Sunday, September 26, 2010

Isabel Has Been Busy

Isabel has been at the State Library of Victoria, and took the opportunity to skim through the early editions (from 1898 to 1907) of The Xavierian in the quest of snippets about Vasco. The first issue of this school magazine was published in Vasco's matriculation year. This is what she found:

Right in the first issue Dec 1898, p36-7 there’s an essay titled “Australian Federation/ Vasco Loureiro, ‘98”. Well written, surprisingly ponderous piece. Smart cookie.

Still in this issue, under “Speech day” his name appears in Matriculation Class – “Easter English Essay (Pass Class) – Vasco Loureiro;” under “Special Prize List.” There’s “Drawing – Senhor Loureiro’s Prizes – Excellence – Alfred Ballenger; Improvement – Stephen Radovick.” In subsequent years these prizes keep appearing.

Nov 1899 issue lists press clippings about the first issue of The Xaverian. Many Victorian papers have had something to say. The Advocate said this – “Amongst the capable papers contributed are (….) and ‘Australian Federation’ by Vasco Loureiro (who by the way, has just won his spurs at the November term of the Matriculation Examination).” P6 this quote would have been from 1898.

In the same issue, p 28, under “University Results.” – “Vasco Loureiro obtained Honours in English and French; passed in Greek, Latin, Geometry, and Geography.”

In Dec 1900 p 40, under Matriculation Results, December 1899.”  - “Vasco Loureiro, having already Matriculated, obtained Honours in Drawing.”

Dec 1903 p 34, under “Old Boys” (I think), “Hugh McCulloch passed the First Engineers’ Examination of the Melbourne University. – Sam Marron passed the First Year’s Dental Exam, and obtained an Exhibition. – In the Public Works Office Examination of the First Year the first place was secured by Charlie Watson, and the second by Vasco Loureiro.”   

Dec 1904 p 23, there’s a group photo with 3 lines titled “A Group of ‘Old Xaverians’ (Sports Day).” In which I’m pretty sure Vasco is, by no one is identified. In this same page, under news about Old Boys – “Vasco Loureiro – Draughtsman in the Public Service, and artist. His sketches of prominent cricketers last year were a great and deserved success. He was up on Sports day, and was very welcome. We wish he came oftener.” In the next page – “Vasco Loureiro figures already in this column, but we have something else to say about him. Prebble and Moad have brought out a new series of post-cards, of which Vasco is the artist, and we wish every old boy would secure a set. Vasco will come out next sports day, we hope, and perhaps do some little sketches for the “Xaverian”. He is always welcome.”  

(We knew he did postcards of footballers - this is the first I have heard of sketches of cricketers. Thinking about the early days of Australian Rules, the footballers were often cricketers. The Prebble & Moad cards would be the "Boarding House" series, I suppose. Can't see St Xavier's promoting the "Tarts" series. ) 

In Xaverian Dec 1906, page 45, “Vasco Loureiro, with brilliant talents for many things, has now taken to art in its lighter aspects – witness the scramble for “Argus Sauce” that adorns the hoardings around the city. A correspondent – two correspondents, in fact – report that he was in Sydney doing ‘lightning sketches,’ and making money, too. From Sydney to New Zealand, like Goldsmith and his flute. Vasco and his pencil mean to work their way. He promises us a book after his wanderings. It is to be called ‘Round the World on a Camp-stool.’ His outfit – should anyone be anxious to follow example – is compact and useful. One suit of clothes, one change of underwear, boxing gloves, and a punching-ball!!!”  

(So, the later 'Round the World on a Pencil' started out as 'Round the World on a Camp Stool'. I wonder if there is a manuscript out there? Courier Mail did not publish my letter, the rotters.) 

The whole business of the Argus Sauce billboard must wait for another time - it is a story in itself. Suffice it to say that the billboard featured a caricature of Mr Bent, one time Premier of Victoria, in striped bathing costume beating in his hat with a bottle of Argus Sauce. The maker of Argus Sauce, one Mr Blogg, was also a bit of a joker as shown by his evidence to a Tariff enquiry in about 1905. I will select the choicest bits for a later post - at the moment I am having too much fun reading his quips to the bench and lawyers assisting.

Travel to New Zealand in 1906 introduces the possibility that Vasco and Gwendoline met in that country - I'm sure that the huntin' and shootin' set that she moved in would have been  prime targets for Vasco's pencils and crayons. If they met in NZ, she then followed him to America and on to Australia.

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