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Muir & Moodie postcard

2819 Timaru
1st February 1912

Muir and Moodie was a postcard company from Dunedin that was in business from 1898 to 1916 during the "golden age" of postcards. Frederick Mintaro Bailey Muir was a freelance photographer who came to New Zealand in the 1880s and who worked for John R. Morris of Dunedin. Muir was running the Timaru branch of Mahan and Muir from 1903. It is situated on the first floor of McKeown's building. Mahan's Studio (Robert Mahan proprietor) head office was in Oamaru. This was the time when postcard collecting was a real craze. A photographer would go and take pictures of a local event (fire, shipwreck, etc), race home and print off a couple of dozen, and hope to sell them all so in a lot of cases postcards were local and topical. White borders sepia and b/w cards seem to date from the 1920s - 1930s. 

Panorama - Muir and Moodie postcard 1912 of Timaru.
What do you see? Where is the photo taken from?
What is the name of that main Street in the foreground?
Clock tower? Steamer in harbour? Steeple in centre?
Croxford & Co plumbers gasfitters 66 North Street, still stands today. Photo would have been taken from the Sacred Heart Basilica tower. Craigie Ave is the dirt road running in the left lower corner of the photo. The family is about to turn right on North Street. Head south towards the sea on North street and to the right Rose St. and to the left is Bank Street.

George Moodie (c1865-1947) worked for Alfred Burton before joining Thomas Muir to found Muir and Moodie. He was a keen member of the Alpine Club and specialised in Alpine photography. Both were ex-Burton Bros. employees. They specialised in outdoor work and had moved into printed postcards by 1900.

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]
Mahan and Muir (Robert Mahan and Frederick Bailey Muir), Photographers, Thames Street, Oamaru. There is a branch at Timaru, with the office in the Arcade, on the first floor of McKeown's building, where Mr. Fred. Muir, who joined the firm in 1903, is in charge, Mr. Mahan, who founded the business, still has the active management in Oamaru, where he established himself a good many years ago. He is referred to elsewhere in this volume in connection with the volunteers and the Oamaru Borough Council, of which he is a member.

Timaru Herald, 27 October 1888, Page 3
The Otago Daily Times has received a telegram announcing that Messrs T. Mackenzie, M.H.R., W.S. Pillans, Q. McKinnon, and Fred. Muir have arrived at Lumsden, having performed the overland journey from Milford Sound to Lake Te Anau. The overland route to Milford Sound and Sutherland Falls will be practicable in summer when the track has been cut. The Falls have been measured but the result is not yet announced. Mr Mackenzie says that from above they look to be 1500 feet (1904'). The scenery between Milford und Te Anau is magnificent.

Here we suffer grief and pain,
Here we're drenched with sleet and rain,
He was long for the sun again,
Oh that would be joyful, &c.

Otago Daily Times 29 October 1888, Page 2
We have been shown some very live negatives of the now famous Sutherland falls, and Mount Balloon, taken by Messrs Burton Brothers' representative, Mr Geo. Moodie. Favoured with the best of weather, Mr Moodie succeeded in photographing the falls from well chosen points on Wratlen's instantaneous plates 12 x 10, and smaller sizes, including steroscopic. The pictures show three distinct leaps, measuring in all 1904 ft correct survey measurement. We understand the photographs are the largest size taken from nature by any firm, are beautifully clear, and well defined.
    Mr Morris has lost no time in getting to work upon the negatives which Mr Fred Muir, his representative on the Sutherland Falls expedition has brought back with him to Dunedin. We had the pleasure of inspecting two enlargements (25in by 19in) of views taken by Mr Muir, which Mr Morris brought round to our office at an early hour this morning. One was a most beautiful enlargement of a scenery on the Clinton river. Mr Muir, in choosing this view, has shown thorough artistic taste, and Mr Morris has succeeded in developing an excellent picture from the plate. In the background is a high mountain with the sun glinting on its snows and a large waterfall at its base, while a beautiful foreground of bush thoroughly characteristic of New Zealand scenery has been secured. The whole picture is remarkably soft�in fact more like a chalk drawing than a photograph. Another view shown us was of the Sutherland Waterfall. The two first leaps of the fall are shown in full, and also the commencement of the final fall. A capital idea of its height has been secured. These and other photographs of this wonderful part of the country will be on view this morning in several windows, and will no doubt be scrutinised with great curiosity. 

Otago Daily Times 23 April 1900, Page 3
The development of the photographic art during the past two decades has been truly wonderful. The well-known firm of Muir and Moodie, late Burton Bros., whose extensive and elaborately-fitted premises are situated at the corner of Moray place and Princes street. On this ground floor is the main entrance from Moray place, leading into a large vestibule, where is it very line collection of portraiture and landscape views, the latter taken from all parts of New Zealand and the South Seas. Mr F. M. B. Muir, who has charge of the portraiture department, has a reputation as a photographic artist which is not surpassed in the Australasian colonies. He is an expert in the arrangement of pose and grouping, and some of the groups' which have been reproduced from his camera have excited widespread admiration. His excellent judgment and artistic skill in this respect is so noteworthy that some of the leading theatrical companies of the Southern Hemisphere have lately transferred their Australasian work to him. He was a partner in the firm of Burton Bros., who founded this establishment some 30 years ago. Then about two years ago he, with Mr Moodie, purchased the business from Messrs Burton Bros., and they have carried it on ever since under the name of Muir and Moodie. Since the improvement of the premises Messrs Muir and Moodie have altered all the arrangements of the studio, remodelling it on the lines of the leading photographers of Christchurch, such as Talma, etc.. which Mr Moodie found to be nearly all on the American principal, admitted, for delicate effects in lighting, to be unsurpassed in any part of the world. One of the great specialties of the firm is that of which Mr Moodie has charge�viz., landscape photography. In this department Messrs Muir. and-Moodie have the largest and most complete collection in the Southern Hemisphere, comprising a repertoire of nearly 8000 subjects, which it has taken over 30 years to collect, and involving an immense expenditure of money. The views are reproduced in all sizes, and a special feature is made of the 18in by 16in copies, which are sold in great numbers. These are direct photographs from Nature and not enlargements, being taken by a camera of the size. The trade negotiated by Messrs Muir and Moodie in this branch is world-wide. Their views of New Zealand and the South Seas are largely sold in England, as well as throughout New Zealand and Australia. Muir and Moodie, who intend to add greatly to their collection, have become celebrated in this respect, and their premises are visited by all tourists, while their photographs have made New Zealand a popular resort of people from all over the world.

Thomas Mintaro Bailey Muir
Mr T. M. B. Muir, [c1853 - 26 June 1945] the senior partner, is a native of Mintaro, South Australia, and came to Dunedin at the latter end of 1860. He attended the High School, Dunedin, from 1863 to 1866, and was one of the earliest students at that excellent institution attending on the day it owned. In 1860 he joined the Telegraph department, with which he was associated until 1880, latterly occupying the position of assistant officer in charge of the Dunedin office. In 1880-81 he was in charge of the Invercargill station, resigning on the amalgamation of the Post and Telegraph offices. Mr Muir had always been considered a successful photographer, and in 1881 he joined Mr A. H. Burton, the founder of the present business, as a partner. He retired from the firm in 1891, and later carried on a similar business in Invercargill from 1893 to 1898. In the latter year he joined Mr G. Moodie in purchasing the business, of Messrs Burton Bros. Although Mr Muir does not profess to be a specialist, he is essentially an all-round operator, and is recognised to have great artistic skill in his work. Mr Muir was been a successful athlete, and as an exponent of the game of billiards few amateurs can equal him in the Australasian colonies. He is buried at the Northern cemetery, Dunedin, age 95.

Mr G. Moodie is a native of New Zealand, and is a son of Mr Thomas Moodie, the highly, respected and well-known managing director of the Perpetual Trustees Estate and Agency Company. Mr Moodie, jun., was educated at the High School, Dunedin, and afterwards spent some years in the office of Messrs S. Wilson and Co., wholesale importers and merchants. Entering the employ of Messrs Burton. Bros, about 14 years ago, he worked steadily up to the post of chief operator, and two years ago. Conjointly with Mr Muir, purchased the business. Mr Moodie is an enthusiastic yachtsman, and built the celebrated Thelma yacht, which has raced most successfully for some years. He has also exhibited great, interest, in cycling, and for 18 months held the secretary ship of the Dunedin Cycling Club. Thoroughly interested in all athletic matters he is a patron of sport. Messrs Muir and Moodie have done much to place the beauties of New Zealand and the South Seas before the world, and they merit the-commendation of well-wishers of these islands for the popularity their pictures have brought them.  

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project