When Woolloongabba was Wattle Scented

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.




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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'.


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


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