Tag Archives: Christmas

A Pioneer Christmas 1870s Style

Christmas in Victoria during the 1870s saw the mood change a little from the yearning for an English Christmas to acceptance of the Australian Christmas but the comparisons were still being made.  Father Christmas received a mention in the Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser in 1875, the first in that paper I had come across.

Poet's Corner. (1875, January 1). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 4 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved December 19, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64746107

The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil, a paper I enjoy reading, discussed the adjustments Father Christmas himself had to make to the Australian conditions.

Sketches with Pencil. (1875, December 25). The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil (Melbourne, Vic. : 1873 - 1889), p. 150. Retrieved December 20, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60606552

The Kerang Times and Swan Hill Gazette, however, was more sentimental about Father Christmas and the season.

The Kerang Times AND SWAN HILL GAZETTE. (1879, December 25). Kerang Times and Swan Hill Gazette (Vic. : 1877 - 1889), p. 2 Edition: WEEKLY.. Retrieved December 20, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66494958

Food was again a focus.  One exciting place to visit was the Christmas Eve market in Melbourne.  That was unless you were one of the many country producers who brought their produce into the city, often having travelled long distances and then enduring uncomfortable conditions upon arrival.  What a sight it would have been to see their 1200 or so carts lined up , some adorned in ferns and other greenery.

CHRISTMAS EVE MARKET. (1874, December 24). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 6. Retrieved December 19, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11509641

Campbell & Sons of Julia Street Portland advertised an array of new products in for Christmas of 1877.  It seems that the Portland pioneers had no difficulty in sourcing the ingredients necessary for a plum pudding or tableware to compliment the Christmas lunch.

Advertising. (1877, December 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved December 19, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63340222

The editor of the Camperdown Chronicle in 1877, suggested the  Australian Christmas celebration was now accepted, with the young knowing nothing else.  Those who could still remember an English Christmas, held the memory dear, however.  I think the editor may have been in that camp.

The Chronicle. (1877, December 25). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954), p. 2 Edition: BI-WEEKLY. Retrieved December 20, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64013025

The Australasian Sketcher was an illustrated newspaper, but its descriptive text also paints a picture.  The first article from 1875,  creates such an idyllic image of the day with picnics and boating.   The second article from 1873, with its reference to John Milton’s “Paradise Lost”, describes the heat in such a way, one can almost envisage the “pavement of burning marl”.

Sketches with Pen. (1875, December 25). The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil (Melbourne, Vic. : 1873 - 1889), p. 150. Retrieved December 20, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60606554

Sketches with Pen. (1873, December 27). The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil (Melbourne, Vic. : 1873 - 1889), p. 166. Retrieved December 20, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60607026


A Pioneer Christmas 1860s Style

The 1860′s arrived and once again the weather was the main point of focus at Christmas.

The Portland Guardian AND NORMANBY GENERAL ADVERTISER. (1864, December 26). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 13, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64632980

CHRISTMAS DAY. (1862, December 26). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5. Retrieved December 19, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6482065

Most papers featured a Christmas supplement.  This extract from the supplement in The Star, gives some insight into what was on the menu for Christmas dinner.  Geese, apple’s for sauce, mince pies and plum pudding were all available at the Eastern market in Melbourne.

MELBOURNE. (1861, December 25). The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), p. 1 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE STAR. Retrieved December 13, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66330382

Along Main Road, Ballarat shopkeepers filled their windows with temptations.

CHRISTMAS EVE AND CHRISTMAS MORROW. (1860, December 25). The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), p. 2. Retrieved December 18, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66336481

Lewis Levy of Sturt Street Ballarat offered gifts for everyone, from field glasses to Parisian vases.

Advertising. (1864, December 24). The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), p. 3. Retrieved December 19, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66350716

Christmas day 1862 was thought to be the quietest in Geelong for many years.  The weather, though, was perfect for picnics at Barwon Heads or Queenscliff.

CHRISTMAS DAY. (1862, December 26). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5. Retrieved December 19, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6482065

Of course, comparisons with England were never far away.  In 1869, the Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser times ran a synopsis of a lecture by the Reverend Mr Clark “Christmas in old England, its customs and its carols”.

CHRISTMAS IN OLD ENGLAND. (1869, December 13). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 4 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved December 13, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64694207

The last word comes from the “Poets Corner” from the Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser about Christmas 1869.  While “Touchstone” spoke of the “Southern summers” he missed the “jovial Christmas coming through the bracing cold”

Poet's Corner. (1870, January 10). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 4 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved December 14, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64694411


A Pioneer Christmas 1850s Style

Imagine arriving on an immigrant ship at Melbourne or Portland  in December.  After enduring the arduous voyage for months, passengers would have set foot in their new country faced with an Australian summer and then  reminded Christmas was just around the corner.   The Mortimer family arrived in Melbourne from England on December 14, 1852,  just 11 days before Christmas.  Having known only a cold and maybe white Christmas and possibly having lost track of the months, they may have felt a little confused.

Judging by the newspapers of the 1850s, however, it seems that the new arrivals embraced the “new” Christmas of clear skies and sun and a chance to get outside and enjoy the day.

ARRIVAL OF HIS EXCELLENCY SIR H. BARKLY. (1856, December 26). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 4. Retrieved December 15, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7142206

GEELONG. (1858, December 28). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 6. Retrieved December 15, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7307009

CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS. (1859, December 27). The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), p. 1 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE STAR.. Retrieved December 13, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72463975

On Christmas Eve, 1859, Main Road Ballarat was abuzz with activity.

CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS. (1859, December 27). The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), p. 1 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE STAR.. Retrieved December 15, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72463975

As well as shopping for ducks, geese and turkey for Christmas lunch, some last minute Christmas shopping could be done at Miss Kitchen’s Fancy Toy Warehouse or Rees and Benjamin Watchmakers and Jewellers.

Advertising. (1859, December 17). The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), p. 3. Retrieved December 13, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72463876

Advertising. (1859, December 20). The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), p. 1. Retrieved December 13, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72463910

In Portland, shoppers may have spent Christmas eve with their fingers crossed for the draw of the Christmas cake lottery at Holmes Confectioners in Gawler Street.

Advertising. (1859, December 19). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 3 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved December 15, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64512997

Not everyone was enjoying the new style of Christmas.  In 1859, the editor of  The Argus lamented that Christmas was not the same in Australia without the snow and mistletoe.  I like his prediction that in one hundred years,  Australians will have forgotten the “old” Christmas and have given Christmas a new feel with eucalyptus and acacia decking the halls.  If only he could see Christmas now as he would see that many of the English traditions of Christmas still exist and we still grapple with the idea of a hot lunch on a hot day,  but we just do it anyway.  The tradition continues.

(1859, December 26). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 4. Retrieved December 16, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page198773


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 146 other followers

%d bloggers like this: