Sunday, May 31, 2009


To my astonishment thanks to the miracle of Google Analytics I find that in the past few months this modest blog has been visited by readers in the following countries: U.S.A. (573, spread across forty-two states, i.e. all except for Alaska, Arizona, South Dakota, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, and West Virginia), Australia (223, all states and territories), U.K. (183), Germany (35), Canada (32), France (25), Spain (23), Italy (19), Argentina (17), Malaysia (14), Brazil (13), New Zealand (10), Poland (10), Mexico (9), and Singapore (9). Seven have logged on from each of Japan, Switzerland, and Norway; six from Russia, India, and Greece; five from South Korea, Romania, and Indonesia. Four came from Hong Kong, Austria, Ireland, Chile, Thailand, the Netherlands, and Turkey; three from South Africa, Finland, Portugal, Hungary, and Colombia; two from the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Peru, China, Lithuania, Slovenia, the Philippines, Tunisia, Slovakia, and Denmark, while sole inquirers have logged on from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Ecuador, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Armenia, Taiwan, the Palestinian Territory, Georgia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Macedonia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Bermuda, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Jamaica, and Croatia—1353 visits in all, from 1014 “unique visitors” spread across seventy-three countries on all five continents, amounting to 2701 “pageviews” which lasted on average two minutes and sixteen seconds each. No doubt these results are puny compared with far busier blogs elsewhere, but they do give me particular pleasure. I thank you all for logging on. Indeed these statistics raise the baffling question in my mind as to what on earth my readers make of what they find here, since such a large proportion of the posts relate to the (to us) engrossing story of our pioneering ancestors in Australia. Yet aren't pioneering stories pretty much the same wherever they unfold? Ups and downs; successes and failures; lives cut short, and others lived into venerable old age. There is also the intriguing question as to how some of this flattering attention might be converted into a little pocket money, but let us not become greedy or impatient. Though the prospect of quiet retirement to somewhere pretty and writing full time appeals to me very much, I shall try not to let it seduce. Not yet, anyway.

On a scale of one to ten...

In recent weeks I have been bothered by a tiny sebaceous cyst on my neck. It has acquired the bad habit of getting infected and is uncomfortable, messy, and unattractive. It probably needs to go. Fortunately, having now navigated several stages in the current American health care system, a capable young surgeon has agreed to do the honors in a few weeks’ time.

Here at Yale—and I should think that the same is true in many other clinical situations—your consultation with a qualified medical practitioner commences with a nurse who verifies your identity, takes your temperature, measures your blood pressure, takes your pulse, ascertains the amount of oxygen in your blood, and, finally, asks you if you are experiencing any pain. This is far more than a mere formality, because if the answer is “yes” that person asks you to specify on a scale of one to ten, where ten is the equivalent of unbearable agony, exactly how much pain you are feeling.

No doubt this measure is supposed to provide the doctor, and the system, with some initial indication of the seriousness of the problem, however it seems to me that there are several fundamental problems with it.

In my case, I find it difficult to think of the slight discomfort caused by my fellow traveler the sebaceous cyst as anything that meets the real requirements of the term “pain,” since it is self-evidently not serious in the larger scheme of things.

Yet, as I struggle to find a suitable numerical expression for the apparently genuine discomfort I feel, I can quite easily see that the effect of nominating one or two would be to mislead the nurse and doctor into thinking that I regard the matter as no more than a triviality. This is not the case. Although I feel comparatively little pain, it is the inconvenience and bother created by this stubborn little thing, and not pain as such, that makes me want to get rid of it.

To some extent you find yourself wondering if you are not unduly minimizing the matter at hand by stopping short of describing it in terms of pain. Evidently many other patients throw themselves gleefully into the pain department, and most people will swear that their assessment is more or less accurate in respect of themselves, even though it should be axiomatic that any and all such assessments are entirely subjective. One stoical person’s mild twinge is another, more sensitive patient’s agony.

Further, how do you define excruciating agony if to the best of your knowledge, as in my own case, you are quite certain that you have never experienced it? Am I in fact greedily consuming medical resources that might better serve to alleviate far worse and more urgently pressing afflictions than mine? If we are quite honest, how often do we patients bump up our pain “reading” in an effort to gain the attention of the doctor, and what, at least in this highly reductive schema of degrees of pain, is the substantive difference between a five, say, and a six? Does this emphasis upon physical pain encourage the rest of us to dig deeply into the handbag of our experience and come up with something serviceable, when, in reality, the problem is not actually a matter of hurt at all? Are nurses and doctors alert to the difference, or is the system so overstretched that anything other than some sobering level of urgent physical pain automatically descends several notches on the scale of priorities—as indeed I suppose it really should?

In all of this I find my mind turning again and again to Job, the righteous man of the land of Uz, who endures blow upon blow, indeed terrible anguish. Arising from the astonishing clash in dialogue between God and Satan it is the body and mind of Job that are tossed into a deep hole of pain. Suffering, disbelief and rage come first, then blame, dejection, self-pity, and acute bitterness. Job begs for relief. His friends can only conclude that Job’s affliction is a punishment for some monstrous sin, but Job knows that he is righteous, and duly protests his innocence. But that is not the point. Half way through this story Job’s position is simply impossible. Elihu the Buzite now condemns Job for the larger sin of self-righteousness, and God himself rebukes Job for the weak presumption of seeking to justify himself before the face of his own creator.

Yet throughout his ordeal Job’s virtue remains essentially intact, a fact that is never by any means lost on God. Job weathers the storm. He struggles against what he sees as its moral dimension, but in the end he survives it. He is brought to an understanding of what he is, and what he is not, and, even in the extremity of his affliction, Job attains what these days we would probably call “acceptance.” He never fails to worship God.

Into this remarkable ancient Hebrew poem, I find it impossible to imagine any viable spot for a tiny sebaceous cyst, and that tedious question as to the scale of pain from one to ten—other than maybe in the fussy soliloquies of Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. With friends like these, incidentally, who needs enemies? 

In other words, that it is even possible in this world of almost infinite suffering to be rid of a mildly bothersome lump, an insignificant spot, seems wholly miraculous. And for that one can only feel the full measure of, on the one hand, humility, and on the other gratitude. In other words, the petulant art museum curator huffing and puffing with barely disguised irritation over ones and twos at the Yale Health Plan on Friday afternoon really should have owned up to zero pain, or else something along the lines of “Just whenever you can find a spare moment.” At least that is how it looks to me today.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The John Cooper (1840-41)

Our great great-grandfather, William Pearson, arrived in Port Melbourne on April 4, 1841, aboard the 659-ton John Cooper. The John Cooper sailed from Greenock (on the firth of Clyde, downstream from Glasgow) on September 15, 1840, via Cork (October 29), Lisbon (November 22), and Port Adelaide (March 8, 1841). It is not clear why the arrival of the John Cooper was not reported in the Port Phillip Herald, but fortunately it and its cabin passenger manifest were listed in the Geelong Advertiser on April 10, 1841. Augmented by information contained in the relevant immigrant and shipping lists the John Cooper manifest now assumes vivid clarity:

Master: Captain James Salmon. Officers: Angus Campbell; William Hawthorn; Edward Morrison; Charles R. McKellar (surgeon); and an unknown number of crew.

Cabin passengers: Captain Atkinson with his wife and six children; Mr. Barrett; Mrs. Blair and her daughters Mary and Anne; Mr. Buckingham with his wife and two children; Mr. Boyle; Mr. Campbell; Mr. Davidson; Mr. Fullerton; Miss Pringle; Mr. and Mrs. Spence; Mr. Stevens, Mr. Stewart; Miss Stewart; [Mr.] W. Pearson; [Mr.] H. Pearson; and Mr. Rose.

Intermediate passengers: Mr. Balfour; Mr. Chirnside; Mr. Churter; Mr. Hastie; Mr. Logan; Mr. McDonald; Mr. Mitchell; Mr. Shepherd, Mr. Stewart, and 13 children.

Steerage passengers: Joseph Annand (36) of the County of Banff, his wife Jannette (38), their two sons Joseph (12) and John (3); and their two daughters Bella (8) and Eliza (6); James Bailley (38) of Lancashire, his wife Agnes (38) their two sons John (8) and William (less than 1), and their two daughters Elizabeth (6) and Margaret (3); the sisters Elizabeth (28) and Grace Carmichael (26) of Lanarkshire; Martha Chambers (18); Ellen Fogarty (29) of Morayshire; John Fogarty (18) of Aberdeen (bounty withheld); Robert Hamilton (28) of Lanarkshire (bounty withheld); Robert Jamieson; James Johnston (25) of Fifeshire; Thomas McBoreland (27) of Ayrshire; Michael Larkin (26) of Louth; John Nicol (18); Thomas Robertson (30) of Selkirk; Robert Smith (28) and Beatrice Smith (21) of Aberdeen (brother and sister); Elizabeth Telfer (19) of Douglas, and a further 19 unknown steerage passengers. Nobody died on the voyage.

It was later reported that the John Cooper departed for Sydney a month later, on May 3, 1841, with almost one hundred of “the most wealthy and respectable description, taking out an immense capital in money, besides livestock of valuable kinds,” arriving at Circular Quay nine days later, on May 12.

Of these we know only of Mrs. Blair and her daughters, who bravely continued their immensely long journey, as did Miss Pringle, and Mr. and Mrs. Spence. But they were joined by new or continuing cabin and/or intermediate passengers from Port Melbourne, namely Mr. Stewart, Mr. McDonald, Mr. Fullerton, Mr. Barrett, Mr. Robertson, Mr. Stewart, Mr. Shephard, and a further five steerage passengers. A corporal and three private soldiers of the 28th Regiment and a constable sailed also; they were responsible for escorting seventeen anonymous male and two female convicts. 

I would say that the local paper’s estimate of nearly 100 of the “the most wealthy and respectable description, taking out an immense capital in money,” was an exaggeration.

Cri de coeur

Perhaps the most irritating thing about living in an apartment building with such a comparatively high proportion of neighbors who happen to be medical students—in this case attached for at least several years to the Yale School of Medicine and the sprawling YaleNew Haven Hospital just down York Street—is that a high proportion of these self-confident young people wear their dirty white coats, even their green pyjamas, to and from work every day, crowding into our two airless elevators without any regard to the feelings of revulsion they stimulate among non-medical passengers. 

These protective garments are generally also festooned with wands of office: besmeared stethoscopes draped around the neck, clunky paging devices clipped to the belt, and an array of well chewed ballpoint pens poking forlornly from the breast and hip pockets. 

Yabbering obliviously into mobile phones, more often than not about their patients’ private affairs, even their rapidly diminishing prospects of recovery (May 13, 7.31 a.m., east elevator, going down), under normal circumstances it is unpleasant enough to share an elevator with a medical student, but even if they were completely silent—unlikely—it is those grubby white coats and green scrubs that offend one far, far more, and not merely because they shriek: “Make way for me; I am a medical student.” 

Instead, you find yourself outraged by the fact that in the course of an average working day these already unattractive garments soak up tens of billions of endemic, playfully airborne, hospital-dependent microbes issuing from the rheumy pipes and tubes of the chronically ill. And by this simple process of basic epidemiology grotesque, slime- and catarrh-dwelling, tendril-dragging germs gain direct access to our apartment building. 

It is of no consolation to me that medical students are mostly stunted, and that my nostrils are therefore located a good eighteen inches (on average) above the top of their head, because as everybody knows hot air rises, and one can almost hear the teeming bacteria jumping gleefully into mid-air out of the cheap white fabric (50% cotton, 50% polyester, with depressingly low thread count, I notice) and ascend ecstatically on miniature gusts and thermals. The only solution is to hold your breath. 

True, the medical student is not the only agent of contagion in this forlorn community of ours. And we are well aware of the need to wash our hands frequently, cover our mouths when incommoded by a fit of coughing, and take all appropriate measures to insulate friends, colleagues, and neighbors from any and all harmful viruses or bacteria with which we for the time being may find ourselves afflicted.

However, leaving aside the obvious question as to why on earth you would want to spend your working life surrounded by, on the one hand, an army of resentful ancillary healthcare workers, and on the other, desperately sick people, while at the same time manacled to a built environment of scarcely conceivable hideousness, don’t doctors and medical students have any convenient spot where they can hang up or at least store their grubby white coats at the hospital, or even, dare one ask, have them laundered?

One final point. By generally accepted convention the white coat of the medical practitioner used to be three-quarter length, the hem hovering modestly within easy reach of the kneecap. Now, however, it has shriveled into a meager jacket that comes to an abrupt halt at the waist, the sartorial equivalent of cutting the final scene of Fidelio (for brevity). 

I have no objection to the wearing of white coats in the hospital or clinical environment, but surely they should if possible be cut to the correct length. Let us assume that the YaleNew Haven Hospital can probably afford the extra bolts of white cotton. Much as neurosurgeons might hanker after white coats with an exceedingly long train (borne through corridors and into the operating theater by respectful junior registrars), most people would regard such a thing as perverse. Why, then, are we expected to take seriously the radically shortened white coat of current usage? Where, how, and by whom are these decisions taken?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Trial of William Pearson


(Before his Honor the Resident Judge)

Monday, 15th October, 1849.

The criminal sittings for the month of October commenced this morning. JURY:—Messrs. J[ohn]. P[inney]. Bear, (foreman [stock and station agent]), Henry Bignell [taxidermist], Thomas Boyd [manager of the Union Bank, and formerly member of the Legislative Council for Port Phillip], John Brock [freeholder, River Plenty], Philip Bergin, P. K. Ball, S[olomon]. Benjamin [freeholder, Williams Town, burgess for Lonsdale Ward], A[Alexander]. A[irth]. Broadfoot [freeholder, River Plenty, burgess for Lonsdale Ward], E[rskine?]. Banks, James Brandon [a catholic], D[avid]. Best [cabinetmaker and sometime special constable], J. W. Bell [auctioneer].


William Pearson, of Gipps Land, Gentleman, was charged with the misdemeanour of having on 9th March last, assaulted Mr. Francis Desailly.

The information contained two counts, alleging two assaults, on the same day.

Mr. [James] Croke stated the circumstances, and called Mr. Francis Desailly, who deposed—

I reside in Gipps Land; I have two brothers, George and Lewis; my brother left the colony the latter end of July; the defendant also lived at Gipps Land. On 9th March there was a race meeting at the Green Wattle Hill, Gipps Land; William Pearson was there on that day; my brother was riding a hurdle race, and the defendant also; when defendant came to the second leap, his horse baulked; my brother was behind, and I was following them inside the course; Mr. Pearson's horse came in contact with mine inside the course and I came off in the collision; Mr. Pearson then struck me with a whip, called me a black-leg [
i.e. a turf swindler], and other names, but there was so much swearing I cannot repeat the words; after the race was over, I went to the stand, and Mr. Pearson in the presence of the people, then said, “walk this way gentlemen, I have horsewhipped Mr. Desailly, and I intend to do it again,” and he then struck me with his whip, adding that was not the satisfaction he wanted, he wanted other satisfaction, and that he would have; I gave no provocation for this second attack; I had not spoken to him that day at all; nearly a month elapsed before I laid an information against him.

Mr. Croke proposed asking the reason of this delay, but His Honor thought they had nothing to do with that.

Cross-examined by Mr. [Redmond] Barry, (who appeared for the defendant.)

The second leap is not a quarter of a mile from the stand. I was riding in a contrary direction to the defendant when we came together. Nearly a quarter of an hour elapsed between the first and second assault. I can’t recollect how long Mr. Pearson’s horse was detained by the collision; he was completely thrown out of the race by it and his horse did not go on. I think I tried to return some of the blows; I was close to him and collared him; I was looking at my brother at the time of the collision, about thirty or forty yards from the leap. I am not positive whether both horses came down; I was riding at a hard gallop and did not see Mr. Pearson’s horse coming. I was relating the occurrence to my brother at the stand when Mr. Pearson came up. I can’t recollect what I said of Mr. Pearson; I don’t think I used any abusive epithet; I was much excited, I will not swear I did not use such an expression as “that blackguard Pearson,” but I do not think he was close enough to hear what I said. I returned the blow; I think I knocked him down, we were both down together. Mr. Pearson used a riding whip; not a heavy one; the blow was not severe; I cannot say that more than one blow was struck before I collared bim. I had an interest in the horse my brother was riding; it was a horse from the Fulham station, but I did not know it at the time.

Re-examined by Mr. Croke—

I certainly did not come intentionally into contact with Mr. Pearson.

By a Juror—

I think he struck me more than once on the first occasion; I was rather stunned with the fall. I can’t tell whether he would have won the race but for the collision. My brother did not win the race; he was last.

Mr. Frederick Taylor, of Gipps Land, was at the stand on the occurrence of the second assault; he heard the defendant say he had horse-whipped one d——d scoundrel in the shape of a gentleman, and he was going to do it again, and threatened to serve witness in the same manner; he did not witness the assault.

W. K. Dawson, a surveyor at Gipps Land, was present, and saw the defendant strike Mr. Desailly two or three times; witness heard Mr. Pearson say—“Walk this way, gentlemen, walk this way; I have horsewhipped Mr. Desailly once, and I call you to witness I am going to do it again;” he then struck him.

It appeared that in the depositions the witness was described as a surgeon, and Mr. Barry asked, amidst laughter, whether he was present to dress the wounds of Mr. Desailly. Mr. Croke replied, that witness was only there for the purpose of
surveying him (laughter.)

Mr. Barry supposed when Mr. Pearson asked the gentleman to “walk this way,” witness went to see the fun.

Witness—Somebody responded “blackguards stop behind,” so I walked forward with the rest. (Laughter.)

Mr. Barry—What did Mr. Desailly do when Mr. Pearson struck him?

Witness—Why he turned to and pitched into him (renewed laughter.)

Mr. Barry—And who got the best of it, to use a colonial expression? [But
cfr. OED: best, a. and adv., III. phrases, 9.]

Witness—I don't think either of them got the best of it (laughter.)

This closed the case for the Crown, and being called upon to elect upon which assault he would go, Mr. Croke elected the second.

Mr. Barry said, the names of other witnesses appeared on the list, and he wished the Crown Prosecutor to call some particular one. Mr. Croke declined, and Mr. Barry appealed to the Judge to decide whether the Crown was not bound to call the witness.

His Honor decided that if Mr. Barry wanted to examine the witness, he must call him and make him his own witness. He observed that the same question had arisen at Adelaide where they were all in confusion, and did not appear to know the practice, which was, however, determined in a case 3, Carrington and Curle, 510, in which Baron Alderson ruled that the prosecutor was not bound to call all the witnesses named, butshould have them in attendance, so that the prisoner might not be misled. The only sensible rule was they must be called by the party who wanted their evidence, and he must make them his own witnesses.

Mr. Barry, in addressing the jury for the defendant, remarked that the trumpery case might much better have been disposed of before two Magistrates, instead of occupying the time and attention of that Court. He contended that, in the first assault Mr. Desailly was the aggressor, having exhibited an unpardonable degree of negligence and carelessness, which not only extenuated the conduct of the defendant, but amounted to a positive excuse and justification. Mr. Barry contended that although two assaults were charged, they were, in fact, one and the same assault, the second being only a continuation of what, in the first instance, was self-defence, provoked by the language of Mr. Desailly. He submitted that Mr. Desailly, instead of coming to that Court to complain, ought to have apologised to Mr. Pearson for his improper conduct, in having acted in so unsportsmanlike and careless a manner.

His Honor said the only question for the Jury was whether, in point of law, an assault had been made out. His Honor had no doubt of that fact, and he expressed his opinion that the two assaults proved were separate and distinct offences, though forming part of one transaction.

The jury, after a short conference, returned a verdict of guilty on the second count.

His Honor enquired whether Mr. Barry had any affidavits in mitigation of punishment.

Mr. Barry relied upon the depositions for the prosecution; eleven witnesses had been examined, but the strongest case against the defendant was that made out by Mr. Desailly himself.

His Honor concluded a long and severe lecture to the defendant by inflicting a fine of £50, ordering him to enter into his own recognizances of £10 to keep the peace for twelve months towards Mr. Desailly, and to be imprisoned until the fine be paid.

Mr. Pearson paid the fine at once, and entered into the recognizances.

Argus (Melbourne), Tuesday, October 16, 1849, p. 2.

Francis William Wisdom Desailly and his brother George gave up their lease on the Fulham run and followed the gold rush to California in 1849. Evidently they did well, and decided to return to Victoria in 1850, though not to Gippsland. Instead the Desaillys took up Coree station in the Riverina (119,000 acres) and Gunningrah in the Monaro. By 1865 the Desaillys held forty stations (a total of 1,118,000 acres), and were prominent in the Riverine Association which for a time unsuccessfully sought separation from New South Wales. At length, despite enormous efforts at water conservation, irrigation, and dam-building, the Desaillys were defeated by severe drought and suffered foreclosure in 1869.

William Pearson was unlucky to be convicted. In the early 1840s at least one of the jurors, A. A. Broadfoot, had fought a duel with Skene Craig—at the conclusion of which the parties sat down with their seconds and enjoyed a jovial al fresco champagne breakfast on the field of honour. William’s feisty barrister, the future Judge Redmond Barry also fought at least two duels (one of which in 1841 was against Peter Snodgrass). Even so, by the late 1840s Sydney put considerable pressure on the superintendent and the courts to impose a greater measure of civil authority on the rapidly growing Port Phillip district, and it seems that by 1849 what had once been good for the goose was no longer good for the gander. William paid a modest price, though fortunately for him later memories proved either short or highly selective. Within twenty years he was sitting comfortably for Gippsland in the Legislative Assembly of Victoria.

Thrashing neighbours

If any awkwardness arose from great great-grandfather William Pearson’s uneasy cohabitation of a sizeable chunk of East Gippsland alongside Captain John Michael Loughnan of Emu Vale, at least the failed litigant and non-dueling Vandiemonian was farther distant at Lindenow than Francis Desailly, whom William thrashed on March 9, 1849, at a hurdle race meeting at Green Wattle Hill. According to the formal announcement of the flormal division of leases of crown land in the Port Phillip Government Gazette, which was reprinted verbatim in the Argus (Melbourne) on August 27, 1848 (p. 4), Mr. Desailly’s “hut” was one of the officially defining co-ordinates of Kilmany Park:
No. 36. Helen Pearson, (now W[illia]m. Pearson) Name of run—Kilmany Park. Estimated Area—12,800 acres. Estimated grazing capabilities— 1200 head of cattle. [Bounded] on the south by the La Trobe river, on the west by a line from the old crossing place on the La Trobe river to that part of the road from the “old crossing” place which is two miles distant in a straight line; on the north by a line from that point on the said road to a marked tree on a morass a few hundred yards below Mr Desailly’s hut, and from thence to the nearest point of the Thomson or Maconochie river; on the east by the Thomson and La Trobe rivers to their junction. N.B.—This run has been transferred with the sanction of the government to Mr. William Pearson, in whose name the lease will accordingly be prepared.
Whether or not William felt justified in thrashing Francis Desailly over a now-forgotten dispute over this common boundary, or some other bad blood, clearly William’s conviction—for which Angus McMillan paid surety—went a certain distance toward clearing the air. We know of no other subsequent tensions along that margin of Kilmany Park, though the basic principle of genetic inheritance would suggest that a measure of distrust almost certainly lingered in perpetuity.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Loughnan Affair again

A slightly different account of the Loughnan affair, and the matter of The Queen v. William Pearson was printed in the law columns of the Argus (Melbourne) on Tuesday, March 2, 1847 (p. 4), and gives an even more hairraising transcription of the crucial piece of evidence that was ultimately struck out and suppressed by Mr. Justice à Beckett (the italics are mine):
Friday, 26th February. Before his Honor the Resident Judge and the following Jury:— T. Armitstead (foreman), J. Barry, T. Armstrong, R. Alexander, D. Barry, J. Arthur, J.M’Ardlie, P. Annand, J. Allen, W. Bennett, P. Anderson, and J. Allee. Lachlan M’Alister, of Tarraville, Gipps Land, Esquire, was indicted for that he being a Justice of the Peace for the Territory of New South Wales, except for the City of Sydney and Town of Melbourne, and being of a turbulent, wicked, and malicious disposition, sent to one John Michael Loughnan a certain written challenge, in the words and figures following:— 
“Tarraville, 24th July. 1846. Dear Sir, Your reply to my note of this morning, of date the 24th July, 1846, I still consider as unsatisfactory, as yours previous to Mr. M’Alister; I have, therefore, to request that you will name a friend to confer with me for the purpose of arranging a meeting between you and Mr. M’Alister. I am, Your’s [sic] truly, W. Pearson” 
and the said John Michael Loughnan having refused to accept the said challenge, the said Lachlan M’Alister, to complete his wicked and evil purpose, stuck up and placed in front of a public inn, known as the Tarraville Inn, a placard in the words following:— 
NOTICE. I hereby proclaim Mr. John Michael Loughnan, of Tarraville, to be a coward, a slanderer, and a liar. Against the peace, &c.” 
The second count charged the defendant with exciting the said John Michael Loughnan to fight a duel, to his great damage and terror. The Crown Prosecutor stated the case to the Jury. The case most lamentably failed, and defendant was acquitted.
The Queen v. W. Pearson.—The Crown Prosecutor said he should not prosecute this case. The Jury were then discharged, his Honor thanking them for their attendance, and the Court adjourned until Saturday, at 11 o’clock.
The outrageousness of this version consists in McAlister’s use of the word “NOTICE” and the concluding phrase “against the peace, &c.” by which he dressed up an already scandalous insult in the conceited disguise of an official public proclamation.

One final point may explain why Judge à Beckett contrived to make the whole problem go away. Only a little more than twelve months later, in the
Port Phillip Government Gazette (number 34, pp. 334–339) Superintendent Charles La Trobe authorized forty-seven claims to leases of crown land in Gipps Land, “beyond the settled districts.” These amounted to a compendious accounting for the possessions of most if not all squatters on the entire length of territory stretching east of Melbourne and from the Murray to Bass Strait, and all three parties to the Loughnan affair were listed, viz.
No. 24. John Michael Loughnan, per Loughnan and Taylor [his Gippsland business partner, with whom, together with Commissioner Tyers, the whole sorry episode originated back in 1845] of Emu Vale (13,000 acres, 4000 sheep);

No. 25. L[achlan] Macalister of Boisdale (57,000 acres, 3400 head of cattle or 20,000 sheep) (the property adjoining Loughnan’s); and

No. 36. Helen Pearson (now W[illia]m. Pearson), Kilmary Park [sic] (12,800 acres, 1200 head of cattle).
Beyond his dubious official capacity as a justice of the peace for territories of New South Wales outside Sydney and Melbourne, already Lachlan McAlister’s great wealth was obviously a factor to be taken very seriously, if not an insuperable point of realpolitik.

The Loughnan Affair

A clearer account of the Loughnan affair is contained in the Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (Saturday, March 13, 1847, p. 4), along with an exact description of the sizzling evidence that was excluded from our great great-grandfather’s trial in Port Phillip for inciting John Loughnan to a breach of the peace.

John Michael Loughnan was born in England on June 11, 1806, and served in the 10th Bengal Cavalry. He was fort adjutant and aide-de-camp to the Governor-General, Lord Auckland, and left the Indian army with the rank of captain. In 1837 Loughnan brought his wife and rapidly multiplying family of seven sons and two daughters to Van Diemen’s Land. By 1842 he had also taken up Lindenow, some 40,000 acres on the Mitchell River, not long after William Pearson abandoned a much smaller portion of that run in favor of Kilmany Park, slightly west of Sale. With his brothers, Loughnan bought into other grazing properties in the district and presumably came into frequent contact with Pearson and his neighbor Lachlan McAlister, though Loughnan’s main residence continued to be Marionburn in Hobart Town. He was a reasonably able painter. 

The printed placard mentioned here was apparently affixed to the walls of the Tarraville inn, but copies were probably distributed much farther afield. No doubt the insult was made sharper by the conspicuous omission of Captain Loughnan’s correct military rank. Mr. Justice à Beckett’s curious handling of the case smacks of cronyism, and while there is no evidence that the judge (above) was in any way beholden to Lachlan McAlister or to William Pearson it is possible that à Beckett’s concern was that, in the absence of anyone more palatable, McAlister should not under any circumstances be disqualified from functioning as one of the only magistrates upholding the rule of law in East Gippsland faute de mieux—no matter how imperfectly. In any other context to dismiss Loughnan’s suit on the dubious grounds that there was no proof that William Pearson’s representations were actually authorized by McAlister was at best disingenuous, and at worst wholly fanciful:
Fighting Magistrates.—On the 26th February the case of Loughnan v. M’Alister, came on in the Supreme Court. In this case Mr. M’Alister, who was a magistrate, residing in Gipps Land, had challenged Mr. Loughnan, also residing there, to fight a duel, through Mr. Pearson, who acted as his second, and on Mr. Loughnan refusing, had caused printed placards to be posted up, as follows:- “Notice: I hereby declare Mr. John Loughnan, Tarra Ville, to be a coward, a scoundrel, and a liar. L[achlan]. M’Alister. 24th July, 1846.” On the information of Mr. Loughnan, Mr. M’Alister was now prosecuted criminally for inciting him to a breach of the peace. The case fell through, the Judge [William à Beckett] telling Mr. Pearson he need not answer any questions relative to a letter he had sent Mr. Loughnan desiring him to name a second to confer with him, and the Crown Prosecutor being prepared with no proof that Mr. M’Alister caused this letter to be written, or the printed notices to be posted. The jury, by direction of his Honor, acquitted Mr. M’Alister.—Abridged from the Port Phillip Patriot.

Ugly Horsewhipping Episode in East Gippsland

Thanks to Australian Newspapers beta, I have now tracked down the pertinent details of our pioneering great great-grandfather William Pearson’s several brushes with the colonial justice system. The first of these related to an almost certainly duplicitous and illegal “challenge” (i.e. to a duel) by Messrs. McAlister and Pearson against a certain John Michael Loughnan of Hobart Town. It seems the matter first arose when Mr. Loughnan formally complained to the colonial secretary in Sydney that Mr. McAlister was somehow responsible for some interference with his affairs in Gippsland by Mr. Tyers, the Commissioner for Crown Lands. That interference evidently led to the “curtailment” of Mr. Loughnan’s cattle run at Lindenow, of which he was for the time being absentee landlord—the same spot where William Pearson first settled his cattle in 1841 (for a matter of only a few months), and this may account for William’s involvement. Getting wind of the allegation, Mr. McAlister hotly denied being behind Tyers’ infraction, and the matter was settled to the satisfaction of all when McAlister paid a call on Loughnan in Hobart Town. However, McAlister and Pearson raised the same issue with Mr. Loughnan a second time, this time when all three were en poste in East Gippsland, and with some menace. According to the Courier (Hobart) (March 27, 1847, p. 2):

Allusion having been made in a former number of the Courier to a case pending in the Supreme Court, Melbourne, in which J. M. Loughnan, Esq., was the prosecutor, we now lay before our readers the leading features of this singular case:— Mr. Loughnan, who is a merchant of Hobart Town, had been carrying on some correspondence with the Sydney Government on the subject of some proceedings taken by Mr. Commissioner Tyers against Mr. Taylor, and the curtailment of Mr. Loughnan’s run at Lindenow. In the course of that correspondence Mr. Loughnan forwarded a letter to the Colonial Secretary, which contained a charge against the Commissioner for Crown Lands of being influenced by Mr. M’Alister. Some eight months ago Mr. M’Alister called upon Mr. Loughnan in Hobart Town, and complained of the letter, denying that he had influenced the Commissioner, when Mr. Loughnan voluntarily and unreservedly expressed his regret at his having been misinformed, and at once, and with Mr. M’Alister’s consent, proposed to withdraw that portion of the letter referring to Mr. M’Alister; copies of which were forwarded to the Colonial Secretary; to a gentleman in Sydney, to whom had been sent a copy of the correspondence; and a third to Gipps’s Land. By this act on the part of Mr. Loughnan all that part of his communication of 1st February, 1845, referring to Mr. M’Alister, was virtually expunged, and Mr. M’Alister finally closed the matter, thus showing that he considered the injury atoned for. Mr. Loughnan was residing in Gipps’s Land on the 23rd July last, and met Mr. M’Alister, who again introduced the subject, although Mr. Loughnan had considered every atonement tor the supposed injury had been made. Mr. M’Alister terminated the interview abruptly, and on the same evening a note was received by Mr. Loughnan, requesting an explanation. The note was delivered by Mr. Pearson, who, having stated that Mr. M’Alister had not until lately seen the letter containing the observations upon his conduct, a fact which Mr. Loughnan, after his interview with Mr. M’Alister in Hobart Town, thought morally impossible, demanded an explanation, and ample apology. Mr. Loughnan, by note, declined to enter again upon the re-discussion of the affair. His note was answered by Mr. Pearson, who intimated that any communication held with Mr. M’Alister must be through him, repeating his former demands. Other notes of a similar nature passed between them. Subsequently, Mr. M’Alister posted Mr. Loughnan in the usual manner. Mr. Loughnan then published a statement of the facts, which was met by his opponent by a counter-statement, from which we have condensed this account, and ultimately Mr. M’Alister and Mr. Pearson were put upon their trial at the Supreme Court, Melbourne; the former for sending, and the latter for taking a challenge to Mr. Loughnan. When the case came on for hearing before His Honor Mr. Justice A’Beckett, the challenge was regarded as inadmissible, having been written by Mr. Pearson; the statements of facts published by both parties, and a document in which Mr. M’Alister expressed his approval of all Mr. Pearson had done in the matter was also blocked out, and the placard being produced, by which Mr. Loughnan was posted, was refused on the question of identity, and a verdict was consequently returned for the defendant. This abrupt termination of the case prevented its merits being gone into; but the fact of Mr. Loughnan having made all the reparation in his power at the time the matter was first brought under his notice by Mr. M’Alister, completely exonerates him from blame; and there appears to be an unnecessary exacerbation of gentlemanly feeling in calling upon Mr. Loughnan for a second explanation at such a distant period of time.

The placard that was produced in evidence, and rejected, appears to have been some kind of accusation concocted by McAlister and Pearson the purpose of which was to broadcast as publicly and as damagingly as possible their grievances against Loughnan. Signs nailed to trees were the principal method of distributing news and information in Gippsland during the 1840s. 

Unfortunately we do not know why McAlister and Pearson were determined to pursue Loughnan so forcefully, but presumably the friction was at least partly sectarian in nature. It also seems likely that the bad blood originated with some local business arrangement turned sour, because in the shipping news for the port of Hobart Town (Courier, Wednesday, December 31, 1845, p. 2), we find the following note: “Arrived, the schooner Agenoria, 106 tons…from Port Albert 24th instant, with cattle—passengers William Pearson, M. Loughnan.”

Mr. Pearson was not quite as lucky two years later, when—possibly emboldened by his success with McAlister against Loughnan, and the abrupt and helpful findings of Mr. Justice à Beckett—our great great grandfather was convicted of assault in an ugly horsewhipping episode. Although widely reported (in this instance by the Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, on Saturday, October 27, 1849, p. 2), the incident was ultimately forgotten, and in no way impeded William Pearson’s subsequent election to represent Gippsland first in the Legislative Assembly and later in the Legislative Council of Victoria:

Colonial News
We have received Port Phillip papers to the 16th October.
In the crown sittings of the Supreme Court Mr. William Pearson had been
convicted of assaulting Mr. Francis Desailly. Both parties resided in Gipps Land, and at some races held in the district Mr. Pearson was riding a horse in a hurdle race when his horse got off the course and came in contact with Mr. Desailly’s horse, Mr. Desailly being at the time riding along near the course, and watching his brother, who was riding a horse in the race; by the collision Mr. Desailly was thrown off, and Mr. Pearson immediately laid into him with his whip, Mr. Desailly striking him in return. Afterwards, at the stand, Mr. Desailly was telling his brother of the affair, when Mr. Pearson came up, and called aloud to the parties present that he had already flogged Mr. Desailly, and was now going to do so again, and he forthwith laid into him once more with the horse whip. Mr. Pearson was fined £50, and ordered to enter into recognisances to keep the peace, which was done, and the fine paid (my italics).

Sunday, May 24, 2009

More Pavlova

Two melancholy, non-chromatic footnotes to the 1926 visit to Melbourne of the great ballerina Anna Matveyevna Pavlova, one equine and the other culinary:

During the 1926 foaling season the name of Pavlova was co-opted (perhaps inevitably), and as a two year-old, on May 26, 1928, this Pavlova ran in the novelty pony race at Maffra in East Gippsland, carrying a seven-pound handicap. According to the Canberra Times of March 11, 1929 (p. 4), Pavlova won the highweight handicap at Rosehill by 2½ lengths. He was ridden on that day by the well-known jockey E. (Ted) Bartle. This was evidently Pavlova’s only victory, and apart from running at Sandown Park and Rosehill again in 1930 he seems to have diminished into obscurity shortly afterwards.

Meanwhile, anticipating by at least a year the advent of the canonical New Zealand delicacy, the Argus (November 17, 1928, p. 5) carried an unfortunate, celebratory report of Auguste Escoffier’s most recent effort in myth-making, which is doubly unfortunate for the company the two women are obliged to keep, and the expediently demotic flavor of what for the time being was Anna Pavlova’s only culinary referent:

Mussolini has been honoured by the great chef, M. Escoffier, who has produced a new dish entitled “Supremes de Poulet Mussolini.” “Il Duce” will be able to claim that he is one of the only three living personages whose names have been given to table delicacies other than those concocted for special occasions. Dame Nellie Melba, of course, has found fame apart from her art in the famous sweet composed of peaches and cream, while Mme. Anna Pavlova lends her name to a popular variety of American ice-cream.

Further thoughts about “Pavlova”

Let us now sift and sort the colors listed alongside the mysterious “Pavlova” in the sequence of enticing advertisements published in the Argus newspaper (Melbourne) between April 1926 and October 1928 for Georges, the Myer Emporium, Read’s and Maclellan’s of Chapel Street, Foy and Gibson of Collingwood, The Mutual Store of Flinders Street, and Payne’s Bon Marche of Bourke Street. The number in parentheses refers to the percentage frequency with which certain colors burrow their persistent way into this complete repertoire of “Pavlova” color references. (The number is omitted if the relevant color recurred in fewer than 15% of the ads.)

White: cream; ivory; sand; and white (qua white);

Pink: chardron; cyclamen; flesh/nude; fuchsia; glycine; petunia; pink (qua pink); rose (32); salmon; shell, and vieux rose/vieux rose saxe;

Red: amourette; bois de rose (67); burgundy (19); cardinal; coral; flame; henna; Sahara; mulberry (16); plum; red (qua red); new red; rosewood; ruby; russet; scarlet; strawberry, and wine/beaum (wine) (25);

Orange: apricot (25); orange (qua orange); oriflamme; sunset, and tangerine;

Brown: almond; beige (16); brown (qua brown)/full brown/mid. brown/nut brown; burnt oak; caramel; cedarwood; cinnamon (16); cocoa (19); fawn (35); mole; nigger; raisin; rust; santal; tabac, and tan/light tan;

Yellow: champagne (19); lemon (22), and reseda (mignonette) (22);

Grey: grey (qua grey) (16), and putty;

Green: apple green/new green; bottle (25); bracken; jade; lettuce; palm/palm green; spring, and vert de gris;

Cyan: eau de nil/nil/nilesque;

Blue: delphinium; Dutch blue; Elizabeth blue/pale blue/Princess blue; navy (29); pervanche (periwinkle)/pervanche blue (19); Persian; saxe/light saxe (35); sky (29), and turquoise;

Violet: amethyst; helio[trope]. (25); lavender; mauve/deep mauve (29), and parma/parma violet;

Black: black (qua black) (32).

Now clearly there are points of difficulty arising from this exercise, because it is to some extent a matter of guesswork whether, say, “sand” belongs in the category of shades of white, or at the higher-keyed extremity of the browns, or whether “bois de rose” and “rosewood” belong more squarely in the parent categories of red or brown, or indeed where “rust” might go. Is “sunset” red, orange, or yellow? “Saxe” and “vieux rose saxe” constitute a knotty problem because on the one hand saxe has strong associations with Dresden china (in all its diversity of color and style), but, on the other hand, it also retained dynastic associations with the heraldic blue of the kings of Saxony. These are not necessarily inconsistent, so saxe must almost certainly belong with the blues, while vieux rose saxe cannot possibly be anything other than pink. Apart from obvious objections arising from its appallingly racist prompt, it is difficult to see how “nigger” was effectively distinguished from brown/full brown/mid. brown/nut brown; caramel; cocoa; tan/light tan, or indeed black. Finally, I am very doubtful about the remaining three unassigned colors of “nattier”; “orchid”; and “veronese.”

Presumably “nattier” refers to the family of French painters of the ancien régime, and on that basis one might tentatively assign it to the category of pink, but this is by no means an obvious choice, because judging from their airy palette, “nattier” might equally qualify as pale blue or yellow.

“Veronese” even more unequivocally descends from the sixteenth-century painter of Venice (Paolo), and some sort of rich dark red would therefore work well enough, but “orchid” is simply useless as a color descriptor because of the huge number of varieties. Perhaps, keeping in mind the not particularly broad parameters of Melbourne taste in the 1920s, cream or yellow would not be too far-fetched; possibly pale pink, or even purple, which is an intriguing omission here, except for its several glorious incognito appearances under violet; yet purple qua purple is never mentioned.

However we may observe some trends. Reds and browns clearly outweigh blues and greens in both tonal range, basic number, and rates of recurrence. Apart from spectrum-shrugging browns, greys, and whites, which seem consistent with the Modernist moment, fully adherent reds and blues also outweigh the compound colors of blue-yellow (greens), yellow-red (oranges), and blue-green (eau-de-nil), but with (for example) those loud assertions of violet these compounds are nevertheless forcefully present.

Where, then, does the color of “Pavlova” logically go? Certainly where pavlova went, more often than not bois de rose went also. No other color term recurs with pavlova nearly so often. What is so baffling, though, is that no other capsule of references to the color of pavlova surfaces in any other Australian newspaper of the period, and most if not all references to the eponymous ballerina are at best inconclusive.

On September 17, 1926, for example, the columnist “I-no” reported in her “Sydney Notes” in the Canberra Times (under “The Florist’s Art,” p. 14), that “Pavlova and Anna Seymour (the star of Santrey’s Band at the Tivoli), both say that they have never seen anything like the flowers in Sydney, or such art amongst the florists,” but this does not get us very far at all.

It seems to me that the balance of probability points either to the whites or yellows, and not merely because these seem so under-represented against the browns, beiges, putties, flesh and earth tones. Certainly Princess Elizabeth laid prior claim to the celebrity associations of blue, and I doubt if pavlova could have been permitted to encroach upon that imperial quarter. (Also the Duke and Duchess of York visited Australia in 1927.)

If pavlova turns out not to have nestled comfortably among the whites or yellows, my second choice would be to assign pavlova to the palest of pinks or some kind of tinselly silver because what seems most surprising about surviving accounts of ballerina’s costume and toilette in the first J. C. Williamson season was the Argus critic’s references to that odd-sounding pink wig, and those slightly over-insistent touches of “silver tissue.”

I think it is unlikely that we shall ever be certain, unless some long-forgotten clue survives in the archives of Myer’s, or even the personal papers of Dame Merlyn, or some thrifty upper-end Melbourne nonagenarian still has a swatch of light-sensitive fabric buried deep in her work basket, and the memory of a steel trap. Dame Elisabeth?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The definitive Pavlova color spectrum

1. Complete chronological list of 31 references in the Argus newspaper (Melbourne) to “Pavlova” or “pavlova” as the name for a “new season” color, together with all accompanying named colors or shades, 1926–28:


April 26, p. 7: Read’s of Chapel Street, Prahran, “Bargains in Seasonable Merchandise”

—Ladies’ imported all-wool Jersey jumpers “in all new season’s shades, including tangerine, amourette, nilesque, veronese, tan, Pavlova, oriflamme, rust, and burnt oak”

May 19, p. 15: Georges’ winter sale

—suits and frocks in “jade, wine, cocoa, Pavlova, bois de rose, and cinnamon.”

June 12, p. 9: Myer Emporium

—Saxony frocking in “bracken, bois de rose, Pavlova, almond, bottle, palm green, and parma violet”; bordered frockings in “Sahara, bracken, amethyst, Pavlova, palm green, nut brown, bottle, bois de rose, nigger, and rust”; and English velours in “wine, Burgundy, plum, Pavlova, saxe, Princess blue, bottle, navy, and black.” 

June 22, p. 7: Read’s winter sale, a “Wholesale Slaughter of Woollen Dress Goods”

—Kasha suitings “in diagonal stripe effects of Pavlova, Dutch blue, bottle, russet, and new red”; and tubular Jersey cloth in “rose, rosewood, santal, bois de rose, Pavlova, deep mauve, cinnamon, cocoa, rose, beige, mole, grey, new green, Persian, beaum (wine) [sic: beaune], spring, vert de gris (two shades), Elizabeth blue, sky, light tan, wine, full brown, navy, also black and cream.” 

September 20, p. 15: Read’s after-stocktaking sale

—French colored chiffon taffeta in “pervenche [periwinkle blue], bois de rose, plum, navy, white, brown, raisin, champagne, wine, mulberry, nattier, vieux rose saxe, rose, beige, chardron, parma, Pavlova, cocoa, and black”; inch crepe de chine in “santal, rosewood, rose, beige, chardron, cocoa, parma, mulberry, burgundy, Pavlova, mauve, bois de rose, vert de gris, navy; also ivory and black”; and all-wool Jersey frocks in “saxe, reseda, nude, putty, Pavlova, wine, bottle, fuchsia, and fawn,” and all-wool Jersey jumpers in “red, reseda, jade, bois de rose, cardinal, saxe, fawn, putty, grey, and Pavlova.” 


January 6, 1927, p. 11: Read’s bumper annual half-yearly sale

—French crepe de chine “in shades of helio., grey, nigger, salmon, petunia, vert de gris, lettuce, lemon, Pavlova, apricot, champagne, burgundy, fuchsia, reseda.”

February 5, p. 9: Maclellan & Co., of Chapel Street, Prahran

—Artificial silk striped stockinette, “in the latest tones of turquoise, sky, shell, champagne, glycine, helio, pink, apricot, bois de rose, pavlova, ivory, rose, and lemon.”

February 23, p. 8: Maclellan’s “Bargain Days at the Big Store”

—Artificial silk stockinette, “suitable for lingerie, in the latest tones of sky, lavender, lemon, shell, champagne, glycine, salmon, apricot, bois de rose, and Pavlova.”

February 24, p. 15: Payne’s Bon Marche, Pty. Ltd., 138–144 Bourke Street, “A Blaze of Monster Bargains”

—Dainty silk-and-wool jumpers in “fawn, delphinium, salmon, jade, eau de nil, pavlova, ivory, rose, and lemon.”

March 8, p. 15: Read’s

—Crepe de chine. The “color range includes Apricot, Pervanche, Fawn, Pavlova, Mauve, Navy, Rosewood, Wine, Lemon, Bois de Rose, Helio., Rose, Beige, Almond, Mulberry, Wine [sic], Fuchsia, Burgundy, Cocoa, Vieux Rose, also Black.”

March 10, p. 13: Payne’s

—Superior highly mercerized coloured Merveens, finely woven of superior Egyptian thread “in saxe, eau de nil, grey, cardinal, pavlova, vieux rose, reseda, sunset, flame, fawn, nigger, navy, ruby, scarlet, helio., coral, cinnamon, and black.”

April 5, p. 14: The Mutual Store, Ltd., Melbourne’s leading Department Store, opp. Flinders Street Station

—All-wool Jersey “in newest shades of reseda, bois de rose, cedarwood, strawberry, mauve, fawn, Pavlova, burgundy.”

April 6, p. 11: Read’s

—French silk Marocain “in shades of caramel, bois de rose, pavlova, cocoa, pervanche, Elizabeth blue, and mulberry.”

May 21, p. 9: Myer’s

—Wool Jerseys and coating tweeds “in bracken, amethyst, rust, mulberry, tan, wine, pervanche blue, russet, Burgundy, reseda, palm, bottle, saxe, Pavlova, rose, and navy.”

June 4, p. 25: Maclellan’s

—Silk stock’ettes “in the latest tones of lemon, flesh, sky, Pavlova, apricot, lavender, bois de rose, and champagne.”

June 25, p. 19: Maclellan’s

—Silk stock’ettes “in the latest tones of lemon, mauve, apricot, Pavlova, bois de rose, helio, sky, champagne, and lavender.”

August 4, p. 11: Read’s

—Ladies’ all-wool knitted cardigans “in shades of sky, mauve, Pavlova, bois de rose, coral, henna, apricot, cinnamon, saxe, fawn, bottle, and cream”; and Ladies’ all-wool knitted cardigans in “saxe, sky, bois de rose, fawn, orange, Pavlova, black, and white.”

August 17, p. 9: Read’s

—Ladies’ all-wool knitted cardigans “in shades of sky, mauve, Pavlova, bois de rose, coral, henna, apricot, cinnamon, saxe, fawn, bottle, and cream”; and Ladies’ all-wool knitted cardigans in “saxe, sky, bois de rose, fawn, orange, Pavlova, black, and white.”

November 9, p. 26: Read’s

—Silk Marocain “in shades of helio., reseda, cyclamen, pervanche, pavlova, and orchid.”


January 7, p. 9: Myer’s

—Swiss cotton fabrics “in pervanche, rose, Pavlova, saxe, bois de rose, putty, helio., apple green, coral, navy, and white.”

July 14, p. 28: Foy and Gibson of Collingwood

—Ring velvets “in smart fashionable tones of flame, Pavlova, petunia, cardinal, mauve, bois de rose, and cyclamen.”

October 17, p. 9: Myer’s

—Crepe noveau [sic] and Saxony frockings “with neat stripes on beige, fawn, parma, plum, tabac, Pavlova, grey, bois de rose, caramel, mid. Brown, almond, raisin, rose, black, and navy.”

October 20, p. 9: Myer’s

—Summery cotton weaves from overseas “in perfectly plain shades of pink, mauve, nil, sand, helio., Pavlova, pale blue, light saxe, and black.”

2. Number of times each color term is listed in the Argus newspaper (Melbourne) where “Pavlova” is also mentioned separately 31 times as a “new season” color:

(21): bois de rose; (11): fawn; saxe/light saxe; (10): black; rose; (9): mauve/deep mauve; navy; sky; (8): apricot; bottle; helio[trope].; wine/beaum (wine); (7): lemon; reseda; (6): burgundy; champagne; cocoa; pervanche/pervanche blue; (5): beige; cinnamon; grey; mulberry; (4): brown/full brown/mid. brown/nut brown; coral; eau de nil/nil/nilesque; Elizabeth blue/pale blue/Princess blue; parma/parma violet; white; (3): almond; bracken; cardinal; cream; fuchsia; ivory; jade; lavender; nigger; plum; putty; rosewood; rust; salmon; tan/light tan; vert de gris/vert de gris (two shades); vieux rose/vieux rose saxe (see also saxe/light saxe, above); (2): amethyst; apple green/new green; caramel; chardron; cyclamen; flame; flesh/nude; glycine; henna; orange; palm/palm green; petunia; pink; raisin; red/new red; russet; santal; shell; (only 1): amourette; burnt oak; cedarwood; delphinium; Dutch blue; lettuce; mole; nattier; orchid; oriflamme; Persian; ruby; Sahara; sand; scarlet; spring; strawberry; sunset; tabac; tangerine; turquoise, and veronese.

Conclusion: Of the thirty-one wholly explicit uses in print of Pavlova or pavlova as the name for a color, all occur in advertisements placed by seven Melbourne department stores in the Argus newspaper between April 26, 1926, and October 20, 1928, whereupon the term utterly vanishes from sight. All are applied to cotton, woolen, or silk fabrics—occasionally but much less often to finished garments, usually knitted. Moreover, there is a suspiciously consistent distribution of equally unusual color terms in this relatively small sample, which implies (a) that this was a campaign devised by a single mind, or at least a very small group working in close cooperation or even collusion; or (b) that these colors belonged to a single batch of stock, possibly even the the entire stocks of Messrs. Wallace and Shorter Pty. Ltd., in voluntary liquidation,” that on one occasion Read’s explicitly stated that they bought from Messrs. Wilson, Rattray and Danby, Public Accountants, 41 Queen Street. In that case the stock may well have been divided between the six other outlets as well; and/or (c) the colored fabrics mentioned most often, above all “Pavlova,” were exceedingly hard to move or sell on locally. The overwhelming majority of the advertisements are for big sales. Nor did the term enjoy any form of revival upon Anna Matveyevna Pavlova’s triumphant return visit to Melbourne in 1929. This might simply have been for reasons of tact, or indeed the more commercially relevant lack of any formal licensing or any other sort of agreement with the ballerina without which she might reasonably have been expected to take exception to the use of her name for promotional or sales purposes.

And now, I think, we turn to the trademarks office, and the relevant litigation and case law for the period, or else seek psychiatric care.