Friday, October 2, 2015

Sepia Saturday: The best medicine

In September 1918 Roy Phelan was on the front line in France when he was badly injured, hit on the head by shrapnel. Somehow, in the middle of all the noise and mayhem, Roy was stretchered out and taken to a Field Hospital at Abbeville behind the lines, and then across the channel to England. He spent months in hospitals in England recuperating and was still very ill when he returned to Australia but recovered and lived a long and happy life.

His family back in Australia were informed that he was seriously ill and the first few letters they received from Roy after he was injured were written by a nurse. This one was written to Ann Sims who was later to become his wife.

29th Sept 18
Dear Miss Sims
3782 Pte R.J. Phelan, 46th Btn, asked me to write to you to let you know he was admitted to this Hospital, the Third Australian General, on the 18th inst.
He has a nasty wound in his head but has shown a slight improvement the last couple of days. He is quite cheerful again.
He asked me to explain to you that he will be unable to write to you for some little time yet.
He sends you his best love.
With best wishes
I remain
Yours faithfully
P. Murdock
(Aust. Red Cross)

Amazingly, I found a photo of Miss Murdock and the other nurses who served at the 3rd Australian Hospital on the Australian War Memorial's website.

Miss Murdock is second from the right in the back row.
Roy gradually recovered his health and his good humour and wrote home about some of the concert skits and social occasions he had been involved in and made light of his health problems. But some of his treatment must have been truly awful and he would have seen his fellow inmates going through some tough times as well. He sent home these two postcards. Maybe laughter is the best medicine.

Watching someone else being "done"!
Being "done" oneself!
This blog was in response to the Sepia Saturday theme image below, a cutout bookmark advertising medicine. I can't imagine what medicine Roy would have had to take but you can see what others have written on the same theme here.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sepia Saturday: Sisters

The theme photo for Sepia Saturday this week is two sisters with their dogs, so I've chosen some photos of sisters in our family albums. Except for the first one, which, as it turns out, most closely matches the theme photo. It's of twins, probably from the Leeds area of England. That's all I know because it's a photo I purchased online, a 'found' photo.

From time to time I purchase random albums or bundles of photos because I think old snaps are interesting and scanning them to post on Flickr  gives them a second life. Goodness knows what I'll do long term with the originals - maybe the family will sell them again when I'm gone. It must be a common problem for all collectors.

The twins are neatly dressed in matching clothes and hairstyles, but there's only one dog. And it's yet another photo where the subjects are asked to look into the sun:) Maybe the 1950s?

And here are some family photos, three generations of sisters. First my mother-in-law Shirley and her sister Mary in the 1920s. Then me and my sister Anne in the 1960s (with a dog and a lamb). Then my daughters Kerrie and Gemma in the 1980s. There is a younger generation but they are all boys.

Shirley (left) and Mary Alford
Lorraine and Anne
Kerrie and Gemma
You can find more sisters or dogs over at Sepia Saturday.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Bondi Beach

These four photos are in a Phelan family album. It's Bondi beach, Sydney, some time in the 70s I think. Bondi isn't in our patch so it must have been a holiday. I suspect that the photographer didn't even venture on to the beach because the photos appear to have been taken from a car park, and probably on the same day. They probably just went to have a look at the famous beach. Nowadays about three million people a year visit the beach - but not all at the same time fortunately. On a warm weekend in summer you might have to share with only 40 000 other people.

Coastal New South Wales is almost like a foreign country to us because we never visited when I was a child growing up in the neighbouring state of Victoria, and my husband's family was the same. If we wanted a day at the beach or a holiday on the coast we went to one of the numerous sandy beach towns along the south coast of Victoria. And we never saw crowds like this. Sometimes we had the long stretches of sand to ourselves.

One disadvantage of our beach visits was that we didn't have surf lifesavers watching, we didn't have to swim 'inside the flags' (note the red and yellow flag on the left of the first photo), but luckily none of us ever had a mishap in the ocean. This beach is the home of the first lifesaving club, established in 1907.

I've never been to Bondi. Should an Aussie admit to such a thing?

Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach and famous Bondi Baths built in 1931.
The baths are saltwater and tidal and have a heritage classification. In fact, the whole beach has a heritage value. The baths are also the home of the Bondi Icebergs, a club for people who swim there throughout the year.

Bondi Beach
This photo was taken on a different family holiday at Mission Beach in Queensland. Warm days and kilometres of sandy beach to share with ... hardly anyone else.

Mission Beach, Queensland. 1990s
This post is in response to the theme photo, a postcard of Bondi as it used to be. You can see more responses over at Sepia Saturday. Or you could pack your bags and head downunder in time for summer.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sepia Saturday: YMCA teams

I'm on the road on a caravan holiday this week and don't have access to my old picture files, but I do have access to the photos I scanned for the Genealogical Society of Victoria so I've selected one of theirs.

The photo was taken in the 1920s in Victoria at a YMCA camp. It appears to be the volleyball and baseball teams, in white 'uniforms'. Perhaps the teams are defined by the colour of the tie each man is wearing, or maybe it's a YMCA tie. The photo isn't clear enough for me to decide one way or the other.

The young men look happy to be where they are. (As an aside: I wonder if the side part in hair will ever come back.)

YMCA camp baseball and volleyball teams, Victoria, 1920s
This post has been in response to the Sepia Saturday's theme photo in which the women are wearing loosely tied neckties over white dresses.