Holidays at Hampden

Monday, April 7th, 2014 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Preparing the wall labels for the upcoming ‘Peeps of Life’ exhibition, I had been wondering where these two girls were standing when their father, John Halliday Scott, took the photograph.  Chances were it was on that long sandy stretch of beach between Moeraki and Hampden where the family went for holidays around the turn of the twentieth century.

I tried google-earthing but could only land on the highway so when my friend and I were driving back from Trotters Gorge on Otago Anniversary weekend, we stopped for fish and chips by the sea at Hampden.  A snapshot taken on the iphone answered the question and now when I look at Marion and Helen Scott in their wonderful bonnets, I think of the best battered fish I have ever tasted and the delicate young feathers of the seagull standing on the bonnet of the car.

‘Peeps of Life: Photographs by John Halliday Scott’.  Hocken Gallery 11 April-12 July 2014.

S14-031d

‘Marion and Helen Scott on the Beach at Hampden’, J.H. Scott photograph, Marion Scott Collection, S14-031d

And a similar view taken recently.

UnknownPost prepared by Anna Petersen, Assistant Curator of Photographs

The Ziggy Stardust Band

Sunday, March 16th, 2014 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

The title of this album (and band name) will be very familiar… but this is not the David Bowie creation! The Ziggy Stardust Band is the brainchild of Errol Barker (former cycle racing sensation) of Christchurch, and he recorded a number of albums under this guise. In the mid-1980s, Barker arrived at the doors of Nightshift Studios, and asked to record some music there. The studio’s engineer Arnold van Bussell agreed, and Barker returned with his drum machine, and a pre-recorded cassette of his guitar playing. After recording his vocal tracks, and some studio trickery (including what van Bussell called outrageous effects), the product was completed.

ZiggyStardustAlbum

And what does the Ziggy Stardust band album sound like? With song titles like Monstrocities, Human Boy and Schizophrenic Hotel, you might expect a sci-fi theme to be running through the record. To my surprise, the album has a Gothic Rock sound, with the strong, clinical backbeat of a drum machine. Barker’s free-form, reverbed guitar sounds ricochet off the space within the songs, and often have a siren-like effect – possibly due to van Bussell’s treatments. The vocals are half-spoken and mannered, more in the vein of Nick Cave than David Bowie, and this is used to great effect on Schizophrenic Hotel, which reworks the lyrics to Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall. Most interesting are the instrumental tracks, which are soundscapes that focus on individual sounds rather than melodic hooks.

There is very little information on Barker and his musical creations, and after recording as the Ziggy Stardust band he dropped off the musical radar. According to van Bussel, Errol Barker still lives in Christchurch, and is still making interesting guitar sounds.

Thanks to Ian Chapman and Arnold van Bussel for information.

Blog post prepared by Amanda Mills, Liaison Librarian, Music and Audio-Visual

Some advertising magic is released by a recent acquisition at the Hocken

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

 

NZRLanternSlide

A glass lantern slide advertising a New Zealand Railways Mystery Tramp from Invercargill, c. 1930, 80mm x 80mm, Photographs Collection, Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago.

This lantern slide promotes an excursion to an unknown southern destination for a mystery tramp, and was used for advertising to a cinema audience. Recently acquired for the Hocken’s Photographs collection, this New Zealand Railways promotion would have been projected onto the screen of an Invercargill movie house either prior or during a film showing.

Introduced in the 1600′s the magic lantern was the earliest form of slide projector. With the aid of a concave mirror the lantern, illuminated at first by candlelight, projected light through a small sheet of glass known as a lantern slide. By the turn of the twentieth century lantern shows were a popular source of entertainment. They were also integral to commercial advertising in cinema. By the 1930’s many lantern slides were produced by a black and white photographic process and hand-coloured with transparent dyes. As well as being readily used in advertising, theatres also used magic lanterns to project  ‘illustrated songs’, which were community sing-alongs with lyrics and illustrations, and to communicate short messages such as “Ladies, kindly remove your hats”, to their patrons.

At first the burgeoning reputation of motion pictures did not impact on the popularity of lantern shows and they continued to be used for entertainment and educational purposes. However, after the introduction of 35mm Kodachrome colour transparency film in 1936 the use of the magic lantern for cinema advertising was quickly superseded by slide projectors as a result of cinemas being eager to embrace new technologies.

The success of rail tourism during the interwar years, an era when private car ownership was on the rise, may be attributed to the advertising prowess of the Railways Department. Train travel and the popularity of day excursions was also boosted by the shorter working week which gave large sectors of the population more time to enjoy leisure activities. In response to increased competition from the motor car New Zealand Railways established a Publicity Branch and in July 1920 the Railways Advertising Studio was formed. It is likely that they produced the art work for this lantern slide which advertises a Mystery Tramp day excursion. The health benefits of train travel, often overstated in New Zealand Railway’s promotional material for urban rail-services, is merited on this occasion as the day-trip is encouraging participation in an outdoor physical pursuit.

In an age when we are bombarded with advertising images through a plethora of digital channels, researching the history of this glass slide has brought me closer to appreciating the lantern’s ‘magic’.

Blog post prepared by Natalie Poland, Curator of Pictorial Collections

Inscription on UNESCO Memory of the World Register

Thursday, November 28th, 2013 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

We are delighted to announce that the papers of Charles Brasch have been inscribed on the New Zealand Memory of the World Register.

At a national function at the Hocken on Thursday (November 28), the Charles Brasch papers were announced as a significant new addition to the UNESCO register, along with the Sir Edmund Hillary Archive at Auckland Museum and the original score and lyrics of God Defend New Zealand held at Auckland Libraries.

UNESCO launched the Memory of the World Programme, which promotes the nation’s heritage stories to the wider community, in 1992. It sits alongside UNESCO’s better-known World Heritage List and Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The New Zealand Programme was established in 2010.

“The Memory of the World Trust is truly delighted to welcome these three inscriptions of such distinguished documentary heritage items onto the register. All three greatly contribute to the story of our nation’s heritage and are significant to the identity of New Zealanders today,” the Memory of the World New Zealand Trust Chair Dianne Macaskill says.

Professor of History Tony Ballantyne, UNESCO Senior Advisor Susan Isaacs, Auckland Museum Team Leader - Library Collections Theresa Graham, Chair of NZ Memory of the World Committee, Dianne MacCaskill, Hocken Librarian Sharon Dell and Auckland Public Libraries Manuscript Librarian Iain Sharpe

Hocken Librarian Sharon Dell says the Inscription of the Brasch papers onto the Register is also recognition of the national importance of the Hocken as a research archive.

“This is a huge advantage for University staff and students to have a resource like the Charles Brasch papers in their midst. As well as conferring a higher level of protection on this archive resource, this inscription from UNESCO also enhances the Hocken’s international profile,” she says.

Hocken Curator of Archives and Manuscripts Anna Blackman says after Brasch’s literary and personal archive was opened at the Hocken in 2003 (30 years after his death), the significance of his legacy began to be appreciated.

“We are very fortunate that the Hocken holds such a substantial collection – 25 linear metres of his personal letters and archives. The work, papers and journals of Brasch are now a significant resource for researchers focusing on New Zealand’s rich cultural and literary development during his life-time,” she says.

Charles Orwell Brasch (1909-1973) corresponded with over 600 individual people and this correspondence forms the bulk of the collection. People represented include Janet Frame, James. K Baxter, Colin McCahon, Frank Sargeson, James Courage, James Bertram, Rita Angus, Toss Woollaston, Alistair Campbell, Fred and Eve Page, Douglas Lilburn, Louis Johnson, Denis Glover, Ruth Dallas, Carl Stead and many more.

Brasch’s editorial activities and contribution to the literary scene, as well as the thoughts and opinions of his correspondents are documented through the correspondence.

A letter from James K. Baxter to Brasch (MS-0996-002/026)

“It is a unique insight into the opinions and activities of this group who created so much of New Zealand’s cultural life,” says Anna Blackman.

From 1938 to just prior to his death Brasch wrote a personal journal. These journals document both his inner life of thought as well as his opinion on many topics and his everyday activities.

Pages from Brasch's journal

“Brasch was an acute observer of the world around him and the journals include commentary on not just the arts and literature but also people, politics and contemporary events.”
Further information about Memory of the World and the inscriptions on the register can be viewed on www.unescomow.org.nz.

 

Hocken Collections in the news!

Thursday, October 17th, 2013 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Well actually not so much the Hocken in the news but the work of some of the wonderful researchers who use the Hocken Collections.

Firstly Professor Judy Bennett of the Otago History Department and Tim Bayliss-Smith of St John’s College Cambridge have published a very readable book based on the diary of William Crossan, which is held here at the Hocken. Crossan was a copra trader in the Solomon Islands in 1885-6. Read about it in the Otago Bulletin. And you can download and read the book from the Australian University E-Press too.

Next two stories on our own staff member Dr Ali Clarke, Ali works for the Hocken part-time as a Reference Assistant, and is also an historian with three monographs and several journal articles and book chapters to her name.

We are very pleased that Ali has been appointed to research and write the University’s history in time for the sesquicentennial celebrations in 2019. Read all about it in the Otago Bulletin and the Otago Daily Times

And don’t forget to check out Ali’s research blog University of Otago 1869-2019 – wiritng a history.

And there is also Dr Jenny Burchell who has been researching the history of the City Choir Dunedin for a book to be published next year. See the story in the Otago Daily Times.

Well done everyone!

 

 

For Dunedin’s Good Rule and Government

Monday, September 30th, 2013 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

While we are all pondering who to vote for in the upcoming local body elections, by-laws from a city’s past can provide an interesting, curious and sometimes amusing glimpse into the way things once were.   Common sense underlines many, but one can’t help but wonder if there was a story behind the origin of others.

The following are excerpts from the 1912 Corporation of the City of Dunedin By-Law No. 1.

Part IV. General Provisions for the Good Rule and Government of the City
332. No person shall –
(13) Roll any cask, beat any carpet, fly any kite, use any bow and arrows, or catapult or shanghai, or play at football or any game, to the annoyance of any person in any street, footway or public place.

(16) Stamp, stain, paint, write, print, or post, any advertisement or notice upon any footway, kerbstone, or steps within the City.

(17) Expose to view or distribute in any public place any placard, hand-bill, print, or other document whatever of an offensive or indecent character.

(18) Throw or place upon any street, or any crossing, or public place or private footway in the City, any fruit skin, rind, or peel.

Part VI. In Respect of Butchers’ Shops and Small Goods Houses, and the Transport and Delivery of Meat in the City of Dunedin
381. No person shall smoke or expectorate in any shop within the City used for the sale or exhibition of meat.

Part XV. In Respect of Public Billiard Rooms
685. No unmarried woman not being a widow shall be the keeper of any public billiard room.

Part XVI.  In respect of the Public Library

706. No male person shall sit at any table set apart for ladies.

711. Visitors to the Reading Room are required to leave all parcels or baggage in charge of the officials and no refreshments shall be partaken of in the Library.

715. No person shall bring any animal or bicycle within the Library.

Part XIX.  In Respect of Street Traffic

851. No person shall ride a bicycle within the City of Dunedin without having his feet on the pedals thereof.

855. No person shall upon any public street in the City carry a whip in such a manner as to strike a person.

 

Blog post prepared by Kari Wilson-Allan, Library Assistant

Pacific Island Treasure and Mystery at the Hocken

Friday, August 2nd, 2013 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

Post prepared by Anna Petersen, Assistant Curator of Photographs

Rapa Nui (Easter Island) has never exactly been a popular topic for researchers at the Hocken as far as I know but in 2009, Dr Paul Horley of Yuri Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University in Ukraine wrote to inquire as to whether we had any photographs of rongorongo tablets from this small island on the other side of the Pacific.  I began my search feeling far from optimistic and was surprised to find that we hold ten albumen prints of Easter Island artefacts.  What is more, one of them turned out to be of exactly what Paul Horley was looking for.

Keiti, albumen print, Pacific Islands Collection, SO9.274a

Little over two dozen rongorongo tablets have been documented around the world (some are of questionable authenticity).  They are remains of a unique script thought to have evolved on the island sometime between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries.[1]  Catholic missionaries in the mid nineteenth century first recognised their value as evidence of an advanced Polynesian civilisation.[2]  By then the indigenous people no longer knew the meaning of the glyphs carved on wood but they called these tablets ‘kohau rongorongo’ or ‘singing wood’[3] and scholars continue to debate their translation.

Dr Horley identified the Hocken photograph as being of the tablet known as Keiti, which has been interpreted in relation to the Rapa Nui lunar calendar in three recent papers published in the Journal de la Societe des Oceanistes in 2011.[4]  The original artefact, which measured 39 x 13 cm, was sent by Tepano Jaussen, Bishop of Tahiti, to Europe in 1888 and destroyed in a fire during World War I at the library of l’Université Catholique at Louvain, Belgium.[5]

Just a few original photographs of Keiti remain and how the Hocken came to hold one remains a mystery in itself.  Paul Horley, who continues to research the subject, knows of two sets of photographs taken before the tablet was destroyed. ‘One set of photographs was made under direct light with the glyphs filled in with a white substance to improve the contrast (these images are in the collection of the Congregation of the Sacred Hears of Jesus and Mary, Rome).  The second set of photographs was made under slanted light, and the photograph that you have, showing the recto side of the tablet, belongs to this set.  The other copies of these pictures can be found in the National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution; Library and Archives of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu; Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley.  Some of these images are later prints…’.[6]

One piece of information that we have been able to add to the store of knowledge is that the Hocken photograph of Keiti may have been taken by the photographer Charles Spitz (1857-1894), who had a studio in Papeete.  As mentioned above, the print is one of a collection of ten and the mounts of some of the others are stamped with the words ‘Collection of J.L. Young’.  James Lyle Young (1849-1929) lived in Papeete from 1882 to 1929 while working in the trading business.[7]  He collected and later gave most of the other Easter Island artefacts recorded in the photographs to the Bishop Museum in Honolulu in 1920 and they also hold prints of these.   Several of the Hocken photographs reveal parts of Spitz’s studio mark either showing through from the back or shining on the surface.

Rapa Nui Figurines, albumen print, Pacific Islands Collection S13-201

The collection of Easter Island photographs at the Hocken bear no old accession numbers so one can only guess about how they entered the collection.  A possible source was H.D. Skinner, best known as a past Curator and Director of the Otago Museum but also one-time Librarian of the Hocken (1919-1926).  The Museum then housed the Library and is another Dunedin institution fortunate enough to hold a Rapa Nui treasure in the form of a moai (large stone statue), registered in 1929.[8]


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rongorongo (accessed 22 July 2013).

[2] For a comprehensive history see Steven Roger Fischer, Rongorongo, the Easter Island Script: history, tradition, texts, Oxford, 1997.

[3] Werner Wolff, ‘The Mystery of the Easter Island Script’, Journal of the Polynesian Society, 54, no.1 (1945), p.1.

[4] Rafal M. Wieczorek,  ‘Astronomical Content in Rongorongo Tablet Keiti’, Journal de la Société des Océanistes, 132 (2011), pp. 5-16; Paul Horley, ‘Lunar calendar in rongorongo texts and rock art of Easter Island’, Journal de la Société des Océanistes, 132 (2011), pp. 17-37; Konstantin Pozdniakov, ‘Tablet Keiti and calendar-like structures in Rapanui script’, Journal de la Société des Océanistes, 132 (2011), pp. 39-74.

[5] Fischer, pp.435-6.

[6] Paul Horley to the writer, email correspondence 10 April 2013.

[7] Biographical note, James Lyle Young – Papers, 1879-1929, State Library of New South Wales online catalogue.

[8] Moira White to the writer, email correspondence 3 May 2013.

Tapa Whenua – Naming the land. A display in the Hocken Foyer 8 to 19 July 2013.

Thursday, July 11th, 2013 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

For Māori, place and place names act as constant reminders not only of where one is, but of who one is – without one the other does not exist.

Māori named the landscape as a way of emphasising claim to the land, to describe features, to immortalise people or events for historic or spiritual reasons and to celebrate cultural icons. In the absence of a written language, naming the land committed the landscape to memory. The events and characteristics associated with the landscape anchor it and give it a durable reference, as well as floating access to a huge range of oral information. In this way, Māori place names are peopled and named at a variety of levels.

The Southern Districts of New Zealand: From the Admiralty Chart of 1838

The wealth of information within the maps and manuscripts on display in the Hocken foyer, were created by Māori in the post-European era, for reasons other than what Māori needed to know about or to express to themselves. Information was offered to, or maps were drawn at the request of British officials, surveyors and other Europeans to explain the lay of the land and its access routes, the location of resources, flat land, good soil, fishing grounds and safe anchorages. Māori who created the maps and provided the information within the manuscripts could clearly describe spatial relationships and had a fundamental sense of where they were geographically, preserving as much tightly compacted and coded material by reducing complexity to an information-rich abstract. European needs may have defined the focus of the materials on display, but not the instinctive style nor the acute knowledge of the land that is within them.

Some of the manuscripts on display

The Māori who authored these maps and manuscripts provided information about the land via a conversation, a korero. It was the supporting richness that existed within the oral tradition that embedded the layers of information within the land, making the Māori landscape a human landscape filled with stories. Within both the maps and the manuscripts on display, one can readily visualise this. The talking, the drawing of lines to illustrate, the conferring, the calling on a huge floating resource of story, song, experience, myth, spirituality, history, learned detail, relationships, genealogies, memories, paths walked, food resources gathered and the feel and smell of the presence of the land.

Items on display include:

MAPS

The Southern Districts of New Zealand: From the Admiralty Chart of 1838. Hocken Collections. Illustration above.

New Zealand map drawn by Chief Tuki-tahua and Huruhuru, 1793. Hocken Collections.

Map of lakes in the interior of Middle Island from a drawing by Huruhuru, 1844. Hocken Collections.

MANUSCRIPTS

Beattie, James Herries. 1935. Note book containing notes on Maori place names and folk-lore. MS-582/E/4.

Beattie, James Herries. 1941. Nature and general information gathered between 1920 and 1940 from Maori. MS-582/W/11.

Beattie, James Herries. General Information, book 3. 1942. MS-582/E/13.

Beattie, James Herries. General Information, book 5. 1953. MS-582/E/15.

Beattie, James Herries. Notebook entitled ‘Maori notes from notebook of Eruera Poko Cameron. 1935. MS-582/E/4.

Beattie, James Herries. Notebook of John Kahu. 1880-1882. MS-582/F/14/a.

Beattie, James Herries. Notebook entitled: Notes on South Island place names, mostly in Otago. N.d. MS-0416/001.

Post prepared by Jeanette Wikaira-Murray, Maori Resources Portfolio Librarian

The Chills and Shane Cotton – Somewhere Beautiful

Monday, June 3rd, 2013 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post prepared by Amanda Mills – Music/AV Liaison Librarian, Hocken Collections

Somewhere Beautiful by The Chills and Shane Cotton

New Zealand Music Month has finished yet again! While overall Hocken Collections had a quiet month, music wise, this year we played a significant part in the launch of The Chills new live album Somewhere Beautiful, held on May 31st. The recording is not your typical album release. A triple LP set in a double gatefold cover (45rpm speed, on heavy 200gram vinyl); the live album is housed in a 24” portfolio box, with original diptych prints by renowned artist Shane Cotton. Cotton’s artwork for the package is called Rolling Moon (after The Chills’ song), and the prints are mixed media, with metal foil and additional materials. Each print is unique, with different lyrics from Somewhere Beautiful silk screened onto the images. These will be collectors’ items – only 150 have been produced, and are a wonderful example of how art and music interweave, especially as Martin Phillipps’ (The Chills lead singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter) lyrics’ are vivid with imagery, and ripe for interpretation.

 

Rolling Moon by Shane Cotton

The launch for Somewhere Beautiful was a gathering to celebrate both the work of Martin Phillipps and The Chills, and Shane Cotton, and this extraordinary collaboration.  All were in attendance (including Chills members Erica Stichbury, Oli Wilson, James Dickson, and Todd Knudson), and both Phillipps and Cotton spoke about the work. Phillipps also played a solo four song set where he performed ‘Pink Frost’, ‘Male Monster From the Id’, ‘House with A Hundred Rooms’, and new song ‘Molten Gold’ to an appreciative crowd.

Display of Chills material in the Hocken Foyer

Hocken Librarian Sharon Dell and I also collaborated with Phillipps and his manager Scott Muir to produce a postcard to commemorate the event, using an iconic piece from Phillipps’ collection. We were lucky to be able to use the leather jacket, immortalised in The Chills’ song ‘I Love My Leather Jacket’ for the postcard image. We felt very fortunate to be included in such a wonderful event!

 

Rope and more : Work completed on Donaghys collection

Monday, April 15th, 2013 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Among our largest collections of business archives are the records of rope makers Donaghys Industries, who began operations in Dunedin way back in 1876. They are still in this trade 136 years later, but have also widely diversified into the rural, industrial, marine and aquaculture markets. In the 1990s the company moved its head office to Christchurch but it maintains offices in Dunedin and Melbourne.

Hocken’s relationship with Donaghys goes back to the 1980s when we received most of the current collection. In 2010 staff were invited to the company’s Bradshaw Street premises where we collected further financial records, photographs, administrative files, photographs, ephemera, and other records, some dating back over a century. Arrangement and description work was completed in 2011, increasing the size of the collection by over 50 percent to 45 shelf metres (that’s 2,500 individual items). More recently, the entire collection was entered onto our Hakena archives and manuscripts catalogue which has made the collection much easier to search and access.

Shown here are some label illustrations (MS-3560/0560) and 1960s photographs taken by Campbell Studios in Dunedin (MS-3560/0633). Two show rope manufacture processes, an in one a worker can be seen in the famous 380-metre ‘rope walk’. Another shows a bale of rope bigger than a Mini.

We are delighted that Donaghys Industries have ensured the preservation of their historic records, and are always interested in hearing from other local businesses.

David Murray

 

 

 
Anna Blackman anna.blackman@otago.ac.nz
 

Any views or opinion represented in this site belong solely to the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Otago. Any view or opinion represented in the comments are personal and are those of the respective commentator/contributor to this site.