Postcard Pillar 96


Pillar 96 cover

ISSUE 96 (August 2012)


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New Zealand Postcard Society (Inc) Directory 

Patron Geoff Potts
President Jeff Long
Vice-Presidents Laurence Eagle
Diane McKoy
VP Research Bill Main
Secretary Jenny Long
Treasurer Ross Alexander
Sales Mgr/Auctioneer Chris Rabey
Editors Jeff Long & Laurence Eagle
Committee Geoff Pots
John Eccles
Donal Duthie
Bruce Isted
Leo Haks

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. Renewing members can pay online; details are on your subs notice.The subscription for an individual or family member is $35, or $30 if paid by 30 September 2012, and $45 for an overseas member, or $40 if paid by 30 September 2012.

Editorial: Many thanks to those 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. In this issue we have significant contributions from Alan Craig, Shirley Bone, Bill Main, Gary Davies and Jeff Long.

Cover illustration

This edition’s cover picture is from B B Series 2129. Early editions of the Postcard Pillar sometimes showed pillarbox illustrations. The Editor found this card, and thought it could grace our front page.

Table of Contents: Issue 96

1-4 Directory and Snippets
5-14 The Postcards of W T Wilson, by Jeff Long
15-17 Report from the PWSA Centennial National Exhibition held in Perth May 17-20, 2012
18 A postcard from Rewi Alley by Laurence Eagle
19 A postcard of Mirimar by Jeff Long
20-21 D Craig & Co, Christchurch by Jeff Long
22-24 The Postcards of George Chance by Alan Craig and Jeff Long
25-26 The Hokitika Floods of 1917, by Shirley Bone
27-29 The Postcards of Hugh & G K McNeill, by William Main
30-34 The Bulletin, by Gary Davies

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Society News and Snippets

 2012 NZ Postcard Society Convention & Blenpex 2012

This year the Convention will be held in Richmond (near Nelson) on 6th and 7th October, the week before the Blenpex exhibition on 12th to 14th October. An excellent opportunity to attend both events! We have booked a nice venue in Richmond where we can both meet and eat, and an interesting speaker has been arranged. Blenpex will have postcard classes and we expect a large number of exhibits, so it will be worth your while to attend. All the Convention details are enclosed with this posting of the Pillar. Please return the enrolment form ASAP.

Have you made your travel and accommodation bookings yet ??

NZPS Website

Work has been proceeding apace, and the website is now live. Go to:

Some sections are still being worked on and added to, but there is enough content now to check out each section. A Members Only section will be added later. Comments would be welcomed by our Secretary at

Subscriptions are now due !! Please settle your account ASAP, especially if you want to receive the discount. Last year, it was rather hard work prompting some members to pay up, and six members are no longer members. You may pay online; details of the Society’s bank account are on the subs notice. A subscription notice is enclosed, unless you have paid in advance, or have only recently joined the Society.


For some reason the use of an ISSN number disappeared from our journal several years ago. It was used from April 1997 Issue No 35, to August 2000, Issue No 51. It is now back, and future editions of the Pillar will show our number. The reason for an ISSN is to identify more easily the permanent record of the Postcard Pillar journal held by the National Library in Wellington.

Table of Contents

Yes, we now have one. This will continue for future issues, and we hope to provide an up-to-date index to the Pillar soon.

Pacific Island cards

A member has asked if we would be interested in articles about Pacific Island cards. As an Editor, I am interested in receiving articles of any relevant topic, and in the next issue I will be having a short article of the postcards of Tonga, but what do other members think?


The Editors have been harbouring the thought for a while that producing a list of lists might be helpful for members, and pull together much of the information already available about postcard producers and photographers. We are currently reviewing previous issues of the Postcard Pillar for information already published, and we already have some published works about Muir & Moodie, Zak, FGR, Gladys Goodall, etc. If you have some lists it would be great if you could make them available, in whatever format, so they could be added to our database. A few contributions have already been received, but Editor Jeff Long would be pleased to hear from lots more of you.

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Classified Ads

One of our members has suggested we could offer this facility at a small charge. Do you agree ? In the meantime, we run some here.

 Request for TREVOR LLOYD Postcards. Member Gary Davies is hunting for cards to add to his collection, and will pay excellent prices for the right cards. Other postcards also wanted: Cynicus “Maori series”, NZ comic artists, F. Norris, Hanna, Sinel, Melvin, Hiscocks, BLO (William Blomfield), NZ Observer and NZ Freelance series, and any early NZ comic Rugby, Maori or Moa Bird themes. Early Australian comic postcards are also wanted: Bulletin series, also comic artists such as Souter, Lindsay, Gibbs, Weston, Minns, Taylor, Nuttall, Mabelle Edmonds, Dillon, Carte, Handy, etc. And Comic cards with Aboriginal themes, plus Cricket, Rugby, Aussie Rules Football and other sporting themes. Please contact Gary Davies. Email or Phone  0427 827 098 (Aust. Time = NZ time LESS 3 hours).

Request from Leo Haks. There are still a few specific cards I would like to buy, or borrow and scan, for inclusion in my upcoming book: group of Nurse Maude nurses from Christchurch with their bicycles on the way out to visit clients; any postcards for or against the 6 o’clock swill; NZ troops in Jerusalem during W W I; any postcards relating to the Chinese community in NZ; a card entitled ‘the old identity’ showing an old building in Taieri (Bathgate photo); women holding onto a saw by a fallen kauri tree in northern Wairoa (photo by Stallworthy): a postman on his rounds: a policeman on his beat: a St John’s Ambulance: a Plunket card: the New Zealand Pavillion at overseas exhibitions. All cards prior to 1922.

W T Wilson cards: Collector looking for cards, scans, or information about this Auckland photographer and postcard manufacturer. Contact Jeff Long, Editor.


Gladys Goodall, aged a sprightly 103, with newly-elected Patron Geoff Potts and his wife Judy.  July 9, 2011

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Follow-up to Aluminium Cards

Jeff Long provides two more aluminium cards to add to the list provided by Geoff Potts in Pillar issue 93; views of the Southport Lake & Promenade, and Southport Cambridge Hall.


The Postcards of W.T. Wilson - Jeff Long

Starting on the opposite page is the fourth in a series of extracts from successful postcard exhibits. The first was Bruce Isted’s generic cards of Wanganui, an exhibit of a type of postcard for a particular area. Next was Yvonne Benson’s Mt Tarawera story, an example of a topographical/social exhibit, in this case featuring an event. The third exhibit was Jenny Long’s Sumner Coast, another type of topographical exhibit, this time about a geographical area.

The W. T. Wilson exhibit is a study of a photographer/publisher, providing biographical detail, and illustrating the technical development of a significant New Zealand photographer.

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The PWSA Centennial National Exhibition held in Perth May 17-20, 2012

This exhibition was special in a number of ways, with several collector Challenges and a very strong international competition.

As far as postcards were concerned, there were two groups of entries. There were eight individual entries, but most interest was in the Postcard Challenge. Australian States and New Zealand were each required to provide two five-frame exhibits and two one-frame exhibits to be a Challenger. New Zealand, South Australia, West Australia, NSW and the ACT put forward entries.

The results of the Challenge were as follows:

South Australia           345

New Zealand               310

ACT                            310

NSW                           303

West Australia            285

South Australia was way ahead, primarily because their one-frame entries each scored 89 points.

The NZ entries were:

Jeff Long: W T Wilson, Photographer & Postcard Manufacturer, Auckland            86  G

Jill Glasson: Looking Back – An Earlier Lifestyle 100 Years Ago                           76  V

Evie-Joy South: Picton, and the Discovery of a Lost Love                                        75 R

Bruce Isted: Wanganui “Generic” Comic Postcards                                                  73  E +Sp

Special prizes were awarded to David John for the best title page (multi-frame), Bruce Isted for best title page (one frame), and Lynn Kitchin received the Encouragement prize.

Congratulations to all members of the N.Z. team. Well done to the South Australia team members and all those ‘mentioned in dispatches.’

Installment Cards

For many of those at the exhibition, including those who were most interested in stamps, probably the most spectacular exhibit at the exhibition was Pauline Edwards’ five frame exhibit of Installment Cards. Installment cards are pictures made up of a number of postcards, and the exhibit was simply amazing.

One set of Installment Cards shown below, is made up of 20 cards in a pattern of 5 x 4 vertical cards with an image of Amien Cathedral. The other image is a whole frame of the exhibit (equivalent to 16 A4 pages), made up of twelve different sets of Installment Cards.

The topics ranged widely from comic to religious, patriotic to Christmas. The cards were produced from the 1910s onwards, and from many countries, especially Continental Europe and the U.S.A.

Almost all the cards in the exhibit had been postally used. Pauline had mounted her cards on her own frame-sized backing sheet which was then placed into the frame.

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A card from Rewi Alley - Laurence Eagle


Message is:

Dear Kate
A picture of Mongul
peoples on the N. China steppes
Best Wishes to all
Love Rewi

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Previous pages

Page 18,  Rewi Alley.

A postcard, postmarked Pekin and Canton, sent by Rewi Alley from China to New Zealand.  Rewi Alley dedicated 60 years of his life to the cause of the Communist Party of China, and was a key figure in the establishment of Chinese industrial cooperatives, and technical training schools. A memorial to Rewi Alley has been erected at Springfield, Canterbury. The card was provided by Laurence Eagle.

 Page 19,  Mirimar

A fascinating postcard of the features of Mirimar (Whataitai) in Maori times., showing local pa and other significant sites. This card was produced by Hector McLeod & Co. of Wellington and is labeled No3, Mirimar Series, 1907. The card was provided by Jeff Long

D Craig & Co, Christchurch - by Jeff Long

In the November 2006 edition of the Postcard Pillar, Bill Main provided an image of a shop frontage in Christchurch featuring D Craig & Co, bookseller, stationer and postcard depot. In particular, the firm’ advertising featured Muir & Moodie postcards. Craig & Co also advertised their own cards, and Bill provided some information about several series of these. One advertisement for their own cards tells readers that the shop can be found at 736 Colombo St, Christchurch.

For some time, I have been interested in this address, and recently spent some time going through Wises Directories for the period.

The building was originally numbered No.210 Colombo St, at a time when the numbering of Colombo St was split into two, south of Moorhouse Ave, and north of Moorhouse Ave (although Moorhouse was originally known as South Belt). The first occupants of No.210 Colombo were Griffiths & Co., according to Wises Directory of 1894-5. Note that this was a combined year issue, so I can’t find a more exact date from this source. This firm continued to be listed at No.210 up to and including 1903.

From 1904 D. Craig & Co. were listed as the occupants. Until 1908 they were listed as booksellers, and from 1909 as booksellers and printers. To complicate matters, in 1911, Colombo St was renumbered in a continuous series for the whole length of the street, and so No.210 became No.736.

From 1912 to 1917 inclusive, the firm was again listed only as booksellers. Interestingly, in 1918 R. W. Binns was noted as the proprietor, and this continued through to 1922 inclusive. The first listing for Wrigglesworth and Binns, (F. C. Binns, proprietor), was in 1911 at No.738 Colombo St, two doors along the street.

In 1923, No.736 was occupied by Isitt Ltd, bookseller, and No.738 by Wrigglesworth & Binns. However, in 1924, Wrigglesworth & Binns is listed as being at No.736, so this suggests some type of amalgamation might have taken place.

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It is interesting to note that there is no mention of postcards in the Wises directories for Craig & Co., yet the picture clearly shows two large advertisements for Muir & Moodie cards, and the firm also produced their own postcards.

The next year, 1925, a considerable area of Colombo St, from No.734 to No.740, was listed as London Town Drapers, so that was the end of postcard availability in this area of Christchurch.

As an aside, the 1908 Wises Directory notes that there was another postcard seller at No.80-86 Colombo St, the Richard Peard postcard emporium.

Wouldn’t it have been great to purchase M and M cards brand new, and at cost !!

Follow-up to Weekly Press Antarctic Cards

Robert Duns provides further information to the Postcard Pillar Annual 2011 article by Barry Hancox regarding the Weekly Press postcards issued in late 1901.

The Weekly Press of Jan 1902 (p50) states that a set of 12 views was available. Four were illustrated in NZ Antarctic Postal History to 1941 (Robert Duns, 1997) but Robert had not sighted any others. Similarly, Margery Wharton, compiler of Postcards of Antarctic Expeditions: A Catalogue: 1898-1958, illustrated the same four cards.

Another series of 12 cards was produced by the Weekly Press early in 1904 on the return of the Second Relief Expedition. In this series, the illustrations are on the reverse only; all 12 are illustrated in both the above publications.

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George Chance, Photographer - by Alan Craig  & Jeff Long

[From an article by Linda Tyler, University of Auckland, 2006.]

George Chance (1885-1963) was born in Liverpool, trained as an optician, and emigrated to Dunedin in 1909. He was interested in photography from an early age, owning his first threepenny camera when he was twelve years old, and joining the local camera club in London when he was only fourteen. After leaving school, he was employed by Houghton's, a photographic manufacturing firm to work with cameras. By 1905 he had shifted to the London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company in Regent Street. He emigrated to New Zealand in 1909 to work for Dawson's in Dunedin.

He was interested in pictorial photography as an art form. Serious amateur photographers wanted to separate their own aesthetic work from the random results of the "point and shooters". Pictorial photographers composed their images aesthetically like a painting, emphasizing the role of craft in the production of the image. He sometimes "improved on Nature" but aimed at getting the perfect negative in the first place.

He won numerous awards, and was instrumental in photography being accepted by Art Societies, and he eventually became President of the New Zealand Association of Art Societies.

During the 1930s George Chance photographs had become well-known through publication in magazines and newspapers such as the Weekly News and Brett's Christmas Annual. For three years during World War Two, he produced The New Zealand Highways and Byways Calendars for Coulls Somerville Wilkie in Dunedin.


The Storm, Lake Wanaka, NZ. gelatin silver print on paper mounted on card

Tramping in the Makarora Valley at the head of Lake Wanaka in Mount Aspiring National Park, George Chance was nearly blown away by wind getting this photograph: ..  ‘I'd come out of the Makarora Valley because of the rain and the storm that was coming up. I couldn't resist the temptation of climbing down the bank and getting this effect that you see. I had to go back to my car eventually and get one of my tent ropes to tie myself to a tree in order to be steady enough to take the picture. Even then there is a certain amount of camera shake - you will see - but of course that might have been to its advantage. The cloud there was put in afterwards’.

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George Chance images had mass appeal - over 30,000 prints sold during his lifetime. His photographs are now sought after again and valued for their local content as well as for the technical tricks that once made them so controversial.

Some George Chance images appeared on postcards, although it isn’t known whether or not these were photographs originally. Courtesy of members Alan Craig of Hamilton and Laurence Eagle of Christchurch, we can illustrate a group of George Chance postcards.


Otago University, Dunedin. Geo Chance 34121


Dunedin from Mt Cargill Geo Chance 34116

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Warrington Beach near Dunedin. Geo Chance 34132


Winter Sunlight  Arrowtown. Geo Chance 34122


Morning Mists Lake Wakatipu. Geo Chance 34117

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The Hokitika Floods of 1914 - by Shirley Bone

This group of five private Real Photo postcards shows the effects of the sea erosion on those buildings that back onto the sea in Revell St, Hokitika, in November 1914. The problem was the direction of the flow of the Hokitika River at the mouth, which when flowing southwards causes a problem at the north of the river mouth. Five groynes were put in place later in 1914 to try and stop the erosion.

The photos were taken by Ben Thiem, a Hokitika photographer who ran “The Thiem Studio.” The story is told through the messages on the back, from Marie to her aunts Marie and Lina.


Postcard No.1 - Nov 16th 1914. Back of Uncle Fita’s (?) shop. During every high tide the sea washes right under the back of the shop. The last few days the sea has been very high, some of the waves breaking against those large piles that are holding the building up. Uncle had to get those put in soon after the sea had washed everything away, otherwise the building would have sagged. We are unable to get out of the back door, and you can imagine us having a peep over the top of the iron up against the door. We have to have the iron otherwise the sea would come inside. That skylight you will see is where the filing room is, and window at the back is where the lavatory is. I wish you were here to have a peep out the back door.


Postcard No.2 - This is where Mr Jacob’s sheds are being washed out to sea. He had a good deal of stock in them, everything went out to sea before they had time to save a thing. The sea is not rough at present, but I think it will be fairly severe next spring tides. Uncle has had the chimney taken down in the shop, and our hearts are more at ease, as we expected the chimney to come toppling down.

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Postcard No.3 - Nov 27th 1914. In this photo you will notice that the shop stands a great deal higher out of the sand than it was in the previous postcard. Where the skylight is in the washroom you will notice that the chimney is removed. Uncle was afraid that bank underneath the shop would become more undermined, and if so, the chimney would crash through and demolish the building, so he decided to get it taken down at once. If you look closely, you will perceive Miss Diamond standing at the back door looking out. Miss Diamond has her hand up to her head, and I am looking up the beach.


Postcard No.4 - This is a side view of the beach. The hole in the roof of the shop indicates where the chimney has been. This photo was taken the day the bricklayers were removing the chimney. The other buildings projecting out are Demanys (?) and Browns property. It makes things rather awkward for them when they want to get access to their buildings. The sea has not been so rough during the past week.


Postcard No.5 - Card to Aunty Tina. This is a side view of the beach, taken before the chimney was taken down. We are having more bad weather today. I am afraid if this continues much longer that we shall have very little summer.

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Postcards by Hugh & G.K.Neill - by William Main

In the early 1970s, I was given 64 postcards by the late Hardwicke Knight, author and historian. These were real photo postcards featuring a variety of New Zealand scenes, mainly views of Dunedin and Wellington. They were accompanied by a note from Hardwicke which read . . .

“These photographs are reduced from half-plate negatives made by photographers in various parts of New Zealand who were commissioned to take them for reproduction as whole-plate prints and postcards, which were printed by Hugh & G K Neill of Dunedin and sold under the name AOTEAROA SERIES. The enlarger used by Hugh & G K Neill is in the Hardwicke Knight Collection; photographs of the printing room and processing tanks are in the Hocken Library. The photographs date from about 1916 to 1925, and distribution ceased in 1928”.


My interest in this gift lay dormant in my picture files for a number of years until I began to acquire postcards on a more regular basis. Included in some of my finds were cards that had been issued during the New Zealand and South Seas International Exhibition in Dunedin in the summer of 1926/7. These stated that Hugh & G K Neill were the official photographers for the exhibition. One particular fact which intrigued me at the time was what I might call the mechanical perfection and presentation of these cards. They had a machine like appearance as opposed to real photo postcards which were usually handled individually by a photographer and darkroom assistants. Then I made a discovery which explained everything when I chanced upon a copy of the British Journal Almanac 1927 edition which carried a four page advertisement for “The Presto” which was an automatic postcard printing and trimming machine for sensitised card makers. In order to give some weight to this firms status, it list over sixty firms around the world that had a “Graber,” the maker’s name. Included in this list was Hugh & G K Neill of New Zealand!

Now my interest was really wetted!

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A detailed study my Neill cards revealed the fact that they all dated from the mid to late 1920s. The earliest  view was of Thames Street, Oamaru N569, and a view of Mt Egmont in Winter N1720 had the highest catalogue number.


Viewing the collection as a whole from a critical point of view, they are very unevenly produced, with some badly exposed and developed. However, to a certain degree that can be balanced by the fact that there are some very tempting images. For instance, those numbered N1700-1711 feature  views of the Otago Aero Club’s planes and facilities with a montage showing its gypsy moths doing stunts above the club’s hangar!

Also I’m enthralled by the Wellington sequence which runs from N1218 to 1234 showing views of the city's commercial and retail shopping streets in the mid to late 1920s. In fact, one can be more precise with this set because the DIC in Lambton quarry is under construction clad with scaffolding, suggesting 1927 since it opened the following year. Other views of Rotorua, Central Otago and Dunedin from the air dominate the cards I have from Neill’s catalogue. I would be interested to hear from anyone who can add to the list which follows.


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List of Hugh & G K Neill postcards AOTEAROA SERIES

N569    Thames Street, Oamaru NZ N1278 Princes Gate, Rotor, NZ
N793    Snowballing in Botanical Gardens Dunedin NZ (dated July 1924) N1300 Dawson Falls, Mt Egmont, NZ
N1117 Glendenning Homes, Andersons Bay, Dunedin NZ N1302 Maori Church, Ohinemutu, Rotor, NZ
N1148 Bridge on Skippers Road, Queenstown, NZ N1316 Jollies Pass Hanmer Springs, NZ
N1149 Scott Memorial, Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, NZ N1371 Warm Waterfall, Tikitere, Rotor, NZ
N1153 The Racecourse, Wanganui, NZ N1476 Tekapo House & Bridge, Lake Tekapo, NZ
N1158 The River Avon, Christchurch N1529 Kinloch, Lake, Wakatipu, NZ
N1171 HMS Zealand in Harbour Dunedin, N Z N1542 Lake Pukaki, NZ
N1176 Kawarau Dam, Queenstown, NZ N1580 Queenstown, NZ from the Gardens.
N1171 Accommodation House after Eruption of Waimangu Geyser at Rotor, NZ N1581 Lake Pukaki, NZ
N1181 Bath House, Rotor, NZ N1586 Fried Egg Pool, Rotor, NZ
N1183 Hongi (Maori Salutation) N1639 Track Elfin Bay - Lake Rere, NZ
N1201 Bank of New Zealand, Invercargill, NZ N1655 New Town Hall, Dunedin, NZ (with Ponga Tree & Tiki postcard back)
N1202 Water Tower, Invercargill, NZ N1690 Aerial view of Cliffs at St. Clair Dunedin NZ
N1212 Pipe Line Waipori Power Works, Dunedin, NZ N1691 Aerial view St. Clair Dunedin NZ
N1213 Waipori Creek, Dunedin, NZ N1692 Dunedin N.Z. from the air
N1217 Green Lake, Rotor, NZ N1693 Aerial view of Waterfront at Dunedin N.Z.
N1219 Princes St., from Octagon - Dunedin under Snow. N1695 Aerial view of Anderson’s Bay Dunedin N.Z.
N1219 Generators Waipori Power Station, Dunedin NZ N1696 Aerial view of Dunedin N.Z.
N1224 Hongi Track, North Island, NZ N1697 Aerial view of Dunedin N.Z. Queen’s Gardens in Centre
N1230 Lake Rotoiti, Rotor, NZ N1698  Aerial view of Dunedin N.Z. St. Clair Golf Links in foreground
N1234 Lambton Quay, Wellington, NZ N1699 Aerial view of Dunedin N.Z. Otago Boys’ High School in foreground
N1. . . Manners Street, Wellington, NZ N1704 Aerial view of Mosgiel N.Z.
N1218 Lambton Quay, Wellington, NZ N1705 Aerial view of Otago Aero Club Aerodrome
N1222 Manners Street, Wellington, NZ N1706 Aerial view of Hangar at Otago Aero Club’s Aerodrome
N1231 Grey Street, Wellington, NZ N1707 Landing Fields & Hangars at Otago Aero Club’s Aerodrome
N1238 Courtenay Place, Wellington, NZ N1708 Otago Aero Club’s D H Gipsy Moth
N1243 Courtenay Place, Wellington, NZ N1709 Planes “stunting” above the Otago Aero Club’s Hangar
N1244 Willis Street, Wellington, NZ N1710 An Otago Aero Club’s Gipsy Moth Plane
N1247 Tasman Glacier from Ball Hut, NZ N1711 An Otago Aero Club’s Gipsy Moth Plane & Flying Officer Olsen
N1251 On the track to Ball Hut, NZ N1720 Mt. Egmont in Winter
N1254 Camp on way to Ball Hut, NZ No Number  Mt. Rolleston
N1255 Mt Cook from Hooker River, NZ No Number  Maori Gate, Rotorua

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The Bulletin - by Gary Davies

The Bulletin began in Australia in 1880 as a weekly periodical that supported local artists and writers. No doubt circulation figures were boosted by a policy that accepted contributions from all manner of budding poets, sketchers and would-be writers. The Bulletin was avidly read by hopeful contributors looking for their work in print. It also employed several well known and highly skilled artists like B E Minns, Alf Vincent, Norman Lindsay, Frank Mahony, Percy Spence, George Lambert, Tom Durkin and Lionel Lindsay, while purposely imported artistic talent came in the persons of Phil May, Livingston Hopkins and David Souter.

By the early 1900s The Bulletin was promoting nationalism, celebrating the larrikin and the extrovert, denigrating Jews, the Chinese, imperialism, politicians, wowsers and missionaries. Australia was another place. The images on The Bulletin postcards, most having been published previously in the magazine, confirmed this, reflecting her pride and her prejudice.

It is generally assumed that our earliest ‘all Australian’ comic postcards were produced by The Bulletin for release in December 1903. One card published by The Bulletin and signed by the artist Hop (Livingston Hopkins) is clearly postmarked 24 December 1903. In another early Australian comic artist collection there is however a card postmarked 28 December 1903 by Charles Nuttall, publisher unknown. Further research may show that The Bulletin did not publish our earliest comic postcards.

Many of the artists whose work appeared in The Bulletin were also involved in areas other than just black and white cartooning. Norman Lindsay was many things including sculptor, water colourist, book illustrator and sketcher, while Percy Spence exhibited his oils and watercolours with the Royal Academy of Arts in England, and a drawing of Robert Louis Stevenson is now in the National Portrait Gallery in London. Spence also had several of his comic drawings published as postcards including at least one for The Bulletin series.

Hop and Phil May both had an interest in pottery and clay modelling. In an issue of The Strand Magazine, published circa 1905, there is an illustration of two clay masks, the subjects being Hop by May, and May by Hop.


Plaster head Phil May

Image 1 shows a plaster head modelled by Phil May similar in style to his illustration ‘That’s Me When I’m Old’ which appears on the title page of the book Phil May in Australia, published in 1904 by The Bulletin Newspaper Company, Limited. The plaster head has ‘Phil May’ incised below the subject’s left ear. Another similar plaster head is held by the Australian National Library, Canberra. This piece has a circular collar surrounding the head and advertises ‘The Bulletin The National Australian Newspaper’. An archivist at The Bulletin advised in 1985 that the plaque had hung in the Bulletin offices as an advertising piece.

In The Books of the Bulletin 1880-1952 by Mackaness and Stone (Angus and Robertson 1955) W E Fitz Henry wrote a wonderful historical essay, part of which says:

Outside the accountant’s office on the ground floor stood an historic piece of furniture that dated back to the time The Bulletin had its office at 24 Pitt Street, Sydney. It was the famous Bulletin bench, whose history has been told by W H East, Harold Mercer and Hilary Lofting. When The Bulletin occupied the old ramshackle Pitt Street premises the then manager, Silas Harding, decided to prevent deadbeats and others from roaming all over the building, and had a counter built across the front office, erected a high wire-door giving access to the rear and put the historic bench on the floor space in front of the counter.

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While the bench was at Pitt-street, and afterwards at 214 George Street, it was accepted as the rendezvous for most of the paper’s contributors (and drinkers).…

From the old bench Harry Morant (‘The Breaker’) said goodbye to a host of Bohemian friends before his departure to the South African war and his execution before a firing-squad….Phil May, one foot on the bench, is said to have modelled there the comical caricature of himself which he labelled ‘That’s Me When I’m Old’.

The Bulletin offices also contained a room called ‘The Tomb’. Quoting again from Fitz Henry:

It was littered with an untidy jumble of bound copies of The Bulletin and The Lone Hand, stacks of original black-and-white drawings…the two Phil May catalogues…and The Bulletin postcards. They were everywhere – unwanted, trodden upon and deemed unworthy of even a passing glance. These days they are almost unprocurable.

Please note: Fitz Henry wrote this around 1952, sixty years ago!


Cartoon Phil May


Postcard Phil May

Image 2 is the cartoon drawing dated 1890 inspired by the earlier plaster heads. This drawing was later reproduced as a postcard in the December 1903 Bulletin Series I, on tinted card. There are several tints in existence for the early Bulletin black and white cards; pink, pale green, cream, as well as a darker cream or buff which may be a consequence of age toning. A pure white also exists.

The following postcards have some relevance to The Bulletin.

Image 3:  A Phil May postcard from Series I, published December 1903, showing a racist attitude to the Chinese.

Image 4:  A Phil May card from Series IA with an anti Jewish theme. The drawing on this card originally appeared in an 1886 issue of The Bulletin.

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Image 5: This is an unusual postcard as the artist is Percy F. S. Spence and the card does not show a series number.  It does however have the typical red printed Bulletin undivided back. Possibly it belongs in Series III Australian Illustrators, where the other cards were published in 1903 as black and white on tinted card.

Other comic postcards by Spence show a less sophisticated style than this Bulletin card.

image009a image010a

Image 4 (left) Phil May postcard

Image 5 (above) Percy Spence postcard


Image 6. (above) H. W. Turner postcard



Image 7. (above)  B. E. Minns postcard

Image 6:  The cartoonist H W Turner may be referring to The Bulletin in this card. Scripting BULLE in larger letters than TIN may imply the boy in the corrugated iron tank is a ‘bully in the tin tank’ or bully-tin! Whatever is intended, the theme is wonderfully Australian and the card was postally used 12 May 1907.

Image 7: This card, from The Bulletin Series III Australian Illustrators, was published in December 1903. The illustration was drawn in 1901, appeared in the 1902 Christmas issue of The Bulletin and was later reproduced as drawing 146 in Geoffrey Dutton’s White on Black (Macmillan 1974).

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Benjamin Edwin Minns had a reputation for his watercolours, cartoons and pen and ink drawings of stylish and beautiful Edwardian ladies. His humorous outback scenes often included Aboriginal peoples. Today his cartoon drawings of Aboriginals are mostly considered racist; his portraits of them however are often dignified and respectful. Many early drawings of Aboriginal people while sometimes drawn with well intended sincerity are now dismissed as ‘indulgent misplaced sentimentality’.


Image 8. Minns postcard

Image 8: This Minns postcard has the header caption ‘THE GLAD EYE’ and the back states ‘Reprinted from the Strand Theatre Souvenir’.

Minns left Australia in 1895 and spent considerable time in the UK before returning in 1915. While in London, Minns contributed drawings to various journals including the Strand Magazine and Punch. He was commissioned along with other artists like Dudley Hardy, Nora Schlegel and Norman Morrow to supply artwork to The Strand Theatre for a souvenir portfolio celebrating 335 performances of The Glad Eye. The portfolio was issued in mid 1914 and at least twenty drawings were included, each headed ‘The Glad Ideas’ with the artist’s caption placed below the drawing. The souvenir portfolio made available to this writer was incomplete, having suffered water damage and partial disintegration from age. Surprisingly a few of the drawings had survived almost intact. This postcard is from another source.

Image 9:  Illustrated here is ‘The Cocky’, card number IX from The Bulletin Series 5, ‘Australian Types’. There are at least ten cards in this series and they are superbly drawn and beautifully produced in colour. Cards in this series are curiously numbered, the card titled ‘Horse’ having no number while the other cards are numbered IV to XII consecutively. The cards were published in January 1907 and this writer is yet to find those numbered I to III.

Norman Lindsay is highly regarded by collectors of Australian comic art postcards and in the entire Bulletin series there are at least thirteen cards featuring his comic or caricature styled artwork.


Image 9. Norman Lindsay postcard

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Images 10 & 11: Missionaries, wowsers and heathen natives! Who really needed saving? Well, certainly not the natives who mostly lived in an idyllic paradise free of the ‘white’ world’s diseases and hassles. The natives had abundant food, fresh water, fish, year-round boating and exotic fruits. Lionel Lindsay, Hop and Ambrose Dyson drew many cartoons for The Bulletin lampooning the clerics, their religion and often celebrating the head hunters’ demise of the missionary!   Series II, III, 2A and 4 all contain postcards published from these cartoons. Two of these cards are illustrated here.

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Images 10 (left) Lionel Lindsay postcard, and 11 (right)


Image 12 (above)  reverse side artwork by Norman Lindsay


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Image 12: Cards from The Bulletin Series IV, IA and 2A have single coloured backs printed from artwork by Norman Lindsay. Some backs are red, others purple and a few are olive green, all illustrated here. The artwork forms a frieze of Lindsay’s wonderfully drawn Australian characters and these backs are signed Norman Lindsay in the lower right corner. It is interesting to note that none of the fronts in the above three series feature Norman Lindsay artwork.

During the first fifty years of Australian comic postcards some two hundred or more different artists have left their mark. The artistic ‘skills’ range from dismal to delightful but the subjects depicted give us both an entertaining and educational record of Australian social history. The Bulletin postcards and the associated cards are an important part of the story.

Back Cover

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