Thursday, August 15, 2013

Picture This!

The Theme of History Week for 2014 is ‘Picture This’. The Week is on in 3 weeks time, running from September 7 to 14. The History Council of NSW explains the theme as follows:  “Driving humanity; reflecting change; imagining reality. In the image conscious 21st Century photographs shape the world. How has the development of the visual changed, informed and sculpted society? How do historians use art and photography to inform their research? Who were the original mad men of the advertising industry? Who were our image makers? People have long manipulated their images and all cultures have created their view of the world through visual representations. History Week 2013 will bring the past into view through the frame of images”.

We’d love to know about any photographs that you have that describe some part of the Norfolk Island story and help to bring ‘our past into view’. If possible we’d love to take a scan of any special images so as to be able to keep a digital copy in the museum collection. In this case with permission from the owner, the scanned photographs would be catalogued into our collection with the name of the owner as the donor and any future use of the images would be credited to the owner. In a way, allowing us to keep a scanned copy of your photos is like taking out insurance against any future loss or damage to the original. Please give me a call on 23788 or call in to the Pier Store on week days if you have any images you’d like to let us scan.

There is a rich photographic record of Norfolk Island from across the years. The beauty of this island has inspired local and visiting photographers since the camera was invented continuing to today, with our talented local photographers capturing our natural stunning environment. We have fabulous images of the buildings and people over time. The 8 metre montage of photos taken by Rev. Bice from the Melanesian Mission on display at the Commissariat Store Museum is an incredible record of the Kingston gaol area in 1867. A quick search on Trove calls up nearly 2,500 Norfolk Island images held in collections across Australia.

In the coming weeks we’ll be highlighting some of the amazing photos in our collection. For today, we have two photos that tell some of the story of the issuing of liquor on the island. The first is of Victor Edwards coming out of the Liquor Bond in about the late 1940’s to early 1950’s, which was then located in the current Administrator’s Office building. From 1857 liquor was strictly supervised. In Governor Denison’s 39 Laws and Regulations Clause No. 35 read “No beer, wine, or spirituous liquor of any kind shall be landed upon the island except such as may be wanted for medical purposes, and this will be placed among the other medical stores in charge of the Chaplain, to be issued at his discretion…”. An original permit issued to Mrs Colenso at the Melanesian Mission in 1898 on display at the Pier Store allows her to keep two bottles of brandy and two bottles of Woolf’s Schnapps!

From 1900 the law stated: “Persons applying for a permit to keep beer, wine or spirituous liquors will be required to produce a certificate from the Government Medical Officer, stating that the beer, wine, or spirituous liquors are required for medicinal purposes”. Clearly then from the photo, Mr Edwards must have been ill! Of course any restriction on alcohol will result in home brew being made, or as known on Norfolk Island, sup. Homebrew was made with anything that could ferment especially surplus fruit and even vegetables. It is said that the term ‘sup’ (soup) came from one enterprising lady who put an excess of parsnips to good use producing a very potent brew. From this time onwards sly grog was known as ‘sup’ and it was not unheard of for ‘sup’ to be served in a tea cup in mixed company.

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