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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Hawaii 5-0!

Hawaii souvenir wall plaque
made in Japan, 1960s

Careening right back into kitsch territory, this is a Hawaiian souvenir from the 60s- made in Japan! It’s a wall plaque- how good would this look hanging in a contemporary interior? Very, very good!

The plaque is hand painted, and features a dancing hula girl, Hawaiian beachscape, complete with flowers, palm tree and background volcano; all framed in a pineapple. Because nothing says Hawaii like a pineapple!

The plaque is in excellent vintage condition and ready to hang. It’s for sale: $AU15

Studio Anna [sold]

Studio Anna, cup & saucer, 1950sStudio Anna cup & saucer
made in Australia, 1950s

Studio Anna started their art pottery in 1953, in Marrickville [just near where I now live.] Unlike many other potteries in the area, Studio Anna commenced with making art pieces; rather than converting from industrial/commercial products as part of the cultural changes that the 50s ushered in.

Like Martin Boyd pottery, Studio Anna specialised in hand-painted ‘Australiana’ themes. Flora and fauna and local iconic sites were depicted – I have several Studio Anna pieces that feature local hotels [oh! the 50s glamour!] as they were sold as souvenirware.

This cup and saucer is no exception- depicting the ‘Dog on the Tuckerbox’, a local tourist attraction in the fine town of Gundagai. [I won’t go into the story of the DotT – I have previously on the blog since I seem to have quite a few kitschy things that pay homage to said dog.]

The cup and saucer are in excellent vintage condition, and shown here with a snowdome of the DotT- made around the same era. This set is for sale: $AU35

Retro Italian souvenir images

Retro Italian souvenir images [1950s]retro Italian souvenir images,
made in Italy 1960s

This collection was inspired after I visited Italy. It comprises a c.1960s Venice guidebook, 60s postcards in book form from Venice, Roma and Florence and 60s souvenir film slides from Rome and the Vatican.

The souvenir guide book is in excellent condition and is quite funny to read with its mangled English. The souvenir postcard books have never been used and are still complete – the old retro photographs are very stage-managed and have been colour-touched in that delightful 60s era style.

The souvenir slides have never been opened, and I expect they will have that lovely rosy patina of all old slides. They could be viewed using one of the Haminex slider viewers, posted below!

The Italian souvenir images are for sale: $65

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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!

Perpetual calendar

Mulga wood perpetual calendar, 1950sPerpetual calendar
made in Australia, 1950s

I love these old perpetual calendars- so kitschy and SO different to the orderliness of the digital calendars we are forced to view every day.

This ‘Souvenir of Adelaide’ is made from Mulga Wood – – which has been cut and arranged to show off the timber and bark of the tree. Mulga wood was used in 1940-50s souvenir works like these as it is a hardwood –unusual in a native from the wattle family – and was considered ‘export quality’. The kitschy koala transfer print just adds to the hokey, kitschy quality. The whole ensemble has a little brass stand at the back to keep it upright, and a little brass pocket on the front for one to arrange the date. Alas, as everyone knows with perpetual calendars, one keeps forgetting to actually change the date and the digital calendar starts to seem not so boring after all.

The perpetual calendar is for sale: $AUD55

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50s Berlin

Retro stereoscopic viewerStereoscopic viewer, made in Berlin c.1950s

I bought this stereoscopic viewer in Berlin at a fantastic vintage shop called VEB Orange. VEB Orange is dedicated to showcasing East Germany of the 50s, 60s and 70s. That is my kind of shop!

The viewer – with its images of Baden Baden- was made as souvenirware. If you couldn’t visit the place, at least you could go with the help of kitschy, hand-coloured photographic images. Perhaps there is a slight intimation of boredom- that Baden Baden isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and really East Berlin is much more scenic! Even the colour of the viewer is deliberately drab [although somewhat funky in shape.]

I like souvenirware- snowdomes, and those little TV sets that you peer into with a rotating wheel of images. No matter how many images you take whilst travelling- nothing can compare to the cliqued, static, dated and hilarious images of souvenirware.

Sydney Opera House – 70s style

Sydney Opera House souvenir plateSydney Opera House plate
made in England, 1970s

Even in the 70s we were outsourcing our souvenirware to England. This souvenir plate featuring the Sydney Opera House was made by the well known Wood & Sons in Burslem, England.

A crude sketch of the Opera House is surrounded by – the NSW Coat of Arms at the top, and a repeated flora motif around the edge. And that motif is surrounded by a ubiquitous 70s graphic. Everything is mission brown – so 70s! – and very busy. In the 70s you got a lot of bang for your buck.

The back of the plate is no different. A huge scroll of text describes the Opera House—size, position, etc, etc – and then this extraordinary [and completely ridiculous] statement:

“New South Wales proudly claims that this magnificent structure is among the greatest ever created in the history of mankind.”

The 70s! gotta love it! It was the greatest decade ever created.

This plate is for sale: $AUD45

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Atomic era nostalgia

Towerbrite teapots & souvenirware swansTowerbrite anodised teapots, made in Australia c.1950s
Souvenirware Swan thermometers, made in Japan c.1950s

When too much anodised aluminium is barely enough! Now, I know what you’re thinking…might be just a little too excessive this time. But oh contraire! The atomic age of anodised aluminium is again coming into its own.

These baby blue Towerbrite teapots are simply fabulous- and increasingly collectible. The souvenirware swan thermometers- okay, a little naff- but as a pair- quite wonderful. Put it all together and you have the start of a great 50s atomic age aluminium fest. [Plus those thermometers are totally accurate. Yes, yes, they are. AND you can put your pens in the pen-holder.]

The souvenirware Swans were made in Japan and shipped to every corner of the globe. Seemingly swans come from everywhere…but in the case of Australia- yes- we have both white and black swans as native birds. Anodised gold ones are a little rarer…but now you can own a pair! And tell the temperature.

This set is for sale: $AUD75

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