow the sisters further back  to 1902 in Geelong where we have another photo of the two sisters together, this time in a family group.

Vera Hilda Tom Amelia Geelong 1902-3Vera became a traditional housewife,  caring for her husband and children.  Hilda married three times, was a bookkeeper and was involved with brass bands as player, conductor and teacher.

Further examples related to this week’ s Sepia Saturday image can be found on their blog.

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Life in the Back Yard

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Sepia Saturday suggested clothes lines and all things related for this week’s topic.  I think we all have samples of washing photo-bombing our photos taken in the back yard.

And this one is no exception – a frame from a home movie taken in Melbourne c1960.

bringing in the washing 2The back yard is closely related to the clothes line and its display of washing , whether it be a wire propped up with a pole or an Australian Hills Hoist.  And the back yard of  a spec house bought in the 1950s was just that – a  backyard free of landscaping and usually without a garage.  A garage  was a later addition and was usually built apart from the house.

So in my washing photo you can’t see that the garage has been added to the back yard.  First buy the car and then build the garage around it. The house next door is also getting its garage at the same time.   It must be the weekend as the garages were home built. The clothes line is there but no washing that day.

Back yards were also where many of the family photos were taken, this one in 1962,  and you can see the corner of the garage and imagine the washing to the right.

Sally in bassinetAnd where is this lass today.  She is on the final day of an eight day trek of the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea.  She has gone as an adult role model/mentor  on the annual trek run by the Geelong Police for some troubled youths and the party consists of police, twelve youths and some adults. There are  local porters to help too.  This is a video of the 2013 trek. The Kokoda  Trail is important to Australians as it is where our Militia repelled the Japanese forces advancing on Australia.

But whatever you are doing or wherever you go the washing goes with you, whether its rinsing out your smalls  while trekking  Kokoda or having a holiday at Kennett River c1960 as below.

bringing in the washing - kennettx riverMore displays of washing can be seen at this weeks Sepia Saturday site.

Theatre Props

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This week Sepia Saturday has suggested all things wine related as our theme.  What to do?

Have a look at the photo in the header.

Is that two bottles of wine on the table ?  Or is it one bottle of wine and one bottle of something else ?  I don’t think they are bottles of  tomato sauce   After all it is Paris.

Vera 1989

And this is a picture of my mother, Vera Fricke, taken on her 90th birthday in 1989.  Little did she know that one day this photo of her would go soaring around the world for many people to see.

So what is the connection between  my mother and the bottle of wine in the header image ?

I copied the header image from the front cover of a theatre program for a production of La Boheme in  1987, a performance my mother had attended.  Geelong was one of eight Victorian country towns where the show was presented by the Victoria State Opera.. It was early in the professional careers of a Girl from Geelong and a Boy from Ballarat, Cheryl Barker and David Hobson who played Mimi and Rodolfo

La Boheme 1987 programIt was a pleasure to see Cheryl Barker performing again in her home town  as I had first seen her as a teenager in the lead role of the Belmont  High School production of The Pajama Game, more than ten years earlier

Later in the early 1990s  the same pair  played the same roles in Sydney but this time the production was in the hands of Australian film director Baz Luhrmann  (The Great Gatsby, Moulin  Rouge, etc) with the design in the hands of his wife Oscar Winning designer  Catherine Martin. The opera  was  set in 1957 for this production and is now on video.

Here is an excerpt from Act i where Mimi and Rodolfo have just met and exchange information about themselves.  Enjoy. I know I do.

La Boheme was the first opera I saw on a stage in the late 1950s and has remained my favorite. That was in Melbourne long before the Victoria State Opera existed.  But Mr Google hasn’t been able to help me trace the performance. Among my many memories of that night is the entrance of Musetta in Act Two.  The result of her shopping is on the floor beside her.  An oval-shaped hat box is accidentally knocked over as a result of which it rolled towards the front of the stage ker-lunk…ker-lunk…ker-lunk… and bounced off one of the musicians in the orchestra pit while the singers sang on without missing a beat.  I’m sure there would have been some wine bottles among the theatre props on that night too.

See more wine related stories on this week’s Sepia Saturday.

The Bridges to Paradise

This week Sepia Saturday suggested bridges as our theme and my header above shows the bridge over the Barham River just as it flows into the ocean on the outskirts of the township of Apollo Bay in south-western Victoria.   The Barham River rises in the Otway Ranges 16 km , i.e. less than 10 miles away from Apollo Bay.  After coming down through narrow valleys it  begins to widen as it passes through farmland then  meanders through a flood plain before flowing into the sea.

But this final crossing of the river is not one that we would normally use, instead we would head west from the town along the Barham River Road, skirt the flood plain and follow the road between farms. A short distance out of town you come to the first river crossing.

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Norma-Barbara c1936 Apollo Bay

This picture was  taken at one of the Barham River bridges  about 1936.  On the right is my father’s youngest sister Norma Fricke.  Born in 1926 she died earlier this year

The road continues between farming land until it passes between what used to be the Fricke and Garrett farms and comes to a second bridge.

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Seated on bridge rail – Alan Fricke, Tom Hodgins (son in law), The father Charles Fricke Snr. Standing – Charles Fricke Jr, A friend, Hazel Fricke, the mother Julia Fricke And at the front, the youngest in the family, Norma Fricke

This photo on one of the local bridges was taken in the early 1930s.  Counting the photographer, who was possibly Tom’s wife Enid,  there are nine people so they wouldn’t have all fitted in the family car, an Essex of about the 1930 vintage.

Entertainment was strictly of the home-made kind and a daytime walk was sometimes taken across this second Barham River bridge, following the road further upstream into the valley.  In this Google Earth photo you can see the right hand road following the stream.  Though the hills are cleared  a narrow strip  of bush remains along the river bank.

Barham River valley aerial

barham river ferns

 

After crossing this second bridge a little further up the  road is an area along the river called Paradise, and  on a hot day in summer this gully really is Paradise  – a cool  paradise of lush tree ferns and other local trees and plants , lichens and mosses, and home to a variety of birds.  It is a magical place.  With its special aroma and the music of the water over the pebbles every leaf has the potential to have a fairy peeping out from underneath.

Paradise 1When you leave the road and walk along the river you can cross over on fallen trees or on stepping stones in shallow parts of the narrow river. . The bottom  is  pebbled and the water is fresh and clear.

Paradise 4

More bridges from around the world can be found through

this week’s Sepia Saturday contributions.