-Photographs will fade in direct sunlight.
-Never laminate photographs. (This cannot be reversed).
-Do not put sticky tape on photographs.
-Never attempt to clean old photos by wiping with water. This will soften the emulsion and tear it.
-Use silica packets in boxes of photos to protect from moisture.
-Don’t put photos face to face as they may stick together.
-Generally, with photographs, the colder the storage, the longer the life.
-N.B. Before attempting any “repairs” on an original photograph consider potential damage. If in doubt, consult a conservator.
On researching my own family history, I discovered a newspaper article on line
which included a letter from my great aunt, who was serving as a staff nurse in
England and France during world war one. She talks of Charles, her brother,
who was killed at Gallipoli.
“It is exactly two years since my brother Charlie sailed away looking so bonny. I
wish we Could find out something definite about him; it would be a help. It is
hard to realise we shall never see him again. How happy I would have been to
have been coming over to him.”
Olive lived to a good age, dying in 1964 in Camberwell. She was one of 8
children (2 boys and 6 girls). Her father was a methodist minister and leading
figure in the church. We have a good collection of photographs of the Saloway
family, including several of Charles, who was killed at Gallipoli. A sad note was
the lack of detail surrounding his death and burial place. Rev. Saloway wrote
several letters to the war office trying to ascertain this but to no avail. Later his
grave was discovered by Annie Cox on a pilgrimage to Gallipol
The photograph on the left shows Olive in her service uniform. It was taken in
Melbourne before she was deployed to England then France.
As we approach Anzac day, it is worth remembering the families of servicemen
and women that were left behind. In the case of Reverend Saloway, who never knew what happened to his
son and to Olive who remembered her brother as he “sailed away, looking so bonny”.
Nurses often worked under deplorable conditions. The No 3 Australian General Hospital was established in August 1915
at West Mudros on the island of Lemnos, Greece, in preparation for the evacuation of Gallipoli.
Medical staff were forced to sleep outdoors on their first night there, and their equipment did not arrive for a further three weeks.
Nurses worked in tents in primitive conditions, sterilising equipment and preparing food by spirit lamp, with scant water and other supplies.
At the conclusion of the war many nurses struggled to readjust to civilian life. Some could no longer work as nurses;
others were unable to work at all. Women were not recognised as military veterans by the government,
thus they were denied the much-needed healthcare and financial benefits available to returning soldiers.
Family history photo research
and location, can authenticate the person or even exclude them as a relative. A good reference is “The
Mechanical Eye in Australia” by Alan Davies and Peter Stanbury and is available in many public libraries..
This contains the names of many early photographers, when and where they operated. By reading the
photographers name on the back of the photo, a quick match can be made to when and where the photo
was taken. (before 1900).
During the years prior to World War 1, photography became more popular with the general populace, not just
professional photographers. The concept of personal photo albums started to take hold with people
collecting “snaps”, mainly from small box brownie photos.
These are important as we are rapidly losing much of our architectural heritage to modern development.
Also, they provide an important reference for how previous generations lived.