Prouse & Saunders flax mill workers; circa 1906; T 177643/3
Prouse & Saunders flax mill workersAbout this object
Workers from the Prouse & Saunders flax mill, Paturau, Golden Bay, pose for a comical group portrait. Shows a skull and crossbones banner (possibly representing The Paturau Pirates rugby team) and various leisure activities.Place Made
circa 1906Medium and Materials
Gelatin dry plateCollection
Tyree Studio CollectionObject Type
T 177643/3Copyright Licence
At least some of the mill workers (well, at least the timber mill which was also part of the same business) had come with Percy and Herbert Prouse from Levin, where their father James and uncle Richard were still milling. There seemed to be quite a long term set of relationships involving business, family and religion associated with Prouse Timber.
I have thought more about this intriguing image. I reckon that these guys not only worked together at the Prouse and Saunders flaxmill on a daily basis, they have joined together here to create this sports 'tableau' for the specific occasion of Fred Tyree's visit. The fact that it combines Savage Club symbols like the skull and cross-bones is not surprising considering the period - 1906 - as this type of imagery was common in male group photography throughout New Zealand. I had not really seen how carefully they have all dressed for this photographic event. Such clean shirts mean that they are all in their Sunday best.
I thought that Frederick Tyree made more than one photographic record of this group of workers at the Paturau Flax Mill in the summer of 1906. The very careful layout of men who are wearing white clothing indicates just how carefully he posed all the figures.
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