Golden age of postcards

ALSO just out is Fremantle author John Dowson’s latest publication Swan River Postcards.

As the name suggests, it’s a bit more modest in size than his previous photographic histories of Fremantle and its harbour, but offers a remarkably diverse look at WA during the golden age of postcards.

“The peak year for postcards in Australia was 1908, when around 40 million were mailed,” Dowson writes.

• A rare postcard of the newly opened port of Fremantle (1897) from John Dowson’s book. The cameleer is Bejah Dervish, holding Warrior, who accompanied the 1896 Calvert Expedition up through central WA.

The author also argues that the postcards reveal how little the aesthetic value of the river has been valued by the state’s planners.

“…those idyllic natural areas have generally been protected from intrusive development, and it is thus mortifying to see long-term plans to build two bridges for cyclists, connecting Mosman Park with Point Walter, and Point Walter to Point Resolution.

“That such a despoiling idea met with support shows how misunderstood – and unprotected – important riverscapes are. Swan River Postcards is available from New Edition or Bill Campbell’s Books on High Street.


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