Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Onehunga soldiers’ roll of honour

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. 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

News from the Dardanelles

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 Dardanelles.

Early in 1915 readers learned that the Allies’ objective was to invade Turkey by capturing the straits of the Dardanelles then breaking through and taking Constantinople (now Istanbul). After that they could establish a supply line to aid Russia via the Black Sea. In April the Weekly News helpfully published a map showing readers the scene of the action.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Maps of Gallipoli

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.


Ref: The Daily Telegraph picture map of the Dardanelles... , 1915,
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, NZ Map 4866.
The map above is of the Dardanelles and Bosporus around the time of the Gallipoli landings. The mountainous terrain is highlighted by the pictorial style of the map. There are inset maps of Constantinople, The Narrows, the Balkan states and Gallipoli.


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Online Cenotaph on the road

Yesterday at the Central Auckland Research Centre we successfully installed an Artefact Digitisation Unit (ADU).

As part of He Pou Aroha, Community Cenotaph the Auckland War Memorial Museum has created the ADUs to promote the redeveloped Online Cenotaph websiteOnline Cenotaph, developed by the Auckland War Memorial Museum in association with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage is a rich biographical database of New Zealand service personnel which provides a lasting legacy of the WWI Centenary commemorations.


Ref: Andrew Henry, ADU in Central Research Centre, 14 April 2014, Auckland Libraries.

The forgotten New Lynn Gateway of Remembrance

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.


Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Peace, prayer and reflection in South Auckland

Three years ago, when I started work at the South Auckland Research Centre I did not really know what to expect. I knew that the community was different to any library setting that I had worked in previously.

From a socio-economic point of view conditions vary greatly from place to place, it is young, it is vibrant, and it is multi-cultural. I noticed the strong sense of community. I was welcomed with warmth; there is a tangible spirit of generosity here. I had moved from a small city in the provinces to ‘the big smoke’. Now, when I go back to visit family there it feels like I am stepping back in time.

In geographical terms the South Auckland Research Centre collects material from across a large area. South Auckland has a rich and deep history. Boundaries have been created, merged, changed and expanded over time. 


Thinking about my initial impressions of South Auckland led me to look for a way to highlight the community by drawing attention to some of the important photographs that we hold in our Footprints collection. The exhibition Peace, prayer, and reflection in South Auckland is a selection of portraits of people and buildings that have a connection with spiritual life and worship in South Auckland.

The exhibition runs from 2 April to 1 May at the South Auckland Research Centre on Level 1 of Manukau Library, so please do drop by and have a look. If you can't make it in take some time to look at the online exhibition. Below are a few of the images in the exhibition.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Easter - illuminated medieval manuscripts and early printed Bibles

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 Virgin Mary is often included, and from this element comes the name ‘Book of Hours’ or ‘Hours of the Virgin’."

The Rossdhu book of hours is contains large illustrations (miniatures) portraying the Passion of Christ, the saints, Lazarus rising and the ascension of souls to heaven, and is viewable in its entirety on Auckland Libraries website. The image below is from page 45, the Agony of Christ. Christ is pictured praying in the Garden of Gethsemane while the disciples sleep. It is interesting to note, as Iain Sharp points out in Real gold, that throughout the Rossdhu Book of Hours all the figures depicted are wearing fifteenth-century garb.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

April Fool's Day - various races

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.