Tag Archives: 1929

Trove Tuesday – Looking for Weeroona

“Weroona”  is a house in Camp Crescent, Castlemaine.  My parents lived there for a short while after their marriage in 1929 and I have also  found it mentioned  in newspapers.

There are not many houses in Camp Crescent but in the past there have been many newspaper references to people who lived there.  Mrs Reid who  lived there in 1898 was one of these, though not necessarily in Weroona, but there is no voter of the name Reid five years later in the Electoral Roll.

Servant Camp Crescent 1896

Then in 1913 Weroona is mentioned by the versatile teacher Robert George.

Weroona 1913 Singing lessons Robt George

Unfortunately  Mr. Robt. George does not appear in the Electoral Roll for Castlemaine.John Vale Weroona 1928

 

In the Electoral Rolls Elizabeth is consistently listed as a Stationer of Mostyn St.   Why was she at Weroona when she died.   At that stage could it have been some kind of small Nursing Home

Some facts –

  1.  The house “Weroona” existed as evidenced in newspaper reports.
  2.  A 1929 family album  photo of my mother and her sister-in-law sitting on a verandah with distinctive railings.
  3.  A photo on the same day of my father, Charles Fricke,  with his sister Enid,  presumably  at the same house with similar railings.
  4. A more recent view of the rear of the Old Castlemaine Court House with similar railings.  This building is in Goldsmith Crescent which is the continuation of Camp Crescent.

So – comments and questions –

  1.  In 1929 my parents living at Weroona in Camp Crescent, which bears a uncanny resemblance to the Old Court House in nearby Goldsmith Crescent
  2. Were the first two photos taken at Weroona or the Old Court House ?
  3. In the second picture there appear to be six or seven steps to get to verandah level whereas in the Court House photo there appear to be four or five steps.
  4. In the second photo there is a shield shaped cover at the centre of each of the criss-crosses which are not on the Court House photo.  Surely in restoration work of the Old Court House they would replicate the old style.
  5.  In the centre photo there are single “criss-crosses” between verandah posts whereas in the Court House photo there appear to be two “criss-crosses” between verandah posts.
  6. Weroona is the house where the newly married couple were tin kettled a few days after returning from their honeymoon. ( For an explanation of tin kettling see tin kettlins. )

I am now fairly sure they are two different houses – Weroona and the Court House -and it wasn’t a case of going for an afternoon stroll to visit the Old Court House and take photos.

Somewhere out there if I had the access are the answesr to these questions.  But thanks to Trove I now know tha “Weroona” definitely existed.

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Tools of the Trade – The Housewife’s Cook Book

Once upon a time the head of the family, the husband, went out to work each day to provide for his family while the wife stayed at home and followed her trades  as a  cook, cleaner, laundress, nurse, etc.  And one of the tools she needed for her trade as a cook was a cookery book with detailed instructions on how to put those important meals on the table.

D2 Chas & Vera 1929Vera Tansey married in 1929 and is pictured here a few weeks after her wedding. She had provided herself with an Every Ladies’ Cook-Book by Miss Drake.

Mrs Drake Cookery Book Cover bAs you can see it has been well and truly used by my mother

Lucy Drake who had trained in London had been in charge of cookery classes at Swinburne Technical College in Melbourne.  Her salary when she started in 1914 was 12/6 a week.  The publishers of Everylady’s Journal decided Australia needed a cook book which was suited to our climate and our tastes and offered Lucy Drake a large fee to compile such a book. Swinburne College granted her six months leave on half pay  and she set off for Tasmania on holidays and went to work. Unfortunately a couple of weeks after the manuscript was delivered to the publishers she became ill and died.

It is a good cook book. The recipes are clearly explained and mostly still very usable.  It was a time when apart from a few saucepans you would probably have had a basin, a wooden spoon, a sieve or sifter , a mincer/grinder  to screw onto the table and not much else. You did everything by hand.   And you probably didn’t have refrigeration – at best an ice-box or a Coolgardie safe.  So I could understand why you were told  how your soup stock should be boiled up every day to keep it fresh.

I was happily browsing the recipes when I came to a full stop;.  How would you like to make some Ammonia Biscuits using a lump of Ammonia the size of a nutmeg ?

Ammonia Biscuits

I was shocked !  Ammonia !  But it wasn’t quite what I thought.  Ammonium bicarbonate was the forerunner of the Carb Soda and Baking Powder that we use today and it is still widely used today in commercial cooking as a raising agent and a stabiliser.

I try my best not to buy foods with a list of numbers in the ingredients but at last I know what one of those numbers stands for – 503.  Miss Drake’s cook book was first published in 1923 but now a digitized version is available  at http://images.swinburne.edu.au/handle/1111.1/5887

This version  is from a later reprint, 1940,  and includes pages of advertisements. And  should you wish to you can download the whole book or read it online.  I have nothing but praise for Swinburne or any other educational institution which makes information available free of charge.  Because of them I know a little more today than I did yesterday.

You might like to try Lucy Drake’s  Mushroom Sandwiches or Crullers (American) or Jelly Doughnuts or Bath Buns or ………

And so to everyone else’s interpretation of this week’s Sepia Saturday  picture with its street trader, tools of trade, menders, cobblers, etc.

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The Red Shadow – in Melbourne

When young I didn’t have to contribute much to the household chores except for doing the dusting on a Saturday morning. On my mother’s dressing table was an old-fashioned cream celluloid photo frame displaying a photo of my father,     I discovered that there was a postcard photo of someone else slipped in behind my father.

Lance Fairfax as The Red Shadow in The Desert song, Melbourne, 1928

Lance Fairfax as The Red Shadow in The Desert song, Melbourne, 1928

I would put this photo of Lance Fairfax to the front and at some later stage someone would restore my  father to the front position without anything being said., week after week, after week.

In the photo Lance Fairfax (1899-1974) is pictured in his role as the Red Shadow in The Desert Song which had  opened in Melbourne in September 1928 for a 28 week run. Lance, who was born in New Zealand, had been a distinguished soldier in World War 1 and a sportsman, then pursued a career as a baritone both in Australia and overseas.

The Desert Song is an operetta by Sigmund  Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein.  At the time. the Arabs in North Africa were romanticized as they rebelled against French Colonial rule. Think of Beau Geste or Lawrence of Arabia.  In 1925 there was an uprising by a group of Moroccan fighters called the Riffs and this inspired the storyline for The Desert Song. Then in best Scarlet Pimpernel fashion we have the  quiet, uninteresting character who though known to us but not by the cast keeps transforming into the handsome and dashing hero who wins the beautiful maiden.

Of interest on the back of the postcard is Broadcasting Co of Australia Pty Ltd.  This the independent national public broadcaster founded in 1929 and which took over several other funded radio stations to form a single  whole.  There were many live broadcasts and Lance was a part of that.  The front of the postcard mentions 3LO and 3AR the two Melbourne stations.

Lance rode his horse on stage in the production of The Desert Song so it was interesting to see this newspaper report in 1931.

Lance Fairfax’s Steed. MELBOURNE, March 29. 1931

A horse used by Lance Fairfax in the operetta, The Desert Song, last night figured In an amazing accident In Carlton. The horse, which was attached to a cab. bolted half a mile. and then slipped in a gutter. The cab overturned on top of an Italian woman. Sablna Benporath. aged 30 and her three children, one of whom 13 months old was critically Injured. The others suffered minor injuries

The Desert Song was staged at his Majesty’s in Melbourne again in 1945 with Max Oldaker in the lead role.  This was my introduction to the Desert Song.

The outside and inside of the four-fold paper theatre programme in Melbourne in 1945

The show had  premiered on Broadway in 1926 and was made into an early sound film in 1929 which was very faithful to the original stage show,  Here is John Boles singing The Riff Song in the movie.

 

Isn’t that just gorgeous  !

Lance Fairfax played  the role of the Red Shadow in Melbourne in 1928 but I can’t find video of him in that role,  but here is  a very brief view of him singing Toreador in a movie of Carmen.

The 1929 movie of The Desert Song  has an interesting history. By the 1940s, the original 1929 film had become illegal to view or exhibit in the United States due to its Pre-Code content which included sexual innuendo, lewd suggestive humor and open discussion of themes such as homosexuality.   Well,Well !  I would dearly love to see a copy of that first movie just to see what I’ve been missing out on.

Dennis Morgan starred in the 1943  movie version which had the Red Shadow fighting the Nazis and now being call El Khobar instead of the Red Shadow.  And in 1953 there was a  “cleaned-up” version starring Gordon McRae and Kathryn Grayson , here singing The Desert Song.

 

In 1955 there was a live performance on TV  with Nelson Eddy of movies fame, in the lead role, the only time he performed a live role, here singing One Alone.

 

Barry Humphries once asked the second Melbourne Red Shadow, Max Oldaker,   how he managed to smile so sincerely at the curtain call on a thin Wednesday matinee. Humphries recorded: ‘He said, “Dear Barry, it’s an old trick Noel taught me, and it never fails.” He demonstrated, standing in the middle of the dressing room in his Turkish towelling gown, eyes sparkling, teeth bared in a dazzling smile. “Sillycunts,” beamed Max through clenched teeth, bowing to the imaginary stalls. “Sillycunts,” again, to the circle, the gods and the royal box. “It looks far more genuine than ‘cheese’, dear boy,” said Max, “and you’ve just got to hope that no one in the stalls can lip read.” I couldn’t help thinking of all my mother’s friends at those Melbourne matinees, their palms moist, hearts palpitating as Max Oldaker, the Last of the Matinee Idols, flashed them all his valedictory smile.’

What would we do without a little bit of nostalgia in our lives.

Sepia Saturday

Honeymoon in the Snow – 1929

Last week I was sweltering in a bushfire story and this week Sepia Saturday has suggested we look for our snowy photos.  So I will go to the Mount Buffalo Chalet in the Australian Alps in Victoria in the winter of 1929 and this time let the pretty pictures tell the story.

Mt Buffalo Chalet Aug 1929The Mt Buffalo Chalet is a guest house which was built in 1910 and was run by the Victorian Railways. Unfortunately it was burnt down in 2006.

Arriving or Departing Mt Buffalo 1929Take the steam train to Wangaratta,  bus along the Ovens River valley to Porpunkah then up the mountainside to the grand old dame.  Well swept of snow.

Mt Buffalo Sled - Charles Vera 1929The honeymooners, Charles and Vera Fricke (nee Tansey) from Castlemaine.

Holidaymakers (inc Vera centre) 1929Time to make some new friends.  Vera second from left, back row.

Mountain Hut Mt Buffalo 1929Stop off at a hut for a cuppa.  Notice in these photos how the women are all wearing jodhpurs.   They were fashionable wear at the time and not just for horse-riding.

Snowman Charles Vera Mt Buffalo 1929Time to build a snowman.Vera skiing 3 Aug 1929

Or to practice this increasingly popular hobby of skiingMt Buffalo Skiing Aug 1929

And admire the dramatic landscape.

On another matter I recently read the book Journey to the Stone Country by Alex Miller.  At one stage it was discussing whether conserving old properties was the right thing to do or whether conservation destroyed the spirit of the people who had lived there, I don’t necessarily agree with that but I can appreciate the point they were making and have written a little about it elsewhere, illustrating with an example from my family’s past.

Journey to the Stone Country – Alex Miller and Ideas on Conservation 

2014.01W.06Click on Sepia Saturday to find links to more Snow Stories.