Hocken Snapshop now feeding into Digital NZ

Monday, May 12th, 2014 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

We are very pleased to announce that the Hocken Snapshop database of around 30,000 images of our photographic collections is now feeding into Digital NZ. This provides different functionality than Snapshop, and allows you to search for Hocken images along with 27 million other digital items from across NZ. You can search across all 27 million at once or narrow your search using the filters system on the site.

Thanks to the Digital NZ staff and also to NZ Micrographics, who designed and support the Recollect database that we use for Snapshop.

Check out Digital NZ from this link http://digitalnz.org.nz/

 

 

 

 

Holidays at Hampden

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

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

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

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

S14-031d

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

And a similar view taken recently.

UnknownPost prepared by Anna Petersen, Assistant Curator of Photographs

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

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 | Anna Blackman | 3 Comments

 

NZRLanternSlide

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blog post prepared by Natalie Poland, Curator of Pictorial Collections

Pacific Island Treasure and Mystery at the Hocken

Friday, August 2nd, 2013 | Anna Blackman | 5 Comments

Post prepared by Anna Petersen, Assistant Curator of Photographs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

[5] Fischer, pp.435-6.

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

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

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

Rope and more : Work completed on Donaghys collection

Monday, April 15th, 2013 | Anna Blackman | 1 Comment

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

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

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

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

David Murray

 

 

Preparation for the Transit of Venus in 1882

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 | Anna Blackman | 3 Comments

The 1882 transit of Venus, attracted widespread interest as it has in 2012. Two official observatories were designated in Otago: at Dunedin (with observers R. Gillies, A. Beverley and Henry Skey), and at Clyde (Dr James Hector, Director of the Colonial Museum in Wellington). We are fortunate that the Hocken Collections include a letter written by Hector about his experiences at Clyde as well as a photograph of his temporary observatory for the transit due on 7 December 1882.

Temporary observatory at Clyde, 1882. From left, unknown, Rev Mr Clinton, James Hector (in observatory. The telescope is a six-inch Cook telescope, on loan from Mr G.V. Shannon of Wellington).
Hocken Collections: S08-223. The photographer is unknown
 A few years earlier there had been another transit of Venus, but observations throughout New Zealand were generally disappointing because of poor weather. Central Otago skies are generally clearer than most other parts of the country, and it seems likely that Hector decided to make the observations there himself, having missed out in 1874 due to cloudy weather in Wellington. He wrote to his wife, Georgiana, a few days before the Transit was due to tell her of the preparations that had been made. His letter (MS-443-3/21) is written, partly in ink and partly in pencil, on the back of telegraph forms:
Clyde
4 Decr. 1882
My dear Georgie
I am now ready for the Transit having finished the fitting up of the Observatory & nothing remains but to get my chronometer error and to practise with the Telescope & with my assistants so that they may be well drilled in their duties. Whenever I have been able to leave I have been off in various directions to see gold diggings & mines & last night I gave a lecture to an audience of about 200 which is a large number for this place. Some of them drove in 20 or 30 miles to hear it. I had made a lot of diagrams  on blank calico & it went off very well. So you see I have not been idle. There are a few very nice folks here but as a township it has gone back sadly. Indeed the whole of this district has quite a deserted look whereas it was at one time the most bustling part of N.Z. The diggers have all gone to other places but have left lots of good rich deposits quite untouched. The expense of living & of getting water for washing the gold has been the great drawback. If they would only contrive machinery to make the big river lift up part of its water to the level of the Plains there might be abundance of food grown & abundance of gold obtained.
Mr. & Mrs. Walter Johnston with Werry & Blair spent Wednesday night here, which made a pleasant change. They were such a mess of dust after coming thro’ the gorge but seemed to have enjoyed their trip up Lake Wakatipu. They were also at the Wanaka Lake. I was there last Sunday & found it lovely. I had not seen it for 18 years! & found very little change – except a few houses & farms, very little planting of trees, but a great destruction of native vegetation of all kinds by fires & rabbits. The borders of the lake & the little Islets all look quite bare. In the forenoon I basked in the sun in a beautiful garden that belongs to the hotel by the side of the Lake. It reminded me of Lucerne somewhat. In the afternoon I drove to see the Govt nursery garden where they raise trees for distribution in the district & in the evening went for a sail on the Lake in the Moonlight with a lot of children. I must take you to see the Wanaka some day. In the course of six months they will have a fine steamer on it.
I rode over to Galloway one day with Mr Clinton the clergyman to call on the Rees family who used to live in the Wakatipu Lake in olden days. One of the girls is going to be married to a young Clinton in a few days (a lawyer here). They have made Galloway such a pretty place – but he has only been managing for Robt Campbell & he has suddenly got notice to leave which is very hard on him. Another day I rode south to Alexandra & —— the river to examine  some new reefs near to where Frasers station is. He is down in Dunedin at present so I have not seen him.
I have a little sitting room & bed room at a queer tumble down Inn, kept by Mrs ?George, a fat old lady who makes us very comfortable. Ashcroft sleeps in the Observatory hut but has his meals with us. The Observatory is just out of the town on the edge of a plain that extends about 7 miles before it reaches the hills on the other side of the valley. I have taken possession of an empty old Iron house of four rooms & have fitted up all the topographic fixings & led in wires from the Telegraphic office in the Town so that we send messages direct. In front of the hut I have put up a canvas tent —— for observing from with the big telescope. I have lots of visitors on fine nights to see the stars thru it. We have had many dull days since I came up but the nights are generally fine. Last night we had hard rain for the first time (Sunday).
I hear the coach coming past the obs. so must run over with this. I will start back on Friday & hope to get home about Wednesday week.
With much love to all
Your J. Hector
Transit day was fine over most of New Zealand, and the Evening Post (7 December 1882) reported an almost unqualified success for the New Zealand observations. “The only failure among the more important observations was that of Dr Hector, at Clyde, whose view was vexatiously intercepted by a dense cloud almost at the very instant of contact. There are, however, amply sufficient complete onservations for all the purposes aimed at, and the 7th December 1882 will long stand as a red letter day in the annals of astronomy”
Blog post very kindly prepared by regular Hocken researcher, Simon Nathan.

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.

Soldiers, ships and the ‘Waimana scandal’

Friday, February 10th, 2012 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

Among the treasures in a box of odd bits and pieces discovered during one of the Hocken’s building manoeuvres is this 1919 blueprint of the TSS Waimana, showing “accommodation for Australian families”. We don’t know the provenance of this plan, but a little research on the wonderful Papers Past website revealed its link to an event labelled by newspapers “the Waimana scandal”.
The blueprint, MS-3755
The Waimana, a twin-screw ship, was built in Belfast in 1911 for Shaw, Savill and Albion, to carry immigrants and cargo on the New Zealand run. In 1914 the Waimana took on a new role as troopship, for which she was “altered out of recognition”. She was one of the largest of the steamers that departed New Zealand in October 1914 with the main body of New Zealand Expeditionary Force troops. After a rapid conversion, the Waimana could carry around 1500 men, 62 officers and 500 horses. Through the war, the ship returned to its more usual duties, transporting cargo to and from Britain, but in 1919 troopships were again needed. In June 1919 the Waimana arrived in Auckland with 1675 returning soldiers, whose “behaviour during the voyage was excellent”.
Troopships were not renowned for their comfort, but soldiers generally tolerated some degree of privation without too much complaint. When it came to their wives and children, though, they had higher expectations. In October 1919 the Waimana was fitted out, as per our blueprint, to carry a group of 500 or so returning Australian servicemen from London, together with 400 women and 100 children under three. As soon as the passengers arrived, complaints began about overcrowding and inadequate facilities and supplies. The final straw for some may have come when one of the many babies aboard had its toe bitten by one of the ship’s large complement of rats. The military hierarchy agreed that the complaints were justified and the passengers disembarked while better transport was sorted out.
The origins of the blueprint remain a mystery – perhaps somebody kept it as an example of how not to fit out a steamer for families on long haul voyages.
Blog post prepared by Ali Clarke, Reference Assistant
Waimana at the Cross Wharf, Dunedin, 1922. Otago Harbour Board collection, S04-167a

First NZ Exhibition 1865

Thursday, June 16th, 2011 | Anna Blackman | 6 Comments

Recent donations to the Hocken Library include three of the most significant images to come into the Photographs Collection over the last decade. They are interior views of New Zealand’s first international exhibition held in Dunedin in 1865. The sight of the main exhibition building which afterwards became the central block of the Dunedin Hospital has long formed a useful marker for dating early photographs of Dunedin city but modern researchers will delight in these views of the exhibits themselves.

Gifted by a descendant of Alfred Eccles, the main organiser of the exhibition and his son of the same name who wrote an account of the venture in 1925, the glass plate negatives came with labelled wrappings in the son’s hand and are obviously early twentieth century copies of original albumen prints. A fourth glass plate (figure 1) of the exterior of the main building, which was reproduced in the 1925 publication, bears the name of the photographer, J.W. Allen.

Figure 1

Figure 2 was taken just inside the main entrance and shows clocks and pianos in the Otago Court. These were mostly imported goods but the display did include the work of Dunedin inventor, Arthur Beverley, who won praise from the exhibition jurors for his ‘highly ingenious self-winding atmospheric clock’ (Eccles, p. 9) – nowadays on show in the Physics Department of the University of Otago and possibly to be seen here in the far corner in a slightly different case. Unfortunately the photograph does not include a view of the 21-feet high gilded obelisk which first greeted visitors, representing the 1,749,511 ounces of gold that had been exported from the colony up to the end of 1864 (Eccles, p.8).

Figure 2

Figure 3 is of the Furniture Court looking toward the Museum section on the Gallery Floor. The paper hangings offer a valuable sample of wallpaper designs that were fashionable at the time. The museum, organised by Provincial Geologist James Hector, included ‘Rock, minerals, fossils, birds, woods, dried plants, plans, sections, drawings and other objects arranged principally to illustrate the Geology and Natural History of Otago in 15 cases and a wall shelf’ (exhibition catalogue, p.56).

Figure 3

Figure 4 was labelled the Hawkes Bay Court but the display of Maori taonga does not correspond with the list of items in the published catalogue. While Ngati Kahungunu chiefs Karaitiana and Tareha and Pakeha collectors including Donald McLean contributed objects like taiaha and a waka named ‘Takitumu’, the three mere pounamu and hat described in the catalogue as ‘1 Native Mourning Head Dress’ answer only to Sir George Grey’s collection represented in the Auckland Court. High up on the wall samples of Grey’s fern collection may also be visible though again, there were others who contributed similar items for the display.

Figure 4

These newly acquired glass plate negatives add to the archival record of the 1865 exhibition already held in the Hocken and may now be used to illustrate future accounts of this historic event.

Post prepared by Assistant Curator of Photographs, Anna Petersen June 2011

Nobblers, duffers, and life on the goldfields

Friday, April 8th, 2011 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

The spirit of the Otago Gold Rush is colourfully captured in Allan Houston’s manuscripts. Not much is known about Houston, but he arrived from Scotland on the Hamilla Mitchell in September 1864 and was for a short time a self-described miners’ representative, practical digger, and storekeeper at Gabriel’s Gully. His manuscript, compiled in 1865, includes description of work and social life on the goldfields, politics, farming, commerce, flora, fauna, and settlements in Otago.


A group of Tuapeka men

Commenting on a digger’s reminiscences of the first rush in 1861, Houston wrote: ‘Of all unpoetical sort of things, one of the most so, is for a young, newly married person to “go off to the diggings”. He is indeed a brave, bold, man who can go straight home & without wincing quietly say “Wife I’m off to the new rush”! It’s more trying than “popping the question” for the decent man has a great chance of being considered insane by his affectionate partner in Life – “What! Going to the diggings? Eh! what do you mean, Sir?”’

Houston explains some of the lingo in use at the time, including:

  • Making Tucker: Getting gold only sufficient to make a living.
  • A Duffer: A failure – disappointment.
  • A Stringer: A small vein of gold that does not pay, but leads a digger on ‘Will-o’the-Wisp’ like, and ends in a ‘Duffer’.
  • Cockatoos: Small owners of land, but poor.
  • Jumping a Claim: Taking forcible possession – ‘Might being right’ ‘a-la-revolver’ – Any person having a ‘Miner’s Right’ or ‘Licence’, can lawfully ‘Jump’ the claim of those without this document.
  • New Chum: The latest arrival.
  • Old Identity: Old Settlers of Otago – Barracouta – i.e. a fish contemptibly applied to old settlers.
  • New Iniquity: The Victorian new arrivals.
  • A Nobbler: A glass of any Liquor – usually costs 1/- at the diggings. 
Houston’s description and photos of Balclutha and the Crown Inn.

These manuscripts would be a great transcription project for someone. The picture painted is sometimes a little too rosy to be convincing, but Houston was there and his writing is full of life, charm, and a sense of optimism prevailing over adversity. 

The scene at Gabriel’s Gully, 1865


Post prepared by David Murray, Assistant Archivist, from Houston, Allan: ‘The Gold fields of Otago, A.H.’s Jottings 1865 with Lithographic Illustrations. Memoranda of Otago Gold diggings and of Gold Diggers, from personal inspection and reliable information written in March 1865’ (Misc-MS-1413).