Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sepia Saturday: Constable Ephraim Smith

I've written about Ephraim Smith several times in this blog. He was my grandfather's grandfather.

Ephraim Smith
Ephraim and his wife, Elizabeth, migrated from England to Australia in 1852. I've written about him selecting land at Dunmunkle (here), about his broken leg (here) and about his arrest in 1851 for being involved in a drunken brawl after a cricket match in his village (here). The last episode amuses me because he led a sober Christian life, raised a large family and worked hard as a farmer and gained the respect of all in his district. And it amuses me because three years after the brawl, in another country, he was employed as a policeman for a few months.

I was reminded of this when I saw the theme photo for this week's Sepia Saturday.


Victoria Police was formed in January 1853 nearly 20 years after the colony was first settled by Europeans. During those 20 years there had been seven independent police forces and the uniform of Victoria Police was influenced by previous uniform styles. The single-breasted tunic was navy blue with a row of white metal buttons and they wore navy trousers in winter and white in summer. They wore a black leather tschako-style cap. So the uniform was probably similar to that worn by the 'men in blue' in the theme photo. Ephraim signed on as a constable in July 1854 and would have had to purchase his own uniform.

Ephraim was 28 years old and had three small sons. The family was living in the Warrnambool area and that's where he served. He left the force after six months, for reasons unknown, and after that time always worked as a farm labourer and farmer.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sepia Saturday: Tints from the past


For Sepia Saturday this week I would have liked to write about shoemaking, cordwaining, bootmaking and cobbling as an occupation because I have ancestors who earned their livings doing just that, and so did my husband. But, I don't have any family photos of them working at their trade. I'll have to leave that for another day when I feel up to writing an essay.

c1963. My younger siblings and me, ready for school, wearing our laced-up school shoes that dad was skilled at repairing. 
This photo makes me laugh. I have no head and John has half a head. Mum could have stepped a little closer!! 
Maybe we were in haste because the school bus was due.
I would have liked to write about my father mending our shoes because he could, and to save money of course. But I don't have any photos and I'm wondering if dad still has his last in his shed so I'll save that for another day as well. 

So, instead, I'm taking another element from the theme photo and posting some tinted photos I have in my collection of found photos. All of them are postcards.



Miss Lily Elsie, an actress.
Maggie Gooney
Post Office, Balmain, Sydney


It will be interesting to see what others have chosen to do this week over at Sepia Saturday.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sepia Saturday: Horses and carts


A great photo for the theme for this week's Sepia Saturday. It's sharp, it's funny, it has mystery and it's very detailed. We Sepians have a lot to choose from. I was tempted to go for the driver of the coach peering around the corner to see what is going on. I was tempted by the loads of luggage. But in the end it was the combination of horses and vehicles that won out.

The following photos are a miscellaneous collection from my albums. All were taken in Victoria in Australia, and show horses pulling various types of carts and wagons used in the country. How long does it take to get a horse and cart ready for transport? And then, at the end of the day, it has to be done in reverse. Such a lot of work.


Spring cart outside the Commercial Hotel, Mitiamo

A wagonload of loose rye grass being stacked on the Alford's farm at Mologa, 1941.

Various carts and wagons at Kooloonong. Dave Larkin is in a spring cart, smoking his pipe.
About eight years ago we visited a very popular tourist site in Ballarat called Sovereign Hill. It is a reconstructed gold mining town. These three photos were taken on that day. I'm always surprised that horses stand so patiently when they are in harness.




I suggest you clip clop on over to Sepia Saturday to see some more fabulous old photos.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Sepia Saturday: Ration coupons


A magazine cover encouraging people to ration food in the US during the war is the theme at Sepia Saturday this week.

Rationing was introduced to Australia in May 1942 but was never as stringent as that imposed on the people of the United Kingdom. Clothing, tea, sugar, butter and meat were rationed and a coupon system established.

This table shows the initial ration amounts and the date rationing was abolished.

ItemDate gazettedDate abolishedQuantity per adult
Clothing12 June 194224 June 1948112 coupons per year
Tea3 July 1942July 19501/2 lb per 5 weeks
Sugar29 August 19423 July 19472 lb per fortnight
Butter7 June 1943June 19501 lb per fortnight
Meat14 January 194424 June 19482 1/4 lbs per week
Source: Australian war Memorial

Petrol was also rationed (the logistics if this was a very tricky problem for the government) and, among other things, car owners were encouraged to use gas producers. Many private cars were put up on blocks in garages for the duration because it was so difficult to obtain petrol. The rationing scheme was very complicated and the paperwork horrendous. I've recently researched a soldier's record that revealed he was court martialled for stealing a gallon of petrol and he was confined for six weeks.

Aunt Lena has some rationing coupons in her photo album. She was a single lady at the time, and a teacher in central Victoria.




The newspapers and magazines at the time helped the war effort by providing articles about rationing and photos of food and clothing made with rations in mind. The Australian Womens Weekly was a popular magazine and I found theses two articles in digitised form on Trove at the National Library.

Australian Womens Weekly 21 Nov 1942
Australian Womens Weekly 11 July 1942
You can see what other bloggers have written on the theme over on the Sepia Saturday webpage.