Yesterday’s post on the history of picture hats reminded Lynne of two of her family photographs, and she has kindly let me show them to you.
Here are Lynne’s Great Aunt Alice and Alice’s sister, her Grandmother Florence. Florence immigrated to NZ before WWI as a children’s nursemaid.
Based on advertisements I have seen, and numerous examples of women who came to NZ via this route, there was considerable demand for domestic help, and nursemaids and governesses in particular, in pre-WWI NZ. It was an easy way for women without a lot of means to have their passage paid, but most quickly married or moved on to other positions once they arrived. Early 20th century NZ society was much more democratic than its British counterpart, and the strict class system that characterised Britain did not hold here.
But that’s an aside. Today we are focusing on Alice and Florence. I already love this pictures, first because they symbolise the sharing and knowledge that the blog world has fostered, and second, because of the similarities and differences of the two sisters. They remind me of me and my sisters: how we share mannerisms and characteristics, but have our own distinct personalities.
I wonder what Alice and Florence were like?
In the photos Alice seems more outgoing: her picture hat is flamboyant, and her pose, legs apart, torso thrust foward, gaze directed straight at the camera, exudes confidence. In contrast Florence seems reserved: her clothes are beautifully cut but subdued, her picture hat large but practical, and she looks away from the camera. And yet Florence was the one who adventured, who risked it all and came to NZ.
And I guess my sisters and I are. I look braver, more outgoing, than the Naiad, but for all her reserve, she faces the world with more courage.
So thank you Lynne, for sharing a bit of your family with me, and with the rest of us. They are beautiful images, of two beautiful women, in more ways than one.