Recently the Library received a donation of photographic negatives from the editor of the Riverine Herald in Echuca. The photos were taken by Fred Boyle (1914-1995) during his time at the newspaper in the 1950s and 1960s. It was my job to try and identify as many people in the photographs as possible. It was a fascinating search. What emerges from the photographs is people contributing to their local community in many different ways, a busy town alive with community spirit.
People at a dinner party, H2009.88/72.(copyright restrictions may apply)
Anyone who has searched old newspapers knows that it’s like peering into a different era. Boyle’s photographs capture the atmosphere of a different time whilst recording all sorts of community events including fundraisers, handcraft displays, medical procedures, local drama productions, musicians, fishermen with large catches of Murray cod and the Queen’s arrival in 1954.
Bathing beauty contests were popular too. In a time when television had not arrived in country areas, local people created their own entertainment. One annual contest was the Miss Torrumbarry Lock title, which raised funds for the Echuca District Hospital.
Miss Torrumbarry Lock of 1953, H2009.88/5
Beverly Tandy, above, winner in 1953, said she was ‘thrilled and flabbergasted’ to win the title. I hope Beverly or her family see this photo, which should bring back some memories!
Like many towns in the 1950s and 1960s, Echuca was constantly trying to raise funds for community facilities. Fred photographed the scout bottle drives to raise money for a new hall. In 1954, 60 Gunbower district men went into the forest and loaded 14 trucks with 100 tons of wood. The photograph below shows a truck packed high with straw after it had cleared the arch of the Murray Bridge by four inches. The relieved driver, Jim Paulette, stands on the running board.
Flatbed truck laden with bales of pressed straw clearing the arches on the Murray Bridge, Echuca. H2009.88/16
First charter trip of the MVC Coonawarra on the Murray River; H2009.88/12
Three men working in a corn field, H2009.88/157 (copyright restrictions may apply)
The Echuca of the 1950s, H2009.88/108
Despite my searches of the issues from 1947 to 1966, I could not identify many of the donated photos. Some of the photographs were not published or may have been commissioned by particular organisations. The Library has digitised all the Fred Boyle photos, identified and unidentified. If you recognise anyone in this collection of photos, you can add a coment to the individual record in the Library catalogue or complete the Ask a Librarian form. You can view early issues of the Riverine Herald, 1869-1954, on Trove.
Elderly man and woman praying, H2009.88/60 (copyright restrictions may apply.)
Written by Barbara Carswell, Information Services Team.