Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sepia Saturday: The case of the disappearing statue




A 1914 photograph of the Thomas Jefferson statue in Columbia is the theme for Sepia Saturday this week. So my contribution to the theme are these two photos taken in Huonville, Tasmania by family members from Victoria who holidayed on the island of Tasmania off the south coast of the Australian mainland in 1938. They shipped their car over and drove themselves around. I think their car is shown in the second sepia image below.

There are two photos of this bridge and it's a mystery how the first one was taken. The Huon River is fairly wide and I have snipped the Google Maps image from about half way across the bridge so I can't imagine what vantage point was used unless it was taken from the second storey of the old 'Franklin Tavern' that was and is on the south side of the river. I wonder if the family stayed there overnight. [You can click on any images to view larger.] The first bridge across the Huon was built in 1876 and was replaced by a new bridge in 1926. I don't know when the present bridge was built.

Huonville, Tasmania 1938
Image from Google Maps 2014
The red hotel on the corner still exists and externally appears to have changed little.
The red arrow indicates the position of the statue in the photos below and above.
Huonville is about 40 km south of Hobart and used to be a big apple orchard area. (Tasmania is known as the Apple Isle but it is an industry in decline.) There are still apples there but now tourism is important because it's a very beautiful part of the island. Well, actually, all of Tasmania is beautiful.

OK, I'm getting to the theme. This photo is taken from the north side of the bridge and you can see the statue to the right of the car (which I think is Grandpa Phelan's). It's a statue of a soldier holding a gun and is a memorial to the soldiers from the district who served in the Great War of 1914-1918.

Huonville, Tasmania 1938
Google Maps 2014. Arrow indicates the approximate position of the original statue.
But the statue is not there now. Where has it gone? In several newspaper items the memorial is called a cenotaph, and it appears to have still been there in the 1950s. Maybe it was moved or removed when the present bridge was constructed.

Mercury 26 Apr 1938

Mercury 17 Apr 1951
I suggest you wander over to the Sepia Saturday website to see some more sepia photos of statues around the world.

19 comments:

  1. Maybe the statue wasn't fixed after the crash. Maybe it was removed for construction and never put back.

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  2. That's the problem with those statues : always rushing across the road and not looking where they are going.

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  3. That was very interesting. It wouldn't have been the fiirst statue needing to be moved as the style and quantity of traffic on the road changed over the years. The photo of the statue is quite amazing really. The statue almost looks unreal, a ghostly spirit defending the town.

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  4. You'd think if the statue had been damaged in the accident such would have been noted in the article. The base still looked to be intact. I might surmise the statue itself tumbled off the base when the car hit it & tumbled into the river, but again you would suppose that would have been mentioned. So apparently the mystery remains. What DID happen to it and when? (enter musical strains from "Jaws")

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  5. I hope someone from the area reads your post and can solve the mystery

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  6. The driver was lucky it didn't turn into a memorial for him.

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  7. Well! The road seems to have been widened leaving not enough room for the statue, but surely the statue needed to go somewhere else! Must be in somebody's basement.

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  8. It is clearly a case of statue, statue, who's got the statue? It must be in a local park somewhere.

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  9. I like seeing pictures of then and now of sites. And stories with a mystery that's unsolved.

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  10. Hmmm.. I don't know where the statue of the soldier has gone. This website seems to have the answer only the memorial looks different on google maps. No statue but a nice monument. http://monumentaustralia.org.au/search/display/70438-huonville-soldiers-memorial.

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  11. Perhaps it's sitting forgotten in a museum back room, warehouse or storage facility somewhere.

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  12. It's amazing he escaped injury in a crash like that.

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  13. It’s probably in a warehouse somewhere awaiting repair! How come he got away with just a slight cut after all that? Amazing.

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  14. Yes, a statue can take quite a beating in a crash and then if no one cares to rebuild it, then it's gone forever. Now you have me curious.

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  15. Well that new bridge is boring, isn't it? Where once there was utility and style, it's now all utility. I hate when the old bridges are torn down to make way for the boring ones of today. They have no character.

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  16. Surely a local historical society or council will find it and reinstate it running up to the centenary celebrations. Our local society is approaching local churches, sporting groups, halls and hunting down their Rolls of Honour. Some have been in storerooms, cupboards, under tables, and some we are still hunting for.
    Perhaps a letter to a local historical society over there might help?

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  17. Wondering if maybe the new bridge was built in a different location? The hills in the background look different? Maybe that is a different hotel all together?
    The bridge over the river Murray at Albury/Wodonga now is not the same location as 80 years ago.

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  18. How interesting that you've spotted that the statue has gone missing. I was in Huonville in January, could have had a look for it.

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  19. I imagine there was an active industry producing monuments after the war. With so many towns rushing to have a proper memorial, many town committees made hasty choices as to the site and inadvertently created an obstacle to careless drivers. Seems strange that they would not have moved it or replaced it.

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

Lorraine