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).

Timothy Peter Garrity, 1931-2020

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

With sadness we record the death of Tim Garrity. Moe mai ra e hoa.

Tim held the position of Curator of Pictures at the Hocken for almost twenty years, from 1978 to 1997. His background in philosophy and skills as an artist equipped him well to carry out the variety of duties in this role, and he developed relationships with the visual arts community which greatly benefited the Library, developing the collection and creating important links with key practitioners.

Born in London, Tim arrived in New Zealand in 1948. He began his career as a painter; this led him to travel extensively overseas after study in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland. He worked with Colin McCahon between 1962 and 1963 and represented New Zealand at the 1963 Paris Biennale.

Tim administered the Auckland Gallery’s Research Library from 1975 until the end of 1977, when he left to come to Dunedin. As a respected artist with an international reputation, Tim could establish a rapport with other artists who then gave material to the Hocken Pictures Collection or involved him in supporting written or other projects. Tim’s own researches led to the writing of a chronology of Dunedin art collector and philanthropist Rodney Kennedy for the publication The Kennedy Gift: Rodney Kennedy (1909-1989).

An interest in McCahon’s work was maintained throughout his working life and he wrote the introduction to the Hocken Library’s publication listing all the McCahon holdings entitled A Tribute to Colin McCahon 1919-1987. Tim also produced James Brown, caricaturist: a complete catalogue of the paintings, drawings and lithographs by James Brown (1818-1877) in the Hocken Library, and wrote the note introducing John Buchanan as an artist, in John Buchanan: artist botanist and explorer, a catalogue of his pictures in the Hocken Library, which was published to accompany an exhibition of Buchanan’s work in 1988. Another publication from that year, Geometric, abstract and minimalist painting at the Hocken, shows Tim’s approach to curating an exhibition exploring aspects of the Hocken collection which are less well-known.

Tim’s enthusiastic encouragement of first-hand study of the collection meant that he was greatly appreciated by Otago’s artists as well as by researchers from further afield. Tim was always unstintingly generous with his own time and knowledge.

Image: Timothy Peter Garrity 1987. George Griffiths photographer, ref: 99-182/051B.

John Prouse and the Maiden of Morven

Monday, November 4th, 2019 | Hocken Collections | 2 Comments

Post researched and written by Amanda Mills, Curator Music and AV

Every year when World Audiovisual Heritage day comes around, we are always struck with the wonderful, intriguing recordings that are made available for the public to hear a little bit of a forgotten past. This year, to celebrate World AV Heritage Day at Hocken, we are looking back to the very early days of recording, and focussing on one New Zealander in particular – John Prouse, and his 1905 recording of Maiden of Morven (Gramophone and Typewriter Company 3-2359 ). This recording is one of the first recordings of a New Zealand artist, after the extremely rare Violets by Thomas Mandeno Jackson. Hocken Collections’ copy of Maiden of Morven is also thought to be the only copy that survives, although others may exist in private collections.

John Prouse was born in Wellington in 1856, the fourth of Richard and Janet Prouse’s twelve children (sadly, three died in infancy). Richard Prouse was an early settler to the Wellington region, arriving at age ten on the Duke of Roxburgh. Prouse senior established a sawmill business in Wainuiomata (later moving to Silverstream), before retiring to Wellington in the late 1880s until his death in 1894.  Two of Richard and Janet’s sons (James and Richard) established Prouse Brothers Sawmills in Levin, and a joinery factory and timber yard in Wellington. John, however, did not enter the family business. From his youth he possessed an excellent singing voice, and was a member of the Taita and Wainui church choirs (where the Prouse family lived). His public debut on the Wellington stage came in 1885, at age 29, and his career bloomed from then. He won much praise for his performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Handel’s Israel in Egypt during the 1888 New Zealand Festival of Music in Wellington. In the early 1890s, Prouse, wife Lena, and their four children left for England, where he studied with Wilheim Ganz and T. A. Wallworth at Guildhall in London. Prouse also studied with Sir Charles Santley, who helped launch his professional career with engagements at The Crystal Palace, and The Royal Albert, and St. James’ halls in London (Main, 1990, p. 27). Prouse returned to New Zealand in 1892, joining the family timber business, and managing sales in Wellington, but also kept performing around New Zealand, including at the 1894 New Zealand Festival of Music in Wellington. He toured in 1902-1903 with visiting French soprano Antonia Dolores, before returning to England in 1903 with his family for a longer stay, where he could perform alongside some of the most well regarded vocalists in England and Europe. Violinist Jan Kubelik and pianist Wilheim Backhaus assisted Prouse in some of these performances.

Portrait of the New Zealand singer, John Prouse – Photograph taken by Marceau, Los Angeles.. White, Harold Temple, 1881-1972 :Photographs relating to Temple White’s musical career. Ref: PAColl-8018-2-6. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

While still in London in June 1905, Prouse made twelve recordings for the Gramophone and Typewriter Company (forerunner to His Master’s Voice). William Main, in his 1990 article on Prouse, suggested that until the late 1980s it was unknown if these recordings were ever commercially released (p.27). However they were assigned catalogue numbers, so it is possible they do exist in private or institutional collections. Three of the titles Prouse recorded were test pressings with few copies known to exist: Pilgrim’s Song (composed by Tchaikovsky), There are no more like thee (composed by Temple), and Maiden of Morven (a traditional composition arranged by Malcolm Lawson).

Maiden of Morven survives at Hocken Collections, donated to us in 2002 as part of a larger collection of 78rpm discs. Maiden of Morven itself is a love lament from a bereaved Ossianic hero to his deceased love, with lyrics by Harold Boulton, and musical arrangement by Lawson. Prouse did not use Boulton’s full lyrics, cutting a third verse that refers to Ossian (the narrator and purported author of a cycle of Scottish epic poems) and his writing. The below lyrics are those sung by Prouse for his recording of Maiden of Morven.

Moan ye winds that never sleep,
Howl ye spirits of the deep,
Roar ye torrents down the steep,
Roll ye mists on Morven.
May the tempests never rest
Nor the seas with peace be blest
Since they tore thee from my breast,
Maiden of Morven!

Fairer than the flowers that grow,
Purer than the rills that flow,
Gentler than the fallow doe
‘Mid the woods of Morven;
As the leaf is to the tree,
As the summer to the bee,
So wert thou, my Love, to me,
Maiden of Morven!

Oft I chased the deer of yore,
Many a battle-brunt I bore,
When the chiefs of Innistore
Hurled their might on Morven.
Blunt my spear, and slack my bow,
Like an empty ghost I go,
Death the only hope I know,
Maiden of Morven!

(Harold Boulton, Maiden of Morven lyrics. Date unknown.)

The performance is of its time – formal, with clear diction and enunciation with a piano accompaniment that is, while not spartan, not overly florid, and does not overpower the vocalist. Prouse is in fine, robust form on the recording, and it is easy to understand why his performances were highly commended with his “cultured style and melodious voice”, as noted in The Kent Times, and re-reported in the Poverty Bay Herald (unknown author, 1912). Here is the 1905 recording of Maiden of Morven.

 

John Prouse. Maiden of Morven (Gramophone and Typewriter Company G.C-3-2359). 1905. Hocken Music Collections Rec-M 972. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

The 10”, 78rpm shellac disc is in good condition for being 114 years old. There is surface wear and minor scratching, but this is to be expected on a disc this age. The centre label is in good condition and clearly indicates the artist, title, composer, catalogue number, and the Gramophone and Company label image, but not the lyricist. The reverse side has the company name, and an etching of the label image – a cherub writing on a disc. Due to the age and fragility of the disc, we made the decision to digitise the content for preservation and access, and the original disc is no longer available for issue. By making this digital copy of the recording available for World Audiovisual Heritage Day, we are celebrating Prouse’s career and highlighting how very early recordings survive and thrive in collections.

And what of the remainder of Prouse’s career? On returning to New Zealand  later in 1905 (Wellington newspaper The Evening Post lists him performing in August) he continued to be in great demand as a vocalist, and hosted friends such as Dame Nellie Melba and Dame Clara Butt at the family home. In 1908 he performed in Rossini’s Stabat Mater, and the reviewer for The Dominion was complimentary, calling his performance “thoroughly enjoyable”, and noting his singing and enunciation of the Latin text were “beyond criticism” (unknown author, 1908).  Prouse toured again with Antonia Dolores in 1911, and continued to perform widely until his death in August 1930, including some radio broadcast recitals in April of that year. Prouse’s legacy lies in being one of the first recording artists from New Zealand – one with a particularly fine voice.

References:

A Clerk of Oxford (2012, May 19). Thou’rt the music of my soul: Maiden of Morven [blog post]. Retrieved from https://aclerkofoxford.blogspot.com/2012/05/thourt-music-of-my-soul-maiden-of.html

Mail, W. (1989). John Prouse (1856-1930): New Zealand’s first commercial recording artist. Music in New Zealand 5:9, 26-27.

Unknown author. (1908). Stabat Mater. Dominion, 15 August. Retrieved from https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/DOM19080815.2.47?query=%22john+prouse%22+stabat+mater&items_per_page=10&start_date=01-01-1856&end_date=31-12-1930&snippet=true

Unknown author. (1912). Gisbourne liedertafel. Poverty Bay herald, 6 July. Retrieved from https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/PBH19120706.2.7?query=%22john+prouse%22+voice&items_per_page=10&page=4&start_date=01-01-1856&end_date=31-12-1930&snippet=true

Wallingford, N. (2014, December 3). The houses of the Prouse brothers [blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.qwerty.geek.nz/ProuseHouses/

 

Stirring up the stacks #2: The parfait on the blackboard

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019 | Hocken Collections | 1 Comment

Post cooked up by David Murray, Archivist

In our last ‘Stirring up the Stacks’ post, my colleague Kari laid down a challenge: find old recipes in the collections, try them out, and inflict them on fellow staff members for their verdict.

The recipe I found comes not from a publication or manuscript, but from a glass plate negative (reproduced above), noticed when rehousing records of the University of Otago’s former Home Science School. It dates from the 1930s. Four instructors in uniform stand in front of a group of fifteen women. These women don’t appear to be students, and possibly the class was one of the demonstrations given through the Home Science Extension Bureau, or one of the ‘refresher’ courses offered to former students.

Behind the instructors, written in chalk on the blackboard, are five recipes. One of the great thing about glass plates is the level of detail that can often be found in them – you can really zoom in! Richard, our reprographics wizard, scanned the plate and was able to pull up the recipes with some clarity. The titles were clearly visible: vanilla ice cream, coffee mousse, orange water ice, pineapple mousse, and peach parfait. Most of the text for the last two recipes is readable, partially obscured by an instructor staring down the camera.

Choosing the parfait, I thought I might have to fill in the missing parts of the recipe, but after a fair bit of hunting I fortunately found a beautifully handwritten copy in the first-year practical workbook of Rae Vernon (1915-2001). Rae was a Home Science student from 1934, and later joined the staff herself. On the same page is a coffee mousse recipe that also appears on the blackboard:

Peach Parfait

Mashed peaches 1 cup
Sugar 1 cup
Water ⅓ cup
Egg whites 2
Juice of 1 orange
Cream 1 cup
Almond essence ¼ tsp

Method: Boil sugar and water to 238˚F or until it threads and pour gently into the stiffly beaten egg whites, whipping constantly. Combine peaches and orange juice. Beat in the white mixture. Stir briskly until cool and then fold in whipped cream and almond ess. Pour into a mould cover with waxed paper and press on the lid. Pack in two parts of ice and 1 of salt for 4 hrs. If canned peaches used the amount of sugar should be reduced to ¾ cup.

My prior knowledge of frozen parfaits was somewhere between non-existent and negligible, but this is apparently a fairly conventional recipe, except it only uses the egg whites and not the yolks. The most unusual ingredient is the almond essence, and I was not entirely convinced it would go with peaches, but looked forward to finding out.

The cooking process was fairly straightforward. I did use tinned peaches, and so used less sugar as directed. I wasn’t quite sure how mashed they should be, but erred on the side of a smoother consistency. The trickiest bit for me, not having a thermometer, was boiling the sugar and water to the correct ‘threading’ stage. To add to the fun I found a vintage (though not 1930s) mould. Unwilling to experiment with packing in ice (apologies to those wanting closer authenticity), I covered the finished mixture tightly in its mould and put it in the freezer overnight.

Turning the parfait out of its mould was a bit tricky, but dipping it in a bath of warm water did the trick. I tarted it up with some more peaches and a sprig of mint and hoped it would pass muster.

Reaction in the Hocken staff room was favourable, a common theme being pleasant surprise about the peach and almond flavour combination. Some comments:

“Proper grandma food”

“Delicate and dreamy”

“If was a synaesthete I would say it tastes like a floral dress”

“Love the almond flavour”

“I enjoyed the flavour combination”

“Very sweet, but also quite light”

“I was a little apprehensive re tinned peaches but very pleasantly surprised how nice it tasted. The almond flavour was a surprise, but subtle”

 “Would be a lovely dessert to cleanse the palate”

Overall, it turned out better than I expected, and I would make it again. It was fun to bring to life the obscure detail of an image in the collections.

Image references:

Glass plate negative showing cookery class. University of Otago School of Consumer and Applied Sciences records. Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena. MS-1517-034-005.

Page from Rae Vernon’s Foods 1 practical workbook. Association of the Home Science Alumnae of New Zealand records. Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena. MS-1516/023.

 

Joining the dots: the charm of primary sources

Thursday, February 28th, 2019 | Hocken Collections | 1 Comment

Post researched and written by Jennie Henderson, Hocken Collections Assistant  – Publications

As a researcher, the promise of what might be hiding in a primary source can be irresistible.  Primary sources can convey a sense of time, place, and personality like nothing else. There is a great satisfaction that comes from connecting the dots between sources and watching a narrative rise up from your research.

Recently, some staff members at the Hocken were invited to take part in a research project. The aim? To hone our research skills and to learn about topics and sources that were unfamiliar to us. My chosen topic was ‘Surveyors and surveying’ – an area with a massive range of possibilities.[1] After I had spent some time floundering about in the worthy deeds of New Zealand’s pioneer surveyors, one of our knowledgeable archivists pointed me towards the John Reid and Sons collection.

In the 1870s and 1880s, when suburban growth in Dunedin was expanding rapidly, surveying and civil engineering firms flourished. One such firm was Reid and Duncans, established in 1876 by engineer George Smith Duncan, his brother James Duncan, and John Reid. Reid was a farmer and storekeeper who had also worked as a draughtsman under John Turnbull Thomson in the Survey Department in Dunedin. G.S. Duncan had trained as an engineer, and worked for another Dunedin firm before going into partnership with his brother and Reid. Duncan was particularly well-known for his work on the Roslyn and Mornington cable tramways. The Duncan brothers moved to Melbourne to work for the Melbourne Tramway Trust in the mid-1880s, and John Reid’s son Henry William Reid joined the company in their place. The firm changed its name to John Reid and Son, and when Edward Herbert Reid joined the firm three years later it became John Reid and Sons.[2]

Their collection (ARC-0704) is a mixture of business records – contracts, diaries, plans, and correspondence – some of which were purchased at auction, and some of which were donated. Knowing nothing about the firm, I requested the first diary on the list: Diary of John Cunningham.[3]

Cunningham was a Dunedin-born surveyor who worked for Reid and Duncans in the early 1880s. His diaries provide the bare bones of his day-to-day work: ‘In office took parcel up for Mr Duncan to Roslyn’; ‘Wet in morning in office levelling in afternoon’; ‘cleaning theodolites’.[4] And in the early stages of my research I noticed (to my amusement) that Cunningham’s particular style of handwriting made his many references to a ‘wet day’ look like ‘wet dog’, as on 4 April 1879:

Diary of John Cunningham, MS-3801/002, John Reid and Sons Limited: Records (1873-1915, 1929-1930), ARC-0704, Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Reading through his diaries gave me a sense of just how busy urban surveyors were – working on several jobs at a time, travelling considerable distances, juggling weather and the field/office requirements of their job. Cunningham refers to jobs in Opoho, Roslyn, Sawyers Bay, Otakia, Halfway Bush, Kaikorai, Blueskin, Glenleith, Princes Street, and Green Island. These men were often civil engineers and land and estate agents as well as surveyors.[5] They would not only survey blocks of land and the roads providing access to them, but work with the road boards and borough councils to select contractors for building the roads, and sell off the blocks of land they had subdivided for their clients.[6] Their work was checked for accuracy by the Chief Surveyor’s office, who would not hesitate to send plans back if they did not meet the standard.[7]

Cunningham made many references to working on the Roslyn tram project, which reflects the importance of the project to the firm, and particularly to the Duncans. He often worked with John Reid and George Duncan (as well as other staff members) which suggests the company’s partners remained actively involved with the business, in the field as well as in the office. But it was Cunningham’s references to working at Littlebourne which particularly caught my eye. Littlebourne, that grand house which sits in a back corner of Dunedin’s memory – what would Cunningham’s diaries reveal about its past?

Littlebourne was the name Charles Kettle, Otago’s first Chief Surveyor, gave to his hand-picked 20 acre property: Sections 1 and 2, Block 1, Upper Kaikorai. On some early maps, this area is called ‘Kettle’s Township’.

Wise’s New Zealand Directory map of the City of Dunedin, N.Z, 1875, Dunedin: Henry Wise & Co, 1875. Hocken Maps Collection, Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Detail of Kettle’s Township.

Kettle settled there in 1860 and built a home on the land after several years of farming in South Otago. He died of typhoid in 1862, and parts of his estate were leased and sold off in the 1870s.[8] John Cunningham’s involvement began with the purchase of the property by local businessman J.M. Ritchie around 1880.[9] Ritchie planned to subdivide the land and engaged Reid and Duncans to survey the sections and mark out the roads. Cunningham’s first mention of working on the property is on 31 January, 1881. He refers to being in the field at Littlebourne, and ‘plotting and calculating Littlebourne’.[10] He mentions ‘...attending City Surveyor and Mayor to get there [sic] signatures attached to plan of Littlebourne’and ‘chaining ajoining [sic] boundarys [sic] to Littlebourne to see whether encroaching or not…’.[11] He also refers to taking levels for ‘Mr Ritchie’s propsed Township Moari [sic] Hill’, which suggests Ritchie had bought much more land in the area.[12]

The John Reid and Sons collection holds other diaries, and I was interested to see if I could match Cunningham’s experiences with the colleagues he mentions in his entries. Sure enough, A.J. Duncan’s diaries (George Smith Duncan’s younger brother Alfred John) are peppered with references to Kettle’s, Littlebourne, and Cunningham.[13] From the end of 1880, and right through into 1882, Duncan worked frequently at Littlebourne and in the Roslyn/Maori Hill area for Mr Ritchie: ‘Fine day. Up at Kettles with G.S.D. and J. Cunningham and J. Reid in the morning.’;[14]Up at Kettle’s for about 2 hours’; ‘Up at Kettle’s (Littlebourne Estate) with J.C. and J.R. all day’; ‘At Littleburn estate all day with JR and JC. Finished today’.[15] Even when the bulk of the field work was done, there were plans to be made in the office: ‘Calculations connected with Littlebourne estate all day’; ‘Fixing up litho. of Littlebourne Estate 3 hours’; and regular trips back up to the site for smaller details: ‘Up at Littlebourne for 2 hours defining line for contractor for wall on [?] section.’[16] Like Cunningham, Duncan also refers to working for Mr Ritchie on other jobs in the area: ‘Up at survey for Mr Ritchie Bk VIII Upper Kaikoarai [sic], part of sects 1 2 3 half day’; ‘At Mr Ritchie’s survey (Maori Hill) all day’; ‘Finished sketch plan to day and handed it to Mr Ritchie’s (2 hours).[17]

Slowly, a narrative was beginning to form: of urban surveyors working six days a week to meet the needs of an expanding city and its wealthiest citizens, of an area of town opening up to new construction, of the changing shape of Dunedin, of the influence of religious interest groups in deciding the layout of the town.[18] I wanted now to connect the dots of the human story underneath the blocks and sections as well, and helpfully the Hocken’s photograph collection provided an idea of what working on the Littlebourne site may have been like.

“Ferns in Littleburn Bush”, from album 114, W. M. Hodgkins “Dunedin & Otago”, page 09. Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago [S18-029a].

This image gives us an idea of the density of the bush in the Littlebourne area. It is undated, but photos of the Littlebourne bush in the same album are dated as 1865.[19] Although this is sixteen years before the subdivision, an 1875 etching of the area shows Kettle’s Littlebourne House still in semi-isolation, with only the Lunatic Asylum, the Otago Boys’ High School Rectory, and Cranmore Lodge in the area, so we can assume there was still plenty of native bush on the estate when Cunningham and Reid were working there.[20] An 1881 advertisement for the sale of the subdivisions emphasised how ‘clumps of native bush [had been] carefully preserved for thirty years.’[21]

Could I flesh out Cunningham’s and Duncan’s personal stories even more? Would we have any of the Reid and Duncans material to which they contributed? Yes! In the John Reid and Sons collection are plans relating to ‘Littleburn Estate’ and ‘Township of Cannington’ (c.1881).[22] These plans show road levels for the subdivision. A.J. Duncan specifically mentions ‘working at plans of Road through Littleburn Estate’ and being ‘up at Littlebourne Estate taking levels of part of road.’[23] Finding the actual plans that Duncan referenced in his diary provided another layer of substance to the surveyors’ experiences, and brought me a delightful moment of connecting the dots.

The Hocken Maps collection also held some treasures connected to the subdivision and the surveyors. Reid and Duncans’ finished ‘Plan of the Township of Littlebourne’ (1881) shows the Kettles’ house, and the Otago Boys High School Rectory.

Plan of The Township of Littlebourne: being subdivision of part 09 sections 1 & 2, Block 1, Upper Kaikorai. Reid & Duncan, Surveyors Hocken Maps Collection Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago [S18-519a] (For interest, compare this to George’s Key Map of Dunedin and suburbs with calendar for 1884, where the different parts of the subdivision and the eventual route of the extension of Stuart St through Albert St and up to Highgate can be clearly seen.[24])

Detail of George’s key map of Dunedin and Suburbs with calendar for 1884, Dunedin, Thos. George, 1884. Hocken Maps Collection; Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Another copy of this plan was used to advertise the sale of the subdivided sections in 1881, and Papers Past provides details of the auction and the buyers.[25] Successful businessman John Roberts, previously affirmed as a part-owner in 1874, purchased the house and section for £2700. Roberts had married Kettle’s daughter Louisa in 1870. Together, they built the world-famous-in-Dunedin Littlebourne House in 1890. Their mansion, gifted to Dunedin City after Roberts’ death in 1934, was demolished in 1949 to make room for the Stuart Street extension, and the remaining land made into sportsfields (just above Moana Pool).[26]

We can also flesh out our Littlebourne surveying story by taking a little time for J.M.Ritchie. At the time of his purchase of the Littlebourne block, Ritchie was a managing director of the National Mortgage and Agency Company of New Zealand (N.M.A.). He was known as an astute and successful businessman, owning rural land worth £29,000 and urban land worth £9,000, which goes some way to explaining how he could finance such extensive land purchases and development.[27] The Hocken holds the N.M.A. records in a restricted collection, in which some of Ritchie’s private letter books are included.[28] Ritchie’s Cannington Estate Letter Book 1877-1885 provided several connect-the-dots moments with its frequent references to Littlebourne, including to Park and Bradshaw (buyers of sections 16 and 28 respectively in the auction). It made me smile to find, in the letter book, Ritchie’s 1882 ‘Rough Statement’ which included an unpaid account to Reid and Duncans – beautifully concrete evidence of their relationship in this business endeavour.[29]

Cannington Estate Letter Book 1877-1885, N.M.A. Company of New Zealand Limited : Records (c.1861-1960), Box 6, UN-028, Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

And what of John Cunningham? It seems that he may have left Reid and Duncans soon after, because in the Stone’s Trade Directory for 1884, he is listed as an independent surveyor. Hocken Collections holds some maps attributed to him alone, the earliest being from 1885:

Plan shewing part of allotments 35 & 36, township of Hawthorndale, being part of original section 13, Block IV, Upper Kaikorai District, surveyed by J. Cunningham for Roslyn Borough Council. Instruction from Mr. Collinson at Haggitt Bro’s & Brent, Nov. 1885. Hocken Maps Collection. Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

I took particular joy in seeing Cunningham’s writing and hand-drawn plan here, especially as my research began with his references to a ‘wet dog’.[30] John had married Elizabeth McKay in 1880, and they had five children. He and his wife lived in the Wakari/Halfway Bush area for the rest of his life, and are buried together in Andersons Bay cemetery. In the course of falling down a genealogical rabbit hole at the very end of my research, I found this photo of him on Ancestry. The girl is simply named ‘Betty’, and I wonder if it was John’s granddaughter Mary Elizabeth Thomson (1919-2014).

John Cunningham with Betty, posted by mtate76 in the Furneaux family tree on Ancestry, accessed 1 March 2019. https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/family-tree/person/tree/17373132/person/28043342587/Gallery?_phtarg=yNA12

One of the biggest challenges with researching primary material is when to stop. There is always further digging to be done, and it feels as if the connection you are seeking could be just over the page. The matters touched on above would benefit from further investigation in the land records, contemporary newspapers, biographical details of the people involved, looking into the Road Boards and Roslyn/Maori Hill Borough Council Records, and of course, more trawling through Papers Past. There are also many more employee diaries in the John Reid and Sons archives, and plenty of scope for research into their work on Dunedin’s tramways. From the people perspective, there are many more personal stories to be told from these sources.

The unfinished lead from this research that has stayed with me the most is a reference from A.J. Duncan in November 1880. In the section of the diary that is used for ‘Remarks on the week’, Duncan wrote ‘Baby Betsy, splendid.’ It was the only truly personal reference in his diaries, and I felt certain that he was referring to the birth of a daughter, or perhaps the daughter of one of his 14(!) brothers and sisters. But after spending more time than I really ought to have tracking down his family members on genealogical sites, it seems unlikely that Betsy was a relative, unless he was referring to his sister Isabella’s daughter, Elsie Barbara (could her nickname have been Betsy?), who would have been turning one soon after that entry was made. Nor did John Cunningham have a daughter Betsy or Elizabeth. Perhaps Betsy was the daughter of another colleague whose diary I did not get to. But from this final piece of research I have had a taste of what draws genealogists back, again and again, to find their people: – the essence of past lives lived must be there, just around the corner, if only the researcher can pin it down. And that is the charm of primary sources: they promise to illuminate the human experiences beneath the ‘facts’ of history, if only the researcher is canny and determined enough to find them.

Diary of A.J. Duncan (1880), November 1880, MS-3801/004, John Reid and Sons Limited: Records (1873-1915, 1929-1930), ARC-0704, Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

To uncover your own narratives, join us at the Hocken Collections, Monday to Saturday, 10am-5pm (Pictorial Collections open Monday-Friday, 1pm-4pm). Our staff members are impressive repositories of knowledge in their own right. Please feel free to ask for assistance or guidance.

[1] To save the researcher some time, brief biographies of 450 early surveyors can be found in Charles Lawn, The Pioneer Land Surveyors of New Zealand (Wellington: New Zealand Institute of Surveyors, 1977). Published more recently, Janet Holm’s Caught Mapping: the life and times of New Zealand early surveyors (Christchurch: Hazard Press, 2005) is another excellent source on the challenges of surveying New Zealand in the earliest days of Pākehā settlement. In September 1994, the Friends of the Hocken Collections published an extensive bibliography of the Hocken’s surveying sources as part of their regular bulletin. See Welcome to the Hocken: Friends of the Hocken Collections—bulletin (Dunedin, 1991), September 1994.

[2] ‘George Smith Duncan’, in Jane Thomson, ed., Southern People: a dictionary of Otago Southland biography (Dunedin: Longacre Press, 1998), 141; ‘John Reid and Sons’, The Cyclopedia of New Zealand (Wellington: Cyclopedia, Co., 1897) 275-6.

[3] Diary of John Cunningham (1879), (1881), (1882), MS-3801/001-003, John Reid and Sons Limited: Records (1873-1915, 1929-1930), ARC-0704, Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

[4] Diary of John Cunningham (1879), 9 January 1879; 3 June 1879; 13 August 1879.

[5] Stone’s Directory for 1884 lists eleven civil engineers/civil engineering firms in Dunedin (including George S. Duncan of Reid and Duncans), and 32 surveyors. Ten of the individual surveyors were also listed as civil engineers. Four of the commission / estate agent firms listed also employed surveyors.

[6] For example, see the letter from the Maori Hill Town Clerk in a Reid and Duncans Inward Letter Book discussing the offer to form and metal roads in Sections I, II, III, Block VIII, Upper Kaikorai. Letters in this book are addressed to Reid and Duncan as ‘Engineers and Surveyors’ and ‘Land and Estate Agents’. Inward Letter Book (1879-1884), 2 February 1882 MS-3801/028, John Reid and Sons Limited, ARC-0704, Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.  See also Reid and Duncans’ call for tenders ‘for construction and metalling of streets through the Littlebourne Estate’, Otago Daily Times (Dunedin, New Zealand), 10 February 1881, 1.  The tender was presumably won by road contractor James O’Connor, who, six weeks later, was advertising topsoil for sale from Littleburn Estate. Evening Star (Dunedin, New Zealand), 28 March 1881, 3.

[7] Inward Letter Book (1879-1884), 14 February 1882 MS-3801/028.

[8] There is more digging to be done in the Land Records on this matter, but in 1873, five 21-year leases on two-three acre sections were offered for auction. Otago Daily Times, 30 September 1873, 4. In 1874, Kettle’s widow Amelia, Edward Bowes Cargill, and John Roberts (husband of Kettle’s daughter, Louisa) applied to have their ownership confirmed under the Land Transfer Act of 1870. Otago Daily Times, 20 July 1874, 3. In 1875, an ad appeared in the paper offering a long lease of the house and 15 acres. Evening Star, 26 November 1875, 3. The property must have been bought eventually, as in 1878, Mr F. Wayne and three partners offered all or some of the property to the Anglican Church as a bishop’s residence or cathedral site ‘on the same terms as those on which they recently purchased it, viz., £400 per annum rental for three years from 1st March next, and £8000 purchase money on the 1st March 1881.’ Otago Witness (Dunedin, New Zealand), 2 March 1878, 4. Despite a report recommending the purchase, the proposal was voted down at a meeting of the members of the Church of England. Evening Star, 10 May 1878, 4.

[9] According to Neighbourhood guide: Melrose Street, Avon Street, 23-55 Littlebourne Road, 53 Garfield Avenue, 1-12 Wallace Street (Dunedin, 199?), 1, the Kettles retained around four acres when the property was sold to Ritchie. However, the long trail of newspaper advertisements offering the property for lease or rent, and an 1881 article regarding the sale of the subdivided Littlebourne sections show that the house and 3.5 acres were also for sale, and that John Roberts bought them at auction. See Otago Daily Times, 9 March 1881.

[10] Diary of John Cunningham (1881), 31 January 1881, 4 February 1881, 4 March 1881, MS-3801/002.

[11] Ibid., 23 May 1881, 25 May 1881.

[12] Ibid., 14 November 1881. Maori Hill had been proclaimed a borough in 1876, and Roslyn in 1877. Albert Green, ‘A necklace of jade: the Dunedin Town Belt 1848-1903 (M.A. thesis, University of Otago, 2003), 24.

[13] Duncan also refers to surveying the land for the Synagogue in Moray Place with J. Reid and J. Cunningham. Diary of A.J. Duncan (1880), MS-3801/004, 23 July 1880, John Reid and Sons Limited: Records (1873-1915, 1929-1930), ARC-0704, Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

[14] Ibid., 29 October 1880.

[15] Diary of A.J. Duncan (1881), MS-3801/005, 29 January 1881; 7 February 1881; 18 February 1881; 12 September 1881;

[16] Ibid., 28 February 1881; 8 March 1881; 12 September 1881.

[17] Ibid., 19-25 September 1881. Duncan also mentions working at a survey for Mrs Ritchie, although it seems this may have been at a property at Port Chalmers.

[18] While urban surveyors were instrumental in the growth and shape of the city, a substantial discussion of their role is noticeably missing from much of the dialogue about early surveying. As Ben Schrader notes, New Zealand’s urban landscape and the role of cities in our national development has been largely overlooked by New Zealand historians, who prefer to focus on the impact of rural lifestyles on the development of New Zealand’s national identity. See Ben Schrader, Big Smoke: New Zealand cities, 1840-1920 (Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 2016), 15-20. One could argue the same bias affects the study of surveying: surveying the wild, untamed landscape has been considered a more valuable contribution to the colonisation of New Zealand than the surveying of spaces already under Pākehā control.

[19] Two other Littleburn images can be seen here on Hocken’s site for digitised images: Hocken Snapshop.

[20] Etching reproduced in Neighbourhood guide, 2.

[21] Otago Daily Times, 29 January 1881, 4.

[22] Plans relating to ‘Littleburn Estate’ and ‘Township of Cannington’ (c.1881) MS-3968/001, John Reid and Sons Limited: Records (1873-1915, 1929-1930), ARC-0704, Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

[23] Diary of A.J. Duncan (1881), 3 February 1881; 2 April 1881, MS-3801/005.

[24] The Stuart St extension was built in 1949, and was one of the reasons for the demolition of Roberts’ Littlebourne House.

[25] See plan of the Township of Littlebourne, being Subdivision of Part of Sections 1 & 2, Block I, Upper Kaikorai, Dunedin: McLandress, Hepburn & Co., c.1881, Hocken Maps Collection, Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago. Advertisements for the sale emphasising the quality of the area, the access roads, and the proximity of the Roslyn Tramway can be found in Otago Daily Times, 29 January 1881, 4; 3 March 1881, 4; 9 March 1881, 2. Following the sale, calls for tenders for the erection of villas, gentleman’s residences and tennis-lawns at Littlebourne appeared in the paper. See ODT, 2 May 1881; 20 April 1882; 29 August 1882.

[26] See Hocken Snapshop’s image of Littlebourne House here.

[27] Jim McAloon, ‘Ritchie, John Macfarlane’, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, first published in 1993. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/2r24/ritchie-john-mcfarlane (accessed 23 April 2018)

[28] N.M.A. Company of New Zealand Limited : Records (c.1861-1960), UN-028. Access to this collection requires the permission of the Fletcher Trust Archives, Wellington.

[29] Cannington Estate Letter Book 1877-1885, N.M.A. Company of New Zealand Limited: Records (c.1861-1960), Box 6, UN-028, Hocken Collections, University of Otago, Dunedin.

[30] See also Plan shewing subdivision of original section 23, Block IV, Upper Kaikorai District: the property of Presbyterian Church Trustees / John Cunningham, surveyor, Oct. 1887, Hocken Maps Collection, Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago. The land he surveyed in this map belonged to the Presbyterian Church Trust, whose land can be seen adjacent to the Littlebourne subdivision on the Reid and Duncans’ map. An 1874 amendment to The Presbyterian Church of Otago Lands Act, 1866, had made provision for the Presbyterian Church Trustees to sell Trust lands to the Crown and reinvest the proceeds for the Church’s benefit. The sale of Church Trust land was a factor in Dunedin’s increasing suburban spread in this period.

Mourning cards at the Hocken

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019 | Hocken Collections | 4 Comments

Post researched and written by Ali Clarke, Collections Assistant (Archives).

One of the more poignant collections held in the Hocken archives is a small number of papers relating to the Kaitangata coal mine disaster (Misc-MS-0840). On 21 February 1879 a miner entered some old workings with a naked light and the firedamp (methane) within exploded. 34 men and boys underground died, some from the explosion and others from the afterdamp (the toxic gases left in a mine after a methane explosion, including nitrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide). It was, at the time, New Zealand’s largest mine disaster; sadly there have been larger ones since, at Brunner in 1896 and at Huntly in 1914.

The collection includes some newspaper clippings and photographs, but perhaps most interesting are the mourning cards for nine of the people who died in the disaster. These small cards (around 115 x 75mm) each bear the name and age of the person, along with a memorial verse; the verses vary slightly. Five of the cards are for members of the Beardsmore family: James Beardsmore senior, his sons Edward and James, his son-in-law Caleb, and his brother Joseph. Two other men in the family were also miners, but off work at the time of the accident. The Beardsmores had arrived in New Zealand as assisted migrants in an extended family group of 22 aboard the ship ‘Oamaru’ just two years before the disaster; they hailed from Lancashire. Four of the family were left widows with young children through the mine explosion.

James Spiers, who died in the mine disaster (left), his widow Elspeth Spiers (right), and mourning cards for their son James. Misc-MS-0840-1.

The Clutha Leader reported that, overall, the disaster left 25 widows and 105 fatherless children. Another of the men for whom we have a memorial card, and also a photograph, is James Spiers, who was a father of eight. His youngest was just a baby who died himself soon before his second birthday; the collection also includes memorial cards for that child. The community raised funds to support the families bereaved by the disaster, but it was not easy for a widow to support a family in an era before government social support payments. Many remarried fairly quickly. Joseph Beardsmore’s widow Caroline married Harry Denson later that year – he subsequently died in 1896 in the Brunner mine disaster.

The oldest mourning card identified at the Hocken. Ephemera collection.

Preston family papers, MS-1272/039.

The Hocken also has a wide variety of other mourning cards, or in memoriam cards as they were sometimes known. Some are in family papers and others are in our ephemera collection. The earliest I have located is dated 1859 and is for Hannah Longfellow, who died in Yorkshire. It has an elaborate cutout design and is mounted on velvet fabric for framing. The earliest card for a New Zealand death that I have located so far is a much simpler design, for John Edward Preston, who drowned in a creek on his family’s sheep station on the Maniototo in 1877.

Lyttelton Times, 1 December 1855.

Northern Advocate, 24 December 1898.

New Zealand Tablet, 19 August 1920. Clippings from PapersPast, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/, courtesy of the National Library of New Zealand.

Quertier family papers, MS-3001/062.

Quertier family papers, MS-3001/062.

From the Blue Spur House of Treasures photograph album no.1, AG-683/056.

Mourning cards were popular in Britain from the early 1800s, and there is advertising for them in New Zealand papers from the 1850s. The cards were imported into New Zealand, with local printers – often newspaper offices – supplying them and adding the personal details required. Embossed flat cards, like those from the Kaitangata disaster, were common at that time, but during the 1880s and 1890s small folded cards became more common, with decorative covers and personal details inside. Another style of card popular during the 1890s and early 1900s was a large flat card in black, with text and decorative features in gold. Some, like the Arthur Brook Quertier card shown, were manufactured in Australia by the Memorial Card Company; the personal details would have been added locally. Occasionally memorial cards included a photograph. A rather unusual one in our collection is a 1901 card for Fred Hancock of Lawrence, produced by Wellington photographer David Aldersley, with a photograph of Hancock and a flower border. Most cards carried some sort of imagery, and many were beautifully designed.

A selection of In Memoriam card covers from the H.S. Tily papers, MS-3153/005.

Frank Tod papers, MS-3290/114.

The messages on cards varied between people and through time; many carried religious messages such as Bible verses, hymns, or poems with a spiritual flavour reflecting on death and the afterlife. Twentieth-century Catholic memorial cards frequently included a prayer readers could offer for the deceased person. The simple verses on the cards for the Kaitangata mine disaster victims reflected the shock of their sudden deaths; they refer to their grieving wives, children and friends, and some referred to the hope “we’ll meet in heaven again”. Today, exactly 140 years after the mine disaster, we remember the victims and their families.

Preview (opens in a new window)

A Brief Glimpse at Chinese Immigration to Otago

Monday, January 21st, 2019 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

Post researched and written by Emma Scott, Collections Assistant.

On 15 September 1865 a special meeting was held by the Otago Chamber of Commerce at the Athenaeum building to consider whether an invitation should be extended to the Chinese to immigrate to the Otago Province to work on the gold fields. Mr W.A. Tolmie began the discussion by stating that Otago was unlikely to retain the population as it currently stood and that his experience of the Chinese in Australia was that they were “valuable colonists; were a well behaved class, and produced large quantities of gold and were large consumers”. Mr Ewan moved “that a committee be appointed to wait upon the government to urge the Executive to give an official letter or notice to the effect that the lives and property of any Chinese coming into the Province will be protected”. The motion was carried with only one member of the meeting being opposed. [1]

At the Hocken Collections we hold the archival records for the Otago Chamber of Commerce, this collection includes some of the minutes of the annual meetings held by the Chamber. In the minutes for the meeting held on the 10th of October 1865 [2], Chinese immigration to the province was commented on further:

Minutes of annual meetings held 1862-1870, 1874, 1883, 1884, 10 October 1865, Otago Chamber of Commerce Records, UN-022, Hocken Collections / Uare Taoka o Hākena.

The “leading chinese merchant in Melbourne” appears to have been Lowe Kong Meng. [12] There is evidence of his deputy Ho A Mee arriving in Dunedin in December 1865 on the South Australian to inspect the mining districts of the province. [3] [13] Five days after the Otago Daily Times had reported Ho A Mee’s visit, five Chinese passengers were reported to arrive in Port Chalmers from Melbourne on the ship Otago. [4] In the meeting the following year, on 2 October 1866, the minutes state that “upwards of a hundred Chinese have settled in the gold districts, and are working harmoniously with the European population; and as it is understood they are satisfied with the prospects offered by this province.” [6].

Settling in Otago to work on the goldfields was hugely challenging for the Chinese immigrants. Many of the Chinese had “few material resources, no mining tradition in China, and poor education (if any), which meant few were able to speak and write English”. Initially the Chinese made a good impression with the European miners and excelled at working on the land that was often already worked over and abandoned, but “European ill-feeling” grew against the miners as gold deposits declined in the late 1870s. As gold became more scarce, more fortunate miners returned to China while others moved to more urban areas to take up other occupations. [5]

Some of the Chinese miners who moved to Dunedin joined the Chinese community established in the area of lower Walker (now Carroll), Stafford and Hope Streets. This area was known as “Tongyan Gai” or “Chinese street” to some of the Chinese who lived there. [7] This area was popular because the accommodation was cheap and was also a place of work where laundries, grocers, greengrocers and fruiterers were located. [8] This area also had “minimal facilities, dirt, gambling dens and brothels” and was called the “Devils Half Acre” by Europeans [9], unfortunately this led to some negative perceptions of the Chinese community.

In the block map below dated around 1888 you can see some of the Chinese merchants located in Walker and Hope streets, including Wy Yeck and Wong Sing Tobacco Factories, and Joe How Cabinet Makers. Stones Otago and Southland Directory also lists some other Chinese merchants located in Maclaggan Street, Rattray Street and in Farley’s Royal Arcade, located in the block between High Street and Maclaggan Street.

Detail from “City of Dunedin. No. 7 & no. 8, part of Block VI”. Robt. Baré, draughtsman. (Dunedin: Thos. George Lith, [1888?]) Hocken Maps Collection: H++ 885.927 [1888?] gbb

The Royal Arcade from High Street. Hocken Archives UN-029 box 190.

In Dunedin in the 1900s the three main occupations of the Chinese were: fruit and vegetable retailing, market gardening and laundering. All of these occupations required working long hours and could be very physically demanding. The market gardeners worked an average of nine hours a day in Winter and twelve hours a day in summer, seven days a week. By the 1890s and the 1900s Chinese market gardens were established in Sawyers Bay, North East Valley, Kaikorai Valley, Tainui, Forbury and in South Dunedin. [9]

The photograph below of St Kilda dated around 1905 shows some cultivated land where some of the gardens were located.

Hocken Snapshop (10th Jul 2012). 1054_01_023A.jpg. In Website Hocken Snapshop. Retrieved 19th Apr 2018 11:40, from http://hockensnapshop.ac.nz/nodes/view/9802.

If you open this Hocken Snapshop link you can zoom in and see Chin Fooi’s laundry at 162 Rattray Street, which was established in the 1920s.

Advertisements and flyers for Chinese businesses are hard to come by, but in our posters collection we hold an advertisement for L. Gang & Co. Fruiterer that was located at 108 North Road on the corner of Chambers Street (where the Jumbo Dairy is now). According to the Stone’s Otago and Southland Directory, L. Gang & Co operated in this location from 1941 and continued to be listed there until 1945, from 1946 it became Wong & Co. Fruiterers. If you have any information about this business we would love to hear from you.

Gang & Co, Hocken Posters Collection.

Inviting the Chinese to immigrate to Otago had a significant impact on the region as the Chinese community played a “major role in the economic and cultural development of the province” and helped establish Otago as a commercial centre. [10] It is excellent to see some acknowledgement of the Chinese community with the Dunedin Chinese Garden opening in 2008 and a Rattray Street mural depicting businessman Chin Fooi painted in 2015. [11] The history of Chinese communities in Otago and Southland is a broad and fascinating topic, if you would like to learn more, I would highly recommend reading Dr James Ng’s set of books, Windows on a Chinese Past, which we hold at the Hocken amongst other fantastic resources on this subject.

References:

[1] “Chamber of Commerce,” Otago Daily Times, 16 September 1865. https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ODT18650916.2.16

[2] Minutes of annual meetings held 1862-1870, 1874, 1883, 1884, 10 October 1865, Otago Chamber of Commerce Records, UN-022, Hocken Archives.

[3] Evening Post (Wellington), 27 December 1865.
https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP18651227.2.6

[4] “Shipping”, Otago Daily Times, 25 December 1865.
https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ODT18651225.2.5

[5] James Ng, “The Otago Chinese Goldminers: Factors that helped them survive”, in Rushing for Gold: live and commerce on the goldfields of New Zealand and Australia, ed. Lloyd Carpenter and Lyndon Fraser (Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2016), 101-121.

[6] Minutes of annual meetings held 1862-1870, 1874, 1883, 1884, 2 October 1866, Otago Chamber of Commerce Records, UN-022, Hocken Archives.

[7] James Ng, “The Sojourner Experience: The Cantonese Goldseekers in New Zealand, 1865-1901”, in Unfolding History, Evolving Identity: the Chinese in New Zealand, ed. Manying Ip (Auckland, Auckland University Press, 2003), 12.

[8] J.M.A. Tuck, “The Devil’s Half-Acre: 1900-1910” (B.A. Hons diss., University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ, 1983) 10.

[9] Niti Pawakapan, “The Chinese in Dunedin between the 1920’s and the 1940’s” (M.A. diss., University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ, 1987) 10-58.

[10] David Fung, Turning stone into jade: the history of the New Zealand Chinese Association (Wellington: New Zealand Chinese Association, 2014), 109.

[11] “Artists still making their marks”, Otago Daily Times, 25 May 2015.
https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/artists-still-making-their-marks

[12] Paul Macgregor, “A Trade in Chinese Men and Supplies: Lowe Kong Meng and the organisation of the Chinese gold rush in Otago”, in Rushing for Gold: live and commerce on the goldfields of New Zealand and Australia, ed. Lloyd Carpenter and Lyndon Fraser (Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2016), 133-147.

[13] Pauline Rule, “The Transformative Effect of Australian Experience on the Life of Ho A Mei, 1838-1901, Hong Kong Community Leader and Entrepreneur”, in Journal of Chinese Overseas, ed. Zhou Min and Liu Hong (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 107-134.

Owner-bound music volumes

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

Post researched and written by Amanda Mills, Curator Music and AV

The Hocken sheet music collection houses some interesting titles and volumes, including a number of owner-bound volumes, which are, on the surface, intriguing collections of random choices of sheet music. We collect these from a number of places including auctions and sales, with a handful of volumes donated to us. The purpose of owner-bound volumes was to collate collected music, keeping it tidy and in good condition, and easier to use on a piano stand. Cultural capital was also important. Many had gilt lettering and leather binding, so were attractive to display. Also (like a contemporary music collection), they displayed the owner’s tastes in sheet music, and the subjective choices and organisation are displayed by the indexing, which was often hand-written.

These volumes tell stories of what was fashionable in music at the time, and available to purchase locally from dealers, although all volumes included sheet music that was purchased overseas, and therefore not widely available here. The content throughout all the volumes is a mix of song (piano-and-vocal), and music (piano only), and much of this is related to dance. However, Aline Maxwell-Scott, writing about jazz-age owner-bound volumes in Australasia, thinks women’s owner-bound volumes were more likely to include songs than men’s[1], although our volumes belonging to William Larnach show a substantial number of piano-and-vocal songs.

The practice of owner-binding sheet music dates to the nineteenth century, and is linked predominantly to both the mass publishing of sheet music, and to domestic amateur music making. This was largely the realm of women, as they were the primary providers of musical entertainment in the home, according to Maxwell-Scott[2], and she notes that playing the piano was an accomplishment that enhanced marriage prospects[3]. The female acquisition of musical skills maintained the social values of the developing middle classes, which was especially true for the Antipodes, where applying European cultural values to the uncivilised environs of the colonies was valued greatly. The piano was even considered “a kind of gigantic hearth God, to be placated by polish and performance, its altar covered in lace and candles”[4]. It was also women who drove the nineteenth-century market for sheet music and popular songs, and increased demand led to the rise in the production of this music, and expansion of the music industry.

The overall content of owner-bound volumes is eclectic, with different genres represented – sentimental song, classical piano pieces, operatic arrangements, comic bawdy numbers, and songs relating  to military or war subjects. Many were popular songs of the day. There is also the aesthetic nature of sheet music covers to consider, as many are beautiful, and still in extremely good condition. Over time, owner-bound volumes became more scarce, with a drop in number from the 1920s, correlating with the rise of the gramophone and the 78rpm disc.

The earliest owner-bound volumes in Hocken’s sheet music collection bear William Larnach’s name embossed on the cover, and date to around the 1880s. Although there is no date for the binding, it is likely to have occurred relatively quickly, as a way to collate the music, and also to signify cultural status. Larnach’s volumes are interesting, containing many songs from Sheard’s comic song annuals which were published overseas, although one piece, ‘The Old Flag’, was published in Dunedin by G.R. West, at 18 Princes Street. Unlike later owner-bound volumes, there is not much information annotated on the sheets, but the titles make for interesting reading!

Title from William Larnach’s owner-bound volume. ‘New Zealand Anthem: Dedicated by permission to Lt. General Sir William Francis Drummond Jervois K.G.C.M.G., C.B.’ by William Allan and John McGlashan. Hocken Sheet Music Collection.

Owner-bound volumes don’t always include local material, focusing on predominantly English or American titles. There are some exceptions, especially in one volume belonging originally to Lucy Maude Bayley, which features some rare local sheets by Charles H. Russell, published by Charles Begg in Dunedin. However, even if the music is not from New Zealand, the dealers were, and dealers’ stamps tell you what music was available at what dealer, with stamps for Begg’s and Terry’s, and later, Muriel Caddie (among others) frequently appearing. Also, these owner-bound volumes were predominantly collected by local individuals: their initials regularly appear on the front of the volumes, and the sheets are annotated with their names, and (often) addresses, so we can try and trace their lives. However, due to the sheets being trimmed for binding, these details are often lost, or at least severely cut, making it harder to locate owners.

Some volumes stand out and tell stories through the addresses, and annotations given. Harry Kelk’s owner-bound volume is one. Kelk (a teacher) emigrated to New Zealand from England in the 1870s, aged 16. His owner-bound volume has music sheets collected over a number of years, and although they have no dates printed on them, a couple have the dates hand-written on them. One of the later sheets (‘The Mikado Quadrilles’) has the inscription ‘H. P. Kelk, from his aunt Ellen, 1906’, while others have dates in the  1880s. There are some interesting inscriptions too – ‘Myosotis’ reads “Don’t forget the night you heard this first! Never!” and “A thing of beauty is you forever.” These sheets are all piano music, and predominantly waltzes.

Title from Harry Kelk’s owner-bound volume. ‘Myosotis’ by Caroline Lowthian. Hocken Sheet Music Collection.

Another recently-acquired owner-bound volume was originally compiled by Lucy Maude Mary Bayley, who was born in 1869 to Frederick and Lucy Bayley. Her volume features some interesting sheets, mostly piano music: polkas, airs, mazurkas, melodies, and studies. Four of these music sheets were locally published – ‘The Daily Times Mazurka’ (a polish folk dance in triple meter), was published and available from Kelsey’s (who were taken over by Begg’s in 1883), ‘The Colonial Mazurka’, published by G. R. West, and two rare pieces by Charles H. Russell – ‘Fern Leaves’, and ‘The Silvery Spray Mazurka’, both published by Beggs. While most of these songs are undated, we can get an estimated publishing date, as Lucy Bayley annotated some titles with a (purchase?) date.

Title from Lucy Maude Bayley’s owner-bound volume. ‘Fern Leaves’ by Charles H. Russell. Hocken Sheet Music Collection.

Finally, the three owner-bound volumes of Jessie Bell McLaren provide a slightly more modern comparison. McLaren was born around 1896 to David and Christina McLaren of 15 Crown St, North East Valley (her address is annotated on one of the music sheets). Her three volumes of sheets, titled Selections and Songs on the cover, still have their binders’ stamps, which identify Whitcombe and Tombs on Princes Street as the binder. These volumes are a diverse collection of mostly popular songs from theatre shows, but include a number of piano-only pieces, mainly waltzes and foxtrots. McLaren dated these pieces, so we can see the acquisition date, which was during the First World War. There are a few war-related sheet music titles, with some directly related to theatre productions about the Great War. While many of these titles were purchased in Dunedin or in other New Zealand centres (dealers stamps give the location), a number were sent to her from England. Written on the back of one sheet is a letter from a loved one, Bill, who sent the sheet from Stevenage, England during that time. This could be a co-incidence, but Jessie Bell McLaren married chemist William Francis Stanley Pollock in 1922, moving to Highgate. Is he the same Bill who wrote the letter?

Letter from Jessie Bell McLaren’s owner-bound volumes, from Bill to Jessie.

Title from Jessie Bell McLaren’s owner-bound volumes. ‘The Lilac Domino’ by Charles Culliver. Hocken Sheet Music Collection.

The remaining owner-bound volumes in Hocken’s sheet music collections date between the late 1800s and the 1950s, and all have thought-provoking selections of international, and locally-produced music. Not all are listed on the University’s Library Search|Ketu online public access catalogue, but we are working to make these volumes, and their contents, searchable. However, they can all be viewed in our reading room – please come and talk to our Curator, Music and AV if you would like to view them.

Title from Jessie Bell McLaren’s owner-bound volumes. ‘That Naughty Waltz’ by Edwin Stanley and Sol. P Levy. Hocken Music Collection. Note the Dunedin dealer’s stamp in the lower right hand corner, and that the sheet has been trimmed.

[1] Maxwell-Scott, 2016, p 192.
[2] Maxwell-Scott, 2016, p 189.
[3] Maxwell Scott, 2016, p 191.
[4] Crisp, L. quoted in Maxwell-Scott, 2016, p 191.

Stitching in the Detail

Monday, December 10th, 2018 | Hocken Collections | 8 Comments

Post researched and written by Megan Vaughan, Collections Assistant – Researcher Services

Hapua School, Parenga – sewing class (c.1900). P1990-015/49-328. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

This wonderful candid scene from the far north has turned up as an illustration several times over the years, captioned briefly or sometimes not at all. The sewing class image from Te Hāpua School is intriguing, prompting questions about the people, time and place, and it deserves to be more than an illustrative aside. This post looks behind the scene in an attempt to embroider a more detailed background to the sewing class on the veranda.

Most sources, like the Hocken, have estimated the date of the photograph to be approximately in the early 1900s, but Robin L. Shepherd, author of Te Hapua School: our 75th year identified the year as 1904 and the teacher as Mrs Greensmith. By 1904, Te Hāpua Native School had been in existence for eight years and Edwin Greensmith was the school’s third principal. His wife, Isabella Cleland Lloyd, was the assistant teacher. They arrived at Te Hāpua the year this photograph was taken and the wooden building seen in the photograph replaced the original raupō schoolhouse with its mud floor just five years earlier. Edwin and Isabella taught at Te Hāpua for only three years while raising their young family. Single men were not allowed to teach at native schools until the 1930s, and the majority of the head teachers in Te Hāpua’s first 75 years were men whose spouses shared the teaching load. The author of the history booklet, Robin L. Shepherd, was himself Te Hāpua’s eighteenth principal, starting in 1969, and his wife Gena Shepherd was the assistant teacher.

Te Hāpua School (initially called Pārengarenga Native School) was established in 1896 with Lucy Irvine as the first head teacher. The community had spent many years petitioning the Education Department for a school. The Ngāti Kurī people actually wanted the school at Kapo Wairua, even further north than Te Hāpua. However, the Education Department maintained it was too remote and it was easier for them to get a teacher and supplies to Te Hāpua instead. At that time, Te Hāpua was a lake called Lake Hōpua and in order to get the sorely needed school Chief Murupaenga of Ngāti Kurī drained the lake and set up a papakāinga there. In an historical account in the Ngāti Kurī Deed of Settlement, a retired politician commented that the area might have suited the Education Department but it caused numerous problems for the community including inadequate road access, flooding, lack of fresh water and deficient soil quality.

Indeed, health and access issues plagued the school and its community for many years. During 1906, the Greensmiths’ final year at Te Hāpua, the school closed for much of the year due to a meningitis epidemic. This was not the first time, nor the last, that epidemics forced the school to close. The previous head teacher, Mr Matthews, was moved to provide an extensive report on the health of the local children in 1903, noting “one hundred were ill, and nine had recently died, suffering from coughs, fevers and convulsions” (Ngāti Kurī Deed of Settlement, p.22). Access problems made the trip to school hazardous for many pupils. Shepherd noted the Raharuhi people kept their children from attending Te Hāpua fearing they might drown crossing the Waitiki River. This prompted Mr Greensmith to offer the use of his boat to ferry pupils safely to school.

Portion of: Te Hāpua / drawn by N.M. Dudley. Wellington N.Z.: Lands and Survey Dept., 1959. Hocken Maps H++ 830/NZMS2/N2/7 1959. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Although it was drawn over fifty later, the map shown in part above is beautifully detailed and gives us more of an idea of the topography of Te Hāpua and its surroundings. The Waitiki Channel and stream, which was a problem for many children on their way to school during the early years, can be seen to the west of Te Hāpua as well as areas of mangroves and swamp. The Hocken holds a physical copy of this map and the National Library has made a digitised version available.

Portion of: Topographical survey of the country between Hohoura Harbour and the North Cape. Wellington. N.Z.: Dept. of Lands and Survey, 1899. Hocken Horizontal Maps 841 1895a. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

The lovely watercolour map by T.K. Thompson shown above is earlier, from 1899, and marks the location of Te Hāpua School (“Native School”) to the south of Manuka flat.

The sewing class scene depicts a time when practical skills were prized and made a compulsory part of the school syllabus. In fact, the government wanted all schools, not only native schools, to focus on these more so than academic learning. To this end the Native School Standards of Education (in section 4 of the Native Schools code, 1880) stipulated that girls were expected to be able to thread needles and hem by the end of standard 1, and by standard 4 “to do button-holing, to sew on buttons, to darn stockings, and to be learning to knit stockings”. Some of the girls in the photograph are taking measurements, which suggest they may have gone beyond the syllabus into altering or making new garments.

An important part of any photograph’s story is its creator. Fortunately, The Turnbull Library, which also has a copy of the sewing photograph, has been able to identify the photographer Arthur James Northwood. Arthur and his two brothers, Richard and Charles were all photographers in the Far North from the 1890s to about 1940. They travelled by horseback enabling them to access remote areas taking photographs of the gum fields and the people that worked in them. They also photographed the teachers and pupils of Te Hāpua School. Shepherd’s book includes several images taken by Arthur and Richard Northwood in 1904. Arthur Northwood also took the picture below, which appeared in the Otago Witness in December 1908 (this image does not appear in Shepherd’s history). We all know that photographing children (let alone large groups of them) brings challenges, making “A study in smiles” remarkable with a group of no less than seventeen boys smiling simultaneously for the camera.

Northwood, A.J. (1908). “A study in smiles”: Māori boys at Te Hāpua School, Auckland, the most northerly in New Zealand. Otago witness supplement, 30 December 1908, p.47. Dunedin, N.Z. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Clearly, there is a lot more to the sewing class photograph than its simple captions, but research also raises further questions. Who were the children in the photographs? The girls have obviously survived the epidemic of 1903 that prompted school principal Mr Matthews to compile a health report on each child in the area, but how did they fare in the meningitis epidemic the following year? Did Arthur Northwood take the photograph of the boys on the same visit in 1904, and if not, when? Some of the answers may lie in the old school records held in the Te Ahu Heritage Museum in Kaitaia. There is certainly room for more detail to be stitched into the Te Hāpua sewing class scene.

Sources:

Barrington, J.M., & Beaglehole, T.H. (1974). Maori schools in a changing society: an historical review. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Dragicevich, K. (2015). The gumfield collection: 100 years on – looking back: photographs by Arthur and Richard Northwood, 1898-1940. Awanui, N.Z.: Willow Creek Press.

Education: Native Schools (1897) in Appendices to the Journals of House of Representatives, E-02, 1897, Session 2, retrieved 27 April 2018, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/parliamentary/AJHR1897-II.2.2.3.6?end_date=31-12-1897&phrase=0&query=te+hapua&start_date=01-01-1897

Education: Native Schools (1905) in Appendices to the Journals of House of Representatives, E-02, 1905, Session 1, retrieved 27 April 2018, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/parliamentary/AJHR1905-I.2.3.3.7?end_date=31-12-1905&phrase=0&query=te+hapua&start_date=01-01-1905

Education: Native Schools (1907) in Appendices to the Journals of House of Representatives, E-02, 1907, Session 1, retrieved 27 April 2018, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/parliamentary/AJHR1907-I.2.3.2.7?end_date=31-12-1907&phrase=0&query=te+hapua&start_date=01-01-1907

(Hapua School, Parenga – sewing class c.1900) [photograph]. P1990-015/49-328. Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Mead, Sidney M. (2016). Tikanga Māori: living by Māori values. Wellington: Huia Publishers.

Morris, M. (2010) ‘Unpaid domestic work – Making clothes and preserving food’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, retrieved 27 April 2018, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/23326/school-sewing

Ngāti Kuri and The Crown deed of settlement of historical claims (2014), retrieved 27 April 2018, http://www.ngatikuri.iwi.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/NK_DOS_Historical_Claims.pdf

Northwood, A.J. (1908). “A study in smiles”: Māori boys at Te Hapua School, Auckland, the most northerly in New Zealand. Otago witness supplement, 30 December 1908, p.47. Dunedin, N.Z.: Josian Lye for the Otago Daily Times and Witness Newspapers Co.

(School records [Te Hapua Public School]) [catalogue entry]. Te Ahu Heritage Museum, retrieved 27 April 2018, http://www.nzmuseums.co.nz/account/3293/object/608238

Shepherd, R.L. (1971). Te Hapua School: our 75th year. Te Hapua, N.Z., Te Hapua School.

Simon, J.A., Smith, L.T., Cram, F., and University of Auckland. International Research Institute for Maori and Indigenous Education. (2001). A civilising mission? : perceptions and representations of the Native Schools system. Auckland, N.Z.: Auckland University Press.

Sylva, T. (2014). In the matter of the Treaty of Waitangi act 1975 and in the matter of the Muriwhenua land claim (WAI-45), retrieved 27 April 2018, http://www.ngatikuri.iwi.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Wai_45_Tuini_Sylva.pdf

Te Hapua / drawn by N.M. Dudley [map]. 1959. Wellington N.Z.: Lands and Survey Dept. Hocken Maps H++ 830/NZMS2/N2/7 1959. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Topographical survey of the country between Hohoura Harbour and the North Cape [map]. Wellington. N.Z.: Dept. of Lands and Survey, 1899. Hocken Horizontal Maps 841 1895a. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Influenza and the armistice celebrations of 1918

Sunday, November 11th, 2018 | Hocken Collections | 1 Comment

Post written and researched by David Murray, Archivist

This year marks one hundred years since the devastating influenza pandemic that claimed between 50 and 100 million deaths worldwide. It arrived in New Zealand not long before the armistice at the end of World War I. Soldiers returning on troopships were among those who unknowingly brought the flu here, particularly contributing to the highly infectious second wave of the virus. Influenza claimed the lives of 9,000 in New Zealand, and Māori suffered a death rate eight times that of the Pākeha population. The total was equal to about half the number of New Zealanders killed in the war, and over a period of just two months.

A striking aspect of the tragedy was the contrast between the jubilation of the armistice celebrations and the emerging horror of spreading disease and rising mortality. The armistice was declared on 11 November 1918, and widely celebrated in New Zealand on 12 November. By this time some emergency hospitals had opened, and authorities were taking steps to better treat patients and prevent the spread of the virus. The Chief Health Officer urged celebrations be postponed, and no excursion trains were allowed. Schools were closed, and large gatherings of children prohibited in the North Island. Mass celebrations were banned in Auckland, but many cities and towns celebrated with large processions, brass bands, and public speeches. These events contributed to the spread of influenza.

Crowds, including children, at the armistice celebrations in Princes Street, Dunedin, on 12 November 1918. This photo by Guy Morris was originally published in the Otago Witness, 20 November 1918. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena.

Despite a warning from District Health Officer Dr Irwin Faris, crowds thronged the streets of Dunedin. A letter in the Hocken Collections paints a vivid picture of the scene here. Nan Drennan wrote to her mother on 17 November 1918:

Well! Peace has come at last! My first thought, when I heard the bells, was, “What would I not give to be at home today”? However, that is not possible, so here goes – I think it was last Monday I finished off my letter to you & on Tuesday morning, just as we were performing our ablutions the bells & whistles began, & after that it was pandemonium. Murray went down to work in the forenoon, but came home early, & after dinner we set out in the car, with flags waving, & decorated with red white & blue rosettes. We called in on Mrs Gowland as I knew she would not be able to walk much, so she was highly delighted, & we continued down town, the streets were simply packed with people & vehicles, & a procession was going through the streets. Mrs Throp & the family were hanging out the windows of her husband’s rooms, so they waved to us to come up, which we did, & found tea being dispensed, so we all had a cup, & got an excellent view of the proceedings, then Mrs Gowland insisted on our going up there to tea, so we got into the car again, & went along Princes St. as well as we could for crowds of people, & so up the hill […] Since then, things have been real quiet, as influenza is so rampant that all the picture-houses, theatres, churches, & every place where folk gather, have been closed for a week, even the shops were shut for 3 days, to get fumigated. I expect Tuesday’s proceedings were responsible for many new cases, the crowds were so dense, but the health authorities have been very wise in taking drastic measures at once. It was perfectly dreadful in Auckland a short time ago, & a severe type, but now it is abating there. There are some bad cases here, but, as I say, the health people are wide awake. [Hocken Archives Misc-MS-1308/001]

As Nan described, further closures of places of entertainment and gathering followed the celebrations. Geoffrey Rice, in his authoritative account of the influenza pandemic’s effects in New Zealand, calculated that the peak of mortality in New Zealand was on 23 November. By December the worst was over, and the country began its recovery from the trauma of both war and disease. Large-scale peace celebrations were held in July 1919, following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

The ‘Central Bureau’ for influenza relief in the old post office buildings at the corner of Princes and Liverpool streets, Dunedin. The signs on the loaned cars read ‘Medical Aid’. Guy Morris photo, Otago Witness, 4 December 1918. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena.