Saturday, 25 February 2012

Snowy Mountains

 An entry for Sepia Saturday. "Using old images as prompts for new reflections".

These shoes aren't made for walking...
 Tyrrell Photographic Collection, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia
The "Start of the Girls Snowshoe Race, Kiandra".  Date unknown but taken by Charles Kerry who was the official photographer to the governor of New South Wales and a keen skier who captured many images of skiing and life around Kiandra from 1885 (when the first races for men and women took place) to 1905. However here we have the girls, the woman to the left looks older perhaps a teacher or an official. The girls look pretty relaxed I think the younger ones might have an advantage with the shorter skirts however the older girl (2nd left) has technology, a pole which was used for braking and turning.  My money is on the girl with no gloves and a bonnet, no encumbrances. Are you thinking those are not snowshoes but skis?  What's in a name, the Australians at this time called them snowshoes. 

Kiandra in the Snowy Mountains of SE Australia was the scene of the 1800s gold rush when the miners strapped planks to their boots forming a sort of Norwegian snow shoe and from this the Kiandra Snowshoe Club was formed in 1861 making it the oldest continuous ski club in the world.  Today it still exists as the Kiandra Pioneers Ski Club and celebrated its 150th anniversary last year.

But I don't want to disappoint with no pictures of the true snowshoe, and a climate more associated with them
 Photograph by Frederick W Waugh, Canadian Museum of Civilization
Canada.  An Inuit women wearing a hunting costume in 1921-22.  The snowshoes are made by the Innu (Naskapi).  The root of the word Naskapi means the "ones who live past the horizon".  Their home is Labrador and Northern Quebec.   The Arctic frontier, the all in one shoe a necessity.

Update: I originally thought this was a Naskapi (Innu) women but from Anthony, a blog commenter, learned that only the snowshoes are of that origin and the woman was in fact Inuit.  Fascinating that different styles of snowshoes are traded. Never having every worn a pair I do not know their advantage (or if it is just like wanting a different pair of shoes), but if I ever make it to the Canadian north I'll certainly give them a try. By coincidence I saw some indigenous equipment from the Inuit of Canada at  the British Museum in January, I'll be back down in London briefly later in the year so I will have to call in to satisfy my curiosity of the difference.        


Nunavik = Northern Quebec and Nunatsiavut = Northern Labrador.

15 comments:

Bob Scotney said...

Two fine photos - especially the girls. Skis, snowshoes - I think we are only mising horseshoes this week.

Little Nell said...

They really do look as if this was an everyday event for them. it's a lively photo, as is the second one. Nice twist on the prompt.

Karen S. said...

No they aren't (great photo the first one too!) but the second one will aid a person to get a great distant in the snow, heavy or not!

Postcardy said...

The hats in the first photo definitely don't look appropriate for cold weather and active sports.

Kristin said...

Those poor girls on ski shoes look like they are going to freeze! No gloves, nothing on their ears. Maybe they were so warm once they started moving they didn't need them.

barbara and nancy said...

Yes, that was my first thought - those are skis. But I guess the Australians didn't really need those heavy duty shoes as the Eskimos wore. That's a great photo. Conjures up all sorts of stories.
Nancy

Christine H. said...

I imagine the hats flying off as soon as they started skiing. It's also hard to imagine skiing in a dress and without poles. Wonderful post - thank you!

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Skiing in dresses? I hope that if they fell that no underwear showed! What a great choice in pictures today. ;>)

Take care,

Kathy M.

Tattered and Lost said...

Always wanted a pair of snowshoes, especially when trudging back to my families cabin late at night in about 6 feet of snow. It was at times like that I'd wished I hadn't eaten as much at the restaurant as I had to lift each pound of me just to get another step, which of course would sink down to my upper thigh.

Alan Burnett said...

Yet another perfect example of how two small photographs can say so much and tell us so much about the passage of time. As always, fascinating.

Wendy said...

What an amusing photo. Too bad we don't have one of them falling just to see if those wide brims afforded any protection for those pretty heads.

Sallie (FullTime-Life.com said...

How fun! Love the "girls" race!

tony said...

I Wondered Too About If They Were Warm? Maybe Australian Snow Is Warmer?:)

Anthony Jenkinson said...

Nice photo but she isn't Innu ("Naskapi"). The photo is of an Inuit (Eskimo) woman although she's holding a pair of Innu snowshoes.

Joy said...

Thanks taking the time to comment with your knowledge Anthony, it brings another dimension to the photo. I'll amend my post.