Mystery owner pictured
By Amy Shanks
A formal framed photo of the Burnett family gives a face to the owner of a mysterious 100-year-old photo album found in a box of donated books.
The rough-edged album with faded cover and threadbare binding was discovered by a volunteer at Hastings’ Cranford Hospice Shop about three months ago.
“We quickly realised we had something very special,” Hospice Shop retail manager Anke Hoggett-Schnebeck said. “I had it in my office for about a month, thinking it might have been donated accidentally, but no one came forward.”
Behind the scenes Presbyterian Support East Coast fundraising database manager Jennie Crawley began researching names neatly handwritten beneath black-and-white images, including those of soldiers in Gallipoli during World War I. Three uniformed men featured heavily, all from Hawke’s Bay, all are believed to have enlisted at the same time, from detailed descriptions of people pictured, she traced some reccuring [recurring] Hawke’s Bay family surnames, including Burnett, Campbell and McAuley [McAulay]. Yesterday a handful of their descendants gathered to see the images.
An inscription inside revealed the album belonged to an M Burnett, dated 1914, whom Ms Crawley believes received it as a Christmas present from her brother Bill in 1913. Both siblings feature in a family photo brought to the Hospice by Kay Burnett yesterday, which put a face to the name of this remarkable piece of local history.
“We still haven’t a clue where it’s come from,” Kay says. “I knew Bill served in the war because he won a medal, but I don’t know who the other men are.”
After an article ran in Hawke’s Bay Today on Thursday there had been plenty of intrigue but still plenty of question marks.
The Hospice fielded calls from many museums as a result. The images will also be displayed on a big screen during Hawke’s Bay District Council’s Anzac celebrations.
Photo caption – IN THE FAMILY: Jennie Crawley and Anke Hoggett-Schnebeck before the showing of an old war album which invited family of those pictured to view the images.