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Showing posts from April, 2015

Big O.E. online exhibition

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Our digital team at Auckland Libraries have created an online exhibition to complement the current Sir George Grey Special Collections exhibition, the Big O.E.
The exhibition is running until 14 June 2015 on the second floor of the Central Library and the online exhibition is located here.
Ref: Ron Clark, Oriana, 1960s, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1207-1448.

Onehunga soldiers’ roll of honour

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What must be one of New Zealand’s finest and most elaborate First World War rolls of honour is found upstairs at the Onehunga RSA, 57 Princes Street, Onehunga.
Sir F.W. Lang MP unveiled the Onehunga soldiers’ roll of honour in the town’s Carnegie Library on 25 April 1919. 
Ref: James D Richardson, Carnegie Library, Onehunga, 1915, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-1476.

The clues are in the small print

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Do you have any family members who had/have wedding anniversaries, or died between 1934 and 1970? If so, have you checked The New Zealand Herald anniversaries and death notices 1939 – 1970 [microform] : index & transcriptions slips*? You may just locate information that you have previously missed.

The names index was extracted from more than 22,000 handwritten transcriptions of death and anniversary notices. The second part of this resource contains the microfiched transcription slips.

The transcription slips contain the full text and date of the notice as it appeared in the newspaper. Usually the names of the people involved are included as well as a date and place. Sometimes there is even a reference to another source of information that may be followed up on later.

Often five or more people are named in an anniversary transcription slip. All of these names have been included in the index. There are over 100,000 individuals indexed, of which about 62,000 names are those of coup…

News from the Dardanelles

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On 29 April 1915 Prime Minister Massey announced in Wellington that four days earlier New Zealand troops had participated in the landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula in the Dardanelles. However actual photographs of military activities and living conditions at Gallipoli were sparse in the Auckland Weekly News Supplement until late July 1915. There were photographs of the naval warships trying to force a passage through the Dardanelles and bombarding the Turkish forts there. There was also the Roll of Honour; and its seemingly never-ending portraits of casualties must have alerted readers that something BIG was happening. But either distance, censorship, early lack of official photographers or the simple fact that the troops couldn't easily get their films developed meant the Auckland Weekly News could only gradually reveal the campaign to its readers as events unfolded. This little piece might shed some light on how Auckland Weekly News readers learned about life and death in the D…

Maps of Gallipoli

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Sir George Grey Special Collections hold a number of First World War maps of Gallipoli and surrounding regions. Seven of these maps have been digitised and are accessible via the Heritage Images database.

In April 1915, New Zealand soldiers, alongside those from Australia, Britain and France, invaded the Gallipoli Peninsula. This was to ensure an Allied naval force could break through the Dardanelles Strait and seize or threaten the Ottoman capital of Constantinople, and hopefully the Ottoman Empire might be forced out of the war.


The British landed at Cape Helles on the southern tip of the peninsula, while the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) landed half way up the peninsula, in order to cut off the Ottomans’ supply route to the south.
Neither force managed to achieve their primary objectives and the conflict soon turned into a stalemate of trench warfare.

The map above is of the Dardanelles and Bosporus around the time of the Gallipoli landings. The mountainous terrain is…

The forgotten New Lynn Gateway of Remembrance

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New Lynn’s First World War memorial was not erected until some years after the war. A proposal first made in 1920 to erect a soldiers’ memorial on the Triangle Reserve in the centre of town came to nothing. Eventually, Reverend W.P. Rankin, the minister at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Hall, took matters literally into his own hands, and erected a substantial brick ‘Gateway of Remembrance' on the corner of Matai Street and Margan Avenue outside his church. The Reverend Rankin was no stranger to bricklaying, having previously built the church hall himself.


Ref: excerpt from the New Zealand Herald, Volume LXX, Issue 21638, 2 November 1933, page 6.

Easter - illuminated medieval manuscripts and early printed Bibles

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This Easter Heritage et AL is featuring a selection of illustrations from our illuminated medieval manuscripts and images of some early (pre 1501) printed bibles. The illuminated manuscripts include a variety of liturgical and devotional books of differing types, some of which are described below.
These definitions are from Medieval & Renaissance manuscripts in New Zealand Collections by Margaret M. Manion, Vera F. Vines & Christopher de Hamel which is a comprehensive text on medieval manuscripts held in New Zealand. Missal "contains the texts used for the celebration of Mass, together with a liturgical calendar."Breviary "contains the texts used for the recitation of the Divine Office, together with a liturgical calendar."Book of Hours "A devotional book, popular with the laity from the late thirteenth century onwards. It contains a selection of short Offices, prayers and devotions, and is prefaced by a liturgical calendar. The Little Office of the Virg…

April Fool's Day - various races

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The first of April marks April Fool's Day. There is a long history of practical jokes being played on April 1 in New Zealand. George Reed reported in 1883 that Noah's Ark had been discovered and the story was reprinted in papers around the world, and in 1949 the radio host Phil Shone convinced the people of Auckland that a swarm of wasps were descending.

The BBC got into the fun in 1957 with a news item about spaghetti trees.

More recently NZ On Screen published a hoax biography of fictional film maker Colin McKenzie. A list of other New Zealand April Fool's hoaxes can be found here.

Whilst not a prank or practical joke I thought Aprils Fool's Day provided an appropriate opportunity to present some of the more humorous images in our photograph collections relating to various races staged in New Zealand through the years, plus a photo of a roller skater in a chicken suit.


Ref: Halftones Ltd. for the Auckland Weekly News, The chantecler craze, 14 April 1910, Sir George Gr…