The Lark Chamber Opera performs their version of Little Red Riding Hood at the Place in the State Library of Western Australia, as part of the Rather Beastly . Unfortunately we only captured the first act, apparently Gretel, of Hansel and Gretel fame appropriated the camera and was only returned by a monster with purple horns and long claws after the third act. If the last statement made no sense you needed to be there, the audience really appreciated the performance.
In 1896, this article taken from the local rag “Pioneer” encouraged “spinsters” to come to Coolgardie and seek husbands, whilst also warning that they may end up playing second fiddle to their husbands’ love of gold, gambling and drinking with their mates at the pub!
The West Australian, 19 February 1896.
You can view the article in it’s original form here on Trove.
COOLGARDIE AS A MATRIMONIAL FIELD – Coolgardie, according to the local Pioneer is as promising a matrimonial field as a goldfield. “Most of us” (writes the Pioneer) “are tired of single wretchedness, and we are feeling a distaste for dwellings where the feminine element is ever absent. In all trepidation we might point out to the girls in the East that Coolgardie is a fine field for matrimony. Here we have thousands of marriageable men, good-looking, high-spirited men, too – the making of honest husbands who could be lassoed into captivity with ease, and who, we are sure, would never regret the pleasant bondage.
We advise the fair spinsters of the East to come over, ensuring them of a hearty welcome in this land of gold and love. Husbands and gold rings are to be picked up here easily, when feminine grace and pretty fripperies stoop to conquer. They may have to put up with many little inconveniences, such as we have pointed out, but it would be their privilege to alter the prevailing state of affairs and win men from their attachment to the bar to that of a staunch allegiance to the cradle. And any woman worth her salt would find that not only an easy task but a congenial task.”
There is, however, another side to the picture for the same paper in the same article says: “Women who follow their husbands to the goldfields must be content to play second fiddle. The man looks upon speculation as his mistress, the bar, the open call, and the club as his companions. They become more essential, and, we regret to say, often more attractive to him than the canvas home and the wife’s conversation.
A goldfield ruins a man for domestic life, for what man can enjoy cold mutton, or even hot roast beef, with his wife, after boarding at a first-class hotel where he meets brainy men who give him an appetite? On a goldfield men of keen intelligence congregate, and they imbibe a love for gambling and speculation. Many of them will never settle down again, but wander from field to field making and losing fortunes. Travel they may enjoy, or life in the metropolis, but never again the domestic hearth and the constant ripple of a woman’s tongue”.
Over one hundred years later, Bernard Salt similarly suggested that single women make their way to a mining town in his 2008 book, “Man Drought”. According to Salt, the town with the best ratio of single men to single women on the Australian continent at the time of the 2006 census was the resources town of Glenden 165 km west of Mackay in Queensland.
Did you, or someone you know find love while working in a mining town? We would love to hear your story in the comments section below!
I’ve just started reading Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader (or click here to find a talking book version), and am finding it an absolute delight (Yes, Business Librarians do have souls beyond money!) The story begins when the Queen accidently discovers a mobile library parked in the kitchen courtyard at Windsor and, out of politeness, borrows a book – an action which seems to be leading to some unexpected consequences…
…briefing is not reading. In fact it is the antithesis of reading. Briefing is terse, factual and to the point. Reading is untidy, discursive and perpetually inviting. Briefing closes down a subject, reading opens it up”.
The Uncommon Reader, p. 22
You can hear Alan Bennett being interviewed by Phillip Adams on Late Night Live earlier this year, find more of his work in our library catalogue, or find out more about him on the British Council’s Contemporary Writers website.
Everyone is getting into YouTube – even The Queen has The Royal Channel!
But there is much more out there in Video Sharing land – here are some of my favourite library videos to help you while away the silly season:
There are a scary number of Dancing Librarian clips there too!
I’m also a bit puzzled about this advertisement from 1925 – fish and chips and libraries seem an odd but interesting combination!
West Australian Jason Chatfield has taken over drawing the popular Ginger Meggs cartoon.
After the death of James Kemsley, the fourth cartoonist to draw Meggs, responsibility for the kid with a knack for being in the right place at the wrong time rests with Jason Chatfield, 23, a close friend of Kemsley.
Chatfield, who works from his home studio in Tuart Hill, has been asked to take over the strip, which was first published in 1921
Information about the comic strip:
More information about Jason can be found on his website: www.jasonchatfield.com .
Information about other West Australian cartoonists can be found on the Australian Cartoonists’ Association:
Some early West Australian cartoons:
Political cartoon The Conference, ca 1925 (032720PD)
Paul Rigby 1974 (360888PD)
Also, some West Australian cartoonists are included in the ‘Behind the Lines 2007 : The Year’s Best Cartoons Exhibition’:
Anthony Burgess (1917-1993), that grumpy old author of A Clockwork Orange, wrote this about libraries:
Reference libraries won’t do. You can’t read a book seated at a table on a hard chair without a smoke and without a drink. A book can be properly read only when lying down or slouched gracelessly.
- Urgent Copy p.291
I certainly prefer to read in bed, and I have sympathy with what he is saying. Yet not all reading is for pleasure; some is for study or reference.
The trend toward comfortable chairs in libraries suggests libraries might be taking heed of him forty years after he wrote.