One of my favourite groups of photographs in the collection is a series of carte-de-visite prints all bound together by the number ‘1933/16’. From this number we know that this small group of photographs was the 16th group of objects acquired by the Dominion Museum in 1933. We also know that they were gifted by Mrs E. W. Gibbs but beyond that we don’t know much more because it wasn’t practice to record much about an acquisition of photographs in those days.
Mrs Gibbs’s gift to the museum is a selection of interesting photographs from a variety of different sources and places around the country. There is E. S. Richards view of the original Wellington Post Office (top) plonked on the ground and looking like a cardboard model. While the industrial photograph (above) shows the building (and presumably the owners and staff) of the iron foundry of E. W. Mills, which was located on the corner of Customhouse Quay and Waring Taylor Streets in Wellington.
The selection makes me wonder at the possible connections Mrs Gibbs might have shared with the views and subjects depicted in the photographs. Did the donor or her family have a particular interest in colonial industry? Perhaps she too had thrown snowballs in Reefton at some point?
An earlier blog post of early views of Christchurch features more of the photographs from the 1933/16 acquisition group.
Lissa Mitchell – Curator Historical Documentary Photography