Friday, August 9, 2013

Sepia Saturday: Rattle and squeak

Curious contraptions. It's going to be interesting to see what my fellow Sepians choose to write about this week over on the Sepia Saturday website. Or maybe they won't write about contraptions at all - it's not compulsory to stick to the topic. Or they might select something else in the photo to concentrate on.

I'm sticking to the contraption theme.

First of all a photo that actually belongs to my uncle, Jack Larkin. He grew up in northern Victoria in the mallee country before WW2. He sure has some stories to tell about the tough conditions in those days, and everybody was struggling to make a living cropping the land. The contraption, below, was created by Jack's uncle. The car's engine was out of action so he converted the car into a buggy.

The next contraption was used on a farm at Mologa in central Victoria. I don't know whether the cart is a standard design or one they've built themselves - I suspect the latter. It has two wheels at the back and one at the front.

Tom Alford collecting firewood with his grandchildren, Shirley and Mary.
Firewood pile
The firewood in the pile at Mologa was for use on the farm in the house and dairy. It would have been Grey Box eucalyptus probably. The firewood below was from various mallee eucalypts and was highly prized because it burned slow and hot, especially the roots. It is still valued for those qualities but is now a rare item because the remaining bush has conservation controls and can't be cleared.

A load of mallee firewood on the Larkin's farm, ready to take to the Kooloonong railway station, to load on a train to transport to Melbourne.
Not sepia but definitely contraptions, although I think they should properly be called sculptures. Several years ago we were in Basel, Switzerland and visited the Tinguely Museum. If ever you're in Basel don't miss it. Jean Tinguely makes quirky pieces probably categorised as metamechanics. It's a noisy museum because the pieces aren't static - they squeak and rattle and shake and boom, they groan, flop and rotate. Some are small, like the two below, and some are huge. We loved it all.

And then we went to a fountain in the centre of Basel where Tinguely sculptures have been installed to great effect - same deal plus water, so they splash and squirt as well as rotate and rattle and squeak.


  1. I particularly like the fountains. I wouldn't mind seeing a few of them around. BTW is that one horse with three front legs or two horses with only three front legs ?

  2. Wow what a vast array of pictures you have !
    I like the old and the new ones

  3. Wowser, definitely a two for one post on contraptions. Loved the old family photos, especially the horse drawn convertible. Great. And then the tour of the scuptures that moan, groan, shake, rattle, squirt, squish, and spew was wonderful. What a treat.

  4. Wonderful pictures, all. But though I find the latter interesting & entertaining, I think I like the first photo the best - the car converted to a buggy because the engine didn't work anymore. 'Necessity is the mother of invention' was never more true!

  5. HA -- that first contraption could aptly be named an automobile with a 2-horse engine.

    I think I'd enjoy the Tinguely Museum.

  6. Yours is the secodn post that I've read this week featuring a car being pulled by horse power. Your water sculptures remain me of those at the Waiau Waterworks, in the Coromondel Peninsular, not far from here.

  7. I'm fond of Tom Alford's contraption for collecting wood -- looks like a giant tricycle; great stability over rough terrain!

  8. They are the biggest horses I have ever seen! Are they draft horses or Clydesdales?

    1. They are huge aren't they, but I have no idea what they are. Maybe one of my readers will know.

  9. Loved the two horse engine!
    I hope we can get to Basel to see those sculptures. Mr Jax loves 'posing' beside structures like that.

  10. What a great set of images to reflect the "contraption" theme. Love the first photograph of the horse pulling the car.

  11. I especially like the photo of the horse drawn car.

  12. Loved the sculptures! (and the multi-legged horse.

  13. Those fountains were wonderful - they reminded me of the Emmett Water Clock in Nottingham, my home city In UK.

  14. Contraptions, from the sublime to the ridiculous ... Or should that be from the ridiculous to the sublime. Lovely take on the theme.

  15. I love the contrast between the old contraptions and the new. My favourite "oldie" would be the three-wheeled cart. My husband's family came from the Mallee so perhaps this type of scene was familiar to them.

  16. I could use a load of that firewood for the coming winter. I really like the fountain contraptions.

  17. That firewood pile on a cart looks pretty precarious!

  18. There was a saying long ago that got passed down so that even my generation was fond of saying it. If you saw a car broken down along side the road you'd yell, "Get a horse!" I'd say your Uncle had that just about covered.

  19. Two different types of contraptions and both very interesting. The old buggy , once upon a time car is funny. I saw something similar in the Kimberly except camels were pulling the old van.

  20. While your sepia pictures were great,
    adding those Tinguely pieces to this post was a welcomed bonus.

  21. Converting the car to a buggy is a hoot. A cart with one wheel at the from would be interesting to see in action. The Basel contraptions reminded me of of those by Heath Robinson.

  22. Very glad that I changed my mind. I did think about featuring two very large draught horses pulling a home made sled with my great grandparents. Very similar to your first photo.

    Yes I can relate to your photos as I have several similar in my collection :)


I love to read your comments. Thankyou for your interest.



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