Sunday, 29 November 2015

Good Works of the Past

Like most rural communities, Otautau appears quiet on the surface. But in the background, good works are being done. This seems to be the case historically when the Belgians needed help from the ravages of World War I.

This little snippet (Otautau Standard, 22 Jan 1918) shows a bit of thanks for good works rendered during the years of the Great War. A postcard was sent from Belgium's Minister of the Interior to Mrs A. V. King, President of the Lady of Liverpool League, Otautau Branch.

It would be hard to sum up how many socks, scarves, hats and the like were made by Otautau hands to ease the Belgians' pain of losing everything to the war. Or, how many pounds and shillings were collected from individuals and fundraisers such as the Flower Show to help pay for aid. Or, how many parcels sent with homemade foods and clothing were sent to the soldiers to make life easier in what was basically a man-made hell. But these good works made a difference to a lot of lives. And though the real postcard probably doesn't exist any more, this little snippet is a testament the good works of the generations before us.

Note: We're open Sundays, 2pm-4pm and by request.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Open Again

After a long winter, we're open again on Sundays 2pm to 4pm and by request.

If you'd like to man the museum during these times, please contact Graham Milne.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Otautau School Photos

Over the last couple of weeks, we've been posting photos of Otautau School classes to our Facebook page. Otautau School donated the photos in 2009. The photos cover the 1960s to the 2000s. They aren't a complete set as some years are missing but still a very substantial and valuable set.

We decided to post them online for two reasons: 1) to continue to make our collections more accessible to the public; and 2) to gather names of the students as most of these photos did not come with names.

Collecting names is a timely kind of exercise - if you wait too long, people won't remember the names. So, we took a chance to put them on Facebook not really knowing how the majority would respond.

Thankfully, the response has been really positive. People are having a laugh and getting their memories stirred, and they are contributing the names we'd hoped for.

Thanks to all who have helped and participated in this informal naming project.

We're always on the lookout for more school photos either from Otautau School or any of the other schools nearby namely Fairfax School, Ermedale School, Aparima School, Gladfield School, Merrivale School, Waikouro School, Isla Bank School and any others I've forgot to mention!

Note: We will open on Sunday, 4 October 2015, 2pm to 4pm.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Doris Cottage

Mrs Emily Menzies, Doris Cottage, 1958
The same research inquiry about the Harraway painting mentioned in the previous post originally started as a question about Doris Cottage. Where was it in Otautau? The original inquiry actually appeared (on 27 July) on the Otautau, New Zealand Facebook page, so there was a ready audience to tackle the question. We also asked some key museum people. The inquirer supplied a photo (above) which helped to verify the location and information about her grandmother who lived there.

Doris Cottage was a wooden house situated at 47 Queen Street, right next to the first Presbyterian Church. The house is no longer there. A subsequent house was built but then eventually relocated leaving an empty section today. We would like to know more about Doris Cottage such as how it got its name. If you have any information please let us know via email or the Otautau Museum Facebook page. Thank you.

Note: We're closed for the winter but will open again in October 2015. You can request an individual visit by request if you would like to see the museum in person.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Harraway Painting

A family research question crossed our desk this week regarding a painting. It was signed by E Harraway and dated 20 Nov 1901. 

The painting was found in a house at 47 Queen Street, Otautau, and was unframed. When the owner moved away in the 1960s, she took it with her, and it was later framed.

We don't know of any Harraways in Otautau, yet there must be some connection somewhere.

If you have any information on the painter or where the landscape is taken from, please get in touch.

Thank you.

Note: We're closed for the winter but will open again in October 2015. You can request an individual visit by request if you would like to see the museum in person.