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Photo Album - Mashonaland (Colony of Rhodesia)
Africa, 1922. Photograph Album Pioneer Farming in Mashonaland African Labourers and Chiefs Inverness Highlands Connection 1922 Territory of Mashonaland [later the Colony of Rhodesia], 1922. A most uncommon photograph album of the working farms established by two Scottish cousins of the Fraser-Mackenzie lineage, "Dick" and "Jack" whom emigrated in February 1920 and whom became pioneer farmers throughout Southern Rhodesia. Contains 55 sepia snapshot photographs with occasional typescript captions, plus 3 large copyrighted silver gelatin photographs of Victoria Lake and the Falls by Percy R. Clark, and 1 Roberts photograph of the South Africa Union Buildings, the lot neatly mounted with transparent corners onto 19 cardstock leaves. Oblong 8vo. string-tied album measuring approximately 32 x 22 cm, snake skin patterned cloth boards and matching endpapers. Ownership inscription penciled to front board reads "Fraser-Mackenzie 1922." Photographs vary in size, the smallest measuring approximately 11 x 6 cm, and the largest 20,5 x 15,5 cm. Scant few photographs creased, otherwise in Very Good Condition, unique views of colonial Zimbabwe. The Lone Cow Farm at Mutorashanga, and the Allan Grange Farm at Hartley (now Chegutu), situated 160 kilometers apart in the Mashonaland West province of what is now Zimbabwe, form the setting for this album. [In 1913 the 23,000 acre Lone Cow Ranch was purchased from a Mr. Bliss by Thorney Creek Ranching Co., a company based which had for two of its four Directors two Fraser-Mackenzies, possibly Jack's father and uncle. Mr. Bliss had acquired the land in April 1908 and named it Lone Cow.] R.A. "Dick" Fraser-Mackenzie who owned the Allan Grange Farm is seen in several images, as are his workers. Relentlessly arduous labour, generally performed by hired African workers, filled the hours, as is well illustrated in these images. Favourable relationships with local Chiefs would certainly also be advantageous. Here we see two African chiefs, one of whom brings a goat as a gift. Ploughing and cultivating was done manually by ploughmen with a rudimentary contraption; water for cattle was carried for long distances by the Africans in containers resting on their heads; acres of mealie corn was sorted by hand, and so on. Large water carts for crops were ox-driven, as were the plows to turn over old mealie corn crops for new growth, blessed be the signs of advance. [By 1927 Jack Fraser had implemented a tractor plough that operated on lengthy electric cables which were strewn across the field and which drew power from a steam engine. Albeit dangerous, at the time it was considered genius, and fetched an extremely high price.] J.A. "Jack" Fraser-Mackenzie, son of a Scottish tea merchant, owned the Lone Cow farm and estate, and another estate at Chiwe. He is also seen in a number of photographs, usually with his cousin Dick or other family members on one of the homesteads. Jack's father, Robert "Bob" Fraser-Mackenzie, also makes at least one appearance. At the time of these images Mashonaland West was an attractive mining region and a notable tobacco-growing district, though farmers also grew corn (maize), cotton, soy, and winter wheat. The tsetse fly inflicted prolific devastation to cattle and remained a point of contention for some time. [At a Ayrshire-Sipolilo Farmer's Association meeting 5 July 1924 Jack Fraser-Mackenzie reported a loss of no less than nine spans of oxen the previous year on his farm "Chiwe Estate".] From 1890 to 1930 timber export flourished in the neighbouring Mazowe District, as miners and farmers alike exploited forests for further revenue. [As well as farming, Dick was an expert in cutting and exporting of fine Banket mahogany, an enterprise in which he engaged from his Allan Grange farm. He supplied some of the latter for the construction of the Rhodesia House on the Strand in London.] Jack, Dick and Bob Fraser-Mackenzie are connected to the historic Bunchrew House Hotel, a 17th century Scottish mansion in Inverness. In August 1842 a tea merchant, John Fraser of Inverness, purchased Bunchrew House for £13,650. His son Robert "Bob" married Beatrice Mackenzie of Ord, and so became the name Fraser-Mackenzie. Beatrice was initially named owner the Allangrange estate and their son "Jack" given in charge to manage it before it became his own. Robert and Beatrice had another son, Leo, who was an officer in the Inverness Battery, Royal Horse Artillery and served through the 1914-18 war under General Allenby in Palestine. He retired with the rank of major and became factor for the Bunchrew and Allangrange estates until his death after a serious illness. Some time around the Second World War, their cousin "Dick" met a tragic death by falling from the balcony of the Highland Club in Inverness. . Very Good.
      [Bookseller: Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts, ]
Last Found On: 2014-12-15           Check availability:      Biblio    

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