Tuesday, 30 April 2013

New Lynn gets a makeover but remembers its past

New Lynn is under development. Stage two was completed when the Merchant Quarter in the historic heart of New Lynn was officially opened this year, signalling the completion of the second phase of growth.

The iconic new buildings reflect New Lynn’s geography and heritage. Inspiration from the west coast bush can be seen in the medical centre’s triangular precast concrete panels and the panel edge colours match Crown Lynn tea saucers. The cladding of the car park takes it cue from west coast beaches and the air vents reference those of the 1969 Holden Monaro.

Ref: JTD-11N-04189-3, New Lynn railway station, West Auckland Research Centre
Links to New Lynn’s history as the cradle of ceramics and pottery in New Zealand are signalled by public art made from bricks and the Ambrico Place brick kiln feature. Future public investment will include the development of Crown Lynn Park on the old clay pits site previously used by the iconic ceramics producer.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Caxton Press exhibition

Caxton Press is one of New Zealand's most influential presses. Its origins are with the Caxton Club Press which was run by Canterbury College students. The Caxton Club started eighty years ago in the basement of the University Clock Tower on the campus of Canterbury College, Christchurch.

During the first half of the 20th century, the press was well known for championing New Zealand's new literary talents. For example, the press was the first to print  the works of Janet Frame, Allen Curnow, Charles Brasch and Ursula Bethell in book form. It's adherence to the design and typographic principles of Eric Gill and Stanley Morison is also a distinguishing feature of the press.

The Caxton Press created what became 'Landfall', a very important New Zealand literary journal. Under the direction of Leo Bensemann, the press also produced finely-printed editions of works by Milton, Coleridge, Wilde and others.

Ref: AWNS-19131127-55-1, printing press, Sir George Grey Special Collections
An exhibition on the Caxton Press opened on the 5 April and runs until 30 June at the Reed Gallery, Dunedin City Library (3rd floor). Included in the exhibition, is a copy of the student literary journal Oriflamme. Printed in April 1933 this journal was the first Caxton Club Press publication and was promptly banned by the Canterbury College Council. The exhibition offers a range of first and fine editions, pamphlets, type specimen books, journal issues, book lists, and skilfully designed and illustrated works by Bensemann.

Auckland Libraries has a number of heritage resources about or by the Caxton Press, which can be viewed through the library catalogue.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Anzac Day

First marked in 1916, Anzac Day commemorates all the New Zealanders killed in war and it also honours returned servicemen and women. The commemoration date, 25th April, remembers the date that the New Zealand and Australian soldiers or the Anzacs landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915.

A new documentary, which screens on TV this Sunday, tells the story of one of the country's most distinguished, yet little known Anzac heroes. 'The Forgotten General' pays tribute to Major General Sir Andrew Hamilton Russell, one of the top-ranked divisional commanders of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles at Gallipoli. He was also overall commander of the 20,000-strong New Zealand division on the Western Front.

To commemorate and reflect upon this important day, here are a selection of Auckland Libraries' heritage images relating to Anzac Day, which are drawn from around the region and across the decades.

Ref: JTD-11K-01640-2, unveiling of New Lynn War Memorial on Anzac Day, 25 April 1958, West Auckland Research Centre

Ref: JTD-05J-03183, trampers at remains of wartime road block, Karekare, 1945, West Auckland Research Centre

Ref: JTD-04K-03812, unveiling of War Memorial on Lion Rock, 1920, West Auckland Research Centre
Ref: N0111016, Anzac Day gathering, Northcote, 1920s, North Auckland Research Centre
Ref: T1172, barbed wire defences on Takapuna Beach during World War II, Takapuna, 1942, North Auckland Research Centre
Ref: 1-W1595, recruiting station on Queen Street, Auckland Central, 1917, Heritage Images
Ref: 7-A5974, War Memorial gates and archway at Remuera School, no date, Remuera, Heritage Images
Ref: AWNS-1936042943-1, Anzac Day ceremony at Auckland War Memorial Museum, Parnell, 1936, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Ref: Footprints 01073, Anzac parade, Howick, 1954, photography by kind permission of Howick Historical Society, South Auckland Research Centre
Ref: Footprints 02039, children with machine gun from WW1, c.1920, photograph by kind permission of Howick Library, South Auckland Research Centre

Ref: Footprints 03458, veterans Papakura, 1997, photograph reproduced by kind permission of Fairfax Media, South Auckland Research Centre

Ref: Footprints 04206, Poppy sellers, Howick 2000, photograph reproduced by kind permission of Fairfax Media, South Auckland Research Centre

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Bump into your Icelandic relatives and ancestors using this new app

Iceland has a small population of around 320,000, most of which are descended from the 9th century Viking settlers. The size of the population and availability of records has enabled the genealogy of the country to be captured in a most extraordinarily detailed way

Iceland has a long history of record keeping and it is this that helped in the creation of a database, which was compiled using  variety of resources such as church records, census data, family archives. All of this geneaology information has been captured on 'Islendingabok', or 'Book of Icelanders'. This is an online database, which was set up in 1997. It holds a large proportion of the whole country's  genealogical information going back 1,200 years and includes information on a staggering 95% of the population from the last 300 years.

Ref: AWNS-19410716-29-5, Iceland, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Building on this achievement, software engineering students from the University of Iceland  have created an Android app as part of a competition for new and creative uses of the database.

The app has been very successful but has also raised media interest because of one of its functions. This is the 'Incest Prevention Alarm', which allows people to literally bump mobiles and tell if the new object of their desires is too closely related for comfort. Other less controversial features include a birthday calendar. The ease of accessing the geneaological information on the go through a mobile is however the main benefit of this development.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Mercury Theatre

Mercury Theatre on the corner of Karangahape Road and Mercury Lane is the Auckland region’s oldest theatre building. Originally named the Kings Theatre, the theatre was built in 1910 for the notable Australasian entertainment company, John Fuller & Sons. The Fullers were a well known vaudeville family who had arrived in NZ in 1895 and toured the main centres.

John Fuller realised the potential of silent movies and the need for a purpose built theatre for both live theatre and music. He obtained the land for the theatre and architect Edward Bartley was given the brief to erect the the theatre. Built in the Edwardian Baroque style, this brick building of three storeys has a  rare and regionally notable interior, which is a prime example of  original Edwardian Theatre. The building previously had three entrances including the former entrance through the Norman Ng Building on Karangahape Road, which has been more recently occupied by a series of food outlets and cafes.

Ref: 4-3408B, Mercury Theatre, c.1928, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Monday, 22 April 2013

International Day for Monuments and Site

Huia Lodge embodies International Day for Monuments and Sites, which was celebrated on 18 April. Auckland Council joins in this worldwide celebration every year by raising public awareness of the diversity of cultural heritage places in the Auckland region. This year’s theme is the ‘Heritage of Education’.

Ref: 4-7763. looking from East showing the hills around Huia, 1920, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Not to be confused with Huia Lodge in Cornwall Park, this Huia Lodge is located at Huia in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. It started life as a rural school in 1893 until it closed in 1961. It then became a church camp, before being run as a school camp by the Auckland Regional Council from 1990 onwards. Huia Lodge is a scheduled heritage building (see p.49) in the legacy Waitakere City District Plan. It is publicly bookable facility with the schoolhouse used as the kitchen/dining/living space, and a separate block nearby for sleeping. It is great to see this historic building continue an educational role, with interpretation highlighting its former school days added last year by Regional Parks staff.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher papers

Prior to Baroness Margaret Thatcher's (1925-2013) passing this month, her personal papers from 1982 were released in March of this year. The papers are available online through the Margaret Thatcher Foundation website and physically at the Churchill Archives Centre, Church College at Cambridge University, England.

1982 was a year shaped by the Falklands War, a terrible conflict which also had a long lasting effect on Margaret Thatcher's political career . Key documents include: confirmation from the British Antarctic Survey that the Falkland Islands had been invaded and a draft of a letter to President Reagan written at a key point in the diplomatic talks which were aimed at trying to end the conflict.

Ref: AWNS-19791205-44-3, British Naval victory off the Falklands, 1918, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Recent donation to the Alexander Turnbull Library

A personal notebook-diary written by Richard Sewell, has been donated to the Alexander Turnbull Library by Sewell's partner Grant Allen, who inherited the diary.

Richard Sewell was a diplomat at the New Zealand Embassy in Tehran in 1979. The diary documents how he and Ambassador Chris Beeby tried to help the six American hostages who had managed to escape after Iranian militants had breached the US Embassy. The role played by the New Zealanders was not well known outside of diplomatic circles.

Ref: 31-59253, man writing in a diary, Sir George Grey Special Collections
It is only recently that Sewell's partner reliased the importance of the diary, which contradicts the events in the 2012 Oscar-winning Hollywood movie 'Argo'. In the movie, the New Zealand diplomats refuse to help the hostages escape Iran, which the diary reveals does not reflect what actually happened.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Oral History symposium

The National Oral History Association of NZ (NOHANZ) - Te Kete Kōrero-ā-Waha o te Motu and Auckland Libraries’ West Auckland Research Centre, warmly invites those working with oral history and digital storytelling to attend this year’s inaugural symposium.

This is a training and networking event for both beginners and experienced practitioners. It will be held on Friday 10th - Saturday 11th May in the Civic Chambers buildings, 6 Henderson Valley Road, West Auckland.

Ref: AWNS-19151111-37-3, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The symposium will begin each day with a plenary panel discussion. The remainder of each day is dedicated to training and networking. Places in the training streams are limited so make sure you register soon.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

50 years of pharmacy education

2013 marks 50 years of  tuition by the School of Pharmacy at the University of Otago. The university was also the first to offer a four-year pharmacy degree in Australasia. The origins of the school started in 1960, when it was the Department of Pharmacy. By 1962 it changed to the joint Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy.

Ref: showing, Mr Scott of Woollams Pharmacy inside his shop, Photographer: Clifton Firth (please note image is still in copyright & should not be reproduced without permission), 1947, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Monday, 15 April 2013

Weather in New Zealand

In 1861, the New Zealand Meteorological Service was founded and is today the country’s oldest continuous scientific institution. In 1879, the service was amalgamated with the Marine Department's storm warning service for shipping. Today, after over 150 years in existence, MetService has launched the iwonderweather project, which gives New Zealanders access to a history of the service and weather in New Zealand.
Ref: AWNS-19010822-6-3, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The iwonderweather project and website is an ongoing collaboration between MetService and New Zealand's public, communities, historical societies and news media.

There is content on the site from Erick Brenstrum, MetService's severe weather forecaster, historian and  author. Anyone can contribute their own ideas, stories, images, video and audio to help tell the story of New Zealand weather and its effect on the history of New Zealand. To add content, simply click on the green Contribute button, which is present throughout the site or click on the Contribute tab.

Friday, 12 April 2013

George Lowe

On 22 March, New Zealander George Lowe passed away at the age of 89. George Lowe was the last surviving climber from the team that made the first successful ascent of Mount Everest.

As a child, Lowe broke his arm and it did not heal well. Despite being told by doctors that he would always be a cripple, Lowe went on to become an highly accomplished mountaineer.  Lowe accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary on a several expeditions including on Eric Shipton’s British Everest Reconnaissance Expedition and John Hunt’s 1953 British Everest Expedition. Upon summitting Mount Everest with Nepalese sherpa Tenzing Norgay, Hillary told Lowe that they had "knocked the bastard off".

Ref: AWNS-19350710-44-3, Young mountaineer, 1935, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Exhibiting the written word

What are the challenges in exhibiting something that is meant to be read rather than displayed in a glass case? How can items be displayed which are text rich or written in another language that few can read? How can texts be exhibited in ways that engage different viewers and communities? How can exhibits provide interpretation and context and guide and empower the viewer and generate collaboration? How should these exhibitions be curated? What affects do the different type of written documents have on the way they are displayed? What considerations need to be given to the library exhibition space? What affect does policy have on exhibitions? How can these type of exhibitions be evaluated so that methods can be improved upon?

Ref: 4-7382, Ethiopic manuscript, Sir George Grey Special Collections
All these questions and more are asked in 'Exhibiting The Written Word' which has been written bay the National Library of Scotland and the University of Edinburgh Scotland. The report does not cover the many preservation considerations involved in exhibiting heritage documentary items but rather directs the debate towards the particular exhibition and curatorial concerns involved in exhibiting items such as books, manuscripts and other types of documents.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

PSA Centenary celebrations

2013 marks PSA's centenary. A programme of events throughout the year has been organised across the country. The PSA centenary celebrations will be officially launched in Auckland on 17 April.

To mark this anniversary, the PSA has commissioned an oral history of the union from 1984 to 2012. This publication is due to be published during April and includes a large number of illustrations and content drawn from interviews with PSA members and staff. The main focus of this content is on the events of the late 1980s/1990s and changes to the union during this time.

Ref: AWNS-19000622-5-6, Miners Union, 1900, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Hyde Park has been pinned!

Hyde park is not only one of the largest parks in London, it is also one of the 11 Royal Parks and one of the 8 Royal Parks in London. The park covers 350 acres and it contains and is surrounded by a number of  famous landmarks including the Serpentine Lake, Speakers' Corner, Marble Arch, Wellington Arch and Rotten Row.

The land was acquired by Henry VIII  from the monks of Westminster Abbey in 1536 and he used it as a private hunting park for deer. It remained closed to the public until James I came to the throne, however he only allowed limited access to the park. It wasn't until Charles I became monarch that the general public were allowed full access to the park in 1637.

Ref: AWNS-19250730-53-6, the latest craze of Country Dancing in Hyde Park, 1925, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Monday, 8 April 2013

Whatipu Post Office

Ref: JTD06E-04475-2, Paratutai Island (foreground), 1977, West Auckland Research Centre
Did you know that there was once a small wooden Post Office located at Paratutai Wharf at the base of Paratutai Island in the Waitakeres? The building was subsequently relocated to Whatipu, a short distance away. The building is a simple shed with weatherboard walls and corrugated iron gabled roof. It was built between 1870-1909.

Ref: JTD-06A-00191, Whatipu Post Office and wharf, 1907, West Auckland Research Centre
The building is now part of the Whatipu Lodge complex, located amongst the dramatic scenery of this area. It has provided accommodation for sightseers for nearly a century. The complex includes the Former Post Office, the Gibbons Homestead (built circa 1867), the four Cabin Blocks (built in 1910) and the Former Dairy (construction date unknown). So if you go and stay at these heritage building during your holidays, have a look around you and you will be rewarded with glimpses of the past.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Probate files now available

Over one million  probate records from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch have been digitised and indexed in a joint project between Archives New Zealand Te Rua Maharao Te Kāwanatanga and FamilySearch. FamilySearch volunteers from around the world have helped out with the digitisation of these probate files.

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organisation in the world, so this collaboration represents something very significant. New Zealanders can also search using the NZ version of FamilySearch.

Whilst seemingly of not much interest, probate files actually contain invaluable information for researchers and historians and are particularly useful for genealogists. Anyone who owned property and was of sound mind the right to leave a will. which is then used in the first part of the probate process. In additions to wills, probate files contain a wide range of different documents such as property records, death certificates and affidavits.

Archives NZ has information about probate files including a fact sheet about  probate files held in the Auckland office and another about Personal Identity

Ref: 4-7046, Sir George Grey Special Collections
You can search for probate files by inputting a name into Archway - the online system that Archives New Zealand uses to document government records in the context of their creation and use. The search results will bring up a list of documents which mention the name you inputted. When you find what you are looking for, click on "Order Details" to find the probate record number. Take note of this number and on Family Search's NZ Probate Records you can then find the range of record numbers that includes your record number. This may take a bit of work but you will be rewarded with a digitised version of the probate file.

Find out more about this project. The next project planned is the 'Intentions to Marry' files.

Auckland Libraries has in its heritage collections a wide selection of probate resources including probate files from around the world, as well as guides and indexes to probate files.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Recording the history of the Fine Arts Library

Variously known as the Auckland Free School of Art, the Free School of Art and the Campbell Free School of Art, an art school was founded in November 1878 by Sir John Logan Campbell (1817-1912), who believed that Auckland was in need of such a school.

The school was originally housed in one of the Auckland Museum’s earlier locations on Princes Street (this building no longer exists ), close to the Emily Place Reserve. Classes were held in the Lecture Hall & the Main Hall. The school closed at the end of 1889 with the establishment of the Elam School of Art and Design.

Ref: 4-RIC99, the Auckland Institute and Museum on the corner of Princes Street and Eden Crescent, c. 1880-1909, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Elam was established in 1889  following the bequest of Dr John Edward Elam. Dr Elam was a patron of the arts and he gifted a large sum of money towards the establishment of a free art school for Auckland. The school was located in Symonds Street, Central Auckland in the old Grammar School buildings. Also housed in the building were the Workers’ Educational Association and the Goodwin Marionette Theatre.

Ref: 1-W937, old Grammar School on Symonds St, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The next change came in 1950, when the Elam School of Fine Arts amalgamated with the Auckland University College. This has been previously discussed in the 1930s and 1940s but a destructive fire in 1949 was the push needed for this to happen.

Over time, the Fine Arts Library has become an important and comprehensive, nationally recognised specialist art library. To mark the importance of this library, the first history of the Fine Arts Library has been written by Victoria Passau, Client Services Librarian at the Fine Arts Library and is available through the LIANZA website. The history has been put together using primary sources, including institutional records and oral histories of former and current library staff.
Ref: AWNS-19050817-8-2, the Director and staff at Elam School of Fine Arts, 1905, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

What do Nengone, George Selwyn and Sir George Grey have in common?

Maré is a small island about one hundred kilometres northeast of Noumea. It was previously known as Nengone and has a population of around 6,900 people. It is part of the Loyalty Islands archipelago, which was annexed by France in 1864 and is now part of the French territory of New Caledonia.

George Selwyn (1809-1878), the first Anglican Bishop of New Zealand visited Nengone in 1849. When he returned to New Zealand, he took some people from Nengone back with him to Auckland for religious instruction. In June 1852, he established a mission on the island under the supervision of the Reverend William Nihil. The mission was located at the sheltered cove of Netche (or Neche) on the northern coastline. Nihill was a hard worked and learned the local language and began translating religious texts. Unfortunately he was already ill with tuberculosis when he settled in Nengone. He died at Netche in April 1855.

Sir George Grey (1812-1898) shared Nihill's interest in the Nengone language. Among Grey's manuscripts in the Sir George Grey Special Collection at Central City Library, there is a large notebook in which he compiled an alphabetical list of Nengone words with their English meanings. He also owned translations of the New Testament and the Psalms into Nengone printed by the London Missionary Society. You can view the holdings through the Auckland Libraries online Classic Catalogue and through the Manuscripts Online database (for the database, enter the term Nengone into the search box).

Ref: 765-1, Drawing of Neche Cove, Nengone by Heaphy, 1850s, Sir George Grey Special Collections
In September 1854, after his appointment as Governor of Cape Colony, Grey donated a large collection of drawings and paintings of New Zealand and the Pacific islands to the British Museum. They included ink and wash sketches of Netche Cove and its inhabitants by the New Zealand-based artist Charles Heaphy (1820-1881). Although these sketches are not dated, a reference in one of Heaphy's captions to the 'residence of the Rev. Mr. Nihill' at Netche indicates that they could not have been drawn before June 1852.

Grey held on to a small number of paintings and drawings and took them with him to Cape Town. Among them was the Heaphy sketch shown here. It was returned to Auckland by the National Library of South Africa in 1998.

Nihill remarked in one of his journals (now in the Sir George Grey Special Collection), that the canoes from Nengone (shown in the sketch above) "are not large enough or seaworthy enough to allow them to from one island to another, except when they are very near, as are Mare and Lifu. They go away with a fair wind, and if they are not lost at sea, are obliged to wait, sometimes for several months, till the wind shifts and allows them to return".

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

New research grant available

The Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection are based in Wellington and are associated with The National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga O Aotearoa. The society was formed in 1983 to support the work of the Dorothy Neal White Collection. In 2005 it was extended to support the National Children's and Susan Price Collections.

Ref: 31-63214, Child reading, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The Dorothy Neal White Collection (8,000 books), is a research collection of children's books that were enjoyed by young New Zealanders in the century before 1940. The National Children's Collection (100,000 books) contains children's books published since 1940. Both collections contain picture books, fiction and non-fiction books published in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand and the Pacific, and the United States of America. In addition, the DNW Collection contains a number of children's annuals and serials. The collections are housed in the National Library of New Zealand, corner of Molesworth and Aitken Streets, Wellington.

Ref: AWNS-19101006-6-4, Man researching, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection Research Grant is being offered this year by the society. It was originally established to encourage students to use the Dorothy Neal White Collection and/or the National Children's Collection in their research. It is now open to New Zealand tertiary students, graduate teachers undertaking study and individuals not associated with a tertiary institution but undertaking research intended for publication. The research grant is also open to international students as well as New Zealand citizens and residents.

One research grant will be awarded in alternate years and is worth $2,000. It will be awarded on the basis of academic merit and suitability of the proposed research topic. Applications close on 31 May 2013. More information can be found on the National Library's website and the application form can be downloaded from the society's page.