Tag Archives: Christmas

A Busy Month Ahead

I have been busy searching Trove, more than usual if that is possible, preparing  December posts.  It will be a big month.

December 1 is the first day of Summer so keep an eye out for some Summer Fashions.  As I found from my Spring Fashion post, that it is interesting to track the changing fashions over the decades.  A “not to be missed” post especially if you would like to find out when women stopped wearing two petticoats in Summer!

Following on from a successful series of posts in December 2011, I will also bring you Christmas from the 1900s to the 1950s with a Western District slant.  The Pioneer Christmas posts have been very popular and, like fashions, there have been definite changes to Christmas celebrations over the decades.

Have you been following the great Trove Tuesday posts from various bloggers each week?  If you would like to see all the posts from the last 14 weeks (can’t believe it’s been that many) check out Amy Houston’s blog Branches, Leaves and Pollen.  Christmas Day will also be Trove Tuesday, so I will have to begin a search for a Trove treasure with a Christmas theme.

There will also be the 19th edition of Passing of the Pioneers.  Around 250 pioneers have now been remembered in these monthly posts and the stories of the early days of the Western District continue.

I also have some new links to add to the Western District Links Page.

In between all this maybe I’ll get a post or two in about my family members.  One of my fellow Western District researchers has, in the last few days, handed me a big hammer to smash down one of my brick walls, so I’ll have to share that.

Phew!  I better get going.


A Pioneer Christmas 1890s Style

The 1890s newspaper reports of Christmas were very different to those of the other decades from the 1850s.  Recipes and articles about decorating the home, hint to a greater female readership than other times.  Finally the arguments about English traditions disappeared as Australians formed their own Christmas traditions.

The editor of the “Portland Guardian“, welcomed Christmas 1890 as if to say “Here we go again”.

The Portland Guardian,. (1890, December 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 24, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63631009

The editor continues with a reference to the 1842 editor of the same newspaper and the Christmas day activity of quoits.

The Portland Guardian,. (1890, December 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 24, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63631009

Shop windows were once again dressed up by their owners, but only one grocer maintained the tradition of displaying dried fruits and spices.

The Portland Guardian,. (1890, December 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 24, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63631009

The following is the first article I have seen on Christmas decorations in the home.  It offers tips on Christmas trees and ideas on making decorations.

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS. (1894, December 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 12 Edition: EVENING, Supplement: CHRISTMAS SUPPLEMENT. Retrieved December 24, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65397988

Christmas recipes were became popular in the 1890s.  The following for Santa Claus Baskets is from the “Portland Guardian” of December 25, 1895 . Recipes for Whipped Snow and Plum Pudding are also included.

CHRISTMAS RECIPES. (1895, December 25). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 9 Edition: EVENING, Supplement: CHRISTMAS SUPPLEMENT PORTLAND GUARDIAN.. Retrieved December 24, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63633406

The 1890s saw the traditional beef finally lose favour on the Christmas menu.   This article “What People Eat at Christmas”  from “The Argus“, gives a real insight into the Christmas fare of the time.  I have not included the entire article, which is worth reading in full.  Times were changing.

WEAT PEOPLE EAT AT CHRISTMAS. (1897, December 25). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 8. Retrieved December 24, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article9784663

To conclude this 19th century overview of Christmas in Victoria, I must include the following article for anyone wondering if the 1899 Christmas was the last of the century.  It comes a little further afield than Victoria as it appeared in the “West Australian Sunday Times” on December 31, 1899.

Chronology Up to Date. (1899, December 31). West Australian Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1897 - 1902), p. 8. Retrieved December 24, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38505997

 


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


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 162 other followers

%d bloggers like this: