Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

 On a cheery note, we advise that "you can say it in postcards", circa 1910 :

Oh, strike that! Got it wrong! Meant to say: THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!! ROLL ON 2010!

WW I Song - It's A Long Way to Tipperary - The "Unpublished" Verse

Cover to sheet music for It's A Long Way to Tipperary

It's A Long Way to Tipperary was a popular song amongst the troops on their way to the Western Front in the summer of 1914.when spirits were high, the belief was the war would be short, and before the grim reality of trench warfare sunk in (literally) in the months & years that followed.

Popular again during World War Two, it was sung by German troops as well. The German film, Das Boot, an account of a U-boat crew in World War Two features scenes in which morale is boosted by a rousing playing and singing along of It's A Long Way to Tipperary on the sub's PA system.

The song was written in 1912, two years before the start of WWI, by Jack Judge and Harry Williams. Full lyrics and early recordings can be found here at

In New Zealand, as elsewhere in Britain and the white settler colonies of the British Empire - Australia and  Canada, for example - the song echoed down through the decades of the twentieth century, perhaps fading in the oral tradition and collective memory of the closing decades of that century.

Sung at family gatherings and some community social events after the wars, it gradually became a repeat rendition of the chorus as memorization of the verses lapsed between generations. At least that's how I recall it being sung.

The well-known chorus is:

It's a long way to Tipperary,
It's a long way to go.
It's a long way to Tipperary
To the sweetest girl I know!
Goodbye Piccadilly,
Farewell Leicester Square!
It's a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart's right there.
Too bawdy for mixed or polite company, the following "unpublished" verse - presumably an impromptu invention of some soldier was reserved apparently for when it was sung among the troops. Feel free to let your imagination runaway on you because that was presumably the intent! 

Extra wartime verse

That's the wrong way to tickle Mary,
That's the wrong way to kiss!
Don't you know that over here, lad,
They like it best like this!
Hooray pour le Francais!
Farewell, Angleterre!
We didn't know the way to tickle Mary,
But we learned how, over there!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Boer War Song - Goodbye Dolly Gray

Sheet music cover

Popular during the Spanish-American War of 1898, Goodbye Dolly Gray became a quick favourite among British and colonial troops, including the New Zealanders, with the onset of the Boer War, 1899-1902. The reference to the troops' blue uniforms in the lyrics reveals the American antecedents of the song. With the advent of World War I, Goodbye Dolly Gray once again became a popular refrain.

The song may be heard at First World, with a version sung by Canadian singer Harry MacDonough in 1901 here.

Goodbye Dolly Gray

I have come to say goodbye, Dolly Gray,
It's no use to ask me why, Dolly Gray,
There's a murmur in the air, you can hear it everywhere,
It's the time to do and dare, Dolly Gray.

So if you hear the sound of feet, Dolly Gray,
Sounding through the village street, Dolly Gray,
It's the tramp of soldiers' true in their uniforms so blue,
I must say goodbye to you, Dolly Gray.

Goodbye Dolly I must leave you, though it breaks my heart to go,
Something tells me I am needed at the front to fight the foe,
See - the boys in blue are marching and I can no longer stay,
Hark - I hear the bugle calling, goodbye Dolly Gray.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Flyger Funeral Furnishers - "Prices to Suit All Classes" - Cuba Street Wellington, 1905

 J Flyger & Co, Funeral Furnishers and Embalmers, advertisement in "The Maori and Pakeha Carnival, Vivian Street Citadel". Music Programme, page13, 1905. Alexander Turnbull Library.

As often happens, while researching other matters my interest was piqued by this ad for Flyger's funeral services in a music programme.

If Tonking's linseed emulsion failed to cure your cough in 1905 - see top banner ad - you could apparently count on Mr Flyger and his flying team of horses to furnish you a good send-off. Flyger it seems was an equal opportunity undertaker, advertising he had "prices to suit all classes".

Cheery stuff as you browsed the music programme during intermission. Death, as folks well knew in 1905, is always with you.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

More Trams at New Brighton, 1945 - 1948

Tram at New Brighton, probably on Seaview Road, 8 January 1948, Christchurch. Photo: Ross McQueen

For the tram enthusiasts, a few more photos of trams at New Brighton, Christchurch, from a later time period in the mid to late 1940s. The consist in the above photo is identified as a "Boon 154 tram, ex-decker trailer 143". Not much has changed in terms of trams from the circa 1920s photos in earlier posts.


The No. 5 Tram en route to New Brighton on Bexley Road, January 1948. Photo: Ross McQueen.

 The tram shed at New Brighton, February 1945. Photo: Ross McQueen.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas, Dear Readers!

 A Merry Christmas to Our Readers! We hope Santa was nice to you.

Have some fun!

A message to those we won't be spending Christmas with this year: 'Til our next meeting!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Home on the Afternoon Tram from New Brighton, circa 1910s

 Catching the tram to the Square from the Pier, New Brighton, Christchurch, circa early 1910. The pier is off to the left. Photo: F N Jones, Nelson. click on images for enlarged view.

The Esplanade, New Brighton, showing the Pier, band rotunda, and gardens, early 1900s. The new pier is proximate to the location of the one pictured and the new public library & cafe is about where the building is located in the picture.

The Tram Terminus at New Brighton, circa 1910s.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Life in Postcards Blog - An Announcement

Main Street, Eketahuna, Wairarapa, New Zealand, circa 1909. Muir & Moodie.
click on image for larger view.

Announcing the birth of a companion blog to the New Zealand Journal: My Life In Postcards. Baby and father are doing well; we don't know who the mother is ;)

Readers of this blog may be interested in the new offspring for the simple reason that since it is authored by yours truly, a Kiwi, it will likely have significant New Zealand content though its editorial brief is much broader than that. The opening post is about a trio of postcards of Eketahuna in the Wairarapa of New Zealand - and "The Man".

We will continue, of course, our offerings here, as sporadic as they sometimes can be, on all things New Zealand that catch our interest and imagination.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Slip, Slop, Slap & Wrap - New Zealand Sun Smart 2006 Ad

SUN SMART courtesy of 'Cancer Society of New Zealand' and the "Health Sponsorship Council"; ,
If you're going to be outdoors at New Brighton beach or elsewhere this southern summer, don't forget to "Slip, slop, slap and wrap", as Tiger advises. 
Those of us exiled to the frozen northern hemisphere shall fight off the frost bite and get in a little ice-fishing.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ernie Hinds - The World's Original Fastest Indian? at New Brighton, 1914-1917

Ernie Hinds on a 1000c Indian motorcycle at New Brighton, circa 1914, 

In the early decades of the twentieth century, New Brighton beach, Christchurch, was a popular venue for organized motorcycle races. Ernest (Erie) N F Hinds was a leading racer, seen above with admiring fans on his 1000c Indian motorcycle.

Years before Bert Munro of The World's Fastest Indian movie fame, Ernie Hinds was scorching up & down New Brighton beach breaking Australasian records on his Indian. How many know of Ernie Hinds today, one wonders?

Motor World, NZ Truth, 27 January, 1917, p. 12

 Ernie Hinds on his 1916 Indian Motorcycle in Christchurch, 1916.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Take a Paddle Before the Bikies Arrive - New Brighton, Christchurch, early 1900s

The Weekly Press, 31 May 1905, p. 40, Christchurch City Libraries.

With the advent of the infernal (!) combustion engine, a tranquil paddle at the water's edge on New Brighton beach was an endangered pastime for a few decades.

Above, the start of the 9 mile scratch race of the Christchurch Motor and Cycling Club's motor races at New Brighton Beach in 1905.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Brighton, Christchurch - A Postcard Mosaic, early 1900s

New Brighton, a seaside suburb of Christchurch, NZ, early 1900s. 
Click on pictures for a larger view.



On the Beach at New Brighton, Christchurch, New Zealand - 1916

Time for a little sun, a cooling sea breeze...
New Brighton, Christchurch, circa 1916