Alternative sources for alternative voices

Monday, June 28th, 2021 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

Post researched and written by General Assistant Gini Jory

Radical writers are often thought of as a cornerstone of New Zealand literature. Whether it be poetry, short stories, novels, commentaries or screenplays, these writers have cried out against the status quo, speaking out on issues such as racism, social injustice and numerous other political concerns. These thoughts have shaped New Zealand literature and in turn have produced a wealth of writers armed with radical prose and ideas.

James K. Baxter, c.1965-1972. Michael de Hamel photograph, Box-005-002, Te Uare Taoka o Hākena – Hocken Collections, University of Otago.

One of the most prominent of these writers is James Keir Baxter (1926-1972) who was born into a family with established radical leanings. His father was Archibald Baxter (1881-1970), a socialist, pacifist, conscientious objector during WWI and the author of We will not cease, the memoir of his brutal experiences of forced conscription and imprisonment. The Hocken holds papers for both James K. Baxter (ARC-0027) and the Baxter family (ARC-0351) in the archives collection. Born in Dunedin, Baxter spent his formative years here, attending the University of Otago and returning later as a Robert Burns fellow in 1966. His published works cover a huge range with poetry, literary criticism and social commentaries at the forefront. He was also well known for his radical lifestyle; most notably the period in later life when he moved to Jerusalem/Hiruhārama, a Māori settlement on the Whanganui River, leaving behind his University position and job.

When thinking about potential information the Hocken might have on Baxter, you would be safe in the assumption we carry a large amount of his published works, along with the previously mentioned archival collections. However, given the radical and alternative nature of Baxter’s life and writing, this post will cover some of the more alternative, and perhaps less obvious items we carry in our collections that are equally as useful for research.

If you’re interested in taking a more active (literally!) research approach, a great place to start would be with Writers Dunedin: Three Literary Walks. Along with short biographies of many Dunedin writers, this item provides a map of three walks you can take around Dunedin, highlighting places of significance in the literary history of Dunedin and in the lives of these writers. This includes places like the Robert Burns statue in the Octagon, the Globe Theatre, the University clock tower building, as well as lesser-known places including pubs frequented by writers, schools, houses, bookshops and publishing firms. All three walks include places of significance in the life of Baxter.

Map kindly provided with permission from Southern Heritage Trust. Map design by Allan Kynaston. Barsby, John & Frame, Barbara Joan. Writer’s Dunedin: Three Literary Walks. Dunedin: Southern Heritage Trust. 2012

This publication is a companion to another item, found in our AV collection: Hear our Writers: an audio compilation of eleven Dunedin Writers. This sound recording comprises writers reading aloud their own poetry, as well as having it read by others. James K. Baxter is among these authors, and you can listen to him read his poem The Fallen House, a reflection of his early life in Brighton which he has referred to as his “lost Eden”. It is a very immersive experience to hear a poem spoken by the person who wrote it over 50 years ago, and to understand how he meant it to be heard with his own specific inflection and voice, rather than how we as readers may imagine it in our heads. This item also goes to show just how many alternative mediums there can be, and something written will not only appear in our collection as a published book or collection. We hold several other recordings relating to Baxter, further proving you can find information in the most unexpected places.

Baxter, James Keir. ‘A small ode to mixed flatting.’ Published in Falus: the official organ of the Beardies and Weirdies Industrial Union of Workers. Dunedin. 1967. (The poem continues over page.)

Another slightly different item we hold is an alternative student publication from Otago University, entitled Falus: the official organ of the Beardies and Weirdies Industrial Union of Workers. It was in this that A small ode to mixed flatting was originally published in 1967. This was in response to a decision made by the University to forbid mixed flatting, something that these days is seen as completely normal and out of scope of the University’s control.  Critic was not interested in the story of the student expelled over this issue, so he took it to Falus instead. They approached Baxter and he agreed on the spot, providing them with A small ode to mixed flatting. This piece is an excellent example of Baxter’s alternative outlook and the importance of social activism and criticism in his life. As the Burns fellow at the time of this event, he was not a student directly affected by this decision (he was technically an employee of the University) however, he still took this opportunity to criticise the University over what many students saw as an infringement on their rights.

We have several issues of Falus, ranging from 1965-1968, featuring many poems and political letters, with a lot of satirical content (though not all stand the test of time!). Baxter has also made other contributions to this publication, including a letter about the capping show of 1967. If you are interested in student activism or political poetry, this magazine is a wealth of information and entertainment.

We hold other items related to this mixed flatting event, including this neat pamphlet advertising an organised sleep in, which can be found in our Ephemera collection. ​

Live-in. [1960s] From the Ephemera Collection, Te Uare Taoka o Hākena – Hocken Collections, University of Otago.

We have a few items relating to Baxter on display in our current exhibition, Drift– a new exhibition featuring recent Hocken art acquisitions and selected collection items. These include a photograph of Baxter rolling a cigarette taken by New Zealand art historian, writer and photographer Gordon Brown (b.1931), and a papier mâché ‘Head in a bottle’ made by Baxter in 1951/52 and deposited by his son John Baxter in 2018.  Upon depositing, John wrote:

Please find enclosed the papier mâché head made by James K. Baxter as a young student at Wellington Teachers’ College. It was then a part of his desk furniture for many years, becoming a part of the internal landscape of my mother’s house after his death.

The head was much admired by my mother’s close friend the writer Janet Frame and was left to her in my mother’s will.

Sadly Janet predeceased Jacquie so the piece has come down to me as the remaining child.

I worry about its condition and would be happier if it were in a place where it could be preserved, […]

Drift is open until Saturday 17 July (Monday – Saturday 10am-5pm), so please come visit if you are interested in viewing these items in the exhibition.

When researching a famous local writer, there are plenty of obvious places to look and sources to use. Hopefully this post has highlighted some alternative sources on this topic, as well as demonstrating how the many different collections we house can be of use for all kinds of research- you might find the perfect resource in the most unexpected place!

 

References

James K. Baxter, c.1965-1972.  Michael de Hamel photograph, Box-005-002, Te Uare Taoka o Hākena – Hocken Collections, University of Otago.

Live-in. [1960s] From the Ephemera Collection, Te Uare Taoka o Hākena – Hocken Collections, University of Otago.

Baxter, James Keir. Literary Papers. ARC-0027. Hocken Collections, Dunedin.

Baxter Family Papers. ARC-0351. Hocken Collections, Dunedin.

Baxter, Archibald. We will not cease. London: Gollancz. 1939.

Barsby, John & Frame, Barbara Joan. Writer’s Dunedin: Three Literary Walks. Dunedin: Southern Heritage Trust. 2012.

Southern Heritage Trust. Hear our Writers: an audio compilation of eleven Dunedin Writers. (Sound recording) Dunedin: Southern Heritage Trust. 2009.

Baxter, James Keir. ‘A small ode to mixed flatting.’ Published in Falus: the official organ of the Beardies and Weirdies Industrial Union of Workers. Dunedin. 1967.

Baxter, James Keir. Head in a bottle, 1951 or 1952. Papier mâché, paint, repurposed bottle. Wellington, New Zealand. Deposited by John Baxter, 2018.

 

Octavius Harwood – a real “Wellerman”

Wednesday, January 27th, 2021 | Anna Blackman | 5 Comments

Currently there is world-wide interest in the song “Soon May The Wellerman Come”. Social media is simply heaving with shanty mania. There is of course a Dunedin connection and a recent article in the Otago Daily Times explains the history of the Weller Brothers shore whaling station at Ōtākou and a little bit of background on the origin of the song. https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/wellerman-sea-shanty-global-hit

The song includes the line “And bring us sugar and tea and rum,” referring to essential treats distributed regularly to the whaling gangs employed by the Weller Brothers. This reminded me I had seen many references to sugar, tea and rum in of one of our most significant archival collections – the Octavius Harwood papers.

The Harwood papers are probably the best collection of archives still extant from a shore whaling station in New Zealand. Octavius Harwood was employed late in 1837 to run the store and oversee some of the station’s activities and he kept extensive records that were preserved by later generations of his family and eventually came to the Hocken in the 1930s with the papers of George Craig Thomson.

Octavius Harwood’s journals describe what life was like for those working in the 1830s whaling industry around Ōtākou and the Otago coastline. With our help from current HUMS 201 intern, Caitlyn Duff, I have transcribed and edited an extract from the start of Harwood’s 1838 journal.

To make the extract more readable I expanded abbreviations and corrected spelling to modern spelling and removed some capitals. I also used square brackets to annotate some terms and names in the text.

The close relationship of Māori and European working together in the settlement of Ōtākou is clear in the journal with regular reference to the work Māori did at the station and in the whale fisheries. Many whalers, including Harwood and his employer Edward Weller married local women and an extensive network of whānau was created along the Otago coast.

Harwood’s original journal commencing in 1838, MS-0438/001 Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena

The original journal is hand sewn, probably by Harwood himself and bears the stains and scuffs of a hard life at the store. It is made of Downton Mill paper water marked 1834.

Harwood supplied provisions to the whaling gangs, who visited Ōtākou to pick up their supplies. The gangs picked up two or so weeks’ worth of supplies and dropped off the prepared oil and bone. On one occasion in this extract Taiaroa and Karetai delivered some supplies from Harwood’s store to the nearby Pūrākaunui whaling station.

The supplies almost always consisted of sugar, tea, grog (a rum and water mix), tobacco, flour and sometimes casks of salted beef or pork.  Whaling gear – rope, tools, casks or shooks (supplies for barrel making) and slops (cheap cotton canvas clothing) were also often supplied. Occasionally spirits were supplied to the whaling gang leaders. There seemed to be little fresh food distributed, perhaps the gangs supplemented their diet by trading locally, fishing, hunting and gathering.

The ship Dublin Packet was at Ōtākou at the time and Harwood spent much time unloading supplies and loading oil and bone on the ship. He also supplied a visiting French whaling ship.

Harwood supervised the cooper (barrel maker) at Ōtākou, and a team of usually six Māori who cleaned whalebone, and did other work such as building repairs, road repairs and fencing. He sometimes pickled pork in barrels and purchased potatoes from Māori.

He also issued provisions for “the House” – presumably the house where Edward Weller lived. Weller’s activities are mentioned occasionally. Edward eventually returned to live in Sydney when the business failed and further archival records of the Weller Brothers business are held at the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney, where they have been digitised and are available online. http://archival.sl.nsw.gov.au/Details/archive/110364025?_ga=2.66028653.2102099567.1611630649-263552842.1611630649

 

THE JOURNAL

1838

April 24th. – Received from the Dublin Packet a quantity of rope – Whale line – Grass rope – flour in casks – Boat planks – Chests tea – Cans oil – Iron pots – Tin plates – Rag stones – Adze. Mincing knives – Cases Soap – Tubs – Paint brushes. Issued whaling gear to Mr. Brown – Mr. Prices – and Mr. Williams, Mr. Chaceland – and also provisions for 1 week to Mr. Chaceland’s gang – Employed six hands regulating provisions in store &c. Broached cask flour.

Wed. – 25th.  – Employed issuing provisions to gangs – storing cargo – stowing away slops in casks, &c. – the six hands still employed.

Thurs. – 26th. – Issued whaling gear to Angas, Williams, Hedges, Chaceland & Brown – victualled 14 Māoris belonging to Mr. Chaceland and Price’s gangs for 1 week. Served out grog to same gangs – Received a quantity of flour, sugar &c. from Dublin Packet – Stored the same – Broached cask flour & beef.

Frid. – 27th. – Employed issuing stores to Tonguers [the workers who cut up the whales] – receiving and stowing away in the stores cargo from the Dublin Packet – gave Williams tea for Headsmen for Upper Fishery for 1 week.

Sat. – 28th. – Gave Black and Tandy carpenters rum for 1 week.  G. Ryan, Cooper, Tea for a fortnight – Chaceland’s gang day’s grog – Boat gear to hedges, Angas and Chaceland – 2 hands employed rolling cargo from Dublin Packet into store, &c.

Sun. – 29th. – Gave Mr. Price 17 fathoms rope for Middle Fishery – Mr. Chaceland tobacco – Mr. Cureton 1 breaker of oil & 1 axe for Middle Fishery. Mr. Angas 2¼ yds of duck fisher, Muckleroy & Davis one lot grog each. Mr. Price received 2 days allowance grog for his gang – 1 Māori employed cleaning bone.

Mon. – 30th. – Mr Chaceland, Mr Williams drew whaling gear from store. Issued 1 week’s provisions to Mr. Cureton & Abbot received 16 casks flour from Dublin Packet 2 labourers employed Fisher and Davis. Mr Price drew 2 days’ grog 2 for his gang.

Tues. – May 1st. – Issued Provisions to Mr. Chaceland’s Gang and to Mr. Cureton’s Boat Crew of 5 Hands – Employed filling pork casks with fresh pickle, stowing flour in store, and serving out slops to Manuel – Black etc – Broached cask beef.

May 2nd. – Served out provisions to Mr. Price’s Gang of 25 White People and 7 Māoris for 1 week – slops to Davis and Hewit, Brown & O’Donnel – Provisions to Roberts. Received a quantity of whale bone from the Tonguers of Middle Fishery – filled up pork cask with pickle – gave Māoris their tobacco at the Middle Fishery for 2 weeks – to Mr. Chaceland’s Māori 1 week’s tobacco – Broached 1 keg & 1 Hhd [Hogshead?] of flour 1 tierce [a tierce of pork was around 136 kg of pickled pork] pork – Shipped 6 casks oil.

Thurs. – 3rd – Issued provisions to 7 Māoris in Mr. Chaceland’s gang for 5 days – & 2 bone cleaners – also 2 week’s tobacco – Employed drawing off liquor – putting slops in casks – setting stove &c. Shipped 6 casks oil.

Fri. – 4th – Issued provisions to Isaac – for 1 Week – 1 piece pork for House – finished setting stove, made Carey and Russel’s accounts out. 3 bone cleaners employed.

Sat. – 5th. – Issued Slops to Manuel & Russel, and provisions to house – Grog to Upper Fishery etc & 3 bone cleaners.

Sun. – 6th. – Received 1 head of bone from Upper Tonguers. Issued slops &c. – dined on board the Dublin Packet. – Grog to upper gang and three bone cleaners.

Mon. – 7th. – 6 bone cleaners employed – Cooper at day’s work. Issued grog to Chaceland’s gang and bone cleaners – Gave slops to 4 of bone cleaners. – Provisions to House – Settled John Carey’s account – 3 glasses grog to Mucleroy, Davis, Fisher and Isaac each.

Tues. – 8th. – Issued provisions to Price & Chaceland’s gang – to 22 Māoris – Coe at his own work, stowed cleaned bone in store. Shipped 4 casks oil – Slops to Fowler – Broached 2 casks flour 1 cask pork – Provisions to House – Geo. Gray’s grog stopped by order of Chaceland, carpenter’s by Doctor – Cooper headed up cured fish.

Wed. – 9th. – 6 bone cleaners employed – Grog to Do [ditto] and Chaceland’s gang. Issued provisions to coopers and carpenters and 1 piece beef to House. Shipped oil on board schooner Dublin Packet. Blacked tanks and rolled 1 up into yard to keep bone in. Broached cask beef.

Thurs. 10th. – 7 bone cleaners employed. Issued grog to them and Chaceland’s gang. Provisions to House – Employed regulating accounts, &c.

Fri. 11th. – Issued provisions to Mucleroy and Isaac – House 1 piece pork – Black, Ryan and Tandy tea for 1 Week – Slops to two Māoris – Tobacco to people. Making people’s bills out. 6 bone cleaners employed – Geo. Smith’s grog stopped by order of Doctor. Stowed cleaned bone in loft – Mr Philippin one steer oar.

Sat. – Gave Mr. Williams tea for four for 1 Week – Grog to Chaceland’s gang. – 6 bone cleaners employed – finished cleaning bone – Tyro [Taiaroa] – Grog from this date.

Sun. – 13th. – 7 Māoris employed repairing fences – brought spare boat from fishery to be repaired – 14 lbs. flour for House, 1 lb. tea 2 pieces pork – 1 keg to Mr. Price.

Mon. – 14th. – 5 Māoris employed repairing shed for cooper – Employed making out people’s bills – issuing provisions &c. – Sent two casks peas, two casks flour aboard the French vessel “La Fawn” [“Faune” a French whaling ship that called in twice to Ōtākou in 1838] in exchange for rope, &c.

Tues. – 15th. – Issued provisions to 35 hands in Mr. Price’s Gang, to 28 people in Mr. Chaceland’s gang – to 6 Māoris bone cleaners – Provisions to Davis and Fisher – Slops to people – received four casks beef from the French vessel “La Fawn” – Māoris as yesterday – Gave Captain Bruce 20 lbs rivets – Whaling gear to Price, Hedges, Angas and Williams.

Wed. – 16th. – Provisions to carpenters and cooper – Grog to Chaceland’s gang & Māori bone cleaners – 6 – Employed drawing of spirits – 20 gallons – regulating store, &c. – returned the four casks beef received yesterday from on board “La Fawn” – and got in lieu 3 casks pork.

Thurs. – 17th. – Employed repairing fences – Cleaning bone 6 Māoris – Gave Captain Wells 4½ bundles hooping. Settled Mr. J. Russel’s account in slops – issued provisions to House – Grog to gang – Māori and coopers – Cooper made 2 Piggin, 1 Buckey, 1 Keg.

Fri. – 18th. 6 Māoris employed making a fence between the beach and Cooper’s Workshop with the Whales Head Bones – Making foxes to tie up bone with – Issued grog to Chaceland’s gang – coopers, carpenters and Māoris. Drew off twenty two gallons spirits for Captain Wells.

Sat. – 19th. 6 Māoris employed as yesterday – issued provisions to House – Mr. Weller shooting on the other shore with Captain Wells – Issued grog to Chaceland’s gang, Māoris, coopers, carpenters, cooks &c. Williams 1 pulling oar.

Sun. – 20th. – 6 Māoris employed fetching wood for fence, bringing bones from Upper Fishery, &c. – Gave the Captain Of “La Fawn” 25 pounds of 30 hundred hooping to repair his rudder. Issued provisions to House – dined on board the Dublin Packet.

Mon. – 21st. – Māoris as yesterday – Issued provisions to House – Grog to Chaceland’s gang, coopers, carpenters, cooks &c. Received ½ head bone from Upper Tonguers.

Tues. – 22nd. – Issues Provisions to Middle and Upper Gangs – Do. To 6 Māori bone cleaners – Received the other half head bone from Upper Tonguers – vice from French vessel – Māoris employed removing sand bank abrest carpenter’s House.

Wed. – 23rd. – Provisions issued to cooper and carpenters – to Mr Brown for Pūrākaunui &c. – 4 Māoris employed cleaning bone and received 30 bundles of shooks from the Dublin Packet – 2 Māoris left without permission.

Thurs. – 24th – Provisions to House. 5 Māoris employed cleaning bone – repairing road – fetching water &c. Issued slops to Chaceland – 1 Māori not returned – Drew off ten gallons spirits.

Fri. – 25th – Provisions to House. Issued slops etc to Mr Phillipine – Māoris employed making spun yarn for bone, bring bone from the Upper Fishery – to repair fence &c. – The Māori returned to his duty.

Sat. – 26th. – Provisions to House. 6 Māoris employed repairing cooper’s house, making fence, bring earth to repair road etc. – Mr Chaceland lost 40 fathom Whale Line & iron – Steward of Dublin Packet repairing the bellows – Killed a pig.

Sun. – 27th. – Sent three Māoris back to Mr Brown who had run away from Pūrākaunui – Māoris employed fetching grass for cooper’s house and fence – grog to gang, &c.

Mon. – 28th. – Issued slops to Davis & Fisher – Drew off 30 gallons spirits for Mr Brown – 6 Māoris employed as yesterday – set the bellows up.

Tues. – 29th. – Issued provisions to Price’s & Chaceland’s Gangs – to 6 Māori labourers – Māoris employed cleaning up bone – Quin once of Mr Price’s gang fell from a cliff and killed himself.

Wed. – 30th. – Issued provisions to Black, Tandy and Ryan – to Mr Brown 240 lbs sugar 30 gallons rum 6 pounds tea & 100 figs of tobacco – to Māori cook of Big House – 6 natives employed cleaning bone, repairing cooper’s house, building fence &c. Buried Quin in the ground behind Carpenter’s Workshop.

Thurs. – 31st – Had the honour of being threatened by Mr Angas that he would smash my bloody head – cautioned him against so doing – and told him if he did not succeed I should not make a light business of it – 6 Māoris employed as yesterday – sent provisions from Dublin Packet to Pūrākaunui – Grog to gangs, &c.

Fri. June 1st. – 6 Māoris employed cleaning bone, rolling provisions to beach for Tyro [local Chief Taiaroa] to take to Pūrākaunui, but did not go – scraping boat – finishing making fence by Cooper’s house – received 400 blades bone from Pūrākaunui by Tyro and Jackey White [local Chief Karetai] – as also a receipt from Mr Brown for having received 14 casks provisions – issued 30 lbs sugar to Dublin Packet.

Sat. – 2nd – 6 Māoris employed repairing chimney of cooper’s house, cleaning bone, scraping boat &c. Issued provisions to 1 Māori for Mr Cureton’s boat – clothes etc. – Mr A and – C. tea. Stopped Māori’s grog for not coming earlier in the morning.

Sun. –  3rd – 5 Māoris employed cleaning bone – Issued provisions to House – Tea to Mr Williams and Hedges. Slops to Fowler and Chaceland – Mr Weller out shooting and dined on board the Dublin Packet.

Mon. – 4th – Issued slops &c. to Mr Manuel & provisions to house. Māoris employed as yesterday.

Tues. – 5th Issued provisions to Price’s and Chaceland’s gang – To 6 Māoris – Bone cleaners. Māoris employed cleaning bone, rolling water up from and bringing lie [lye?] from tryworks – issued whaling gear to Chaceland – provisions to David and Fisher, and Mucleroy and Isaac Porter.

Wed. – 6th. – Issued provisions to cooper and carpenters – whaling gear to Mr Cureton, 6 Māoris employed cleaning bone.

Thurs. – 7th. – Māoris employed cleaning bone – sent three Māoris away in boat to Hobart town fishery with Lowe to bring up plank for to make a trough for lie [lye] – to clean bone in. Engaged a cooper of the name – John Clarke – to make casks at the rate of 20/- per ton on labour at the rate of £6 per month.

Fri. – 8th. – Māoris employed as yesterday – issued whaling gear to Mr Manuel Goombs and tobacco to himself and boat’s crew – also 1 lb of tea to Mr Brind – received 2 kegs 1 line tub and 1 old repaired piggin from cooper.

Sat. – 9th – Māoris employed clearing bone – shipped a Frenchman from the ship “La Fawn” of the name Victor Hobé  – Issued provisions to the same and to John Clarke (Cooper) Tea to Mr Williams and Hedges – Carpenter made trough for bone – Issued tobacco to Roberts – Williams, &c.

In preparing this blog I consulted the following sources on Harwood family history, the Wellers, Ōtākou and whaling:

http://www.toituosm.com/collections/smith-gallery/wall-1/octavius-harwood

https://ngataonga.org.nz/blog/nz-history/octavius-francis-harwood-a-journey-of-family-discovery/

https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/1w13/weller-edward

http://www.toituosm.com/collections/smith-gallery/wall-1/edward-weller

Church, Ian (ed), Gaining a Foothold : Historical Records of Otago’s Eastern Coast, 1770-1839, Friends of the Hocken Collections, 2008.

Church, Ian, Opening the Manifest on Otago’s Infant Years, Shipping Arrivals and Departures Otago Harbour and Coarst 1770-1860, Otago Heritage Books 2001

Harwood, Mac, Octavius Harwood, Titopu, Piro, Janet Robertson, published by Mac Harwood, Upper Takaka, 1989.

King, Alexandra, The Weller’s whaling station : the social and economic formation of an Otakou community, 1817-1850. https://ourarchive.otago.ac.nz/handle/10523/5533F

Tod, Frank, Whaling in Southern Waters, published by Frank Tod1982

West, Jonathon, The Face of Nature : An Environmental History of the Otago Peninsula, Otago University Press, 2017

Advice for your flight

Monday, January 4th, 2021 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

Post researched and written by Collections Assistant (Publications), Emma Scott

Air New Zealand’s Pacific Network [1960s] Jet Air New Zealand to a different holiday [1960s] Air New Zealand [1960s] Air New Zealand mini-timetable [1969:June] from the Ephemera Collection, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago Advice for your flight [1973/1974?] from the Publications Collection, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago

Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, the Publications staff at the Hocken discovered a booklet in the collection titled Advice for your flight [1] which was produced by Air New Zealand. Advice for your flight was designed to answer any questions a new traveller may have and was also an advertisement to fly on the DC-8 and the DC-10 jets. The booklet doesn’t have a date, but upon consulting an excellent publication titled Conquering Isolation: the First 50 Years of Air New Zealand by Neil Rennie [2], I was able to determine that the earliest the booklet could have been produced was 1973, which was when the DC-10 began service in the Air New Zealand fleet. Maybe it is my ever increasing wanderlust since the pandemic, but on returning onsite after lockdown, this little booklet sparked an interest in me to do some research into the jet age of air travel in New Zealand during 1960s and 1970s.

1965 was a very momentous year for Air New Zealand. For starters they changed their name from TEAL to Air New Zealand. Tasman Empire Airways (TEAL) was established by the New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australian governments to provide a trans-Tasman air link. When the New Zealand government bought the remaining 50% share owned by the Australian government in 1962, TEAL officially became a fully New Zealand owned and operated air carrier. The 1962 TEAL annual report states “TEAL is an all-New Zealand undertaking whose first loyalty is to New Zealand and whose cause we are all proud to serve.” [3] The name change coincided with the building of a new airport in Māngere, a new jet base at Auckland airport costing $2 million dollars and the purchase of three DC-8 jets ($5 million dollars each) which were introduced into service later in 1965.

Our Ephemera collection contains several pamphlets advertising the DC-8 and Auckland’s new jet base.

Air New Zealand and the jet era… [1960s] Welcome Aboard! [1960s] Air New Zealand [1960s] from the Ephemera Collection, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

One of Air New Zealand’s pamphlets; Air New Zealand and the jet era states: “The Douglas DC-8 Series 52 is the latest version of a line of DC-8 jets which has been proven for over six years in commercial operation. Powered by four JT3D-3B Pratt & Whitney engines, the Air New Zealand DC-8 will speed up to 159 passengers at 10 miles per minute in superb luxury”. This was quite a step up from the L-188 Electras which could carry 71 passengers at 400 miles per hour compared to the DC-8 which could travel up to 540 miles per hour.

The introduction of the new DC-8 jets didn’t go entirely according to plan, with a bird being sucked into the engine of one of the DC-8’s during a training flight on the 11th of August 1965 which caused £1000 worth of damage. To avoid this happening again, the government allocated £120 for the construction of a radio-controlled model hawk to scare away the birds. The hawk was tested in October 1965 with positive results. [4] [5] [6]

Otago Daily Times. “Bird Damages New Airliner.” Otago Daily Times, 12 Aug. 1965, p. 3. Otago Daily Times. “Model Hawk Scares Birds.” Otago Daily Times, 21 Oct. 1965, p. 1.

Not long after being in service, on the 4th of July 1966, a DC-8 jet on a training flight crashed and killed two of the five men on board; Captain Donal McLachlan and flight engineer Gordon Keith Tonkin. [7] It was determined that “an inadvertent application reverse engine thrust” during take-off caused the crash. Minister of Civil Aviation J.K. McAlpine went on to assure the public that there “were no grounds for public concerns on the score of passenger safety” as the controls that were manipulated would not be used during a take-off with passengers on board. [8]

Despite initial problems, Neil Rennie states in Conquering Isolation on page 104 that: “the DC-8 was the first pure jet in the Air New Zealand fleet which really shrank the world.” “The Jet flew smoothly above or around most bad weather”. One DC-8 was even kept on to serve for seven years after the others were phased out in 1981, as a freighter and carried everything “from computers to live deer”. The success of the DC-8 justified purchasing three DC-10s in 1970. The DC-10 could carry 268 passengers, which dramatically reduced the costs per passenger for Air New Zealand.

With the introduction of the DC-10 came some new uniforms for Air New Zealand hosts and hostesses. The new uniforms were designed by New Zealander Vinka Lucas. The hat was also designed by New Zealander Wynne Fallwell of Mr Wyn Originals. You can see some beautiful photographs and read a detailed description of the uniform on the New Zealand Fashion Museum Website.

Aircraft superimposed over aerial photograph WA-25451 taken by Whites Aviation in 1950. Quantity: 1 b&w original negative(s). Physical Description: Cellulosic film negative, 1/2 plate https://digitalnz.org/records/22321305/air-new-zealand-dc10-aircraft-flying-over-the-mount-cook-region

Sadly, most New Zealanders remember the DC-10 for one of New Zealand’s biggest tragedies. On the 28th of November 1979, DC-10 flight TE901 didn’t return to Christchurch after a sightseeing flight to Antarctica. The wreckage of the plane was discovered the following day on the slopes of Mt Erebus. All 257 passengers and crew were killed. [9]

There was a significant amount of controversy over the crash. Chief Air Accident Investigator Ron Chippendale’s report into the crash stated that the probable cause of the accident was “the decision of the captain to continue the flight at low level toward an area of poor surface and horizon definition when the crew was not certain of their position”. [10]

On the 21st of April 1980, Justice Peter Mahon was chosen as the commissioner for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the disaster. Peter Mahon’s report listed several factors and circumstances which contributed to the cause of the Erebus crash. On page 159 of the report he states that in his opinion “the single dominant and effective cause of the disaster was the mistake made by those airline officials who programmed the aircraft to fly directly at Mt Erebus and omitted to tell the aircrew”. [11] [12]

We hold a number of items in our ephemera collection related to the sightseeing Antarctic flights including: breakfast and lunch menus for the flights, raffle tickets for the TE901 fatal Erebus flight and a promotional booklet titled The Antarctic experience.

Advice for your flight includes the usual kinds of instructions you would find on the Air New Zealand website now;  like baggage allowances, insurance, passport and visa regulations. As per the title, the booklet also contains useful advice such as “fountain pens are prone to leak and should be emptied before travelling”.

Pages 7 and 8 of the booklet lists approximate weights of commonly worn clothing items to assist travellers in keeping their suitcases within the free baggage allowance of 30kg for first class and 20kg for economy. A woman’s 3 piece wool suit is listed as weighing 1lb 8 oz, her live-in set 8 oz and her Winter house coat 6 oz. A man’s dark worsted suit was listed as weighing 3 lbs, his sports jacket 2 lb 12 oz and his shoe cleaning kit 1 lb.

If you were considering purchasing duty-free goods there is a handy guide in the back of the booklet listing what customs will allow into various countries. When travelling home to New Zealand you were allowed to carry 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or ½ a pound of tobacco. You could also carry 1 quart of Wine and 1 quart of spirits. When travelling to Australia you could carry 400 cigarettes or 1 pound of cigars or 1 pound of tobacco, 4 quarts of Wine or 4 quarts of spirits.

While we are limited to domestic travel, at least for the moment, we can use the Hocken’s collections to imagine ourselves flying off to exciting overseas destinations. As our collection primarily consists of New Zealand material, you can also get some inspiration for your next New Zealand getaway.

References:

[1] Air New Zealand. Advice for Your Flight. Air New Zealand, 1973/1974?.

[2] Rennie, Neil. Conquering Isolation: The First 50 Years of Air New Zealand. Auckland: Heinemann Reed, 1990.

[3] TEAL. Annual Report and Accounts, 1962, p. 3.

[4] Otago Daily Times. “Bird Damages New Airliner.” Otago Daily Times, 12 Aug. 1965, p. 3.

[5] Otago Daily Times. “Bird Damage Costs £1,000.” Otago Daily Times, 21 Aug. 1965, p. 5.

[6] Otago Daily Times. “Model Hawk Scares Birds.” Otago Daily Times, 21 Oct. 1965, p. 1.

[7] Otago Daily Times. “Two Killed In Crash At Auckland Airport.” Otago Daily Times, 5 July 1966, p. 1.

[8] Otago Daily Times. “Reversed Engine Thrust Caused Crash of DC8.” Otago Daily Times, 21 July 1966, p. 1

[9] “The 1979 Erebus Crash” Te Ara. Last modified 17 December 2020. https://teara.govt.nz/en/air-crashes/page-5

[10] Office of Air Accidents Investigation. Aircraft Accident Report No.79-139 Air New Zealand McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-30 ZK-NZP Ross Island Antarctica 28 November 1979, p.35

[11] Mahon, Peter. Verdict on Erebus. Auckland: Fontana Paperbacks, 1985.

[12] Report of the Royal Commission to inquire into The Crash on Mount Erebus, Antarctica of a DC10 Aircraft operated by Air New Zealand Limited 1981

Air New Zealand. Annual Report, 1966-1980.

Otago Daily Times. “Airliner Lost In Antarctica.” Otago Daily Times, 29 Nov. 1979, p. 1.

Otago Daily Times “Grisly Task for Rescue Team.” Otago Daily Times, 30 Nov. 1979, p.1.

Lights of the City

Monday, December 21st, 2020 | Hocken Collections | 2 Comments

Post researched and written by Curator of Photographs Anna Petersen

Fig. 1 Lights of Dunedin, c.2000. John R. Lamb 35mm slide, P2017-033-055.

Illumination is a topical subject in Dunedin at present as the City Council continues to roll out the new LED lights, designed to cut down on energy consumption and enhance our night sky.  As we also enter the season of light, it seems a good time to make a quick survey of what the Hocken Photographs Collection has to offer as evidence of the different technologies used to light our way over the years and decorate the main business district.

Fig 2. Princes Street, Dunedin, 1861. F.A. Coxhead reprint of Meluish photograph, Box-116-003.

Looking back at the earliest images of our streets, dated between 1860-1861, it is not hard to imagine that in the beginning it must have been very dark and quite hazardous on a cloudy or moonless night. Some hotels might have had candle lanterns over the doorways, but for the most part, there were no street lights.  Even in the daytime, the first roads were dangerously uneven, with potholes and drainage ditches.[1]  A photograph of the main street taken c.1861 reveals how the road basically doubled as the footpath.

The early 1860s saw a period of rapid expansion, however, made possible through the formation of Dunedin Gas Light and Coke Company in mid-1862 and new-found civic revenue from the gold rush.[2]

Fig. 3 Princes Street, 1867. W. Burton photograph, Album 076, P1910-009-002.

By September 1863, pipes from the new gasworks in South Dunedin fed 150 gas lamps along Princes, George and Stuart streets, beside purpose-built footpaths.[3] This development made Dunedin the first settlement in New Zealand to have central city street lighting.

Fig. 4 Octagon, 1867. W. Burton photograph, Album 076, P1910-009-016.

Yet, of course, Dunedin was still a very small place in the great scheme of things and new technological advances continued overseas.  Thomas Edison patented the first commercially viable electric light bulb in 1878 and even as Dunedin’s public gas lights were being extended to the suburbs of Caversham, Mornington, Roslyn and St Kilda in 1882, major businesses like the Roslyn Woollen Mills were beginning to adopt electric lights on their premises.[4]  An Otago Daily Times (ODT) newspaper report about this advance at the Mill in 1885 noted the different quality of light that electricity generated.  ‘The first thing that attracted attention was the steadiness and brilliancy of the light as compared with the old system of lighting with kerosene lamps, which has been in vogue for the five years during which the mills have been working night and day.’[5]

By the turn of the century, electric light bulbs had become an important form of decoration and source of illumination, emitted through shop and office windows in the downtown area.  Evidently, when the Duke and Duchess of York visited in 1901, ‘there was scarcely a shop or office [on Princes Street] that did not help to swell the general brightness of the street in the evening.’[6]  The Council briefly set up a dynamo driven by a traction engine to power light bulbs decorating the Town Hall and welcome arches in the Octagon, making it ‘a scene of great beauty’.[7]

Fig. 5 Balmoral Arch, Dunedin, 1901. C.C. Armstrong photograph, P2001-027-003. Note the light bulbs above the arrowslit windows and along the castellations.

As evidence mounted to suggest electricity was the way of the future, the idea of funding the replacement of the public gas lights nevertheless met with some resistance.  In one heated letter to the editor of the ODT, J. Watt, a gas engineer in Balclutha, wrote ‘… We have been told times without number that great things have been done in America and elsewhere.  We don’t want to know what has been done in America or anywhere else… Electric light may be the coming light, but I think those who are likely to use it are entitled to know what it will cost before it does come, and not to be asked to assist in buying a pig in a poke…’.[8] Mr Watt had done the sums for operating 16, 20 or 25 lights at 70 candle-power (i.e. roughly 880 lumens).  He calculated the expense comparing other places in New Zealand like Gore, Patea and Stratford, where electric lights had been operating for some years at a rate of seven pence a unit, and found the gas lights in Balclutha operated at not much more than a fourth of the cost.

Concerns were also raised by citizens about the safety of electrical cables, yet there was no halting the global trend towards the adoption of electricity and ten arc lights were erected in Custom Square and along Princes Street as far as the Octagon at the end of 1904.  

Fig. 6 Dunedin Exchange, 1904-1905. Photographer unknown, P1990-015/49-274. Note the arc light in the foreground on the left.

These electric bulbs, suspended from sinuous iron frameworks, connected to the electric tramlines laid down in the area a year beforehand.  There was little fanfare at the time, but in a brief, untitled ODT article, the reporter described how ‘The effect was a beautiful one, and when these lights are at the maximum of 2000 candle-power each there will be no more brightly-lighted thoroughfare in New Zealand than Princes and George streets.  As it was, even the white lights from the incandescent gas lamps along the streets appeared last evening but a pale, sickly yellow in comparison.’[9]  The promise of more power came from plans to connect the lights to a hydro-electric station at Waipori, which happened in 1907.

Fig. 7 Octagon, Dunedin, 1913. S.T. Paterson glass plate negative, P2005-014/1-077.

All of the photographic evidence of the street lights in Dunedin up until this point had been taken during the day.  Photography itself is dependent on there being sufficient light and it was not until the 1890s that art photographers overseas began experimenting with capturing street scenes at night with the aid of artificial light.[10]  We know that members of the Dunedin Photographic Society used flash bulbs for photographs of interiors in 1894, but photographers generally seem to have been slow to address the subject of night scenes here.  Figure 8 is one of the earliest examples that we have.  This view of decorations on the Town Hall was probably taken in May 1920, when the building was lit up for the reception of Edward, Prince of Wales.  Thanks to the Waipori Power Station, Dunedin evidently provided ‘staggering illuminations, which completely eclipsed those of Christchurch.’[11]

Fig. 8 Town Hall at night, [May 1920?] Photographer unknown, P2015-011/4-030.

The new technologies for photographing colour (i.e. refracted light) that emerged in the twentieth century would similarly lag behind advances in coloured electric lighting.  The first neon lights appeared in Dunedin in the 1920s.  Jim Sullivan has described how the Arthur Barnett ‘Can’t stop’ sign of the man on a horse was created in 1930 and David Murray has written about the Barton’s signage in one of his blog posts.[12]  While there were photomechanical ways of producing colour used in the manufacture of postcards of Dunedin from the early 1900s, and hand colouring was always an option, it was not until the development of Kodak’s first Kodachrome film in 1935 that people could really get into colour photography.  Even then, it remained an expensive pursuit until about the 1970s.  A 35mm slide taken by the much-celebrated George Chance records the decorations for another royal occasion – the Queen’s visit in 1954.

Fig. 9 Dunedin Chief Post Office decorated for the Royal Visit, 1954. George Chance slide, P1991-023/19-4618.

Turning finally to evidence of developments over the last 50 years, the Franz Barta studio collection of commercial negatives, includes two images of the Octagon Theatre in 1965 by night and another of unlit neon signs in the vicinity during the daytime.

Fig. 10 Octagon Theatre, 1965. Franz Barta film negative, P1997-156/09-292.
Fig. 11 Galbraith’s Building, 1962. Franz Barta film negative, P1997-156/09-034.

A few years on, engineer Edward Dwyer made his own private study of lighting in the central city c.1967-1970. These photographs were taken during the period before weekend trading began, when locals would go shopping on Friday night. 

Fig. 12 Exchange and Princes Street, 7am, July 1967. Ed Dwyer photograph, P2017-013/3-004. Note the Kingston lanterns on spun concrete poles that were new in 1964. Where they appeared as pairs (as in the bottom of this photograph), they provided approximately 35,000 lumens per 100 feet. (See P1997-156/03-009 for lumen specifications.)
Fig. 13 Princes Street on a Friday night, 8pm, c.1967-1969. Ed Dwyer photograph, P2017-013/3-005.

With two contrasting shots of the same area taken in the dark of early morning and evening (figures 12 and 13), one begins to see negative effects of light pollution, which has become more of a concern in recent times. 

On a more positive note, another of Ed Dwyer’s photographs (figure 14), taken at dusk on George Street during Festival Week in 1970, records the Christmas candle decorations that delighted children growing up in the 1970s and captures something of the upbeat mood described in the lyrics of the popular song, ‘Downtown’, by Petula Clark (1964):

[Pre-Chorus]
Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?
The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares

[Chorus]
So go downtown
Things will be great when you’re downtown
No finer place for sure, downtown
Everything’s waiting for you

Fig. 14 Friday night shopping, Festival Week, Dunedin, January 1970. Ed Dwyer photograph, P2017-013/1-001.

Most recently, a collection of 35mm slides taken by the late John R. Lamb and dating from the start of the new millenium, focus on neon signs and floodlit buildings around Dunedin.  Clearly, by the beginning of the 21st century the city no longer needed the event of a royal visit to highlight its significant architectural heritage and express civic pride in light. The use of dramatic colour on the Town Hall continues to this day. 

Fig. 15 Dunedin Town Hall, c.2000. John R. Lamb 35mm slide, P2017-033-049.

Even a brief overview of Hocken photographs focusing on lighting technology and its use in the heart of Dunedin over the last 150 years, illustrates the efforts made and resources spent over the generations to develop a safe, attractive and prosperous urban environment, and provides evidence of the enduring joy and wonder that light can bring.


[1] ‘Street lighting’, Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand https://teara.govt.nz/en/streets-and-lighting/page-5 (accessed 12/6/2019).

[2] Karen Astwood, IPENZ Engineering Heritage Report, Dunedin Gasworks, 2014, pp.5-7.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] ‘The Electric Light at the Mosgiel Factory’, Otago Daily Times, 3 October 1885.

[6] ‘Decorations and Illuminations’, Otago Witness, 3 July 1901.

[7] Ibid.

[8] For example, see ‘Gas v. Electricity’, Otago Daily Times (ODT), 11 August 1904.

[9] ODT 8 November 1904.

[10] Michel Frizot, A New History of Photography, 1998, p.285.

[11] ‘The Illuminations at Dunedin’, The Mercury 20 May 1920.  See also ‘The Illuminations on the Town Hall, Dunedin’, Otago Witness, 1 June 1920.

[12] Jim Sullivan, ‘Time to get Can’t Stop restarted’, Otago Daily Times, 29 January 2019, https://www.pressreader.com/new-zealand/otago-daily-times/20190129/281788515283549 (accessed 22 January 2020) and David Murray, ‘Bartons Buildings (Stafford House)’, https://builtindunedin.com/2013/08/14/bartons-buildings/ (accessed 22 January 2020).

Hot Shots from the ‘60s

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Post researched and written by Curator of Photographs Anna Petersen

Fig 1 Johnny Devlin at the Empire Ballroom, London, 1965-1966, P2004-044/2-082.

The Geoff Adams collection of slides, prints and negatives in the Hocken Photographs Collection stand out for their colourful, rather racy nature. 

Predominantly portraits of actors, artists, singers, TV broadcasters, dancers and sportsmen, they were all taken in London during the mid-1960s and tell of those swinging times when television had just come in and the Avengers, Twiggy and the Beatles ruled the airwaves.  The eyes of the women are heavy with black mascara and the men wear tight-fitting tops – why there are even two shots of Clive Revill and Raquel Welch, greatest sex bomb of them all.


Fig. 2 Terry Callahan, 1966, P2004-044/2-045.
Fig. 3 Bridget Armstrong, 1964-1967, P2004-044/2-039.
Fig. 4 Paddy Frost in Battersea Park, 1964-1967, P2004-044/2-035
Fig. 5 Noel Trevarthan, 1966, P2004-044/2-080.
Fig. 6 Clive Revill and Raquel Welch on the set of Fathom, 1966. P2004-044/2-025

As the world ground to a halt with Covid lockdown, I took the opportunity to contact Geoff and ask him more about these photographs, which date from one of the busiest periods of his working life.

Geoff was living the dream of many young journalists at the time.  He first won a USA State Department journalism scholarship offered by the US Embassy in Wellington, which took him to the States for three months on an all-expenses paid tour of many of its main cities.  ‘That tour covered the two party conventions held before the LBJ-Goldwater presidential election, the World’s Fair in New York and the murder of civil rights workers in the Mississippi.’[i] 

From America, Geoff moved to London (and was joined by his wife, Helen and young family) to take up a three-year placement as solo resident correspondent in London for New Zealand Associated Press (NZAP).  Those three years, between 1964-1967, ‘included a few brief visits to Ireland, Scotland, France and Belgium for news stories or conference reporting, and also a fortnight’s tour of Russia (the latter ‘with Vladimir, my KGB escort, was very eerie but exciting’).[ii] 

The NZAP (not to be confused with the NZPA or New Zealand Press Association, which until 2011 offered a news service to all newspapers in New Zealand), was a consortium of the NZ Herald (Auckland), Evening Post (Wellington), The Press (Christchurch), and the Otago Daily Times (Dunedin).  While the NZPA dealt with hard news and the newspapers Geoff served wanted feature stories and photographs, ‘the two did occasionally compete’. [iii]

Geoff recalls how he enjoyed moments in his office at 107 Fleet St of racing with his secretary to get films developed and fine prints made within an hour at a studio close to his office in Ludgate Circus, and then cabling the stories to New Zealand ‘to meet the late edition for publication by lunch the next day’.[iv]

This was the period when papers were making the switch to colour and, though Geoff only carried a ‘rough and ready’ camera, there were times when his efforts made it to the front page or created a double-page spread in the centre of the New Zealand Weekly News, a big magazine (long defunct) that was started by the NZ Herald.

Fig. 7 ‘The New Johnny Devlin’, New Zealand Weekly News, 30 January 1967, pp.18-19.
Fig. 8 ‘Trooping the Colour’, New Zealand Weekly News, 27 July 1966, pp. 36-37.

Portraits in the Geoff Adams collection include such British celebrities as Diana Rigg, Patrick McGoohan, Noel Coward, Lynn Redgrave, Dudley Moore and Malcolm Muggeridge, but the newspapers and readers Geoff served were especially crying out for illustrated articles about New Zealanders who were making a splash overseas.  They could not get enough of Kiri Te Kanawa in particular, who went to study at the London Opera Centre in 1966. 

Fig. 9 Kiri on arrival in London, 1966, P2004-044/1-002.

Having a life-long interest himself in music, Geoff well remembers capturing Dame Kiri on the balcony of New Zealand House, together with Inia Te Wiata, who was a close friend of his.  Whenever Geoff visited New Zealand House and could hear Inia banging or singing as he worked in the basement on the carved pouihi (for eventual display in the foyer of New Zealand House), he would go down for a chat and they would often have lunch together at a pub over the road.

Fig. 10 Inia Te Wiata, 1965-1966, P2004-044/1-004.
Fig. 11 Pou Ariha [detail], 1965-1966, P2004-044/2-075.

While it was the journalist’s job to hunt out and pursue newsworthy stories by contacting agents of the more famous and arranging interviews, sometimes it was the journalists themselves who were called to provide much wanted publicity.  For example, Geoff was invited along with other Commonwealth journalists in 1966 to the opening of the new Playboy Club on Park Lane.  There he discovered 23-year-old bunny, Colleen Turner, all the way from Auckland.

Fig. 12 Colleen Turner, 1966, P2004-044/2-048.

The art-related slides include valuable records of artists, Melvin Day, Ted Bullmore and John and Warwick Hutton at work in their studios, as well as a series relating to the production of the first New Zealand decimal coins at the Royal Mint in 1967. 

Fig. 13 John Hutton and his son, Warwick, 1964-1967, P2004-044/2-112.

These latter document the whole process from the translation of James Berry’s designs to plaster models, to the making of the dies and striking the 165 million new coins.[v]

Fig. 14 Royal Mint, London, 1967, P2004-044/2-119
Fig. 13 Royal Mint, London, 1967, P2004-044/2-137
Fig. 16 Royal Mint, London, 1967, P2004-044/2-146.

Geoff subsequently brought his talents back home to Dunedin and spent the rest of his career working for the Otago Daily Times, first as deputy editor for 11 years and then as editor from 1988-1997.  His collection of 171 prints, 124 film negatives and 196 slides from the 1960s form a distinct body of work, available under the reference number P2004-044, but also represent just part of the strong association that the Hocken holds with our major local newspaper, the Otago Daily Times.


[i] Email correspondence, 9 April 2020.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Telephone conversation, 8 April 2020. 

[v] ‘New Zealand adopts decimal currency’.  URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/nz-adopts-decimal-currency,(Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 3-Aug-2017.  https://www.royalmint.com/discover/uk-coins/making-the-coins-in-your-pocket/, (viewed 15 April 2020).

Stirring up the stacks #8: Xmas Cake Recipe Recommended by “Buckhams”

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Post cooked up by Katherine Milburn, Liaison Librarian and Curator of Ephemera

For many people Christmas is a time of long-honoured traditions. At the Hocken this means the decorating of our Christmas tree in the foyer on the 1st of December. It seemed the perfect date to bring in the latest contribution to Stirring up the Stacks, especially one that celebrates the festive season and advertised itself as a “proven recipe”.

Xmas Cake Recipe Recommended by “Buckhams”. Buckhams Cordials, [Queenstown], 1967. Ephemera Collection, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

In the Hocken’s Ephemera Collection is a Christmas cake recipe leaflet from Buckhams Cordials that wishes readers a “Merry Xmas 1967”. On the reverse is a photograph of a well-stocked fridge of “Chilled Buckhams Cordials” where we can spot a variety of flavours on the labels including Still Orange, Frostee Orange, Cola Kist, and Jamaica Dry Pale Ginger Ale. Sadly, none of these labels are currently represented in the ephemera collection, but we would gladly welcome their addition if anyone has a collection they would like to pass on.

Buckhams Cordials was a Queenstown company that was established in 1870 as the Wakatip Brewery by William Lovell Davis and Thomas Surman. Their partnership dissolved in 1873, and the brewery and cordial factory continued to be run by Davis until 1880, when he left to take up mining with his brother James. James Read was granted the brewery’s lease and ran the business until his death in 1888. His wife Alice then continued the business until 1901 when management was taken over by Charles Davis, son of William Lovell Davis. In 1908 William Lovell Davis died and the brewery was purchased by his daughter Mrs H.C. Buckham. In November 1915 the brewery side of the business was closed to avoid charges from new beer duty regulations, and the company continued as a cordial manufacturer under Buckham family management. It was eventually sold in 1969 by Jim Buckham to R. Powley and Co. Ltd of Dunedin.

The Christmas cake recipe requires the overnight soaking of mixed fruit in a seven ounce bottle of Buckhams Ginger Ale. This was easily substituted for a modern supermarket brand, but it obviously remains unclear what difference this made to the eventual flavour. Perhaps for today’s bakers, the most unusual ingredient is one tablespoon of glycerine. An internet search revealed it is used to keep cakes moist and icing soft, and a bottle was eventually tracked down in a local health food store.

Mixed fruit soaked in ginger ale; freshly baked cake

The cake was made following the standard instructions but the recipe lacked any directions about decoration. I decided to make a royal icing that also incorporated glycerine (using a Mary Berry recipe), since I now possess a bottle to be used up! This cake is not suitable for the dietary requirements of all Hocken staff as it contains ten ounces of butter and six eggs, so I also baked a vegan version. This involved the swapping of ordinary flour for self-raising flour, besides the exclusion of butter and eggs, and a lemon juice/icing sugar glaze for decoration.

The decorated cake and the vegan version

Staff feedback was positive with most enjoying the cake’s taste and texture, and the royal icing in favour of the more common almond icing. One person rated both cakes a very generous 20 out of 20, and it was gratifying to hear another admit “I don’t really like fruit Christmas cakes, but this is an exception – lovely”. However, as my own Christmas tradition is to make my Christmas cake on Labour Day and feed it weekly with rum to ensure a moist texture and delicious flavour, I would have to concur with the staff member who suggested that this cake “possibly needs to age more?” The texture may have been improved by the addition of more than just the prescribed tablespoon of glycerine. I also would have preferred an increased ratio of spices, with the possible addition of ginger since, as one Hocken staff member noted, the flavour from the ginger ale did not come through.

It is always interesting to learn more about our early business and food history. The ephemera collection includes numerous examples of local advertising that also illustrate the perpetuation of our cultural traditions.

Sources

Leckie, Frank G. Otago’s Breweries Past & Present. Dunedin, Otago Heritage Books, 1997.

“Queenstown Identity Dies” Otago Daily Times, 13 July 1988, page 13.

What else have we cooked up?

Stirring up the stacks #7: Virginia pudding

Stirring up the stacks #6: Pumpkin pie

Stirring up the stacks #5: Sauerkraut roll

Stirring up the stacks #4: A “delicious cake from better times”

Stirring up the stacks #3: Bycroft party starters

Stirring up the stacks #2 The parfait on the blackboard

Stirring up the stacks #1 Variety salad in tomato aspic

 

Representations of women in the Dunedin music scene in the 1960s

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020 | Anna Blackman | 3 Comments

AG-047-7/004. Photograph of unnamed performers. Folk Proms Concert Capping, 1967. Otago University Folk Music Club: Files. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Post researched and written by HUMS 301 intern Kayli Taylor.

How power (im)balances mean minorities are not adequately represented, including in archives.

Gordon Spittle’s Beat Groups and courtyard parties provides a broad snapshot of the underground culture of the Ōtepoti Dunedin music scene in the 1960s. The book offers a raw depiction of collectives of artists, musicians and performers who set the stage for the city’s emerging Dunedin sound. The book also contains a distinct lack of representation of women. Therefore, one might be forgiven for thinking that there were no women performing in the 1960s. An in-depth analysis of the Hocken archives, as I did for my HUMS301 internship, tells another story. Women did perform but were simply represented less than men. This has implications for how historians and archivists discuss women in the Dunedin music scene, and how we can do research to understand their lives and experiences.

The research I undertook at Hocken was broad, looking at publications and archives. In particular, the archival material on the Otago University Folk Music Club AG-047/7 provided different representation of women. Publications such as student magazine Critic, the Otago Daily Times and Playdate also provided interesting points of analysis.

In the 1960s, folk music expanded across Ōtepoti Dunedin and the world.[1] A key aspect of folk music was the role of women.[2] Through the archival records of the Otago University Folk Music Club, we can see that women played a key role in the organisational management of the group. This includes Diane Baird, Wendy Clark, Catherine Monthieth, Di Looney, Liz Somerville, Lyn Jeffcoate, and Bronwyn Patterson. Women also performed in concerts organised by and connected with the group, including Di Looney, Val Murphy, Lea Stevens, Christine Smith, Brownyn Patterson and Ann Wigston.

An article published in student magazine Critic in 1961 recognised this phenomenon, saying there was a shift to women performing in concerts on the basis that if women are good enough to perform behind the scenes, they are deserving of performing.[3]

The representation of women in the music scene in Dunedin in the media is also of interest to our analysis of women in the Dunedin music scene in the 1960s. Critic, for example, includes discussion of women and their role in the Dunedin music scene. In particular, Critic shows that folk music has quite extensive representation of women. Women, such as Diane Baird and Juliet Scott, also wrote for Critic about music – showing another way that women could speak into the Dunedin music scene in the 1960s.

AG-047-7/001. Photograph of unnamed performer. Folk Proms Concert Capping, 1967. Otago University Folk Music Club: Files. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Expanding to look at women musicians across Aotearoa New Zealand, we can see that women both performed – and were represented. Musicians such as Sandy Edmonds, Dinah Lee, Maria Dallas and Kiri Te Kanawa were regularly represented in Playdate. The way they were represented is still of note, however. They were often used in advertising, such as for hair product Napro. These products were advertised by Dinah Lee (seven times), Anne Murphy (one time) and Sandy Edmonds (nine times).

Analysing the representation of women in the Dunedin music scene in the 1960s shows common threads of the representation of minorities. David Thomas’s Silence in the Archive argues that archives are not neutral or natural, but hold particular stories and reinforce particular discourses.[4] He argues that though archives should be beacons of light to the stories of history, that is not always the case.[5] We can see this playing out in the lack of representation of women in the Dunedin music scene.

The Ōtepoti Dunedin music scene has an interesting history of its presence and representation of women. The 1960s, in particular, was a key point of flux and transition. Women played an increasingly role in the music scene but were rarely recognised in the media of the day. For historians, this poses a challenge to how they perceive and understand women and their involvement. Thomas argues that as historians seek stories of minorities, there is not always the archival material to assist their research.[6]

AG-047-7/003. Photograph of unnamed performers. Folk Proms Concert Capping, 1967. Otago University Folk Music Club: Files. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

While I found some representation of women in the Dunedin music scene in the 1960s, I believe there were more women performing than the archive represents. David Thomas argued that archives silence some stories, and I believe this is the case in this instance. This encourages us – as historians and people – to act more consciously to find and represent the stories of women and minorities in the archives, and to make space for their stories in our everyday lives.

Dunbar, Julie C. Women, Music, Culture: An Introduction. Second Edition. ed. New York: Routledge, 2016.

Thomas, David, Simon Fowler, and Valerie Johnson. The Silence of the Archive. London: Facet Publishing, 2017.

[1] Julie C. Dunbar, Women, Music, Culture: An Introduction, Second Edition. ed. (New York: Routledge, 2016), 364.

[2] Ibid.

[3] “More Women Take An Active Part in Concert”, Critic, 4 May 1961, 8.

[4] David Thomas, Simon Fowler, and Valerie Johnson, The Silence of the Archive (London: Facet Publishing, 2017), 1.

[5] Ibid., 22.

[6] Ibid., 17.

Letters of antifascist and biochemist Marianne Angermann to her parents published

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Marianne Bielschowsky, photographed in Brussels, 1939. MS-1493/036, Bielschowsky papers.

On this blog we last met Marianne Bielschowsky (nee Angermann) as the author of a delicious cake recipe in this post by Ali Clarke.

On the day that the cake was made and served to Hocken staff I was unfortunately a little late to morning tea and missed out, all I could do was scrape some of the scrummy custard butter cream filling from the plate!

So today it is especially sweet to say I’m delighted that thanks to the efforts of our colleagues in the Languages and Cultures Programme that some of Marianne’s letters to her parents are now easily available online for researchers to access and that more will be available soon in subsequent issues of the journal.

The letters have been transcribed from old German script (Deutsche Schrift or Kurrentschrift) to modern script and then translated from German to English. The first tranche of the letters are published in issue 29 of the open journal Otago German Studies.

At least these transcriptions and translations will last longer than the cake!

The work has been completed by Dr Peter Barton in collaboration with Dr August Obermayer.

The story of Marianne and her husband Franz Bielschowsky’s lives as biochemical and cancer researchers parallels the upheavals and difficulties of the early 20th century Europe.

A detailed biographical introduction and detailed annotations have been provided with the translations to provide historical context. Briefly Marianne was born and trained as a biochemist in Germany at a time when it was unusual for women to study science at University. After graduating she worked in Germany, and then traveled to Spain in early 1936.  There she was reunited with her soon to be husband Franz Bielschowsky who had left Germany in 1933 as persecution of Jewish people escalated. Franz and Marianne had positions at the University of Madrid but were soon caught up in the turmoil of the Spanish Civil War. After three years they left Spain for Sheffield in England, and in 1948 came to Dunedin where Franz had been appointed Director of Cancer Research.

 

Vaccines: public health good, or conspiratorial ‘delusion and snare’?

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 | Hocken Collections | 2 Comments

Post researched and written by Kari Wilson-Allan, Collections Assistant – Archives

As we sit in the midst of a global pandemic, doing our best to meet public health requirements while awaiting that crucial vaccine, it seems timely to take a retrospective look. Anyone who has spent time on social media in the last few years will be aware that vaccination is a contentious subject – but has this always been the case? Hocken holdings illuminate the story particularly strongly in the first decade of the twentieth century, and bring human elements to the mix.

Edward Jenner’s successful 1796 inoculation of a patient with cowpox (thereby granting them immunity to smallpox) laid the Western foundation for vaccination, although a number of Eastern societies had already made progress with immunology.[i]

New Zealand law required vaccination against smallpox of Pākehā infants from 1863, though adherence to the rule was limited for many years.[ii]  In the era I’m investigating, vaccines were administered by scraping back a patch of skin, and applying glycerinated calf lymph to the wound.  

An illustration from C.W. Dixon’s ‘Smallpox’ (J. & A. Churchill, London, 1962, p.291) showing the progression of the vaccine on the body. Dixon had previously been Professor of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University of Otago.

While, according to the statistics, many children escaped the attention of the Vaccination Inspector, thirteen-month-old Rera Mary Taylor did not. Her father, Dunedin butcher William D. Taylor, received a notice from the Inspector’s Office in March 1904. Whether her elder sister Nina had earlier received her prophylaxis is unknown.

Taylor complied with the order, giving permission for Rera’s vaccination. Had he not, he would have been at risk of a fine not exceeding forty shillings, the equivalent of $366 today, and his ‘failure to take advantage of the means provided by the Government for gratuitous vaccination [would be] a menace to the general safety’. [iii]

Notice to William D. Taylor from the Vaccination Inspector’s Office requiring the vaccination against smallpox of his daughter Rera Mary Taylor (1904), MS-1633/036. Curious eyes might wonder at the mention of the ‘s.s. “Gracchus”’ included in the demand. We will return to this.

While Taylor complied with his obligations, Alexander Miller, an orchardist of East Taieri, proactively bypassed them. In 1906, he applied for – and received – a certificate for exemption from vaccination under the terms of the Public Health Act, 1900, part IV for his daughter, Margaret Winnifred, at the time a baby of one month and nineteen days. Miller had convinced the authorities that he was ‘conscientiously of the opinion that vaccination would be prejudicial’ to the infant. Why he took this stance is unknown to us, but the document exempted him from all liability for any consequences of non-vaccination.

Kidd, Margaret Winnifred : Certificate for exemption from vaccination (1900, 28 November 1906), Misc-MS-0727

In 1900, just over sixteen percent of Pākehā[iv] children born that year were successfully vaccinated.[v] However, a notable jump in the rates occurred in the year 1903, before falling again to under eight percent in 1906, the year Margaret Miller was born. [vi] What happened in 1903 to cause one in four infants to receive the vaccine?[vii]

In May of that year, the Steamer Gracchus came from Calcutta via other ports to Dunedin and finally Lyttelton, with smallpox cases on board. This resulted in several deaths, one of which counts in New Zealand’s statistics as the death occurred at Lyttelton. Bell, the third engineer, had a critical case; the Evening Star recorded that there was no room to place a threepenny piece between the pustules [and] the eyes are nearly closed’.[viii]

Contact tracing was established, and a number of the wharf labourers chose not to have the vaccine, despite the offer of three days paid leave to allow for incapacitation for sore arms. They were instead placed in quarantine. In Dunedin, a woman who had been a passenger aboard the ship also contracted smallpox and passed it to her housemate. Both survived.

The documents pictured above prove that vaccination was clearly part of the public health infrastructure. Yet, as we’re seeing today, public health measures are not universally agreed with. Edwin Cox was one vehement opponent at the century’s turn.

An English migrant, Cox was a dentist and president of the Anti-compulsory Vaccination League of New Zealand. Hocken holds two of his publications, as well as a number of his diaries and extensive autobiographical papers.

In the first pamphlet, dated 1904, The vaccination coup d’etat in New Zealand whereby a mercenary imposture usurped the throne of right, he expounds his theory that vaccinations are essentially a self-justifying make-work scheme. Because, he argues, the Public Health Act requires compulsion, and pushes out ‘pro-vaccinist literature, diagrams and statistics, with disgusting photographs’, and led to the appointment of Health Officers and the construction of lymph factories, all these entities have a ‘vested interest’ to keep the threat of smallpox in the public eye and justify their existence. He suggests they are ‘a Fire Brigade roused by cry of fire’. He asks ‘What if vaccination is not, and never was, a protective against smallpox? What if it is, and never has been anything else, than a “delusion and a snare?”’

Cox’s ‘Vaccination coup d’etat’, 1904

In his more substantial Protest of an anti-vaccinist (1905), we get a better sense of his objection to vaccines. This small volume is a collection of articles and letters he has written and lectures given in New Zealand and England.

Within the pages, he describes how, as a young man, he ‘offered up his arm’ for a new method of vaccination. He then records his ‘months of pain and trouble’ that ensued. He describes how, after twenty-four hours, his arms and trunk were so swollen that his clothing needed to be cut off, as ‘foul diseases, as by conspiracy, like a gang of midnight burglars, went ravaging every organ, poisoning all they touched!’ He continues his report, hopefully hyperbolically, stating that ‘fever, jaundice, stomatitis, racking headache, and insomnia’ were ‘the leaders in this desperate assault’ [and that] ‘for some days as [he was] ill as a man could be’. All this took him to bed for ten days, but he felt he should have rested longer, the ‘filthy Jennerian rite’ also having caused ‘noisome abscesses’. While he ultimately recovered, he declared ‘I believe nothing could have brought me through this horrible complication of maladies but my good constitution, temperate habits, and the devoted nursing of my wife’. Ultimately, his experience was ‘object-lesson’ in vaccination.[ix]

Cox’s ‘Protest’, 1905

While condemning vaccination as a ‘grotesque superstition’ of the medical profession, he rails against compulsion. [x]  His three arguments follow. The first was that ‘vaccination is no protection whatever against small-pox’[xi], the second, that it ‘does not mitigate small-pox’[xii] (not so, according to the Chief Health Officer as reported in the Evening Star[xiii]), and finally, no doubt based on his personal experience, ‘that it is a prolific cause or vehicle of other disease’.[xiv]

His general belief is that sanitation is the solution to everything, and calls smallpox the ‘beggar’s disease’. [xv] He wants smallpox hospitals built, tenements torn down, disinfection and notification, and appeals to public responsibility in order to avoid ‘the odious and cruel ordeal of inoculation’ and to counter the vested state interests mentioned in his earlier pamphlet.[xvi]

While smallpox didn’t take off in 1903, an epidemic did spread through Northland in 1913. The 2000 infected were predominantly Māori, and all 55 who died were.[xvii] Many measures familiar to us today were put in place, and poor living conditions and sanitation in Māori communities were widely blamed in Pākehā newspapers. This, despite Māori being more willing to receive vaccination than Pākehā when it was made widely available in the area.[xviii]

These items highlight the diversity of opinion that is familiar to us today, even if expressed in a different manner.

You may wonder, finally, what became of Rera and Margaret.

Rera, born in 1902, was one of four apparent siblings.  Despite her and her sister having reo Māori names, I have not yet identified anything further to suggest they may have been Māori.  She and her siblings do not appear in our database of local schools, nor do the family appear in Stones or other directories.  Rera and her family appear to have moved to Hamilton eventually, and she later married Harold Edwin Marten.  She died in 1988, aged 85 years.

Margaret attended East Taieri School, going on to take a free evening place at the Technical College, studying dressmaking and millinery. She later married George Wilfred Kidd, and died in 1987.

So each woman lived into her eighties, one vaccinated, the other presumably not. We can only guess at their personal opinions of vaccines and how they addressed the issue with their own children.

 

[i] https://www.immune.org.nz/vaccines/vaccine-development/brief-history-vaccination  accessed 21 July 2020

[ii] This was the only vaccine available at the time

[iii] https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/monetary-policy/inflation-calculator accessed 20 August 2020

[iv] Children born to Māori parents were not included in the statistics, nor were their births registered at this time

[v] New Zealand Official Year-Book, 1901, p.302

[vi] Ibid., 1907, p.468

[vii] Ibid., 1904, p.285

[viii] Evening Star, 3 September 1902, p.4

[ix] Protest of an anti-vaccinist, p.9

[x] Ibid., p.14

[xi] Ibid., p.12

[xii] Ibid., p.15

[xiii] Evening Star, 3 September 1902, p.4

[xiv] Protest of an anti-vaccinist, p.16

[xv] Ibid., p.45

[xvi] Ibid., p.67

[xvii] https://teara.govt.nz/en/epidemics/page-4 accessed 24 July 2020

[xviii] Ibid.

 

Dunedin’s Hermit of Flagstaff

Monday, May 4th, 2020 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

Ben Rudd, Flagstaff (1924). Rudd outside his stone cottage. Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, P1997-155/04-0738-001.

Post researched and written by Jennie Henderson, Hocken Collections Assistant.

Many of us may be feeling a bit hermit-like during New Zealand’s Covid-19 lockdown, but we are not Dunedin’s first hermits!  100 years ago, Dunedin resident Ben Rudd earned the nickname ‘The Hermit of Flagstaff’ with his reclusive habits.

Benjamin Rudd (1854-1930) was born in England, and came to Dunedin after completing a gardening apprenticeship. He worked in Dunedin as a gardener for many years, and lived on two farm properties on the slopes of Flagstaff. When he wasn’t working in town, and after his retirement from gardening, Rudd poured all his efforts into his farm – laboriously building stone fences and his hut by hand, developing extensive gardens, and lovingly caring for his animals.[1]

In this section of W.T. Neill’s 1922 map, Ben Rudd’s first farm, Woodside, can be seen. Rudd sold this farm and moved back into Dunedin to work as a gardener for Peter Dawson in 1919, but returned to a new property on the northern slopes of Flagstaff after 18 months. Topographical map showing Dunedin and vicinity / from surveys by W.T. Neill, district surveyor, [Wellington]: N Z Lands and Survey. Sourced from LINZ. Crown Copyright reserved.

Rudd and his property were often a target of vandals, thieves and larrikins, presumably due to their isolation, and perhaps also due to Rudd’s short stature and fierce responses to any threats. In the face of damage to his buildings and crops he became increasingly reclusive, suspicious of strangers, and aggressive to trespassers.

Rudd’s disputes with his tormentors often made it to court, and a colourful picture of these surprisingly violent encounters can be drawn from the newspaper reports. In 1886, Rudd was committed for trial for shooting at John Waldie with intent to kill.[2] It was reported that Waldie and a friend had ridden past Rudd’s property, and said to him “Good morning, Uncle Ben. You’re working hard”. Rudd’s response was to throw stones at them, and then to shoot at them, hitting Waldie and his horse. Rudd’s lawyer argued that the men had teased Rudd many times, and that he had only intended to scare them with the gun. At his trial, the jury found Rudd not guilty.[3]

In 1889, Rudd was found to have assaulted Susan Hornsby. When Rudd found Hornsby and her sister out walking on his land, unknowingly trespassing, he hit her on the face, grabbed her hair, and kicked her. Rudd maintained that he did not touch her, but only waved his hand near Hornsby to shoo her off his land. The court considered the charge to be proven, and Rudd was fined.[4]

In 1894, Rudd was in court again for assaulting a trespasser with a hay-fork. The attending doctor reported that Edward Thomas’s skull was fractured by Rudd’s blow. He was fined £22 and costs.[5]

In 1902, during another assault trial, Rudd’s defence counsel commented on the extent of the trespassing which so infuriated Rudd:

“…practically speaking the whole of the top of Flagstaff was Rudd’s property, part of it freehold and part leased. On holidays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays a number of persons were frequently walking through and trespassing on his ground… Considerable damage was often done to his fence and any crop he might have.”[6]

This frustrated a local, who wrote to the newspaper in reply:

“… I have heard of Rudd and his propensities, and have always carefully avoided the enclosed selection on which he lives. Outside it there are no fences; there is nothing whatever between high roads and mountain top to suggest that the land is other than common. Am I, nevertheless, liable to Rudd’s pleasant attentions? … It would seem…so long as Ben doesn’t kick us, he may knock us about as he pleases… perhaps, he’ll strike a snag next time.”[7]

The judge presiding over the case acknowledged the problem of Rudd’s behaviour: “… it was a difficult thing to know what to do with this man, whether he should not be punished or sent to some place where he could be controlled”.[8]

It was a challenging situation for all involved.  Rudd, hugely sensitive to trespass (and violent towards the trespassers) but also the target of abuse, faced frequent incursions onto his property. One such walker actually posted an apology in the paper in 1904.[9] Inspired by this apology, a member of the public, Mr Baylie (actually Rudd’s uncle), wrote to the editor describing some of the offences against Rudd and his property, including garden implements and firewood being stolen, and on one occasion, a large stone being loosed and rolled down the hill, breaking his fences.[10] In 1907, Rudd brought trespass and assault charges against a picnicker. At the trial, Rudd’s lawyer spoke of the magnitude of the issue: “The number of trespassers averaged 100 a week. In the course of one year he had counted 16,000 trespassers on his property. He had intended to rear native birds, native trees, and game on his property, but trespassers had defeated his objects”.[11] Conversely, the lawyer for the defendant stated that Rudd “…had been a source of terror for many years to people who desired to visit Flagstaff. He had really become a menace to the safety of the public”.[12] The newspaper reports on Rudd reveal that his situation somewhat polarised the town. Many seemed to empathise with the old man who just wanted to be left alone, and others found his actions, and his desire to limit access to Flagstaff, reprehensible.[13]

While Rudd clearly had faith in the court system, he also spoke for himself by composing poems. In 1904, a photo of Rudd and his horse Kit was published with the title ‘A well-known local celebrity’. It was accompanied by a poem, by Rudd, about Kit.[14] In this poem, Rudd refers to himself as ‘a jovial soul’ who defies trouble.  He mentions ‘The folk [who] kindly greet us’ as he and Kit headed into town for supplies; this was a vastly different picture of his experiences than that painted by his appearances in the court news!  Rudd was also concerned about the ability of the working man to earn an honest living on the land, as expressed in this poem to local representative Donald Reid, and in this poem about taxes republished after his death.[15]  Rudd clearly felt the pressure of changing times encroaching on his desire for a simple farmer’s life.

Perhaps surprisingly, one group of walkers found favour with Rudd and became friends with the old man. In 1923, members of the newly formed Otago Tramping Club (now the Otago Tramping and Mountaineering Club) encountered Rudd while walking in the area. This initial meeting is recounted in the first issue of the Club’s journal, Outdoors, in 1934.[16] In spite of Rudd’s reputation, he and the Club came to an agreement that he would cut a track through the scrub for the club members to access Whare Flat, for which he was paid £5.[17] Club members regularly visited Rudd on their walks through the area.[18]

Ben Rudd with visitors (1923-1925). A photo of Rudd, possibly with members of the Otago Tramping Club. Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, P1998-103.

O. Balk, Ben Rudd and Mrs Lessing (1924). Balk was the first president of the Otago Tramping Club. Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, P1997-155/04-0738-002.

In February 1930, two of Rudd’s visitors found him ill in his hut.[19] It seemed that he may have been ill for some time, but was unable to go for help.  He was taken to hospital, but died there on March 2. Obituaries and reminiscences were published in the paper for some time after his death.[20]

Ben Rudd (c.1920s). Ben Rudd in his garden. Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, P2002-045-001.

Rudd lived on in the common memory of Dunedin residents, and in landmarks. Rudd Rd ran (and runs today) off Wakari Rd and up towards to site of Ben’s first farm, Woodside.  In 1934, a correspondent to the Evening Star suggested renaming Flagstaff ‘Rudd Hill’.[21]  In 1946, the OTC purchased Rudd’s second farm on the northern slopes of Flagstaff, and runs it as a trust to this day.  They organise regular expeditions for weed control and native tree planting, and there is a shelter built near the former site of Ben’s hut.  Much of the information available about Ben Rudd has been gathered together by the OTMC in relation to the Ben Rudd Management Trust, and is published on the OTMC website.

Hocken holds archives (ARC-0338), publications, and ephemera relating to the OTMC, with special reference to Ben Rudd’s property, including:​ Friends of Ben Rudd’s newsletter, programmes of the OTMC which include details of working bees on the property, the OTMC journal Outdoors, Friends of Ben Rudd membership certificate, Annual reports of the OTMC (including the report from 1947 which first refers to the purchase of Ben Rudd’s land), and plans for a shelter to replace Ben Rudd’s hut.

This Otago Tramping Club annual report (1947) mentions the purchase of Ben Rudd’s former farm and the erection of a hut.

The Hocken Photographs collection holds a number of photographs of Rudd, such as the examples below.

Ben Rudd with Maggie Watt (c.1900). Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, Box-027 PORT 1303.

Hermit of Flagstaff, Ben Rudd (c.1920s). Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, P1999-033-001.

As well as writing poems himself, Ben Rudd provided inspiration for others. Charles Brasch, the famous Dunedin poet, wrote a poem ‘Ben Rudd’. It was first published in Landfall in 1957, and revised for Ambulando (1964).  The Aotearoa NZ Poetry Sound Archive has a recording of Brasch reading this poem on New Zealand poets read their work (1974). Hocken also holds a copy on LP.​ You can listen here at the poetryarchive.org.

… No one crossed his door,

No one crossed his path

For fear

Of sudden threat or oath.

 

And yet his single care

Was to keep at bay

All who might interfere

Coming to pry – …[22]

 

Dunedin author Geoff Weston also wrote a poem about Rudd, published more recently in 2005.

 

…“I’ve been once to town!” He’d’ scowl; “And that’s enough-for me.”

“I found these boots; these bloody boots;

And they’ve never been right.

They make me itch; and they make me scratch; and they make me pee;

And they’re always bloody tight!”…[23]

 

Rudd was buried in Anderson’s Bay cemetery with his uncle John Wycliffe Baylie.  He is remembered for his eccentricity, his volatile temper, his passion for nature and animals, and through his land, managed in his name to this day.

Ben Rudd’s headstone in Anderson’s Bay cemetery, Dunedin.

[1] For a wonderful image of Rudd standing by his stone walls, see Otago Witness, 3 May 1911, Page 46 (Supplement). Jane Thomson, ed., Southern People: a dictionary of Otago Southland biography, Longacre Press, Dunedin, New Zealand, 1984 describes Rudd’s method of levering individual stones into place from a sack tied around his waist like an apron.

[2] Tuapeka Times, 9 January 1886, Page 2.

[3] Evening Star, 12 April 1886, Page 2.

[4] Evening Star, 5 April 1889, Page 2.

[5] Evening Star, 23 June 1894, Page 1 (Supplement).

[6] Evening Star, 14 February 1902, Page 3.

[7] Otago Daily Times, 15 February 1902, Page 11.

[8] Evening Star, 14 February 1902, Page 3.

[9] Evening Star, 2 November 1904, Page 5.

[10] Evening Star, 7 December 1904, Page 8.

[11] Evening Star, 9 December 1907, Page 4. There is a full description of the trial, including the injuries to Rudd and the defendant, Edward Fountain, here.

[12] Evening Star, 9 December 1907, Page 4.

[13] In Evening Star, 24 June 1905, Page 9, there is a long and touching interview with ‘the strange man of the hill’ which illustrates how many Dunedin locals felt a connection to Rudd. Compare this to the unfavourable remarks in ‘Dunedin letter’, Tuapeka Times, 18 December 1907, Page 3.

[14] Otago Witness, 30 November 1904, Page 74.

[15] The editorial piece which includes to poem to Reid also mentions the death of Rudd’s horse, at his own hand, when she collapsed with old age, Evening Star, 17 March 1906, Page 2. ‘Taxes’, Evening Star, 4 March 1930, Page 7.

[16] Held at Hocken Collections.

[17] Evening Star, 12 October 1923, Page 6.

[18] For example, see Otago Daily Times, 7 October 1926, Page 4.

[19] Otago Daily Times, 24 February 1930, Page 7.

[20] ‘Obituary’, Evening Star, 3 March 1930, Page 9. For some heartfelt reminiscences, see ‘From a suburban balcony’, Evening Star, 22 March 1930, Page 2; ‘Ben Rudd, the Flagstaff Hermit’,
Otago Daily Times, 29 March 1930, Page 19.

[21] Evening Star, 27 October 1934, Page 2.

[22] Charles Brasch, ‘Ben Rudd’ from Alan Roddick, ed., Collected poems, Oxford University Press, New Zealand, 1984.

[23] Geoff Weston, ‘I knew Ben Rudd’ in Knight, et al., Glowing embers, Dunedin, 2005.

 
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.