Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Auckland Weekly News photographs online

Auckland Libraries is fast approaching the end of a project to digitise all the Auckland Weekly News photographic supplements published between 1898 and 1943. You can already see all of the photographs up to 1927 on the Heritage Images database.

The project has turned up some fascinating and intriguing images, such as an 1886 design by John Crook of Ponsonby for an airship (see below), imaginatively seen flying over central Auckland.

Ref: AWNS-19020710-1-2, Sir George Grey Special Collections
From the outset it was decided to digitise all the published photographs, not just those obviously relating to New Zealand. One of these images from around the world, is a rather dramatic photograph of Victor Grayson, addressing a crowd of unemployed workers at Tower Hill in London in 1908 (see below).

Ref: AWNS-19081210-7-3, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Inspired by this image, research has revealed that Grayson was an intriguing character. During World War I, he fought in the New Zealand forces and his digitised service records can be viewed and downloaded from Archives New Zealand. Grayson was also Labour Member of Parliament from 1907 to 1910 but during 1920 whilst based in London, he disappeared in mysterious circumstances. Lenin described Grayson as a "fiery socialist". Could Grayson's disapperance be linked to his political leanings?

It is also interesting to see that Grayson's file includes a letter of enquiry dated 1962 from life-long socialist and University of Auckland librarian, Herbert Roth. His request to view Grayson’s war records was turned down on the grounds that the file was "of a personal nature", and therefore confidential. Or perhaps the rejection was actually because of Roth’s left-wing affiliations?

Digitisation of the Auckland Weekly News will continue and the remainder of the images up to 1943 will be available online by the end of the year.

Author: Keith Giles, Photographic Collections Librarian, Sir George Grey Special Collections

No comments:

Post a Comment

Kia ora! Please leave your comment below.