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.

The Lynley Dodd Story

On a scrap of notepaper of paper in 1979, Hairy Maclary was born.

The Lynley Dodd Story exhibition reveals the evolution of Dodd’s creative process and clues to her characters rise to international fame. More than 50 original illustrations including preliminary sketches, drafts and notes showcase the development of Dodd’s unique artistic style and her skillful marriage of words and illustration.

The first drawing of Hairy Maclary has been described as an “animated bottlebrush”. Loose lines give the appearance of movement as he bounces across the page. Hairy Maclary’s scruffy look is made up exclusively of directional lines. He is as much about the spaces between the lines as the lines themselves. The drawing is an unassuming work on a creased piece of scrap paper that captures in entirety Hairy Maclary’s appeal.

Hairy Maclary's Bone, (c) Lynley Dodd, 1984. Reproduced courtesy of Penguin Random House and the artist.

Hairy Maclary’s Bone (c) Lynley Dodd, 1984. Reproduced courtesy of Penguin Random House and the artist.

Lynley Dodd’s characters emerge in her illustrations like on stage performers. The backgrounds function as props for the action about to take place in the scene. Dodd’s use of truncation adds playfulness and encourages readers to turn the page.  Often part of Hairy Maclary disappears at the page edge, building anticipation as he moves off stage.

Dodd’s compositions are meticulously planned in a process which she describes as “Writing the pictures and painting the words”.

Much of her inspiration is drawn from real life. Many of Dodd’s characters are based on childhood pets, and plots are often inspired by almost unbelievable occurrences. The 1984 title Hairy Maclary’s Bone, was inspired by a routine trip to the butcher, where Dodd saw a large dog walking away from the butcher shop with a load of meat and bones hanging from his mouth. How that dog would get home without other dogs looting the lot unfolds in the story.

Each illustration is carefully composed with gouache and pen, Dodd’s medium of choice. Her technical skill is shown by her layering of gouache to create the  iridescent quality of the tiles on the meat shop front as seen in Hairy Maclary’s Bone. This technical skill has a sound foundation in her Fine Art training in sculpture.

A Dragon in a Wagon (c) Lynley Dodd, 1988, Reproduced courtesy of Penguin Random House and the artist.

A Dragon in a Wagon (c) Lynley Dodd, 1988, Reproduced courtesy of Penguin Random House and the artist.

The Lynley Dodd Story includes illustrations from many works set outside the Hairy Maclary series. A Dragon in a Wagon of 1988 showcases Dodd’s skillful painting and refining of words to create uncluttered verse.

The colour palette of A Dragon in a Wagon marks a departure from the shades of suburbia present in the Hairy Maclary series. The deep blues and cool yellows featured in the illustration ‘A Shark in the Dark’ exemplify this difference.  In the story imaginative scenes are tied to the bouncy rhyme and rhythm Dodd is well known for.

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The Other Ark (c) Lynley Dodd, 2004, Reproduced courtesy of Penguin Random House and the Artist.

Illustrations from Find Me A Tiger (1991), The Dudgeon is Coming (2008) and The Other Ark (2004), highlight the breadth of Dodd’s practice as an illustrator.

Her clever use of scale reinforces meaning and adds humour to her stories.  Think about how big Hercules Morse is in comparison to Schnitzel von Krumm! In The Other Ark  Sam Jam Balu’s tiny size compared with the enormity of the ark, emphasises the large task ahead of him.

The Lynley Dodd Story is on display at the State Library of Western Australia until 27 January 2016. Presented with AWESOME Festival. For more information visit. www.slwa.wa.gov.au 

  • Guided Tour: The Art of Lynley Dodd (40 mins): Tuesday 3 November 3.30pm, free – bookings required 
  • Lynley Dodd books are available to purchase from The State Library Shop.
  • Families can pick up a free self guided tour booklet at the exhibition

GovHack 2015

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2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign in the early period of World War 1.  Archives, libraries and memorials from across Australia and New Zealand (Including SLWA)  have collaborated to release WWI data for GovHack 2015 http://www.govhack.org.

SLWA has prepared 3 new datasets for use by those practising their data hacking skills.

These datasets along with some previously published sets are all available from the data.gov.au website https://data.gov.au/organization/statelibraryofwesternaustralia.
In addition to this, SLWA has added a dataset information page to our website http://slwa.wa.gov.au/find/datasets.

We’d love to see what can be made from these sets – leave a comment here to share with us or email dataandiscovery@slwa.wa.gov.au.

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.

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

Sailing great Jon Sanders visits State Library

Yachting legend Jon Sanders world record for sailing around the world three times solo is still unbroken.  His Perie Banou log book is on display now at State Library of Western Australia. 

In 1988 Sanders changed global yachting history when he broke the Guinness World Record for the longest distance ever sailed continuously by a vessel after travelling 658 days, 21 hours and 18 minutes at sea.

Evan Collins, Jon Sanders arrives at Fremantle on the Parry Endevour after his triple circumnavigation of the world, 13 March 1988, 135227PD – 125229PD, State Library of Western Australia pictorial collection.

Evan Collins, Jon Sanders arrives at Fremantle on the Parry Endevour after his triple circumnavigation of the world, 13 March 1988, 135227PD,  State Library of Western Australia pictorial collection.

Following his ninth circumnavigation of the world, the Perth born sailor has returned to Perth and recently visited Sailing on the Swan at the State Library.

The exhibition features original material including one of Sanders sailing log books from his double circumnavigation of the world aboard Perie Banou. The log records the ships position, current speeds, wind directions, and bearings. The page displayed shows notes from Perie Banou’s sail through the treacherous currents and hazardous winds in Southern Chile around Cape Horne.

Roger Garwood, Jon Sanders returns to Royal Perth Yacht Club on 31 October 1982 after his double circumnavigation of the world on Perie Banou, 1982, 296493PD, State Library of Western Australia pictorial collection

Roger Garwood, Jon Sanders returns to Royal Perth Yacht Club on 31 October 1982 after his double circumnavigation of the world on Perie Banou, 1982, 296493PD, State Library of Western Australia pictorial collection.

Exhibition highlights include a 1988 photograph of Sanders on Parry Endevour. The photograph was taken two days before he broke the world record for triple circumnavigation of the world.  Upon viewing the photo in the exhibition Sanders recalled that at the time strong winds forced a closure of Perth airport.

Jon Sanders pictured with photograph of Parry Endevour at Cape Leeuwin.

Jon Sanders pictured with photograph of Parry Endevour at Cape Leeuwin.

Interested in checking yacht log entries surrounding the Fauklands conflict in 1982,  Sanders reacquainted himself with the remainder of his 1979-1982 Perie Banou logbooks, held in the State Library heritage collections (ACC3229A). He recalled an entry where BBC Argentina “warned shipping to stay out of the 200 mile maritime zone around Fauklands”. The ten week war in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom was over two British territories in the South Atlantic.

Jon Sanders with the Perie Banou logbooks

Jon Sanders with the Perie Banou logbooks

Sailing on the Swan is presented by the Royal Perth Yacht Club. The exhibition is on display at the State Library of Western Australia Ground Floor Gallery until May 3. Open during library hours.

What’s in a sketchbook?

Sketchbook by Amanda Fernandez, 2014 "WA Museum"

Sketchbook by Amanda Fernandez, 2014 

For centuries sketchbooks, notebooks and diaries have recorded daily life, observations from great explorer expeditions, personal accounts, and intricate details of past lives and times.

Call to mind the journal of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the Americas, or Da Vinci’s curious inquiry into human anatomy in his 16th century sketchbooks. They are forms of storytelling and communication grounded in time and place, and shaped by the personalities and identities of their makers.

The State Library holds the notebooks of Edward T Hardman including an 1871 sketchbook which records his geological survey of the Kimberley region in pictures and words. A vellum bound book of poems written by Irish convict John B O’Reilly,1868 demonstrates his creative pursuit and passion as a poet, while Revel Cooper’s History Book speaks of his education as a 13 year old Aboriginal boy during Australia’s assimilation era. These records provide a rare insight into the culture and concerns of past Western Australia.

What would the diary or sketchbook of a young  person living in the 21st century look like?

Thoughts, musing, observations and vignettes of daily life are revealed in a collection of over fifty sketchbooks produced by young Western Australians. The sketchbooks feature illustration, photographs, poetry and collage, and were created through Propel Youth Arts WA’s Sketchbook Project, part of the KickstART youth festival.

“My sketchbook is my reflection”, writes 23 year old Soolangna Majumdar, “…a month long observation of what’s on my mind. One 60 page long selfie.”

Following an eight month tour throughout WA public libraries from Port Hedland to Manjimup, the sketchbooks have returned to Perth and are on display at the State Library.

One sketchbook by 24 year old artist Amanda Fernandez has caught the eye of our staff with its aesthetic beauty and descriptive watercolour sketches.

How many scenes are familiar to you?

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View Amanda’s sketchbook and many more on display in the Discovery Lounge Ground Floor until 30 January 2015. Open during library hours.

More information:

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Top 10 cycle racing photos from our collection

As a tribute to the Tour de France, a Collection Liaison Librarian here at the State Library has put together a list of some of the best cycle racing photographs in our collection.

Though the bicycles and outfits might’ve changed (high-vis leotard anyone?), the thrill of the race and the cheers of the crowd have continued on.

Cycle race, Mt Magnet to Black Range, c1908

1. Cycle race, Mt Magnet to Black Range, c1908

A Goldfields bicycle racing club of the thirties.

2. A Goldfields bicycle racing club in the thirties

Cyclists at the Perth British Empire and Commonwealth Games train on the road, 1962.

3. Cyclists at the Perth British Empire and Commonwealth Games train on the road, 1962

An English cyclists trains,  1962

4. An English cyclist trains, 1962

Start of a cycle race, Coolgardie,  1898-1899.

5. Start of a cycle race, Coolgardie, c1898-1899

6. The 120 mile road race held in King's Park, 1962

6. The 120 mile road race held in King’s Park, 1962

In the 120 mile road race England's Wesley Mason flashed to the front with 200 yards to go and pip Tony Walsh to the finish, 1962.

7. In the 120 mile road race England’s Wesley Mason flashed to the front with 200 yards to go and pipped Tony Walsh to the finish, 1962

Aero bicycles and cycle racing in Western Australia, c1920s.

8. Aero bicycles and cycle racing in Western Australia, c1920s

 Photograph of a photograph of H. Fraser, Boulder Cycling Club 40 Mile Road Race Club Champion, 1906-1907

9. Photograph of a photograph of H. Fraser, Boulder Cycling Club 40 Mile Road Race Club Champion, 1906-1907

 10. Henk Vogels riding in the Armadale Classic Criterium, ca1992

10. Henk Vogels riding in the Armadale Classic Criterium, c1992

Click here to see these photographs and more on our catalogue.

New exhibition: Majority Rules

At the opening ceremony of Majority Rules.

Visit our new exhibition in The Gallery on the Ground Floor of the State Library of Western Australia. 

How do you vote?

Discover how political parties and candidates persuade you to support them in the polls by exploring fascinating items from our collections: how-to-vote cards from 1904 to the present, newspapers covering Australian elections and much more.

A how-to-vote card from 1915

A how-to-vote card from 1915

Reflect on milestones in Australian election history, and discover some of the issues that have affected voting from the past to the present. Witness how campaigning has changed over time and decide what influences YOU at election time.

1996 X files inspired Labor Party campaign material

1996 X files inspired Labor Party campaign material

When: 8 July – 21 October 2013
Where: The Gallery, Ground Floor
Entry is FREE. Open during State Library hours.

Professor David Black and Professor Brian De Garis at the opening ceremony of Majority Rules.

Professor David Black and Professor Brian De Garis at the opening ceremony of Majority Rules.

We need your help! Please take our WAPLDMC ebook survey

We’re looking for feedback on our WAPLDMC (Western Australia Public Libraries Digital Media Collection) ebooks service.  We’d love you to help by completing our 5 minute survey – please click the survey button on the WAPLDMC home page.

If you haven’t already checked out this collection please take a look at the service, check out an ebook or audio book, then come back and complete the survey!

If you are accessing WAPLDMC via an app on a tablet or smart phone, use this link to go directly to the survey.

Thanks for your help!

Conservation Advice at Santa Maria College Attadale

Douglas Firth, proprietor of BIBLIO FOLIO, will provide conservation advice on paper based objects including books, pamphlets, artworks on paper, and board games etc. at the Santa Maria College in Attadale on Friday July 29 from 1.30 to 3.30pm.

Douglas Firth has a wealth of experience in book and paper conservation, gained while working in the public and private sector.

He has been involved with the conservation of many items in the Archives Office of New South Wales, Westpac Archives New South Wales, State Library of Western Australia, and State Archives of Western Australia. He was involved in the rescue of fire damaged materials after the Hal Missingham Studio fire of 1986, and has the privilege to have bound books  for Her Majesty the Queen, the Duyfken Replica logbook, and preservation boxes for many rare books.

Along with archival conservation he has also conserved many works of art on paper by Australian artists and has developed a special interest in Western Australian artists. BIBLIO FOLIO also offers a frame restoration service for customers wishing to maintain historical accuracy for their work of art.

For more information about this session please telephone  9457 7960. RSVP: mpember@netspace.net.au by close of  business Wednesday July 26. Cost for the session is $25.

Please bring along any objects you would like assessed for conservation to the session.