Archive for February, 2011

The Mystery Tobacco Tin

Mystery Tobacco Tin

The Australian alpine country has many old huts spread throughout, these huts were built by cattle and sheep graziers, miners and the Snowy Mountain Authority (hydro power scheme), most of the alpine country is now National Parks, cattle and sheep no longer graze, the miners are long gone. Over the years many huts have gone the victims of neglect, bushfires and National Parks policy. The huts that survive are under the care of the Kosciuszko Hut Association, bushwalking and Ski clubs. I do most of my bushwalking and skiing in the Alpine country and regularly visit many of the surviving huts.

A couple of weekends ago my mate Dave and I where camped near an old cattleman’s hut somewhere in Kosciuszko National Park (New South Wales), it was raining, we had just eaten dinner and where enjoying a mug of Port while sitting around the fire place, when Dave noticed and pointed out a mouse running across the floor, I saw the mouse go down a gap in the floor boards. Out of interest I grabbed my torch and had a look down the hole, the mouse was gone but I saw a dusty, rusty old tin, I grabbed a stick and lifted the tin so I could grab it with my hand. When I got the tin out, I could see that it was an old tobacco tin.

Tobacco Tin

On opening the tin I found an old news paper cutting and an opened packet of cigarette papers, both in very good condition. The cigarette papers where an Australian Zig-Zag brand but made in France but the news paper cutting got my interest, the cutting had been torn out of a news paper, on one side there was an advertisement for baldness and dandruff cure, the other side had some general information about a the paper sponsored Sun (news paper) toy fund, an announcement about a new restaurant that had just opened, and an announcement about up coming Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force Association Smoke concert.

The opened Tobacco Tin

Cigarette papers

I took photos of the tin and contents and placed the contents back into the tin and the tin back into the hole where I got it from, hoping that it is another very long time before it is found again and that the next finder puts it back for the then next person to find.

Baldness and Dandruff ad

Back of the ad

When I arrived home I wanted to see if I could find how old the tin and contents were and if I could when the tin found its way in the hole, the news paper cutting was a clue, there is mention of the “Sun toy fund”, I tried to do some research on the net. The National Library of Australia has a large collection old news papers some have been scanned and are available on the web. My search for the Sun News paper came up with many choices, I did find a reference to a paper called the Sun that was published from 1910 to 1988 but no Sun newspapers papers where on line. Another clue was that in the Toy fund article a Rev. Jas. McLeod was named as making a donation of one Pound, I did a search on a Rev. Mcleod and there was a Reverend James McLeod that was working in Sydney in the early thirties, another clue could be the article on the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force Association Smoke concert. The Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) was a small volunteer force of approximately 2,000 men, raised in Australia shortly after the outbreak of the First World War to seize and destroy German wireless stations in German New Guinea in the south-west Pacific. The final clue and a good one is the Town talk brand tobacco tin, a search of 1930’s tobacco tins came up with this site, http://www.carters.com.au/index.cfm/item/17147-various-framed-australian-tobacco-tins/, note the middle tin at the top.

My current thinking is that this tobacco tin may have been under the hut floor undiscovered for around 80 years, since the early to mid 1930’s. Back in the 1930’s using old tobacco tins to store small items was very common, I would conclude that the owner had the tin next to his bed, when he was near his bed he knocked the tin into the hole, probably without knowing, with nothing of value in the tin he soon forgot about it.



EDIT: Apologies, since originally posting this article some of the links had disappeared, but some of the links are traceable but some like the Town Talk tobacco tin seems to have gone forever, several of the links are on Wikipedea but they seem to change the link from time to time so I will leave it up to the their own search.


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