In 2012 I was given an old chocolate box full of photographs, ephemera and manuscripts previously owned by my Great Grandmother Lucy KENNEDY [1891-1961] and found in a wardrobe in her home after her death.

This is the fourth page of selected photographs.






These were very interesting snaps in the album.  It appears a circus must have been in town but what town? 



With my research over the years, as far as I can recall  nothing indicated that my great grandmother had been overseas and her financial circumstances would most certainly have put paid to that.  The photo also had a New Zealand feel to it.

The building in the background  is signwritten with "David Murray & Co. Iron and Brass founders".  A quick and dirty search of 'Paperspast' brings up and advertisement for this business from 1884 as being located in Wanganui.

david murray advertisement

David Murray was still advertising for blacksmiths in 1919 [no later full business advertisements appear].  The business seems to have been a longstanding successful one with an article from the Wanganui Chronicle stating

"In spite of the dull times Mr David Murray continues to do a good share of business at his well-known iron and brass foundary" and that "Mr Murray may perhaps be congratulated that in these depressed times he is able to keep so many men employed." [1]

I'm not sure if my Great Grandmother had connections in Wanganui.  I haven't discovered any thus far, however it is clear these photographs meant something to her to have placed them so firmly in her album.  I'm not sure of the date of the photographs either.  They are placed near to a photo taken of great grandma by The New Zealand Filmograph Co. who were in business from at least 1932[3] so I would say it almost certainly predates that.  A clue may be in the males' clothing styles in the second photo.


children crop


Interestingly, this news article from the Auckland Star, 22 February 1938 mentions elephant years beforehand at Taupo Quay where David Murray & Co. were situated. Maybe this was the same time that the elephants were in town for the visit above?

elephant and car article


As an aside,in 1898 The Hawera & Normanby Star reported that Fitzgeralds' Circus had provided

"A capital evening's entertainment concluded with a decidedly novel not to say a wonderful act, in which a well-trained elephant pedals a specially built tricycle round the ring with a lion upon his back."[2] 

What a sight to behold...but that must have hurt the elephant!











[3] Auckland Libraries Photographers database




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