Saturday, April 11, 2015

Australian Vintage, Part 1

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The following items are from an email sent to me by Graham E.  

The photos and captions are part of an item headed Australian Vintage: A tour back through Australia’s forgotten history and the source is:

The captions are also part of the original item, I found the snippets of history especially interesting.

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Beryl Mills, the first Miss Australia Quest winner

The first woman to be named Miss Australia was “21 year old Melbourne lass” Alice Buckridge, who won a one-off contest in 1908. The long-running Miss Australia Quest pageant didn't kick off till 1926, when it aroused “unprecedented enthusiasm”. Its first winner was 19-year-old Western Australian Beryl Mills, who spurned make-up and possessed a “smile revealing a bright nature and goodwill towards all mankind”. She's pictured here in Sydney in 1927 after returning from the United States, which she visited, to tour Australia. (A pervy letter in the San Francisco Examiner gushed that "Beryl Mills has the goods, she has them good and plenty".) Later in life Mills married an American and moved to the States, where she died in 1977. (State Library of New South Wales/Flickr)

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Novelist Miles Franklin and her monkey

Australian novelist Miles Franklin is best known for her novel My Brilliant Career, which was published in 1901 when she was only in her early twenties. The exact date of this photo, drawn from a collection taken throughout Franklin's life, isn't known — and neither is the reason she's holding a monkey. However, in 1933 Franklin published a book called Bring the Monkey, a spoof of English murder-mystery novels that revolved around a heroine asked to take her pet monkey Percy along to a weekend at the posh Tattingwood Hall. This monkey may have inspired the book, which was a critical and commercial flop. (State Library of New South Wales).

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Cool dog behind the wheel

"Francis Birtles" doesn't sound like the name of a bad-arse, but Francis Birtles was a total bad-arse: an adventurer, motorist and daredevil. In 1926 he completed the fastest cross-continet journey from Darwin to Melbourne (in eight-and-a-half days), and in 1928 he became the first person to drive from London to Melbourne (in nine months). Naturally, a bad-arse man had a bad-arse man's best friend. This photograph, snapped circa 1924, depicts Birtles' blue cattle dog Dinkum doing a fair imitation of his owner behind the wheel of a car, probably a Hudson. (National Library of Australia/Flickr)

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Surf sirens on Manly Beach

Before 1902, it was illegal to swim at Australian beaches during the day. After that, it was just unpleasant — especially for women. Prudish laws forced ladies to wear cumbersome bathing attire like "a full-skirted, knee-length dress, long bloomers, and stockings". By 1907, we were fed up: "The famous Australian girl swimmer” Annette Kellerman was supposedly charged with indecency in Boston for donning a more practical men's bathing suit; while back in Sydney, Waverley and Manly Councils sparked outcry when they proposed men wear skirted costumes to hide their shame. In the 1920s swimwear entered its glamourous “haute couture” phase, and by the late 1930s, these beach babes were confident enough to flaunt their stuff at Manly — though this style was still scandalous enough to be deemed “shocking” " by a stuffy local alderman. (National Library of Australia/Flickr)

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Mascot puppy brings good luck

Animals have joined military men and women on the front line for centuries, working to carry men and supplies, deliver messages and even track enemies. This cattle dog pup, while not on active duty, served as the mascot of a cookhouse at the 9th Australian Division in World War II. Thought to bring good luck, mascots offered companionship and boosted morale on the campaign. The puppy, drying off after a bath in 1943, is preparing for a visit by General Douglas Macarthur, Commander In Chief, Allied Land Forces, South West Pacific Area. As suited to being a mascot as the pup appears, it was not a role reserved for dogs — World War II also saw Time the Turtle serve as mascot of the 2/2nd Battalion. (Australian War Memorial/Flickr)

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Sydney’s lost Garden Palace

Sydney's magnificent Garden Palace, which stood on what is now the Botanical Gardens, was erected in just eight months to hold the Sydney International Exhibition in 1879. Under its glorious 64m-high dome were restaurants, tea rooms, an oyster bar and other grand sights. But one tragic 1882 morning, the Palace was totally destroyed by fire in less than an hour. Per the Sydney Morning Herald, "flames [rushed] up in long tongues to the dome … the stained glass of the skylight dropped in a molten rain", and then "with a crash like thunder the mighty dome fell in". The blaze's origins are a mystery, but here's the most intriguing theory: Sydney's leading families burned the Palace down to destroy census records stored inside, which "apparently exposed embarrassing secrets about [their] convict and squatter origins". (State Records NSW/Flikr)

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Antarctic scientist’s ice-encrusted mask

This frosty fellow is Cecil Thomas Madigan, a meteorologist on the Australasian Antractic Expedition organised by famed explorer Douglas Mawson, it charted new corners of the icy continent from 1911 to '14. One of Madigan's many adventures was the "East Coast Sledge Journey”, a spectacular 870km round trip from Cape Denison in 1912 that took in many "wonderful" panoramas. His duties included measuring Antarctica's record cold temperatures and fierce winds, which grew so powerful one night they tore apart his tent. The ice-encrusted helmet in this photograph was made by luxury brand Burberry — initially known for its hardy outdoor wear. (State Library of New South Wales/Flickr)

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More to come in future Bytes

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