Historical information

This digital image was produced from one of the glass negatives that form part of the collection, probably taken by Louis Haeusler (b.1887) with the photographic equipment in the Wodonga Historical Society Haeusler Collection.

Merry-Go-Rounds or Carousels were a popular entertainment accompanying many celebrations and events in Albury and Wodonga from as early as the mid 1870’s. They featured at events such as Empire Day and Arbor Day celebrations as well as the Wodonga Racing Club meetings, Wodonga Agricultural Shows and Victory Day celebrations at the end of World War 11. They were operated by a variety of travelling showmen and entrepreneurs. Early merry-go-rounds were steam powered.

The merry-go-round in this negative was owned by Anton Weniger of Melbourne. From 1909, Mr Weniger operated a shooting gallery and Steam Riding Gallery on the Lower Esplanade, St. Kilda on land he had leased in 1909 from the St. Kilda Foreshore Trust. Weniger also took his carousels by train to many rural areas, including several visits to Albury, Yarrawonga and Benalla. His largest carousal was designed and built in Melbourne by Herbert Thomson in 1915. It has now been restored and has been on show as the Civic Carousal in Canberra, ACT since 1974.

Anton Weniger’s steam merry-go-round was definitely in the Albury- Wodonga area in September 1912. As reported in the Border Morning Mail on Saturday 2 November 1912, Mr. Weniger was the victim of a robbery which included some money and his gold watch and chain, stolen from a railway truck in the Wodonga railway yards. The riding gallery and other belongings had been placed on the truck in Albury after the Albury show and sent on to Wodonga in transit to Wangaratta. Whilst in the Wodonga yards the truck was broken into and the goods stolen. Two of Weniger’s former employees, Herbert Backhouse and Edmund Pressard were subsequently charged with the robbery and sentenced to respective sentences of 3 and 9 months imprisonment, both with hard labour.

In January 1916, Weniger’s Steam Riding Gallery was attacked by a group of rioting soldiers as a result of rising anti-German sentiment with the onset of World War 1. As a result, Anton Weniger terminated his interest and lease of the Steam Riding Gallery to his partner, William George Kelly.
Although he had lived in Victoria for over 25 years and had been a naturalised Australian for 20 years, Anton Weniger was interned for the duration of World War 1 as an enemy alien.
Anton Johannes Matthias Weniger died on 14 August 1923 and is buried in the Brighton General Cemetery, Melbourne, Victoria.

Significance

This item is unique and has well documented provenance and a known owner. It forms part of a significant and representative historical collection which reflects the local history of Wodonga. It contributes to our understanding of domestic and family life in early twentieth century Wodonga, as well as providing interpretative capacity for themes including local history and social history.

Physical description

Digital image created from the Haeusler Glass negative collection. A large group of people standing around a Merry-Go-Round.

Inscriptions & markings

At top left of Merry-Go-Round "A.WENIGER./MELBOURNE"

References