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Can you date this photograph? [Lane Cove]

Picnickers in what is now Lane Cove National Park enjoying a sunny day – it mustn’t be a La Niña year!

Can you date this photograph?

Larger version on Flickr


We have many other undated photographs in Photo Investigator and on our Flickr account. If know the dates or any other interesting facts about these images please let us know.

  • Rhonda Cetta-Hoye says:

    Jenny Old Cars I’m sure will know. Going on the ladie’s fashions, I would say late 1930’s to early 1940’s.
    Also of interest, the bush on the opposite bank and away from the bridge is where the bodies of Dr. Bogle and Mrs. chandler were found. Still I believe to be unsolved deaths.

    March 13, 2012 at 8:55 am
  • Anna Gray says:

    Thanks for getting us started Rhonda!
    As far as Chandler and Bogle go – the ABC documentary from a few years ago proposed a pretty good theory to explain their deaths. Here is a bit of a blurb about it from Wikipedia:

    “Peter Butt’s documentary, Who Killed Dr Bogle and Mrs Chandler?, which was shown on the ABC in September 2006, suggests that the two deaths may have been caused by accidental hydrogen sulphide poisoning. Supporting evidence for this theory includes:

    – In the 1940s and 50s, the local council received scores of letters from residents complaining of the smell of “rotten eggs” coming from the river, causing nausea and breathing difficulties. There was also a series of massive fish kills. With the residents facing permanent evacuation, the Maritime Services Board conducted a year-long study of the river. It found that the bottom muds were saturated to a depth of half a metre with hydrogen sulphide and that very large and rapid releases of hydrogen sulphide gas could occur from a section of the river impounded by the weir. The source was identified as a factory that had pumped its waste into the river since the 1890s. The worst affected location was within a quarter-mile of the weir, exactly where Dr Bogle and Mrs Chandler died.
    – On New Year’s Day, police divers reported a great disturbance of black river-bed sediment. Although their search of the river was then delayed for 11 days, visibility remained poor.
    – The very cool, still weather conditions at time of death would have allowed high concentrations of gas to accumulate.
    – The location where the couple had sought privacy was at water-level in a slight depression, surrounded by a bank and mangroves, typical of where the heavier-than-air hydrogen sulphide would accumulate in calm conditions.
    – Slight skin abrasions, shoe and knee prints suggest both victims were disorientated and had tried to leave the depression before collapsing.
    – Both victims had been unable to correct their clothing, suggesting that the poison struck them down without warning, at the same time and with great speed.
    – A pathology report, suppressed by the coroner at the time, revealed semen on Dr Bogle’s body and coat. This suggests sex was taking place and that both victims could not have been suffering earlier effects of poisoning before they were suddenly struck down.
    – Most importantly, a purple discoloration was seen in the victims’ blood which is characteristic of hydrogen sulphide poisoning (This phenomenon is not related to other colour changes in the blood such as cyanosis, or methaemoglobin/methemoglobinemia).
    – The toxicologist who tested the victims’ tissue samples claimed that had he known about the semen, it would have eliminated the majority of poisons he had tested for. This knowledge he claimed, along with the hint provided by the purple colouration of the blood, might have led him to suspect that the poison was hydrogen sulphide.
    – A British forensic scientist contacted by the police suggested on reading the case report that the victims had been gassed.

    In this theory, which agrees with the investigating detectives’ firm belief, the victims’ bodies were covered not by a murderer, but by a ‘third person’ who covered them for modesty. An initial suspect was a voyeur who contacted police twice, using different names. After interrogation, he was quickly dismissed.”

    March 13, 2012 at 9:05 am
  • Iain Stuart says:

    This area was actually excavated for the tunnel taking the Epping Chatswood railway under the Lane Cove river. I did the assessment and I will try and find it as I dated this and other photos.

    I can tell you for sure that Bogle and Chandler were not found at the location in the photo because I went into the matter in case we were going to dig up the site. The bodies were found on the opposite side of the River downstream of the Bridge.

    Of greater interest than B & C is the extensive landscaping that occurred in the Park that has been largely undocumented and dates I think from just after this image,

    March 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm
  • JennysOldCars says:

    5 or 6 vintage (mid to late 1920s cars) and 3 x 1934ish to 1938ish cars.

    Could we be looking at a photo taken in the early years of WW2? It may be the long shadows and afternoon light [as my recollection of that part of the park is that west is photo right] but I think that 3 of the cars may have WW2 blackout white lines painted on their mudguards. The mudguards of the tourer, photo centre with child on running board, are maybe lined in white paint as are the mudguard and running board of the late 30s car nearest the bridge and possibly the tourer on the extreme right of the photo? As I say it could be the afternoon light or, as lighter coloured mudguards were used on some vintage cars, it just may be a fashionable paint job! If it’s blackout markings then the photo would be early 1942 or after as I think the blackout measures were not required in Sydney till after December 1941.

    I feel that the fashions and hairstyles are early 1940s?

    Is there enough info for our shadows dating expert? The new Fullers Bridge over the river is pretty much on the same alignment as the old bridge [built 1918] in the photo.

    State Library NSW has similar images in a series dated 1943 under Lane Cove National Park – same era cars and same style of dress.
    ACTUALLY just found the same photo with less cropping – dated 10/1943 Digital order no. d1_22620

    March 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm
  • Rhonda Cetta-Hoye says:

    I was always under the impression that Bogle &
    Chandler were found on the left hand side of Fullers Road coming from Chatswood end and just before Fullers Bridge on the left hand side is thick bush, which to me would be on the left side of this photo.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:30 pm
  • Naomi says:

    I’m fairly positive that the photograph was taken from the Ryde side of the river, on the northern side of Fullers Bridge. It was taken from just inside the main gate of Lane Cove National Park. The weir should have been behind the photographer. I think Jennysoldcars is right about the date, circa very late 1930s or early 1940s.

    The bodies of Gilbert Boogle and Margaret Chandler were found on the Chatswood bank (left side of the photograph) on the other side of the Bridge around Reid Drive.

    According to Catalyst (ABC Nov. 2006) and a talk that Peter Butt did at LC in 2007, Peter’s notes and research were turned over to the New South Wales Coroner. My understanding is that this was very irregular, and that his research was being taken seriously, but I haven’t heard what has happened since.

    Local Council files on river pollution in the Lane Cove River are inches thick and contain information on a number of fish kills from the 1960s until the 1970s when factories from the Lane Cove West Industrial Area were finally hooked up the Northen Suburbs Ocean Outfall Sewer.

    March 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm
  • enno says:

    That “theory” about Bogle and Chandler was complete nonsense.

    Anyhow, thats obviously Fuller’s Bridge. The former double bay steakhouse is not there.

    My uncle built a house on the hill in the further background, right, but there are no houses in the photo there at all, in 1947 so it is before that.

    Looking at the clothing, and despite the fact that none of the cars are late 30’s ( they all look earlier ), I’d say 1938.

    March 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm
  • enno says:

    The woman carrying the baby is wearing baggy pants. When did that fashion come in ?

    March 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm
  • JennysOldCars says:

    Why would some cars be marked with white and others not? WW2 Blackout requirements for vehicles.

    I have been told that while the fitting of masks or blackout lights to vehicles was compulsory if you were going to drive during a blackout the painting of the white lines along the edge of the mudguards and running boards was an option that motorists chose to do to ensure that their car was a little bit more visible to other road users and pedestrians.

    As vehicle headlights were fitted with a special hood and a mask with narrow slits to allow only the minimum of light to show through travelling at speed was not advisable, though the regulations set a max speed limit.

    Blackout trials, sometimes over large areas, were held in 1941 & 1942 eg. Vaucluse, May 1941, Balmain June 16th 1941, & Sydney, September 1941 – “The only motor cars authorised to travel in the blackout area would be these fitted with standard hooded headlamps. Such cars could travel at not more than 20 miles an hour. Motor cars not so equipped must draw to the left-hand side of the load and extinguish all lights, except the red portion of the tail-light, and remain stationary until the test was completed. The white portion of the tail-light should be screened with dark paper.” SMH Sat 20 1941

    Feb 2nd 1942 – Blackout trial over Newcastle, Hunter, Illawarra and Metropolitan out to Penrith.

    11 Feb 1942 Blackout trial over the whole of the Australian coast…. “In New South Wales the trial will be held in all areas within 100 miles of the coast, and it. will also cover the Bathurst Orange district.
    All lights must be extinguished or screened in this area when the sirens sound and the street lights are switched oil.
    Motor vehicles with approved masks on the headlights, with no interior lighting except illumination of the instrument board, can travel at a speed not faster than 20 miles nu hour.
    Cars or trucks not fitted with masks must be parked in garages or on the left side of the toad, with all lights off except the rear red light which must not be larger than one inch in diameter at the lens.
    Trams, trains, and buses will maintain ordinary services, but with all lights masked or hooded.” SMH 11 Feb 1942

    March 21, 2012 at 5:37 pm
  • Anna Gray says:

    I thought the hydrogen sulphide poisoning theory re Bogle and Chanlder was quite a compelling one!

    Thanks JennyOldCars for the information on WWII blackout requirements. Interesting stuff!

    It looks like we’re coming to the conclusion of a late 1930s early 1940’s date. It might be difficult to narrow it down any further than this!

    March 22, 2012 at 9:21 am
  • JennysOldCars says:

    Anna, is the State Library’s date for the photo series that includes the same photo with less cropping – dated 10/1943 Digital order no. d1_22620 a date that we might not accept?

    Would love to know if shadows dating can verify the, would it be October?, 1943 date as per the State Library cataloging data.

    March 23, 2012 at 10:40 am
  • Anna Gray says:

    Oh yes! I’d forgotten you had pointed out the State Library has the same image dated!

    The State Records series that this photograph is from (NRS 12932) is part of a group of photographs accumulated by Department of Railways :

    “In 1935 a Department of Railways special committee began a detailed survey of the more than 20,000 photographs exhibited in the carriages of country trains at that time, and invited submissions of new photographs for display from civic authorities and community organisations. By 1938 a total of 3,614 new photographs had been installed in country train carriages, with 17,000 new photographs in place by 1943 as work progressed on the project. “\Series\12932

    As a consequence the images within this series have come from a variety of sources . One of those sources must have been the Government Printers Office which is where the State Library’s Lane Cove image orignates.

    Thanks JennysOldCars some really good sluething!

    March 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm