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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Circulating libraries in Kensington and Moonee Ponds

I have added two photos of shops with circulating libraries, one in Macaulay Road to the Flemington and Kensington list, and the other in Pascoe Vale Road to the Moonee Ponds list.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Agnes Thomson, photographer

'Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild', &c. (Agnes Thomson, Ascot Vale).
THE VICTORIAN AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHIC ASSOCIATION'S EXHIBITION. (1905, February 18). Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918), p. 35. 

Agnes Scott Thomson's father was a commercial traveller called Murray Thomson.  Murray was born in Edinburghshire in 1843, and was an older man of 37 when he wed Susannie Jones, 27, in Lancashire in 1880. They had two daughters, Susannie Manley and Agnes Scott before emigrating to Victoria.   

The date of their arrival in Victoria is not certain, but they were here in time for the whole family to be included in the 1903 Electoral Roll.  Agnes Thompson (sic) was an “artist”, and her sister Susannie  was  recorded as a “milliner”.   

Agnes' particular interest lay in photography, and her name appears in many newspaper accounts of photographic exhibitions and competitions.  She was often a prize-winner of competitions and can be regarded as a leading amateur photographer in the early part of the nineteenth century. 

Agnes first began being noticed as a prize winner in photographic competitions was in 1903, competing in interstate competitions as well as in Victoria.  Her particular genre included still lifes of fruit and flowers, animals and children, and landscapes and seascapes.

By about 1907 Agnes had begun to operate as a commercial photographer, from a studio at her parents home in Milton Street, and later North Street, Ascot Vale.  In 1910 she was the President of the Victorian Ladies' Photographic Association.

To see  a fuller account of Agnes's photographic business, go to Agnes Thomson, Photographer.

Photo by Agnes Thomson, Ascot Vale,  Punch (Melbourne,1909, April 15 ), p. 27.

Photo by Agnes Thomson. Ascot Vale. BRIDAL GROUP AT THE MARRIAGE OF MR. V. H. COOPER TO MISS F. R. TROTMAN. Celebrated at St. Thomas's Church, Moonee Ponds, on 2nd November, and afterwards at "Shelton,", Moonee Ponds, the residence of Mr. John Beale.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Seventy-seven in one class at Essendon State School!

Ah, the good old days, when there were seventy-seven children in one class!   Essendon State School, Grade 6, circa 1915-16.   From the Moonee Valley Library Service Heritage Collection, HER-00182.  The venerable old peppercorns in this photo have lately come tumbling down to accommodate building works.    You can see this and other monster class sizes on the Time Travellers website.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Nothing but Fun at the Moonee Ponds Meths!

Moonee Ponds Methodist Church, circa 1916.  Courtesy of the McDonald family.
This photo shows the vista along Pratt Street of the Moonee Ponds Methodist Church which the Victoria Heritage Register considered so significant it made up part of the statement of significance for the church.    The Moonee Valley Council, which doesn't pay any attention to heritage significance, has reduced this vista to a shadow of its former self.  Let's remember that when we vote in the next Council election.

This church was the centre of a busy social scene in the early 20th Century which is amply illustrated by the McDonald family photo collection which we are now privileged to see.  The photos cover the Moonee Ponds Methodist Debating Society,  the Moonee Ponds Methodist Cricket Club,  the Wattle Club for boys, and various Sunday School picnics and tennis parties. If you go to the Time Travellers Church webpage, you will find a list of pages associated with the church.  Many of the group photos have unknown faces in them, so if your relatives attended this church between 1916 and 1925 you might help us with identifying them.  

The McDonald brothers Bert and Harold attended Essendon State School so there are now additional class photos, from 1902 to 1908, to the one mentioned in the post  last Wednesday.  The brothers played cricket for the Moonee Ponds Methodist church, but in the 1920s played in a premiership team for the North Essendon Methodist Church Cricket Club.

The elder brother Bert McDonald joined the AIF in 1917, but was discharged for medical reasons before embarkation.   Several of his friends from the Wattle Club joined up, and the McDonald photo collection contains a handful of snaps of those young men, in particular Arthur Hutchison who played in the North Essendon Methodist Cricket Club; and Alec Hosking and Bill Heathershaw.  Other friends who joined up are included in the photo of the the Moonee Ponds Methodist premiership cricket  team of 1912-1913. Some of these have been identified, but others not.

The junior Wattle Club, circa 1916.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Essendon State School, Grade 5, 1902

In the history of Essendon State School, Follow the Gleam by Adrian Jones, teacher David "Fatty" Williams was noted as being rather quick to give boys the cuts, but when you see the size of his class - 73 Grade 5 boys - you can see why.   You can see this and other photos of Essendon State School on the Time Travellers website, along with a new photo of 61 Hoddle St, Essendon from 1918.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Alpha Book Lounge

A new title from the Alpha Book Lounge has been located in the Christ Church Op Shop, North Essendon, by Marilyn Kenny.  Once again, this relic of a circulating library can tell us about the sort of books the libraries stocked, the length of time they spent on the shelf, changes in opening hours and the fact that the library was co-located with a dry cleaning business, and expands the time period we know the library operated.  Click on the link above for more details about the Alpha Book Lounge which operated in Napier St, Strathmore from about 1953 to 1974.  This is an earlier post on the Alpha Book Lounge.

House photos of Essendon and Flemington

"Anchorage", 25 Carlyle St, Moonee Ponds, circa 1908.  
Courtesy of Louise Falk.

In view of the speed with which the old homes of the district are being demolished and replaced, I have begun a new section of the Time Travellers website for original photos of the old homes.  You can find the link from the front page.   The house above is "Anchorage', still standing at 25 Carlyle St, Moonee Ponds.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

St Thomas' Grammar School, Moonee Ponds

The new St Thomas' Grammar School buildings, opened in 1910. The school itself began in 1906, operating in the St Thomas' Sunday School classrooms.   Their new buildings was on the site of the present day Sam Merrifield Library in Mt Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds, next to the St Thomas' vicarage, seen on the right of the school.   Ruth Hollick, a notable Melbourne photographer who lived in Moonee Ponds, took a series of photos of the school and the boys, which you can see on the Time Travellers website.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Galloping Development

Gone - 22 Park Street, Moonee Ponds.  Photo courtesy of Dian Williams.
As the old homes of the district are being demolished at an alarming rate, I have started a new section of the Time Travellers website devoted to original House Photos by Street and Suburb.  It goes without saying that this is a work in progress.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Cranford Library, Surrey Hills

This book had been part of the circulating library known as the Alpha Book Lounge which operated at 321 Napier St, then North Essendon, now Strathmore.  The Apha Book Lounge had operated between 1957 and 1974.  The Alpha lending stamps inside the book indicate it had been loaned between 1956 and 1960 (though other pages might have been removed), but the back cover, above, shows that the book had previously been part of the collection of the Cranford Library in Surrey Hills.  The history of that particular library has been researched by the Surrey Hills history group, and their findings so far have been posted on Facebook:  Surrey Hills History Facebook

Advertisements in the For Sale columns of  major daily newspapers carried many ads for whole collections of books.  Whether this was invariably because of the closing down of a particular business, or part of the process of freshening up their collection is not certain.

It is a  long time since dangerous criminals concentrated on jewel-theft for a living.  These days the  ice is usually of a different kind.

The book is courtesy of Marilyn Kenny via the Book Nook, Christ Church Op Shop, Essendon North

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Tullamarine Freeway Construction, 1965 to 1968

In 1965 Allan Mitchell Williams of 27 Hillsyde Parade, Strathmore, took out his camera to record, from his front verandah, the path of the coming Strathmore By-pass Road.  Over the next few years he periodically recorded the progress of construction, In the photo above, the Moonee Ponds Creek valley has only the Broadmeadows train line passing through.  Some of the house on the far side would be removed.  In the foreground is the long metal roof of Strathmore High School. 

You can see Allan's photos at the Time Travellers of Essendon, Flemington and the Keilor Plains website.  If you wish to be advised of new material on the Time Travellers website, follow or subscribe to this blog.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Additional photos for Time Travellers

This week we revisit the Directory of Local Photographers where a handful of new photos illustrate the props and backdrops in the local studios.  The most recent are indicated in red typeface at the above link. 

The photo above of Jack Mitchell Williams as a St Thomas' Choir boy was taken in the Leighton Studios in Margaret St, Moonee Ponds in about 1913.

A previously unknown photographer, Lee and Co has been identified,  

These new photos are courtesy of Allan and Craig Williams.

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Dover Studios, Moonee Ponds

This wedding photo from the Dover Studios in Moonee Ponds circa 1930s is interesting because of the new painted window backdrop with the same lino and fluffy woollen mat on the floor behind the couple.  The bride's Marcel waves and Juliet cap with veil will probably allow a closer date

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Midwives and Doctors of Essendon and Flemington - Index

Nurses and midwives in training, circa 1880-1890.  Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, H2005.34/100. 
Two indexes have been added to the Time Travellers of Essendon and Flemington website - Midwives of Essendon and Flemington and Doctors of Essendon and Flemington.  The names have been extracted from Victorian births records over a period of years, and of course is incomplete.

One of the early Registrars in Flemington was Dr Joseph Paterson.   Despite the regulations requiring the registrar to record the names of accouchers  or midwives, who attended births, Paterson failed to carry out his duty and neglected to record any women who attended births, even if there was no doctor present.   The "No Medical Attendant" listings in the Doctors' Index are due to Paterson recording this instead of recording who *did* attend the birth.   Likewise, it is notable that of all the births he attended himself, no women attendants were recorded.  Whether there were any at all will remain a mystery. 

Paterson was not only a misogynist, but he took his fee for a duty only partially performed.  He may not have been a particularly competent doctor, either.

In 1861 he was called to attend Agnes Dick who claimed to have taken strychnine. A neighbour, Mrs Kelleher, who was noted around the district as a nurse and midwife, was the first person called. Mrs Kelleher sent for Dr Paterson.  The symptoms Agnes displayed were pain in her bowels, back and limbs, and she also fitted just before Dr Paterson arrived.   Mrs Kelleher may have told Paterson that she agreed with Agnes that she had taken strychnine.  Paterson however decided Agnes was suffering from 'mental excitement', a well-known medical phenomenon of the time.  He gave her "something in a tablespoon" and left.  He returned an hour and a half later, just before Agnes died.

Paterson appeared at the inquest and stood by his initial diagnosis of "mental excitement", and fellow doctor John Dunbar Tweeddale backed him up. The inquest jury was not so sure and requested examination by the Government analytical chemist, Dr John Madacam, who duly reported strychnine in the contents of the stomach.

Paterson's reputation didn't seem to suffer from this misdiagnosis, and he was shortly after appointed the first Health Officer of the new District Borough of Essendon and Flemington.  More details about this case appear in my book Murder and Misfortune on the Mount Alexander Road.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Probably a Sears photo, Newmarket, circa 1910

This photo is from the State Library of Victoria Collection, H93.406/48.  In its comments, the library states "Embossed on mount u.r. (just visible): OSIT STATION. (Possibly SEARS? On mounts SEARS sometimes printed "OPP., STATION, NEWMARKET".)  Although the SLV dates the photo to circa 1885, it is from a later period, the younger women's hairstyles being of an Edwardian style.  The cleanshaven younger men also point to a post 1900 date.

The family in the photo may be one of the more prosperous families of Flemington.  Alternatively the family could have been from Essendon. John A Sears was listed in the 1897 Sands & McDougall Directory living in Laluma St, Essendon.   If you can identify any of the people in the photo, please get in touch.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

The Essendon Garden Army, 1942-1943

Labour shortages during WW2 led to all sorts of difficulties on the the home front, including shortages while doing the weekly veg shopping.  Britain was already Digging for Victory, and by 1942 Australia needed to dig in as well, and formed the Garden Army.   The Essendon Garden Army created the earliest community gardens.  There were large garden plots dotted about the City of Essendon, the largest being at Fairbairn Park, as in the photo above.  Marilyn Kenny looks in detail at the Essendon Garden Army production, right down to the last bunch of carrots, and the personalities involved in making it work.  You can read the story of The Essendon Garden Army, 1942-1943 by clicking on the link.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Edith Peard: the making of a New Woman

The brass plaque Edith attached to the gate of the family home in Essendon.
Edith Fleetwood Peard was born in the northeast of Victoria in 1869. She began performing on piano for the public as a young girl at Glenrowan and later at Essendon when her family moved closer to 'Marvellous Melbourne' in 1890.  A decade of financial struggle to make a family living in the Depression of the 1890s followed, the family being largely sustained by the mother Charlotte Peard's poultry farm enterprise. 

Discussions on the New Woman were common in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Women were setting aside notions of dependence on family and husband and seeking alternatives to marriage and children.  Edith obtained a scholarship 1902 to attend the Melbourne Conservatorium to qualify as a music teacher and forge her own path to personal economic independence.  By the end of the Great War two of her siblings had joined her in the family home at Essendon which was then used to sustain three businesses - Edith's music tuition, her brother Richard's carpentry business, and her sister Kate's dressmaking business.  You can read the full story of this hardworking and independent-minded family on my website, and share in the stories of the Glenrowan Tiger, the Kelly family, Plymouth Rocks and Leghorns, and get some of the flavour of the social set of Essendon in the early 20th century.  Click here to enjoy the full story.

Edith's brass plaque can be seen on the gate of the family home in Robb St, Essendon, circa 1906.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Ascot Vale West State School Basket Ball Team, Premiers 1928

This basket ball team from Ascot Vale West State School won the  Fitzgerald Cup, donated by Essendon Councillor Fitzgerald for a competition of the northern district State Schools, 1928,  Alice Lane is in the front row on the left.  If anyone knows the names of any of the other players, please get in touch.  You can see this photo and one for 1929 on the Time Travellers website.

Friday, 13 May 2016

The Dover Studios, Moonee Ponds

This portrait of Arthur Henry Anderson, born 1918, was taken circa 1924 at the Dover Studios, Moonee Ponds.  The Dover Studios by this time was being operated by Frank Rider after the death of the original proprietor, Frank Vallance.  The studio backdrop, however, is different from photos dating from 1924, and it may be that Rider was still in Vallance's old premises in Puckle Street. It seems, however, that the long woollen rug often used in the later Rider photos appears to be in the background of this photo.  You can compare the studio backdrops and the woolly rug at the Time Travellers website.

This photo and others of Anderson family weddings are courtesy of Julie Knight.  The wedding portraits provide useful evidence of the hat styles for bridesmades in the late 1920s.

St Monica's Catholic and Pascoe Vale Schools photos

Courtesy of Julie Knight we have some new school photos for Time Travellers to peruse on the website - the one above from St Monica's, Essendon, in 1922, and two from Pascoe Vale State School in 1925.  If any of you are able to recognise yourselves (or other family members) in these photos, please get in touch. 

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The Wombat Club, Flemington

The Wombat Club was an apparently short-lived social club with rooms in Railway Place East, Flemington (now Pinoak Crescent) around 1892 to 1894.  So who were the members, and what did they get up to?  You can find out at the Time Travellers website.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Fairy Lamps Promised at the Grand Moonlight Concert, 1897

The Moonee Valley Library Service has this leaflet advertising a Grand Moonlight Concert in the Recreation Reserve in Racecourse Road.  The concert, in support of the local library, would feature the Victorian Railways Military Band, the Flemington and Kensington Liedertafel AND beautiful fairy lamp illuminations.  Courtesy of the Community Heritage Collection, Sam Merrifield Library.  

The leaflet has been added to the Time Travellers website to further illustrate the fortunes of the Flemington and Kensington Free Public Library and Mechanics Institute.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Boy on a Bike

This is Bob Kent, a telegram boy in Queenscliff in 1923.  We do not as yet have a photo of a telegram boy from the local area - yet. Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Collection.

Marilyn Kenny has spun us a wonderful new story, called A Boy on a Bike, about telegram boys and postmistresses in Ascot Vale, Moonee Ponds and Essendon.  In this story you will learn about the Essendon Postmistress who rode to work sidesaddle on a Shetland pony; a telegram boy who was highly commended by a customer for delivering a telegram (on foot) within two and a half hours of receiving it at the Essendon Post Office; and ponder the identity of the mysterious Miss Young, postmistress at the Moonee Ponds Post Office.

Don't forget, you can sign up to receive an email alert when there is something new added to the Time Travellers blog and website - see the panel on the right of this page.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Burke and Wills tree again

Courtesy of the Moonee Valley Library Service, HER-00102.
On the grounds that you can never have too many photos of the Burke and Wills tree in Moonee Ponds, this one has turned up in the Moonee Valley Library Service Community Heritage Collection which has lately gone online.

This one has a rural flavour to it with the horse and cow grazing quietly in the background.  The young trees look about the same size as in the photo taken in 1910, which is the year given also by the library.   I have added the photo to the article on the Burke and Wills tree in the Time Travellers website.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Is this Edward Webster Dodgshun of Moonee Ponds?

Most likely the Essendon Lacrosse Club circa 1914.  The man who may be Edward Webster Dodgshun is seated third from the left in the front row.
This photo shows a duffle bag in the foreground labelled E W Dodgshun. It is by no means certain that Dodgshun is in the photo, but the man with the arrow over his head looks similar to the man in the lacrosse team.
This detail from the above photo shows the head of the man possibly Dodgshun straightened for purposes of comparison.

The man in the lacrosse team  on the top photo who may be Dodgshun is evident in several other photos of the Woman Haters' Club.  He is shown to be quite tall in photos where he is standing, and Dodgshun's height according to his WW1 service record was 5 feet 11 and a half inches or 181.6 cm.

Here he is again, third from the left, taller than his friends at the Women Haters' Club.
These and other photos associated with the Woman Haters' Club, have been kindly loaned for scanning by Jenny Ryssenbeek, and will find their way onto the Time Travellers website in the next few weeks.  Identifying and dating the people in the photos will be a challenge, and I warmly welcome any assistance with this.

Monday, 1 February 2016

St Thomas' Church Choir, Essendon, circa 1912

St Thomas' Church Choir, Essendon,  circa 1912.

Help needed with identifications.  Go to Time Travellers to see a larger image and the identifications to date. (Not many!)

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Moonee Ponds Central School 1922

Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Collection, H2008.12/93
Moonee Ponds Central School, Grade 2, 1922 has been added to the Schools section of the Time Travellers website.  Get in touch if you can identify anyone.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Judy Allen's "Gay Social Chatter"

Melbourne's ladies brush up their tiaras for a Royal Ball, 1954
Although Judy Allen wrote a social column for the Essendon Gazette for thirty-five years, from 1947 to 1983, the highlight of her reportage was the Royal Visit in 1954.  For the most part Judy described the major social events of the City of Essendon, and the comings and goings of the people and what they wore for the occasion.  She also made a signficant contribution to charity work in Melbourne and Essendon. 

Follow the link to read Marilyn Kenny's story of Ada Alice Ely, known professionally as Judy Allen, JP, MBE, who became a  local institution.