Bringing a Bit of Colour to the Past

Hand-coloured or tinted photos have always been around since there have been photographs to colour. Sometimes it’s just a hint of a tint and in the more blatant efforts it looks more like the result of Homer Simpson’s makeup gun set to ‘whore’

It’s hard to forget that the ‘olden days’ were full of colour and many a curious person looking at black and white photos has wondered “What did it really look like!?”

Over the years I’ve become self-taught in a number of computer programs but the one I have the most fun with is Adobe Photoshop. Combined with my interest in genealogy it wasn’t long before I starting figuring out ways to use old and historical photos. I started hand colouring (I figure I can still use the term since my hand is on the mouse!) some old photos in the family albums and was quickly hooked. Sometimes the end result could blow your mind as you flick back and forth from the original image.

Lately I’ve been colouring historical photos that have been popular on the Facebook group Lost Perth,  widely successful in Western Australia where people having been digging up old photos of Perth’s yesteryears and posting them online for everyone to reminisce over.
My favourites are pre-1900 images. The further back the date of the photo, the harder it can be to imagine it in realities hue.

The first hand coloured photo that I posted was an image of the Old Men’s Depot that used to sit on Mounts Bay Road, right on the river. It’s such a beautiful image with all the elderly men relaxing by the foreshore and black swans swimming about.  It’s not the clearest image and quite grainy, not ideal for colouring but it was a favourite that I really wanted to bring to life.

mens depotOld Men's Depot - Mounts Bay Rd, Perth c1900

It was a bit hard to make it resemble reality due to the graininess but I think it turned out alright.

The next photo I chose is one of the oldest landscape photos of Perth and shows the Pensioner Guard Barracks just after they were built in 1865.
This was a popular choice as the Barracks were demolished in the 60’s with only the arch remaining so while the arch is a Perth icon, not many really knew about the Barracks as a whole.

Pensioner Guard Barracks, Perth  c1865

Pensioner Guard Barracks, Perth  c1865

In fact I coloured this photo twice. The first time I only had a cropped version and it wasn’t until I applied to the State Library of Western Australia for a hi-res copy of the original, that I saw all the wonderful things happening on the sides. On the left is a woman holding a baby. Another woman rests on a grassy mound. On the right are two boys tending their sheep, while a girl stands at the gate to her house. Three other children are also playing nearby.

Some commented that they’d love to buy a print so I applied at SLWA for reproduction rights and can now sell these as photo prints or on a canvas in a variety of sizes.

More painted photos to come!

A Tribute To My Grandfather

One of the biggest achievements of my life was being able to tell my 93 year old Grandfather, George Lockett, who his biological father was.

George sadly passed away on 15 June 2013, aged 94 and 1 month, after developing pneumonia. Having survived the infection the previous year, this time his frail body just couldn’t recover.

Since his death, I’ve been filled not with sadness, but with a sense of celebration. I was starting to feel a little guilty about it until I realised that I wasn’t the only one grappling with this conundrum. Of course I will miss him, and I am sad that I won’t see him again, but he had such a great and fulfilling life surrounded by such a loving family that my mind decided to remember the life lived instead of the life lost.
*Although when the Bugler played the Last Post at his funeral, I bawled my eyes out. But who doesn’t cry upon hearing that?!

George didn’t believe in the afterlife, but he always said he hoped to be proven wrong, and in completing a little family deal we have going on regarding its existence, I could actually feel his hand stroking my hair during the moment of reflection in the middle of the service. After a few seconds of contemplating what it was, I understood and smiled.
My Uncle, a firm non-believer later recalled that he got a tap on the shoulder when there was no one around him.
Actually prior to this, he’d been on a plane flying to Perth for the funeral when a woman seated near him lent over and said “You’ve lost someone close to you, but they say they’re ok, they’re happy and they’re in a better place.”
Creepy!

The funeral was mentioned by many to be the best they’ve ever been to. I’d created a media presentation to be played during it and I was a little embarrassed when it received a very loud round of applause. I’m sure anyone outside would have been wondering what on earth was going on in there!

So for posterity, I uploaded it onto YouTube. If you watch it, I hope you enjoy it and make sure to turn the volume on! Makes it much more worthwhile!

Where’s My Crown!? – Related to Royalty

Last week I was working on a distant line in my tree that centred around a notable figure, Rowland Taylor. Now Rowland himself is an interesting man. He was born in Northumberland in 1510, growing up under the reign of Henry VIII who separated from Rome forming the Church of England (only so he could divorce his wife and marry another).

Rowland went into the Ministry and became quite a popular pastor who tended the poor and believed in strong family foundations. But when Henry VIII’s successor, son Edward died young, the crown ended up in the hands of Queen Mary who quickly reverted the country back to Catholicism.

This was not good for Rowland… Continue reading

Trove’s Newest Digital Newspaper Additions

Yesterday I decided to check out the latest newspapers that have been added to the Trove website – one of my favourite site’s for researching Australian Family History, to find a massive 54 newspapers have been added, mostly for New South Wales and Victoria but the sole newspaper added for Western Australia is one that I’ve always hoped to search through.

The Herald, which is a still a current day newspaper for Fremantle, is now available on Trove, thanks to the City of Fremantle Library, with editions from 1867-1886 currently available.

After a quick search I found a great article about a Great-Grand Uncle, Luke Tonkin, who allegedly had been involved in an assault on another man.

I was hoping to find something on my GGGreat Grandfather, John Foss Tonkin, but couldn’t find anything substantial, I’m hoping later editions will turn up something for him.

But for now I get to know Uncle Luke a little bit better…

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My Pop, The ANZAC

georgeww2

George Lockett

George Lockett, my Mum’s father, my Pop, was born in 1919 in Edmonton, England being the result of a short lived WWI tryst between his mother Eva-Rose, who was working as a nurse at a British Forces military camp, and an Australian Soldier, John (Jack) Scott. That story in itself is an interesting read!

Eva-Rose’s father made her put George up for adoption and a then childless couple adopted him before  eventually moving to Australia under the Government Group Settlement Scheme.

He enlisted in World War II with the Australian Army in May 1940 and did initial training at Swanbourne Barracks in Perth before being posted to Rottnest Island to dig trenches.
In late 1941 he headed to Darwin to protect Australia from the Japanese who were steadily heading south. George was listed as a Gunner with the 2nd Anti-Aircraft Battery, aka ‘The Ack-Ack‘ who had the job of shooting at the Japanese planes from giant guns positioned in the ground. Continue reading

Honouring My ANZAC Family

The 25th April is pretty significant in Australia and across the water to our brothers, New Zealand. If you’re not from these parts you may wonder about all this ‘Lest We Forget’ stuff bombarding your social feeds.
Today is ANZAC Day. (Australian & New Zealand Army Corps), ANZAC was initially the name given to any soldier who served under these countries in World War 1, but later encompassed any soldier who fought in any conflict under these nations flags.
The date marks the day that ANZAC forces stormed the beaches of Gallipoli in Turkey, their first major battle in World War 1.
There were over 35,000 ANZACs wounded with over 11,000 of those, killed in action.
Keeping in mind that Australia had only come together as a federation only 14 years earlier, it is said that the country’s true psychological independence and patriotism was achieved through this baptism of fire at Gallipoli.

This post commemorates the Morton brothers; my Great-Grandfather Wilfred and two Great Grand-Uncles. All three enlisted in World War 1, fighting in separate divisions but all in Field Ambulance units. The FA was a highly mobile unit whose role was the rapid collection of the sick and wounded, the rendering of essential first aid treatment to casualties, their preparation and classification for further disposal and completion of documentation. They had no surgical capacity and in many dangerous situations their only main protection was a Red Cross on their arm, donkey or truck.

These are their stories… Continue reading

Just How Much of Me is Scottish/English etc?

It’s one thing to wonder where you got your nose or eyes from and it’s pretty amazing seeing them in 100 year old photos of ancestors, but have you ever wondered where all these body parts originated?
Is my dark hair from the Italian side or is it Black Scotch?
I’ve always wondered where my dark hair and light olive skin came from. At first I thought it was the Italian in me, but my mother has the same colouring’s and from what we knew there was no Mediterranean blood on her side.

With the recent discoveries I can confirm this and have come to the conclusion that it must be Black Scotch, but it made me wonder just how much of me is English, Scottish, Italian etc, so I applied a little bit of maths to figure this out in percentages.

Of course with DNA testing, you can only figure out the exact percentage of DNA inherited by testing each generation, but you can still make a good go of it.
You could also take the sex chromosome route which means males are 50% whatever their direct paternal line is and 50% whatever the direct maternal line is. For females, who only inherit their chromosomes from their mothers, you would be 100% whatever your direct maternal line is. So in that case I’m 100% Polish but my brother is 50% Polish and 50% English (Cornish). Continue reading