Category Archives: Postcards

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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Sportsmen for the Front Line

At the tail end of the suggested themes from Sepia Saturday this week was “posters”. And so I’ll start my ramble this week with a poster.

Poster WW1 b

When recruiting for the Australian Imperial Forces during the First World War  a theme was often used to appeal to certain members of the public.  And this time in 1917 it was the sportsmen who were targeted.  As the war progressed taking part in sport became frowned on so why shouldn’t one thousand of these fit and healthy young men go and help the soldiers at the front.  The promise was that they would be kept together from the day they enlisted until the day they came home again, at least for those able to come home.

The theme usually included a well known person as an added attraction.  This time it was Albert Jacka VC, the first Australian to win this honour in this conflict for his bravery at Gallipoli.    In the poster he is surrounded by men taking part in a variety of sports.

It was said that one of the reasons he was such a good soldier, and had such a fighting attitude, was that he had been a boxer before the war. The campaign to enlist sportsmen was fuelled by a strong belief that by playing sport young men developed specific skills and qualities that could be used on the battlefield –     The Age, March 10th, 1917

The Sportsmen’s Thousand Band played  regularly at recruiting rallies around the state,  In towns large and small the band members were billeted by local residents and then the local newspaper would report on the number of recruits.  One such visit on August 10th 1917 was to Castlemaine, which was later  to be the town where I grew up and  the visit was reported the next day in the Bendigo Advertiser.

Last night the Town Hall was packed on the occasion of the recruiting rally.   Stirring addresses were delivered by Mr. D. Mackinnon, Ex-Senator St. Leger. Lieutenant Bolton and Miss Martyn. The Mayor   (Cr. Cornish) presided and introduced the speakers, while the splendid band of the Sportsmen’s Thousand rendered valuable aid. Vocal items were contributed by Miss   Marjorie Eadie and Miss Macoboy, of Bendigo, the meeting was marked by great  enthusiasm.

This is the band .  They had only just been presented with their new instruments in July, according to  The Broadmeadows Camp Sentry. a weekly news publication  for the servicemen training at the Broadmeadows camp.

Sportsmen's Thousand AIF Band

Sportsmen’s Thousand AIF Band

It was this Sportsmen’s Thousand band photo on a postcard which brought me to the poster which introduced this post.  Some time ago  a friend in Geelong  allowed me to copy his postcard  which he had because  his grandfather was a member of the Band.  And there he is, H.E. Monk,  the big chap, seated second from the left.

By October 12th 1917 the soldiers were ready for a lunch time march through the city of Melbourne followed by lunch at the YMCA in St Kilda Rd.  A few days later  a detachment of them  were photographed marching along Alexandra Avenue as reported in “The Winner” on October 17th, 1917.

Sp thous Alexandra Pde March The Winner Oct 17 1917The Winner was a small sporting paper, published weekly. Then on November 14th it  showed some of the “boys”  on board  on their way to England.  This was the winning Tug of War team.   Boys of the Sp Thous 1917

The Australian TV mini-series “Anzacs” in 1985 gave us a fictional taste of how a recruiting rally may have been conducted

And perhaps for more posters, or carting coal , or horses and carts or anything vaguely connected with the afore-mentioned, then go to this week’s Sepia Saturday .

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And After Valentine’s Day …………

First comes Valentine’s Day, on February 14th, all sweetness and light …..

2015.01W-64 And then comes reality …..

Funny 1909This postcard, from Bamforth & Co, was posted in April 1909.

This at a time when women didn’t go out to work, women didn’t wear pants or jeans, and when a domineering woman who ruled her hen-pecked husband was said “to wear the trousers“.

Perhaps a modern version would have Who is going to have control of the remote control ?

More connections to Valentine’s Day can be seen through the links on Sepia Saturday.

At Home in Newland St, Coleford

This week I begin with an  postcard which is showing its age at 111 years  and which has some identifying printing on the front, though no message has been written in the conveniently placed blank space.

postcard of newland stIt tells us that it is a photo of Newland St in Coleford, on the edge of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire.

The printing at the end  also tells us that it is one of The Wrench Series of postcards and also has the name  Arthur J. Bright,  Coleford.  Arthur Bright was the Editor of The Dean Forest Guardian.

The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney tells us about the Wrench Series.

One of the first picture postcard companies which offered British views was set up by a 17 year old teenager Evelyn Wrench. His idea for the company, Messrs. Wrench and Co., began while on holiday in Germany with his parents in 1900.

On the left is the Baptist Church  and at the far end of the street you can get a glimpse of the clock tower standing in the Market Place at the crossroads at the centre of the town. Originally it was part of an octagonal church.  These can be seen on this section of an 1840 tithe map of Coleford

map newland stThe postcard was in the possession of my great aunt whose mother Eliza Bosley  had come to Australia from Coleford in 1863 and the image was provided to me by a second cousin.  The card had been posted in Coleford in 1904 to a Mrs Ambery  in Williamstown.  Friend or relation, I do not know at this stage, but with the help of some clues from Mark  Dodd I now have a reasonable explanation of  how it came to shift from Williamstown, a suburb of Melbourne, to Eliza Fricke in the mid-Victorian town  of Carisbrook.

postcard of newland st 1904 - bqackWhen Eliza was young and living in Coleford her maternal aunt Amelia Baynham and her husband Stephen Aston, living at Five Acres, just to the north of Coleford, had a lodger.   It was 1851 and the lodger was William Ambery, a year younger than their son Edward Aston.  Eliza would have known these two young men. After all Edward Aston was her cousin.  Both boys were to marry and together with their wives emigrated to Adelaide in 1855 on the John Banks.  Then both families either together or separately moved over to Carisbrook in Victoria. Edward Aston was to remain in Carisbrook but William and Mary moved on after a while. 

Meanwhile Eliza grew up, lost both her parents and with two younger sisters came out to Carisbrook  in 1863 to be reunited with  Edward and his wife Ann, and William and his wife Mary.  And so  it stands to reason that Mary, later on living  in Williamstown, would  pass on to Eliza a picture of “the street where you lived” which had been sent to Mary – Newland St, Coleford. There is still the question in my mind as to whether or not William Ambery could have been related to his hosts, Stephen and Amelia Aston.

Here is a  similar view of Newland St  taken by my sister in 1986 with someone sitting on the front fence of the Baptist Church, taken before I knew of the postcard’s existence.NewlandSt1986And why is this particular view of Newland St of interest to me ?  It is because of this next photo which is the house where  Eliza Bosley lived  in Coleford before coming to Australia and it was somewhere opposite the Baptist Church.   Presumably that is Eliza or one of her sisters in front of the house.

ColefordHouseTwo vertical groups of three windows, with the uppermost being slightly smaller.  Could this building  possibly be the same white  house, in the centre of the 1986 photo, with a single doorway replacing the original two doors.  It is opposite the Baptist Church,   Or is it just my imagination.

As for William and Mary Ambery, William had joined the Victorian Railways and was a train examiner at Castlemaine, then after an illness moved to Williamstown and opened a woodyard,  in Douglas Parade. He was also elected a Councillor on the Williamstown Council. (Trove)

And so my story comes full circle beginning with a postcard arriving for Mrs Ambery in Douglas Parade,  Williamstown.

Meanwhile, over at Sepia Saturday   people are posting about courtrooms and all things legal, or anything else which takes their fancy.

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A Postcard …… from Jack Findlay

Murtoa is a small town at the centre of a wheat growing district in Victoria.   It is 305 km to the north west of Melbourne and this postcard, showing the railway station, was sent in 1913.

Murtoa Railway Station postcard 1913

We can see the two platforms, and a couple of horse drawn drays.  As yet I haven’t identified the billboards.  But  Murtoa hasn’t had a passenger train service  since 1993 though the lines are still used for freight.  It now has a population of less than 1000 people.

When the Tansey family shifted from the port town of Geelong to the flat plains of Murtoa in 1909 the young man Jack Findlay went with them. I don’t know why he did this.  His parents were still living in Geelong.  Jack  worked as a driver in Murtoa,  So who was this friend of the family, Jack Findlay ?

By 1913 the Tansey family had moved to Traralgon but Jack remained in Murtoa.  He posted the card the day before Hilda’s 12th birthday.

Murtoa Railway Station postcard 1913 BACK25.2.13

Dear Hilda

We are having warm weather up here.  Billy Heal is working for Wynne and Scott.  If you and Vera like to send views of Traralgon I will send you some views of Murtoa.    enclosing 5/- P.N. for your birthday.

Jack

N.B.     5/- P.N.  –  five shillings postal note

Wynne and Scott were coachbuilders.  13 refers to 1913  !!

But Jack eventually followed the Tanseys to Traralgon and married there to Fordyce Brereton in 1921.  But by that time the Tanseys had moved on to Hay in N.S.W.   Here  is Jack’s  wedding photo. He was 35 and Fordyce was 33.

 

Findlay Brereton 1921The Electoral Roll shows Jack  as a grocer in 1924 then a labourer in 1931.

A transcript from the Traralgon Record of  Tuesday, 18th October 1921, tells us

Wedding. FINDLAY-BRERETON.   A pretty wedding was celebrated at the Presbyterian Church on   Saturday last. when Mr John Findlay was united to Miss F. Brereton daughter of Mr J. H. Brereton, of Traralgon. The officiating clergyman was the Rev. James Smith. The bride, who was given away by her father, was attired in ivory crepe do chene, with Georgette over-skirt, and wore a handsomely worked veil (loaned by Mrs H. Campbell.) The court train was lined with shell pink crepe DE chene, embroidere with pearls and orange blossoms. She carried a nice shower bouquet. Miss Ruth Phillips rendered “Because” while the bride was signing the register. The bridesmaid were Misses Main and Pearl Elliott (friends of the bride), and they wore pretty frocks of lemon and lavender crepe do chene, with black tulle hats., and carried posies of pansies and sweet peas. The train bearer was little “Diddy” Rogers (niece of the bride), who wore a pretty frock of shell pink crepe do chene and hat to match. She carried a basket of pale pink carnations and Mr Ed. Findlsy was best man, and Mr Alf. Brereton groomsman. The reception was bold at “Loch Gorm,” the residence of the bride. The usual toasts were enthusiastically honored. The reception room wee prettily decorated with ferns and pink roses. The bridegroom’s gift to the bride was a pair of pearl ear rings, and the bride’s gift to the bridegroom a pair of gold sleeve links. The happy couple left by the even- ing train for Lorne, where the honey moon will be spent. The bride traveled in a smart navy coat and skirt,   with hat to match.

They were singing “Because” at weddings even that long ago.  Those naughty Beatles pinching the name of the song for one of their jingles  !

So this little mystery remains. Why did Jack Findlay follow the Tanseys around Victoria.  The Tansey girls were only children and Tom Tansey was 16 years older than  Jack. There is no obvious connection between the two.  But friends are friends so who am I to question that.

Other interpretations of postcards and proverbs, many humorous and some serious, can  be seen on this week’s Sepia Saturday..

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