Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Three for the Price of One

Instead of the usual one big display at the museum, we have three small displays going at the moment. There's the Otautau RSA display in the first room which has been up for a few weeks.


Then, local designer/businesswoman, Thelma Froude, has just installed six of her latest fashion designs. These beautiful outfits had a good showing at the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards, all being accepted for the catwalk.


And in the courtroom, we are steadily putting together a 'Men of the Monument' display. This is a biographical display that touches on their lives here and at war. This display will also encompass other interesting aspects of WWI and Otautau and District's part in it.

Three displays for the price of one -- and as always our price is free.

We're open Sundays, 2pm-4pm, and at your request. Your comments are always welcome!

WWI Volunteer Couple

The second WWI couple to come to my attention this week is Mr and Mrs F.L. Donkin. They had bought a farm called Pheldy in 1909. They are the only couple, and Mrs Donkin is the only woman that we know of, from Otautau to have joined the war.

Frederick Donkin apparently had an interest in flying as there was mention of some exploits in a glider in Otautau though I can't find anything further on it in the Otautau Standard on PapersPast.

So, in 1915, this couple left Otautau for King and Country. Six months later, an article stated that Mrs Donkin was working in a munitions factory in England while Mr Donkins had been made Captain at the Front in France. He later was promoted to Major.

In 1921, while living in Geraldine, Frederick received the Order of Companion of the Distinguished Service Order from Governor-General Lord Jellicoe.

Sadly, in 1925, Frederick died in a motor lorry accident near Picton, aged 43 or 45. It was reported that his wife and 11-year old son were in England at the time. 

If you know anything about this couple or have a photo, please drop us a line.

We're open Sundays, 2pm-4pm, and at your request. Your comments are always welcome!

WWI Portrait Artists

Usually my WWI research is about individuals. But this week, it led me to two couples.

It started when a member of the public kindly sent a photograph of a Scotts Gap relative who had served in WWI. The initials on the photo were:


This was not a photographer that I had heard of so I was curious. I later checked our own collection and found that we have a soldier portrait with the same signature.
Alexander Dean Thomson portrait handtinted by A.W. & H. Jackson
Through a bit of internet sleuthing, I deduced that the initials stand for Alexander Wallace and Honor (nee Banfield) Jackson who worked at or owned the St Albans School of Art (SSA). This may have been at 143 Cranford Street, St Albans, Chch, but still need to verify that.

I couldn't find photos of the couple but according to the BDM website, they were married in 1911. ArchivesNZ website has records of their divorce in 1938 and Alexander's death in 1956.

It would be interesting to know how widespread their work was as I have found only one example on the internet. I would also like to know whether they photographed the soldiers and then handtinted the photos or whether they did the tinting only.

Do you know anything about this couple or have a portrait with the same signature? If so, drop me a line.

New winter/spring hours: open Sundays, 2pm-4pm, and by request. Your comments are always welcome!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Call for WWI Photos

The centenary of the start of WWI is near, and we are still looking for photos of the men listed on the Otautau War memorial for our display.

We've gotten a good response from the public so far and are very grateful as most of these men are not found in other sources such as the Auckland War Memorial database or newspapers.

Here is an updated list of photos that we still need. Serial numbers and where they were born are included for accuracy of identity.

Leonard Allen (27426) - an Australian who was living and working in Wairio when he enlisted for the war. He was killed in action 7 Jun 1917.

Joseph Beck Ayton (61169) - lived and worked in Aparima.

James Robert Ewen Beck (49323) - horse trainer in Winton; discharged with diabetes; died at Wairio.

William James Butler (18958) - worked in Merrivale; killed in action 14 Jun 1917.

William Clark - no information on him.

Albert Ernest Dove (9/693) - an Australian who was working in Orawia when he enlisted; died of wounds in 1918, France.

Peter Ellis (41078) - from Wairio; killed in action at Passchendaele.

George Richard Evans (64873) - from Otautau; killed in action 1918.

Albert Walter Findlater (47016) - blacksmith in Otautau; killed in action 1918.

Michael Henry Ford (9/816) - from Heddon Bush; discharged from war and died at Heddon Bush.

Robert Emmet Ford (18983) - blacksmith at Orawia; killed at Messines.

Sydney Ford (8/3900) - Otautau farmer; killed at Somme.

Oliver Daly Gavigan (48193) - Otautau farmer; died of wounds, 1918.

William Healey (11279) - labourer at Woodlaw; died of TB, 1918.

Peter Thomas Johnston (24/199) - from Avondale; killed at Passchendaele.

Francis Andrew Laidlaw (8/3938) - from Isla Bank; killed at the Somme, 1916.

John George Laidlaw (8/4159) - brother of Francis; died in France, 1917.

James Duncan Laing (32862) - from Dipton; killed in action, 1918.

Arthur David Lindsay (45102) - Strathmore, Otautau, farmer; died of influenza, Invercargill, 1918.

Joseph McAfee (42688) - from Otautau; died, 1918.

Douglas Victor McCaw (71042) - farm cadet, Otautau; died of disease, 1918.

Daniel McKenzie (8/1786) - from Scotland and worked in Otautau; killed in action, 1916.

John Morris (45538) - Australian working at Scotts Gap; died of wounds, 1917.

Donald Muir (8/1808) - Scot working at Linton Park, Otautau; died of wounds, 1917.

Patrick O'Shaughnessy (36882) - from Ireland, worked in Otautau; killed in action, 1917.

Ernest John Pay (8/3996) - Ryal Bush cheesemaker; killed in action at the Somme.

Albert Preswid Poole (8/2098) - from Isla Bank; killed in action, Belgium, 1917.

Edward Arthur Poole (39308) - from Isla Bank; killed at Passchendaele, 1916.

Walter James Powell (18939) - from Scotts Gap; died of wounds, 1917.

Arthur John Scott - no information.

Thomas Adam Stephens (8/1386) - Englishman working in Otautau at time of enlistment; wounded at Gallipoli; died of pneumonia.

Eugene Tangney (8/492) - worked at Pukewao; died of pneumonia, Egypt, 1915.

Edward Richard Thomas (9/350) - Otautau contractor; killed at Gallipoli, 1915.

Andrew Hannah Ward (33046) - from Thornbury; killed at Passchendaele, 1917.

If you have a photo of one of these men, please email us. Thanks!

We're open Wednesdays and Sundays, 2pm-4pm, and by request. Your comments are always welcome!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Great Success

Our book sale fundraiser last weekend was a total success. Many thanks to all who donated, browsed and bought books. We value your support very much.

The grocery hamper was won by Kay Walden. Congratulations Kay! Thanks to all who bought tickets!

See you all again next year!

We're open Sundays, 2pm-4pm, and by request. Your comments are always welcome!