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WW I Song - It's A Long Way to Tipperary - The "Unpublished" Verse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Too bawdy for mixed or polite company, the following "unpublished" verse - presumably an impromptu invention of some soldier was reserved apparently for when it was sung among the troops.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

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, 2009!

Kuaka wishes all his American friends - and those around the world - a Happy Thanksgiving! 

(Note, he seldom dresses up in a dress & bonnet or bakes pumpkin pie, so this is a special greeting! Based on this image, he may also need corrective surgery or therapy for his feet.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

W Strange & Co, Department Store, Christchurch - Part I

 W Strange & Co's Store on High Street, Christchurch, just short of the High & Lichfield Streets corner circa 1863 (?) looking towards the South-East. From The Weekly Press, 15 Dec. 1900, p. 86. Christchurch City Libraries Image Collection.

The Old and the New: A northwesterly aspect of the original weatherboard Strange's store in November 1863 contrasted with the 4 storey building erected just a few doors down on the corner of High & Lichfield Streets in 1900. The bottom view taken in 1910 with store sign on the roof line. This was a business postcard mailed to Strange's customers to notify them their orders had arrived. Christchurch City Libraries Image Collection.

Friday, November 20, 2009

On the Wagon...

Truck advertising Australian Yalumba Wines & Port, Wanganui region. 
Photograph taken by Frank J Denton, circa 1920s  

And came home on the wine wagon.... Which explains the lapse in blog posts this week (?).

Been Deliverying the Milk...

Delivering milk cans to the factory somewhere in Northland, photo: Northwood.

Have been off delivering the milk.... but got a bit bogged down....

On the main road to Houipapa, circa 1910?

I'm still looking for the horses. Let me know if you see them.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Where Did You Get That Hat? Part II - Charles Hill & Sons, Wellington

 Hill & Sons Catalogue, showing Stetson Co hats. 
Alexander Turnbull Library

Hill & Sons Catalogue - showing navalofficer and seamen's caps, mortar board, and others.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Where Did You Get That Hat? Part I - Charles Hill & Sons, Wellington

Charles Hill & Sons Catalogue Title Page

Charles Hill & Sons, Hatters, Hosiers, and Gentlemen's Mercers, were located at 61 Lambton Quay, Wellington.

Charles Hill learned his trade with Dundo and Sons, of Castle Green, Bristol, England before emigrating to Melbourne, Australia where he set up business. After some years, Hill established the business of Hill, Fenton, and Hulbert in Auckland in 1871.

The Wellington firm, Charles Hill & Sons, was opened in 1877 with both manufacturing and retail facilities. By the early 1900s, the firm was acting as agents for hat firms such as Henry Heath, Woodrow and Sons, James E. Mills, I. and R. Morley, Tress and Co., Fownes Bros. and Co., Christie and Co., Ld., Dent Allcroft, and Welch Margetson and Co.

The firm's trade extended throughout New Zealand, with sales agents in various centres including Wanganui, Napier, and Nelson.

Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District], 1897, p. 638.

Charles Hll & Sons Catalogue, List of Agents.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Len Lye - Kinetic Sculpture

Len Lye talks about and demonstrates his kinetic sculpture in this 1987 documentary.

Hope you enjoyed this Len Lye mini festival!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Len Lye - The Peanut Vendor (1933)

A somewhat freaky peanut vendor...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Len Lye - Art that Moves: The Work of Len Lye, Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland

Since it might otherwise be "buried" under comments and not be seen by readers, here is a note from Roger Horrocks on the Len Lye exhibition opening later this month in Auckland.

Sadly, this kuaka's wings have been clipped for the Southern summer months so no trans-Pacific flight in the offing to attend the Lye exhibition amongst other Kiwi treats in the next few months. We shall await reader reports instead, living vicariously through their experiences, with only fond memories of the homeland to tide us through the frigid Northern winter. What else is a poor kuaka to do?

Roger Horrocks wrote:

"You may be interested in this free exhibition of Lye's work opening soon in Auckland.

The Gus Fisher Gallery presents 'Art that Moves: The Work of Len Lye', an exhibition of films and kinetic sculptures, on display from 27 November 2009 to 6 February 2010. This is the first exhibition of Lye’s work at a public gallery in Auckland since 1980.

The exhibition explores Lye’s intense engagement with what he called the ‘magical mystery’ of motion. In addition to films and kinetic sculptures, there are paintings and photograms to represent other areas of his work and to illustrate the implied movement in his static images. Among the five kinetic sculptures in the show, there are two that have not previously been seen in Auckland.

The exhibition is linked with the publication of two new books: Art that Moves: The Work of Len Lye by Roger Horrocks (AUP), and Body English: Texts and Doodles by Len Lye (Holloway Press).

It's at The Gus Fisher Gallery, Kenneth Myers Centre, 74 Shortland Street, Auckland city. Admission free.

From Friday 27 Nov 2009 to Saturday 06 Feb 2010. (Closed Sundays and Mondays.)"

Len Lye - A Colour Box (1935)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Len Lye - A Mini Festival - Kaleidoscope (1935)

And now for something completely different.... A Len Lye mini-festival of kinetic art & film.

New Zealand artist, Len Lye (1901 - 1980) was an innovator in kinetic art and experimental film. Like many creative Kiwis, Lye moved abroad in 1925 to develop his talent, first to the UK, then more permanently to the US. A biography may be found at the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. The Len Lye Foundation and archives with more information about his work at the Govett-Brewster gallery in New Plymouth.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Have Piano, Will Travel - Oriental Parade, Wellington circa 1950

A Bradford truck owned by Howell Piano Co of 40 Taranaki Street, 
on Oriental Parade, Wellington, circa 1950. 
Photo: Gordon Burt. Alexander Turnbull Library.

The pianos probably served as ballast to hold this small vehicle to the road in the strong westerly winds that Wellington is famous for. One can imagine a clench-fisted driver perspiring as he struggled to get a full load up some of the steeper gradients around Wellington. Wonder if a verse of "Roll Out the Barrel" was ever sung as a piano cannon-balled back down a hill? And, for those who know Wellington, imagine home delivery of a piano up a 100 step flight of steps!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Winiata Railway Station on the North Island Main Trunk Line

Group on Winiata railway station, near Taihape, circa 1910. Unidentified photographer. 

Maori Farm at Winiata near Taihape, 1894.
 Photo: Edward George Child. Alexander Turnbull Library.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Drop Me A Line in Taihape, Mail Pick Up on the Main Trunk LIne

Now that KiwiRail has reintroduced a 2 minute stop at Taihape on the North Island Main Trunk Line (NIMT), the former means of dropping off & picking-up passengers at Taihape will no longer be required (see video).

The Illinois Railroad Museum and retired members of the USPO Railway Service show how it was done in the U.S. with mail, rather than people! (Warning to more sensitive viewers: don't be startled by the locomotive horn blasting you off your keyboard).

Mataroa Tunnel on the North Island Main Trunk Line

A man on a jigger on the approach to the Mataroa Tunnel, near Taihape. 
Railway work camp in left background, 1906. Photo: Albert Percy Godber.

The Mataroa railway tunnel on the North Island Main Trunk Line,near Taihape, 1906.
Photo: Albert Percy Godber. Alexander Turnbull Library.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Taihape Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack on the Main Trunk Line!

On 19 October 2009, KiwiRail announced that Taihape was being placed back on the list of stops on the Overlander passenger train's schedule on the North Island Main Trunk Line.

Removed from scheduled stops in 2005 as passenger numbers on the Overlander fell, Taihape is back for a one-year trial.

North- and southbound trains will stop for a 2 minute spell.

If you want a cuppa you'll have to be quick. Maybe text ahead to one of the cafes and see if they'll meet you on the platform!

Seriously, though, get off the train for a day or two and experience Taihape. Accommodation has been upgraded from the barky hut pictured in the post below.

Disclaimer: The Taihape Tourist Board and this blogger have no financial or other relationship.

Taihape on the Main Trunk Line #3

Reid Family outside home. George Edward Reid, Annie Reid, and children Myrtle and George, alongside a hut on Toe Toe Road, Taihape, circa 1897. Punga fern trunks supply the walls of the hut with shingled roof. Clearing timber around the homestead. 
Photo: Edward George Child.  Alexander Turnbull Library.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Taihape on the Main Trunk Line #2

 Main or Hautapu Street?, Taihape, 1907-08, about the time the North Island Main Trunk line 
was completed. Photo: Frederick George Radcliffe. Alexander Turnbull Library.

Jackson and McCormick's general store, Taihape, circa 1900, fashioned out of corrugated iron.
Photo: Unidentified photographer. Alexander Turnbull Library

H J Boughton's General Store with Model T Ford out front, Taihape, circa early 1920s.
Unidentified photographer. Alexander Turnbull Library.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Taihape on the Main Trunk Line #1

 Taihape Railway Station with Refreshment Rooms on right, 
North Island Main Trunk Line, circa 1910.
Photo:  Frederick George Radcliffe. Alexander Turnbull Library

R T Batley's Wool Wagon on its way to the railhead, Taihape, circa 1910. McCormick Boot Emporium and Wong You's fruit and grocery store in background. Unidentified photographer. Alexander Turnbull Library

Rail Yards at Taihape, circa 1925, signal box in left foreground 
and stockyards to the right of tracks.Unidentified photographer.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Taumarunui on the Main Trunk Line

Timespanner had this video on her blog recently. Just had to add it here. Peter Cape's song "Taumarunui on the Main Trunk Line" provides the soundtrack to the video. Taumarunui in the King Country was a key town on the North Island main trunk railway line between Wellington and Auckland. Just past Taumarunui is the Raurimu Spiral, an engineering feat enabling trains to haul freight up otherwise insurmountable grades. You can see a model of the spiral in the video.

If you want to sing along with Peter, you can find the lyrics here, with a bit more background.

Though not of the Taumarunui refreshments room, here are a couple of interior shots of what the traveling public encountered in 1910 and 1952 when their trains made a stop for a sandwich and a cuppa. Click on images for a larger view.

 Interior of the Tearooms at Wanganui Railway Station, circa 1910. 
Photo: Tesla Studio. Alexander Turnbull Library

The counter at the Christchurch Railway Station Refreshment Rooms, 
7:30 am, 21 July 1952. Evening Post Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library