Monday, May 7, 2018


Little  Darwin  hits  photographic  home  runs on  North  Queensland  tour.

An  op shop in  the sugarcane town  of  Babinda  surprisingly  yielded  the above highly illustrated  three books , one signed by   author Paul  Sniffen  , all  printed in  Great Britain. They are packed  with   early  photographs,  advertisements , some cartoons,  concise  information  which  makes  for  a  pleasing , informative  read  on  many  subjects.  Some highlights -
 One of the many points of interest is a house resembling that of the Addams Family which  had  belonged to the actor  Edwin Booth , brother of John Wilkes Booth who  assassinated  Abraham Lincoln .  A resident had been a roller skate fan, still skating  for exercise each day  at 87,  who brought over an  overseas champ  to  promote the sport . 
 The biggest names in  entertainment , including Sophie Tucker, Helen Morgan , Lillian Russell  and  Irish tenor  John McCormack,   passed through  the nightspot on  Lake Wanamassa  known as  Ross Fenton Farm . 
The editor of the  Washington  Post and the New York World , Colonel George Harvey , had also  lived in the area ; later became the ambassador to  Great Britain .  During the l920s there was  house on  an estate which was  said to be a luxury speakeasy and  gambling joint that catered for  the  well heeled ; later on , the  land was  subdivided , the mansion became a  synagogue . 

There is a section covering locals who served in various wars  ,including  a WWl roll  of  honour .

There is  good coverage of early firemen  and their  rigs ; front and interior views of shops, showing a wide variety of goods  for sale . The  first electric  trolley car, the second in America, ran there in 1891. A 1912 interior of a bank  shows the  special department set  aside  for  women customers , with several baskets of flowers, under the control of a  female vice president .

Religious faiths and churches  are  extensively covered .  Mention is made of the popularity of bicycles, enabling  women  to get  about . The maker of  go-carts, chairs for invalids  and baby carriages  converted wheelchairs  into rolling chairs for  able  bodied vacationers, couples , who could be pushed up and down boardwalks. Mineral waters were all the go  to relieve  rheumatism  and  other ailments .

Displayed is the popular modest  swimsuit called the "Bradley Bag" made from heavy blue flannel , with long sleeves , pants down to the ankles, which enabled ladies to cavort about in the water . The Toffee King  dealt in famous English sweetmeats.

There are many photographs of mansions , a section dealing with the actors and actresses who passed through , a 1907 shot of  the cast for the  Merry Widow and another  view  which could either be a naval vessel  used to promote  HMS Pinafore  or a  mock up  of  the  ship .
The Vanderbilts   are  featured  along with Sir Thomas Lipton of  America's Cup fame  and Lillian Russell , the  obviously very popular first pin up  girl  in those days .   General Ulysses  S. Grant  , in top hat ,  not looking the best, is  shown  three days before  he  died . He is of  particular interest  as  the  book  hunt also  produced the  Personal Memoirs of  U. S. Grant .

There is  a   fullplate photo of  President William McKinley and a  view of  the statue of James  Abram  Garfield, 20th US president , who died at Long Branch . "Mrs  Abraham Lincoln" spent a  summer  in the city . All three books published by Arcadia Publishing , an imprint of Chalford Publishing, New Hampshire .