Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Amazing Flying Arrow

The audience gripped their seats in fear and excitement as the slight young girl was shot through the air by a giant crossbow through a paper target.  They felt a collective sense of relief when she was caught by her sister who was swinging from a trapeze.  The 'Flying Arrow' then performed further amazing feats as she swung from the trapeze, sometimes hanging by her teeth.

Pansy Chinery was born in 1879 as Frances Murphy. She and her sisters formed an acrobatic group called 'The Flying Zedoras' when she was only 16 after having private lessons in singing and dancing.  They became famous in the U.K. and toured America with Barnum and Barnum.

This dangerous act rightly caused controversy because of Pansy's young age. Questions were raised in the House of Commons and a campaign began to ban junior performers. The Children's Dangerous Performances Act which was designed to prevent performances by children that could endanger their 'lives or limbs' only covered children under fourteen years old.  Many people thought that this age should be raised.

Their fears were justified.  Pansy only just avoided death or serious injury one night in Madison Square Garden in 1896.  She was doing an act fifty feet above the ground and knocked unconscious on a narrow platform.  Luckily her brother caught her before she fell, and she didn't sustain any serious injury.  The Dangerous Performances Act was passed in 1897, so that dangerous performances would not be performed by females under eighteen and males under sixteen.

Pansy had a long career and married twice.  She married Horace Osborne, a hosier, in 1904 when she was 25 and Hugh Chinery when she was 66.  She died at the great age of ninety.

You can find a newspaper illustration of Pansy's accident.here.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Magnificent Moore Sisters

May and Mina Moore photographed many famous Edwardians, including Thea Proctor, Lily Brayton and Adeline Genee.  The ambitious sisters were noted for their dramatic portraits and their use of the Rembrandt effect - this was photographing portraits with a pencil of light on one side and the rest in shadow.

Born in New Zealand, the sisters were the daughters of a farmer and sawyer and his wife.  May always wanted to study art, and she attended the Elam School of Art and Design in Auckland.  She began selling pencil sketches, but she eventually set up a photography studio in Wellington.

Mina became a schoolteacher, but she started to like photography during a trip to Australia.  She helped May in her studio in Wellington, and studied the art carefully.

Eventually, the sisters established studios in Sydney and Melbourne.  They specialised in photographing people from the world of the theatre and artists.  They also held theatrical soirees that were extremely popular.  At first, the sisters couldn't afford a big light-filled studio with glass windows and walls, so they used the meagre light from ordinary windows, ad photographed people against a simple cloth background.

May was probably the most famous sister.  Six feet tall and good-looking, she continued with her photography even after she married the dentist Henry Hammond Wilkes. He gave up his practice to help her in her studio.

Mina married William Tainsh, a company secretary and poet.  The couple had two daughters, and Mina also continued to work after her marriage.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mela Koehler-Broman

I love to look at the inspirational and colourful prints and postcards of the Viennese artist, Mela Koehler-Broman.  The delightful illustrations  of  this painter, graphic artist and illustrator are surprisingly modern even though Koehler began her career in the Edwardian era.

Born on November 18, 1885, Leopoldina Melanie Koehler studied at the Hohenberger art school and the Vienna Arts and Crafts School.  She was a student of Kolomon Moser, an important person in the Viennese art world, and the confident and talented young woman even held an exhibition in London while she was studying.

The Viennese workshop, Wiener Werkstatte, employed Koehler.  Founded by Josef Hoffman and Moser, the workshop had a philosophy that artists should create well-designed and beautiful objects that would be part of everyday life.  Koehler is mostly famous for her fashion illustrations on postcards and in fashion magazines..  These often featured women in large picture hats in delicate floral prints walking their dogs. Many of them can be seen at the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York.  Her beliefs in women's suffrage and the Reform Dress movement influenced her designs. However, Koehler also illustrated postcards with bright holiday themes, and she also worked on books of fairy tales.

The artist emigrated to Stockholm in 1931 and married in 1932.  She continued working and she even designed costumes for the Swedish Royal Academy.  Koehler-Broman died in 1960.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Distance Education at the Australian Christian College, Southlands

Would you like your child to study at home?  This option is available at the Australian Christian College, Southlands. Distance education means that a student is enrolled in a registered school and studies at home supervised by a parent. Home provides an ideal place to learn for many students, because they can study in familiar and comfortable surroundings, and they can be surrounded by supportive family and friends.

Another big advantage of distance education is that the student receives a lot of individual attention from his or her teachers and parents.  This may not occur at a large school where a pupil can sometimes become just 'one of a number' and even fall behind because of being neglected by teachers.  

The Australian Christian College provides two programs by which a student can complete school.  The Online Learning Program is similar to an actual school, because students listen to podcasts, watch videos, and interact online with other pupils.  They also study the Australian Curriculum.

The other choice is the Correspondence Program.  This is tailored to the student and paper-based.  The student uses instructional workbooks.  This option suits those who want a more traditional type of education.

Pupils do not have to live in regional areas to study at the college.  Distance education is also available for those who live in big cities and large regional towns.

Why not visit the website today?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

(The fleet sets off)
Teddy Roosevelt watched proudly as his Great White Fleet set off from Hampton Roads, Virginia for its voyage around the world. Like Henry VIII, Roosevelt, the President of the U.S., thought that the prestige and power of a nation largely depended on its navy, and he wanted to impress people with his fleet of steel warships.  The President especially wanted to impress Japan, because he feared that the Japanese wanted to dominate the Pacific.  He had good reason for these fears, because the Japanese had recently defeated mighty Russia.  This was largely because of the strong Japanese navy which wreaked havoc on Russia at Port Arthur in 1905.

Australia’s Prime Minister Alfred Deakin, also feared the Japanese, partly because Australia did not have its own navy.  He felt that he couldn’t rely on Great Britain to defend Australia from the Japanese, because Britain made a treaty with heavily armed Japan.  Evading protocol,  Deakin decided to invite the Great White Fleet to visit the Great South Land, and outraged the Foreign Office.

A public holiday was called to celebrate the arrival, and almost the whole city rushed to the beautiful, tree-covered headlands and hills surrounding the city to view the American fleet, which contained 16 steam-powered steal ships and 14,000 sailors. The fleet sailed into Sydney in August 1908, led by the flagship USS Connecticut which passed North Head firing a 21-gun salute.  The view of the white ships with their gilded bows must have been an impressive sight. 

The festivities lasted a week with parades, reviews, balls,  banquets and fireworks.  The city streets were brightly illuminated at night.  Huge crowds turned out to see a parade through the city and a review in Centennial Park where there was a parade of Australian and American  the largest meeting place in the world.  It also had three impressive galleries.

Apparently, Australians have not changed that much since 1908.  They were determined to know whether the Americans liked Sydney, and they’re still inclined to ask visitors that question almost as soon as they get off the plane!  One sailor became worn out by all of the festivities and these constant questions.  He went to sleep in a Sydney park. 

             ‘Not wanting to be disturbed, he posted a sign above his head which read:
              “Yes, I am delighted with the Australian people.
              “Yes, I think your park is the finest in the world.
              “I am very tired and would like to go to sleep.”1.

The fleet also visited Melbourne, Australia’s largest city, and Albany in Western Australia.  Soon afterwards, the Royal Australian Navy was formed, the first independent navy in the British Empire.




Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Menacing Hat Pin

The young woman walked hurriedly along the dimly-lit street near Zeehan in Tasmania, because she heard the sound of footsteps behind her, but a masked man pulled her into the scrub and attempted to assault her.  Only 21, she bravely fought him off with her hat pin, which snapped in her hand.  Luckily, her sister and brother lived nearby.  They heard her cries for help, and they raced to her rescue, so the man ran away.

This incident occurred in 1913.  It is just one of the many cases in which women defended themselves against attacks with their long and sharp hat pins.  Unfortunately, women may have found this difficult after a fracas arose in countries all over the world about the menace of hat pins in public places.  Several people were injured by hat pins, which could be up to 14 inches long.  Even the Australian Federal Attorney-General was injured by a protruding hat pin in 1912 under his eye, and this caused a long gash on his face.

Byelaws were passed by councils in cities worldwide, including Sydney.  Fines were issued to women who refused to place protectors on their long and fashionable hat pins.  Hat pins were actually taken away from suffragettes who went to jail in Britain, in case they used them as weapons.

Authorities in Stockholm in Sweden solved this problem in an innovative way.  Conductors of street-cars in the city offered ladies with menacing hat pins point-protectors at a cheap price.  6000 were sold out in a single day!