Saturday, May 23, 2015
This lovely little photo was in the Phelan family's album but I have no idea who the people are but they look like they're having fun
There are a few clues. The two men are wearing the uniform of the AIF, the Australian army. There is a headland on the horizon. The rowboat is made of wood and I can make out the letters X, H and W on the stern. The women are wearing hats with wide brims. It's probable that the photo was taken in England when my husband's grandfather, Roy Phelan, was on leave during World War 1.
I chose this photo in response to Sepia Saturday's theme of 'role reversal' or 'Leap Year' because the women are doing the rowing. There are only two oars visible but hopefully there are four so they don't row in circles.
Monday, May 18, 2015
It must have been a difficult day for Gran's two daughters. Betty (and Doug) and her son Rex were living with Gran in Portland at the time, and Mavis (and Angus) was living half an hour away with me and my four siblings. Rex, John, Kaye and I were all involved in the events and we had been practicing for weeks so, as they say, 'the show must go on'. We had special costumes to wear as well. Here we are outside Gran's house all dressed up ready to go. My young sister Kaye is in the photo above.
But the construction of the wharf in the 1950s and into 1960 was a danger to life and limb! On the library's website there is reference to a film that was made in 2010, in which some of the workers on the project were interviewed. This is a quote:
In January 1961 a ship tied up at the KS Anderson wharf and the loading of bulk oats commenced. The Victorian Oatgrowers and Marketing Co Ltd had been granted exclusive use of the transit shed on the wharf to store the oats. It was the first bulk shipment from a Victorian port.
Source: Final Report of the State Development Committee on the Bulk Handling of Oats and Barley in Victoria, 1963. www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/
|First bulk oats shipment from Portland.|
If you want to see more dangerous situations you could wander over and have a look at other Sepia Saturday blogs posted in response to this Sepia Saturday theme photo.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
|Ghan workers tapping in to the telephone line in central Australia 1942. [Photo: D Kendall]|
The place is central Australia near Alice Springs. The year is 1942 - it's the middle of the war. Our friend Don was an Australian soldier stationed at Darwin when he and a mate were told to find their own way south to Melbourne and report for duty at the Air Force base at Point Cook because their applications to transfer to the RAAF had been accepted.
Sounds simple, doesn't it? The problem was that Darwin is a long way from Melbourne, especially in war time. It's 3,800 kms and the population is very sparce for most of the way. The road was really just a track for most of the way. They had very little money and the army provided them with a few food vouchers and travel passes but they had to organise their own route.
So, they hitched rides to Alice Springs on various army transport vehicles, then they went by train to Adelaide, and then by another train to Melbourne. It was all a bit of an adventure for two young lads.
|The Ghan railway route today.|
In 1942 the old Ghan route (brown dotted line) from near Adelaide terminated at Alice Springs.
The famous old Ghan was a narrow-gauge railway that opened in 1927 as 'Central Australian Railway'. It ran north to Oodnadatta in 1891 and then to Alice Springs in 1927. Its nickname derives from the Afghan cameleers who were so important in the the early days. (That's another big story, and so is the story of the difficulties encountered in the building of the Ghan railway.) The new Ghan is one of the great railway journeys of the world - all the way from Darwin to Adelaide in comfort. The old Ghan was a different story as weather and the environment played havoc with the infrastructure so travellers never quite knew when they would arrive at their destination.
For the purpose of this blog suffice to say that the telegraph line was extremely important and so was the Ghan, and that they followed the same route for much of their journey through the tough Australian landscape.
In 1942 Don and his mate travelled south from Alice Springs on the old Ghan and in Don's photo we can see that some of the workers on the Ghan are in the middle of nowhere tapping in to the telegraph line to set up some sort of temporary communication.
This post is in response to Sepia Saturday's theme photo of electrical linesmen in Tasmania.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
|Women's Land Army, England, WW2|
My photo this week is one I purchased several years ago. It was in an album of family snapshots taken in England in the 1940s and some of a family living near Perth in Western Australia. As there were no surnames in the album I have no idea who the people were but I have uploaded them to my Flickr page so maybe someone one day will recognise a friend or relative.
There were about ten interesting photos of Women's Land Army activities in the album, including this one. The women appear to be wearing the land army uniform and would have been employed in using the horses to prepare the fields. As the same women are in several of the photos I assume the land army was organised so that the same women worked together over time.
The smiles seem to indicate genuine enjoyment, the women having fun together on a summer's day and enjoying each other's company as well as the hard work. Hopefully the horses were happy on their food break as well.
To see more working horses I suggest you trot on over to Sepia Saturday's webpage and follow the blog links.