Sunday, February 28, 2010

Franz Josef Glacier - South Westland - Travel Poster - circa 1930s

 Franz Josef Glacier, South Westland, Travel Poster, circa 1930s

Visit the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers before global warming melts them both away. 

Some fond memories of this part of the country come to mind. One, participation in an environmental protection conference at Fox or Franz in the 70s to protect the native beech forest from logging. It is of some personal satisfaction to know that eventually some of it did get protected. Small individual efforts by many can cumulatively result in progress. Is there still time for the same with respect to countering global warming?

Another memory: staying at one of the hotels like the one pictured above in the dying days of the Government's Tourist Hotel Corporation. It was quaintly 1950s or 60s in decor in the late 1980s, not by conscious design but benign indifference. Somehow it was like walking into one of these travel posters. A way of living the past.

Technically, the scene pictured above is from a travel brochure rather than a travel poster.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cattle Droving, South Westland - Travel poster - circa 1930s

 Travel poster, Cattle Droving, South Westland, artist Marcus King, circa 1930s

Cattle droving on a fine South Westland day as the Herefords cross a frigid, glacial-fed river.

No, Jayne: not South West Island which would be Tasmania, right? And we'll have none of yer Drover's Run, McLeod's Daughters stuff on this side of the Tazzie, thank you very much! ;)

Friday, February 26, 2010

TEAL Flying Boat - Mosgiel Woollen MIlls ad, 1939

 Mosgiel Woolen Mills advertisement,  New Zealand Railways magazine, July 1 1939

While not a travel poster, the above magazine ad for Mosgiel knitwear seeks to make the connection between the state of the art TEAL flying boat of 1939 and the stylish woollen knitwear.

The intellectual property lawyer within Kuaka wonders if Mosgiel properly arranged licensing of the TEAL flying boat image and HMV's (His Master's Voice") intellectual property - the close reference to "His Master's Knitwear". Methinks, probably not. Just a little borrowing. Today there'd be a posse of lawyers swarming all over this ad cranking up the billable hours. 

Much pleasanter to gaze reflectively out over the harbour thinking of the TEAL flying boat making a landing in Evan's Bay, Wellington... like this view:

TEAL flying boat Aotearoa landing in Wellington Harbour bringing Brtiish and Australian representatives to the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition, 19 January 1940.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Union Airways Travel Poster - Main Trunk New Zealand - mid 1930s

Union Airways travel poster, circa mid 1930s

Union Airways, a subsidiary of the Union Steamship Company, commenced operation on the Main Trunk Route - which left Auckland out off the main trunk! Non-Aucklanders will be appreciative of this, no doubt. Just desserts and all that. Apparently, it was considered that the express rail service on the North Island Main Trunk line meant that air transport could not compete effectively with rail. How wrong they were in the long run. 

Union Steamship, the Southern Octopus as it has been called, extended its tentacles out to regional routes as well but within a relatively few years it was clear that a shipping line had no comparative advantage in operating an air service.

De Havilland airliner Karoro (gull) being loaded at Palmerston North airport, circa 4 November 1936.

De Havilland DH86 Express biplane, Kotuku, circa 1939, possibly at Rongotai, Wellington (according to Turnbull library, but I'm not convinced!)

Creasture Comforts...
Interior of an aircraft possibly a De Havilland Express in the 1930s.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Zealand Centennial Exhibition, Wellington 1939 - 1940

 New Zealand Centennial Exhibition sticker, 1929-1940

The First Labour Government, elected in 1935, saw the centennial of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1940 as an opportunity to celebrate New Zealand's national identity. But by September 1939 with the British declaration of war against the Germans, New Zealanders once again found that "where Britain goes, we go". It was a bitter pill to swallow decades later in the early 1970s, that where Britain went - the European Common Market, New Zealand couldn't. So much for dumb loyalty.

When the Sesquicentennial rolled around in 1990, New Zealand had moved on. The event itself turned out to be a damp squib. Assigned an area along the Wellington waterfront a free market Labour government 180 degrees turned around from the ethos of the First Labour government put up a half-hearted effort to celebrate given its policy platform of full cost recovery, outsourcing to the private sector, and the contentious public debate of the continuing role of the Treaty in modern New Zealand life. Attendance was abysmal. Auckland got the Commonwealth Games.

Some more advertising images for the 1940 Centennial - click on images for larger view:

 Travel poster pitched to overseas tourists

For those who wanted amusement rides - a map of the Fun of the Fair, 1940

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Zealand For Your Next Holiday - Maori Girl - Travel Poster - circa 1927-29

New Zealand travel poster circa 1927-1929

Why not weave a nice harakeke (flax) kete on your next holiday? Indeed, why not travel to New Zealand to do so? C'mon you spuds, off the couch, pack a bag, leave the game consoles & 'puters behind, forego the extreme sports, and get in some mahi raranga (art of basket weaving).

You can start with the disposable dinner plates. Yes, throwaways, but 100% recyclable! No need to drag from place to place for the busy traveler. And so much less expensive than a nice carved wooden bowl.

Monday, February 22, 2010

New Zealand - Wonderland of the Pacific - Travel Poster - circa 1930s

Wonderland of the Pacific, Travel poster, circa 1930s

Then there is the exploitation of Maoritanga and womanhood in the travel poster. More difficult in the 2010s for the "Madmen" (Madison Avenue men for those not acquainted with the TV series) to appropriate these cultural territories, not that they don't try. Any nominations for the equivalent of Madison Avenue in the New Zealand context of 1930s or today?

Surprisingly this young wahine with bared right shoulder enticing the tourist to come see all the "wonders" including her good self prominently in the foreground is untroubled to have a geyser erupting (Freudian reference here?) a fraction to her right while her toes are nicely being boiled or perchance just warmed in the hot pool to her left. Yes, you art buffs, I lack "perspective".

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sheep Droving in New Zealand - Travel Poster - circa 1930s

Sheep Droving in New Zealand - Travel Poster - Marcus King - circa 1930s

What gallery of New Zealand travel posters would be complete without a picture of white fluffies sans dags ambling along a country road or bounding across a pasture as a rambunctious hunteraway or a stealthy eye dog steers them towards some unseen gateway or set of yards?

In this Marcus King poster, electric power pylons string out down the valley showcasing the expanding role of hydro power dams in the southern lakes and rivers region of the South Island. So, the engineers - nationbuilders that they were - also get a look in.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Marlborough Sounds - Travel Poster - circa 1930s

The Marlborough Sounds, northern Southern Island, travel poster, circa 1930s

Well cleared of the native bush by the turn of the twentieth century, the Marlborough Sounds had taken on the golden brown & yellow tones that we know today. In the Government Tourist Department's poster above, a Cook Strait ferry can be seen heading down one of the sounds. A bush remnant stands in foreground with the archetypal fern ground cover.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Captain Cook - Shaw Savill & Albion Line - Travel Poster, circa 1931

Shaw Savill & Albion Line Travel Poster, circa 1931

Poster depicting Captain James Cook with  Mt Egmont/Taranaki in background. The caption reads "Mt Egmont sighted by Captain Cook in 1770" (click on image for larger view).

Of course, local Maori had sighted Taranaki, their name for the mountain, quite some time before, thank you very much!

Presumably the shipping line was playing to the British pride in their explorers like Cook having sailed the deep blue seas and painted the map red with territory for the British Empire. Now (in 1931), the upwardly mobile - those still standing after two years of the Great Depression - could go see for themselves what Cook wrote about in his superb journals.

Personal note: Kuaka slogged his way to the top of Taranaki some years ago, got a mild case of altitude sickness - mild headache - for his troubles, and some great photos of the Shark's tooth & the crater - which have been "misplaced", naturally, in the intervening years.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Whanganui River - The Rhine of Maoriland - Travel Poster, circa 1930

Shaw Savill Shipping Line travel poster for the Whanganui River, circa 1930

Billed as "The Rhine of Maoriland" by the tourist moguls, the Whanganui river was a much traveled waterway reached by steamer from the western coastline of the North Island into the interior, up into edges of the King Country. The steamer varied in size as the river became shallower and narrower, with a houseboat providing one of the tourist accommodations part way up the river. By the time the travel poster above was produced around 1930, the days of water borne tourism were numbered with roads opening up the interior, tourists could now be transported more readily by motor coach.

The following scenic postcards date from the early 1900s, capturing some of the images of Maori life on the river. The wahine with a camera motif was a trademark for a series of cards produced for the tourist trade as well as for pakeha New Zealanders to mail "Home" to show just how exotic was this place they had emigrated to.

Whanganui River near Atene, postcard, 1910c

Whanganui River scene, circa 1910, postcard

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sportsman's Paradise - Travel Poster - circa 1925-30

Sportsman's Paradise - Travel Poster  - circa 1925-30
For heaven's sake, these days just take a picture, don't catch the big game fish! Successive generations and industrial fishing have plundered enough. Look but don't touch!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Travel Poster - Skiing at Tongariro National Park in the 1930s

Travel Poster, by Marcus King, 1930s

And over she goes, Trev...... (with apologies to Fred Dagg, aka John Clarke).

Skiing in the central North Island as it was romanticised in the 1930s travel poster.

I keep forgetting to remind everyone that clicking on the pic will give you a larger view of the image. So, consider yerself reminded!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chateau Tongariro - Best Reached By Rail - Travel Poster, circa 1932

Chateau Tongariro, National Park, Central North Island, travel poster, circa 1932.

Up for some volcanic activity, some winter sport? 

Why not check into the Chateau Tongariro at National Park, in the central North Island for some seismic, vog and other volcanic fun? See the three mountains, active volcanoes: Mt Tongariro, Mt Ruapehu (ejects frequent lahars), and Mt Ngauruhoe, which last erupted in 1975. Three stalwarts of the Pacific Ring of Fire, get a front seat view.

"Best reached by rail" in 1932...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rotorua - New Zealand's Thermal Wonderland - Travel Poster, 1930s

Rotorua and a view of the hot springs baths in New Zealand's Thermal Wonderland. Travel poster.

Rotorua, the destination for generations of tourists over 130 or more years. A view of the bath house and the hot spring pool at Rotorua. Don't worry about the rotten egg smell from the sulphur emitted into the air by the thermal springs in and around Rotorua. You won't notice it at all after a few days...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Queenstown - New Zealand Railways Travel Poster, 1930s

Queenstown, New Zealand Railways travel poster, 1930s

Queenstown in the southern lakes district of the South Island. Why not take a scenic trip by train & Railways motor (bus)?

Nowadays, the extreme sport, winter sport, night club crowd jet in or tour by air conditioned luxury coach. The hardy types cycle in across the dry landscape in summertime.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Zealand Railways Travel Poster - Tourist Tickets - 1923

New Zealand Railways Travel Poster, 1923.

Perhaps you should buy a tourist ticket when you tour New Zealand. 

These days you may need to jump on a Kiwi Rail freight or coal train to make some connections (reduced rates apply). Or ride a bike trail where the rail bed used to be.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Daylight Express - New Zealand Railways travel poster, 1950s

The Daylight Limited, New Zealand Railways travel poster, 1950s.

Why not ride the Daylight Limited on the North Island Main Trunk Line between Wellington and Auckland? Make a (long, bum-crunching) day of it!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Travel by Steam Train - New Zealand Railways Travel Posters, 1940s

New Zealand Railways travel poster, late 1940s

So how will you get to Caroline Bay, Timaru for your summer holidays? Why by steam locomotive express of course. Tripping by train may have a different meaning in the modern era, remember the Trainspotting move of the 1990s?

New Zealand Railways travel poster for the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition, Wellington, 1939-40.

And now it's February (1940), you can still get cheap fares to travel to the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition in Wellington where you can see the marvellous achievements of our nation over the past 100 years - and catch a rollercoaster or two.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Caroline Bay, Timaru, New Zealand - Travel Poster Art, 1930s


Caroline Bay, Timaru, New Zealand travel poster, 1936-1937

Where I'd rather be right now...

Though apparently this summer has been cool & cloudy in Canterbury, so these lyrics may be apt:

"Goodbye Caroline Skies
Now my friends are gone
This bay has washed away 
And so's the fun."

Caroline Skies, The Exponents.

Ah, the end of summer, a melancholic time... so enjoy the summer moment when it comes.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Benge & Pratt Explosion, Upper Hutt - 1914 - The Aftermath

In the months following the Coroner's verdict on the cause of the Benge & Pratt store explosion, Messrs Benge and Pratt sought to recover their losses from their insurance policy.

The Guardian Assurance Company would have none of it, however, arguing in the Supreme Court in Wellington that Benge & Pratt had violated the terms of the policy which prohibited the storage of explosives as well as the storage of quantities of more than 25 lbs of gun or blasting powder. Benge & Pratt brought suit against Guardian Assurance.

On 11 December 1914, the Chief Justice delivered his verdict that Benge & Pratt had indeed breached the express warranty they gave in the policy, by stating "no" to the question will any hazardous goods listed [in the policy] be stored" on the premises? Thus, Benge & Pratt were unable to recover their business losses through insurance. (Evening Post, 11 December 1914, p. 7)

Back in May 1914, neighbouring store J A Hazelwood & Co was fined a nominal sum of 5 shillings for selling explosive without a license. Benge & Pratt faced a similar action but it was adjourned. It is not clear from the newspaper record what subsequently resulted from the action.

By October 1914, Herbert Benge was again doing business as H V Benge & Co grocery store in Upper Hutt. It appears that Pratt and Benge went their separate ways.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Benge & Pratt Explosion, Upper Hutt - Coroner's Verdict -- Death By Gelignite!

On 28 April, 1914, the District Coroner, W G  Riddell, S.M, rendered his verdict just three days after conclusion of proceedings.

He found, balancing the evidence, that the cause of the explosion was due to gelignite and that this explosion caused the death of the eight men in and around the store that night.

The evidence proffered at the inquest could only account for some 16 lbs of gelignite being sold from the 50 lb case of the explosive received at the store on the previous 6th of February, leaving some 34 lbs unaccounted for.

Other witnesses had failed to come forward to attest to purchases from the store between the 6th of February and the day of the explosion.

This might be accounted for in part because to come forward was to likely result in self-incrimination in illegal use of the gelignite. There was evidence suggesting some of this over the counter trade in gelignite was being used to blow up trout in the Akatarawa and other streams in the Upper Hutt area along with the fact that Benge & Pratt's sales of gelignite were illegal since they had no license or permit to do so.

Both partners, Benge and Pratt, each testified they were not involved directly in the sales of the explosive. The Coroner found that "this might easily have happened". [This surely does not absolve them of responsibility for or knowledge of the sales, thought this was not a criminal proceeding].

The Coroner had heard expert testimony that as little as 10 lbs of gelignite would be sufficient to cause the type and size of explosion that destroyed the Benge & Pratt store and caused the deaths of eight men. He concluded that "one is forced to {the] conclusion that it [the explosion] was due to gelignite in the room above the grocery department".

As to the cause of the fire preceding the explosion, the Coroner could reach no definite conclusion. 

"Due to Gelignite", Evening Post, 28 April 1914, p. 7.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Benge & Pratt Store Fire and Explosion, Upper Hutt - Gelignite? What Gelignite?

If the acetylene gas lighting system did not cause the Benge & Pratt store explosion, what did?

The Coroner's inquest now turned to the question whether gelignite was stored on the premises for sale to the public and whether any remained in the store on 28 March 1914 on the evening of the explosion.

On this matter the evidence was contradictory.

John Vivian, 35 years of age, a storeman employed at Benge & Pratt's told both of the partners and another witness during the fire that no gelignite was stored on the premises and, acting on Vivian's advice, Constable Mahoney told others assisting in efforts to remove property from the building there were no explosives stored there. That Vivian went into the building during the recovery effort and stayed there for periods of time indicated he was firm in his belief there were no explosives present, the Coroner concluded. Vivian, however, was killed in the explosion.

Evidence given at the inquest by Mr Pratt, one of the partners, stated that store did indeed sell gelignite. The bulk of it was sold over the counter in cash sales. Not all of these sales were recorded in the books and even if they were some of the books were lost in the fire.

It was established, however, that Benge & Pratt had received a 50 lb case of gelignite on 6th of February less than two months before the explosion. Pratt testified he had been in the south front room upstairs on the day of the explosion where gelignite and a keg of blasting powder were stored. He had not seen any of the gelignite from the 50lb box present then and was not aware of any other gelignite being present, leaving him to assume all of it had been sold.

When asked whether the business held any permit or licence to stock explosives, Pratt admitted that they had "none whatever". Evening Post, 17 April 1914, p. 8.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Benge & Pratt Store Fire and Explosion, Upper Hutt, What Caused The Fire, April 1914?

Before determining the cause of the explosion, the Coroner's Inquest had to first try to establish the cause of the fire.

Evidence was given that the business' partners, Messrs Benge and Pratt had left the premises at 9:30 pm on Saturday evening after they shut off the gas and locked up the premises. At around 10 pm., Mr. Benge thought he saw a light in the upstairs storey of the building above the grocery. He returned to the building and inspected the upstairs floor but found no sign of anything out of the ordinary. Benge testified that he had used one or two matches when upstairs but the Coroner concluded that the lapse of an hour and a half or more until the first signs of the fire were discovered discounted these matches as being the cause of the fire.

In his verdict, the Coroner, Mr W G Riddell, S.M., noted that matches were stored in the upper room or south front upper room as it was identified in evidence where the fire was likely to have started. He observed that it was "not an uncommon thing for rats to cause a fire by getting at the matches". Given the uncertainty of the facts, he concluded that it was impossible to say from the evidence what the real cause of the fire was.

Nevertheless, Mr Riddell, concluded the building was old - one of the oldest in Upper Hutt at the time - it was wooden and of two storeys, yet there was no fire hose, extinguishers, or other fire fighting equipment on the premises. Furthermore, the Coroner observed that no efforts were taken to put the fire out. News reports of the time show that Upper Hutt did not have a fire brigade then and had only recently installed a high pressure water system. The one fire hose owned by the town had been locked up and only belatedly was taken to the scene of the fire.

Had effective fire fighting capabilities existed and been put to use, the Coroner concluded, the ensuing explosion might have been prevented.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Benge & Pratt Store Fire and Explosion, Upper Hutt, The Coroner's Inquiry, April 1914

Within the days of the Benge & Pratt store fire and explosion, the District Coroner convened an inquiry into the causes of the disaster that led to the death of eight men. The Coroner sat for seven days between 3 April and 25th of April 1914 at the Upper Hutt Town Hall hearing evidence both from eye witnesses at the scene and expert witnesses.

The acetylene gas system used to fuel the lighting system in the store was first to come under suspicion as the cause of the explosion. Water dripping onto calcium carbide chips results in a chemical reaction that produces acetylene gas that when ignited lights up gas lamps in a home or store like Benge & Pratt's (see diagram below).

Expert evidence was given that some 20 cubic feet of acetylene would be needed to produce an explosion in the building. Since the gas was turned off at around 10 pm (originally it had been suggested it was turned offf at 9:30 pm), it was estimated by experts that only 7 to 8 cubic feet could have leaked between that time and that of the explosion. Moreover, it would have required a leak or rupture of the gas piping for gas to have spread throughout the building. No one gave evidence of smelling gas at the time the store closed, at the time of the first alarm, or immediately prior to the explosion some thirty minutes later.

An examination of the generator after the explosion showed that it remained sealed and showed no signs of being ruptured either by the fire or the explosion.

A water-to-carbide acetylene gas generator of the type use to provide gas for household and business lighting in the late 1890s to early 1900s. Water was slowly released onto carbide chips in the generator (A) and the acetylene gas produced was stored in the gas tank (B) until the gas lighting was run.

Source:  Evening Post, Report of Coroner's Inquest, 28 April 1914, p. 7.