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Elvie’s Sisters, Brother & Mother (1940s)

This is a photograph of my paternal grandmother’s immediate family. She had two sisters and a brother – Hazel, Ivy and Trevor. From left, Lou Robertson and Hazel, Ivy (known as Mick), their mother Ruth Ellen Bonner and brother Trevor Bonner. It was made in the Launceston suburb of Mowbray sometime in the 1940s. I’m not sure who made this photograph, but it was probably my grandmother Elvie Ruth Bonner (1901-1986) based on her absence within the frame. Elvie, known as Cissy, made medium format photographs for over fifty years and many of them captured family.

My grandmother's two sisters, brother, mother and brother-in-law

I had no interest in family history as a younger man. My father’s family traces back to the First Fleet convict Richard Morgan and were key players in the settlement of North-East Tasmania. My great great great grandmother was one of the first babies born in Tasmania. My great great great grandfather was Brereton Ross Porter Pemberton Rolla Watson (1804-1877) from the Watson line who purchased Rockingham Castle from Henry VIII – the only privately owned castle in Britain.

I’m not sure who made the next photograph. From left, Hazel’s husband Lou Robertson, my grandmother Elvie, Sheryl, Shirley, Hazel and Ivy. The picture was made in December, 1973 at Waratah on Tasmania’s West Coast. I couldn’t speculate on the photographer.

Elvie and her sisters in the 1970s

I wanted to share these two photographs to point out that we all have our season. Beauty fades. Time and space converge to a point in the distance and we spend most of our lives pretending we’re immortal. If we’re lucky, we get to age gracefully and die somewhere among loved ones with a modicum of dignity. We live, love, fight and flourish across our seasons without paying a lot of attention to the value of being temporary inhabitants of this planet. And photography, capturing time and space on a two dimensional record, offers fascinating insight that allows us to appreciate that hour glass in motion.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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