Showing posts from 2014

New Year’s Festivities


Summer Holidays

The few weeks over Christmas and New Year are a popular time for many in New Zealand to take some time off from work and, weather permitting, enjoy some fun in the sun.
So whether you’re working through the summer holidays, at the bach or even in a different hemisphere we hope you enjoy this collection of images of New Zealand summer holidays.
Last week we wrote about the interesting story behind the Riverhead Dump photograph collection. All of the images in this post are also from that collection. 
Ref: Sports car, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1055-136.
Ref: Auckland Harbour Bridge, 1960s, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1055-109.

Christmas in New Zealand

It is becoming a bit of a tradition at this time of the year on Heritage et AL for us to highlight some of the Christmassy items and images we have in our heritage collections at Auckland Libraries.
Ref: W. Reid for the Auckland Weekly News, A merry Christmas, 15 December 1904, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19041215-1-1.

Angela Morton Collection

On Wednesday morning, the 17th of December, at Takapuna Library there was a small gathering of staff (past and present) and members of the public to celebrate the re-opening of the Angela Morton Art History Collection. This collection is housed in the Angela Morton Room on the first floor of the newly refurbished Takapuna Library.
Ref: Christina Webb, Takapuna Library, Strand Plaza, Takapuna, 3 August 2010, North Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, T7367. 

Riverhead Dump Photograph Collection

We’re very pleased to announce that we've recently had a new collection of photographs from Sir George Grey Special Collections added to Heritage Images.
The intriguingly named ‘Riverhead Dump’ collection has a very interesting story behind it. 
Ref: Unidentified harbour, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1055-60.

Dorothy Helen Facer’s silk postcard album

The origin of the cardboard album which holds Dorothy’s silk postcard collection is unknown. The date that it was made is not known either. Perhaps it was bought in the early 1900s, or perhaps at a later date when the owner wished to keep the cards protected from wear and tear. Dorothy may have purchased the album from a store, or maybe a family member bought it for her as a gift.
This object was originally made to house photographs as can be seen from the embossed title on the front cover. It is made of heavy brown cardboard, the spine is bound with brown thread to match the colour of the cover and the leaves of the album. The condition of the album is very good.
This sturdy photograph album has functioned very well as the object used to house these silk postcards which were sent to Dorothy Helen Facer.
Please do take a look inside: 

In August, Leanne blogged about some of the WW1 silks that we hold in the Ephemera Collections. Replicas of the silks in that post are still available to p…

Old Colonists’ Museum Ephemera Collection

Over the next few months we’ll be running a series of posts featuring the digitised items in the Ephemera collections of Sir George Grey Special Collections, specifically focussing on the Old Colonists’ Museum (OCM) Ephemera Collection.

The Old Colonists’ Museum was opened by Mayor J.H. Gunson on the 22 March, 1916 and was located in the same building as the Auckland Public Library and the Auckland Art Gallery.

Ref: James D. Richardson, Looking east from Lorne Street showing Auckland Public Library, c1903, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-2416.

An inside view of Freemasonry from Auckland’s United Masters Lodge No. 167

The history of freemasonry in New Zealand goes back to the 1830’s and includes members such as Sir George Grey, former Prime Minister William Ferguson Massey, Sir Peter Buck and Sir Mason Durie. Now 100 years of local and international Masonic history is available to view on a CD-ROM containing Auckland’s United Masters Lodge No. 167 Transactions periodical, 1909-2009, revealing a detailed picture of Freemasons’ ethics, ceremonies and symbols.
Several items document early Freemasons activities in Auckland including the first recorded meeting at which members were present - the laying of the foundation stone of St Paul’s Anglican Church, then in Emily Place, in 1841.
Ref: Excerpt from Auckland Star, Volume XXVI, Issue 231, 27 September 1895, p.5.
The first Lodge in Auckland to build its own meeting place, Ara Lodge, held their meetings in the Exchange Motel, Shortland Street, before moving in February 1844 to the Royal Hotel, where the Northern Club now stands. In 1845 they decided to bui…

Poor Law records - Part one

This is the first in a series of blogs about Poor Law and how to research your ancestors in the variety of documents relating to the poor both in New Zealand and Great Britain.

Many records relating to the poor have been created over the centuries and I hope that this gives an insight into the wide variety of material available.  Poverty not only breeds contempt but, often from necessity, crime.  Look at records for bankruptcy, debtor’s prison, Petty and Quarter Sessions, Assize records, militia/militia records and of course, prison records as well.
New Zealand                                                                            Unfortunately, there are no records that are identified as "poor law" records although laws were introduced concerning how to treat and what to do with the destitute.  Much care of the poor in New Zealand fell to charities, hospitals and the police.  The first place to look is Archives New Zealand. The website Archway lists some of the records …

St. James Theatre

Queen Street’s St. James Theatre has been in thenewsrecently, with the announcement by its new owner of plans for restoration, in conjunction with the development of an adjacent 39 story residential tower.
The Category 1 listed building was opened in July 1928, with a performance of the London Musical Comedy ‘Archie’. The images below are the cover and the centre pages of the programme from that evening: 
Ref: New Zealand Ephemera - 'Archie' - A Musical Comedy In Two Acts. Gala opening performance of the St James Theatre, July 5 1928.Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries. 
Ref: New Zealand Ephemera - 'Archie' - A Musical Comedy In Two Acts. Gala opening performance of the St James Theatre, July 5 1928.Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries.

Contemporary Pacific Collecting

Kia ora, Talofa lava, Kia Orana, Malo e lelei, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Bula vinaka, Namaste, Malo ni, Halo ola keta, Mauri, Fakatalofa atu and warm Pacific greetings.

As many previous posts in this blog and our History Pin site have shown Auckland Libraries is very active documenting Pacific history.

Ref: Auckland Council. Artwork by Fatu Feu'u at the Pacifica Living Arts Festival 2014. 11 November 2014. West Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries. PAC-PLAF-2014-D-261.
A key role in documenting history is contemporary collecting. We have an active and targeted collecting program around Pacific events like the Pacifica Living Arts Festival. If you attended you would have seen our librarians walking around, taking photographs and talking to people. This content then gets added to Local History Online, which is a combined collection of local history indexes to images, community newspapers and oral histories. We are in the process of adding audio visual content as well as images, wh…

Eleven maps

Below are eleven of my favourite digitised maps from Sir George Grey Special Collections. There are over 8000 maps in Sir George Grey Special Collections and about 1600 have been digitised. 
A pictorial map showing where lighthouses are situated around the New Zealand coast.
This map can be classified as real estate advertising. It shows allotments  for sale in Campbell's Bay on Auckland's North Shore. 
The map above, with careful illustrations of trees and houses, is from the nineteenth
century and shows allotments for sale off Queen Street, Auckland.
A bird's-eye-view map of Auckland, showing the wharves, Parnell,  Symonds Street cemetery and Herne Bay.
A primary document from the New Zealand Wars, this is one of several hand drawn plans of the complex defensive pā at Ruapekapeka, built by Ngāpuhi leader Te Ruki Kawiti.
The pā had underground shelters protected by fortifications.

The map above is a nineteenth century hydrographic chart of Otago harbour.  As recently a…

Mount Tongariro erupts

New Zealand History’s website has a wonderful timeline which informs us that on this day, November the thirteenth, in 1896 Mount Tongariro ‘erupted spectacularly’. This initial eruption started a series which continued on for almost a year and it makes fascinating reading browsing the contemporary accounts on Papers Past. Te Ara have a picture of Tongariro erupting that they have dated as likely from this time.

Ref: Auckland Weekly News, Showing Ketetahi sulphur springs on Mount Tongariro, 2 October 1902, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19021002-7-3

Remembrance on Armistice Day

Today, November the eleventh, is the anniversary of Armistice Day, which commemorates the signing of the armistice between Germany and the Allies to end fighting on the Western Front of World War One.
The Auckland Weekly News Photographic Supplement contains many images relating to Armistice Day beginning with the singing of the armistice in 1918. The selection of photographs below show how Armistice Day was remembered by earlier generations around New Zealand and the Pacific:
Ref: Auckland Weekly News, parade of school cadets in Queen St., 17 November 1921, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19211117-34-1

Hippie architecture: geomantic ideas and vibes

“I was astonished by the inventive beauty of the hippie architecture,” film-maker Dan Salmon said, to the New Zealand herald, after researching New Zealand’s back-to-landers for his documentary Dirty bloody hippies.

“Some of the houses, pulled together from hand-milled timber and demolition materials were absolutely mad, others were sensibly warm and cozy, with steep-pitched roofing and attic bedrooms echoing our early pioneer cottages.”
Ref: J. T. Diamond. Old school, Wairere Road, rear view, shows the watertank.1960 J.T. Diamond Collection,, West Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries.JTD-01A-01591-2.

The Pigeon Post of Great Barrier Island

The Great Barrier Island Pigeon Post was the first in the world to use pigeons to deliver mail using postage stamps, although they were “unofficial” stamps. The Great Barrier Island pigeon post service was started after the sinking of the SS Wairarapa in October 1894.  This ship ran aground on the remote north side of Great Barrier Island.

Ref: James Richardson  Showing the Wreck of SS Wairarapa at Miners Head, Great Barrier Island, 1894, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-102
About 121 lives were lost. News of the disaster didn't reach Auckland until two or three days later. It highlighted the need for better communication with the island. The first message of the pigeongram service was carried by one of Mr Parkin’s pigeons, on May 14th 1897. You can read the full page article in the Auckland Weekly News here.
Ref: Auckland Weekly News, A kit of racing pigeons, 15 September 1899, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-18990915-6-4

Te Ara

Auckland's Town Hall

The Heritage Images database has a marvelous feature called ‘Through the decades’ that shows how a building and its surroundings change over time. Some of the significant places featured include Albert Park, the Ferry Building and in its prominent Queen Street location, the Auckland Town Hall -- a building of cultural significance noted for its unusual shape. It has been described as “a wedge of cheese or a decrepit flat iron.”
The dozen photographs in the 'Through the decades' section document significant aspects of the Hall's history from its construction in 1910, to the creation of Aotea Square in the 1970s.

Point Chevalier's Liverpool Estate

A few months back we took a look at the Victory Estate in Mt Roskill, an area named in commemoration of First World War military men. A few years earlier, just across the way in Point Chevalier, there was an equally interesting parcel of lots known as the Liverpool Estate. This piece of land is bordered at one end by Great North and Point Chevalier Roads. Besides housing, it now contains a supermarket, assorted shops and the Point Chevalier Community Library.

The estate was created in 1913 by a group known as the Liverpool Estate Syndicate and was marketed as a “last opportunity” to acquire main road frontage close to the city. It was only a fifteen minute walk to the Arch Hill terminus and a significant selling point was that a motorbus passed by. The Point Chevalier Motor Bus Company ran from 1915-1920 and was owned by prominent locals, including a member of the Dignan family. Following the First World War with the rising price of oil, it went in to voluntary liquidation. Estate lan…


The item in the image below belongs to a group of books collectively referred to as incunabula -- items which were printed (not handwritten) before the year 1501 in Europe.

There are 106 incunabula in Sir George Grey Special Collections.

Revelationes was printed in 1500 in Nuremberg. Auckland Libraries' copy was a donation from Sir George Grey. Iain Sharp in Real Golddescribes Revelationes as 'a blend of theological meditation, biblical lore and spiritual autobiography'. Revelationes was dictated to the confessors of Saint Birgitta, a Swedish mystic, over a period of twenty years. It is generally accepted that Albrecht Dürer designed the woodcuts, even if someone else did the physical cutting of the blocks.

Our girls, our boys

For the past few months, the heritage floor, on the second floor of the Central City Library, has hosted a display titled Our Girls -- a tribute to the role of women in the First World War. The content covers the following topics: prohibition and making-do, cartoon depictions of women, the anti-militarists, the fundraising effort, working girls, nurses abroad, and the absence of men.

It has been an interesting exercise to find images to cover such a variety of topics. Women were not always portrayed favourably, especially in the political cartoons of the day. Publications like Freelance and Truth condemned the ‘wowser’ prohibitionists as out to spoil a boy’s fun (men did not escape the condemnation, either) or they depicted women as vain and ignorant. 

The caption for the cartoon above reads: 
Shopman: “Yes, Miss, all face powders have gone up in price on account of the war.”
Young lady: “Oh, isn’t war terrible!”
Yet, while women did not fight in the First World War, they did step up. T…

Ron Clark's colour slides

Sir George Grey Special Collections recently acquired a wonderful collection of colour slides taken by Ron Clark mostly in the nineteen-fifties, sixties and seventies. They are accessible via the Heritage Images database.

Photographs from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are a strong part of the Sir George Grey Special Collections image collection.

The Ron Clark slides span the mid-twentieth century, filling a time period gap in Auckland Libraries' photograph collections. Life in New Zealand is captured in wide-ranging ways. There are scenes showing urban and rural activities, family gatherings and outings, interior shots of homes, churches and hospital wards, beach visits, overseas holidays, public events and building construction sites.

Radcliffe's scenes

Sir George Grey Special Collections has a large collection of glass plate negatives of scenic views of New Zealand taken by Frederick George Radcliffe.

Radcliffe came to New Zealand from England in the early 1890s. Soon afterwards his wife, Kate, and their two daughters, Harriette and Olive, joined him at his farm 'Utopia' near Paparoa, on an inlet of the Kaipara Harbour.

Radcliffe's interest in photography grew and he quickly acquired a reputation as an exceptional scenic photographer. For twenty years he traveled the country taking photographs of small rural towns, large cities, rivers, gardens, buildings, beaches, wharves, forests, lakes and streets. From 1909, with the help of Kate and Olive, he operated a successful postcard business from his home in Whangarei. Radcliffe played the oboe, conducted local orchestras and was an active member of various music-related clubs in his community. He died at Onerahi, Whangarei, in 1923.

Below are some examples of Radcliffe'…