Friday, April 19, 2024

Greetings from Nhill

Recent stories

John Williams, Treasures of Nhill & District Facebook page, Nhill Free Press & Kaniva Times

It came in the form of postcards, and here are just a few from the early days, well before emails and even when the telephone was a novelty.

On one side of a postcard, there is usually a brief note to a friend or relative, but on the other, it’s Nhill’s history….

Postcards came in a variety of forms, with Nhill featuring in several fold-out versions over the years.

They could be bought from stores, newsagents, cafes, guest houses, petrol stations and hotels. These days, you might find vintage examples and Nhill fold-out postcards on eBay.

When privacy was not an obsession, the postcard gave no privacy at all and attempts made by some to preserve it by writing messages upside down were laughable, given the prying eyes of the postie. So postcard writers were a little tentative about expressing their feelings.

Some postcards were produced in an instant by enterprising photographers who sold their work to locals at a time when pictures were not produced in the Nhill Free Press.

John Whitehead has provided just such an example of the 1916 Farmer’s Arms fire in which a photo was snapped, probably from the Commercial Hotel balcony, by J.W. Brown who had the image developed, printed and ready for sale in just 3 hours.

The flood picture is another example of a local event printed as a postcard.

Even Nhill’s Talking Horse (aka Draught Horse Memorial) once produced a 5-cent coin in the slot postcard.

Unlike stamps, postcards were collected more frequently by women than by men.

My Nhill Grandmother, Florence Williams (nee Dickinson) was one such woman receiving postcards (Greetings to Nhill) from the Western Front during the first world war.

The two I have selected are delicate silk cards which were popular among troops for their loved ones. “A kiss from France” was printed on one small card revealed by lifting the silk flap.

In later years, saucy cartoon postcards were popular, but I can only find one example of a cartoon postcard pertaining to Nhill and hotel accommodation, but it’s not very saucy.

The Halfway Motel produced a postcard, a prime example of the typical give-away postcards that motels across the country used to give out.

Postcards are now a lost art, killed off by social media which is a shame as they provided permanent pictures and hard copies about the fragments of life from the past….even if most of the messages were bland and about the weather.

Unlike vinyl, don’t expect a revival for postcards.

Nhill Free Press & Kaniva Times, 3 April 2024

See all the images in the issue.
This article appeared in the Nhill Free Press & Kaniva Times, 3 April 2024.


Sign up for updates from Australian Rural & Regional News

Manage your subscription

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

For all the news from Nhill Free Press & Kaniva Times, go to