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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.