The good ship Maheno, an ANZAC hero

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 | Anna Blackman | 4 Comments

This wonderful image is a photograph of the ship Maheno, which served at Gallipoli as well as elsewhere in the Mediterranean during the First World War.  Along with sister hospital ship Marama, it transported over 47,000 wounded soldiers to safety. For the winter months of 2012 the Hocken Library is using this image to promote the current exhibition – Ship Shape – an exhibition based on the idea of “portraits” of ships.
Maheno in her building berth, 1905, Cameron Family Papers MS-1046/422
Maheno was built by William Denny and Brothers at Dumbarton, Scotland but Dunedin was its home.   Joining the Union Steam Ship Company’s fleet in 1905, the Maheno was the first turbine-powered ship to work the Trans-Tasman route.  The vessel had a strong link with the University of Otago as well since the Ministry of Defence offered the institution surplus money from the Hospital Ships’ Fund to build a hall for the military training of medical students in 1919.  Maheno and Marama Hall (as it was originally called) was completed in 1923 and is now occupied by the Department of Music.  A roll of honour in the foyer lists medical staff who served on the ships.
Maheno’s elegant profile was much admired, as were its comfortable and beautiful interiors. Original photographs of the ship from the Hocken Archives Collection are currently on show as part of the exhibition:
For more information about the exhibition, follow this link Ship Shape
Blog post prepared by Assistant Curator of Photographs, Anna Petersen, with David Murray, Acting Arrangement and Description Archivist.

Advice from a best-selling author

Monday, April 16th, 2012 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

 “Don’t wait till the spirit moves. While there are times when inspiration and thought outrace your pen, you’ll never get to the top if you wait on this.”
“Choose the magazine you are going to submit to most carefully … Not a bit of use submitting an article on colour bar or flying saucers to a periodical catering solely for young mothers or fashion trends.”
“Make sure of your facts, whatever you are writing … Don’t even let your characters eat whitebait out of season … unless it’s tinned.”
“Never be set back with rejections. I could have papered a room with mine.”
MS-3854/021, from the Charles and Louise Croot papers
These are some of the tips Essie Summers gave in 1960 to young people interested in free-lance journalism. A copy of her advice, which runs to ten closely-typed pages, is in the papers of Dunedin teacher, broadcaster and writer Charles Croot. Perhaps Croot had invited Summers, a local Presbyterian minister’s wife, to talk to one of his English classes at Kaikorai Valley High School.
Essie Summers was well qualified to give advice to budding writers. She had published poems and stories in magazines, and for six years wrote a popular column in the Timaru Herald. She was also well on the way to becoming one of New Zealand’s most popular novelists. By 1960 she had written eight romances, published in England by Mills & Boon. They would eventually publish 52 of her books, which were translated into 17 languages and sold millions of copies. Many of her books were set in Otago and Canterbury, particularly in the high country, and her lyrical descriptions of the landscapes she loved inspired numerous overseas readers to visit New Zealand.
Bachelors Galore by Essie Summers, published by Mills and Boon, London in 1958. The Hocken has most of Summers’ novels, which are collectors’ items today
As well as giving a wealth of practical advice on formatting, inspiration, subject matter and editing, Summers revealed her own joy in writing: “One may as well admit that it is a great thrill to see one’s name in print and to know that some editor is so convinced of its merit that he is willing to identify himself with your views or imaginings and to pay cold cash for it.” Summers, who was renowned for her charm and kindness, signed off with some encouragement to her audience: “Wishing you all the best and some resultant and desirable little thin envelopes with acceptance slips and cheques.” 
Blog post prepared by Ali Clarke, Reference Assistant