06 March 2013

Official Photos of King Island - 1950 style

The archaeological dig in my parents' house continues, and more forgotten souvenirs are coming to light.
In 1950 the family left King Island and went to England, where my father worked for two years before bringing us all back to Hobart to live. It was easy to see why they had kept this particular copy of this particular magazine. No better way to introduce it, than by quoting the first paragraph on the first page:

This is the second issue of Volume VII of AUSTRALIA – a monthly review published by the Australian News and Information Bureau, Australia House, Strand, London, W.C.2. Its aim is to present factual accounts of life and affairs in Australia. Any of the material in the Review may be used with or without acknowledgement.

Wonderful – I don't even have to worry about copyright! This issue is dated May-June 1951 and here is the centre spread:

King Island (1,800 people; 272,000 acres) in Bass Strait, between the Australian mainland and Tasmania, is a busy and beautiful place.

And here is a closer look at the images, with the original captions:

Currie Harbour, the island's port

Currie, the sleepy capital
(sorry about the Great Staple in the Sky, but it IS a centrefold, after all)

On the south-east shore is Grassy, built for the workers in the scheelite mines

Hospitality is a big part of island life

As everywhere, the local bar is a meeting place

Breaking new land for soldier settlement

Pre-fab house parts arrive

Shipwrecks were once common. This stone commemorates a tragedy of 1874

The "King Island News," hand-set and printed, has appeared weekly since 1910

A recent visitor to England tells me Australia House is not nearly so friendly and inviting these days; in the 1950s it was quite different as our government applied itself to encouraging Englishmen to emigrate to the colonies.

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