When Woolloongabba was Wattle Scented

Thursday, December 29, 2011

McWhirters Project Top Ten for 2011 - Flood, Quake & Baking Cake!

Mar 11, 2011 

Mar 10, 2011

Apr 15, 2011 

Dec 30, 2010 

May 17, 2011 

Apr 30, 2011

May 9, 2011 

Jun 12, 2011 

Oct 18, 2011

Dec 23, 2011

If there was a single word best to describe 2011 then 'disaster' would be it and it's disasters aplenty for The McWhirters Project Top Ten Posts for 2011. For 2012;  there is a note amongst my untidy digital desktop, simply titled PODCAST! 

The McWhirters Project will hit the road and extend its reach from the digital to the real world and back again with Brisbane's very first podcast dedicated to history. We'll visit the collections and meet the people who are responsible for some of Brisbane's cultural institution's and provide a forum for those involved in the preservation of Brisbane's architectural and cultural heritage. So if you're the manager of an archive, library or museum collection, expect me to be knocking on your door some time soon.

Finally, to my readers, tweeters, followers and pluses, your numbers are small but your influence is huge, so thank-you for your retweets, likes and +1's and I look forward to your support in 2012.

Happy New Year


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas at Sunny Queensland Beaches. 1930-50's.


Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954) 1 Jan 1940

The Central Queensland Herald (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1930 - 1939), 5 January, p. 7 Supplement: PICTORIAL, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page6912273

The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), 28 December, p.3 

The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954), 26 December, p. 8
, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page1998683

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Covers from The Australian Women's Weekly, 1933-54.

The Australian Women's Weekly 16 December 1933

The Australian Women's Weekly  28 December 1935

The Australian Women's Weekly 24 December 1938

The Australian Women's Weekly 28 December 1940 

The Australian Women's Weekly 28 December 1946

The Australian Women's Weekly 19 December 1951

The Australian Women's Weekly 29 December 1954

From Trove Australia

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Christmas From Your Garbage Man, 1954.


John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland
Record # 213224 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Should You Decimalize Christmas Pudding? Government Report, 1966.

There is an eighty-one page file held with the National Archives of Australia whose sole subject is devoted to the use of decimalised currency in Christmas puddings. The testing was conducted by the Sydney City Council Testing Laboratories in 1966 and put the new decimalised coins through a number of "pudding" scenarios. The situation seemed serious with reports marked "Confidential" and Treasury Minute Papers dedicated to the subject. And why the fuss?

The three-penny, the traditional pudding coin, was in short supply and there were concerns about the health effects of the new coins made of alloy materials. The end result? Decimalised currency in your pudding poses no health risk, but you do risk tainting your pudding with a metallic flavour. Check at the end of the post for a the "Australian Government Approved Christmas Pudding" recipe."

Front Page of the report prepared by the Sydney City Council Testing Laboratories.

Range of test coins from boiled puddings after 2 months.

Table of results for test coins from boiled puddings after 2 months.

'The new decimal coins and Christmas Pudding, Department of the Treasury Minute Paper.

 Draft Press Release "Don't Decimalise your Christmas Pudding." From the Copper and Brass Information Centre.

"Australian Government Approved" recipe for Christmas pudding.

National Archives of Australia, Item #12150861

Funnies for Christmas! Cartoons from The Sunday Herald, 1949.


1949 The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1949 - 1953), 18 December, p. 3 Supplement: Christmas Supplement, 


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Jantzen Swimsuit Advertising, Lambs of Queen St., Christmas 1952.


1952 'Advertising.', The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954), 18 December, p. 8

Make Every Queenslander Happy for Xmas - Full Page Ad, 1931.


1931 The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), 17 December, p. 7 Supplement: The Brisbane Courier Christmas Supplement 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Gough Whitlam's Crazy Christmas! Greetings Cards from 1975.

A more apt title might be "Christmas Cards of a Constitutional Crisis". You may throw your greetings cards away or recycle them, but if you're an Australian Prime Minister the National Archives of Australia will take care of that, and store them for perpetuity as part of the national record.

With a constitutional crisis and a Federal election in the weeks leading up to Christmas of 1975, these cards  are just a few of about 50 digitised files from the personal papers of Gough Whitlam's held by the archives. The senders of the cards are quite diverse and all supportive with some even still believing and fall into a number of distinct categories; the big end of town, the suburbs, the kids, the pensioners and even the cons.(see below, The Prisoners of Fremantle Prison)

Despite the initial outcry surrounding the Dismissal of the government public support quickly waned and Whitlam went on to lose the election to Malcolm Fraser's Liberal National Coalition.  The lesson being that an incumbent government will be severely punished if it gets in the way of Australian's Christmas shopping, no excuses!

"Wishing you a very Happy Xmas...and hope you wipe Fraser off the slate on 13th Dec. 1975. Hec and Margaret Harrower, pensioners and Labour voters for 52 years. 

 If I was an Australian transport industry oligarch, I'd be hedging my season's greetings both ways. Airline tycoon, Reg Ansett and family, from the compound at Mount Eliza. Reg was a good friend of the Liberal Party and forged a close personal friendship with Victorian Liberal Premier, Henry Bolte after he successfully hindered efforts by Peter Abele's ''Thomas Nationwide Transport', in a takeover bid for Ansett Transport Industries in 1972.

"Wishing you a Happy Christmas. You have the full support of all Prisoners at Fremantle Prison. We hope you win"
"Shame Fraser Shame...A Big Man With An Even Bigger Mouth."

"Merry Christmas Mr and Mrs Whitlam" A hand crafted effort by junior fan, Susan Gough.

"To Dear Mr Whitlam. Wishing you every success. Hope this brings you good luck, Dec 13th 1975 and the years to come"  Mrs Nancy Langley.

Unidentified good luck charm.

Considering the role the  Queensland Country Party Premier, Joh Bjelke-Petersen played in the downfall of the Whitlam government, a little irony, with a card from all at The Queensland Museum.

Source: The National Archives of Australia
Item # 5025217

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Kodak Box & Folding Cameras. Christmas Advertising, 1936.

All I want for Christmas is a Kodak Jiffy Camera.


1936 The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954), 23 December, p. 2,


Friday, November 25, 2011

Malvern Star Bicycles. Christmas Advertising, 1952.

Santa! All I want for Christmas is a Malvern Star!


1952 'Advertising.', The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954), 18 December, p. 5. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50533351

Friday, November 18, 2011

Queensland's Oldest Christmas Card? -Electric Telegraph Qld, 1892.

I was collection fishing through the digitised files of the National Archives of Australia and discovered this beautifully hand drawn document, dated 1892. Not quite a Christmas card but rather a draft of a Christmas greeting from the Electric Telegraph Officers of Brisbane. It is a mock up of a telegraph form, with three illustrated scenes.

My favourite is the cockatoo bursting through the top of the age holding up the centre of the ribbon greeting that unfurls across the top of the page, the detail of the damaged edge where the bird has burst through and what looks like clouds in the sky in the distance behind the bird.

Illustration of postal delivery with the inscription "Christmas Greeting" . A palm tree and those stormy clouds, a sense of tropical, stormy Queensland.

A telegraph officer working at his booth. The inscription on the sign reads,

The line is gladly chanting
Familiar music to the ear
Pouring forth in volumes
This festive season's cheers.

A stock man leaving to return home for Christmas? The inscription reads Christmas Eve.A Break

The illustration is bordered by telegraph poles topped by ceramic insulators, at the base of the pole on the right is a signature of the artist, W.S. Trevethan who was a coach builder from Toowoomba. His real claim to fame (aside from being a mighty fine artist) was that he and his brother were responsible for building Queensland's first car, which they drove down the range from Toowoomba to Brisbane in 1902.

The car has been restored and is still with us today, just surviving a bullock ram 1915. The damaged car was stored under a house in parts for many years until it was rescued, restored and last made it's public appearance when it toured Queensland as part the RACQ's travelling exhibition  'Bulldust to Bitumen...and Beyond'.

National Archives of Australia Item# 5053182
  • State Librbary of Qld Record number: 200339  
  • http://hdl.handle.net/10462/deriv/97216