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Posted 4 years ago


(675 items)

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!
Country town.
Wide street.
One lamp-post.
One horse and rider.
One cart.
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.


Photographer: Percival Stuart GARLING (1873 -1951)
Publisher: Printed in Germany.
Year: February 1908.
Size: 14.1cm x 9cm (5½" x 3½")
Materials: paper, ink.

Associated content:
Mrs J. D. Lankester
Emu Park

Mt Frome
Dear Mother,
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.


  1. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 years ago
    Well covered.
  2. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks Sean, blunderbuss and mustangT too!
  3. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks czechman and inky too!
  4. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks bratjdd.
  5. bratjdd bratjdd, 4 years ago
    Thank you vetraio50, it is sad! been so far away from family, people now a days instead of visiting they use the form of cell phone and no effort on visiting when there is more of transportation. People taken family and friends for granted until is to late.
  6. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    In a way this highlights the influence of the mobile phone that celebrates its 40th anniversary today. Thanks for your comments bratjdd!
  7. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    Well researched & written. So much can be gleaned from an image & a few words.
    The PC was the instant message of it's time, some old timers most likely saw them as a frivolous form of communication.
    (Kind of the way I feel about text messaging.)
    They became an important form of communication & their appeal has endured for a century. I've enjoyed seeing these PC's from Australia.
  8. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks inky, walksoftly, toracat and blunderbuss too! I appreciate these comment walksoftly. Texting is even more abbreviated than PC but texting lacks the pictorial element. Maybe that could be the future of text?
  9. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    A couple of weeks ago my son was trying to call me on his cell but was in an area with poor reception. He managed to get a text message to me & I responded with a simple "OK". His response was "OMG Dad knows how to text!"
  10. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    I have actually done one myself. Just one, mind you. Tweet not yet!
  11. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks Phil!
  12. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks Petey!
  13. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Hi Sean! Visiting Dad Day! Nothing bought in the last week. Things are really grim!
  14. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 4 years ago
    Wonderfully evocative description!!! Thank you! : )
  15. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks miKKo, get better soon!
  16. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks AGHCOLLECT!
  17. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks NUTSABOTAS 'n BELLIN too!

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