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Showing posts from April, 2015

Big O.E. online exhibition

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Our digital team at Auckland Libraries have created an online exhibition to complement the current Sir George Grey Special Collections exhibition, the Big O.E.
The exhibition is running until 14 June 2015 on the second floor of the Central Library and the online exhibition is located here.
Ref: Ron Clark, Oriana, 1960s, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1207-1448.

Onehunga soldiers’ roll of honour

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What must be one of New Zealand’s finest and most elaborate First World War rolls of honour is found upstairs at the Onehunga RSA, 57 Princes Street, Onehunga.
Sir F.W. Lang MP unveiled the Onehunga soldiers’ roll of honour in the town’s Carnegie Library on 25 April 1919. 
Ref: James D Richardson, Carnegie Library, Onehunga, 1915, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-1476.

The clues are in the small print

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Do you have any family members who had/have wedding anniversaries, or died between 1934 and 1970? If so, have you checked The New Zealand Herald anniversaries and death notices 1939 – 1970 [microform] : index & transcriptions slips*? You may just locate information that you have previously missed.

The names index was extracted from more than 22,000 handwritten transcriptions of death and anniversary notices. The second part of this resource contains the microfiched transcription slips.

The transcription slips contain the full text and date of the notice as it appeared in the newspaper. Usually the names of the people involved are included as well as a date and place. Sometimes there is even a reference to another source of information that may be followed up on later.

Often five or more people are named in an anniversary transcription slip. All of these names have been included in the index. There are over 100,000 individuals indexed, of which about 62,000 names are those of coup…

News from the Dardanelles

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On 29 April 1915 Prime Minister Massey announced in Wellington that four days earlier New Zealand troops had participated in the landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula in the Dardanelles. However actual photographs of military activities and living conditions at Gallipoli were sparse in the Auckland Weekly News Supplement until late July 1915. There were photographs of the naval warships trying to force a passage through the Dardanelles and bombarding the Turkish forts there. There was also the Roll of Honour; and its seemingly never-ending portraits of casualties must have alerted readers that something BIG was happening. But either distance, censorship, early lack of official photographers or the simple fact that the troops couldn't easily get their films developed meant the Auckland Weekly News could only gradually reveal the campaign to its readers as events unfolded. This little piece might shed some light on how Auckland Weekly News readers learned about life and death in the D…

Maps of Gallipoli

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Sir George Grey Special Collections hold a number of First World War maps of Gallipoli and surrounding regions. Seven of these maps have been digitised and are accessible via the Heritage Images database.

In April 1915, New Zealand soldiers, alongside those from Australia, Britain and France, invaded the Gallipoli Peninsula. This was to ensure an Allied naval force could break through the Dardanelles Strait and seize or threaten the Ottoman capital of Constantinople, and hopefully the Ottoman Empire might be forced out of the war.


The British landed at Cape Helles on the southern tip of the peninsula, while the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) landed half way up the peninsula, in order to cut off the Ottomans’ supply route to the south.
Neither force managed to achieve their primary objectives and the conflict soon turned into a stalemate of trench warfare.

The map above is of the Dardanelles and Bosporus around the time of the Gallipoli landings. The mountainous terrain is…

Online Cenotaph on the road

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Yesterday at the Central Auckland Research Centre we successfully installed an Artefact Digitisation Unit (ADU).

As part of He Pou Aroha, Community Cenotaph the Auckland War Memorial Museum has created the ADUs to promote the redeveloped Online Cenotaph website. Online Cenotaph, developed by the Auckland War Memorial Museum in association with the Ministry for Culture and Heritageis a rich biographical database of New Zealand service personnel which provides a lasting legacy of the WWI Centenary commemorations.


Ref: Andrew Henry, ADU in Central Research Centre, 14 April 2014, Auckland Libraries.

The forgotten New Lynn Gateway of Remembrance

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New Lynn’s First World War memorial was not erected until some years after the war. A proposal first made in 1920 to erect a soldiers’ memorial on the Triangle Reserve in the centre of town came to nothing. Eventually, Reverend W.P. Rankin, the minister at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Hall, took matters literally into his own hands, and erected a substantial brick ‘Gateway of Remembrance' on the corner of Matai Street and Margan Avenue outside his church. The Reverend Rankin was no stranger to bricklaying, having previously built the church hall himself.


Ref: excerpt from the New Zealand Herald, Volume LXX, Issue 21638, 2 November 1933, page 6.

Researcher in residence 2015/2016

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It's that time of the year again, when we call for applications for our Researcher in Residence scholarship. 

The Auckland Library Heritage Trust, in association with Auckland Council, is offering a research scholarship using the Sir George Grey Special Collections at the Central City Library. 


Ref: P. Besomo, Phrenological chart, 1891, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-C65.

2015 Trans-Tasman Anzac Day blog challenge

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This year's blog challenge is late - primarily due to the fact that in March I was attending the 2015 AFFHO Congress (Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations) in Canberra (more about that in a later blog), and there was much I had to do to prepare before I left.

The 100th anniversary of the First World War has meant there has been a huge flurry of activity to make research resources available worldwide.

A large number of books have been reprinted, some have been revised and updated and a number have been newly written.
My Family History shelves are groaning with new resources, and I know that other non-fiction and reference collections throughout Auckland Libraries are similarly bulging with new books.
Additionally, we also have developed the Our Boys, Your Stories website, where we have curated digitised versions of our collection.
Have a look at the Resources page on the Our Boys website to see what has been developed to assist you! 
Anzac Day is the day that is a n…

Peace, prayer and reflection in South Auckland

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Three years ago, when I started work at the South Auckland Research Centre I did not really know what to expect. I knew that the community was different to any library setting that I had worked in previously.
From a socio-economic point of view conditions vary greatly from place to place, it is young, it is vibrant, and it is multi-cultural. I noticed the strong sense of community. I was welcomed with warmth; there is a tangible spirit of generosity here. I had moved from a small city in the provinces to ‘the big smoke’. Now, when I go back to visit family there it feels like I am stepping back in time.
In geographical terms the South Auckland Research Centre collects material from across a large area. South Auckland has a rich and deep history. Boundaries have been created, merged, changed and expanded over time. 

Thinking about my initial impressions of South Auckland led me to look for a way to highlight the community by drawing attention to some of the important photographs that we …

Easter - illuminated medieval manuscripts and early printed Bibles

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This Easter Heritage et AL is featuring a selection of illustrations from our illuminated medieval manuscripts and images of some early (pre 1501) printed bibles. The illuminated manuscripts include a variety of liturgical and devotional books of differing types, some of which are described below.
These definitions are from Medieval & Renaissance manuscripts in New Zealand Collections by Margaret M. Manion, Vera F. Vines & Christopher de Hamel which is a comprehensive text on medieval manuscripts held in New Zealand. Missal "contains the texts used for the celebration of Mass, together with a liturgical calendar."Breviary "contains the texts used for the recitation of the Divine Office, together with a liturgical calendar."Book of Hours "A devotional book, popular with the laity from the late thirteenth century onwards. It contains a selection of short Offices, prayers and devotions, and is prefaced by a liturgical calendar. The Little Office of the Virg…

April Fool's Day - various races

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The first of April marks April Fool's Day. There is a long history of practical jokes being played on April 1 in New Zealand. George Reed reported in 1883 that Noah's Ark had been discovered and the story was reprinted in papers around the world, and in 1949 the radio host Phil Shone convinced the people of Auckland that a swarm of wasps were descending.

The BBC got into the fun in 1957 with a news item about spaghetti trees.

More recently NZ On Screen published a hoax biography of fictional film maker Colin McKenzie. A list of other New Zealand April Fool's hoaxes can be found here.

Whilst not a prank or practical joke I thought Aprils Fool's Day provided an appropriate opportunity to present some of the more humorous images in our photograph collections relating to various races staged in New Zealand through the years, plus a photo of a roller skater in a chicken suit.


Ref: Halftones Ltd. for the Auckland Weekly News, The chantecler craze, 14 April 1910, Sir George Gr…