Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Thames (NZ): Baillie Street Photograph Mystery

Over the decades there were many photographs taken from Bird-in-Hand Hill, looking south along Baillie Street towards Shortland. Views of the Thames High School, Hospital and St George Church dominated the subjects. The view on the right is from 1875, houses line Baillie Street (north of Mary Street).

But alas, not all is what it seems. A colourised card from 1907 (right) shows some anomalies to the landscape of that time. What was the reason for what appears to be doctoring of the photograph.
The photograph has an abundance of foliage and trees, which no doubt was destined to add to the appeal of the card. The photograph below taken around the same time shows that there were for one thing fewer trees.

 A closer look below, has a circle where the Thames High School building should be. It was built in 1880 and stayed until the late 1950s. It was definitely opposite the entrance to the Baillie Street Hospital from 1900. But where is it in the 1907 photograph on the left? The photograph on the right shows the building and grounds. I don't know the answer for the discrepancy, but it sure is interesting!

The postcard was sent to Hobart in 1907 by Wm Coad, who kindly identified where his house was located. The crop on the right is of lower Karaka Road, and the Coad house is marked with a cross. The postcard had several facts about the town. "Here is another Thames view for you. Where I have made a X near left hand side of card you will see my residence. The dwellings in this district are nearly all one storey buildings,  built wood. We have a population here of about four thousand at the present time, but it has in the past numbered close upon ten thousand."
 Mr William Coad owned a book and stationery shop in Pollen Street, Thames. His house in Karaka Road was named 'Mokoia.' This was common at the time for residential properties to have a name. Mr Coad died in 1917 and his obituary appeared in the Thames Star 11 July 1917.