The Metropolitan Dental Company

Teeth of Charm and beauty slwa_b2034953_18

One would not normally associate a dental company with glitz and glamour, but during the first half of the 20th century Perth’s major dental firm had an image of modernity and high fashion without equal in Western Australia.

The Metropolitan Dental Company was established in 1908 advertising its aim to provide affordable dental care for all, including people on lower incomes.

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Advertising for dental products from the ephemera collection of the Metropolitan Dental Company.

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Advertising for dental products from the ephemera collection of the Metropolitan Dental Company.

The State Library has a small but delightful collection of material relating to the Metropolitan Dental Company including photographs, a day book, scrapbooks, certificates, advertising mock-ups and other ephemera.

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Drawing of the (proposed?) exterior of the Metropolitan Dental Company 00716D

Hay Street, Perth premises of the Metropolitan Dental Company slwa_b3473316_2

Hay Street, Perth premises of the Metropolitan Dental Company 1927 100182PD

Metropolitan Dental Company

The building at 790 Hay Street, Perth today. [The Apple Store] Photo: Google Maps Street View.

The Company was described as the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. The owners were Wolf Blitz, Alfred Kaufman, and Alfred Rogers, with notable dentists such as Edgar McGillicuddy, Thomas Wilson and Albert E. Ford working for the company at various times.

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The Metropolitan Dental Company advertised widely in newspapers, using the lure of a short anecdote or educational snippet followed by an invitation to use their services. In fact they made an art of the “advertorial”.  Some examples of marketing gems from Trove Newspapers include:

“Aseptic  Methods in  Modern Dentistry” – absolutely sterile instruments…

“Deadlier than Snake Venom” – food detritus and tooth cavities.

“Mental, Physical and Moral Degeneration” – the link between juvenile delinquency and bad teeth…“Private health really means public morals”.  [Yes! Really.]

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A day book from 1908 lists appointments, treatment and fees charged. It is noted that Mrs Townsend of Highgate Hill had to cut short her treatment on being called away to Albany “her child having broken its collarbone”.

Included in the collection are some original artworks for advertising and for the windows of the company’s offices. A mock-up for a Neon sign is so impressively bright that one is tempted to take it into a darkened room to see if it glows.

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Also in the advertising ephemera are several metal printer’s engraving plates that are wonderful works of art in their own right.

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Metropolitan Dental Company collection ACC1863A/19

To associate an air of beauty and sophistication with a dental firm is no easy task, but the Metropolitan Dental Company achieved this by employing attractive young women to grace their colourful posters.

The full collection of photographs may be viewed here.

The Metropolitan Dental Company is just one of the private business archives in the State Library Collections. These records provide a view into a past that is so much more vibrant and interesting than we may have thought from viewing black and white photographs.

We are always pleased to hear from members of the community who may have private business records that they would like to be considered for the State Heritage Collections.

Dads’ Army?

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Unidentified group of soldiers, 229234PD

Do you know anything about this photograph which is part of the E. L. Mitchell collection? These men were photographed in about 1916 in a makeshift studio. In this image they are wearing caps and in another photograph the same men are wearing hats. A sticker on the back of one of the negatives reads ‘possibly Bunbury camp’.

On close inspection you can see that most of the men are older than the usual young recruits you would expect to see in a photograph from this early stage of the war. You can see both photographs in our catalogue:
A group of soldiers photographed in a makeshift studio wearing their hats and caps, possibly at Forrest Park Military Camp near Bunbury

If you can offer us any clues as to the identity of any of these men or the group to which they belong, please comment at the bottom of this post or beneath the images in our catalogue.

Saved from the skip!

Brabner Harold

Portrait of Harold James Brabner, BA2594

This photograph of World War One soldier, Harold James Brabner, nearly didn’t survive. It is a very large portrait measuring 65 x 41 centimetres which was hanging in the Midland Railway Workshops for many years. When the workshops closed in 1994 it was about to be thrown out but was rescued by someone who appreciated its significance.

The gentleman who rescued the photograph displayed it in his own home for quite some time, despite having no personal connection with the subject of the photograph.That was until 2014 when he saw an article in the West Australian newspaper calling for donations of WWI material to the State Library. He contacted the Library and offered the portrait for our Pictorial collection. Our Conservation staff have done some restoration on it and it has now been digitised and made available online.

The portrait simply has the word “Brabner” on the reverse. Research reveals that he was Harold James Brabner of the 11th Battalion who was killed in action on 17 September 1917 at Bullecourt, Belgium aged 23. His service is commemorated at Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres. His connection with the Midland Railway Workshops is that he worked as a painter in the locomotive workshop.

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Death notice in the Swan Express, Friday 2 November 1917 page 2.

Harold was born in Victoria in 1894 to James and Georgina Brabner nee Sherwell. The couple had another son, George Alexander, in 1896 and a daughter, Nelly, in 1899. By 1906 the family had moved to Bellevue in Western Australia. Both sons enlisted in the 11th Battalion and, sadly, both men lost their lives.

Australias Fighting Sons

Entry for the two Brabner brothers, Australia’s fighting sons of the Empire: portraits and biographies of Australians in the Great War, page 36

The State Library welcomes donations of material relating to the history of Western Australia. Please see our Donations page for more details.

Baffling bridge…

008366PD Baffling bridge

Unidentified bridge 008366PD

Flushed with success at having our last two mystery photographs identified we thought we’d try this one, a glass negative from the E.L. Mitchell collection. Once again the terrain suggests the south west, probably taken c.1920. The name on the store is not legible but we are sure that someone in our community will recognise the bridge and be able to name the store. See close-up of the store with horse-drawn buggies below.

Scroll down to the Leave a reply icon to make a comment.

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Close-up of store 008366PD

Pub puzzle

 

Unknown hotel 008497PD

Unknown hotel. 008497PD

Update!

This image has been identified as, most probably, the Mogumber Hotel. Now called the Mogumber Tavern. It has been extended and residential units added but original features still visible suggest that we have it right. More recent photographs of the tavern may be found here.
The image has now been added to our catalogue and  may be found here. We took another look at the number plate of the vehicle in an enlarged image and could make out that it ends with the numbers  “93”. The 1917-18 RAC Yearbook has a “Hudson 29” registered to the Swan Brewery  Reg. # P 293.  Perhaps Swan Brewery employees were visiting.

Thank you Joan Harvey!

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This hotel photographed by E.L. Mitchell is held as a glass negative. From the women’s clothing it is probably taken between 1914 and 1920.

The trees suggest that it may be somewhere in the South West. Unfortunately the hotel’s name on the roof is obscured and the man at the car is standing in front of the number plate which might have given a clue.

Does anyone recognise this building?  After success with our last photographic challenge we have high hopes that someone out there can assist.

 

Yarloop, a small town with a big history

A devastating fire on Thursday 7th January 2016 has destroyed most of the town of Yarloop. The tragic loss of life, property and living history in this small and close community has touched all Western Australians. We would like to share  a selection of photographs and documents about Yarloop from the State Library’s heritage collections. We hope that these images will evoke some memories.

The 2006 census gives Yarloop’s population as 545 but this little town has had an association with many W.A. families.

Wedding party of Rufus Burnsyde and Mary Eastcott, Yarloop 1909 slwa b2786290

Wedding party of Rufus Burnsyde and Mary Eastcott, Yarloop 1909 slwa b2786290

Yarloop is 129km south of Perth and is part of the Shire of Harvey. The town was established in 1894 but European settlement began slowly from the late 1840s and built up during the 1880s. The name Yarloop is thought to have originated from the local language of the Binjareb or Pindjarup people.

Timber and farming, mainly dairy and fruit, have been the mainstays of the local economy. More recently tourism has been encouraged with historic trails, wildflower walks and cycling routes developed. Sadly the The Yarloop Workshops, so brilliantly restored and maintained by the local community, have also gone. The Yarloop Workshops Website includes a history and slideshow that detail just how much has been lost in the fires.

Jack Davis

Jack Davis, poet and dramatist.   Ron Williams Collection

Jack Davis the Aboriginal poet and dramatist was raised in Yarloop. Davis is best known for his plays The Dreamers (1982) and No Sugar (1985).

Yarloop 1910 - 1920 slwa b2944123

Yarloop 1910 – 1920 slwa b2944123

Steam whim hauling at Yarloop 1905 SLWA 000965d

Steam whim hauling at Yarloop 1905 000965d

In the early 20th century Millars’ Timber Company established a ‘company’ town, adjacent to the original townsite, as the hub of its business with rail access linking the town to Bunbury and Perth. The original Millars’ mill was at Waigerup Brook (now Wagerup). The first mill in the Yarloop area is believed to have been Waterous Mill.

Building a whim wheel Yarloop c. 1903 004471D

Building a whim wheel Yarloop c. 1903
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The heritage buildings, rail and workshops are irreplaceable but many aspects of the history of the town have been documented.

The State Records Office of Western Australia holds the official records of government. For Yarloop their extensive collections will include land records and maps; Department of Education files on teachers and schools; student registers; police reports; building records and Department of Health files. Documents will cover various aspects of agriculture, environment, railways, planning, building, decommissioning and conservation from various Western Australian government departments.

A visit to the National Archives of Australia’s Discovering ANZACS website will help to identify the records of soldiers who served in WWI who were born in or gave their home address as Yarloop.

The main National Archives site can be searched to find names and records of soldiers (and rejected applicants) from the defence services including those who served in WWII, Vietnam and the Citizen Military Force who hailed from Yarloop.

The State Library’s contribution to the National Library of Australia’s Trove Newspaper website includes The South West Advertiser 1910 – 1954 and the Harvey Chronicle 1915 – 1916. Other local newspapers are held at the State Library and may be found through our catalogue using the keyword terms NEWSPAPERS and YARLOOP.  Researchers can read about local issues such as timber and railway workers’ strikes, police activities and social events. We are fortunate to have the photograph collection from the weekly newspaper Truth, published from 1903 to 1931 (and also in Trove), which includes local scandal from all over W.A.  One article from 1929 gleefully details the story of the spurned lover who tried to blow up the Yarloop Hotel with gelignite.

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The State Library holds a variety of material relating to Yarloop.  In our large archive of Millars’ Timber records, pay and accident registers document individuals who worked for the company, as well as local production figures. There are also many photographs in this collection.

Diaries kept by James Owen Mitchell, his wife Rose (nee Perrin) and, occasionally, his son Stephen, detail the day-to-day life at their farm “Blacklands” at Yarloop from the early 1890s to James’ death in 1945.

Mitchall Diaries SLWA Acc687A

Mitchell Diaries SLWA Acc687A

Mitchell Diaries Acc687A

Mitchell Diaries Acc687A

In May 1951 Edith Reynolds [nee Clinch-?] wrote a letter from Yarloop Hospital describing the new wing as “particularly nice, one feels as though you were in one of the best hotels in Perth“.

Letter from Edith Reynolds 1951 Princep papers Acc7093A 51

Letter from Edith Reynolds 1951 Prinsep papers Acc7093A 51

There are indexes to the Western Australian Railway and Tramway Gazette and the Freemasons’ journal the West Australian Craftsman. These are searchable through the State Library catalogue and researchers may find small profiles or obituaries of people involved in these organisations as well as information about local activities.

Real estate plan Yarloop Townsite 1903

Real estate plan Yarloop Townsite 1903

The State Library also holds published reports on mining, environment issues and agriculture for the Yarloop area. Yarloop: a town to remember is a personal memoir written and published by Geoff Fortune in which he gives a potted history and many anecdotes about the town and its characters from the 1930s onwards. In the section on WWII he talks about the work done by school children of the town to assist with comfort packages for the Australian troops. We happen to have a digital image taken from a small print of the original photograph of school children of various ages and their teacher outside Yarloop School along with boxes labelled “Food for Britain”.  Although we have not identified anyone in this photo, Geoff Fortune is almost certainly one of the children.

School children Yarloop WWII SLWA b1846989

School children Yarloop WWII SLWA b1846989

Oral histories are a particularly evocative source of historical information. Some oral histories in our collection include descriptions of growing up in Yarloop, working on the railway, timber mills, farming life, and nursing. Several are available as podcasts or have transcriptions available online.  To find these in the State Library catalogue do a keyword search using the terms YARLOOP  and ORAL HISTORY. Some of these recordings have been donated by Harvey History Online a group dedicated to recording and making available the history of the Harvey area. Their website includes indexes and background information about local industry, towns in the Harvey Shire, and historical characters.

Shell Park Service Station Yarloop proprietor L.A. Kennewell 1956 114188PD

Shell Park Service Station Yarloop, proprietor L.A. Kennewell 1956 114188PD

Most people are familiar with the online historical database Trove . This website hosts digitised newspapers provided by State Libraries and other government and cultural institutions. However, many are unaware that Trove is a lot more than newspapers. You can also search photographs, journals and diaries, books, music, maps, organisations and people, and archived websites. The section of Trove that collects websites is  PANDORA.  Try using Yarloop as a search term in PANDORA.

In the days since the terrible fires at Yarloop there has been a huge response by people on Facebook and other social media.  People are sharing their photographs and memories of Yarloop. Unfortunately, neither the State Library nor the National Library of Australia (through PANDORA) is able to collect these posts for our heritage collections.

We actively seek the stories and images of our communites to share into the future.  If you have materials which you would be willing to contribute, you can view our kit for potential donors at http://www.slwa.wa.gov.au/for/donations/donor_kit, or contact our Collection Liaison team at Collection.Liaison@slwa.wa.gov.au.

Help! Where am I?

013636PD Unidentified

Unidentified building c.1910-1920 Dr. Battye’s collection of glass negatives 013636PD

 

UPDATE: Found! 

A part of the St Andrew’s Convalescent Home for soldiers, Kalamunda which is now St Brigid’s College Lesmurdie.

The western side, and only completed section, of a building originally planned as a school by Herbert Parry and built for Archibald Sanderson MLC on his Lesmurdie Estate. In 1919 the property and some adjacent land was purchased by the Commonwealth Government and converted into a convalescent home for returned soldiers. The original plans were adapted and the entire building completed with the eastern side in the “Dutch Colonial” style and based on Cecil Rhodes home in South Africa. (See photograph, drawings and article published in the Western Mail 11 April 1919, p.24 (p.23 in Trove) and p.29).

See photograph from the 1920s here.

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Can anyone assist us with the location of, and any information about, this stone and timber property?

This image is a part of a collection of Dr. J. S. Battye’s glass negatives taken between 1910 and 1920.  Many photographs in this collection were taken by E. L. Mitchell but there is nothing on the negative to identify the photographer or the subject.

We are always delighted to receive further information about the images in the State Library photographic collections.

To respond please click into the speech bubble just above the photograph.

Extra! Extra! Adultery, murder, scandal and gossip – more than thirty years of the Truth newspaper

Adultery, murder, scandal and gossip – this was the sort of fare dished up by the Truth newspaper. The Perth edition of the Truth ran from 1903 to 1936, titillating Western Australian audiences for more than thirty years. It also covered less salacious topics such as politics, sport and society news.

Now you can delve into this publication yourself because the Truth newspaper has been made available online.

Photographic Negative - Glass

Linotype in operation at the Truth newspaper, 1930, State Library of Western Australia, 233089PD

The State Library of Western Australia collects, preserves and makes accessible our state’s documentary heritage and this, of course, includes newspapers. We aim to collect every newspaper published in Western Australia and currently hold close to 1,000 different newspaper titles. Some of these are selected to feed into Trove in the Digitised newspapers and more section.

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Audacious adventuress masquerades as a man – an article which appeared in the Truth newspaper on 29th February 1908, page 8

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Josie Bungalow, brothel in Roe Street, that allegedly lures married men to folly and infidelity, State Library of Western Australia, 048405PD

The Truth is one of our recently added titles, chosen because of its interest as a scandal rag. If you haven’t searched Trove before you are in for a treat! If you have searched before, remember that new titles are being added all the time so it is well worth revisiting.

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Alleged stabbing in Bridgetown divorce. Kidnapped from racecourse – an article which appeared in the Truth newspaper on 27th July 1930, page 16

The State Library also holds the Truth newspaper collection of over 3,000 photographs, some of which you can see here. They include images of weddings; politicians; sportsmen such as jockeys and boxers; police constables and detectives; weapons and scenes of crime and much more.

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Jockey Jack Corry in hospital following an operation on a cist ‘in a place which makes the saddle no cushion’, State Library of Western Australia, 049257PD

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Detectives Lewis and McLernon who effected the arrest of the Pardelup escapee, Playford, State Library of Western Australia, 049172PD

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The wedding of Kevin Sullivan and Kathleen Walsh, 14 January 1931, State Library of Western Australia, 048924PD

Behind the Wire: Images and Stories of Vietnam Veterans

This exhibition shares the stories of over 40 veterans, including 12 West Australians through contemporary photographs and interviews by Susan Gordon Brown. 

Behind The Wire: Images and Stories of Vietnam Veterans. Photos: Susan Gordon Brown. 7 August - 27 September 2015

Behind The Wire: Images and Stories of Vietnam Veterans. Photos: Susan Gordon Brown.
7 August – 27 September 2015

Politically and socially, the Vietnam War cut a wide swathe through Australian society and especially through the lives and families of those who served.

The photographs of official war photographers, photojournalists and the personal photographic records of soldiers, provide an important account of this time. Vietnam, with its reputation as the “television war” saw the rise of the assertion of the ‘the public’s right to know’ where debates around the photograph fueled global politics.

Perhaps the most famous personal photographic records are those of soldier Andy Mattay and his Kodak Instamatic documentation of the 7RAR , a photographic collection held by the National War Memorial.

We know all to well that a photo only ever captures part of a story.  Experiences of war and conflict are not limited to the battlefront. So too, the need to document and capture the history of the Vietnam War is ongoing as previously untold stories come to the fore. It is important that the stories both the the war and its aftermath are told.

The American unit that I’d worked with closely gave me a farewell party the day before I flew out of Vietnam. I had tears in my eyes. I didn’t want to go home. In hindsight, the war was a great waste of life and money, but I wouldn’t have missed it for quids. HQ AFV Kevin Graham b.1936 Ammunition Technical Officer Vung Tau September 1968 – March 1969 Photo: Susan Gordon Brown

The American unit that I’d worked with closely gave me a farewell party the day before I flew out of Vietnam. I had tears in my eyes. I didn’t want to go home. In hindsight, the war was a great waste of life and money, but I wouldn’t have missed it for quids.
HQ AFV Kevin Graham b.1936
Ammunition Technical Officer
Vung Tau
September 1968 – March 1969
Photo: Susan Gordon Brown


Behind the Wire
presents the everyday, personal stories of veterans through portraiture and oral history extracts. To quote journalist and writer Alan Attwood, “They have a shared history as Vietnam veterans. But each story, each face, each perspective is different”.

“When you returned to Australia you stepped out of a very surreal environment. The experience there was one of wondering: will I be alive tomorrow? Re-establishing the old values was probably the hardest thing to do. It’s almost as if you were between reality and fantasy” Glenn Darlington b.1946 I Gunner Signalman I Nui Dat I June 1968 – March 1969 Photo: Susan Gordon Brown

“When you returned to Australia you stepped out of a very surreal environment. The experience there was one of wondering: will I be alive tomorrow? Re-establishing the old values was probably the hardest thing to do. It’s almost as if you were between reality and fantasy” Glenn Darlington b.1946 I Gunner Signalman I Nui Dat I June 1968 – March 1969
Photo: Susan Gordon Brown

This is one of the reasons why Susan Gordon Brown’s work through Behind the Wire is significant. It highlights that the history of the war is a living history, very present in the memories of veterans, their families and friends. The oral history excerpts featured in the exhibition capture personal perspectives, unrepresented in official sources or history books. It is important to recognise these stories and equally important to collect and preserve them.

“Maybe it dawned on me – one minute I was flying around in a helicopter doing God knows what; then I was going back to work.” HQ AFV, AATTV John Riley b.1946 Medic Saigon, Baria January 1970 – December 1970

“Maybe it dawned on me – one minute I was flying around in a helicopter doing God knows what; then I was going back to work.”
HQ AFV, AATTV
John Riley b.1946 Medic Saigon, Baria January 1970 – December 1970, Photo: Susan Gordon Brown

The Library holds many items from World War I within its heritage collections – diaries, letters, and photographs. They belonged to West Australians who served in World War I or who remained here in Western Australia on the home front. Items of this nature are essential to keep these important stories alive for generations to come.

Collection of such material both honours the individuals or organisations concerned, but also provides the building blocks for researchers and historians, both amateur and professional.

The same is true for the history of the Vietnam War. Without material such as that which libraries like the State Library collects – oral, photographic, written – a representative account of the war and its aftermath and the personal experiences of people affected by it will not be available for posterity.

Behind the Wire: Images and Stories of Vietnam Veterans is on display in the ground floor gallery until September 27 2015. For more information visit: www.slwa.wa.gov.au 

  • Information on donating heritage material to the Library’s collection
  • Explore Bill Bunbury’s interview series on the Vietnam war for the radio series‘Within our time’, held within the Library’s collection

Nadj Nidj Maaya – What’s that sound?: Old songs and Noongar language

Using the archives of the JS Battye Library of West Australian history, 2014 Battye Fellow Clint Bracknell has identified over 50 songs in Noongar language.

Public Talk: Monday 6 July 2015: 12:00 – 1:00 
State Library of Western Australia Theatre
Book now to secure your seat

Listen to Clint discuss how old Noongar songs may be plugged back into a resilient network of intersecting knowledge, geography, story and relationships, and sung back at the archive in a way that challenges its authority, its truths and its silences.

Presented as part of NAIDOC 2015 We All Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect & Celebrate.

Clint_Bracknell
All venues at the State Library are wheelchair accessible 
For more information visit: www.slwa.wa.gov.au