This week’s topic was chosen very scientifically. I turned to Del and asked “What little town would you like to know more about?” and after throwing a few suggestions around we settled on the township of Aubigny (facetiously pronounced Ore-Big-Knee because I like to take the make fun of “out-of-towners” now and then).
The Aubigny Parish area was named by Thomas Mitchell -who was the Surveyor-General of New South Wales in 1850- and was thought to have named the area to honour the Earl of Arundel, or his family, who had ties with the little French town. The Aubigny Township which was surveyed around 1880 was at the centre of the Westbrook Homestead area, and when the town lots became available in 1885 only two lots were sold. One of these lots was sold to the Lutheran Church and the St John’s Church was opened in 1886 and celebrated its centenary in 1986.
It was while looking for information about Aubigny I came across a huge newspaper article about the Schelberg – Rhule Wedding at the St John’s Lutheran Church in 1937. Now I say I found an article but it was more like a novella. Every detail of what the Bride, Bridesmaid, Mother In-law and Mother of the Bride were wearing was listed. Now at first I thought that that was just a little bit excessive but then I started to wonder when did using photos become commonplace in newspapers.
While cameras have been around since the 1800s, the “Golden Age of Photojournalism” didn’t occur until the 1930s-1950s. Originally wood carvings were used for illustrations in newspapers but later etched copper plates were created using the halftone technique for each and every image.
“Halftones were made by the original printed photograph being re-photographed through a glass screen with a pattern of tiny apertures, onto a film or a plate. This was then developed at very high contrast, resulting in dots which varied in size according to the intensity in the original. This, in turn, was used to make a sort of contact print on a sheet of metal using a material which would harden when exposed to light. The rest of that material was then washed away, and acid etch used to dissolve the bare areas between the dots. This resulted in a plate which was used in the printing press”
The etching of the image was created by hand and required considerable artistry and time, which made the whole process expensive and so a little local newspaper would have been reluctant to use images until a more cost effective technique was developed. In the meantime they relied on a thousand words, such as the wedding article, to describe a picture.
That’s me for this week, see you all next time.