Taonga and treasures accepted into the museum collection over the past year.
Fred Foster Collection - Places and Faces
Fred Foster found a way to make a dollar. Well pre-decimal pounds actually. His plan was to learn how to use a camera and make photographs. That accomplished he took his camera and his sale like charms to his neighbourhood. Knocking on the doors of homes, many newly built, he would talk the lady of the house into have her and her family photographed in front of their home. Returning days later with proofs to show and hopefully make a sale.
The images in this highlight set are made from glass plate negatives taken by J. F. (Fred) Foster. The plates were ‘rescued’ during the demolition of 6 Wi Pere Street, Gisborne (an early Foster home) when found under the house. They were brought into the museum in rotting cardboard boxes with insect eaten newspaper and years and years of dust and insect leavings. The plates were exposed to dampness and dryness and many had become stuck together. The emulsion around the edge of the plates was damaged in many of the plates. This gives a swirly dreamy look to the edge of to the prints that somehow enhances the glimpse into the past.
Fred Foster plied his trade through-out New Zealand and Australia during the 1900-1910s. Most of the images are unidentified, however logic would suggest that plates kept in Gisborne would depict the Gisborne area. Family photographs were not Foster’s only outlet. Images he took can be found in the Auckland Weekly News publication.
We Need You! The museum would love to hear from anyone who can help identify any of the places or faces in this exhibition.
Unidentified Airforce Personnel
This collection of ¼ plate negatives was deposited at the museum after being ‘found/noticed’ by a worker of Parkinson Contractors whilst preparing the site on the corner of Gladstone Road and Cobden Street. The site was being levelled for construction to start on a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet.
The plates arrived in poor condition. Many were dirty and many were ‘fused’ together. A quick look at some plates revealed that the content appeared to be portraits of airmen in uniform. It was assumed that these were local air force men associated with the 30 Squadron stood up at RNZAF Station at the Awapuni Airfield.
The plates have been cleaned and a number of fused plates were able to be separated. Some of the separation were very clean, others resulted in some loss of emulsion around and near the edges. Other plates were found to be already broken or in a very bad state of deterioration.
The majority of the images are portraits of what appears to be air force personal. They are taken in a studio style situation. Looking closely at some of the wider views, it appears that a background had been set up on the porch of building which has been used as a studio.
The location of where the plates were found was once the location of Harold J Dunstan’s photographic business, 315 Gladstone Road. It is an easy assumption to place H J Dunstan as the photographer, but the identities of the subjects and the photographer remain unknown.
Photographs of Gisborne's first licensed restaurant Chalet Rendezvous.
A collection of lantern slides of the Home Guard in Gisborne during World War Two.