Ploughing Ahead

This week has been a flurry of School Holiday activities, but true to my word I’m busy with new content for the Country Roads Project. At the moment I’m digitising the old photos in the Local History Collection here at the Oakey Library. The whole process of scanning has been made so much easier with our photocopier (scan to email), because I can scan multiple images in one hit (resolution 600dpi, in TIFF format) and then using GIMP, (the photo editing program on your USBs) I am able to crop each image and save them as separate files. This is great because I know that if I had to use a normal scanner it would’ve taken me five times longer.

While sorting images I came across this image of a blacksmiths shop.

Image: Bock's Blacksmith Source: Dpt. Deffence

Image: Bock’s Blacksmith c.1920
Source: Dpt. Defence

There’s no date on the donation form but a description that claims “Was where Mr Rush’s house is now in Bell St, 2001. Believed to be Kelly Lostroh’s”. Well I thought this is going to be easy to date. Corrugated tin roof gives me an earliest date of 1900 (when it became widely used in Australia) and then I’ll just search for Oakey Blacksmiths by the name of Lostroh in TROVE newspapers and I’ll be able to narrow down further.

How wrong I was. After a lot of different searches I found the Lostroh’s out Aubigny way, with the only mention of the Oakey Blacksmith being an article in The Queenslander April 22, 1905, talking about a successful trial of a stump jump plough which had been made to order by Mr. R. Bock, Blacksmith, Oakey. So this gives me a new date of 1905. Armed with the two names (Bock and Rush) I found this article from the High Country Herald October 21, 2014, which gives me the latest possible date of 1948.

Image: Article from High Country Herald October 21 2014

Image: Article from High Country Herald October 21 2014

After a bit more searching I found from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, that motor vehicles only became “widely common” in the 1930’s. With this titbit we can infer that wheelwright’s (he’s making wagon wheels in the picture) would be in decline and so we guesstimate the age of the photo to the 1920’s (I love “circa”, it means I don’t have to be exact but just close).

Well that’s all I’ve got for you this week. If you’ve a tale you’d like to tell about tracking down elusive local images, or even the providence of items, we’d love to include them in our blog.



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