Category Archives: Entertainment

Tennis at Barkers Creek in 1926

It is 1926 at Barker’s Creek on the northern edge of Castlemaine in Central Victoria and four men stand by a fence watching a game of tennis in a bush setting .Is is probably at The Hermitage, the home of the Robertson family,  and is a casual affair.  I have written before of the young women playing tennis there and having a picnic style cup of tea.  But this time it is the men’s turn.  The photo from our family album  has been given a place and a year but no names have been added, though possibilities are Webber and Robertson.

Barkers Creek 1926 Men b

The well dressed tennis player would always wear his white flannel or duck trousers

My photo is in response to a 1940 image of a group of four men who are more inclined to play golf rather than tennis. The image was supplied by Sepia Saturday as this week’s inspiration for a post.  Judging by their clothes I get the impression that perhaps  playing golf is not something that they do regularly.

Meanwhile, when not playing tennis, the family album shows that girls just want to have fun and with a little ingenuity and imagination they horse around, with my mother, Vera Tansey, acting as the coachman. Part of the picnic table from the previous post is just visible to the  left of the young ladies.  Bye, Bye all,  See you later.

Barkers Creek 1926 3

Further foursomes can be found at this week’s Sepia Saturday.

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Tennis in the Bush

It is 1926 at Barker’s Creek on the northern edge of Castlemaine in Central Victoria and four men stand by a fence watching a game of tennis in a bush setting .Is is probably at The Hermitage, the home of the Robertson family,  and is a casual affair.  I have written before of the young women playing tennis there and having a picnic style cup of tea.  But this time it is the men’s turn.  The photo from our family album  has been given a place and a year but no names have been added, though possibilities are Webber and Robertson.

Barkers Creek 1926 Men b

The well dressed tennis player would always wear his white flannel or duck trousers

My photo is in response to a 1940 image of a group of four men who are more inclined to play golf rather than tennis. The image was supplied by Sepia Saturday as this week’s inspiration for a post.  Judging by their clothes I get the impression that perhaps  playing golf is not something that they do regularly.

Meanwhile, when not playing tennis, the family album shows that girls just want to have fun and with a little ingenuity and imagination they horse around, with my mother, Vera Tansey, acting as the coachman. Part of the picnic table from the previous post is just visible to the  left of the young ladies.  Bye, Bye all,  See you later.

Barkers Creek 1926 3

Further foursomes can be found at this week’s Sepia Saturday.

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.

 

 

 

 

The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland

1509W.55Sepia Saturday provided us with a most unusual image this week.  I definitely needed those few words at the bottom,  those words/themes/suggestions to help us feel some empathy for the image and to help us connect to an image or an experience of our own.

It was the word cut-outs which resonated with me. But it took several searches, high and low,  before I found something which I had last sighted more than twenty years ago.  Fortunately I did find it as often I don’t find things until it is  too late for them to be of use for a post.

But find this one I did.  And this one is a book which is full of images which also happen to be cut-outs which can be stood up in place on the page to illustrate part of a story.  This book which very briefly tells the story of Alice in Wonderland  was given to me as a prize for attending Castlemaine’s Christ Cburch Sunday School on 30 Sundays in one year. I don’t know what happened on the other twenty-two Sundays.  I think Canon Vanston may have been Vicar at the time.

 

Down the Rabbit Hole

Down the Rabbit Hole

This book of stand-ups was published in 1934 by the Saalfield Publishing Company of Akron, Ohio with the design by Sidney Sage, who did many books in this style.   My copy has been well used and is in poor condition. Each cut-out is still connected to the book by its base and has a small wing at each side to fold back and hold up the character.  But may of these wings are now missing and  I had to prop up some of the cut-outs with other objects to be able to photograph them. The tale for each tableau is told inside the back and front covers.

In the Duchess' Kitchen

In the Duchess’ Kitchen

The King and Queen of Hearts

The King and Queen of Hearts

The Lobster Quadrille

The Lobster Quadrille

turtle and gryphon original

The is the original illustration by John Tenniel in the 1865 edition

Though out of Copyright I can find no courtesy reference to the author Lewis Carroll or the illustrator John Tenniel in this 1934 Stand-Up version of the  book though Saalfield claim to have copyright of this version.

All Saalfield’s tableaux are copies of the original illustrations then coloured.

Who Stole the Tarts

Who Stole the Tarts

I think my favorite is the Lobster Quadrille.

” The Mock Turtle sighed deeply, and drew the back of one flapper across his eyes. He looked at Alice and tried to speak, but, for a minute or two, sobs choked his voice. “Same as if he had a bone in his throat,” said the Gryphon; and it set to work shaking him and punching him in the back. At last the Mock Turtle recovered his voice, and, with tears running down his cheeks, he went on again:

“You may not have lived much under the sea—” (“I haven’t,” said Alice)—”and perhaps you were never even introduced to a lobster—” (Alice began to say, “I once tasted—” but checked herself hastily, and said, “No, never”) “—so you can have no idea what a delightful thing a Lobster-Quadrille is!”

“No, indeed,” said Alice. “What sort of a dance is it?”

“Why,” said the Gryphon, “you first form into a line along the sea-shore—……………………………..”

You can re-read this story of the Lobster Quadrille at http://www.authorama.com/alice-in-wonderland-10.html

Or you can see how other members have responded to this week’s Sepia Saturday image.

 

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.

Australian Television in 1962

Broadcasting is one of the possible themes for this week’s Sepia Saturday which set me thinking about the early days of television in Melbourne.  Television came to Melbourne in time for the 1956 Olympic Games.

This is a photo I took of our television set in 1962 when Victor Borge was very popular, developed and printed by yours truly.  It was taken on a Yashica twin lens reflex.  Do you remember Victor Borge, with his wonderful blend of piano playing and comedy.

Victor Borge Show TV sunshine 26-5-62 b

And this photo was taken the previous month of the same stand-alone black and white television,   when colour television and  remote controls were only dreamed of.18-5-1962For a nostalgic trip for Australian readers (well, some of them ) earlier in the same year saw the presentation of the 4th Annual TV Logie Awards.  I had to dig deep to remember some of these names.

Logies1962

And finally here is a short clip of the two delightful Gold-winning singers

See what other interesting ideas  people find in this image of broadcasting from the top of a bus at Sepia Saturday.

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Hilda and the Sydney Ladies’ Brass Band

2014.11W.10This week’s theme for Sepia Saturday shows swans and carriages for a  ball at Grace Bros , a department store in Sydney in 1930. There was another department store in Sydney called Farmer’s  and through this contrived link we will find Hilda Tansey, daughter of Bandmaster Tom, working there in that same era.

 

She was a cunning poker player, loved her budgie, had a great sense of humour and she was my aunt. She was also a fine player of brass instruments, conductor and teacher, and the first lady conductor of a brass band in Australia..

Hilda Traralgon

Hilda sitting with her father in a photo of the Traralgon Town Band

Her father began teaching Hilda when she was 6 years old and had to stand on a box to see the music on the music stand . She gave her first public performance in 1909 in Murtoa, playing a cornet solo at a school concert – “Songs we sing at School”, which had been especially arranged for her. Soon she was playing with the band, and then with the Traralgon Brass Band, where she became first collector, then Secretary at age 15.

 

 

However by the early 1930s she was living in Sydney.   The Sydney Ladies’ Band had been formed in the early 1930s but by April 1934 the band was practically insolvent with debts of 107 pounds for uniforms and instruments.

Hilda-Tansey-1934

Hilda Tansey 1934

Hilda and ten other women  players took over the debt and formed a new organization, the Sydney Ladies’ Brass Band, with Hilda as honorary conductor and teacher. She was working at Farmers at the time and hired a room at the bottom of George St near the Quay for practice at five shillings a week. Other women joined until they had 29 members.  Not all of them could read music when they started, or even play an instrument.  Not a man in sight – all previous women bands had men involved in the training etc.

With the exception of some bass instruments and drums, each girl bought her own instrument, and they made their first appearance in a grand pageant on Gala Day, November 22, 1934.

During their initial preparation and training period they raised 65 pounds through social functions, and by adding  £35  from engagements and the remainder from the members’ contributions of one shilling per week, they had paid off the debt with which they started within four months of accepting engagements.

SydneyLBB-34

Sydney Ladies Brass Band 1934

As a comment on their success, the Australasian Band and Orchestra News of July 26, 1935 says “Here is a practical illustration to many male bands of the saying “Never have your wishbone where your backbone ought to be”.”

band leading nurses march 1938

Sydney Ladies’ Brass Band leading a march of Red Cross Nurses in 1938

 

 

They were very busy ladies. In April 1938 they led a parade of Red Cross Nurses through the city for the laying of the foundation stone of the building in Jamieson St which was to become the home of the NSW Division of the Red Cross Society.

 

They played at the official opening of the Velodrome at Canterbury in 1936 and appeared regularly at Mark Foy’s store on Friday nights, as well as playing on beautifully decorated floats during parades and at garden parties.

Float1In their spare time Hilda and some of the others played in a ladies’ dance band at the Trocadero or as a filler between bouts at the Wrestling.

Trocadero

Playing at the Trocadero. Hilda, back left.

During the War years the band used to play for the troops at Liverpool and Ingleburn, and at the Showground. Unfortunately the R.S.L. refused to let the band march on Anzac Day in 1945, and this was just one of the contributing factors to the members’ decision to disband.

More swans and carriages, serious and frivolous interpretations os this week’s theme can be found through the links at Sepia Saturday