Tag Archives: Hilda

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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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.

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

 

 

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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My Mother’s Back Yard

Our theme this week for Sepia Saturday is back yards and hence this small and indistinct photo of my mother (1899-1990) in the back yard of her home at 96 Ryrie St, Geelong  A little girl of three or four posed with a man’s bike in a backyard which matches our theme photo with its outside wash-house and rope clothes lines.

From this back yard we can radiate outwards to some of  the distinctive sights seen by this girl from 1899 to 1908

Vera back yard ryrie stThere wasn’t much room to play in the back yard so their mother would sometimes sit  Vera Tansey and her younger sister on the front step   The other side of the street was much more impressive. to look at.

ryrie st geelong 1900As seen in 1900 opposite them in Ryrie St,  to the right was the Post Office with its prominent clock tower. To the left of the Post Office was the Telegraph Station – see the Time Ball resting on the roof.  Just before 1pm each day the ball was raised  to  alert citizens and ships on the bay that 1 pm was imminent.  On an electric signal from Melbourne  the ball was dropped to indicate 1 pm.  I don’t know when it last operated but i wasn’t operating in  1900.

The vehicle is possibly a Walker’s Omnibus which serviced the suburbs of Geelong.

Then came the solidly built  Mechanics’ Institute where the family used to attend concerts.  Originally it was this  single storey structure  but by 1900 was two storeys high. You can just get a glimpse of the :Presbyterian Steeple Church beside it.

MECHANICS INSTITUTE GEELONG RYRIE STIn 1913 the steeple was transferred to another church,

steeple church geelong ryrie st Both the Mechanics’ Institute and the Steeple  Church were later incorporated into our Geelong Performing Arts Centre where a couple of weeks ago I saw a brilliant local performance of My Fair Lady.  The body of the Steeple Church is still there  housing a Dance Studio with  a stage, sprung floor and mirrors,.Theoretically the facade of the Mechanics’ Insiitute was preserved but apart from the name for me it bears little resemblance to the beautifully ornate original. But upstairs the facade now hides a  dance studio

As the girls grew so their freedom increased..  They attended the nearly Flinders State School

Flinders state school 1906And in their spare time were able to visit the zoo at Kardinia Park, now home of the Mightly Cats. (That’s a football team !)

As Vera said      “When I was big enough to be trusted to look after Hilda, Mum would let me go to Kardinia Park to feed the numerous animals. She kept two brown paper bags on the copper wall and bread scraps went into them for us to take on a Saturday for the monkeys etc. We would call at Podbury’s coming home for a loaf of bread and Mrs Podbury would give us a bun each. One Saturday we called in and she gave me one look and said “Go home and tell your mother you have measles”. The warm sun had brought spots out all over me.”
The Zoo, Kardinia Park, Geelong, 1910This is the Kardinia Park Zoo in 1910, a modest zoo with monkeys, ducks, swans, guinea fowls, an emu, kangaroos, wallabies and deer.  Bur everyone was upset when the emu died in 1907 and even the newspapers in New Zealand reported the fact.   The Zoo gradually suffered from lack of proper upkeep and was closed.

Emu 1907 Kardinia Park zooWelcome to Old Geelong.

In 1908 the family left Geelong and shifted to Murtoa,

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