Chinese whispers: The lure of gold during the 1800s

Today's post is the start of our 'Chinese Whispers' series giving insight into the life of the Chinese in Otago, written by Les and Maisie Wong from the Otago and Southland Chinese Association. Les and Maisie, as representatives of descendants of the Chinese goldminers, are sources of massive amounts of genealogical, cultural and historical knowledge. … Continue reading Chinese whispers: The lure of gold during the 1800s

Victorian diagnoses – medical complexities and vagueries

Seven medical conditions humourously illustrated. Reproduction of an etching. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY One of the advantages of working on archaeology from the colonial period is that we have historical records that help us to interpret what we're seeing in the bones, teeth and artefacts associated with people. Some of the most useful things for those … Continue reading Victorian diagnoses – medical complexities and vagueries

Miasmas in Milton – a colony beset by respiratory diseases

'there is always a damp vapour arising [in Tokomairiro], highly prejudicial to the health of the inmates, and especially the children’ Francis MacBean Stewart (1875) Milton in the 1870s was not the healthiest place to be. Dr. Frances MacBean Stewart the local medical officer of Health can be found deploring the high death rates in … Continue reading Miasmas in Milton – a colony beset by respiratory diseases

The New Zealand Exploding Trousers Epidemic

Full disclosure: this blog post isn't really to do with our cemeteries project ... in fact it's outside of the time period we're interested in, but when I came across it in my research I couldn't resist sharing. In the early 1900s, rural New Zealand was beset by an exploding trousers problem. You heard that … Continue reading The New Zealand Exploding Trousers Epidemic

Taking the edge off in colonial Milton: chloroform and laudanum use.

A couple of weeks ago we wrote about Dr. Weber and reports of his use of drugs and alcohol to ease the pain of his wife’s passing. The rather gossipy reporting of this in the Bruce Herald reflects social ideas at the time. The temperance movement was gaining traction in New Zealand, indeed Dr. Weber … Continue reading Taking the edge off in colonial Milton: chloroform and laudanum use.

The Doctor will see you now…

This blog post deals with one of the identified individuals at St John's Milton and is published with the full knowledge and permission of his known descendants. It deals with issues of substance abuse and depression, and the family hope that in telling his story we can illustrate how deeply-rooted these issues can be in … Continue reading The Doctor will see you now…