Monthly Archives: November 2015

Birthday Parties

1509W.132Sepia Saturday’s choice of an image shows some Estonian children playing a game in a circle.  It’s quite possible that the occasion was a birthday party.  It’s also interesting to see that children are wearing the popular pinny  made with crossover straps at the back.  That is a bit puzzling.  Why would the children be wearing pinnies if it was some kind of special occasion. There are  also three children at the back not taking part in the game while an older lady supervises.

It’s not often that a photo of a party or playground game was taken in the 1920s and1930s.  If  was more likely to be a group photo,

Esme Hather birthday 2-4-1936These two photos were taken at Esme Heather’s birthday party in Castlemaine on April 2nd 1936 in the garden  of her home.

Esme is third from the right in both photos.

Just one festive balloon to be seen in each photo.  One of the highlights of a Esme Hather birthday 2-4-1936 at CarinyaHeather party was the dressing-up box in Esme’s bedroom.  And a treat with  the food were the home-made lamingtons.

The Heathers lived at “Carinya” at the corner of Fletcher and Berkley St in Castlemaine, Central Victoria.

 

The next birthday photo was taken at the same place on April 2nd, 1941.  This time everyone had a balloon and a party hat.  Esme is centre front, kneeling,  and her mother Daphne at the left hand end of the back row.

Esme Hather birthday 2-4-1941

You can see part of  the house next door in the previous photo.  It is still there and can be seen in this shot of Carinya from Google Earth.

Heather's cnr Fletcher Berkeley - Carinya

Further nostalgic links to this week’s Sepia Saturday image can be found here.

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Where there’s a Will ……or…… What have you been up to Grizel ?

Grace Pender - Glaud's wifeThe starting point is Grace Pender , my great-great grandmother , wife of Glaud Pender from previous posts.

She was born in Scotland in 1824 as Grace Muir Taylor in Whitburn, Linlithgowshire, the daughter of Robert Taylor, a baker, and Mary Ann Young.

So far, so good.

Living with young Grace Muir Taylor at the time of  the 1841 Census was a Grace Muir of Independent Means , aged 70, but there is no sign of the parents, Mary and  Robert  Taylor, just their children.  Sounds as though it could be my Grace’s grandmother born about 1770, who had  married a Mr Young or a Mr Taylor.  But that was where I came to the legendary brick wall.

Fortunately Grace Muir Taylor, later Pender,  was a letter writer and one of her  great-grandchildren is now the guardian of some of those letters  Progress started again when I was shown a couple of these letters   When living in Kangaroo in Victoria in 1887 she wrote  to a niece Mary Ann Borland and appears to be answering a question by explaining that her mother’s grandfather was Mr Mure of Green Hall at Blantyre.  Previously money owing had been mentioned.

Another clue at last; Mr Mure of Greenhall, Blantyre

Move from Linlithgowshire to Lanarkshire.

GreenhallGreenhall was a handsome house in Blantyre,  built about 1760, and set in an estate of 332 acres.  It is believed that it replaced a previous farmhouse.

From here it wasn’t hard to trace the birth of the possible grandfather John Muir in 1725 who died at Greenhall in 1821.  He had twelve children, the seventh being Grizel Muir, born 1762.  Was this Grizel the mother of our Grace’s mother ?    Did this Grizel have a child Mary Ann Young ?  Prior to this I had an approximate birth date of 1770 for Grizel,  not  the 1762 from Scotland’s People.  Is that  the same person in the Taylor household in 1841.  Possible but not proven.  And there it sat for a while.

Until ……. I took the plunge and  bought a copy of the Will of John Muir from Blantyre  who began by stating that he was  “of  Greenhall”

Mary Ann Young in John Muir's Will

This will confirms that this John Muir was indeed the grandfather of Mary Ann Young.  It also provides us with a mystery as he insists that Mary Ann is to get her share of the money  “notwithstanding any legal impediment or imputation to the contrary” to which I merely ask

“Grizel what have you been up to ?”

This is just the bare bones of Grace Pender’s link to her great grandfather –  the Grace, Mary Ann, Grisel and John Muir story.  There is much that I can’t find in the way of records of births, marriages and deaths.  One wonders with John Muir dying in 1821 why there was still the possibility of money being left to distribute in 1887 when Grace Pender wrote her letter.

Along the way I found that Grizel, Grizzel, Grissel and Grace were interchangeable as were Muir, Mure and Moore.  Interesting bits  on the  Muir’s of Greenhall  are easiy to find. John Muir is reportedly descended from the Muirs of  Rowallan –  King Robert II’s first wife before he was King was Elizabeth Mure of Rowallan,  daughter of Sir Adam Mure and Janer Mure.  And John Muir’s wife Janet  was from the Wardrop family, early owners of the Greenhall estate, once known as Greinhall

This week I couldn’t find a family connection to a group of boys playing a game as in the Sepia Saturday prompt but you will find plenty of others who did on Sepia Saturday

 

 

The Alien’s Egg is Ready to Hatch

Library 1 b

 

An Alien’s Egg.  That is exactly what Geelong’s new Library and Heritage Centre looks like.  And it is due to hatch on November 21.    Every day the workers are swarming around and cossetting it in preparation for the big delivery day.

Johnstone Park

An earlier postcard of Johnstone Park at the State Library of Victoria : http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/66156

 

This impressive  building overlooking Johnstone Park and its bandstand  had the Town Hall, some Council Offices and the Art Gallery.  Victoria’s oldest surviving municipal building was built in 1855 and further extensions blended in tastefully until now.  The old Library and Heritage Centre was tucked in the back right hand corner.

library roof jan 2015

Adding the roof, January 2015 From http://www.tcl.net.au/news/work-in-progress

But the old Library and Heritage Centre  needed expanding and have now been replaced with this golf ball. a bulbous  appendage soaring over the back of the building.

Don’t misunderstand me.  It is  a nice building with an interior which promises to be very useful with all its high tech appliances.  Strange though that when I read reports about it  I rarely see the word book.

This is to be our central Lending Library. Wouldn’t it have looked lovely if it were were nestled into parkland  or rolled onto a point overlooking the bay – think Sydney’s Opera House.  Or how about floating on Corio Bay – now that would be something.  There is also the golf course on Belmont Common.  This  shape could look quite cute sitting on the river bank.  It is not the building which is offensive,  it is the positioning  of it.

 

 

Blithe Spirit

Ghosts or Double Exposures ?

Nothing similar in the family albums but  in this family theatre program are some ghosts of a different kind on the stage of the Comedy  Theatre in Melbourne in 1945.  The  Blithe Spiritghost  in question is the spirit of a man’s first wife who turns up after a seance.  She can be seen  (and heard)  by the husband but not by the second wife or anyone else.

And of course the play is Blithe Spirit by the witty and cheeky Noel Coward.  Wikipedia reminds  us that ” the play concerns the socialite and novelist Charles Condomine, who invites the eccentric medium and clairvoyant, Madame Arcati, to his house to conduct a séance, hoping to gather material for his next book.

The scheme backfires when he is haunted by the ghost of his annoying and temperamental first wife, Elvira, after the séance.    Elvira makes continual attempts to disrupt Charles’s marriage to his second wife, Ruth, who cannot see or hear the ghost.”

But there are many more twist and turns before the end.

Perhaps they should have staged the show a block away in The Princess Theatre which has its own resident ghost, that of a baritone playing in Faust who died just off stage in 1888.

In May 1945 Australia was still at war with Japan and the Military Hospital in the suburb of Heidelberg was very busy. The hospital had a theatre and with a replica Blithe Spirit set constructed the whole cast was able to pile Blithe Spirit - backinto a bus and go to Heidelberg to put on the show one afternoon.

With patients, bed cases  and staff there was no standing room left, with some patients needing to sit in the orchestra pit.  A most appreciative audience.

Meanwhile just across the road from the Comedy Theatre was His Majesty’s Theatre which that same year staged  The Desert Song with Max Oldaker  and his interpretation of The Red Shadow which I wrote about in a previous post

Also in 1945 a film was made of Blithe Spirit with Rex Harrison as the male lead and the wonderful Margaret Rutherford as Madame Arcati who conducts the seance.

Australian TV viewers might see a slight overlapping of the theme with the recent ABC production of “Glitch”  where the fortunate/unfortunate husband has both his living and his dead wife in his life at the same time.

Whereas Noel Coward was strictly for the laughs, Glitch is a serious look at the “what if” situation.  It has been described as an Australian Gothic and much of the shooting was done on summer evenings in my old home towm, the old gold town of Castlemaine in Central Victoria.

Further connections to ghosts and double exposures can be found in this week’ Sepia Saturday post.