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Postcard - Mr Edgar Rouse to Mr Harry Clarke Jnr, RMS 'Queen Mary', Cunard White Star, 24 Jul 1938 Object Reg. No: HT 27632

Postcard featuring a colour illustration of the RMS 'Queen Mary', Cunard White Star, written 24 July 1938 on board the ship RMS Queen Mary, and sent from Southampton in the United Kingdom on 25 July 1938 by Mr Edgar Rouse, the Chief Managing Director of Kodak Australasia, to Mr Harry Clarke Junior.

Newly appointed as the Chief Managing Director after the previous incumbent, his father Mr John 'JJ' Rouse, had died in 1938, Mr Edgar Rouse was visiting the USA to consult with Eastman Kodak executives at the head office in Rochester, New York. While away on his trip, Mr Rouse sent a number of postcards to thirteen year old Harry Clarke and his parents. Harry was the young son of two Kodak Australasia employees who lived onsite at the Kodak factory in Abbotsford, Melbourne. When he returned to Australia, Mr Rouse also gave a number of postcards and souvenirs to Harry Clarke.

Harry Clarke Jnr lived on the Kodak factory site in Abbotsford with his parents at the 'Yarra Grange' house from 1938, when he was twelve years old, until 1952, when he was twenty six years old. His mother was the chef in the Kodak directors' dining room and his father worked in silver recovery and then later was a gardener at Kodak. He felt very important to have the chief of Kodak interested in his well-being. Harry remembers that Mr Rouse 'took a shine to me as a small child and on one occasion invited me and his son, John Rouse to be guests with the directors of Kodak in their dining room, which of course brought great pride and joy to my mother. He wrote me cards and sent me cards of boats that he'd travelled on to America, and whilst he was in America he sent me very detailed postcards with long, handwritten notes... He was always very, very kind and gentle with, not only me but my mother and father, who he had great respect for.'

Harry says that 'When I lived at Kodak it was a huge, very huge place, and I seemed to live a very privileged life for a small child, I had the virtual run of the factory excepting some sections, particularly during the war years.... The staff at Kodak were like a large family. ...Living at Kodak at that time was very much like living in an enlarged family, everybody seemed to be very friendly and supportive, the dining room I think provided meals free of charge, there was a lot of benevolence in that period of time.'
Postcard with colour illustration on one side and on the other side correspondence written in blue ink. The back of the postcard also features a red 1d stamp showing the profile of King George VI.
Statement Of Significance:
This item tells a personal story relating to Kodak Australasia Managing Director Mr Edgar Rouse, highlighting his benevolent relationship with Mr Harry Clarke, the young son of two Kodak Australasia employees who lived on-site at the Kodak Abbotsford factory. An oral history interview recorded with Harry Clarke as an elderly man looking back on his experience living at the Kodak factory site as a child, and the associated ephemera of his time living at the factory, provide a unique insight into the history of manufacturing and industry, and childhood in the 1930s to 1950s.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Harry Clarke, 2009
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 87 mm (Height), 139 mm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: working life, postcards, photography, travel tourism, childhood, making history - kodak collection
Themes this item is part of: Baker & Rouse, Images & Image Making Collection, Kodak Heritage Collection, Working Life & Trades Collection
Primary Classification: RAIL TRANSPORT
Secondary Classification: Railways - Steam Power
Tertiary Classification: steam locomotives
Inscriptions: Text, printed front: Cunard White Star R.M. S. "Queen Mary".
Back, bottom left, blue ink, handwritten: 'From / Edgar Rouse / RMS "Queen Mary" / 24-7-38'
Back, bottom right, blue ink, handwritten: 'Harry Clarke Jnr. / Yarra Grange / P.O. Box 11 / Abbotsford N9 / Victoria / Australia'
Back, top middle, black ink, stamped: [around inside edge of circle] 'SOUTHAMPTON PA.QUEBOT / [in middle of circle] 25 JULY / 1938'
Sender: Mr Edgar Rouse - Kodak Australasia Pty Ltd, 24 Jul 1938

Written on 24 July on the ship RMS Queen Mary and postmarked Southampton 25 July 1938.
Recipient: Mr Harry Clarke, Abbotsford, Victoria, Australia, 1938
Other Association (See Comments): Kodak (Australasia) Pty Ltd, Abbotsford, Victoria, Australia, 24 Jul 1938

Edgar Rouse was MD of Kodak Australasia.

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