NOSTALGIA:Â How did Portsmouth/AustraliaÂ plaque end up in Bognor Regis antiques shop?
David Quinton has always had an interest in local history and was a previous secretary of the Fort Cumberland Guard. He saw a plaque in an antiques shop in Bognor Regis which he recognised so bought it for the princely sum ofÂ Â£60.
The plaque was largeÂ but he got it home and researched its origin. The plaque was presentedÂ to the National Museum in Canberra, Australia, by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, CouncillorÂ Dennis Connors. on January 26,Â 1968. It marksÂ the sailing of the First Fleet to Australia in 1787-88.
David found aÂ reference in the city's recordsÂ which reported that the lord mayor wasÂ accompanied by a member of the Fort Cumberland Guard.
David contacted Syd Rapson, himself a former lord mayor and vice-president of the Britain Australia Society (Portsmouth Branch) and the Portsmouth-Sydney Sister City Link, who then reported it to chairmanÂ Brian Hall who organised Portsmouth's re-enactment of the First Fleet sailing in 1989 when he was the council's director of leisure. They met and decided to investigateÂ how theÂ plaque was taken from Canberra and ended up in Bognor.
Jane Mee, the head of Portsmouth museum services, is now contactingÂ her counterpart in Canberra to see if they want it back or whether it should beÂ displayed in Portsmouth.Â
David QuintonÂ wants itÂ displayed here as it is part of our history and marked the voyage of convicts and settlers who created modern day Australia. I wonderÂ if the plaque is a replica as I cannot see Australia getting rid of something like this. If not and anyone knows how it gotÂ back to England, we'd allÂ like to know. Thanks to Syd Rapson for the photographs.
'¢ A fortnight ago I usedÂ a photo of HMA Ships Australia and Canberra alongside South Railway Jetty in the dockyard.
Before the ships sailed a dance was held in the Guildhall and a womanÂ living in Croydon received an invitation. Rod Guyatt's aunt, Olive, then about 21, was the lucky lady and he has kept the card. HeÂ has no idea why she was invited.Â There was to be non-stop dancing from 8pm toÂ 2am.
'¢Â All dressed up for the 1952 Gosport carnival is Robert Habens. His father, TedÂ , dressed him and the tricycle as Old Joe the Windmill Man who sold hand-held windmills for 2d. It was taken outsideÂ 40, Avery Lane, Gosport.Â Â
Twenty years later Robert had a girlfriend called Linda Day. He was looking here to see if she wasÂ in recent Portsmouth carnival photos. Linda came from Liverpool and worked as a croupier atÂ Club Tiberius,Â Southsea. She dared not tell her mum she workedÂ in a casino so when she wrote home she said she worked in a telephone exchange.