An iceberg in the South Pacific

An original and a David Aldersley copy

As shown in my 2018 book X8 – Early New Zealand Shipping Company Postcards and their Photographers, available to purchase here – often real photo postcards were re-published with changed text on the front. Sometimes the change happened when the cards were reproduced by David Aldersley, a prolific New Zealand-based photographer. However, David Aldersley was not the photographer in this case, the photograph was probably either by Henry George Keyse or Peter Zerface, barbers and photographers working for the New Zealand Shipping Company. My book illustrates a few postcards which have had reprints with changes made. These include photographs of stormy sea views from the deck of ships, as well as icebergs in the South Pacific.

I recently purchased another South Pacific iceberg postcard. This shows the original photograph before it was re-photographed and re-published by David Aldersley. The Aldersley version of the card is included in my book X8. This original has the advantage of a very interesting, although quite difficult to read, message on the back. It was written on board the S.S. Remuera on 18th December 1914, just over four months after the start of the first World War.

This voyage would be the first part of the ninth return voyage of the Remuera which left London on 27th November, 1914 bound for New Zealand, and returned to the UK on 25th March 1915.

Dramatic view of an iceberg in the South Pacific, photographed c.1914
The back of the “original” real photo postcard was written on board the S.S. Remuera on 18th December 1914, just over four months after the start of the first World War.

The following is a very rough transcription of the message on the back of the postcard.

We saw this iceberg coming home – SS Reumera
December 18th 1914
Cape Town tomorrow. Very good trip so far. No excitements. We have kept well to the west of trade route and have passed very few ships. British cruisers have been in our only neighbourhood for several days. We have heard ••• talking, but have not spoken to them. No wireless news since two days out from Tenerife and are longing for news. I wonder what we shall hear tomorrow. Quite pleasant fellow passengers – not wildly interesting. Less heat in tropics than usual. Cricket match this afternoon. Second class ladies beat us by 3 runs! Ships-board life wonderfully ••• affected by the war – no lights on deck at night is the only difference. Now the days are lengthening out, and the trade winds are less strong yesterday and today tho still dead ahead of our route. ••• have been poor. Busy preparing a Christmas for 90 children on board! Much love yours S.S. •••

The re-print postcard (below) is illustrated in my book (page 28) with my following text:
If you look closely at the top and right edges of the actual image there appears to be a slight shadow. This suggests to me that the original photograph has been re-photographed to make this postcard.

Note that the text on the front has been changed with the addition of “Passed by R.M.S. Ruahine”. This is interesting because it seems that the original postcard, above, may have been purchased on the Remuera.

David Aldersley’s re-photographed copy of the South Pacific iceberg postcard
The back of the David Aldersley postcard. This is reference “O(1)” in my catalogue of postcard backs, available to download free of charge here.
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Collectables – Serviette (Napkin) Ring – part two

As a follow up to my previous serviette ring post, here are two more rings from my collection. These two seem to be a bit less fancy than those in the previous post which were more obviously produced as souvenirs for sale to passengers.

I’d love to know if they were actually used on board. However, with the possible movement of the ship, anything which would cause a serviette to roll off a table would not have been particularly practical.

Please leave a reply if you have any more information.

Rotorua montage postcard by David Aldersley

This is an excellent example of an early real photo montage postcard published by the New Zealand based professional photographer David Aldersley. I have several of the small photographs on this card in my collection as full size postcards, including the two Panama Canal views which are also shown here on this Blog. The rough sea image can be seen full size in this Blog entry.

The back of the postcard is rubber stamped with David Aldersley’s “Ingleboro Photo Series” credit which I have catalogued as style “H”. My free guide to postcard backs is available as a digital PDF publication and can be downloaded here.

Pervis Young’s letter to passengers

Thanks to Ian Wilkinson for sending me scans of this leaflet. It was produced to give to passengers on ships which called at Pitcairn Island, and is signed by Pervis Young. Pervis Ferris Young (1928-2003) was magistrate of Pitcairn Island from 1967 until 1975. He was the son of Andrew Young, Pitcairn’s first radio operator.

Pervis was sketched by the late Jennifer Toombs, stamp designer, for her 1972 South Pacific Commission stamp, where he is shown third from the left. Jennifer spent ten days on Pitcairn in 1966 when Pervis was her mentor and guide.

A love note from the Rangitata

This photograph of the SS Rangitata is a recent addition to my collection. I certainly didn’t buy it for the condition because it has a rather nasty crease all the way across the centre, but for the rather nice message on the back, and also because the style of the back is the same as that often used in my study of “HGK”* postcards. This would appear to be a very slight variation on back style “G” without the publisher overprint on the left hand side, and with the slight difference of a small dot printed between the words “POST” and “CARD”. Perhaps this is an earlier printing of the back, with later printings losing the dot?

The message on the back reads as follows:

The ship which took me so far away from you (physically). Every good wish for a very happy Xmas. I wish I could be with you darling. All my love Robert

*The initials “HGK” stand for Henry George Keyse. According to my research, Henry, a barber working for the New Zealand Shipping Company, was on board the Rangitata for at least three voyages in 1940. I have not been able to find any records of his voyages during 1941 or 1942, but in 1943 he was aboard the Rangitata on the voyage from Gibraltar to New York, still working as a barber (and photographer), aged 62. At this time he had been working at sea for 37 years.

I am assuming that this postcard was bought on board the Rangitata from Henry’s barber shop (which also sold souvenirs), and that the photograph was taken and printed up by him on pre-printed postcard photographic paper.

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Rangitata passenger list and the Bounty Bible

The latest passenger list to be added to this website is for the Rangitata‘s voyage to New Zealand on 24th February, 1950 (you can access this from the drop down “Passenger Lists” menu at the top of this page).

The photograph here shows Nursing Sister, Enid Jones, who made many voyages on the Rangitata from 1946 to 1957. I’m not sure who the man on her left is, but at a guess, he could be Surgeon, J. M. Pinkerton (note the stethoscope in his pocket).

One of the passengers on the 1950 voyage was Adrian Hobbs, assistant secretary to the High Commissioner for the Western Pacific. He was collected at Pitcairn Island following his month long visit after delivering the restored bible from HMS Bountyread more.

Historic SS Rimutaka voyage photographs

Michael Foot contacted me last year to let me know about his fantastic collection of photographs, most of which were probably taken on board the SS Rimutaka. The photographs shown here are very old, quite faded and marked, but he has managed to adjust them a little, and has given me permission to reproduce them. Michael said that the photographs were discovered when his grandmother passed away. He believes there is a family connection, but has not found it yet.

The Rimutaka (1900-1930) had a crew of 90. She could carry 40 first class passengers on the bridge deck, 50 second (upper deck), 80 third (upper deck), and 170 emigrants located in dormitories erected in the holds. Source: Merchant Fleets, New Zealand Shipping and Federal S.N. Co. by Duncan Haws.

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