Monday, August 24, 2015

Sepia Saturday293 - 22 August 2015

This week's prompt from Sepia Saturday gave one much food for thought - pun entirely intended. One thought much about whether one had photos of cafes or canteens or shopping but one realised that one has posted them before here.  I decided instead to focus on historical photos from Queensland and boy, did I get distracted again.
First of all I found this photo:

Employees at the Hope's Body Works canteen , Fortitude Valley, Brisbane - courtesy of John Oxely Library State Library of Queensland.
It's pretty amazing - right?  My first thought was - Oh God!  How hot would that be in summer????? That building is clad in corrugated iron.  It must have been winter when this was taken - the workers are wearing fair isle vests and overalls and flanellette shirts. No-one looks too happy.  Check out those enormous teapots and the enamel mugs.  I reckon all the paper on the table is from the local chippy or fish and chip shop. It's funny how sitting communally at trestle tables is quite the done thing now in restaurants isn't it?  Not all restaurants to be sure - but some.  

So that photo led me on a chase to find out all about Hope's Body Works which had the fabulous motto Hope Springs Eternal...Charles Hope, the owner of the company started out making leaf springs and his autobiography bears the same title.

If you want to read more about Charles Hope and his life go here.

Hope's Body Works was located in Fortitude Valley just on the edge of what is now a thriving shopping precinct.

Here are some more photos....

Assembling Austin cars in Hope's Body Works, Brisbane, 1935-1939 John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Studying blueprints in Hope Body Works factory, Brisbane John Oxley Library State Library of Queensland
In the late 1930s and 40s, Hope Body Works also produced what was called Cold Flame Regrigerators.  You can see lovely photos of one of these on the Museum of Victoria's website here.

Now you would think that Hope Body Works and photos thereof would be enough to fill a blog post but no, I had to go off and find out about Green Studios which took the photos of Hope Body Works.  I found the most beautiful photo of Green Studios employees in, wait for it.....a of the most famous ones in it is...

Staff of Green Photographic Studio celebrating the marriage of Mary Grey, left of photograph at Rowe's Cafe. From left to right seated, M. Grey; Col Williams; Connie Richards; Harry Green; Mrs Green; Elsie Preece; John Gibbons; Monica McWilliam. Standing left to right: Joan Mandsley; Ernie Hollywood; Norma Bowyer;? John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Isn't it a beauty?  Now of course I am eager to identify when this photo was taken and who was in it.  When I researched Green Studios, I found the following articles....

New Lighting Equipment for Brisbane Studio. (1938, October 23). Sunday Mail (Brisbane) (Qld. : 1926 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved August 24, 2015, from

It's not a very clear copy of the article but at least we know that the studio was in the Strand Buildings and that the owner was Mr Green, presumably Harry Green in the photo above taken at the Rowe's Arcade cafe.
Then there was this article 

Books were 'dummies'. (1951, October 26). The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved August 24, 2015, from 
Oh dear ......but I also thought this was interesting......a bit of diversification....I wonder if this ever got off the ground. Does anyone remember a picture theatre at Newmarket?

Advertising. (1946, July 15). The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), p. 6 Edition: CITY FINAL LAST MINUTE NEWS. Retrieved August 24, 2015, from

Henry or Harry Burrington Green was born in 1900 to Henry Charles Green (Accountant) and Clara Burrington.  He married Maude E. Gray (Paddy) also known as Costello on 20 August 1924.  

Family Notices. (1949, August 20). The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved August 24, 2015, from

Maude was born in 1901 to Florence Ellen Forrest and Gilbert Steel Gray (Steel after his mother Susannah Steele) in 1901.  Unfortunately Gilbert Steel Gray died in 1902 and Florence remarried in 1904 to Alexander John Costello.  Alexander Costello was a chemist and achieved some notoriety for selling a publication called "Know Thyself" in 1934.

BOOK DECLARED TO BE OBSCENE. (1934, November 27).The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved August 24, 2015, from

Honestly, I could go on....but really...I have to get to work....see what comes from one photo prompt!  If you wanted to see the pamphlet/booklet for yourself you can go and check it out at the State Library of Queensland as per here.   I suspect the subject matter may be very similar to this publication written and published by Bishop Samuel Fallows in 1911 which you can find online here.

But my unanswered question really is ...who was Mary Grey?...and do you think she is really Mary Gray?  Will we ever know????


Deb Gould said...

Love the shots of the Austins being assembled in the factory -- and poor A.J. Costello...seems like sex education has ALWAYS been a target! Great photos.

Wendy said...

Oh Alex, this is a champion of "stream of consciousness" blogging.

ScotSue said...

What diverse directions research can take us! A fascinating "take" on this week's theme.

Family History Fun

Barbara Fisher said...

Hi Alex, great post, I love the way you followed all the twists and turns. It’s amazing how one piece of paper or one photo can lead on to so much more.

La Nightingail said...

A marvelous job of sleuthing it all out! That first photo reminded me of how uncomfortable it can be at a big company meal - everyone all crammed together so you can barely bend an elbow & lift your arm to get the food to your mouth, & then the person seated directly behind you bumps their chair into yours - just as you finally GET the food to your mouth . . .

Jo Featherston said...

Great photographs of the Hope Body Works. My husband's first car was an Austin A40, vintage about 1950 (he didn't buy it new) but he thinks it was made in England. I'm sure you could discover more about Mary Grey if you really wanted to.