Forty-five years ago Santa brought a play tent for the children. Here the sheriff defends his lady who quite appropriately is managing the domestic affairs.A few years later we borrowed a tent for the summer holidays and headed to Cumberland River, 150 km SW of Melbourne, Vic, on the Great Ocean Rd. an ideal place to holiday with children (and a dog) no settlement of any kind we had the run of a surf beach, small stream and a tracks in the forested hills behind us, complete with glow worm cave. For the car buffs our vehicle was an HD Holden.The next year we had our own tent, we were ahead of our time as we wanted rooms in it, so we had it made from heavy duty canvas. Affectionately known as the Taj, it was 18ft x 12ft with a 6×6 ft attached annexe – here was housed the ice box – a 2 door wooden cupboard – the ice went in the top section, the food went below. Every 3 days we needed to drive to the nearest town (Lorne) to buy more ice. Inside the tent was divided into three sections with hanging curtains that I made, girls slept one end, we slept the other and there was cooking/eating section in the centre. there were two centre poles. On one better forgotten day we arrived only to discover these two poles had not been packed!!
Some years later when we were just Darby and Joan we downsized to this frame tent. which we gave a try out in a civilized environment The car is another Holden – VL Commodore
We spent our 30th Wedding Anniversary touring Tasmania.
And then we decided to do some serious off road touring and needed something smaller so went to a centre pole only model – after a trial run in the mountains of North East Victoria we did an East West crossing of the Continent- Byron Bay in NSW to Steep Point. in WA. It took four weeks and we travelled in a Jeep Cherokee. On the banks of the Hardy River near Paraburdoo, Western Australia.
And then the ageing process hit us and arthritic knees and bodies that didn’t enjoy sleeping on the ground decided us to go caravanning instead.
For more tales of adventure involving tents go to
My photo this week comes from the family albums dated 1964.
Three ‘men’ share some drinking time together – my father, my husband and our son, who would have been not quite 2 years old when this photo was taken. Little boys always want to be like Daddy or Grandpa – happily he is not also clutching a cigarette! Today of course it would be called bonding. The observant (or maybe those of a certain age) among you might have noted he is drinking from a Tupperware glass which came in several pastel shades. I wonder what I was drinking – Pimms and lemonade maybe or some white wine called Est, or maybe some Barossa Pearl? No whisky in this photo though – I don’t like it so my husband doesn’t have to share, but then I don’t have to share my bubbly either.
Drinking was only one aspect of this week’s theme so by entering below you may find someone not drinking at all, but lurking or posing
Phil Craine was not itinerant, but he was an entertainer. His older daughter Florence remembered him as having a keen interest in amateur theatricals and brass bands — he could sing and dance, and excelled in Swiss Yodelling and Russian dancing – a strange mix for a man born to Manx parents in a small country town.
With his face all darkened what he was preparing to present in the costume in this first photo is anyone’s guessRasawatte Tea Tins found in Google images. Shame I don’t still have a tin to go with the image as these are very hard to come by and are well sought after by collectors.
He regularly wrote and performed at local events, and here is one example of this. (Click to enlarge) I think this might be the original
And this is the Aunt Sally of Phil’s song
He encouraged his daughter to entertain too, here at about age 10 she is preparing to show off the tricks that a pet dog can achieve. There was probably a patient audience of family members readying to watch this performance. The dog doesn’t look too excited about it, and the baby Ira looks exceedingly glum. Is that Grandpa’s mouth organ I wonder he has in his hand? I’ve always thought the backdrop in this photo looked quite exotic, somebody’s Sarong perhaps.
Florence went on to become a primary School Teacher and produced many a school concert. When we finally cleared out the old home, out in the former laundry were boxes and boxes of costumes she would have designed and spent a fair amount of time assembling, along with a willing band of mothers.
Please join me and maybe we might see some minstrels who do wander at
Ira Gelling Craine (known Paddy) escaped a few times in his life, sometimes when he was in the army during WW1 and there were several occasions when he went AWOL. He was of course punished for these excursions. This is just one example from his war records – on this occasion he was detained for 11 days, forfeited 11 days pay – which brought his total loss of pay to 22 days
But later in life he escaped again, he escaped from the constraints of society and built himself a humpy* in the bush. The only punishment on this occasion was self imposed as he deprived himself of the comforts of living in a house.Here he was able to indulge his hobby of mining.
As well as having sunk this shaft he sometimes would pan for gold as well.He was not always alone – it would seem that friends occasionally dropped in to visit – but don’t seem to have been offered a seat. Sadly Paddy had another way of escaping – he liked a drink or three, and when under the weather he would cause some embarrassment to his family. While on leave during his war service years (or maybe AWOL) he arrived unannounced at a cousin’s house in the home country of his parents, the Isle of Man, and soon found he could walk to many of the local hostelries. In Australia he worked on the railways, and when near Minyip the home town of his brother Phillip, he would drop in to stay. His grand daughter Florence recalled these occasions as causing some grief to her mother, but “we kids always thought he was wonderful.” He certainly looks very contented in these photographs.
War Service Record courtesy of National Archives of Australia
Photos courtesy of the Linton Historical Society, Victoria
*Humpy – originally a word to describe a temporary dwelling built by the aborigines, but now in common use for a make do, temporary home.
There are other tales of escaping or running away to be found at Sepia Saturday
Of all our ancestors it seems the Scottish traditions have lasted the longest. Even today in Australia there are Highland Gatherings all around the country where events such as caber tossing and tug of war still take place, as well as traditional dance competitions, and of course lots of bagpipe music.
Allan Boyd, the first Chieftain of the Caledonian society in Minyip was born in Scotland in 1851, but emigrated so young he would have no memory of it. Here he is photographed with his sons John Alexander and William
Another son Malcolm was photographed separately
Allan’s sons had a reputation as fine pipers and were often called on to play at weddings.
They all were members of the Minyip Pipe Band
and look as though they are having a very jolly time in this photo The first Highland Gathering was held in Minyip in 1906. This photo is of the gathering the next year.
Allan’s daughter’s Elizabeth Jane and Selina also donned traditional dress for festive occasions. In the other branch of the family the next generation of children were also being dressed in kilts and all the trimmings. Brothers George Roy & Henry Murdoch Penny abt 1912
and their cousin Barbara Cowan in 1907
And Allan Boyd’s great grand daughter was still carrying on the tradition into the 1950’s, over 100 years after he emigrated from Scotland.
I may have gone out on limb here with my photos of National Dress you will probably find more intriguing Fan Tales on the Sepia Saturday site at
In 1934 Greeba Craine was holidaying out of town with her mother, we think probably in Ballarat with the reference to Uncle Mac, and her father wrote her this letter. Although I have several other pages of his writings for this letter there seems to be a page missing. Although not born on the Isle of Man he was very proud of his Manx heritage, and his writings are sprinkled with the language – so ‘Greeba Veg Veen’ is ‘dear little Greeba’
and now I’m looking forward to see what treasures other Sepians have to share on this theme of Letter Writing. check it out here
The best I have to offer this week is a photo with a label handwritten in chalk on a slate. I have many such as this school photo but I will just include this one. Minyip State School 1923In the 3rd back row stands Florence Craine – the older girl in a braid trimmed blazer, there seem to be 2 others wearing a similar blazer (including her brother Ira reclining in front on the left) but we don’t know what they are. Florence would have been 16 when this photo was taken so we are surprised to see her still wearing a school uniform – wish I had asked her about it when she was still alive.
Born in Minyip, Vic – she attended this school as a student until she gained her Intermediate Certificate. She then took on another role as Student Teacher, and as she completed her training she went on to be a teacher in the school until marriage in 1932 determined her retirement. She was out of the work force for the next 13 years, when after WW2 a shortage of teachers in rural areas, saw the Head Master of the day Mr Charlie Campbell lure her back to the classroom in 1945. Her older child by then was a pupil at the school and a Grandma was called upon to mind the younger one. Florence rode her bike to school and the toddler travelled as far as Nanna’s on a home made wooden bike seat on the back. For a married woman with children to return to work was certainly rare in the 1940’s, especially in a small country town. She taught at the school until her retirement in 1972.
The other children in the photo would have been a mix of children of local farmers and from the families who had businesses or worked in the town. There were several rural schools around the district which provided education for many of the farmers’ sons and daughters.
I wonder if they knew the photo would be taken on that day – some of the girls have enormous bows in their hair, and the boys are nearly all in jackets. This was a year in the height of the depression, not long after the First World War and clothing items would still have been scarce, I imagine many of the children are wearing hand made items, or hand-me-downs, but they all certainly look very smart and contented.
Anyone viewing this post who wishes to know the names of other students – they are listed on this Flickr site
The Sepia Saturday theme for this week was much broader than I have here so you will find some very interesting tales at
Several of the Ancestors were connected with stores in one way or another. William Craine who emigrated from the Isle of Man in 1862 was a watchmaker. They had a small shopfront in the main street of Linton Victoria where from the front daughter Lottie Isabel sold sweets and soft drinks. In this photo it is the un named store in the foreground. (photo courtesy of the Linton Historical Society)Eastwood’s store in Minyip has no family connections. It is the earliest photo I have of a business in that township, and as the photographer left the area in 1898 it would be around that time or earlier this photo was taken. Mr Eastwood sold this business to Andrew Phillips in 1907. The building was destroyed by fire in 1947.
William Craine’s son Phillip spent his working life in general stores – this photo has him, 2nd from left, and other staff outside Melbourne Cash Stores in Collingwood, probably in the early 1900’s. One is probably the owner J. Brake. Cash in those days meant that no accounts would be held, and stores like this were common throughout the country.
From Melbourne Phillip Craine moved to Minyip, the home town of his wife Ann Boyd. Here he was employed by Mr Andrew Phillips and managed the Grocery department. There are three photos I have of the Phillips store. The earliest shows a modest building covering the basics of life – groceries, drapery and iron goods. I love that the photographer captures a dog too in this photo. I wonder if it belonged to the store. In the next photo you can see how Andrew Phillips prospered with considerable extension to the building. He was known to have made several trips overseas (perhaps combining business with pleasure), and it was on his return from one of these voyages in 1916 that he fell off a train south of Sydney and was killed.Phillip Craine’s son in law Roy Penny also worked in retail outlets. His first job as a teenager was in Drapery department in the Don stores in Minyip. Even as an old man he always had a discerning eye for fabric and colour in clothing.
Eventually he and his older brother Hal went into business together in the town establishing a Newsagent, Grocery and Fancy Goods Store. Later they we joined by a younger brother Alex, and the business continued in several different buildings until the early eighties. After being burnt out in 1938 I believe for a time they ran their business from Andrew Phillips store, the three brothers are pictured outside.And this building was where their business flourished for many years. Today it houses the Pharmacy in a town which has diminished in size considerably.
It replaced this building which sadly burnt down in 1938.
Many of the photos in the little brown suitcase bear the stamp of a photographer J.L Discaciati (pron diskachatty) of Warracknabeal, or Discaciati & Co.On a recent visit to Warracknabeal we went in search of his building as many of the school and sporting team photos of the fifties were also taken in the Discaciati studio. This is all we could find.
and I hope the eagle eyed of my readers have found the men with their hands in their pockets.
other interpretations of the theme will be found at Sepia Saturday
Although I have sat under a hair dryer often, there are no photographs to record this or curling rags or butterfly clips so I’m settling for the last alternative in this week’s theme – strange headgear. Malcolm Boyd (1878-1947) was a farmer at Kellalac near Warracknabeal in Victoria. When he retired from the farm, after living in Warracknabeal and Surrey Hills in Melbourne for a short time, he eventually settled in Geelong – living at 3 Nantes St in Newtown. This photograph, taken by a street photographer, catches him walking down a shopping street, all dressed up in suit, collar and tie, but he has chosen to wear what I think would be called a pith helmet on his head. I have always asked 2 questions of this photo – where was it taken? – is it in Warracknabeal before he left the area? maybe in Pakington Street, Geelong West; or maybe in Melbourne. I have never found any reference to the Piccadilly Cafe in my researching. And why did he choose this headgear? – I don’t believe it would have been common in suburbia in the late thirties, early forties.
We can leave this puzzle now and take a peek at the other offerings that may be closer to the theme at
Politicians are very thin on the ground in our family snaps, and I can’t manage pipes, hand shakes and fence sitting all in one photograph.
So taken separately for handshakes best I have to offer is the children receiving swimming trophies from the Eastern Beach Swimming Club in Geelong in the Seventies. They both continued on with swimming so the 5.30 am starts were worth it in the long term. She became a competent Triathlete and competed in several Iron man contests, he continues to swim for fitness and relaxation, the next challenge is the Cala Montgo Swim Festival in Spain in September.
Pipe smoking seemed to have been prepared for when quite young. This is Kelvin about 1940 in Minyip Vic
and by the seventies he graduated to a real one in adult life, at Cumberland River, Vic
This little chap also photographed in Minyip in 1963 never graduated past make believe which no doubt made him a better swimmer.
and finally some fence sitting in Castlemaine, Vic about 1946 – Bertie’s family were our only neighbours and although we went to different schools we spent a lot of our play time together. I’m obviously all dressed up ready to go out somewhere – the bow in the hair, the cream pleated skirt (which would have been on a bodice), as I’m covered by a pinny with some very decorative frills over the shoulders!
Other contributions on this theme may be viewed at