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Object: Xmas (Christmas) dinner 25.12.05

This image has No Known Copyright Restrictions.

Title Xmas (Christmas) dinner 25.12.05
Production Adkin, Leslie (photographer), 25 December 1905, Levin
Medium summary black and white original negative (glass)
Materials silver, photographic gelatin, sheet glass, photographic plates
Classification gelatin dry plate negatives, black-and-white negatives
Technique black-and-white photography
Format quarter plate (1/4)
Credit line Gift of G. L. Adkin family estate, 1964
Registration number A.005936

This photograph shows a New Zealand family Christmas celebration from 1905. It was taken by 17-year-old Leslie Adkin at Cheslyn Rise, his family's farm located near Levin in the Horowhenua. His father William sits at the head of the table with his mother Annie at the opposite end.

Traditions in transit
The formal dining room and table setting suggest that a traditional hot roast dinner is on the menu. Settlers from Britain continued to eat these Christmas meals in New Zealand, despite the summer heat. Although the Adkin family adhered to this Christmas custom, they have replaced European Christmas decorations like holly, mistletoe and ivy with a vase of summer flowers.

A great success
Leslie Adkin's diary entry for Monday 25 December 1905 records the main events of the day:
'A fine day. Made acetylene gas. Went to Back Bush for Xmas tree. Took photo of company at Xmas dinner. Dressed Xmas tree. Uncle Frank dressed up as Father Christmas ( Clare in her fancy dress) and gave presents to children who did not recognise him. Good fun. Father gave me his desk and I got a diary [and] serviette ring. A great success.'

Related information

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