A Pioneer Christmas 1880s Style

Christmas news in Victoria during the 1880s featured cards, decorations, carols and for something different, the weather.  The shopkeepers of Portland in 1880, decorated their shops for the season.  Mr Harris, proprietor of the pastry shop went to great trouble adorning his shop with Chinese lanterns and a wreath of roses.

CHRISTMAS EVE. (1880, December 25). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: MORNINGS.. Retrieved December 22, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63402944

Cricket was a popular activity on Christmas day, a tradition which continues today for many who enjoy a game of backyard cricket after lunch.

1880, December 25). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: MORNINGS.. Retrieved December 22, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page6018426

Christmas Day 1885 started quietly before church goers began to attend their chosen service.  Those not attending church stayed inside until the afternoon when many took advantage of Portland’s coastal position with some boating on the bay.

THE HOLIDAYS. (1885, December 29). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: MORNINGS. Retrieved December 22, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63405142

Christmas decorations on shops was still popular mid 1880s and there seems to have been some competition among the Portland shopkeepers.  From spices and currents to fruits and pastries, all had their wares displayed.  Mr Osborne’s butcher shop window displayed 34 lambs, as many sheep and several bullocks and pigs.  Amid all this, the window was “prettily decorated with flowers, ferns etc”

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS. (1886, December 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 22, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63407593

This is a great advertisement inviting the residents of Portland to visit the Christmas tree at the “Guardian” office.  “Children, Don’t Forget to Persuade Father & Mother to Come”  is followed by “Parents, Don’t Forget the Children”.

Advertising. (1886, December 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 23, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63407578The Portland Guardian

In 1886, St Stephen’s Church was holding the annual carols, but with “a completely new set of carols”.

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS. (1886, December 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 22, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63407593

The Portland Guardian,. (1889, December 25). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 23, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63625996

Christmas 1886 in Melbourne saw many businesses closing their doors from Friday to Wednesday to take full advantage of the Christmas holiday.  Even some hotels closed on Boxing Day!  Residents used this extended holiday period to get out of the city and enjoy the countryside.

OUR MELBOURNE LETTER. (1886, December 31). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved December 22, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72957501

The following extract comes from an article called “Christmas Cheer”.  Along with instructions on how to boil a turkey, there were recipes for accompaniments such as celery sauce, oyster sauce and German salad.

Christmas Cheer. (1888, December 25). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 3 Supplement: CHRISTMAS SUPPLEMENT. Retrieved December 22, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72875421

Christmas cards seemed to become more popular during the 1880s, and this article from October 25, 1889 describes some of the trends in cards.  It appeared at the time of year cards were being written to send to the “mother country”.

HERALDS OF CHRISTMAS. (1889, October 25). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING, Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE PORTLAND GUARDIAN. Retrieved December 2, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63625196

Just when I thought I was not going see anything of yuletide logs, the following articles from the late 1880s continue the now old arguments of why have a hot lunch during the Australian summer and why are  people still persisting with the English traditions?

THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS. (1888, December 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 23, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63591436

The Horsham Times. (1889, December 24). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 22, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72863411

The Portland Guardian,. (1889, December 25). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 23, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63625996

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