Home for century-old album
By Nicki Harper
A 100-year-old Anzac photo album, dropped off at the Hastings Cranford Hospice Shop earlier this year, has found a new home at the CHB Settlers Museum.
After more than three months of trying to track down the owners of the heirloom, a connection to Central Hawke’s Bay was found among the album’s photos of Hawke’s Bay soldiers at war sites in Gallipoli during World War I.
Presbyterian Support East Coast fundraising database manager Jennie Crawley has been the driving force behind researching the names handwritten in the album, including Burnett, Campbell and McAulay, in an effort to trace the album owner.
Hospice shop staff managed to contact some of the soldiers’ family members, but the question of who the album belonged to went unanswered, and the identity of who dropped the album off at the shop remained a mystery. There was progress though, thanks to an inscription on the first page of the name M Burnett, and the date 1914.
A descendant, Kay Burnett, visited the shop in April with a family photo of Mary Burnett and her brother Bill, but said she didn’t know where it came from.
Last week, however, the mystery was closer to being solved with a woman ringing Jennie to say her husband was the great-grandson of the owner.
“She is going to ring her daughter and see if she dropped it in,” Ms Crawley said.
The Central Hawke’s Bay connection stemmed from the starting point of Ms Crawley’s research – a photo of World War I soldier Joseph Crabbe, who started a partnership in the early 1900s with Mr W McAulay, contractors in the Elsthorpe and Argyll areas.
When Joseph enlisted he named Mrs R S McAulay (of Rosewood homestead) as next of kin. He died in France on April 17, 1917 , and his name is listed on the Elsthorpe/Waipawa cenotaph.
The link to this area made it appropriate to have it on display at the CHB Settlers Museum so more people could see it and perhaps identify the subjects in the photos.
“We would still love to know more of the names,” said Ms Crawley.
The album joins the museum’s Gallipoli display.
Museum manager Jana Uhlirova said it was a chance for Central Hawke’s Bay people to see if they recognise anyone.
Hastings Cranford Hospice Shop retail manager Anke Hoggett-Schnebeck said: “It’s nice the way this treasure, that we could not sell, is being taken care of and has another use.”
Photo caption – NEW HOME: Cranford Hospice general manager Helen Blaxland (left), CHB museum committee chairman Hans Dresel and museum manager Jana Uhlirova with the 100-year-old Anzac photo album that is now on display at the CHB Settlers Museum in Waipawa.