Thursday, March 18, 2010
Around The World On A Mandolin
An interesting reference was in the Argus of 6th August 1932, in an article entitled Bohemia in Melbourne: The Romance of Fasoli's by J Alex Allen. It appears that there was a time when did in Melbourne exactly what he did in California; sit in a bar or similar establishment and draw caricatures of other patrons for a price or a drink. The walls of Fasoli's, it seems, were covered with the sketches (just like the bar where he sat in California).
The Argus of 14th November 1904 (before Vasco departed for Sydney and then California) reports:
Mr Vasco Loureiro, a member of the Hawthorn Rifle Club, has designed a series of humorous pictorial post-cards in colours, entitled "Our Boardinghouse", which compare favourably with imported productions. Mr Loureiro is the son of Senhor Louriero, whose picture, "A Vision of St Stanislaus", hangs in the Melbourne National Gallery. Messers Prebble and Moad are the publishers.
The Argus of 7th September 1918 has, in its Australians on Service column:
DIED OF ILLNESS
LOUREIRO - Mrs Louriero, Toowoomba, Queensland, has received news that her husband, Vasco Loureiro (formerly of Melbourne), has died of meningitis in hospital in London. He enlisted two years ago in the 11th Field Company Engineers.
And that is it. But wait, there's the widow to be reckoned with.
Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 17th February 1925
His wife, Gwendolyn sounds like an interesting character. She played the 12 string mandolin quite well, it seems. Much of the 96 pages of Vasco's war record is made up of correspondence within the Army and between the Army and Gwendolyn arising from her frequent changes of address in the first half of the 1920s. Evidently, from reports in the Darwin Newspapers, she formed the intention of going "around the world by mandolin". (Sort of puts you in mind of "Across the Andes by Frog" - Ripping Yarns.) I can find nothing that indicates that she went any further than Darwin, in 1925. In 1927, she was back in Melbourne playing her mandolin on the radio. (PS. Sorry, maybe a mistake. When I went back to look at the source, I find it was 1926. See comment for source.)
Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 17 February 1925:
It seems she left Darwin on or about 30th June 1925, on the "Bambra", Destination not stated, but presumably Perth as the "Bambra" serviced Darwin from Perth.
Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 3 June 1925:
Gwendolyn died in 1953, aged 76, and is buried in Lutwyche cemetery under the name Gwendolyn Vasco. (I was actually unknowingly looking at her grave the other day while driving out of the business that sells Daihatsu spare parts.)
11 April 2010: Even though Gwendolyn died in Brisbane, the electoral rolls place her in Perth in 1925, in Darlinghurst in 1930, 1937 and 1939, and in Penrith in 1943 and 1949. She had died by the time the next rolls were published, 1954.
Basic Training - 1916
First posted August 2006. Edited 17 March 2010.
I had long thought that this image dated from grandfather's time in basic training at Enoggera Barracks in 1916 as "Fraser's" refers to Fraser's Paddock, one of the four blocks that made up the Enoggera Army establishment.
Who Les was is a matter for the historians, but he was obviously a 'bit of a lad' in order to be immortalised in such a fashion. The moustache, pipe and beer (XXX, if I recall correctly, because XXXX was not yet being produced - I will check and correct if necessary) suggest someone who was worthy of a well-penned cartoon.
The original is a negative image on a glass plate, and this leads me to believe that it was created in order to be used as a cartoon in a newsletter or maybe some form of card or postcard.
The quote "Could you keep one down" is, of course, from the pen of C.J.Dennis in his work Digger Smith, specifically VII. A Digger's Tale. A similar quote appears in Song of a Sentimental Bloke.
Recent research indicates that the artist "Vasco" is actually Vasco Louriero, son of the Portuguese-Australian artist Arthur Loureiro. Vasco enlisted in WW1 in May 1916 (under the name Louis VASCO) in Brisbane, so would have trained at Enoggera, as a Sapper in the Engineers, 12th Field Company.
I still cannot completely explain how "Jack" came into possession of this caricature, but it certainly does seem as if it originated in Fraser's Paddock.
He died of disease (Haemorrhagic pachy-meningitis) following a minor spinal wound in St Albans (Napsbury War Hospital) on 3rd August 1918.
He left little in the way of worldly personal possessions. This image has been lifted from his digitised records at the National Archives of Australia. The items appear to have been placed in the care of the Australian War Memorial.
I have asked the State Library of NSW, which holds some 200+ Vasco drawings, for confirmation of the signature. As of 31 March, I have received no reply.
Labels: 12th Field Company, Arthur Loureiro, Artur Loureiro, Australian War Memorial, Engineers, Enoggera, Fraser's Paddock, Great War, Louis Vasco, Napsbury, Sapper, State Library of NSW, Vasco Loureiro