Tag Archives: Castlemaine

Not your Everyday Clothing

No fans, and no national costumes among my family memories to match this week’s theme in Sepia Saturday.   After all this is Australia and we have no national costume.  All we have is embarrassment at some of the outfits worn by the  Australian finalists in the Miss Universe or Miss World competitions when all the young ladies turn  out in their national costume.

National costume mostly means something different to your usual everyday dress, some form of dressing up,  and so I turn to other forms of dressing up at Castlemaine High School (Central Victoria)  in 1946.  The occasion was either the mid year Concert or the end of year Speech Night, both of which took place in the Castlemaine Town Hall.

Chs 1946 speech night play b

From left to right, Margaret Bearlin, Barbara Fricke, Joy Cooper, Norma Woodward, Leonie Bryson

When I went searching for this photo I had thought the young lady was holding a fan, but no, she is just clutching her skirt.

Those were the days when, although it was a co-educational High School, it wasn’t thought proper to have both boys and girls in the same play.  The girls had their one act play and the boys had theirs.

Prior to that c1938 , once again in Castlemaine,  it was a case of dressing up as Grumpy (a bit of type-casting there) not long after the movie Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs came out.  I don’t know what the occasion was.

Sniow White and The Seven Dwarves Castlemaine c 1938

Or you could go back to about 1910 at Murtoa when Vera and Hilda Tansey were all dressed up.  I can’t  explain why they were wearing  these costumes.

Vera & Hilda 1911 Murtoa Fancy DressHilda on the right wears a sash saying M.B.B .for Murtoa Brass Band  and is holding her father’s baton.  She also has her father’s South Street medals pinned on her bodice.    Vera on the left  is  wearing   ????? .  I think perhaps  she is dressed as a flower, possibly a daffodil, with that frilly skirt.  A lot of effort had gone into both costumes – i don’t think they came from any hire shop.  And of course the dog had to be in the photo too.  They were a doggie family.



And for more flirting with fans, national costumes or other forms of dressing go to the links on this week’s Sepia Saturday.




Tripping around by car

2013.12W.16Our Sepia Saturday theme for this week shows a charabanc with a string of private vehicles behind it, presumably tripping around the countryside for a day’s outing.

My family’s album shows a variety of cars used for getting from one place to another, for going visiting and going on holidays.

c1936 group  at Adelphi CastlemaineBandmaster Tom Tansey had left Castlemaine to live in Beechworth in 1929 but here he is with his wife  back visiting his daughter and family in 1936. They now had a trip home of 281 km (184 miles).  I wonder what the top speed was in this 1920s car on roads of variable quality.  They are standing in front of the house “Adelphi”

Kyneton Norm's car all night fox shooting c1950On to 1950, visiting Kyneton and going bush  in their 1920s car.  I love the running boards and wouldn’t mind if cars still had them,  Later on I had my first driving lesson in this car. Meanwhile down in a back shed there was a bull-nosed Morris Cowley, having a back-yard makeover and being honed and oversize rings fitted to the pistons.  Unfortunately There is no photo of that one.

Marmon Barbara Apollo Bay 1951 carIn 1950 it was a 1930 Marmon for a trip to Apollo Bay.

Fishing on Rocls Apollo Bay 1951And of course to go fishing off the rocks nearby.

Fishing group Apollo Bay 1951But if you look closely you’ll see that there are no flash fishing rods and reels but simply some sticks to which were attached string and hooks.  No record has been kept of any catches.

Macedon Barbara 1938 Nash car 1953In 1953 it was a Nash for a trip to Mount Macedon.

Rolls Royce 1954 -4In 1957 it was time for one of the boy’s toys and a girl’s best accessory,  a 1928 Rolls Royce Phantom I for a trip to Castlemaine.

MG Lachlan Bendigo 1965 cThen there was the MG. This young fellow, shown here in 1965, later managed to take the cap off the radiator and stuff some Matchbox cars into the radiator.  At another time he was left in the passenger seat while his father went into a shop.  He let the handbrake off and the car rolled backward across the street,  Fortunately no damage done.

After this dalliance with an MG , it was on to safe, sensible family cars.

More tripping around, whether by charabanc or private cars, can be seen through  the links on Sepia Saturday.

Apollo Bay and the Folding Kodak

Hazel Enid Charlie Beach AB c1928  It is about 1928 down at the beach at Apollo Bay in southern Victoria.  Relaxing in their woollen bathing costumes are brother and sisters Hazel, Enid and Charles Fricke..  All three are teachers and the time is the summer school holidays.

Holding the camera to take this photo was Charles’ friend, Vera Tansey from Castlemaine, who was later to become his fiance and then his wife.  Charles was teaching in Castlemaine.  Vera changed places with Enid and Enid took the next shot of Hazel, Vera and Charles.

Hazel Vera Charlie Beach AB c1928

BUT, what is that on Vera’s left shoulder ? I’m wondering if it’s some wonderful little gadget of the times for chasing away those never-ending clouds of flies.

fly chaserA beach picnic was held on another day when it doesn’t appear to be quite as warm,  This time Enid, Charles and Hazel  are joined by their younger brother Allan, a future public servant, complete with cap.  No parasols were need for protection from the sun that day.

Enid Charlie Allan Haxel beach AB c1928All these photos were taken on a Kodak folding camera. which was still taking great photos in the late 1950s and was always stored in its carrying case,

Kodak Folding Cameracamera caseTwenty years after the beach photos if you had that same Kodak and you wanted a selfie, well, you just got and length of string !

Selfie 1948  aSelfie 1948  b

Beds, Bairns and Books

This was reblogged as it moves on to  children’s books from the 1930s.Jacqueline and book Roslyn RdThis week’s Sepia Saturday’s beginning point has a sick child in bed with his toys, attended by a doctor.  Fortunately in life that doesn’t happen too often . To me children and bed means bedtime reading.  But reading is also a daytine activity..  The lass above, now grown up and at University, obviously got pleasure from the sounds whch are telling the story., whereas her mother,  thirty years earlier preferred to concentrate on the pictures.

Barbara reading to Sally c June 1963That was, until she was old enough to choose her own book

Sally at bookshelfOr get an early education on how to avoid the traps laid in your path by the advertising industry by studying The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard

Sally book 9 months SunshineIt wasn’t long until she was reading to her dolls

Sally reading to dolls 2

But I would like to know why on her ninth birthdy she appears to be reading a book about Edmund Kean.  Where did that come from ?Sally reading 3-931970Seeing her sitting there with her legs curled up I wonder if that was the day that she stopped reading to find herself surrounded by water.  Her toddler brother had  brought the nozzle end of the garden hose in the back door and up the hall then gone back outside and turned on the tap.A silent flow crept through part of the house.

I’m pleased to say that she is still a reader.

But going back another generation …..

For  the previous generation  there are no suitable photos. But these books were gifts from the age of 5 to 10 in the 1930s  beginning from Santa, then from a very formal Mother and Father, followed by Grandma.

booksThe bottom book is The Children’s Treasure House all 768 pages published by in 1935 by Odhams Press of London.  It contains nearly 150 stories and poems by famous authors.

Pages 1The other big book, The Mammoth Wonder Book was published  the same year but was gifted in 1937..  These were gifts to an Australian girl who was to grow up reading little else but English stories. Is it  any wonder that the word paddock wasn’t in her vocabulary and who, when down on the farm, would talk about the cows in the meadows, apparently to the amusement of the adults ! “The Younger Sister” was given some Australian themed books.

It must have been some time before she could read those tomes for herself, but read them she did , again and again. By the time she was ten she was borrowing from the library in the Mechanics Institute.of  the small  Victorian country town of Castlemaine,   Only one trouble – the old spinster lady who presided over the books wouldn’t let her borrow the book Man-shy.  Never judge a book by its title.  Little did the librarian know, this one is about a red heifer who likes being free and escapes to the hills.

Here are some samples from The Children’s Treasure House.

Pages 2Pages 3Pages 4Pages 5Pages 6bPages 7Pages 8Pages 9Pages 10pages 11pages 12pages 13 pages 14pages 15pages 17

For more interpretations of this week’s theme  click on the links in Sepia Saturday .

196 Minibanner

Defending Australia with Braces


Sepia Saturday has suggested that we talk about braces.

Militia Training Sorrento 1928

In the 1920s and 1930s the defence of Australia was entrusted to indivudals like this lovable bunch  seen here under the supervision of the elegant Lieutenant Charles Fricke. From the props I’m thinking it might be a washing up detail.  And of course you couldn’t wash up properly if your trousers kept falling down around your ankles, hence the braces as visible on the chap on the left, high-waisted trousers with the braces attached to buttons sewn on the trousers. This photo is of men who were part of the Australian 7th Battalion. which at the time was centred on Castlemaine in Central Victoria . The photo  was taken at Sorrento on Port Phillip Bay in 1928.

The  Australian Citizen Military Force, known as the Militia,  was established after World War  I and  gradually evolved into a part-time voluntary service. It could only be used within the boundaries of Australia and it’s strength and quality varied with the changing economic conditions in the country.   The training included an annual six day camp but this  was not always possible for some workmen.  Lt. Fricke’s wife referred to the Militia as ‘playing soldiers’.

The braces were also used for holding up a man’s underpants.  Underpants had small loops sewn onto the waistband. First the shirt was tucked into the underpants, then the loops went over the bottom of the braces before they were buttoned onto the trousers.

This structural work was then usually hidden by  a coat, waistcoat or knitted vest.

But braces weren’t the only hold-uppers that a man needed  Sox also had a habit of falling down so if you were aiming to look a bit more presentable and didn’t want your sox bunched up around your ankles you held them up with sock suspenders.

 sock-suspendersIt is said that the sight of a man in his boxer shorts and socks with suspenders ended more than one romantic evening prematurely

I remember when I was about 9 years old holidaying with a childless aunt and uncle at Hastings on the coast of   Westernport   Bay.  They lived in a four room cottage on an orchard.  The weekly trip into town was always an occasion to put on some decent clothes.  Once when I was ready I walked up the hall to my aunt’s bedroom in that very silent way that children have and announced at the door “I’m ready Auntie”. The picture is vivid in my mind of my uncle in shirt, voluminous knee-length boxer shorts, sox and sock suspenders, prancing to a hidden corner of the room as though he was on hot coals saying words that probably meant Get that Child out of Here ! I wish I had a photo of the image in my mind.  Perhaps one day in the future we’ll be able to transfer an image  from brain to computer.  Wouldn’t that be loverly ……. well sometimes.

Apart from trousers and sox there is one more item of men’s clothing that needs a bit of help  – shirt sleeves.  If the sleeves were too long they would hang  down over the hands, or if working in an office with pen and ink they were in danger of being spotted with ink.  Hence the sleeve garter, an elastic band in fabric or metal to wear on the upper arm so that the sleeve length could be adjusted.

Sleeve garters

Sleeve garters

And so the unseen braces, sock suspenders and sleeve garters help produce the well-dressed Capt Fricke at home in Castlemaine in the 1930s.

E3 Cmaine  at Adelphi c1936Napolean may have said that an army marches on its stomach but I say an army washes up in its braces (and perhaps its sleeve garters too).

And for more stories about braces go to the links on Sepia Saturday.

What the children didn’t know

Garden party

 Our theme for  today is groups of three. These three girls were  prizewinners at Mrs Burnell’s  garden party.in Castlemaine, Central Victoria, on Nov 16th, 1940 . It was part of the way into World War II, when raising money for war effort charities such as the Comfort Fund, Red Cross or Bundles for Britain was the usual reason for holding a money-raising event. It was such a patriotic time, not so long after the last coronation and a new king, with the country at war.  Best dresses and hats were brought out  for this special occasion, and the pram reflects the feeling at the time  with its crown, its Australian flags and red, white and blue bunting.. Crepe paper was the standard material for these creations, willingly constructed by parents. .  And the special doll Elizabeth was  named ,of course, after Princess Elizabeth.

A typical pretty, peaceful, family album picture of the time.  But it is what the picture doesn’t show which makes it interesting to me.  When the two girls on the right got out of bed that morning they had probably been primed to wish their mother a happy birthday.  It was her forty-first birthday.  But they would have been blissfully unaware of the reaction of their parents when they opened their morning newspaper of choice, the Argus, from Melbourne, and its news of the war from England. .Two nights before the worst bombing raid on the city of Coventry was carried out.  Over 4000 homes were destroyed and over 500 people killed. Coventry was the home of the  children’s 90  year old maternal great grandmother.  I don’t know long it was to be before the Australian family  found out that she was alive and well and was to live for another two years. Then on the night of the garden party the Royal Air Force  retaliated by bombing Hamburg.

But the children weren’t aware of this.

The Ruins of Coventry Cathedral

The Ruins of Coventry Cathedral

Also on the other side of the world and on that same day the Warsaw ghetto was closed to the outside world by the Nazis. In the previous month the Jewish people of Warsaw, about one third of the total population , had been rounded up by the Nazis and  confined to a small are of the city, These 400,000 people were held behind three metre high walls topped with barbed wire.  And on this fatal day the gap was closed.  Thirty percent  of the population crowded into two and a half percent  of the area.

But the children in Castlemaine weren’t aware of this

chilldren in warsaw ghetto

or of a group of three chikdren in the ghetto in Warsaw,

The garden party was held at the home of Mr and Mrs Burnell, a beautiful home with a large front lawn suitable for all the stalls and competitions that go with a fund-raising garden party.    It was directly across the road from  Thompson’s Englineering  & Pipe Works, established in 1875, where Mr Burnell was the General Manager.  He had won the MC during WorldWar I.  Thompson’s was the most important business in Castlemaine, commonly known as Thompson’s Foundry  and was spread out alongside the main railway line from Melbourne to Bendigo, an ideal position for transporting the heavy goods which  it made, a wide range of steam-engines, boilers, mining machinery, railway equipment and centrifugal pumps. But during World War II they made  artillery and tank guns, marine engines, circulating pumps and other heavy forging and foundry work.

Making guns for war, what  the children didn’t know.

How's this for a crankshaft ?

How’s this for a crankshaft ?

The  eldest girl in the photos remembers the workmen on their pushbikes, four and five abreast, sweeping up and down the Main Street on their way to and from work. With such a large work force the foundry had a piercing whistle  which screamed out at 7.00am, 7.20am and 7.30am. There was no excuse for being late for work and the whole town and beyond had its own non-negotiable alarm clock.

Small towns are such a web of people and places.  The mother of the two girls on the right had originally come to Castlemaine with her parents as from 1923 to 1928 her father worked in the office at Thompson’s and was Bandmaster of Thompson’s Foundry Band. This is the same man who brought a book on Shakespeare with him when he came to Australia.  The man really did have itchy feet and jumped as bandmaster from one small country town to another several times. The Foundry has had its own brass band since  1887 and 24 members of the band served in World War I, six of whom were killed.  I have no figures for the Second World War.

When is the world going to learn .


Thompson's in 1960

Thompson’s in 1960

And for more interesting stories about groups of three, click on the links in Sepia Saturday.


A Bush Picnic

The time is the mid 1920s and the place is Barker’s Creek on the outskirts of Castlemaine in Central Victoria.  That’s in Australia.  And the occasion is the time honoured ceremony of Afternoon Tea, also known as Arvo Tea. teatime

This particular bush afternoon tea is connected with playing tennis.  It has been suggested that the tennis court was at a house called The Hermitage. Looking at the big teapot on the table it has probably been brought down from a nearby house ,with the cups and saucers and food in the suitcase, and probably organized by “Mother” who is blending into the background beside the tree in  her matronly black.

Thought has gone into the picnic  table, made from logs of different sizes overlaid with wire netting.  Wire netting – it’s chicken wire  and hence my SepSat chicken link  .And who could possibly have afternoon tea without a special afternoon tea cloth ?

So who are these  ladies.  They come from the Robertson, Webber and Petherbridge families with Vera Tansey,sitting centre front, artfully displaying her engagement ring. She has come to know the group as she works with one of the Webber girls at the Ball and Welch store

tennis ladies

From left, Marj Robertson, ….Petherbridge. Jessie Webber, Vera Tansey, Marion Webber, Dorrie Robertson., Mary Webber

These are the young ladies in their stockings ,and  some wearing pearls ,who played that day.  Presumably one of them took the tea time photo.  But, look at the “net”.   It’s hard to see but It is there, made from some more of the ever useful chicken wire. It is then topped with twists of some kind of material.  Even the support at the end of the net  looks like a bush makeshift arrangement. I bet they had fun.

Some of the players are wearing what were called closed toe sandals, a canvas sandal styled with a strap across the foot, while the others appear to be wearing the traditional laced-up shoes.  One of the girls having tea is still wearing  her strap sandshoes.  The clothes are the same in the two photos so presumably they were taken on the same day.

And the link between the players ?  Apart from two groups of sisters there is also the “work” link.   Vera Tansey and  Jessie Webber worked at Ball and Welch which  was a draper’s shop which had been established in the Castlemaine area in the 1850s. They later opened an Emporium in Flinders St. Melbourne.

 Two B and W photos

These two photos  are of staff at the Castlemaine Ball and Welch in the 1920s.  There is another  lady in these two photos , a friend of our family, who was connected to  the group of tennis ladies. But  she hadn’t been playing on that special day in Barker’s Creek. Billie  (Wilhemina) Webber  is sitting front right in the left hand photo,  and front centre in the casual dress photo.  She is a cousin of the Webber girls playing tennis.  And guess what .  Last month she celebrated her 107th birthday, well and happy and living in Narranderra, NSW.

 Billie 106 2012

Here is a newspaper photo of Billie, turning 106 in 2012.

And you can join more picnic parties  in the links on Sepia Saturday.