GREG RAY: Pictures of Our Past

15/06/2019 // by admin

This week’s photo, loaned by David Fowler, shows his mother, Jean, standing beside the family’s 1940s DeSoto on Stewart Avenue, near the intersection with Hunter Street. In those days, Stewart Avenue terminated at Hunter Street. Stocks Filling Station, in the background, later moved south, opposite Birdwood Park.This week’s photo, loaned by David Fowler, shows his mother, Jean, standing beside the family’s 1940s DeSoto on Stewart Avenue, near the intersection with Hunter Street. In those days, Stewart Avenue terminated at Hunter Street. Stocks Filling Station, in the background, later moved south, opposite Birdwood Park.
Nanjing Night Net

LATE last year I published this photo (below, right) of a violinist posing in, apparently, a coalmine at Paxton.

I stated that the violinist was Yehudi Menuhin, based on advice from a variety of people.

It seems we were all wrong, however. Here’s some correspondence from Philip Bailey, who knew Menuhin well:

‘‘As an employee of Menuhin in the capacity of personal assistant for 22 years from 1976 until his death in 1999, I can state categorically that the violinist shown in the photo is not Yehudi.

‘‘Apart from the lack of even the slightest similarity in appearance between the subterranean fiddler and Menuhin (who was fair-headed and of short stature) there is no evidence that my former boss ever visited a coalmine anywhere.

‘‘He toured a goldmine in South Africa back in 1935 and, apart from being appalled at the conditions under which the miners worked, he caught a heavy cold and had to cancel a concert in Port Elizabeth.

‘‘I have spent the last 15 years writing a biography of Menuhin and over that time encountered numerous claims about him that somehow gain currency and become part of a myth.

‘‘This is particularly so with photograph captions.

‘‘It seems that if there was a need to give a name to the face of a fiddler then it had to be Yehudi. The violinist in the photo is most likely Igor Oistrakh, son of the fabled Russian fiddler, David Oistrakh.

‘‘I checked with my aunt who attended one of Igor’s performances in Sydney back in the early ’60s. She recognised Igor and I confirmed this by searching his photos on the web.

‘‘The mine would have been chosen because Igor probably performed in Newcastle Town Hall and he would have been encouraged by his Soviet ‘minders’ to show solidarity with the workers there.’’

I accept everything that Philip writes but the legend of Menuhin visiting the Hunter, and more particularly a coalmine, remains strong.

Has anybody got extra information on this subject?

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