Girls, girls, girls


Form VI A 1938, Otago Girls High School

Recently, I rediscovered a photo of my grandmother and her classmates in 1938, hidden in one of my family history books. On the reverse, in my grandmother’s scrawl, are written the names of her fellow schoolgirls.

As I recognise my grandmother, Gwen and her best friend, Daphne in the front row of the picture, I believe the girls in the photo are as follows (L-R):

BACK: Phyllis Jones, Joyce Clayton, Kay Bell, Pat Johnson

FRONT: Daphne Morrison, Pauline Gapper, Merle Wildey, Gwen Buchan, Molly Spackman

Phyllis Jones, Joyce Clayton, Kay Bell, Pat Johnson, Daphne Morrison, Pauline Gapper, Merle Wildey, Gwen Buchan, Molly Spackman

The photo seems to have been taken on the main entrance steps of the building as seen here in a more recent photo on the Otago Girls High School website:

Otago Girls High School via school site

Hopefully, some of these girls’ family members will see this photo here one day.

The Buchan Trio

The Buchan Trio – 1925
Alex, Gwen & Ngaire BUCHAN
The photograph above is of my grandmother, Gwenyth Jean BUCHAN (centre) and her siblings – younger brother Alexander Lewis BUCHAN and older sister Ngaire Margaret BUCHAN (their youngest sister Margaret was to appear 6 years later).
Tragically, Ngaire died of peritonitis (a ruptured appendix) when she was only ten years old (December 1927). Grandma recalls that her family received Ngaire’s school first prize after her death.  I’m not familiar with school ‘prizes’ but I assume this means she was a very clever little girl.  I can only imagine the tears that flowed when the mail was delivered that day.

I have two copies of this photograph.

On the back of one in an unknown hand is written ‘With the Compliments of the Season. from the Buchan Trio – To Auntie & Uncle from Ngaire, Gwenyth & Alex’. I’m excited to think the handwriting is that of one of my great grandparents (Charles BUCHAN or Margaret Hunter REID).
On the back of the other, in my grandmother’s handwriting is ‘Ngaire (died at age of 10); Gwen; Alex; We were flower girls for Aunt Mona’s wedding to Walter Brundell’.

A quick check of the family tree shows that Aunt Mona married Walter on the 1st June 1925.  This means that my grandmother was 2 weeks shy of her 5th birthday, Alex was under 2 and a half years old and Ngaire 9 and a half.  She was to pass away six months later.