Tag Archives: 1930s

MainlandRGB

“I’ve Never Seen Them So Excited…”

One great thing about working at an audiovisual archive is helping people connect with the stories and faces of their past.

Not long ago, a member of the public – Richard Poole – contacted one of our Client Services team asking if we had a copy of a certain Mainland Cheese advertisement from the 1980s.

The ad was filmed outside the Mahinapua Hotel on the West Coast in 1985. In it, some of the locals have come down to the pub to “put in a good word for the local vintage.” They’re silently leaning on a truck in the background and the narrator tells us that he’s “never seen them so excited.”

Richard told us that his uncle, George Gillingham, happened to be one of the old timers in the background, leaning on the truck outside the pub. On the day of the filming George and some mates had just returned from whitebaiting, when they were approached by the film crew to help out with the film shoot.

Richards says his uncle was a born and bred West Coaster who, in the 1930s, felled bush to create a farm just south of Harihari (South Westland). When he retired from farming, he was the caretaker at Hokitika High School, admired and remembered by many. He also like to write poetry and the odd bit of prose.

Richard recalls that his Uncle George used to airmail whitebait to his family in the Hutt (Epuni), and “could you believe that we ate so much, we nearly got sick of them!”

The advertisement is now on our online catalogue – you can watch it here.

 

This is just one amongst tens of thousands of television advertisements held in the collections of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, dating back to the birth of commercial TV in New Zealand in 1961. We’re currently working on an online exhibition that will showcase more advertising gems from our country’s television and radio history – this will launch later in 2017, so keep an eye on our Facebook page for the announcement.

 

Thank you to Richard Poole for sharing this story. We hope you and your family have enjoyed seeing this ad with your Uncle George again.

Kaikoura feature

Difficult Country – Kaikoura’s Tenuous Road and Rail Links

- By Sarah Johnston (Client Services Coordinator – Radio, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Morris Minor car, Kaikoura Coast Road, Hundalee Hills, Marlborough 1950. Whites Aviation Ltd. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22853922
Morris Minor car, Kaikoura Coast Road, Hundalee Hills, Marlborough 1950. Whites Aviation Ltd. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22853922

 

The hilly territory between Canterbury and Marlborough that has been badly affected by the recent earthquake, has long had a reputation as being difficult country for transport, despite its scenic beauty.  Since the early years of European settlement, residents have grappled with the steep Kaikoura coast and the rivers and hills of the “Inland Route,” as is captured in sound and film recordings held in the archives of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

In a 1950 radio interview,  Albert Creed, whose family owned North Canterbury transport company Creed and Derrett, talks about the journeys in the days of horse-drawn coaches and bullock wagons.

Mr Creed recalls the poor state of the roads in the region in his father’s time. It could take six or seven weeks by bullock wagon to cart wool bales from Hanmer to Salt Water Creek (just north of Christchurch) and the inland route from Waiau to Kaikoura was vulnerable to high winds, slips and floods on the Conway River, as many newspaper articles of the era attest.

 

Star, Issue 7257, 19 November 1901. Courtesy Papers Past.
Star, Issue 7257, 19 November 1901 (courtesy Papers Past)

 

Mr Creed began driving the mail coaches himself as a young man. When labourers from Christchurch were brought in to extend the coastal road to Kaikoura through the Hundalee Hills, he transported them as well. Mr Creed recalls fights breaking out in the back of the coach among drunken road workers who had “pre-loaded” for the trip, with some eventually falling out while he crossed a swamp. In this excerpt from his 1950 interview, he remembers how his brother nearly drowned in the Mason River while on a mail run, when the washed-out road gave way beneath his horse.

 

Interview with Albert Creed from Canterbury Pilgrimage No 23 Waiau (3YA Christchurch, 1950)

 

View of the Clarence Bridge under construction, Main Trunk Line, Marlborough. 1940. Evening Post newspaper http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23120313
View of the Clarence Bridge under construction, Main Trunk Line, Marlborough. 1940. Evening Post newspaper http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23120313

 

As the road links were improved through the 1930s and 1940s, the remote access meant workers had to be housed in temporary villages. You can see these,  plus the stunning but difficult terrain,  in this 1939 aerial film shot by the Ministry for Public Works.


Aerial Shots of Kaikoura Coast Road Construction (Ministry for Public Works, 1939) 

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Around the World in an Austin 7 (1928-1931)

- By Jane Paul (Community Programme Coordinator, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Richard B. Mathews (from Kaitaia) and Hector McQuarrie (from Auckland) came to worldwide attention by circumnavigating the globe in a baby Austin. The intrepid kiwis travelled 22,000 miles in their tiny two-seater car, dubbed “A rugged little baby” by Truth newspaper.

Their journey through Australia, New Zealand and on the ill-fated S.S. Tahiti was captured on film by Hector McQuarrie. This extraordinary film can be watched below, courtesy of the National Film & Sound Archive, Australia which holds the original nitrate film:

 


Around the World in an Austin Seven [Australia and New Zealand], 1928-31, courtesy of the National Film & Sound Archive

 

Richard (Dick) and Hector’s first adventure was the journey from Sydney to Cape York in Northern Queensland. This marathon trip covered 1,300 miles of which 700 were roadless. Austin (Sydney) supplied the “baby” and in return received paramount publicity for their car. Over three months the pair drove further than anyone had gone before. The journey was dangerous – what would happen if they ran out of water or petrol, or the car was unfixable? They navigated dense bush and steep terrain, pockets of quick sand, crocodile-infested rivers and even fled forest fires before reaching their destination. Hector estimated that they averaged 25 punctures a day. Dick was both driver and fixer of punctures, he was “very strong, 12 stone, almost 6ft and built like a Russian.” [1]

The men left Sydney in August 1928, the Austin loaded up with a tent, supplies (including benzene) a typewriter, (Hector had been commissioned by the Sydney Morning Herald to write a serial about their adventures [2]) and two books: the complete Shakespeare and Alice in Wonderland. By the time they had reached Cooktown they had abandoned most of their baggage, and slept out in the open on gum leaves, wrapped in a mosquito net. With no benzene purchasable after Cooktown, they relied on the goodwill of isolated station owners to help out. Small amounts of benzene was received – mostly from women who used it to power their irons. They reached Cape York on 31 October 1928.

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After a spell at Torres Strait and New Guinea (without the baby) the men prepared to make a trip through New Zealand from furthest north to furthest south, and then leave on the next stage of their world tour. The men re-united with their car, “Emily,” in Sydney (after it was shipped down to Sydney as an exhibition in a car show).

Hector, Dick and Emily sailed on the S.S. Maunganui to Wellington. They spent two months in New Zealand and the film shows the men in Rotorua and near the Chateau on Mt Ruapehu.

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While in New Zealand, Hector gave lectures and showed his film of the men’s Australian adventures. Auckland newspapers advertised this lecture at the Civic Theatre:

Hector MacQuarrie – Author, Traveller, Adventurer

Will appear in person at each of the above sessions and give an illustrated travelogue

WHERE WE WENT WITH THE BABY

Bristling with Wit and Humour!

Admission – Matinee Dress Circle 1s 6d, stalls 1s, Evening DC 2s

(Press, vol. LXV1, issue 19991, 28 July 1930)

In August 1930 Hector, Dick and “the baby” boarded the Tahiti in Wellington, expecting to reach San Francisco within three weeks.

On the fourth day of their journey (300 miles from Cook Islands) they were awoken by news from the ship’s crew that:

“the tail shaft has broken, the propellors droped off, the engine room is filling with water, and the old lugger’s sinkin.”

The 128 passengers onboard knew that the vessels Penybryn and Ventura were coming to their assistance but not when they would arrive. They endured an anxious 50 hour wait at sea. The passengers were well aware that if the calm waters turned, and the wind and sea got up, the boat would sink. In the interim, the loudspeakers blasted cheerful dance music and food continued to be served.

The Auckland Star reported “Hector MacQuarrie [MacQuarrie was his chosen literary surname], the Auckland journalist, was a passenger [...] and he was able to take some excellent shots of the last moments on board, and the sinking of the ship” [4]

The footage begins with Emily being hoisted on-board at Wellington and scenes of shipboard life. Then the last spectacular images, taken on 18 October 1930, of the liner’s final plunge stern first into the ocean’s depths (taking the baby with it). Hector’s footage was taken from the safety of the rescuing ship – Ventura.

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Hector and Dick returned to Auckland. The footage was sold to Fox Movietone (for inclusion in their newsreels) and a negative struck for filmmaker Rudall Hayward, who organised showings of the film in Australia and New Zealand.

By March 1931 the couple were in America, where they purchased another Austin 7 called “Emily H.” Newspaper reports from the time record their only “real mishap was when a rumrunner in Florida charged into them out of the wide and flung the car and the two tourists into the ditch.” Luckily they met an English engineer, who restored the smashed car.

After driving through America, they continued on to Britain, France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Czechoslovakia, Jericho, Bagdad, Babylon and India. Adventures encounted included “being fired at by a Turkish soldier and charged at by an infuriated camel.”

So, where is this footage of these other journeys?

We know Hector didn’t lose his camera on the Tahiti, so he is likely to have continued filming along the way. Is it housed in other film archives? Or do Austin clubs around the world have it? We’d love to hear from you if you have information on these films made in Europe, Middle East and other places (contact: janepaul@ngataonga.org.nz)

Copies of Around the World in an Austin 7 are held in Australia, by the National Film and Sound Archive, and in New Zealand, by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision was recently in touch with the Austin Seven Clubs’ Association, UK about the film. Chris Garner, a member of the Austin Seven Clubs’ Archive Team, added:

“We here in the UK are delighted to hear that this particular film has been discovered, remastered and made available to all. Our congratulations to all involved.

This piece of Austin Seven history is very important to us all, especially as material of this nature is rare and brings to life what McQuarrie and his companion’s exploits were like at the time.

In conjunction with what our archive team is doing here in the UK with our collation and digitisation project, the film is yet another piece of the rich jigsaw of Seven material that exists. We know many enthusiasts here will look forward to viewing it.”

References

  1. We & The Baby. Angus Robertson: Australia, 1929.
  2. This was later released in a book titled We and The Baby, Press, vol. LXVII, issue 20317, 17 August 1931, p. 11.
  3.  Press, vol. LXV1, issue 19991, 28 July 1930.
  4. Auckland Star, vol. LXI, issue 212, 8 September 1930, p. 9.

Hector MacQuarrie published a number of additional books:

  • How to Live at the Front
  • Tahiti Days
  • Roving New Zealanders
  • Round the World in a Baby Car
Commercial radio feature

Happy Birthday NZ Commercial Radio!

- By Sarah Johnston (Client Services Coordinator – Radio, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

 

This Saturday is the 80th anniversary of national commercial radio in New Zealand, which started with station 1ZB Auckland on 29 October 1936.  Radio had been operating in New Zealand since the 1920s, but advertising was generally not allowed and stations were mostly financed via a licence fee paid by listeners, or via sponsorship from a related business, such as a music retailer. 1ZB had been broadcasting in Auckland for several years already as a private station, owned by Methodist minister Reverend Colin Scrimgeour. 

 

Aunt Daisy (Maud Ruby Basham), a darling of NZ commercial radio (image: Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Documentation Collection).
Aunt Daisy (Maud Ruby Basham), a darling of NZ commercial radio (image: Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Documentation Collection).

 

In 1936 the first Labour government under Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage bought 1ZB and re-opened it as the first station of the government-owned National Commercial Broadcasting Service. 2ZB, 3ZB and 4ZB followed in quick succession, bringing commercial broadcasting to Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Former 1ZB owner, Rev. Scrimgeour – or “Uncle Scrim” – was appointed as head of the new service.

Announcers such as Maud Basham, the legendary “Aunt Daisy,” became firm listener favourites on the commercial network, with her chatty programme of infomercials, recipes and household hints, along with new features such as sponsored radio serials, quiz shows, hit parades, sports commentary and talent quests – all paid for by advertising. The commercial network also hired Māori broadcasters in each centre: Uramo Paora “Lou Paul” in Auckland, Kingi Tahiwi in Wellington, Te Ari Pitama and Airini Grenell in Christchurch and Dunedin.

The government soon discovered commercial radio was a great income earner. In the first year of operation, the four commercial stations made a profit of 10,000 pounds.  After World War II, income from the commercial network was used to establish the National Orchestra – later the NZSO.

The commercial network grew to include regional and provincial stations and ran side by side with the non-commercial network as part of the New Zealand Broadcasting Service (and various later incarnations such as the N.Z.B.C. and Radio New Zealand), until it was sold off by the government in 1996. The ZB stations became part of The Radio Network – and are better known today as NewstalkZB.

You can hear what 1930s commercial radio sounded like in this 1961 documentary.

JeanBatten feature

“This is Without Doubt the Very Greatest Moment of My Life” – Jean Batten’s Record-Breaking Flight

- By Sarah Johnston (Client Services Coordinator – Radio, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Eighty years ago today New Zealander Jean Batten became the first person to fly from Britain to New Zealand. Her arrival at Auckland’s Mangere Aerodrome in her Percival Gull aeroplane was captured by radio station 1YA in a series of remarkable live broadcast recordings held in the RNZ historic collection at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

 

Jean Gardner Batten. New Zealand Free Lance : Photographic prints and negatives. Ref: 1/2-046051-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22671195
Jean Gardner Batten. “New Zealand Free Lance” : Photographic prints and negatives. Ref: 1/2-046051-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22671195

 

Jean was already famous for her successful solo flights from England to Australia in May 1934, and to South America in November 1935, so a large crowd had gathered to welcome her. The unidentified radio announcer describes the approach of her plane, with sightings already reported by observers in New Plymouth, Mokau and Kaipara as she approached Auckland from Sydney. The journey had started in Folkestone, England on the 5th of October and she had already broken the previous UK-Australia record by arriving in Sydney one week later.

The audio, which was captured on a series of 12-inch acetate discs, is faint and crackly and almost inaudible in places. Considering the National Broadcasting Service had only acquired disc-recording equipment the previous year, it would have been quite a technical feat to record the commentary and welcome as they were broadcast live “on relay” from the aerodrome.

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ERFeature

Physics and Passchendaele

By Sarah Johnston (Client Services Coordinator – Radio, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

This Tuesday was the 145th birthday of Lord Ernest Rutherford, who was born near Nelson in 1871. He is the man on our $100 note and “the father of nuclear physics” who was awarded the Nobel prize in Chemistry in 1908.

Ernest Rutherford aged 21 (image: Wikimedia Commons).
Ernest Rutherford aged 21 (image: Wikimedia Commons).

Last weekend also saw the re-opening of “Rutherford’s Den,” the cupboard-below-the-stairs where he carried out some of his earliest experiments at Canterbury University College in Christchurch. This is now a fully-fledged interactive science exhibit about the man and his discoveries and it features archival recordings from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s sound collection, including the voice of the man himself. You can hear me talking to RNZ’s Jim Mora about the recordings here or read more and find links to the recordings below.

ChristchurchArtCentre
The Clock Tower building at the Christchurch Arts Centre.

The Rutherford’s Den museum is in the Clock Tower building of the Christchurch Arts Centre, which has been undergoing a massive, multi-million dollar restoration after suffering earthquake damage.  Rutherford attended university there from 1890-94, gaining three degrees before winning a scholarship to study in England.   Continue reading

Robin Hyde feature

National Poetry Day

To mark National Poetry Day today,  here is a historic radio broadcast from 1939 by politician and novelist John A. Lee – paying tribute to the New Zealand poet Iris Wilkinson, better known as Robin Hyde.

John Alfred Alexander Lee, Labour Under-Secretary, giving a speech [Orakei, Auckland?]. Whites Aviation Ltd : Photographs. Ref: WA-67319-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22857067
John Alfred Alexander Lee, Labour Under-Secretary, giving a speech [Orakei, Auckland?]. Whites Aviation Ltd : Photographs. Ref: WA-67319-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22857067

Today we might call John A. Lee a social justice activist. He grew up in poverty in Dunedin at the end of the 19th century, was a vagrant and then imprisoned as a young man for petty crime – where he discovered socialism. He fought in WWI, where he was decorated for bravery and lost an arm. Eventually, on his return to New Zealand during the Depression of the 1930s, he got into politics and wrote his first novel, Children of the Poor.

Robin Hyde. S P Andrew Ltd : Portrait negatives. Ref: 1/2-043599-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22770176
Robin Hyde. S P Andrew Ltd : Portrait negatives. Ref: 1/2-043599-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22770176

While in Parliament he met young Iris Wilkinson, who was working in the Press Gallery at the age of just 17. She is best known today as a novelist, for her World War I novel Passport to Hell and the autobiographical The Godwits Fly, but in the 1920s and early 1930s she was best known as a poet. She was plagued by ill health, mental illness and drug addiction and after a very adventurous but tragically short life, she committed suicide in 1939 in London. John A. Lee had maintained a long correspondence with her throughout her life, and in he took to the airwaves to give this moving tribute:

 

Tribute to Robin Hyde by John A. Lee (1939). Full information about this recording is available here.

 

Audio  from the Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Radio Collection, all rights reserved. To enquire about re-use of this item please contact sound@ngataonga.org.nz

TrevorBerghanFeatureImage

Audio Curios: “Beautifully Built with a Fine Fend and Elusive Side Step”

- By Gareth Watkins (Radio Collection Developer, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision recently acquired an interview recorded in 1938/39 with All Black Trevor Berghan. The discs came from Trevor’s daughter Penelope Hansen and were recorded after the 1938 All Black tour of Australia.

 

The scene on the Queens Wharf last night when the Wanganella, with the All Black Rugby team to tour Australia on board, left for Sydney, (Evening Post, 08 July 1938). Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/18982283
The scene on the Queens Wharf last night when the Wanganella, with the All Black Rugby team to tour Australia on board, left for Sydney, (Evening Post, 08 July 1938). Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/18982283

 

Before the discs were deposited, I did some research and found that Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision already had some early recordings from that same tour in the collection – namely a short interview with the Australian and New Zealand Captains and the last 10-or-so minutes of the 2nd Test.

In this first audio excerpt All Black Captain Neville “Brushy” Mitchell and the Australian Captain Vay[ro] Wilson talk on the eve of the 2nd Test.

 

All Blacks vs Australia, 5 August 1938 (New Zealand Broadcasting Service)

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Audio Curios: It’s in the Boot!

- By Gareth Watkins (Radio Collection Developer, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Earlier this week I stumbled across a number of delightful game shows in the radio collection of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

The first programme featured the much-loved entertainer Selwyn Toogood. In this excerpt, he hosts “It’s in the Bag’” from Dannevirke in 1955.

 

“It’s in the Bag,” 1955, NZBS

You can hear a longer version of this show here.

 

Then I came across “One Minute Please,” a New Zealand Broadcasting Service panel game that was recorded in front of a live audience. Two teams of three, one male and one female were given topics to discuss for one minute, with general rules of impromptu speaking. Continue reading

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C’mon Jack!

- By Gareth Watkins (Radio Collection Developer, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Leading up to the Summer Olympics in Rio here are some golden sporting moments from Aotearoa’s past.

Photograph of Jack Lovelock winning the 1500 metres at the Berlin Olympic Games. Lovelock, John Edward (Jack), 1910-1949 : Papers. Ref: MSX-2261-062. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22860702
Photograph of Jack Lovelock winning the 1500 metres at the Berlin Olympic Games. Lovelock, John Edward (Jack), 1910-1949 : Papers. Ref: MSX-2261-062. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22860702

On the 6 August 1936, 80 years ago, Jack Lovelock won the gold medal in the 1500 metre race at the Summer Olympics in Berlin. He also set a new world record of 3 minutes 47.8 seconds. Lovelock’s friend – 1924 sprint gold-medallist Harold Abrahams – commentates in this exciting radio broadcast. The audio excerpt ends with Lovelock briefly reflecting on the win.

1500m race – Summer Olympics in Berlin, 6 August 1936

 

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