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ISSUE 93 (NOVEMBER 2011)
New Zealand Postcard Society (Inc) Directory
|VP Research||Bill Mainfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Sales Mgr/Auctioneer||Chris Rabeyemail@example.com|
|Editors||Jeff Long & Laurence Eagle|
Life Members: Yvonne Coles, William Main, Geoff Potts, Chris Rabey, Doug South, Evie South
The Postcard Pillar is produced four times a year under the editorship of Jeff Long and Laurence Eagle. Contributions are very welcome at any time; please email or post to Jeff Long.
Membership of the Society can be obtained by sending a cheque payable to N.Z. Postcard Society Inc to the Secretary, with your name, address, telephone number, email address and collecting interests. The subscription for an individual or family member is $35, or $30 if paid by 30 October 2011, and $45 for an overseas member, or $40 if paid by 30 October 2011.
Help Needed Please: We are still sorting out the earthquake-related mess from last year, so we could do with the balance of this year’s subs coming in promptly. You could also help by purchasing one (or more!) the items we are selling to raise some cash – 2012 calendar with terrific postcard images, set of ‘Quake cards, and/or the Wanganui book. Flyers for all three are enclosed with this sending. Thanx !
Editorial: This is the tenth edition of the Postcard Pillar. Another bumper issue of thirty pages, plus an auction list ! Well done to all of you who have sent in contributions. Remember to keep them coming, preferably in electronic format, but it is perfectly fine if this is not possible. The main aim is to get your words and pictures and ideas out to our membership. This issue we have significant contributions from Geoff Potts, Bruce Isted, Sue Claridge, Donal Duthie & Bill Main.
News: A postcard ‘special interest’ group has been formed in Christchurch, under the auspices of the Christchurch Philatelic Society. Meetings are held on the third Tuesday of alternate months, with the next meeting to be held on November 15. Come along !
This edition’s cover picture is from Bruce Isted’s award-winning exhibit. See pages 11-18
Postcard Society News
NZ Postcard Society Award to honour Chas Lilley
The July meeting of the Society executive created an award to honour Chas Lilley, the late Patron of the Society. The Chas Lilley Annual Memorial Award will be made for the best contribution to the Postcard Pillar for the preceding year. This can be the best researched article, the most interesting article, or a group of articles from a single member. Derek Pocock from Australia agreed to judge the 2010-2011 issues, and settled on the article in issue 92 by Alan Jackson of the Muir and Moodie Undivided Back Postcards of Canterbury. Honorable mention was made of Safari’s article on the Cynicus cards and to Bill Main’s article on Charles Reid. A flash certificate, which includes information about Chas himself on the reverse, has been developed and will be presented to Alan at a suitable opportunity.
2011 NZ Postcard Society Convention
This year’s convention was held on 24th and 25th September at the Baycourt Community and Arts Centre, 38 Durham St, Tauranga. We had a great time – don’t miss out next year!
2012 NZ Postcard Society Convention
Next year the convention has now been confirmed for Richmond (near Nelson) on 6th and 7th October 2012, the week before the Blenpex exhibition on 12th to 14th October. An excellent opportunity to attend both events! Blenpex will have postcard classes and we expect a large number of exhibits, so it will be worth your while to attend.
CPS Centennial Stamp & Postcard Exhibition
This event will be held on 14th and 15th January 2012 as part of the Christchurch Philatelic Society centennial year celebrations. There will be postcard classes, and all entries in the competitive classes will receive full national recognition. If you don’t want to enter a competitive class, there will be a separate display class. Have a go. Details at www.cps.gen.nz
National Philatelic W.A. Centennial Exhibition 17th to 20th May 2012
The 2012 Philatelic Society of WA Centennial Exhibition is a Full National Philatelic Exhibition and open to all NZPF Affiliated Society members. It will be held at the Robinson Pavilion, Claremont Showgrounds Claremont, Thursday 17 to 20 May, 2012 inclusive. David Loe has been appointed by the NZ Philatelic Federation as commissioner and am seeking entries by 10th Dec 2011. The frame fees are A$40 per frame plus NZ$6 per frame NZPF levy. For further info please contact David Loe at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the show site at www.p-s-w-a.com
This Centennial Exhibition also includes the Picture Postcard Challenge. The Challenge involves each Australian State/Territory, and New Zealand. Each team submits four exhibits, made up of two exhibits of five frames each, and two single frame entries.
New Zealand’s team is made up of four NZ Postcard Society members !! – Bruce Isted, Evie South Jill Glasson and Jeff Long.
Obituary for Merle Sneddon (Nee Rolston) 1939-2011 - by Bill Leggett
I was asked to write some words for Merle and I look on it as a great privilege and honour for one of the nicest ladies I ever met. Merle was born in Muhunoa, a small place outside Levin. The family later moved to Levin town. Merle had a happy childhood, and an even happier outlook, but even at a young age she was competitive. She took up table tennis at the age of 12, and soon became a champion. That carried on through to the Masters where she gained a wall full of medals. She once told me in the 1950’s she took on the Rowe twins, who were British & European champions and won!! Merle’s sporting prowess also made her a very good tennis player and golfer, and in later years she took up bridge. She was an incredible artist, producing many excellent pictures. Church was also part of a very busy life, and she attended regularly.
When Merle left school she worked in the Bank of NSW and got transferred to Hamilton. There she met the love of her life, John Sneddon, and they married in 1971. In 1974 they moved back to Levin where they resided until the present time. They were blessed with two children, Shona & Sean.
The world of collectables also came to Merle at a young age. Her first collecting along with her brother was hunting for Hedgehogs. There was a bounty on these rodents and all they had to do was collect their noses, hand them in and get paid so much a nose!! Merle discovered how to collect double the amount by splitting the noses!!
Stamps were next on the scene as she came from a family of collectors. Then other collectables like Weetbix cards. I personally met her in the early 1980’s. Merle phoned me with a view to buying some toy soldiers. So off I went to her home to meet this lovely smiling lady, but she was tough as iron and offers and counter offers were done before the price was settled. The next time I heard from her, she asked could I give a talk to the Horowhenua Philatelic Society on postcards, which I duly did. This opened a new collectable world for Merle, for not only did she collect but she began trading in postcards.
Merle went from strength to strength on postcards, going all over NZ and Australia to sell. The internet was used for trading, and with the help of John, TradeMe & Ebay sites were established. I was present at a fair with Merle when I had about 4 boxes of postcards on my table and Merle had two tables full!! ‘Where did you get all this lot?’ I said to her. All I got was this beautiful smile and the answer ‘Oh round about.’ Merle never did things by half-measures.
For a long time I thought Merle was called Peggy. She never corrected me and I found out it was Merle. ‘But what was does the first name V stand for?’ I never got told. So when I sent emails, invoices etc I used different names eg Voluptuous, Velcrose, Vivacious etc. All she did in return was call me Billy Bunter, Bob the builder, Bill & Ben. Her sense of humour was incredible.
I saw Merle not long before she died and she could still laugh and joke. We have lost a wonderful person. At the funeral they played at the end ‘You’re Simply the Best.’ How fitting, and we all think so. Merle, may you rest in peace.
Letter to the Editor
Dear Postcard Society members
Regarding my forthcoming book, New Zealand, 500 Early Postcards,
As I explained during the recent convention at Tauranga, there has been a delay in getting the book finalised due to unrelated circumstances and I apologise to the people who have made their material available for inclusion. Postponing the date of publication has been unavoidable. My aim is to publish the book toward the end of 2012.
As it happens, the extra time has allowed me to gather a few additional postcards, like the one published by the Emigration Department of the New Zealand High Commission around 1914, soliciting domestic servants to come to New Zealand. This card, as well as other recent finds, has shifted the focus of the book a bit more toward the social history of New Zealand.
However, I will not claim the book to be a social history of New Zealand as seen through postcards, as that would have meant a much more thorough approach and, by necessity have demanded the omission of many cityscapes and other wonderful views. The aim is to let the two merge and to make this a book of interest to all sort of viewers.
There are still a few cards I would like to buy, or borrow and scan, for inclusion and I would like to ask if any members have any of these cards available to use. They must all be from before 1922 and include:
- Portrait of Ernest Rutherford - 1908 Nobel Prize for Chemistry and the first New Zealand recipient of this prize. (It took 54 years before Maurice Wilkins won another Nobel Prize for New Zealand)
- Portraits of two sporting personalities; Anthony F. Wilding the tennis player, and Bob Fitzsimons, world boxing champion
- A Mason’s temple, Day’s Bay Pavilion, a vocational school with girls doing domestic studies
- Horse shoeing, the Aurora Hotel, Auckland
- Finally, any cards with a message pertaining to the development or well-being of New Zealand as a country and its people
Many thanks for your co-operation.
Aluminium Postcards - by Geoff Potts
I have always been fascinated by the various methods used in printing these early postcards. Research on this subject has yielded a limited response other than an actual piece of aluminum was used as a postcard and usually featured a printed view. Postal regulations of the day apparently required that this metal piece be enclosed in a transparent envelope for mailing but the address and sometimes the stamp are placed directly upon the metal. According to American Mr. Len Baer, aluminum postcards were mailed in glassine envelopes, were very subject to bending and metallic deterioration, and were true novelties of the day. I have no idea what kind of pen was needed to write on aluminum. Lead pencil seems to be the only way a message could be written. And I am not sure how the gum of a stamp would stick to an aluminum surface.
The Milton cards shown are by Mr. H. Moyes and are all ‘made in USA’. The reverse states ‘not mailable except under cover’. These cards were probably produced prior to 1914.
A search in Papers Past for Mr. Moyes of Milton, found a report in the Bruce Herald of January 17th 1902 as follows:
‘It is somewhat refreshing to hear that a local man has taken up the business of photography in a professional sense, and satisfied a long felt want in this town. For a considerable time, Milton has been without a photographic studio, and little opportunity has been afforded local people of getting views of their families, except when the traveling cameraman happened along. However, Milton can now lay claim to having an up-to-date studio, and persons who desire to have their photo taken will no longer be obliged to place their orders with Dunedin firms. Mr. Moyes’ studio - a substantial building - is situated at the rear of the premises occupied by Mr. D. Moyes, and in commending him for his enterprises, it is to be hoped he will be liberally patronised by the Milton public.
“Photographic views of everyday happenings are plentiful as bundles of straw,” as Mr. Adcock once said to the members of the London Camera club, “but the face of your three year old child of today will not be there next year. It will be gone for ever, and will be replaced by one a year older, which year by year will again change. Your father, with whom you spent last New Year’s Day, may, by another, have passed away. The last portrait he sat for was ten years ago, and you have no registered remembrance of him in his later years. But, say you, our children and fathers get taken professionally. Pardon me – in the sense I wish to convey- they do not. It is only when children are taken by their parents that all the phases of their growth and appearance are, at short intervals, secured.”
Mr. Moyes’s camera and appliances are of the latest and most approved make, and he trusts, by good workmanship, to merit the support of the public.’
Perhaps Moyes traveled to Oamaru to photograph the Oamaru cards illustrated.
The town hall Sheffield, England card is one of Cunards Series. There is no statement on the reverse that it is not mailable except under cover.
I suspect that some of these creations were not around for long and would be interested to hear from anyone who may have aluminum cards, and especially any from the North Island.
|Town Hall Sheffield||Union St. Milton, looking north. Moyes Photo|
|Milton from McGills Mill. Moyes Photo|
|Milton from Coronation Hall, looking south. Moyes Photo||Breakwater and Harbour. Dunedin NZ|
|Moonlight scene in Dunedin|
Christchurch Hospital’s New Nurses’ Home Demolished - by Sue Claridge RGN
Following the arrival of the first four ships to Canterbury in 1850, the first public hospital in Christchurch opened in 1862. Nurses were employed, and the first on-site trainee was registered in 1885. As the hospital grew, more nurses were needed and more accommodation required for them. Rooms above the wards proved unsatisfactory.
In 1891 formal training began at the hospital and in that same year the hospital board decided nothing less than a ‘nurses’ home’ would do. Photos of the Dunedin home were obtained and after some discussion regarding the site the home was built at the cost of £3695. The home was opened in 1895, and was extended in 1907, and again in 1911 to accommodate the increasing numbers of nurses.
|F.T. Series 99. Nurses Home Christchurch Hospital.|
Despite the hospital having a nurses’ home, the increasing number of nurses meant that many were still being accommodated in attics above the wards, in various houses along Cambridge Terrace, and even the medical superintendent’s premises. The board decided that the solution was to have a ‘new’ nurses’ home built and in 1922 the hospital board put £31,000 aside for the project. There was then a period of indecision as regards the site to be used. Many wanted to use the vegetable garden known as the ‘cabbage patch’ which had previously been marked for the original nurses’ home. Other sites suggested included the St. Andrews Manse site, Oxford Terrace and the Royal Hotel site. A ballot was held among the nurses to gauge their preferred choice, which turned out to be the horse paddock. In 1928 Parliament intervened to settle the squabble and the Christchurch Hospital Act Amendment Bill was passed, essentially to obtain the ‘horse paddock’ site.
Plans were prepared by architects Messrs Collins and West. A tender submitted by Messrs J. W. Beanland and Sons was accepted, and contracts were duly signed, followed by a lunch at the Royal Hotel provided by the Chairman of the Board, Mr Otley.
The total cost of the building was budgeted to be £54,000. The foundation stone was laid in 1931 by Mr Otley. It was a massive steel framed structure of ferro-concrete, originally three storeys high. An extra three storeys were added in 1941 at the cost of £62,000.
|Nurses' Home Christchurch N.Z. 8305 A. B. Hurst & Son Photo.||Nurses' Home Christchurch. N.Z. 5926 (National Publicity Studios)|
|Public Hospital and Nurses' Home Christchurch. N.Z. 5919 (National Publicity Studios.)|
The ‘new’ nurses’ home accommodated 259 nurses and was described as one of the finest buildings in the city, and one of the few nurses’ homes in the world situated in such a lovely setting. The building was used as a nurses’ home until the late 1980’s when hospital-based training was transferred to the universities. From that period, the building was used as offices and also to store the museum and history of the hospital.
|Photo of demolition work of ‘new’ nurses’ home|
The ‘new’ nurses’ home was demolished over a period of several weeks in July-August 2011 as part of the hospitals re-building programme, and also as a result of damage sustained from the Christchurch earthquakes
APPEX 2011 Postcard Exhibit Introduction - by Bruce Isted
Recently I was invited by Jeff Long to show my Postcard Exhibit in Postcard Pillar. Members might be interested in how I took up the challenge of postcard exhibiting.
I wanted to prove to myself and others that I (a novice) could do it! I have several postcard collecting themes: Wanganui, Postman, Postbox, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy.
I attended a postcard exhibit workshop in Kapiti run by Jeff Long, which provided many useful tips. Not long after this I entered my first National Competition, Palmpex 2010. My exhibit was an 8 page Wanganui Generic Comic Postcards. I was delighted with the result (69 marks, Sapphire) and the critique had helpful suggestions. I entered an improved 8 page postcard exhibit at the APPEX (South Auckland). I was awarded 82 marks (Ruby) as well as winning the “John & Jan Fitzpatrick Award” for Best Postcard Exhibit.
My next goal is to expand this exhibit to one frame, and I may attempt exhibits of my other collecting themes.
If any of you are still contemplating taking up the challenge of postcard exhibiting, I’d say go for it!
WANGANUI “GENERIC” COMIC POSTCARDS
Of all picture postcard categories, the comic themed card is the most widely collected. They range from satire to the rich belly laughs evoked by the traditional card. Often having double-meanings or witty sayings accompanied by clever designs. It is amazing that the humour of yesterday is still crisp today.
Most were produced from the early to mid-1900s in Great Britain without any modification. Some were produced specifically for sale in New Zealand. Many are termed “generic” comic postcards, produced in Britain but had overprinted captions, incorporating local town names; eg “Wanganui” being one of them.
This exhibit shows a variety of vintage comic postcards relating to Wanganui. They are generic, being printed with “Wanganui” (or a suburb) in the caption. The main themes on the basic comic postcards are: holidays, commuting, messages and romance. It has been said that comic postcards are a yardstick by which most non-collectors judge the hobby of postcard collecting. As the saying goes, “a picture often tells a story”. That is what I hope to achieve in this exhibit.
Introduction & Plan … 1 Animals …………… 5
Holiday Begins ……… 2 Romance …………. 6
Wanganui People ….. 3 Messages ............... 7
Baby Appeal ………… 4 Holiday Ends …….. 8
1 Picture Postcards of the Golden Age – A Collectors Guide, Tonie and Valmai Holt, 1971
2 Wish You Were Here – The Story of New Zealand Postcards, William Main & Alan Jackson, 2005
** Denotes scarce/unusual item (see page 4)
Colour/Size/Font of text indicates different information: Story line, Technical information, Other information
Many postcards were cleverly drawn with pictures to convince a person to think about having a holiday.
Who would have thought that these two postcards could have convinced people to come to Wanganui? The underlining message appears to be that, “one would be better off having a holiday in Wanganui”. Both postcards feature an unusual border pattern not often used or seen.
|Cynicus artist postcard, published c1906-1909 by The Cynicus Publishing Co Ltd, Tayport, Fife, Scotland (divided back; postally used - 1901 1d Penny Universal stamp & postmarked 09 Jan 09; message on back)|
|Cynicus artist postcard, published c1905-1909 by The Cynicus Publishing Co Ltd, Tayport, Fife, Scotland. (divided back; postally unused; message on back)|
The firm of Cynicus Publishing Co Ltd, Tayport, Fife, Scotland was incorporated on 3 March 1902 by Messers Yorston & Hogarth of Glasgow. The company mainly published the designs of “Cynicus” himself – Martin Anderson. He had published books of his cartoons from 1890 and his cards are always clearly signed.
Postcard publishers also implied witty captions and pictures to favour local people and places.
|Cynicus artist postcard, published c1905-1910 by The Cynicus Publishing Co Ltd, Tayport, Fife, Scotland. (divided back; postally used - 1900 Pictorial ½d Mt Cook stamp; message on back)|
Shown are two postcards that directly concern the people of Wanganui and not any visitors. Both cards feature rather unusual colouring, like a sunset; purposely used to capture your attention. The drawings are very simple in design, yet are still able to cleverly get their message across. However the cards are slightly contradictive. One postcard gives the impression that if you live in Wanganui you should not crow (boast) about it. Yet the other postcard gives the impression that Wanganui people can do anything (which implies they can boast).
An effective message with an applicable image. Also of special interest is to see the word “Prohibition” used. However history shows that this city never had any prohibition laws.
|Cynicus artist postcard, published c1905-1910s by The Cynicus Publishing Co Ltd, Tayport, Fife, Scotland. (divided back; postally unused; no message on back)|
Using pictures of babies in comical situations always have added appeal no matter who the card is sent to.
The postcard below shows a wicked sense of humour and one perhaps doesn’t quite know whether to laugh or cry. The extra verse helps to convey the situation.
|Cynicus artist postcard, published c1905-1920s by The Cynicus Publishing Co Ltd, Tayport, Fife, Scotland. (divided back; postally unused; message on back)|
As for the little baby yawning, that must surely bring a laugh to a person of any age. What better idea than to come to Wanganui for a rest. Or in this case for a sleep perhaps. Nothing like a bit of R & R wherever you are.
|Postcard published c1905-1920s by E T W Dennis & Sons Ltd, London & Scarborough (divided back; postally unused; message on back)|
** Scarce postcard as it does not mention Wanganui, only one of its suburbs, Aramoho ** Many postcards were initially produced with blank spaces (usually within borders) or a blank sign so a place-name could be overprinted on it.
Animals have always been popular subjects to depict on postcards. Birds and dogs are the most popular.
And this is no exception for them being used in a comical way, hinting that Wanganui does have a lot to offer. But hey just watch out as the place may have too much to offer – especially going on the condition of the dog!
The firm E T W Dennis & Sons Ltd were publishing views by 1901, when the only clue to their identity was their tiny initials on the picture. Later cards always bear the “Dainty” series trademark. They produced many series of views, humour/comic and pullouts (novelty).
Adolph Ernst Wildt and Henry Joseph Kray formed their limited company on 3 November 1934 and it was wound up in December 1954. Some of their earlier postcards have dated back to around 1905. Their great specialty was greeting cards but they also produced views and novelty cards, many of them being comic orientated.
Is this not the epitome of what makes the world go round? Surely a hint of romance is in the air when one comes to Wanganui. All three postcards depict a young man and lady with romantic indications. What better way to do it by whizzing around the place on a motorbike, then a paddle on the beach (probably Castlecliff Beach). Finally what a nice way to set the romantic scene for this young couple with a caption that could nowadays imply several different meanings; which 100 years ago would have seemed quite innocent.
|(Top left postcard: Series no.2463; divided back; postally used - 1909 1d Penny Universal “Dominion” stamp; message on back with date 1/10/13)||(Top right postcard: Series no.3048; divided back; postally unused; no message on back)|
|(Bottom right postcard: Series no.2819; divided back; postally unused; has handwritten date 16/10/14; message on back)|
All postcards published c1910-1914 by Wildt & Kray, London:
Many postcards used comical messages to help sell their product or advertise their place.
Don’t you feel sorry for the chap in hospital? I don’t see how he can take any nourishment
with his face almost completely covered in bandages! Also note that a postcard stating town and country is seldom seen. Most publishers only name a town; not country and town.
Certainly a strange looking cake. It looks more like a block of cheese!
Well after all when one goes on holiday to visit a place there usually comes a time when it must end. Both postcards show an ingenious way of creating an atmosphere with a strong message that their holiday time is ending or has ended.
The convict scene is particularly amusing with a very clear message.
Initially one might interpret that this chap looks so sad because his holiday ends. Or perhaps by the look of the rolling waves and angle of the ship, one might think he was seasick. While it could be a combination of the above thoughts; upon reading the verse on the postcard, it becomes obvious that he has left a loved one behind.
NB. Postcards can approximately be dated from the backs. Undivided backs are generally dated pre-1905 but were in use up to 1907. The plain backs were only for a name and address. Messages were supposed to be written only on the front alongside a small picture.
Divided backs have two sections, one section for a name/address and the other section for a message + stamp. Great Britain first divided the back in 1902, other countries soon followed. More commonly introduced from c1905.
Many postcards were sent inside envelopes which is why so many exist not postally used. Nevertheless, they are still collectable!
Close to Home - by Donal Duthie
More than 10 years ago, I bought a postcard which showed a very large, newly established rock garden. Two ladies in 1930’s attire are admiring the plants. In the background there is a building with a spire that looks as if it might be a church. The garden and pond seemed to be in a public park. With the aid of a magnifying glass it is possible to see a large expanse of lawn in the background.
The reverse is a plain back with a typed message which reads: ‘Greetings from the N.Z. National Alpine & Rock Gardens Socty. (sic) Inc. Xmas 1931’ and lower down ‘Showing the first completed section of Rockeries.’
I particularly noted the use of the word ‘Rockeries’ That word was popular with the Victorians and Edwardians, but we usually call them ‘Rock Gardens’ now.
Knowing there was a society devoted to alpine plants in Christchurch, I wrote to them asking if they could tell me the locality of the photo. They wrote back saying they were most interested in the card, but in view of the fact that their ‘New Zealand Alpine Garden Society Inc.’ was founded in 1960 they did not know of the garden or its location, but suggested perhaps Dunedin or Nelson. They were unaware of a previous Society.
I contacted a number of people, both in horticultural and postcard circles, about this card, but no one was able to identify the location of the garden or the Society, although almost every person I contacted thought that it would be somewhere in the South Island.
The Christchurch Botanic Gardens have a very large, long established rock garden with a known history, but the style and shape of that garden is quite different from the photo. Dunedin Botanic Garden has a magnificent rock garden built in 1902, but that garden is on a steep hillside and has giant rounded rocks, quite unlike the card.
Wondering if the garden might have been in Isel Park at Stoke, I wrote to The Nelson Provincial Museum. They were sure that the garden in my photo was not in Nelson. They told me there had been a NZ Alpine & Rock Garden Society in Nelson, and that they had constructed a large rock garden on the slope below Nelson Cathedral. They supplied a photo but it was quite different from the card.
I then spent some time looking up NZ Incorporated Societies on the net. I found the current ‘NZ Alpine Garden Society’ but nothing on the earlier ‘The NZ National Alpine & Rock Garden Society.’
I have in the past used the New Zealand website ‘Papers Past’ for looking up people in relation to genealogy and it suddenly occurred to me that my elusive rock garden society might be found that same way. At first it didn’t look very encouraging as most of the papers in ‘Papers Past’ cut off round about 1910. One exception is the Wellington Evening Post which goes up to the 1945. My first thoughts were that a rock garden in Nelson would be of little interest to Evening Post readers. However, I continued and typed in ‘Rock Garden’. There were thousands of clippings listed.
The first one I looked at was an account of a Vice-Regal visit to the garden of ‘The NZ National Alpine & Rock Garden Society’ in Riddiford Park, Lower Hutt. There was a montage of photos showing Lord and Lady Bledisloe being escorted round the garden by the President, Mr Hope Gibbons. Another photo showed Lady Bledisloe planting a Rimu tree. I was pleasantly surprised. At long last I had found the location of the garden!
I carried on looking at the clippings and found them most intriguing. The Society had been created in the late 1920’s. The Mayor of Lower Hutt had convened a meeting and there were some well-known names in attendance. The Bledisloes were appointed as Patrons. Guest of honour was a man from Nelson representing ‘The NZ (Nelson) National Alpine & Rock Garden Society’ and they had already built a rock garden on the sides of the steps leading up to Nelson Cathedral.
The Society had a large membership and was not just confined to Wellington. David Tannock, Director of Parks in Dunedin was a member as was Mr McPherson, Curator of the Christchurch Botanic Garden. Mr Hope Gibbons, a well known Wellington businessman, was elected President and remained so for about ten years.
The Society had built, planted and maintained this large rock garden at Riddiford Park, but they also had input to the new rock garden at the Otari Plant Museum at Wilton. They regularly developed very large impressive rock gardens at the Wellington Winter Shows. They held regular meetings and had a number of well known horticulturalists address them as guest speakers, and they visited many gardens within the greater Wellington area.
The society seemed to have thrived up until World War II. I suspect that it was just too difficult to continue through the trials of wartime and by the time the war was over the zeal and impetus had gone. Rock gardening had slipped from the horticultural limelight.
When I finally found the garden had been in Lower Hutt, I recalled that I had bought my card at a postcard fair in the Horticultural Hall which was built on part of Riddiford Park in the centre of Lower Hutt. The rock garden would have been just out the side door. So when I bought the card, it was very close to home!
The Bridegroom was a Lady - by I Whitaker (reprinted from the Postcard Society Newsletter of June 1991)
Whichever gate Amy Bock may have found her way to after death – and it unlikely to have been the Golden one - there is a good chance that she would have tried to lie to the Great Bookkeeper who knows all things.
In all the annals of New Zealand crime there has never been another, man or woman, who has matched Amy Bock for sheer, barefaced effrontery in taking people down. She was a liar, a thief, a forger, a confidence trickster who spent almost 25 years of her life in total behind bars – and still managed to get off remarkably lightly.
Yet for all this she was a likeable, generous, kind hearted lady who was first to help out anyone in genuine trouble, even if the source of the help might not bear too much scrutiny.
Had it been otherwise the good people of Mokau would not have put up with having her and her larcenous ways in their midst for so long in the early part of the Great War period. Perhaps that was because she only did what people expected of her.
Having already made criminal history in the South Island, it would have been quite out of character had the tennis club funds not disappeared while she was secretary, or the money borrowed at various times from almost everyone in Mokau ever been paid back in full.
The story of Amy Bock’s criminal career would fill a book; in fact it is such a ‘busy’ story that it is quite difficult to précis down to an article size.
She was born in Australia in 1863, the daughter of an honest photographer and a mentally-deteriorating mother. She was well educated and worked as a teacher for a time.
She revealed her criminal talent at a very young age, but managed to get to 18 before her first arrest on charges of false pretenses.
That was just the beginning. By the time she crossed the Tasman to Auckland she had sweet talked her way out of at least half a dozen criminal charges.
Australia’s loss was certainly not New Zealand’s gain.
Within weeks of her arrival in Auckland she was in the dock on false pretenses charges. Tears and a plea of contrite guilt proved to her straight away that New Zealand judges were no less suckers for her feminine wiles than their Australian counterparts. She walked out of the courtroom with a completely clean slate.
It was a short lived triumph though. From Auckland Amy moved to Christchurch where she was soon in trouble again, and for the first time found herself face to face with a judge who was unmoved by her theatrics. Her sentence was only one month of hard labour, but it was a start.
That short sharp shock had enough of an effect that when she moved to Wellington she lived honestly for a whole year before slipping back into the old habits. This time it was false pretenses, tempered with a bit of blackmail, that saw her back again behind bars.
Thereafter Amy Bock, under a variety of aliases, filled the role of the habitual criminal. Her crimes were miserable ones which rarely netted her more than ‘pocket money’, yet were thoroughly deserving of the mounting number of small sentences that were imposed on her.
However the crime for which she was to become most notorious was perpetrated in the guise of the strangest of her aliases.
In 1909 there appeared in Dunedin a personable man by the name of Percy Carol Redwood. He seemed to have no lack of money, and he spent lavishly, more often on other people than himself, a trait that put Redwood into the very best books of his landlady’s daughter, Agnes Ottway. Before long the two were engaged.
If some of Amy Bock’s earlier crimes had been rather clumsy and obvious, the one in which she was now engaged was the ultimate (for her) in careful and devious preparation. In her guise of Percy Redwood she was conning people right, left and centre, a little bit here, a little bit there, all apparently aimed at milking the Ottway family of their fortune then dumping the unfortunate bride on the eve of the honeymoon.
However Amy Bock was not a clever trickster. On the day of the wedding, April 25, 1909, there were many people whispering their suspicions about the bridegroom, some about Percy’s financial dealings, others openly questioning his real identity.
The Ottways could hardly miss this, but the wedding went ahead nevertheless. On the day after the wedding, and just prior to the honeymoon, Percy was called before the Ottway family and given a thorough grilling about the state of the Redwood family finances and virtually asked to show the colour of the money before the bride would be allowed out of the house.
While his was going on a diligent detective had been doing some work of his own. He arrived on the scene at the tail end of the question-and-answer session, and in true crime novel fashion, brought the whole affair to a dramatic climax with a grand entrance and a cry of “the games up Amy”
This crime earned Amy a two year sentence and an overdue official designation as an habitual criminal.
On her release from prison Amy Bock left the South Island and eventually turned up at Mokau, where she took work as a house maid in a boarding house.
It seems unlikely that her reputation would not have preceded her, and it is probable that Amy would have charmed everyone into accepting that she was now a paragon of reformed virtue. Indeed she proved an extremely popular member of the Mokau community. She taught music, took part in local theatrical productions, entertained as a pianist, and spent a considerable amount of her money on sweets for the children.
One day, at a party, Amy stood up and offered herself as a wife. The year was 1914 and she was 50 years of age, but a man named Charlie, six years her junior, took her up on it, and made her Mrs. Christofferson.
As marriages go, this one was not made in heaven. In spite of her popularity she was a chronic borrower – not big amounts, but little bits that most would consider too small to demand repayment. The only change to this situation that marriage brought was an increase in the amounts borrowed, and consequently a greater need on the part of lenders to have the debts repaid. Being married to Amy meant having to fork out continuously to cover her debts. After less than 12 months Christofferson threw up his hands and left her to it.
Soon after this Amy moved north, first to Awakino, where she worked for a while in a boarding house, then to Hamilton to become a cook in a Salvation Army Home. It was within the Salvation Army that she finally settled and made her peace with the world. She was never again in trouble with the law.
In fact she made a big name for herself wherever her travels took her, for her generosity, her kindheartedness and her readiness to help anyone in difficulties. She died in Auckland on August 29, 1943.
The Re-enactment - from Heritage Matters Issue 19 Winter 2009 by Gary Ross and Erika Currie
Our thanks to Chas Lilley who drew our attention to the event.
“To masquerade as a woman for three months and pull off a wedding for 200, with two ministers and a member of Parliament – that’s really gutsy for a woman in 1909” says Gary Ross, who organised the re-enactment of the Bock/Ottway wedding, and curated the centennial exhibition at the South Otago Museum in 2009.
Photographic artist, Fiona Clark, suggested an exhibition of her work along with the work of Lynne Johnson, textile artist and descendant of Amy Bock, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Bock/Ottway wedding.
This suggestion soon grew into a major project with a 1909 marquee, a guest list of 200, a replica wedding cake and a “Bock Week” in Balclutha.
The “Bock Week” began with the opening at the Balclutha Arts Centre of the RSVP exhibition – a collaboration between Lynn Johnson and Fiona Clark. This was made up of collections of Bock genealogy depicted in images and textiles by Lynne Johnson, colourised images and portraits of the key figures in the story by Fiona Clark.
Other exhibits at the museum and round town included displays of the original wedding rings and gifts, and a biographical presentation of the story by Jenny Coleman from Massey University, author of a biography of Amy Bock.
The wedding guests included local families with direct ties to the original guest list, and to tradesmen involved in the original wedding. A satirical script, period songs and poetry, a cake replicating the original, and a paperboy handing out copies of the 1909 press release “startling denouncement, bridegroom a woman” were highlights of the event.
Heritage Matters is a magazine for New Zealanders interested in restoring, preserving and enjoying our heritage. It is published four times per annum, in full colour, with over 60 pages, by Erika Currie. The subscription is $60 per year from Top View Media Ltd, P.O. Box 185 Waimauku 0842, email@example.com.
Towards the end of 2010 as I finished editing my second Postcard Pillar Annual, I took stock of my situation which saw me once again providing the bulk of the written material. While I was ruminating on this situation, my whole world was turned on its head when my wife and I both suffered health setbacks, a consequence of which cancelled my thoughts regarding a replacement proposal for the committee & membership to consider. Hence this article which I’ve drafted to fill the space which Jeff and Lawrence had kept for my proposal. It’s a piece which I’ve had on the slow burner for more than a year. I offer it in the hope that it may serve to inspire others to look more kindly towards the Government’s participation in producing postcards.
Tourist and Publicity Department Postcards - by Bill Main
“Although the tourist industry depends largely on private enterprise, the Tourist and Publicity Department (founded in 1901) helps considerably to promote travel to and within New Zealand. It has offices in London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Within New Zealand it has Government Tourist Bureaus at Auckland, Rotorua, Te Aroha, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Invercargill, and a network of tourist agencies in other centres. It directs national publicity overseas. Because of the cost of developing some of the more remote scenic areas, the Department for many years has run hotels at Waitomo Caves, Lake Waikaremoana, Wairakei, Tokaanu, and Tongariro National Park in the North Island, and at Mount Cook, Queenstown, Lake Te Anau, Milford Sound, and the Franz Josef Glacier in the South Island. In 1955 the control of these hotels passed to a Tourist Hotel Corporation”.
An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966 Edited by A.H. McLintock
The above quotation gives a lot of meaning to what follows when it comes to discussing the postcards which originated from this Government Department in 1901, although I’m pretty sure that every member of the NZ Postcard Society will know what I mean when I begin to describe some of the characteristics regarding the concept and distribution of the Departments postcards.
Before I begin, I would like to remind those who have copies of the Postcard Pillar going back several years, that this is not the first time an article or story concerning the National Publicity Studios (NPS) has appeared in these columns. Chris Rabey’s index (an update would be useful) lists five articles beginning with Issue No.63 through to a final entry appearing in No.68. The authors of these articles were Alan Jackson in Issues No 63/4 which dealt with the two series dating from 1902-1904 and 1907-1915. Then there were three further articles under my name, this time on cards bearing the NPS imprint, in Issues 65, 67 and 68, with the last showing what hand-applied dyes did to these real photo (RP) postcards.
Since then I have continued a personal interest in these postcards by adding them to my collection whenever they turn up while keeping an eye on market trends regarding both early and later editions.
Real Photo Postcards & Their Influence on Pricing
While prices for the earliest cards are fairly stable, I’ve noted it is difficult to find good clean copies to add to one’s collection. On the other hand, this does not apply to the NPS cards which always turn up in good to excellent condition and cost much less than the others. The reason for this is a reluctance by NZ collectors to accept them as desirable additions to a collection.
This resistance is slowly being eroded as the quest for RP cards increases, with some now reaching almost the same price as their earlier editions. The reason for this gradual acceptance on the back of the ever-growing demand for RP cards is understandable on that score alone, even though anything pertaining to a ‘modern’ card is still something of an obstacle for some collectors.
Over the years I have amassed well over 150 NPS cards which I regard highly as examples of how New Zealand looked from the late 1930s to the mid 1950s. As a photo historian, I see merit in what they depict and how they went about the job they were directed to do. In some ways I admire their generality, which I know can be a bit off-putting for those who like candid cards showing people going about their business, but remembering the whole objective of the NPS was to show New Zealand to the world.
A Government Department
To be receptive and get into a position where you might more appreciate these cards, you have to accept some of the strictures of being a Government Department which was managed by civil servants who were responsible to a Cabinet Minister, a situation which naturally might not be a good breeding ground for imaginative and creative individuals. Imagine if you can, a photographer being sent off to photograph a series of pictures for publicity purposes, and what some of the requirements and limitations of this commission might entail. First and foremost, I suppose, was waiting for good weather. Clear and crisp sunlit studies of our countryside were the order of the day. Sheep in the fields or snow on the mountains must be clearly defined.
Back at headquarters, negatives (normally whole plate of 21 x 16cms) would be processed, titled, numbered and catalogued. They could then be drawn upon for a variety of purposes, including the production of postcards using an image made from the original and reduced down to postcard format by means of an inter-negative, with a caption written with a chisel-tipped pen and Indian ink added at this stage in the white selvedge area beneath the image.
Just how these were marketed remains a mystery. As a Government Department, it may have been considered unethical for the NPS to be out in the market place competing openly with commercial firms involved in the postcard trade. On the other hand, the NPS negative files were available to all and sundry who could easily negotiate a fee for using pictures from their files. During the time I’ve been actively collecting NPS cards I have only ever seen two instances relating to marketing and pricing these cards. The first was a comment on the back of a card that the sender made, stating he had bought a NPS card at Woolworths in Queen Street, Auckland, on the 14th June 1954. The other has the sum of nine pence pencilled in top right hand corner for a coloured card.
When I asked a former employee what the postcards cost, he was unable to give me a positive response. As well, he couldn’t recall the colouring process they used. Others in the trade told me that applying coloured dyes to the prints was done by women with stencils working on a contract basis. Lastly, in the course of collecting these postcards, I have also acquired some packs of NPS snapshots in envelopes for family photo albums which were retailed in envelopes by firms like Whitcombe & Tombs and Woolworths.
Re-Defining the NPS
After the 1950s, a number of changes occurred within the National Publicity Studios. Some staff were re-located to Miramar to work at the National Film Unit and although the Lambton Quay premises remained active for a while, the Studios were required to move to new premises a number of times as various shifts of emphasis occurred in tempo with the burgeoning tourist trade.
Even though the NPS negative collection can trace its beginnings back to the beginning of the 20th century, its basic collection really began to gather pace in the 1930s. By its end in 1989 it totalled over 300,000 images from black and white negatives to colour transparencies. Today all this is housed in Archives New Zealand, with some of the very early negatives in the care of the Alexander Turnbull Library. For those who want to make an in depth study of this image source, you can ask for a 30 page pamphlet on the National Publicity Studios Photographic Collection (No.22) which is available from Archives, who state that only a very small proportion of the negatives are datable to a particular year.
Illustrated magazines such as the Free Lance relied heavily on a constant source of material from photographers and photo agencies such as the Department of Tourism & Publicity to supply them with topical studies showing New Zealanders at work and play.
The illustrated sections of these magazines were printed on art paper, which was a great improvement over newsprint which carried the bulk of the text. During the period between two world wars many leading newspapers brought out special editions for the Christmas Trade, printing them in mid-October so people could send them to friends overseas.
I am obliged to two former employees of NPS for information which I’ve used in this article. They are Bruce Clark of Levin whose first task for the NPS in 1948 was washing and drying postcards, and photographer/collector Martin Berthold.
I have chosen image 4045 to illustrate this article.
“Mt. Ngaurahoe from the Chateau, Tongariro 4045” was made sometime in 1932 and was featured as a coloured version on the cover of the Christmas edition of the Free Lance in 1933.