Australia in the #40s and #50s

Australian Souvenirware,
made in Czechoslovakia, England, Australia 1940-50s

A selection of hand-coloured, photographic transfer prints of various Australian cities and landmarks made in the 40s and 50s. What a great wall feature they’d make!

Featured herein are beaches, streets, bridge and bridge approaches and traffic bridges, parks, clocks, landmarks, harbours, town halls, parliament houses and rivers [and I quote] :

  • Harbour Beach, Manly
  • Prince Street, Grafton
  • Belmont, Lake Macquarie
  • Bridge Approach, Shoalhaven River from Showground, Nowra
  • Bridge, Shoalhaven River, Nowra
  • Traffic Bridge, Macksville
  • Machattie Park, Bathurst
  • Dr Evershed Memorial Clock, Bega NSW
  • Bottle Rock, Coonabarabran
  • Ulladulla Harbour, NSW
  • Town Hall, Rockhampton QLD
  • Perth, WA
  • Parliament House, Canberra
  • Murray River, Corowa.

Makers are all noted on the backstamps: Victoria, IBC, Royal Grafton Bone China, Royal Stafford Bone China, Westminster China [the last, weirdly from Australia.]

All fifteen plates are in great vintage condition and provide a snapshot of important landmarks in Australia, as judged by tourists in the 40s and 50s. Or – as I mentioned – massed together they would make a fantastic wall feature.

The souvenirware plates are for sale: $AU120

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Kookaburra perpetual calendar

Kookaburra perpetual calendarKookaburra perpetual calendar,
made in Australia 1940s

This pewter kookaburra sits on a boomerang-shaped timber base: the timber is traditional Mulga wood- which has been cut and arranged to show off its famous bi-colouring. Mulga wood was used in 1940s souvenir works like these as it is a hardwood –unusual in a native from the wattle family – and was considered ‘export quality’. A transfer sticker on the base, in the shape of Australia, proudly proclaims “Genuine Australian Mulga” in case one confuses it for fake Mulga, or worse still, a non-Australian Mulga.

Kookaburras are very collectible right now: and I have a great fondness for a perpetual calendar. The daily ritual of changing the date as one sits down to work in a mostly digital world is very pleasant. You’ll notice if you look closely at the image that the calendar pieces were made by The Daily Set, printed in England. This is the only part of the item that was imported; seems Australia couldn’t print calendar pieces in the 40s.

The perpetual calendar is not for sale as it makes up part of Trish’s burgeoning kookaburra collection. I have tried to claim is as part of my burgeoning Mulga wood collection – but nothing doing!

40s Australiana

40s Australian souvenirwareRoyal Scenic China jug
Victoria Czech Porcelain plate
made in Czechoslovakia c.1940s

I have a thing for souvenirware- it’s true. So far Casino, Cairns, Cooma, Forster and Taree have been featured as hand-coloured transfer prints on all manner of ceramic items. Now it’s Launceston- ‘Looking toward the gorge’ [pretty generic description- perhaps there’s just the one in Launceston?] and Coonabarraban- featuring ‘Bottle Rock’.

Interesting all these 40s souvenirware was produced by a couple of different manufacturers in Czechoslovakia; IBC Royal Scenic China and Victoria Czech Porcelain. Photographic images were sent to the manufacturers who applied the transfer which was then hand tinted before final glazing. The colourist seems to have been a little enthusiastic with the tinting, or the original print itself was somewhat exaggerated in colour- but either way- the colours are still vibrant today. I particularly like the 40s affectation of the ‘blush’ of colour- seen as the sky on the jug and as decoration to the edges of the plate.

Both items have the obligatory gilt edging, indicating the items were for special occasions, certainly not for every-day-use. They are for sale: $AUD55

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