Posted by: Debra Kolkka | January 9, 2013

Off with their heads

Our 35mm slides have now been scanned and a theme has appeared…headlessness. With digital cameras these shots would be deleted, but I think they have a charm of their own.


I think the subject may have actually been the fish, and not me.


In this one Dad lost his head.


It was my cousin’s turn to lose her head this time.


My head was obviously considered unnecessary in the photo above.  My sister appears to wearing the dress I had on in yesterday’s post…and how could you not love my brother’s bow tie? He wouldn’t be caught dead in one now.

We grew up at the beach and the seaside was a regular backdrop for family photos.








I love the next one of my brother…he went on to become a really good surfer…among other things.


Dad built several boats and went deep sea fishing most weekends, or took us out on the bay.



Eating was another theme.



In the series of photos below we were having a picnic beside a waterfall in the mountains.


I had my doll and my brother had a boat.



The boat was carefully placed into to the water, and minutes later disappeared over the waterfall.


My Dad did have a head, and he usually had a cigarette or a fish in his hand, sometimes both.



I have to show you a photo of dad and his fishing mates with a good catch.



  1. Deb, look at how cute you were! I can recognise you even in those early photos – and you were already so stylish! 🙂

    • My mother made all our clothes. I started making my own at about 12 and have been doing so ever since.

  2. I absolutely love all of your photos! You and your siblings are so cute and it’s really a slice of life from the era when we (I’m your age) grew up! Love seeing your parents too. Thank you for sharing.

    • We had a wonderful childhood…we were very lucky to have had the parents we did and to grow up in such a fun place with dozens of cousins.

  3. Is that last photo your dad? If so, I think your dad and my dad must have had the same tailor, lol! Great pictures, with or without heads!

    • Okay, I just went back and looked at your pictures again. I really think our dads must have been separated at birth. My dad built boats too (he built a 26′ sailboat in our basement) and he was always taking me down to the beach or the dock or the marina.

      • Dad built several boats under our house. I remember watching him bend the timber after he had heated it in hot water. All his boats were called Gold Top after a brand of beer. The brewing company heard about it and gave Dad and his fishing mates a keg of beer and 6 bright orange shirts with Gold Top on the pockets.

  4. sweet photos 🙂

    • It is fun to look back.

  5. What a wonderful childhood you had living by the sea, such happy faces.

    • It was great. We had total freedom to play on the beach…it was quite an adventurous childhood.

  6. No doubt that you treasure lovely memories of your childhood. Thank you for sharing them.

    • The Gold Coast was a wonderful place to be in the 1950s and 1960s. We loved it.

  7. Looks like you had a happy and fun childhood. Will have to show Willie the fishing photos!

    • Dad and his friends fished off the Gold Coast. Back in those days there were lots of fish. We had a barbecue beside the beach every Sunday afternoon.

  8. WOW love those fifties style swimsuits on the ladies.

    • The photo would have been taken in the late 1950s…note the bathing caps in their hands…they were horrible things, I can still remember the rubbery smell.

  9. You were a cutie! ……….and still are!

    • I’m a bit old to be cute!

  10. These are beyond priceless, documenting another era that is now lost in time.
    Even the quality of the film has withstood the
    rigours of being in someone’s drawer for fifty years.
    Incredible pictures.
    Has Rob seen them?
    Do you know how much those fish would be worth in London today?
    Fantastic post

    • Some of the photos are nearly 60 years old. The fish would cost plenty today. Often George’s front yard would be full of fish. Rob doesn’t read my blog, so he hasn’t seen these photos.

  11. It’s so great to see these images. Australia must have been a wonderful place to experience childhood. And the fish . . . !

    • We had a wonderfully free childhood, spent mostly at the beach. It was a very good time to be young.

  12. Ah these are so lovely. I was taken by the clothes and I see from a reply to an earlier comment that your mother made all of them – that’s special.

    • We were always very nicely turned out when we were little.

  13. Great photos. What a super, sunny, ice cream laden childhood!

    • I think we were eating Have a Hearts in the photo. I’m sure these don’t exist anymore.

  14. I’m impressed you have so many coloured slides! The one of the pair of you feeding your faces is hilarious!

    • There are lots more, my father loved to take photos when we were young. The novelty wore off and there are very few of my youngest brother.

    • I know, there is some serious eating going on there.

  15. The Pictures are precious Debra. Like you , I had a wonderful childhood growing up at the beaches in South Australia – Glenelg and West Beach.
    Not sure that it has been wonderful the last few days in Adelaide with temps reaching 113 degrees or as you say 44-45C.
    Pam Proctor

    • Adelaide gets very hot in summer…too hot for me. Brisbane is now too hot and I am soon heading off to lovely Italy.

  16. Debra I just love the photo of you and your brother enjoying your picnic.
    Just priceless !!!

    • We had some great picnics with our large family. I have been back many times to that waterfall…time for another visit.

  17. I did not know you had such a history, eating fresh cooked fish caught by your dad, what great memories. By the way love the ‘era’ you have captured.

    • Dad loved his fishing years, and we loved the boats he made. I am very glad my parents made the decision to move to Main Beach when I was 4. It has to be the perfect place to grow up, especially at that time.

  18. What amazing photos! I particularly liked the one of you on the right and your brother on the left eating something that looks like a cream bun! 😀

    • I think we were doing our best to stuff in just one more piece.

  19. Great pictures – I especially like the ones where you and your brother are happily eating sweets!

    • It is fun to look at old photos. I certainly remember some of them being taken.

  20. Hi Debra,
    Very interesting historical photos. And very good quality colour and clarity, for photos from that era.
    Are the rocks in the background in photos #5, 6 and 7 from Burleigh beach ?

    • Yes, they were taken at Burleigh Beach, on the southern side of the pool. They would have been taken in 1956.

      • Thanks Debra, It also looks like Burleigh point in photo #11 and perhaps Miami headland in the distance. Also, are the last three photos of Springbrook (Gold Coast hinterland) ?

      • It would have been Purlingbrook Falls I think. The headland was more likely to have been near Hastings Point. You are coming up as anonymous. Who are you?

  21. Just catching up – these are such fun, what a lovely childhood and as somebody else said , the slides are a little potted history of that time, they tell so much. We have lots of photos of my mum-in-laws finger, she always managed to get it across the lens. Those ‘bathing belle’ suits are not far different from the clothes I see young women wearing in the street! Don’t I sound ancient!

  22. Great photos Debra. Very good idea to get them scanned to digital before the slides perish. Fantastic memories…..

    • Some of the slides were too far gone, and the colour in some is not the best, but it is good to preserve them.

  23. Pure Gold Debra. MLT

  24. Love this post Debra. What a wonderful, wonderful set of photos to have. Gorgeous!

    • It was fun to look back and recall episodes from my childhood.

  25. How beautiful. We also grew up by the water and had many visits to the Gold Coast and I remember taking the lift up somewhere with my grandad. And those pines! Love all the boat/fish shots, strikes a very familiar note. Ciao catinitaly

    • Growing up besdide the ocean was wonderful. I am now paying with sun spots, but I don’t regret my years at the beach.

  26. Priceless photos, even without the heads Debra 🙂

    • It was fun to recall childhood moments.

  27. 😆 I had to cover my mouth from laughing hard in public. 😆
    The antique look of the pictures is so awesome esp. after seeing your other blogposts with modern pictures :D.

    • It’s nice to know I am an antique, so much more valuable than just old!

  28. Beautiful pictures!

    • Thank you, they were taken a long time ago…more than 50 years in some cases.

      • It is amazing when you are able to have such detailed evidence of family history.

      • My father was very interested in photography for a while when we were young.

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