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.

Early Almanacs Digitised

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The Herald Western Australian Almanack and Commercial Directory 1874

Almanacs predate the Western Australian government Year Books and Post Office Directories, and served a similar purpose in detailing the activities of the colony of Western Australia.

We have recently completed the digitising of a series of almanacs 1849 – 1889. These were produced by several different, and sometimes competing, publishers (Stirling and Sons, Arthur Shenton, and James Pearce) so there may be more than one publication for a particular year.

 

 

 

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Australasian Map In: The Herald Western Australian Almanack and Commercial Directory 1874

 

Most early almanacs include a list of prominent office-holders and their positions in the establishment. A more general directory appears during the 1860s.
Some editions include a potted history of the colony by date – see the Western Australian Almanack of 1856 by Stirling and Sons. Stirling and Sons’ almanacs may also include a brief chronicle of occurrences and events for the year.


As well as interesting statistics on the demography and productivity of the colony, calendars, and schedules of government fees, the almanacs contain advertisements for many local businesses including merchants, banks, jewellers, undertakers, insurance agents, hoteliers, teachers, retailers, accountants and tradesmen.

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Advertisements from: Western Australian Almanack 1868 [Stirling and Sons]

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Catholic Church Schools In: Western Australian Almanack 1855 [Arthur Shenton]

Browsing the almanacs can afford interesting highlights such as a short paragraph of useful hints to keep your servants – “Piece work is the cheapest to the master and the best to the men”. [Oh, really?] Or the Table of Distances for Western Australia compiled by Alfred Hillman in 1854 [1856 almanac].

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Western Australian Almanack for the year 1855 published by Arthur Shenton p.38

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Table of Distances in Western Australia compiled by Alfred Hillman 1854 In: Western Australian Almanack [Stirling and Sons] 1856 pp. 78-79

If you have an interest in Western Australian social or family history these publications provide a wealth of background information as well as mentioning many residents and businesses of the time.

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Western Almanack and Directory 1869 [Stirling and Son]


To find the almanacs through our catalogue search using the terms ALMANACK and HERITAGE ONLINE (note spelling of almanac with a “k”)
or
Visit the Biographies and Directories section of our Heritage Online pages.

Books from your Backyard Family Day

Books From Your Backyard

Where you can find 12 Western Australian authors and illustrators in one day?
In The Place at the State Library of Western Australia! 

Join us this Saturday for Books from your Backyard, a free family fun day in The Place. Be amazed by the local talent in your backyard as 12 writers from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (WA) read, perform and create drawings before your eyes.

10.00 am -Karen Blair – 0-4 years
10.30 am – Elaine Forrestal – 0-8 years
11.00 am – Briony Stewart – 4-7 years
11.30 am – Samantha Hughes – 5-12 years
12.00 pm – Chris Owen – 4-7 years
12.30 pm -Wendy Binks – 4-8 years
1.00 pm –  Teena Raffa-Mulligan – 4-7 years
1.30 pm –  Meg McKinlay – 4-8 years
2.00 pm –  James Foley – 5-12 years
2.30 pm –  H.Y. Hanna – 8-12 years
3.00 pm – Cristy Burne – 8-12 years
3.30 pm – Frane Lessac – 5-12 years

Make a day of it while you’re here and visit the Rules of Summer and On a Small Island exhibitions as well.

When:
 Saturday 10 January, 10am – 4pm
Where: The Place, Mezzanine Floor, State Library of Western Australia
Ages: 4-10 years
Entry: Entry is free. No bookings required.

Briony Stewart illustrating: Photo by Alanna Kusin

More information:

  • Books from your Backyard
  • All venues at the State Library are wheelchair accessible
  • Parents/ caregivers need to attend with children.
  • Books will be for sale and all sessions will be followed by book signings.

Rules of Summer

‘This is what I learned last summer:’, begins Shaun Tan’s latest award winning picture book Rules of Summer.  Be amazed by enigmatic oil paintings from the book on display now at State Library of Western Australia.

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Shaun Tan, Never drop your jar, 2013, Oil on canvas

In a dramatic series of paintings Tan maps the activities of two boys through their memories of last summer. Themes of friendship rivalry and imagination are explored in a series of pictorial contrasts between urban and natural, real and extraordinary, excitement and foreboding, familiar and strange, in both frightening and comforting moments.

Each painting explores a rule skilfully woven together to form a narrative that is open to multiple interpretations.

According to Shaun Tan, “Each picture might be seen as the chapter of an unwritten tale that can only be elaborated in the reader’s imagination”

Discover possibilities beyond the picture frame and journey into an oddly familiar emotive landscape.

The exhibition which features original works curated with pages from the picture book and exclusive video footage is on display at the State Library of Western Australia until January 27. 

When: 19 December 2014 – 27 January 2015
Where: The Gallery, Ground Floor, State Library of Western Australia
Entry: Entry is free. Open during library hours

More information:

  • Family friendly exhibition
  • All venues at the State Library are wheelchair accessible
  • Copies of Rules of Summer are available from the State Library Shop
  • Find out more about State Library Exhibitions 
  • Rules of Summer official website

National Family History Week 2013 at the State Library of Western Australia

Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced family history researcher, now is your chance to gain new insights and skills to help you learn more about your ancestors.

National Family History Week

To celebrate National Family History Month (August), the State Library of Western Australia has put together a special program of free workshops, tours and talks from Tuesday 6 to Thursday 8 August 2013.

Are you just starting out on your family tree and need some help with your research? Do you have a shoebox full of photos and letters that you need to sort? Want to learn how you can use apps to enhance your research and save time? Experienced guides and experts will be on hand to help you make the most of the wealth of resources available.

Have a shoebox of records that needs sorting?

Does this look familiar? Learn pointers on how you can start organising your family records and photographs at our special “shoebox” session.

You can also gain deeper insights by attending some of the many fascinating talks and topical sessions on offer. With subjects ranging from British migration, bride ships, Samson House and ANZAC records to collecting in a regional centre, these sessions will appeal to advanced researchers and professionals as well as those with a general interest.

Women on bride ships.

Thousands of young women were brought out to WA in the late 1800s in order to address the imbalance of the sexes in the population. What was it like to be a woman on board a “bride ship”? Find out from Tricia Fairweather on Thursday 8 August.

We encourage you to check out our full events program and pass it on to colleagues, clients, family and friends.

All sessions are free, but bookings are essential. Call 08 9 427 3111 to secure your place for the sessions of your choice.

The State Library wishes to thank staff of the State Records Office and the National Archives of Australia, and the volunteers from the Western Australian Genealogical Society (Inc.) for their generous support.

About National Family History Month

This year, celebrations for National Family History week have been extended to the whole month of August. With chilly temperatures keeping most of us inside this month, it’s the perfect time of year to bunker down in your library and discover new connections to the past. 

Teddy Bear Sleepover for The Reading Hour

The Reading Hour was a special nation-wide event on Saturday 25 August 2012 for the National Year of Reading 2012.

The aim for the Reading Hour was to encourage families to share a book with their child for 10 minutes a day, one hour a week.

We encouraged parents to host their own Teddy Bear Sleepover at home and to enjoy sharing a book with their child (and their teddies!) for ten minutes between 6 and 7pm.

We hosted our own Teddy Bear Sleepover at the library on the day. Teddies and soft toys explored the library and took part in a special story time.

Here is their journey:

Arriving at the State Library of Western Australia!
Arriving at the State Library of Western Australia for the Teddy Bear Sleepover!

Meeting some new friends
Meeting some new friends at the library. It was so fun to meet a tiny robot and a baby manatee, but the dalek scared us a little!

Hanging out the State Library Shop
Hanging out in the State Library Shop.

Checking out Better Beginning's
Checking out Better Beginning‘s “Baby Ways” board book.

Om Nom in the mirror!
Who is this here in the mirror!?

The staff at the State Library are so helpful!
The staff at the State Library are so helpful!

Riding up and down in the lift is lots of fun!
Riding up the lift to explore the library. Wheeee!

The State Library of Western Australia's
Meeting the State Library’s “Books Moove Me Cow!“. She was painted by Western Australian children’s book illustrators!

Meeting some more funny State Library staff
Meeting another State Library staff member. What a funny man.

Accessing e-books via the State Library catalogue
Accessing e-books from the State Library for free!

Checking out the view from the 2nd floor
Checking out the view from the 2nd floor of the State Library.
Look, there’s the BankWest Tower! Can you spot any other Perth landmarks?

Time for a yummy afternoon tea in The PlaceEnjoying afternoon tea in The Place. What’s your favourite afternoon treat?

Story time!
Having fun at a very special Reading Hour story time!

Goodnight everybody!
All tucked in after our bed-time story. Goodnight everybody!

This was a National Year of Reading event.

There are lots of fun and creative ways to share books with your children. If you can manage 10 minutes most nights, your child will have the best chance of becoming a good reader, with all the social and educational benefits that brings.

Royal visits to Western Australia

1954 Royal Ball program

The British Royal family have been in the media recently due to the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton. Previous generations of the Royal family have made several visits to Western Australia over the years. The State Library of W.A. has a collection of programs, tickets, passes and itineraries in its ephemera collection produced for these visits.

The earliest item relates to a visit by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1869.

In 1954 a Royal Ball was held at the University of W.A. in honour of H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth ll as part of her Australian tour. She returned in 1962 to open the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Perth.

Perhaps in the future Prince William and his new wife will visit W.A.

City in Bloom

The Floral Clock and the Kings Park Garden Restaurant

The State Library and the Cultural Centre are participating in this year’s City in Bloom , the extension of the ever-popular Art in Bloom run by the Friends of the Art Gallery. City in Bloom will lead viewers on a path through the city to view floral installations and end at Kings Park for its annual Kings Park Festival Wildflower September.

There will be several Bloom  installations in the Perth Cultural Centre with Nien Schwarz creating “To make one’s bed” outside the State Library.

Radio station 720 ABC Perth has a guided tour of City in Bloom audio tour  that you can download to your MP3 player.

While you’re passing by the State Library pop in and visit our pictorial collection including images from Flower Day in the 1950s and illustrated botanical works.

Philately in flowers, 1953

Government House – Physical and Digital

A Garden Party at Government House Perth

A Garden Party at Government House Perth

For those of us living in or visiting Perth, here’s a chance to see inside Government House.  His Excellency the Governor, Dr Ken Michael AC and Mrs Julie Michael are hosting an Open Day and invite members of the public to explore and experience part of the cultural heritage of Western Australia.  The public rooms of Government House, the Ballroom and the Gardens will be open to the public on Friday 29 May 2009 between 11.00 am and 2.30 pm.

If you can’t make the open day you can do a virtual visit using the State Library’s pictorial collection!  We also have a wealth of information regarding Government house, it’s residents, and place in Western Australia’s history – check our catalogue for more!

Have the Perth Christmas lights changed since 1955?

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This photograph is available from the State Library of Western Australia online pictorial collection.  It was taken on Murray Street around 1955.   Its online number is 270980PD. 

For more photographs of Perth Christmas decorations, search under the subject heading ‘Christmas decorations — Western Australia — Perth’.