Simpson and his Donkey – an exhibition

Illustrations by Frané Lessac and words by Mark Greenwood share the heroic story of John Simpson Kirkpatrick in the picture book Simpson and his Donkey.  The exhibition is on display at the State Library until  27 April. 

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Unpublished spread 14 for pages 32 – 33
Collection of draft materials for Simpson and his Donkey, PWC/254/18 

The original illustrations, preliminary sketches and draft materials displayed in this exhibition form part of the State Library’s Peter Williams’ collection: a collection of original Australian picture book art.

Known as ‘the man with the donkey’, Simpson was a medic who rescued wounded soldiers at Gallipoli during World War I.

The bravery and sacrifice attributed to Simpson is now considered part of the ‘Anzac legend’. It is the myth and legend of John Simpson that Frané Lessac and Mark Greenwood tell in their book.

Frané Lessac and Mark Greenwood also travelled to Anzac Cove to explore where Simpson and Duffy had worked.  This experience and their research enabled them to layer creative interpretation over historical information and Anzac legend.

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On a moonless April morning, PWC254/6 

Frané Lessac is a Western Australian author-illustrator who has published over forty books for children. Frané speaks at festivals in Australia and overseas, sharing the process of writing and illustrating books. She often illustrates books by , Mark Greenwood, of which Simpson and his Donkey is just one example.

Simpson and his Donkey is published by Walker Books, 2008. The original illustrations are  display in the Story Place Gallery until 27 April 2017.

  • This exhibition is supported by a self-guided trail and educators guide. For school group bookings visit our website.
  • Copies of the book are available for sale from the Discovery Store at the State Library.

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School Magazines

avon_northam_june_1939_cover_2016-10-26_0936School magazines provide a fascinating glimpse into the past.

What was high school like from 1915 through to the 1950s? What issues interested teenagers? How did they react to current events including two world wars? In what ways did they express themselves differently from today’s teens? What sort of jokes did they find amusing? (Hint: there are many of what we would call “dad jokes”.)

The State Library holds an extensive collection of school magazines from both public and private schools. Most don’t start until after 1954 which, as with newspapers, is our cut-off date for digitising, but we have digitised some early issues from public schools.

 

In the first part of the 19th Century they were generally produced by the students, with minimal input from school staff – and it shows. The quality of individual issues varies widely, depending, most probably, on the level of talent, interest and time invested by the responsible students.

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Cricket cartoon Northam High School (The Avon) Sept. 1930

These magazines may include named photographs of prefects and staff, sporting teams and academic prize winners. Photographs from early editions tend to be of much higher quality, possibly because they were taken using glass negatives.

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Essay competition. The subject: “A letter from Mr Collins congratulating Elizabeth on her engagement to Mr Darcy”  Phyllis Hand and Jean McIntyre were the prize winners.      Perth Girls’ School Magazine Nov. 1922

You will find poetry and essays, sketches by and of students, amateur cartooning, and many puns, jokes and limericks.

Some issues include ex-student notes with news about the careers, marriages and movements of past students. There is an occasional obituary.

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Northam High School (The Avon) June 1943

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Does anyone know these twins from Meckering?  Northam High School (The Avon) May 1925

Issues from the war years are particularly interesting and touching. You may also find rolls of honour naming ex-students serving in the forces.

There is also often advertising for local businesses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Girls’ A Hockey Team Albany High School (Boronia) Dec. 1925

These magazines reflect the attitudes of their tight-knit local community of the time.  Expect to hear the same exhortations to strive for academic, moral and sporting excellence that we hear in schools today – while observing the (in retrospect) somewhat naïve patriotism and call to Empire and the occasional casual racism.

 

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The following high school magazines for various dates are either available now online or will appear in the coming weeks: Perth Boys’ School MagazinePerth Girls’ School Magazine (later The Magpie); Fremantle Boys’ School; Northam High School (The Avon); Girdlestone High School (Coolibah); Eastern Goldfields Senior High School (The Golden Mile – later Pegasus); Bunbury High School (Kingia); Albany High School (Boronia) and Perth Modern (The Sphinx). None are complete and we would welcome donations of missing volumes to add to our Western Australian collections.

If you would like to browse our digitised high school magazines search the State Library catalogue using the term: SCHOOL MAGAZINES

*Some issues of The Magpie are too tightly bound for digitising so they are currently being disbound. They will then be digitised and rebound. Issues should appear in the catalogue in the near future.

Prisoner of war toilet roll diary now online

One of the more unusual items in the State Library’s collection is this diary written by Raymond Stewart on a toilet roll while he was a prisoner of war during World War II. Raymond kindly donated this unique diary to the Library in 1999. It is written in pencil on poor quality paper and is housed in our rare materials security stack at a controlled temperature of 20 degrees +/- 2 degrees with a humidity level of 50% +/- 5%. These stable conditions  help to preserve this fragile item.

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Raymond Stewart’s toilet roll diary housed in its special conservation box, ACC 5062A/5

Lieutenant Raymond Stanley Stewart (2/28th Australian Infantry Battalion) enlisted in Northam in 1940 and was captured on 27 July 1942 at Ruin Ridge, El Alamein, Egypt. He was held as a prisoner of war in Europe, firstly by the Italians and later by the Germans, until 1 May 1945. He recorded his experiences in this most unusual diary between 27 July and 12 September 1942, later continuing in two notebooks.

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Raymond’s prisoner of war card with photograph, ACC 5062A/11

Keeping such a record was a tremendous risk so Raymond kept the diaries hidden in an Australian Red Cross Society gift box.

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The Australian Red Cross Society gift box where Raymond kept his diaries hidden, ACC 5062A/15

The toilet roll diary provides a fascinating insight into the daily life of a prisoner of war. Raymond describes his feelings on being captured:
“I feel miserable, angry, disillusioned and relieved in turn. I think everyone feels the same way. The boys crack jokes to hide their feelings.”

There is confusion about the fate of his comrades:
“Did Jack come through? Where is Smithie? Is it true that Snooks was killed?”

On 5th August 1942, just over a week after his capture, he describes his hunger:
“Already we are all feeling continuously and desperately hungry. Our ration is eaten as follows:- 1/2 tin bully and 1/3 bread for lunch, ditto tea, and coffee and remainder of bread for breakfast. I myself am feeling very weak and have a temporary blackout once during the day on getting up from my bed. This may have been due to bad ventilation as much as anything else. It is an effort to walk around very much as I simply haven’t the energy.

Just through the fence they are dumping hundreds of cases of lemons. We are so hungry we beg for them from the guards, and eat them raw peel and all. However they don’t give much away and even then I think it is only for the amusement they get from seeing us scramble for them.”

This diary formed part of the National Treasures from Australia’s Great Libraries exhibition which toured capital cities around the country from 2005 to 2007. Now the Raymond Stanley Stewart diaries have been made available for anyone to read online. In some places they are difficult to decipher but a transcript has also been placed online.

As you can imagine, digitising a toilet roll presented some challenges. The diary is extremely delicate and fragile; of course the paper is biodegradable and was never intended to last. Our reformatting staff  say that this is the most challenging item they have ever digitised; the toilet roll diary alone took over twenty hours to complete. It was photographed using a Hasselblad camera which has extremely accurate colour fidelity and the ability to retain exceptional quality of detail. The images shown here illustrate some of the processes involved in bringing this item to you.

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The toilet roll diary held in place with glass weights

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Our Senior Conservator unwinding the toilet roll during filming

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Carefully rewinding the diary after filming

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Returning the diary to its box

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Checking the quality of the digitised image

It is wonderful that Raymond Stewart realised the historical significance of his diary and had the forethought to donate it to the State Library so it could be preserved for the future. What other treasures could be hidden in wardrobes or attics in private homes around the state?

If you are interested in finding out more about donating to the Library please visit our Donations page.

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.

Web Archiving at SLWA

Each year, the State Library of Western Australia contributes hundreds of Western Australian websites to PANDORA, Australia’s web archive. PANDORA is a world class web archive established by the National Library of Australia in 1996.  It is built collaboratively by 11 cultural institutions across the country, with SLWA contributing Western Australian content to this ever-growing national archive.  Websites are selected for their significance, their authority or research value, their representation of social or topical issues, and also to reflect the diversity of our state. These can include the websites of organisations, community groups, individuals, festivals, events, and sites about various topical and political issues, election campaigns, interests and activities.

Freycinet website code

HTML website code

Web archiving involves selecting, copying (but only with the permission of the website owner!), quality checking and preserving specific websites.  For copyright reasons, SLWA can only archive a website if the website owner has given permission, so we will always contact the website publisher to ask permission before we archive.  Once archived, the live website may continue to change or eventually disappear, but the archived instance will remain as it was at the time it was captured.  The average lifespan of web content is difficult to determine, but various estimates suggest that an individual webpage may last on average as little as 100 days. That means that an awful lot of Western Australia’s web presence may be at risk of disappearing at any one time.

Deckchair theatre 2012 website

Deckchair Theatre’s website, captured 8 March 2012

Many of the websites preserved by SLWA are no longer in existence.  For example, we archived the website of the Deckchair Theatre company from 2008, with the final snapshot captured just a few months before the theatre closed in 2012.  We archived websites related to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Perth in 2011, including the official website and the 2011 Commonwealth Festival, which showcased arts and culture in Western Australia at the same time.  These sites lasted until at least 2013, interestingly, but were eventually shut down as they had outlived their immediate usefulness to their creators.  Less attractive perhaps, but just as important historically (and legally), are the websites of the WA health practitioners registration boards – Psychologists, Dentists, Occupational Therapists, Medical Radiation Technologists etc. – which ceased to operate between 2010 and 2012 when national registration came into effect.

Web archiving also preserves changes in information and design over time. Below is how the websites of three state political parties looked at the time of the 2001 WA state election.

Compared to similar websites even during the 2008 state election and 2013 state election, they look very dated today, but that was the current state of the art in web design. With state and federal elections looming in the coming months, SLWA web archivists are already gearing themselves up to capture and preserve the next wave of election-related websites.

The web is an integral part of contemporary life, and increasingly contains information and content that cannot be found in any other medium. By capturing Western Australian websites we are helping to preserve our digital history, culture and experience.

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

Freemason Records in the Battye Library

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Katanning Lodge Attendance Register Acc 8594A/1

The State Library is fortunate to hold a significant collection of records documenting Freemason history in Western Australia.
Freemasonry is an ancient fraternal organisation that has its origins in medieval craft guilds. Members are known as Masons or Freemasons. Freemasonry… “works towards this lofty ideal by providing its members with an ethic for living and teaches honesty in business, courtesy towards others, dependability in work, compassion and concern for the less fortunate, tolerance towards one’s fellow beings, resistance to evil, help for the weak, and love for one another and reverence for a Supreme Being.”1

Freemasons are organised into lodges that may have general membership or be based on a particular occupation such as law or a traditional craft. There is usually regional leadership in the form of a grand lodge or other such organisation. Members pass through various degrees of Masonry which may vary from lodge to lodge. Many prominent citizens were members of the Freemason fraternity.

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Portrait of Charles Kingsford Smith inscribed: With fraternal greetings to Gascoyne 62 from Bro. C. Kingsford Smith. 101390PD

 

In Western Australia newly arrived immigrants who were Freemasons often joined a local lodge where they would receive support and opportunity for friendship and involvement in the local community. Local men might also join for the same reasons. You are unlikely to find Roman Catholic members in early Western Australian lodges.

Our collections include records of the various lodges which make up the Freemasons Grand Lodge of Western Australia. The records include attendance books, clearance books, declaration books, minute books, certificates, histories, lists of members, ledgers, nomination forms, registers, etc.

Caxton Lodge Consecration and Dedication pamphlet 1928 PR 13396 GRA 51 cover

Caxton Lodge Consecration and Dedication pamphlet 1928 PR 13396 GRA 51 cover

Caxton Lodge Consecration and Dedication pamphlet 1928 PR 13396 GRA 51

Caxton Lodge Consecration and Dedication pamphlet 1928 PR 13396 GRA 51

Names of lodges may reflect the interests or nationality of original members or an occupation. Western Australian examples include:
Commercial Travellers’ Lodge, Temperance Lodge, Lodge of Sportsmen, Lodge Robbie Burns, Lodge of Loyalty, Lodge of Fidelity, Military Lodge, Lodge of Resolution, Black Diamond Lodge (Collie), Lodge of Serenity, Naval Lodge, Lodge of Faith, Lodge of Peace, Sir Walter Scott Masonic Lodge, Lodge of Harmony, Lodge of Emulation, Caxton Lodge (printing industry – Subiaco), Lodge of Remembrance, Lord Nelson Lodge and Lodge of St Andrew.
Registers of members may include the name of member, former lodge if any, town of residence, occupation, date of joining, and date that membership ceased. Sometimes there is a note of the death of a member or an indication of where the member is heading off to. Some registers start quite early. Geraldton Lodge was consecrated in 1877 and members are listed in the register from that date. Professions listed in this register include: police Inspector, publican, merchant, squatter, clerk, banker, carpenter, chemist, farmer, builder, station-master, draughtsman, miner, doctor, butcher, school teacher, solicitor, steamer purser, miller, and steamer steward. Quite a cross-section of the local community!

Geraldton Register page for 1877-1878 Acc5709a7 0012 (2)

Geraldton Register page for 1877-1878 Acc5709a/7

Early registers, declaration books, or attendance books include:

Metropolitan area:
Fremantle Declaration Books 1866- ; Fremantle Registers 1900- ; King Edward (Perth) 1904- ; Roebuck 1902- ; Jarrahdale 1913- ; Queen Victoria (Perth, Western suburbs) 1901- ; Alma (North Perth) 1904- ; Lodge of Unity (Inglewood, Attendance Books) 1892- ; Abercorn Lodge (Leederville) 1897- ; Lodge Friendship (Midland) 1897- ; Perth Declaration Books 1899-.

Regional:
Norseman 1897- ; Geraldton Lodge 1877- ; Murchison Lodge 1897- ; Katanning 1898- ; Jarrahdale (Declaration Books) 1901-; Gascoyne Lodge (Carnarvon) 1903- ; Boulder (Declaration Books) 1904-.
See below for links to full lists of State Library holdings by name of lodge or location.

Along with the standard registers, declaration books and minute books there are many items of ephemera including calls to meetings, invitations to events, cards, beautifully ornate certificates, souvenir programmes and menus. We even hold several items of music relating to Freemasonry in Western Australia.

Many photographs of individuals, and groups and events may also be found within the State Library’s collections. Photographs of lodges indicate that many were purpose-built, architecturally designed brick and tile buildings.

165x215mm

Freemason’s Hall, corner Hay and Irwin Streets, Perth c. 1907 010024PD       [Demolished 1971]

Hay Street west from Pier Street showing the Mechanics' Institute, Freemason's Lodge and Perth Town Hall 1868 009245d

Hay Street west from Pier Street showing the Mechanics’ Institute, Freemason’s Lodge and Perth Town Hall 1868 009245d

Masonic lodge and hall, Busselton 2012 b3598990

Masonic lodge and hall, Busselton 2012 b3598990

60x70mm

Freemasons’ Hall Subiaco 1927         Richard Woldendorp   216376PD

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From: Proceedings of the Grand Lodge 1929-1930 b1359029

 

The Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Western Australia of Antient, Free and Accepted Masons is held from 1900-. There are gaps in the Library’s holdings.

The Journal of the Freemasons, the WA Craftsman is partially indexed in our catalogue. Individual members are often profiled and there are many obituaries as well as news of the craft. The title varies and there are gaps in our holdings but the journal starts in 1898.

As well as Masonic news the journals have a variety of advertisements for metropolitan and regional retailers and other business services.

 

 

 

 

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The subscription database Ancestry has recently published membership registers from the All England, United Grand Lodge, 1751-1921. Most registers in this collection are from lodges in England, however, copies of registers from lodges in Wales, Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, India, West Indies and South Africa are also listed.
Perth, Fremantle, Toodyay, Bunbury, York, Murchison, Kalgoorlie, Helena Vale and Albany are just some of those available.
Ancestry [library edition] is available free of charge at the State Library and at most public libraries in Western Australia.

Helena Vale Freemasons Ancestry

Helena Vale Freemasons, Ancestry

For books about Freemasonry in Western Australia search the State Library catalogue under the subject FREEMASONRY WESTERN AUSTRALIA.
For the journals of Freemasonry in WA search the catalogue under the subject FREEMASONS WESTERN AUSTRALIA PERIODICALS
For items of music relating to Freemasonry search the catalogue under the subject FREEMASONS SONGS AND MUSIC
Lists of lodges by name, number and location with links to State Library holdings for each may be found here.

1 Western Australian Freemasons www.freemasonswa.org.au

 

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.