Posted 11 months ago
This is by far the saddest postcard that I have seen so far from Maude Lankester. It tells something about her state of mind in early February 1908. Maude was 37 years old when she sent this card to her father and mother. She finds herself in a country town outside Mudgee 360 miles (or 580 km) away from her home in Emu Park, Ettamogah.
In a world without mobiles and the internet, postcard communication was the way to keep in contact with family and friends. Cheap, quick and cheerful (?) communication!
In researching the postcard I have learnt a little more about the woman and her times. Maude’s choice of postcard is amusingly ironic and stresses the loneliness that she must have felt so far away from home.
Look at that street scene!
One horse and rider.
A local card too, but hand tinted in Germany by someone who did not know that post boxes here Australia were red and not blue.
The photographer P.S. Garling. He sold these cards in a set of twelve. But Maude chose this one to send to her mother.
“Mudgee looking east.”
I look east and I see: nowhere.
That nowhere is Mount Frome. Directly east of Mudgee is a little elevated town once called Bumberra, then renamed Burrundulla and finally Mount Frome in 1894. This was where Maude was staying when she wrote this card just east of Mudgee. Why she was there I am not sure. But I believe it has to do with wine.
Today Mount Frome is home to very swank vineyards. The Mudgee Region is now recognised as having a nearly perfect climate for the production of Super Premium Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay.
Title: MUDGEE LOOKING EAST FROM EXCHANGE CORNER
Photographer: Percival Stuart GARLING (1873 -1951)
Publisher: Printed in Germany.
Year: February 1908.
Size: 14.1cm x 9cm (5½" x 3½")
Materials: paper, ink.
Mrs J. D. Lankester
Thought I should have had a letter from some of you last week. Did Father receive my last written over a week ago. Had some splendid rain last week everything looks nice & green again. Love to all friends & with love I am your loving daughter Maude
One penny red franked and post marked Mudgee February 5 1908.
Associated place and context:
The site today is the corner of Market and Church St, Mudgee. The lamp-post was replaced by the War Memorial Clock Tower in 1995.
On the right is the St. Mary of the Presentation sandstone that shows something of the wealth of the area in the nineteenth century created by gold discoveries nearby. The steeple of the church was not added until 1911. Many of the buildings along the street in the photo remain today.
Mt Frome is a few kilometres east of Mudgee. (261 km north from Sydney). Mudgee is a town in the central west of New South Wales, Australia. The Mudgee district lies across the edge of the geological structure known as the Sydney Basin. During the 19th century, the area was a major gold-mining area and the district also produces marble, pottery clays, shale and dolomite. It then developed as a wine-producing region and is a popular destination for tourists, who visit the forty wineries operating in the Mudgee district. Other rural produce includes cattle, sheep, wheat, lucerne, olives, fruit, tomatoes, corn, honey and dairy products.
The photographer Percival Stuart Garling arrived in Mudgee at age 15 and had “an early job was with the 'Mudgee Independent' newspaper as a printer's devil. He chopped wood to augment his income. He eventually became part proprietor of the 'Mudgee Post' with Keiran & Shaw. A keen photographer like his brother Albert Edward Hawkshaw, he opened and ran a photographic studio in Mudgee. In later days he was admitted by the A.R.P.S. (Associate of the Royal Photographic Society). In 1908/09 he moved to Orange, where he purchased the 'Orange Leader' which he ran successfully for a number of years before moving after 3 or 4 years to Haberfield, a Sydney suburb, to work for 'The Country Press'.” He was a well-known entrepreneur and went on to manufacture 'Heenzo' (Australia's largest selling patent medicine), then sell real estate and even co-founded an airline (Butler Air Transport) in 1934. He was a noted art collector and benefactor.