Google+ Followers

Friday, 17 November 2017

Flowers for the ladies

This week's Sepia Saturday prompt photograph shows a young lady posing alluringly in a photographer's studio with a basket of flowers. In 2011 after my Aunty Pat Morrison passed away we discovered an old album of Cartes de Visite photographs stored amongst her belongings. They are lovely to look at but sadly we have not been able to identify very many of the almost two hundred photographs contained in the album. 
The first photograph below is not from the album, but was shared with me by a distant cousin in New Zealand, which is where most of my family lived, and she tells me that this lady is Mrs Ann Forbes, nee Anderson, widow of William Forbes, who was the eldest brother of my great grandfather Charles Forbes. In other words, she was Charles' sister-in-law. Ann was born in Clatt, Aberdeenshire in 1845 and she emigrated to Canterbury New Zealand in 1851, together with her parents and nine of her twelve siblings. She married William Forbes in 1863 in a double wedding ceremony, in which her sister Sophia married Thomas Ross. At the date of their marriage Ross and Forbes were partners in The Weka Pass Hotel and they also operated a cartage business in the Weka Pass area. William and Ann had five sons and a daughter, but their daughter Ann and youngest son James died as infants, and then William died of Tuberculosis in 1877 aged 38.  Ann might not have had too much to smile about in those times of loss, but never the less she survived long after her husband. She died in 1936 aged 89 and is buried in Balcairn Cemetery in Amberley New Zealand, together with William, Ann, James and her parents John and Margaret Anderson. 

The following photograph is from the old album I inherited, and shows a younger woman posing side on for the same Christchurch firm of photographers, Grand and Dunlop, beside the same vase and a very similar if not identical vase of flowers. There are other photographs by the same photographic studio to be found online showing other ladies posing beside the same vase, so the flowers may not even be real, but the fact that this second photograph is in the album suggests that whoever this lady is, she must be related to the Forbes or Anderson family in some way. Ann had two daughters-in-law but they did not marry her sons until the late 1890s, which seems too late for this photograph, because the photography business was sold by Grand and Dunlop in 1887. It could perhaps be her youngest sister Elizabeth Anderson, who was born in New Zealand in 1852. The lady here could perhaps be pregnant, but that impression might just be the angle of the photograph. Ladies were pretty good at disguising their condition back then, by breathing in, tightening their stays and buttoning up! 
I generally don't include the siblings of in-laws on my tree, so I haven't researched Ann's family in any great detail and consequently can't come to any more definite conclusions about this lady's identity.

It looks to me as if those flowers could be hydrangeas, so in tribute to both ladies, known and unknown, here's a hydrangea in bloom in our garden today, grown from a cutting and flourishing well.

Finally here is my mother-in-law Mary, totally unrelated to the ladies above, doing well and living on her own at 92 years young. We sent her these flowers on the occasion of her 90th birthday. 

Click here for more posts about young ladies with baskets or vases of flowers. 

Thursday, 2 November 2017

That old Scottish Tradition

Hallowe'en cards are not something sent by people in Australia today, and I don't know if they ever were fashionable in either Australia or New Zealand, but I thought I would look up a few newspaper articles published in the past about this old Scottish tradition.  Older Australians are often scathing of the way Halloween has become commercialized, primarily under American influence, but they may not know much about the Scottish origins of the celebration. 

My grandmother Mona Forbes was born in Christchurch New Zealand  and never traveled to Scotland, but both her father Charles Forbes and her mother's parents Charles Young and Jane Paterson were Scots emigrants from the district of Glenmuick in Aberdeenshire. I know that Charles Forbes was a member of the Scottish Society and no doubt Mona was well-versed in all things Scottish. Here is a report of the Halloween festival held in Christchurch in 1909, published in the Star on 1 November 1909, when Mona would have been 12 years old. You can see a photograph of young Mona here.

This and the other articles included here are courtesy of Papers Past, the excellent web site created by the National Library of New Zealand

  Next comes a transcription of  most of a report on the Scottish Society's Hallowe'en gathering in 1912, when Mona would have been aged 15 and was a pupil of Miss or Mrs Macdonald. It's very likely that she would have been one of the juveniles mentioned in the report.  

Star 1 November 1912

The Children's Day

 "There was a great gathering of children and young people at the Scottish Society's rooms last night to celebrate the Scottish festival of Hallowe'en.  The celebration was not this year in strict accordance with Scottish custom, but  an entertainment was provided perhaps more pleasing to the Colonial boy and girl than the old-fashioned way. Chief Mackintosh was "father of the house" for the night, and while he allowed fun to run riot, and the young people had plenty of it, never let go his hold on discipline and the command "Silence" was obeyed on the instant. In the course of the evening it was announced that 250 boxes of heather had been received from Scotland, one parcel especially from a school in Jedburgh had arrived that day. A parcel sent by the same school last year also reached Christchurch on Hallowe'en.  The sprigs in the Jedburgh parcel were distributed amongst the elder children, who are expected to write to the senders acknowledging the sprigs and exchanging greetings. The programme provided by the Hallowe'en Committee, comprised a grand march and reel o' Tulloch by the Society's juveniles, under Mrs Bessie Macdonald; a song, "Sound the Pibroch, " by Master Douglas Martin, a fine effort for the boy's years; an action song by the infant class of the East Christchurch School, under Miss Menzies, with Miss Walker at the piano; a topical song by the boys of St Albans School, under Mr R Malcolm; sailor' hornpipe by Miss Fairbairn  and the misses Pirrie (3); "The Hat Brigade", by the boys of East Christchurch School; ... and the "Flowers of Edinburgh" by the juvenile dancers. The children were given light refreshments and each received the customary bag of sweets."

It seems quite amazing that that boxes of heather had been sent all the way to New Zealand. They must have taken quite a while to arrive so it was certainly lucky that they arrived just in time for Hallowe'en,

Here is an announcement from the Star for the same event the following year:  
Star, 1 November 1913

I didn't find a report of the 1913 Halloween event after it took place, but here is another report just two weeks later, again from the Star newspaper, including a particular mention of Miss Mona Forbes' performance of  the Highland Fling in the last paragraph. The Scottish Society certainly seems to have been an active group!

Star, 14 November 1913

                            One more, this time  from the Star in 1918:

None of these old articles mention any dressing up or trick or treating, which seems to be the main feature of Halloween these days but it was clearly a fun event all the same, with the children receiving treats at the end of the evening. 

Here are a couple of photos of Mona's Australian great grandchildren dressed up for a school Halloween celebration in the early 1990s, followed by a very recent one of Mona's great great granddaughter Lucy all ready for her childcare party. 

Lucy, daughter of Wonderwoman above, looks a little bewildered about exactly why she is wearing this cat costume!

Another great great granddaughter, Eloise who lives in Canda, was a very cute turtle.

Finally just for fun, here is a photo of some very cute dolls all lined up and ready to welcome young  Halloween visitors. Their owner Rosie Saw is a very clever lady who makes and sells handmade dolls clothes and patterns. Anyone interested can check out her pattern web site here

Now for more blogs on Halloween fun, check out Sepia Saturday 

Friday, 27 October 2017

Left, right, left, right, left ...

This week our Sepia Saturday prompt shows a group of marching girls taking part in some parade. In reply I have a couple of photos that were taken by the father of one of the girls in the band, who has kindly consented to my posting them here. The date was Saturday 9 March 1963, the event was the annual Canberra Day Parade and the band was the Lyneham Prinary School Recorder and Drum Band. The girls played recorder and the boys played drums. I was a member of the band, so I must have been in there somewhere.  I didn't have much musical talent but could play the marching tunes we had to learn by rote, for example Men of Harlech, Yellow Rose of Texas, When Jonny Comes Marching Home, to name a few that I still remember. Of course we were supposed to march in step as well, which was a bit tricky. Our band never won any prizes but we enjoyed marching! I'm a little surprised that my Dad does not seem to have taken any photos himself, but he may have been away at the time.

The Canberra Day Parade was an annual event celebrating the naming of the City of Canberra in 1913, and this particular parade was of special note because 1963 was Canberra's Jubilee, marking 50 years since its beginning. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh came to join in the celebrations, although it appears they did not witness the parade itself. 

Here are some articles published in the Canberra Times and found on the National Library's invaluable Trove web site, reporting on the event.
10 January 1963:

23 February 1963:

11 March 1963:

I was one  of those thousands of school children who lined the city streets in the following week to catch a fleeting glimpse of the Queen back then, in a cavalcade of a different kind. Our then Prime Minister Robert Menzies was famous for saying at one point during the 1963 Royal Tour that
 " I did but see her passing by, and yet I love her til I die".

Below is a photo of our band in 1963, with me in the top row, far right, aged about 10. I was also a band member the following year, before going on to high school.

It's 54 years later, and Canberra has celebrated its centenary.  Canberra Day is commemorated with lots of events but I'm not sure whether or not they still have a parade. According to the  school web site,  Lyneham Primary School is still going strong and boasts at least two concert bands, who practise hard and regularly perform at various community events. They are full brass bands, no longer just girls playing recorders and boys on drums. I was a student there from the day it opened its doors in 1959.

 Now, get yourselves over to Sepia Saturday #391 to see more marching girls, brass bands and no doubt much more. Quick march!

Friday, 20 October 2017

Moments in Time

The prompt above shows a smiling young woman standing outside a house with a wrought iron fence.

My first photo in response shows another unknown young lady, smiling as she stands outside premises of the Quebec Liquor Commission. It comes from the album I have of photographs taken by my Uncle Ken when he was doing his pilot training in Canada in 1942. I have no idea who this attractive girl was but it seems likely that Ken met her while he was over there. She may or may not have been the same girl who is with Ken in the next photo. I can't be sure, but the girl with Ken is wearing glasses, unlike the girl in the first picture. I hope she found someone else with whom to enjoy life after Ken left for England, sadly never to return, but at least they look happy together at this moment in time.

According to Wikipedia, the Quebec Liquor Commission was formed in 1921 to control the sale of liquor in the province of Quebec. Why Ken chose to pose his friend outside such a store is not known, but here is a photograph in Wikipedia showing customers queueing for their liquor supplies outside another QLC store, taken only a couple of years later. Perhaps Ken had just made a purchase there himself.

Another feature of our prompt is the wought iron gate or fence, which reminded me of this next photo, showing the first home that my parents lived in after their marriage in 1950. My mother wrote in her Life Album that they were "fortunate to be able to rent this beautiful old home in Barrington St Christchurch. The grounds were extensive and Ian (my father) enjoyed looking after them. The rooms were large and in the dining room and lounge were huge dressers." Unfortunately they had to move out shortly before I was born.
A few years later while we were living in the UK and Dad was working at the Low Temperature Research Station in Cambridge, he was invited to attend a Scientific Congress in Paris.  My parents were able  to leave me with friends and go over to Belgium and France for about a week, where Mum has captured Dad, looking suitably debonair beside an archway at the Paris Hotel de Ville, adorned with a wrought iron gate.

For more fleeting moments in time, possibly prompted or inspired by that unknown girl standing outside the unknown house with a wrought iron fence, there's no need to stand waiting at the gate, just walk on in to Sepia Saturday 390#

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Sitting Pretty

The little girl in our prompt this week is clearly posing for her portrait in a photographer's studio and she looks very sweet. Her beautiful dress reminded me of the following portrait of my aunt, Joan Patricia Morrison, who must only have been about a year old when it was taken in about 1922. As the first surviving child born to my grandparents John and Mona, she would have been their pride and joy.  Pat as she was always known is not sitting at a desk here, but she did grow up to become very studious and obtained her Masters degree at Oxford in the 1940s. 

        Here is Pat working away on some manuscript, with all her papers spread out in front of her. I imagine her desk was not big enough!


                          Here she is again, still sitting pretty in later life.

When Pat passed away in 2011, it was a very big task for my mother, sister and others to sort through all Pat's documents, photographs, books and other memorabilia, as she had thrown out very little, despite residing in a small council flat for many years.  I thnk my mother found it all rather daunting, and also it was quite emotional for her to read through many years' worth of  correpondence between Pat and their parents while she was working overseas.

  I've previously written a tribute to Pat and her life achievements which you can read here.

Continuing with the theme of the prompt, here is our son Kim, Pat's great nephew, at the computer desk in 1997.


and our daughter and Pat's great niece, Laura the teacher, at her desk in her classroom. With a class of 20 or more six year olds, I don't imagine she gets to sit down there very often!

Finally two photos of our granddaughter Isabelle, who is Pat's great great niece. This first photo was taken on a visit to us in Melbourne earlier this year. What Google Photos identified as a desk is in fact a dolls' house that was made for her mother by Isabelle's paternal great grandfather. It was placed on the table so as to be out of her curious little brother's reach.

Here is Isabelle back home in London, sitting at her mother's computer desk and wearing a dress that I made for her Aunty Laura above, back in 1989.

For more posts that may or may not be prompted by that pretty little girl sitting at the writing desk, go to Sepia Saturday #389

Friday, 6 October 2017

The romance of snow

The prompt above shows us the perspective of a street view in Sheffield on what looks like a rather dismal and wintry day, with remnants of snow lining the pavement. I think old grey snow was one of the sights I was least prepared for when I went on my first trip to Europe, specifically Germany, as a teenager back in 1969/1970. Up until then I'd had very limited experience of snow, and in my mind it was always pristine white and magical, so it was a shock to see it shovelled into dirty piles along the roadsides in an industrial town like Solingen, where I spent three months as a exchange student. 
I didn't take many photos on the entire trip, probably because my camera was very basic and perhaps the grey winter weather didn't inspire me to capture them, but the photo below is one of my favorite memories, which I believe I took on my way to an afternoon wander in a nearby wood. The snow on the footpath still looks reasonably fresh and clean despite being a little downtrodden.
Here's another of my 1976 photos, showing a monument of some kind, taken from the road. The second image has taken on a distinctly sepia tone, despite it having been taken around the same time as the first. Others have too, as shown below

Ducks and reflections in a snowy stream running through the woods where I walked

A snowy walk and an encounter with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

More snowy scenes from my walk

The Solingen home of my hosts during my stay, the Felix family
Just today I discovered  an article published in 1972 in the Australian Women's Weekly about one of the first German students to come to Australia on the same exchange scheme and she mentioned that she had wanted to get on the scheme ever since an Australian exchange student came to her school in Solingen a couple of years earlier. Can you guess who that must have been?  Nice to know that my visit had some effect on at least one person there! The relevant article can be read here, plus one about my being awarded the scholarship here.

The sepia Saturday prompt above also brought to mind our first trip overseas with our four children in December 1992, and in particular a walk we took from the village of Fussen up to King Ludwig's fairytale castle Neuschwanstein. Apparently the walk was only around 4.5 km long, but at the time it seemed endless and the fun of trudging through the snowy landscape did not last that long, with the cold temperature and some very wet feet getting the better of us all before we reached our destination.

Setting off, and resting en route
The views when we finally got there, of Neuschwanstein Castle (bottom) and of Hohenschwangau (top), another castle further away also owned by The mad King Ludwig, 

An easier way to make the journey.  I think we caught a bus back down the hill.

The walkers have recovered, back in the pretty little village of Fussen. Happy birthday to our son Strahan
here, who turns 33 today.

Map of our walk

The further walk we did not take, from Neuschwanstein to Hohenschwangau Castle. In the circumstances it was a few steps too far!

That's enough of snowy roadsides and snowy walks from me, now just 'let your fingers do the walking' and head over to Sepia Saturday #388 for more posts prompted by that snowy road in Sheffield.