Years ago, a photograph album was handed into the Feilding Library and this was added to the community archive material that the library was storing on behalf of the district. The album came to the newly built community archive at the Coach House Museum and has been stored in the commissioned archival-standards building that was completed in 2009. Now cleaned, conserved and data catalogued the photographs and papers tell an interesting story. Mrs Glover set the album out to tell the story of her father.
It starts with a full birth certificate that gives his arrival as 10th August, 1896. The first pictures show Harold as a private, 4th NZRB, Eyre Street, set to head overseas for WW1. Next there is a collection of the postcards that he sent back to his mother. Some are beautifully embroidered ‘from your soldier boy’ which are posted from France.
New Zealand Convalescent Hospital,
"Grey Towers", Hornchurch, July 1917
Then there are photographs from Hornchurch Hospital in England. Harold was discharged as ‘Walking wounded, gunshot to right arm and both legs’ in 1917.
After the war he returned to Feilding and there are photographs of his wedding in 1919 to a Miss Townsend. Harold had a business in Fergusson Street. This was a bicycle shop.
His hobby was taxidermy and there are numerous photos of the deer head, pheasants, fish, wild boar etc that he preserved and mounted. Much of this was commissioned from the recreational hunters of the 1950s and 1960s. Many must have sent Harold the photos of themselves posing beside the mounted trophies he preserved, holding cups that they won for the biggest or best beast of the season. Included is a newspaper article about a 14ft swordfish found at Tangimoana which Harold mounted. This was recognized as the NZ record for an 80lb line.
1950's ANZAC March, Manchester Street, Feilding.
Harold Fraser on the right of the 7th row
Harold also made quirky birds out of polished cow horns that were often mounted on a polished paua shell. These he sold form his bicycle shop. As well, Harold was the caretaker for the Feilding Acclimatisation Society’s fish ponds.
A photo graph from 1976 published in the Feilding Herald shows Harold and his daughter cutting the 80th birthday cake. With over 90 items, this photograph album is the epitome of archive material that is welcomed to the FDCA. Beautifully organized and labelled, each photograph clearly sets out the lifetime achievements of a Feilding local.
Marilyn Wightman – archivist, Feilding & Districts Community Archive