Tag Archives: 1898

An Interesting Marriage

My father’s Uncle Albert was born in Carisbrook in Central Victoria. I have long known he had married a pretty young woman, Isadora Levy, who always wore beautiful Edwardian  clothes in her photos.

This week Sepia Saturday has shown us a photo of a man carrying a woman across a stream.

So take that fact of a man carrying a woman and imagine Albert carrying his new bride over the threshold of their marital home. That’s my connection to this week’s theme and an excuse for having a look at Uncle Albert’s choice of a bride.

Albert & Dora-1898

It wasn’t until Trove and its digitized newspapers revealed an account of the wedding that a little story began to evolve.

Albert Fricke was descended from a Protestant German family whereas Dora, as she was known, was the daughter of a prominent Melbourne Jewish businessman, Joseph Levy. As I understand it a non-Jew cannot have a Jewish wedding and I find it hard to believe that a girl brought up in the Jewish faith would agree to be married in front of a Christian cross. So the compromise was what I assume was a civil wedding, at home, by Mr Tracy, the Registrar-General .

The Australasian of June 4th, 1898 reported …..

The marriage of Mr. F. T. Albert Fricke, East Melbourne, and Miss Isadora Eugenie Levy, youngest daughter of the late Mr. Joseph Levy, 50 George St, Fitzroy, took place in the drawingroom at Brooklyn, on Wednesday, April 27, by the Registrar General. The bride was given away by her mother, and was in white satin, with long square train. A cascade of Honiton lace fell from waist to foot on one side of the skirt front. The corsage was Russian blouse shaped, and had a yoke of pearl passementerie, while the front below was composed of rows of ribbon, alternated with pearl trimming; the back was treated in a similar fashion, but without the pearl trimming. The rucked sleeve had a row of passementerie from wrist to shoulder, and a tabbed Medici collar, softened by Honiton lace; veil arranged over a coronet spray of orange blossom; shower posy, and diamond bird and butterfly brooch (gift of the bride groom).

Corsage = bodice of dress
Passementerie = an ornamental edging or trimming made of braid, cord, beading etc.

 

Isadora levy fricke wedding dress 1898

The report continues …..

Miss Beatrice Levy, sister of the bride) was bridesmaid, and wore yellow silk with overskirt of fine figured net, with a design of graduated satin bands round the bottom. The Russian corsage was of yellow brocade, with vest of alternate tucks of brocade and striped armure silk, with cascade of lace down the left side. The waist belt was fastened With a pansy buckle, and the sleeves were of armure striped silk: picture hat, shower posy, and a gold shepherd’s crook and bell, -with initials of the bride and bridegroom {gift of the latter). The bridegroom was supported by his father, and Mr. J. Raphael acted as groomsman. At the conclusion of the ceremony breakfast was served and a reception held by the bride’s mother. Wedding tea and light refreshments were served in the dining-room. The travelling dress was of peacock blue cloth. The presents included:-The bridegroom to bride, diamond bird and butterfly brooch; bride to bridegroom, sapphire and pearl sleeve-links; mother of bride, cheque, drawing and dining room suites, and piano; father pf bridegroom, cheque; mother of bridegroom, over mantel and mantel drape; Miss B. Levy (sister of bride), tea service and point lace handkerchief.

Armure = a woollen or silk fabric woven with a small, raised pattern.

It is interesting to note that the bridegroom was “supported by his father”. These days we might call that position “the best man” but I was wondering if they were incorporating a little bit of Jewish tradition where often the groom was led under the chuppah by the two fathers and the bride by the two mothers. I had trouble envisaging this German immigrant who worked a small farm being transported into a Melbourne drawing room. There is a strong possibility that this is a photo of Freidrich Fricke. The photo belonged to his daughter and was taken by the same photographer as used by other family members.

Freidrich Eberhard Fricke  - possbily

We are told the wedding took place at the home of the bride’s mother ( her father had died the previous year). The home was ”Brooklyn” in Fitzroy . It is now a hotel.

We know a little bit more about this Jewish family where Albert found his wife because on the year that Isadore was born, 1875, her father built Ensor House at 172 Victoria St, East Melbourne and this is where she spent her early years. They left  there in 1878.

Ensor House

Levy sold Ensor to  Benjamin Fink, a Victorian member of parliament, in 1878.   Fink was also notorious  as a land speculator in  the 1880s  in Melbourne until he went bust in 1892 and fled the country.  Strangely much had been transferred to his wife’s name.  But for any Melbournians wanting to know  what Fink owned in Melbourne see here.   You will be surprised.  Ensor later became a private hospital, in 1907 it became a boarding house and as far as I know is now  the Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital Nurses` Home.

I have since found a more detailed report of the wedding in Table Talk and  apart from listing which of Albert’s siblings were present it also says that the wedding was conducted “quietly” and that it was a morning wedding.  Eight months later Dora’s older sister Beatrice was to marry, but this time the wedding was at the Synagogue in Bourke St.

More carrying, over land and water, in the links of this weeks’ Sepia Saturday.

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Bushfire Weather 1898 Style – Red Tuesday

As I have no close connections with this week’s Sepia Saturday theme of people involved in the First World War, and know very little about them anyway, I hadn’t intended to do a post this week  But the  maximum temperature in Geelong today was 45 ° C,and the last three days were 41°, 42° and 45° (106, 107, 113F),  so  it seems like a good time to  continue with the story about Charles Fricke Snr. which I started  in Attached to a Moustache. and which  I ended by saying …..

But in 1898 the bushfires came through and destroyed everything.  It was time to start all over again. But that’s another story.

.I have told this story in other places but I doubt that other Sepians have seen it.

Just like this week nearly one hundred and sixteen years ago each issue of  the Geelong Advertiser was reporting on bushfires, whether they were in Tasmania, Gippsland , the Grampians or closer to home.  The dry weather had brought swarms of locusts through the area and by February 1, 1898, Beech Forest was described as being ablaze, just one of the many fires that had been devastating the Otway Ranges.  For two days Colac had been enveloped in smoke, turning day into night.

 The Otway Forest was fast coming into prominence as a tourist resort.  Distinguished visitors to the various small communities were reported, as were the Balls and Sports Days. On Tuesday, February 8, 1898, the Gosney and Cawood houses were full of visitors at Apollo Bay. It wasn’t a particularly hot morning, but the wind was gusty. When the wind swung to the north the burning off which had been  started by the Beech Forrest settlers got out of control and headed towards Apollo Bay.

 About 11.30 in the morning Charles Fricke Snr. was helping his next door neighbour, William Methven. They saw the fire making for their houses at the top of the ridge at Tuxion, in the hills above Apollo Bay so began to hurry back to their homes.  Charles Fricke reached Mr Methven’s house first and stopped briefly for a drink of milk, the older man having lagged behind, then hurried to his own home.

 There was little Charles Fricke could do to save his home.  The fire was so intense he crouched behind a table with a bucket of water for five hours, tearing the back out of his waistcoat to dip in the water and cover his mouth.  The table was too small to cover his feet and the heat drew the nails out of his boots.  His horse was the only one of his animals to survive the fire, even though he had his mane burnt off.

 Alone, blinded by the heat, he decided he would rather die on the road to the township where his body would be found more quickly, and so feeling his way with a stick he set off on the three miles to Apollo Bay.  Mrs Costin took him in and put him to bed and nursed him back to health.

 After a long search Mr Methven’s body was found and the subsequent inquest decided that on seeing his home destroyed Mr Methven had tried to make for a creek to find refuge, but had been overcome and suffocated by the hot fumes.

The Murrays were trapped on the top of a  ridge and spent the night there under a wet blanket, taking it in turns to throw water on one another.  They had lost everything except one cow.

 Indeed the Marriner, Methven, Murray, Fricke, Cross, Armstrong, Bulotte, Perkins, James, Kendall, Inkester and Evans homes, and four untenanted houses, were lost, as well as miles of fencing, pasture, livestock and orchards.

 This day was later called Red Tuesday.  As the telegraph line was burnt down the news of the fire had to be taken out by horseback.  The coaches could not get through as the track became blocked and the corduroy was burning. So it was Friday before the people of Geelong could read about the fire.

N.B. A corduroy road is made from logs placed across the road, particularly in swampy areas.

humpyAfter eight years of clearing scrub, splitting palings, fencing, building, and creating a farm, it was a case of start again.  First priority was shelter. Charles Fricke built a  temporary humpy using the roofing iron from his burnt home.  The property had to be re-fenced and re-sown with grass seed.  The Gippsland settlers had bought all the available Cocksfoot grass-seed so seed had to be imported from a neighbouring colony and unfortunately brought with it the seeds of the Ragwort weed.

 Charles then built a new home, married and had his first two children while on this farm before shifting to another farm closer to Apollo Bay.

This story  was told from  Charles Fricke’s reminiscences and newspaper reports.

Meanwhile there were similar fires in Gippsland in the eastern part of Victoria where 12 people were  killed and 2000 buildings destroyed.

Gippsland,_Sunday_night,_February_20th,_1898Thje famous painter John Longstaff visited Gippsland later in February 1898 to view the fires at first hand and collect material for a major picture. Gippsland, Sunday night, February 20th, 1898 was exhibited in a dramatic installation in his Melbourne studio in August 1898. A row of kerosene-lamp ‘footlights’ provided the illumination, and the effect was said to be ‘lurid and startlingly realistic’. — http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/bushfire/lon.shtml

And this is how the sun looked this afternoon in Geelong thanks to “John” of Belmont on Facebook. . The bushfires are a long, long way away but the wind carries the smoke over long distances.

Sun on bushfire dayThis heat wave is now over – the cool change has arrived.  So next week I’ll be back to the regular theme and a cold weather post,   And that reminds me that  we still measured temperature on the Farenheit scale when I got married and on that  January day it was 108° in the shade. It didn;t seem that hot.

You can see more of this week; posts on World War ! soldiers  on Sepia Saturday

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