Old News is Good News

In this fractious modern world it can be comforting to know that things have ever been much the same. Or at the very least, the world revealed by these pages of the 1910 Lyttelton Times and The West Australian, is startlingly familiar. The pages were found in a stack of paper in the Cape Adare hut, piled onto the bed slats of on one of the bunks in the main room. They consist of a front page and a few connected pages of the Lyttelton Times from 3rd November 1910 and fragments of the West Australian from October 12th the same year.

Front page of the Lyttelton Times. Photo: Josefin Jimenez AHT

Advertisements and World News are all much the same as today, from the thrilling (plot to overthrow the French Government!) to the depressing (the disappearance of Ethel Harris).

Conspiracy Unearthed, Plot to overthrow the French Government.

Girl’s Disappearance, The Search for Ethel Harris.

The big shock is the house prices which might seem somewhat different as a mansion of eleven rooms could be bought for a piffling £935 (this was before the New Zealand Dollar was introduced).  But alas as soon as inflation is considered the price starts to look more familiar (approximately around 2 million NZD today, however it is worth noting however that comparing to house prices in London at the same time, this is practically a steal).

A house in the city, eleven rooms.

And, as a lover of fiction, of course the serial novel in The West Australian stands out to me; “Love’s Privilege” by Stella M During. The content seems to fulfil the premise as reading a summary of the plot reveals it to be a mystery tale of foiled love, miscommunication and murder! Our young hero is suspected by his new wife of the murder of a rival while his lofty principles forbid him to clear his name and tell her that he in turn suspects his own sister who the dastardly rival has also paid his attentions to. It all turns out well in the end and I sincerely hope no polar explorer ever lost sleep pondering the outcome. Previous blog posts here have noted that they were curiously fond of romance fiction though so of course one can’t be certain.

Love’s Privilege by Stella M During in The West Australian.

These newspapers would have come to Cape Adare with the five members of Scott’s Northern Party, who split off from the main expedition at Cape Evans to explore Cape Adare, and who spent months there before their difficult trek back through Inexpressible Island. The newspaper would not necessarily have been brought along as reading but as material for insulation of the hut and as wrapping paper for various objects.


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