The Story of ‘Our Grandad’s Treasured Photos’

Our Nearest & Dearest


Our family does not have many early photos. Just a few very precious ones. Grandad’s two sons always took pride of place on the china cabinet.

Gdad1920  Gdad 1923

Grandad’s early days are marked by these two photos, that’s all. The wrinkles are from the earlier photo being kept in his father’s wallet for many years. Most ‘ordinary’ folk could not afford more than a few photos and these tended to mark special occasions, like this christening.

War has devastating effects upon us all. The ramifications are all pervasive for both the victorious and the defeated. Grandad’s father had been a stretcher bearer in World War I and suffered from ill health for many years. Grandad worked in an essential service and remained in Australia during World War II. While teaching welding at the School of Military Engineering he applied to relieve the British Occupation Forces in Japan. However, destiny intervened. Soon afterwards, he met his future wife and eventually had to decide whether to accept an offer for Japan or to marry. Life had offered him a marvellous opportunity to start a family so he stayed, and we’re here today because of it. He could never quite believe it himself.

Grandad1956-7Whether you have loads of photos or just a cherished few, they are some of our most precious possessions. Often they give us clues to people, places and times past or confound us with unanswerable questions. After gleaning as much information as possible from the subject matter and details of the photo, turn it over. Look at the back for notes or stamps with the photographers details. Often the numbers can help to determine which photos belong together and which don’t. Perhaps, a thoughtful relative has made an album with everything already written for you. A veritable treasure trove! Why not have your photos scanned (and labelled!) before sharing the digital copies with other members of your family. Think of it like a back up or insurance. Everyone can make as many prints or copies as they like without damaging, losing or having the originals ‘disappear’. Now, what about a slideshow?

If your intend to keep photos, cards or even tickets for a long time then you need to protect and preserve them for the future. Where possible the original photographs should be stored in archival quality pocket pages and arranged in an archival album. These are not pretty or cheap but very functional and able to retain their meaning if organised carefully.  Recently, I sorted a pile of photos into these pages and the family was stunned at how the sequence of photos showed their story as they’d never seen it before. Of course, the baby photos won the day!

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