Burrendong Dam

I’ve been trying to do the daily prompt daily but sometimes they’re just too crap or too serious or too personal or too American.

So seeing as how it’s Australia Day here tomorrow I’ll share with you this photo of my mother (on the left) and her sister that was taken at Burrendong Dam which is near Wellington in NSW – sort of central NSW. This was taken in the early fifties and it was just a normal sort of dam but in the sixties they turned it into a massive hydro water storage setup and it holds three times as much water as Sydney Harbour. They use it for irrigation and general water supply to the surrounding areas.

Mum tells me that they were travelling to South Australia for the tennis, I think it was the Davis Cup and I think we went there as a family once. Plus I just discovered that the word Burrendong is an aboriginal word (Wiradjuri people) for Koala.

Anyway it’s a beautiful shot, them in their frocks and all the blue and the gum trees and the dry earth with the mountain ranges in the background. It just screams Australia to me and I can just about hear the cicadas when I look at it (or maybe they’re just the ones in my head).



All aboard the SS Arcadia

My grandfather was a man ahead of the times as this photo shows.

Here is is taking a selfie shot in 1957 decades before it became the rage that it now is. Thank god he’s not pulling a duck face pout.


As you can see there is a massive pipe sitting in front of him and a suspicious looking little bowl. He picked that pipe up in Egypt and bought it home with a little something to put in it that my father once told me – almost blew my head off. Mum still has the pipe in her lounge room and it really is quite unique. Actually I’d better put a sticker with my name on it under the base next time I’m there.

The little banner on the left says Arcadia; that was the name of the ship they were on. It travelled between Australia and England via the Suez Canal which was why he had the opportunity to be shopping for bongs in Egypt.

A couple of interesting things there in the photo, the first being an airmail letter – I hated those things. When I write a letter it’s practically a novel so trying to fit all my stories onto one of those flimsy scraps of paper was always a stressful time for me.

Second thing is the bottle near the flowers which is an Oil of Ulan bottle – why did they change the name to Olay anyway? The blue box looks familiar but I can’t place it, it has a snowflake on the front.

Piccadilly Circus 1964

I’ve mention before that I grew up on Bovril unlike every other Aussie kid who thrived on Vegemite. Papa would have been pretty pleased when he saw this giant Bovril sign in Piccadilly Circus when he was in London in 1964. I managed to find a photo of the corner looking as it does today but it’s just too boring and sad to show you. That little Eros Theatre on the right was gutted and turned into a Gap which just about breaks my heart.

bovril web image

Hollywood Bowl

So it seems Papa is full of trickery. Just when we worked out that he was in the USA in 1964 I remembered this, which means he was there in 1957 as well, which means I’ll probably never know exactly when his collection of USA shots were taken. Unless they have a handy sign out the front like this one.

Vintage American photogrpahy, Hollywood Bowl Sign, Retro photos

Cars look pretty fifties to me in this one of the Port of Long Beach.

Vintage American photography, Port of Long Beach in the fifties