Robin Whittle's Show-and-Tell - Photos and Postcards 1

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Robin Whittle  16 September 1999

Here are various photos and postcards I picked up at Camberwell Market, a Sunday morning flea market in the heart of Melbourne.

A silver emulsion postcard, sent from King Island in 1911.  Click the image to see a 1000 x 629 version (91k).  This has a matte finish with a brown image.

A photograph on thin paper, with a gloss surface. There is no printing on the back, but hand-written is the text: "On the Yarra at Woori Yallock".  Click the image to see a 1000 x 707 version of the rest of the photo (118k) or click here to see a 1385 x 1309 version (332k).

I have a book full of hand-written invoices from a woman who made buckles and bows in the late 1930s.  Her handwriting is exquisite, so imagine her handiwork!  Click the image to see one of the invoices in full (152k) or click here to see an enlarged section of the invoice (1200 x 801, 163k).

I think these are a uniquely Australian: meter maids.  They were, and still are, found on the Gold Coast, a stretch of high-rise touristy suburbia plonked on the sandy coast south of Brisbane.  In August 2000, I saw two real-life meter maids in Surfers Paradise. No tiaras, I regret to report. They were wearing sun-smart white cowboy hats, less of a tan than the maid pictured here, and were resplendent in sash, gold bikinis and matching strappy sandals. Meter maids primary responsibility is to check parking meters to find those which are expired, or nearly so. Having found one, they pop a coin in the said meter so the hapless motorist will not be fined in the near future.  I know this seems unlikely, but Surfers requires quite a bit of explanation itself.  Apparently the system worked by promoting a charity. The maids would also slip a note about the charity they represented under the windscreen wiper of the car they saved from what we call in Melbourne, at least, the grey ghosts (the parking inspectors or inspectoresses . . . hissss!!!) Meter maids worked for a long established company, but in recent years, I understand that another one set up in competition! In keeping with lean, mean, turn-of-the-millenium dictates, the twentieth-century meter maids weren't quite as shapely as our splendid postcard girl here.

Click on the image to see the full postcard, or click here to view this shapely and perhaps a little sunburnt young lady in greater detail (1000 x 1429, 252k ).  The postcard itself was made in Spain.  Dig the overdone 1960s/70s colour separation.

A 1960s (or perhaps early 60s) John Sands party invitation card.  Click the image to see the front of the card and here to see the inside when it is opened up.  Larger versions are here:  party-front-715x1000.jpg (104k) and  party-inside-1256x1000.jpg (111k).

From the mid to late nineteenth century, a panoramic engraving of a beach scene.  Click the image to see the full panorama, or click here to see it in more detail at 1427 x 700 (233k).

Forth Bridge, Scotland An early 20th century gravure postcard of the Firth of Forth bridge.  I have never been to Scotland, but when I do this what I most want to see!  Click the image to see a nice big image of it 1500 x 961 pixels.  (223k bytes.)  Click here to see the rear of the postcard.